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RyanB

Vacationing with friends, splitting costs?

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RyanB

When you go on a vacation with a group of friends, I am curious how you split the costs.

Specifically, if you have a lake/vacation house or houseboat, do you pass on any of those costs to those that go with you?

We have been partners on a houseboat on Lake Powell for years.  Our current boat is rather small (47'), and relatively inexpensive per week, and for the last 5 years I have just completely subsidized the vacation in that we divide up expenses (mainly fuel and food), and divide it out by the number of people that go.  The last several years that meant a one week vacation turned out to be less than $300/person.

I looked at a new to us partnership, a boat that is much bigger and more luxurious, and that would also be significantly more expensive. I am wondering if it would be unreasonable to include at least some of the fixed costs of the houseboat into a group expense?  That would likely be another $200 - $300 per person, for a total of $500 - $600 per person for a full week.

Does that sound reasonable?  I am getting some push back from my better half because we would never consider charging people for use of the Malibu at the lake.  But to me, the houseboat costs are different.

Thoughts?

And a photo of the potential new boat, since everyone likes pictures.  Or, something similar, since I am not 100% sold on this boat.

kqjVQgJ.jpg

 

And the old/current boat.

iNrw3Cs.jpg

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surfdude

Dude! I’m in!😃

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Agman

I own my houseboat alone, no partners. What I do when a lot of people are planning on coming up I tell one group to bring snack stuff and an another group to take care of the dinners. I pay all fuel and fees associated with owning the boat. This works pretty good for me, all of my friends love coming up and are more than happy to bring the food. I am different than your situation, I do not take week long trips. That gets real expensive quick. All of mine are short weekend trips, much easier to manage. The last long trip I did, I split it up.... 1 guy takes care of ice all week. I split up dinners among everyone, 1 person is in charge of dinner for 1 night for everyone, then they are done and the next person does a dinner and so on... worked for me. 

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Infinitysurf

I would talk to said friends and ask them for opinions since they gotta pay the $. For me personally.....I would be all in for 500-600 for an entire week in a houseboat like that. Some may not and with a partner or wife that doubles of course....but for it to cover meals, fuel, lodging and all the other stuff, no-brainer to me. What other vacations can you take for a week that cost that amount of money? That is more like 2 nights anywhere else especially when you calculate the food.

When we vacation with friends....we split all the house costs down the middle and everyone is responsible for their own food/snacks...course that is totally different than being on a floating house where everyone is close together and you cant drive to the store for dinner. I have never been on houseboat and hope to change that soon. Totally makes sense to me what you are saying.

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hethj7

We do large lake vacations each year with friends and family as well as have friends with a lake house.  I am not sure how a house boat partnership works, but with no other knowledge I assume that is like your lake house.  

When we get invited to friends lake houses, we don’t get asked to pay for fixed costs like maintenance or the mortgage.  We usually bring meals for the weekend and plenty of drinks.  We are never asked, but I always try to make sure their boat gets filled up or I at least take their waverunner and fill it for them.  

Is a houseboat partnership like a timeshare?  If so and you get just a few weekends a year, then it makes more sense to charge more.  In a case like that it seems more like an invite to a Shawn ed vacation vs a property you own and  I would be up front with invited friends that hey “it will cost XX to take this out for the weekend as part of our partnership.  Do you all want to come along and split up the costs?”

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RyanB
Posted (edited)

Thanks for the responses so far. 

The way this partnership works is I have. “Buy in” to purchase a couple weeks every year. In addition to that, I have to pay about $3200 per week. That fee should include my share of the docking fees, insurance, and some funds for upkeep on the boat. 

I am not suggesting charging for the “buy in” but am suggesting splitting that $3200. 

Further Edit:

And to break down that $3200, $2300 of it is just the costs associated with maintaining the boat for the year.  There is an additional somewhere between $500 - $1000 for "marina services" that would include piloting the boat in and out of the slip, filling the fuel tanks (not cost of fuel), dumping the holding tank, and a couple hours of cleaning.  I am still trying to zero in on what that exact cost is, and if it is mandatory.

Edited by RyanB
add info

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05hammerhead
49 minutes ago, minnmarker said:

I think if your incremental cost for the week is $3200 then by all means split it up and have them bring stuff - if your friends have a similar, or better, economic situation as you do.  If they have less means then make it cheaper for them (not free).  Just make sure everyone knows what's involved when they're accepting the invite. 

Your question is a good one and I think the $3200 incremental per week makes it a bit easier.  I have a nice lake place with a fridge full of wine and beer and on-site fuel for the boats, and 2 sets of friends: One set has cabins or a condo in the mountains so reciprocity is nice!  The other set does not so what do you do?  I haven't figured that one out yet.  If they bring dinner, wine, etc. and chip in they get asked back.  A few have treated the visit like they're at paid resort.  They don't get asked back.

