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View Full Version : How to cut cost, not quality? Ideas/pointers


CodyJ.
06-17-2014, 05:13 PM
Hello all. I've been doing some comps and I am fully funding it myself. I'm looking to try and save a few bucks here and there without losing quality.
Comp=~$250
Brisket=~$60-120 depending on grade
Butts=~$50 for 2 butts
Ribs=~$50 for 3 racks
Chicken=~$20 for a few packs if thighs
Wood I get for free
Lump =$15-20 depending in brand
Sauce =$20-25
Rub =~$10
Foil, pans, etc =~50?

So...unless I start winning a bunch it's tough to keep it going.
Even 1 first place finish usually only pays out $3-400.

Just looking for pointers to try and keep the cost down and keep truckn on

CodyJ.
06-17-2014, 05:14 PM
I could go to all wood and get rid of the lump. It'd be more difficult to get things goin but not the end of the world. There's $15-20 savings...

Smokesignalsfromtx
06-17-2014, 06:05 PM
It doesn't seem like your "over spending" to me. I thought I was being frugal and I spend WAY more than that. Have you considered looking for "sponsors" or maybe someone who wants to compete as well that can help split the costs?

Ron_L
06-17-2014, 06:07 PM
Cook less meat and nail what you cook.

Smokesignalsfromtx
06-17-2014, 06:08 PM
Cook less meat and nail what you cook.

lol! ^^^^^^^^^ or that!^^^^^^^^^^

Cast Iron Chef
06-17-2014, 06:18 PM
That's pretty much what I spend. hard to cook less the 2 butts and 3 racks. Brisket may be a little high. You didn't include beverages, dinner and hotel for momma. That can run up that bill.

sitnfat
06-17-2014, 06:22 PM
Looks like you have it down pretty good. You spend a little more on chicken than I do but I only prep 8 thighs

SD_Smoker
06-17-2014, 06:26 PM
This is a topic I am going to be watching a lot of! I'm going to be starting with comps in the coming months and want to soak up as much as I can to be as efficient as possible.

txschutte
06-17-2014, 06:40 PM
Pre selling your comp meat will put a big ding in that bill. Or get someone to sponsor the meat, and they get the leftovers.

TroyA65
06-17-2014, 06:52 PM
I also think your costs are about right. I'm looking at about $300-$400 per comp and that is the base line / no frills version. My meat is a little less expensive, I sleep in a chair or the van. I don't drink too much and I basically eat what I cook, can't imagine it getting much cheaper. One guy I talked to recently said he plans $1,000 per comp (and I don't think that is crazy). For my next comp I have picked up a couple of helpers that are willing to split the cost (and the take home....either meat or money). I am also thinking of picking up a sponsor (they could hang an ad on my canopy and have a guy catch the wondering public and hit them with a sales pitch) I'm just debating if that better than just forking over the cash. If these helper pan out I'll probably stick with that model.

Cayman1
06-17-2014, 07:36 PM
We will spend about $800 per without gas for vehicle. It's just costly to do this and with meat prices on the rise i don't see it getting better anytime soon.

I don't see anything with your estimates that seems out of line, and I'll bet if you really keep track of every penny it might be higher.

CodyJ.
06-17-2014, 07:39 PM
Oh, there is no doubt the cost is higher. Thats just what was off the top of my head. It's expensive and i know that. Just trying to get the cost down a bit. Sponsors are tough. I've tried a few so far without any luck. Just gotta find the right place to do it.

CodyJ.
06-17-2014, 07:42 PM
As far as competitions go i do ok. But getting a payout consistently is really tough so far.

bigdogphin
06-17-2014, 08:23 PM
Pre sell your comp meat to co workers and friends... 20$ goes a long way. Watch the miscellaneous category. This can get outa control. Try washing your foil pans, save that half bottle of sauce. Cook one brisket if you don't sell the left overs. It looks like you are already doing it on the cheap and with free wood you are a head of the game. Pick your least favorite comp and skip it.

Butcher BBQ
06-17-2014, 08:47 PM
If your cooking close to home, you could do a paid party on Friday night. Sell to a friend that maybe wants to entertain a client. Sell it per person and set some rules. You could possibly off set all your meat cost or even your entry fee.

nkay
06-17-2014, 09:41 PM
My son used to race in a national atv motocross series and we spent tons of money. I thought BBQ might be better but guess what....I was wrong. I have just excepted the fact that any sport that involves enclosed trailers is expensive. My point is this, try to cut all the cost you can but be careful because quality costs. I just got back from RD and after looking at my receipt I have decided that for 50 dollars more, I can buy a heritage pork butt/rib combo pack from compare duroc and a prime brisket from SRF. My quality will be better and it may be difference between placing in the money or not. Good luck and remember to pick up those pennies wherever you go.

