This is on the minds of many and it’s a question every parent must answer for themselves. Your skill level, your desire to take on this project, your time availability – these are individual to each set of parents.
Make no mistake: your child’s college recruitment project is the mother of all kitchen remodels.
Not only is it a lengthy endeavor, but there will be pitfalls. There will be problems. There will be unexpected challenges and changes along the way. It rarely unfolds exactly how you envision it.
If that weren’t enough, there are also many moving parts, which means you’ll likely require multiple people involved. After all, it’s rare that the same person maps out your new kitchen design, installs the new cabinets, handles the plumbing, the electrical, the new counter tops, the appliances, the flooring, etc.
In most projects of this size, you will deploy multiple “specialists.”
It’s really up to you though. Either way you go, you must conceive a S.M.A.R.T. plan and you must commit to executing that plan. If you do, then your outcome will be realized.
Here are a few basic considerations you should deliberate to aid your decision to either hire someone or attempt to take on this project yourself:
TIME. After 20 years, I can tell you with absolute confidence that this project is not completed overnight. It requires lots and lots of time – whether you do it yourself or hire someone to take over and manage it for you.
In most cases, this is a 12 to 24 month labor of love. If you’re approaching your senior year in high school, then you’re forced to jam-pack the project into just a few months. If you’re a 9th grader, then you have the luxury of getting out in front of this project and allowing it to unfold more naturally. Either way, you’re going to invest the equivalent of 12 to 24 months of effort.
In that timeframe, it’s feasible you will spend 200+ hours managing the project. This includes communicating with coaches, researching schools, marketing yourself, visiting campuses, attending camps, traveling to showcases, social media, and so on. And when you add to that the time your athlete must spend on studying, practicing, and training, THOUSANDS of hours more will be invested in this dream.
So take this into consideration when making your decision. If hiring an expert saves you a few hundred hours of work and helps you breathe a little easier, then you’ll never regret your decision, regardless of what it costs you in money. Because the hundreds of hours and hundreds of headaches you saved far outweigh the dollars in your pocket.
COST. Like most worthwhile projects, you’re going to trade dollars for outcome. And the budget range is wide. To use the kitchen remodel analogy, your budget might be $5,000 to $50,000. Of course, it depends entirely on the outcome that YOU desire. You can cut corners and go cheap. You can go all out with state-of-the-art appliances and top-of-the-line features. Or you can be in the middle somewhere. It totally depends on what you value.
The same holds true with your athlete’s college recruitment project. If you hire someone to design and manage his/her college marketing strategy, then expect the price range to be anywhere between $1,000 to $10,000. It really depends on how much of the work you’re going to have done for you, and how much you’ll have to take on yourself.
And like your new kitchen, expect to get what you pay for.
ROI. More significant than cost is the return on investment. Most parents don’t want to spend full retail for their child’s education (if they don’t have to). The range these days for a four-year college degree is between $80,000 and $300,000… which is why so many student-athletes want to utilize athletics as a vehicle in the first place. Not only is it a dream come true for the athlete to play in college, but it can help subsidize the exorbitant cost and/or help get him/her into a school that he or she would not otherwise gain admissions.
So if you do decide to hire someone and the price tag is in the middle of the range, say $5,000, and their efforts produce a college savings of say $50,000, then most would agree your money was well spent.
On the flip side, if you go cheap and spend as little as possible on this project, and the outcome falls well short of your expectations, then regardless of the money you might have saved on the initial purchase, it likely cost you tens of thousands of dollars more in the long run.
Again, it really depends on your priorities and the outcome you hope to achieve. My personal recommendation – biased or unbiased in your opinion – is to make a wise investment on the front end, even if it requires a short-term financial sacrifice, in order to achieve an outcome that will benefit you for many years to come.
SAS President / Founder