First world problems.  Don't ya love 'em.

Where is this said cabin located?  LOL

Youre in a tough spot having previously paid for everything, but Im sure if you said "Hey, Im looking to get a better boat this year, but need some $$$."  Youd have some thatd chip in and others that wouldnt. In my opinion, then youd have friends, and freeloaders and easily be able to ditch those that wouldnt throw you a bone.   

My personal philosophy is invite people over and pay for everything, but expect them to offer something.  I wont actually take it, but like the gesture.  If there is gas to be carried, and someone grabs a few cans with me, theyve got an invite for life.

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John I.
Posted (edited)

What would it cost me, or any average Joe off the street, to rent a comparable houseboat at Powell? $8,000+ per week? Your friends are getting a huge discount thanks to your buy in and generosity. I don't think it is unreasonable to ask them to share in the cost of using the boat for a week. This assumes that these friends are involved in planning the trip, i.e. selecting the week, areas of the lake visited, etc. I might view it differently if you and your wife plan the trip to suit your schedule and preferences, and then you just ask some folks to join you since you'll be there anyway and have room. 

Edited by John I.
correct typo (cost)

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isellacuras
3 hours ago, 05hammerhead said:

My personal philosophy is invite people over and pay for everything, but expect them to offer something.  I wont actually take it, but like the gesture.  If there is gas to be carried, and someone grabs a few cans with me, theyve got an invite for life.

My philosophy is similar but different. I expect nothing and accept anything. Your costs for a large houseboat are a different  situation than anything i have to offer tho. For me personally, there is no way i would freeload on a week long houseboat trip. Luckily for me, my friends are generous and respectful in that way so it would prolly never even come up. 

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RyanB
3 hours ago, John I. said:

What would it could me, or any average Joe off the street, to rent a comparable houseboat at Powell? $8,000+ per week? Your friends are getting a huge discount thanks to your buy in and generosity. I don't think it is unreasonable to ask them to share in the cost of using the boat for a week. This assumes that these friends are involved in planning the trip, i.e. selecting the week, areas of the lake visited, etc. I might view it differently if you and your wife plan the trip to suit your schedule and preferences, and then you just ask some folks to join you since you'll be there anyway and have room. 

A comparable houseboat to the one we are considering is $10,200/week.

On our current houseboat we decide what month we are going as a group, and then the week is determined by the schedule of the boat.  New houseboat would have us decide between July or August, and then whatever week our ownership on the boat allows.

The trip has always turned out that there is no one person that dictates.  While I take the lead, we agree on the direction we will take the houseboat, and we if someone wants to see something in particular we do that.  Most of the time the trips are a balance of water sports and site seeing (biased to site seeing despite what I may want).

2 hours ago, isellacuras said:

My philosophy is similar but different. I expect nothing and accept anything. Your costs for a large houseboat are a different  situation than anything i have to offer tho. For me personally, there is no way i would freeload on a week long houseboat trip. Luckily for me, my friends are generous and respectful in that way so it would prolly never even come up. 

My normal daily or weekend trips are like your philosophy, but I have only recently started to even accept anything that was offered (only took a year worth of surfing and filling the fuel tank myself to get me there).  I also wouldn't go on a trip and expect the host to pick up more expenses than anyone else, but I am not sure that is the norm.

47 minutes ago, Jmcclain01 said:

I would never consider asking for anyone to pay for room and board at our lake house, but that is quite a bit different than a rental partnership similar to what you are in.  We also have a timeshare in Cabo that we bring people to often, and don't ask for cost sharing with that either.  However, those that typically offer to bring all supplies for the weekend and are quick to fuel the boat if needed are certainly asked out more often.  More so because of the respect factor not because of the monetary value.  We would be there eating, drinking and boating regardless if guests were there or not, but it sure is nice when people respect that it does cost a lot for us to have the place and for them, one weekend out is a small price to pay for someone else owning a place the rest of the year. 

We went on a trip earlier this year where we spent 4 days at a friend of a friend's house, and they wouldn't let us pay anything to use the house.  But for some reason, the way the expenses on the houseboat play out, this feels different to me.  Just trying to figure out if I am off base or not, and what to expect going forward.