GrillBillie_D
06-17-2014, 09:47 PM
There are many good suggestions that many have mentioned....the reality is that this is a hobby and hobbies cost money.

Yes, there is a chance to win back some money but that isn't something you can count on. One or two teams probably go home with real winnings.

We occasionally get a sponsor or someone who wants to help out.....and we encourage it. If the time comes when I can't afford it, then it's time to change hobbies.

I wish you the best and keep doing what you love as long as you can afford it.

CodyJ.
06-17-2014, 09:54 PM
Selling competition meat. Hmmm. Interesting.

ITBFQ
06-17-2014, 11:24 PM
When you do practice runs at home, sell the meat to coworkers. The last comp I did cost me nothing out of our bank account, but plenty from my "bbq account" that I built up by selling competition quality pulled pork at $10 per pound.

CBQ
06-17-2014, 11:51 PM
We don't have sponsors, so I'm the wrong person to comment on this, but as some of you know, that hasn't stopped me in the past. :becky:

Teams that do say a few things:

1) To go sponsors with a plan about what you will do for them. Everyone has an ask, but before you ask - think about what you bring to the table.

2) Impressions matter. I don't mean first impressions...I mean impressions from a marketing point of view. How MANY people will see a sponsor's logo matter a lot, maybe more than whether you win or lose. Pick a contest schedule that features contests that have a lot of public attendees. If 100,000 people walk by your tent over the course of a season, that will get sponsors more excited than how many plastic cows and chickens you have.

3) Build relationships. Talk to the people where you buy your meat. Bring them samples. Earn their trust, and maybe you get the pick of their best product, discounts on purchases, or sponsorship. (We don't use sponsors, but we do have suppliers that help with the other things.)

Now maybe some people better qualified than I can weigh in here.

Crash
06-18-2014, 04:39 AM
I'm with ITBFQ. In order to get better at this game you have got to practice. Now I don't know about you, but I can only eat so much Q. We sell our practice comp meats. $12/lb chx, $14/lb pork, $20/lb brisket and $30 for a St. Louis rack. Might seem pricey, but I kind of live in a very expensive state.

Also, get sponsors. We have a few that have been very, very good to us over the years. CBQ is 100% correct on the sponsorship deal. You have to be able to offer the sponsor something for their assistance to your team. Hand out their card, hand out samples of their product, talk them up. Best way to find them is just as CBQ suggested...build relationships.

Best of luck.

rookiedad
06-18-2014, 08:44 AM
go to restaurant depot and you should be able to get cheaper meat. raid the dollar store for everything else you may need before looking for it in a regular store. you can get pans,cups, snacks, drinks, cleaners, bug spray and stuff like that. if you are making your own rub and sauce you can get the ketchup and spices there also.

DawgPhan
06-18-2014, 09:23 AM
Cook less.
Sell the leftovers.
Win money.

It all comes down to getting calls. If you can't consistently get top 5 calls, then breaking even is going to be very difficult.

Mikeinctown
06-18-2014, 10:34 AM
Buy in bulk. More cash outlay at the beginning, but the per item amount is less. 5 pound bags of rub vs 1 pound jars. Buy cases of things and split the costs with others.

As an example, I see people here buying a case of parsley and then splitting the case cost with another team or two.

Backyardbros
06-18-2014, 11:26 AM
We spend a 1k per weekend. Without having a sponsor yet I just don't know how you could keep your costs down.

TooSaucedToPork
06-18-2014, 11:42 AM
Many people will say this, it may seem harsh but it is the God's honest truth. If you have to scrape together funds and financially stretch yourself thin to do this...do not compete. This is a hobby, just like golf, or riding that fatboy out back.

Are there people that make money at it, sure there are, but for 95% of teams it is break even or loss.

#1 Get more people on the team. Bring in likeminded people that know you are the leader. Don't be a tyrant and include them in decisions and they will stick with you. A contest split 3 or 4 ways is much easier to afford.

2. If you sell anything, you are liable for it. Do not cater without the proper health permits and without legal protection of your assets.

3. Easiest way to raise bbq funds.
You are probably already involved with a non profit (scouting, cause walks, baseball team, etc) have them presell tickets. You cook everything. They help serve. Split profit 60 them/40 you. You do a good turn, get to practice for free, and make a little to put towards your next contest.

gettinbasted
06-18-2014, 11:53 AM
Deleted! Wrong thread.

CodyJ.
06-18-2014, 12:23 PM
Lets all get one thing straight. I can fully support this hobby myself. I just want it to be self supporting. I'm not going to throw $500-1000 at something to sit around and chill with the boys.
The point for me is to have fun, cut unnecessary costs, and make it self supporting.