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Jmcclain01

Your situation is certainly different as you are basically paying for just the week you go, very similar to renting a houseboat with a group, which everyone would certainly anticipate splitting the costs on.  So long as you state your position prior to the trip and prior to guests agreeing, then there is no wrong way to do it.  You say if you want to come, the cost is $500 per couple, if you can't make it let me know so I can reach out to others.  No one in their right mind would be offended or find that strange. We do a houseboat trip just about every summer to Lake Ouchita and we all split the cost, I would never consider paying for the boat myself and letting friends come for free.

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Michigan boarder

I'll throw in a bid for $750.  Move over @05hammerhead

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05hammerhead
1 hour ago, Michigan boarder said:

I'll throw in a bid for $750.  Move over @05hammerhead

Ill go halvies and you pick me up on your drive out.

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TallRedRider

I don't think you are off base at all.    These toys cost a lot and it is reasonable to have folks chip in.  

Having said that, I come from a family of people that have little extra money.  We never dreamed of being able to do houseboat trips to Powell when I was growing up.  Now I own a share.  When I invite my family, I know their financial situation and don't expect much.  Usually I just ask them to bring a dinner for everyone.  I am sure to casually explain how things work during the course of the trip ('we pay $550 for the pilot to get us out of the marina safely, he will go fill the fuel tanks, and I am guessing it will be about $1200 in fuel this year').   I do that just so they are aware.  

I have some friends who are in a pretty good financial situation, and they backed out as soon as I asked for a fraction of the costs.  They have become more like close acquaintances now.  If your friends are capable of paying, asking for some token appreciation money is totally reasonable, even though I would not ask for enough to come close to make this a money making adventure for you.  $500 per person seems perfect if they have the means.  

People who dig good anchor holes can come for free.  

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Iwish

Freeloader Here:   Yeah, if your friends are not smart enough to not realize that all the cool stuff you have costs serious money, then that's a them problem.   $300 for a week at powell, including food and booze(?) is insane.  We've done bachelor parties where the groom is free, which isn't a big deal to the others.    You could do a system where they pay for all of the food/booze, probably still not enough, but at least a start.   They should be filling up tanks too imho.   

Had a buddy with 23lsv that would invite us out alot on the weekends and I'm a single dude.   I'd given him at least a $20 if it was just a short Sunday trip, $40-$50 if it was the whole weekend, and couple times I just threw him my card at the dock filling station and said thanks.  Those always hurt, but I didn't have boat payments, have to wrench on a boat, get it winterized, and I was always one of the first phone calls he made when he was heading out.   So it worked out nicely.    

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RyanB

Thanks for the replies.  

I think going forward we are just going to come up with a set cost for the trip.  Maybe something like $500 for an adult, and something less for kids.

Working on details of a new-to-us houseboat as well.  Spending more than I want, but I have never been very good at budgets.....

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braindamage

Presumably you made the decision to upgrade, not your friends. Here is the way I’d look at It. If you are going to spend the coin and go without any of your friends anyway, then you pay the fixed costs. 

if this is a group decision and they were in on the upgrade, then I’d expect them to pay some extra.

other factors include your friends ability to pay the extra, and whether or not you think this additional ask will create ill will or break up what so far has been a good thing.

i have a cottage and that’s the way I look at it. If friends come while I’m there then I don’t ask for anything to cover my fixed costs.  If they want to go without me then that’s just a negotiated rental from my perspective.

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Gavin17

I split costs on trips every year a few different ways.  

 

For snowboarding we divide up the duties, calculate the cost then settle up in the end.  Someone buys lift tickets, someone buys lodging, someone rents the car etc.  Usually the week after we get home we settle everything w/ paypal. 

Since we're bringing my boat I typically book the boat trips.  My wife likes handling all the food planning so we take care of everything.  These are typically trips I'm going on regardless of which friends want to come.   I calculate what I think our costs will be for lodging, gas food etc and divide by the number of people the houseboat or cabin can hold.   Then I send an email saying this is where we are going, this is what we are doing, this is the price per person or per family.  If they want to come cool, if not I was  going anyway.  Typically I book these early enough that I can fill the thing we rented and it's usually a pretty good deal so the price doesn't matter much.  I usually just try to round in my favor for doing the legwork and bringing the boat but really if you organize a trip for 10 or more people you could probably get your entire costs "covered" and it still be a good deal for your friends.  

We're staying 4 nights at a lakeside cabin in Michigan in August and I calculated 375 per couple to come along.  We have room for 4 couples and it filled up quick plus w/ my rounding  if one couple drops out I'm still fine w/ the 375 price. 

Back in the day I tried to delegate duties on boat trips having someone book the place and someone else get the food and I'll buy the gas but it never seemed to work very well.

 

 

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braindamage
3 hours ago, Gavin17 said:

We're staying 4 nights at a lakeside cabin in Michigan in August

@Gavin17where are you staying?

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