My father inlaw was a supermarket consultant. He went in to one particlular chain, came out, and saved them a nickel. A nickel on every single flyer, mailing, etc that went out the door. Translated to hundres of thousands in savings over the years. This is what I'm talking about.

Even the best teams that are out there, if you are carelessly throwing money away it could be done better. I fish, i like to fish. It's a hobby. I dont go buy 10 packages of nightcrawlers to chum up the water prior to fishing.

This post has provided some great insight. I havent thought about selling the meat. Pulled pork is very good even after frozen. sometimes even better. That's an easy one. Cooking for charity events is another good one. Dollar store PRIOR to other stores is a great idea. Restaurant Depot is definitely the place to go. Buying in bulk is smart too.

Lets keep the real comments coming. We all know the $#!T is expensive, just tryin to break it down a bitCheers all!

Sawdustguy
06-18-2014, 12:54 PM
Lets all get one thing straight. I can fully support this hobby myself. I just want it to be self supporting. I'm not going to throw $500-1000 at something to sit around and chill with the boys.
The point for me is to have fun, cut unnecessary costs, and make it self supporting.

My father inlaw was a supermarket consultant. He went in to one particlular chain, came out, and saved them a nickel. A nickel on every single flyer, mailing, etc that went out the door. Translated to hundres of thousands in savings over the years. This is what I'm talking about.

Even the best teams that are out there, if you are carelessly throwing money away it's nieve and silly. I fish, i like to fish. It's a hobby. I dont go buy 10 packages of nightcrawlers to chum up the water prior to fishing. That'd be stupid and wasteful.

This post has provided some great insight. I havent thought about selling the meat. Pulled pork is very good even after frozen. sometimes even better. That's an easy one. Cooking for charity events is another good one. Dollar store PRIOR to other stores is a great idea. Restaurant Depot is definitely the place to go. Buying in bulk is smart too.

Lets keep the real comments coming. We all know the $#!T is expensive, this is about becoming sustainable. If you dont care about being self sustained then go ahead and throw your money in the dirt. I'll pick it up and beat yo a$$ in the competition too. hahahaha!!

Cheers all!

Lets get one thing straight, this hobby is expensive enough that no team that I know of throws away money. Just keeping it real but there are precious few teams that actually break even. If you haven't won, self sustaining is just a dream for you. It is a fact.

It you are going to sell meat you need to talk to the Board of Health. God forbid someone got sick. It would be a guaranteed lawsuit in today's litigious society. You must protect yourself.

Sponsors are another way to minimize cost but it is a two way street. It is all about what you can do to promote their business before they let loose any funding. Usually teams wait until the have won a couple of times before looking for sponsors so they have more to offer. Do not be surprised when a prospective sponsor asks you to sign a contract before forking over a sizeable amount of cash.

It is no doubt, an expensive hobby and there is no easy answer. Most of the comments you have received so far are from teams who have been there and done that. They are giving you honest answers because they have put in the time and have the experience. If you want someone to sugar coat it for you maybe a less expensive hobby would be better because until you start walking consistently it is going to cost you a ton of cash. We have all been through it.

TooSaucedToPork
06-18-2014, 01:56 PM
Lets all get one thing straight. I can fully support this hobby myself. I just want it to be self supporting. I'm not going to throw $500-1000 at something to sit around and chill with the boys.
The point for me is to have fun, cut unnecessary costs, and make it self supporting.

This sport is about fun. I've been in over 2 decades, and it is not self supporting. You will lose money unless you get a big sponsor or GC and RGC your butt off. For 95% of us it's just like a kids travel baseball team, you shell out money, get some trophies, and have a blast. We are just giving you reality brother.

In the vast majority of cases, If you go in with expectations of green or black, your fun and love for it goes into the red.

That said, I truly hope you succeed and end up in the Green.

Head Foolz
06-18-2014, 01:56 PM
Respondents prior post edited....

Mikeinctown
06-18-2014, 02:06 PM
Have to pay to play! Don't hate the playa hate the game... funny how at my last comp 4 time State bbq champ that has $100,000 motorhome and top of the line equipment was beat by a mini van 6x10 trailer WSM. But again, their money spent the way they want to.


He was asking for suggestions, not someone to talk down to him. And your post makes no sense. You claim that you have to pay to play, then go on to talk about how someone on a lower budget beat the guy who "paid to play". :hand:

He wasn't asking for recipes or cooking secrets. He was asking about how to do more with less money. AKA, is there a better place to buy something so that he gets better quality than he does now for the same or less price point, or how to purchase something for value.

Last I checked, he wasn't admonishing anyone for buying something better or more expensive than he was. :blah:

CodyJ.
06-18-2014, 02:13 PM
I got ya guys. this is all true.

Head Foolz
06-18-2014, 02:18 PM
Edited....