Punch Cards as an addition to drop in memberships

  • Linux

    Just throwing ideas around…
    I’m feeling like I’ve finally got a handle on the membership stuff, and am wondering if there would be enough interest to justify offering a punch card system for people who aren’t “quite” drop in members, but want to access the space occasionally outside of public events.

    $10/‘visit’? $15? I like $15 because it makes for a nice, neat “once a week, buy a membership” line. 3 visits per month is cheaper than a drop in membership, 4 is not.

    Perhaps a “trade your punch card for a discounted drop in membership” system to allow people to start with a punch card and “move up” into a membership?

    Just trying to think of various ideas, to draw in some more of the “not quite members” around the space, so we can see them outside of hack nights! :)


    Learning and working on learning more!


  • I think that is a good system to implement eventually, but I am not sure if we are ready for it yet. The main challenge I can see we running into is not being able to satisfy those visitors with our open hours and tools availability. I actually just had a discussion about day passes with @Chainmaildave the other day.

    We need to focus on growing community members and not consumers. If someone shows up to a hack night and buys a punch card, they might expect a certain amount of service with it. They might expect the space to be open when they need a project done and the tools to be operational when they get here.

    I am not uncomfortable with the ratio of our “free” visitors to paying members. The paying key holders should be people that can gain much more value out of the space in a month than the 100$ fee. The drop in membership was designed to allow new community members to get involved without making the stronger key holder commitment – but they would still understand that this is a community run place and it takes certain level of commitment to be involved in it.

    We are getting pretty close to the 20 key holder mark (if we are not there already). When we do get there I will propose that we only accept drop-in members. In order to become a keyholder you would have to be involved with the space and earn the trust of other members. After certain period of time (say 4month or 6 month) you can ask another keyholder to nominate you for a keyholder membership. The idea is that this way we build much stronger community and have people here that we can (relatively) trust.

    I understand that there is always going to be a need for some sort of day passes. With the day pass there is certain amount of overhead that needs to be addressed. Who will open the space up for you and explains the rules to you. Who will operate a tool for you that you are not qualified to use yet? For that reason, I think day passes are something we should allow individual members to offer and make some money of!

    Here is a scenario that I can see would work better:
    Alice is a key holder. Alice meets Bob at a Wednesday hack night. Bob has a project and wants to come and use the CNC machine and belt sander at the space to make some custom parts. Bob is not yet interested in becoming a member and just wants his project finished. Alice offers to help Bob finish the project at the makerspace. They book a day and Bob brings his material and plans. Alice helps Bob finish the project that day. Alice charges Bob for her time + 24$ for a day pass (since Bob was working at the space under Alice’s supervision).

    Now at this point there are a few options:

    • Alice keeps the 24$
    • Alice keeps $16 and donates $8 to the space
    • Alice gives the 24$ to the space

    Now I personally lean toward option 1 or 2 here because I think peoples time is very valuable and if they choose to deal with training and supervising brand new people, they should have the option to be compensated (even if it is very little) for their time. Alice is already a paying member and she is making her full contribution to running the space by paying her membership fee as well as volunteering to help keep tools working. I don’t see a reason why we should charge Alice any money for providing such a service.

    I am interested in hearing what other people think. This should definitely be a topic of discussion for our AGM.

  • I’m just starting out with the Makerspace so I’m not totally clear on how it all works. But, I won’t let that stop me from putting my oar in! :)
    I like the idea that for $50 I can join a community of like-minded enthusiasts where we can learn from eachother and together create a great place to build stuff. The punch card/charging to help someone sounds more like a business than a community.
    I think if you sell someone a punch card for x-many visits, they’re going to want guaranteed access. Also wouldn’t you need someone checking cards at the door then? (For that matter, is there any checking going on now? or is it just an honour system?)
    With my current time and budget constraints I’m happy to pay $50 a month and hope that when I do have an opportunity to use the space, someone will be there to let me in. I think $50 is a reasonable amount to pay considering what the overhead must be and I feel good about contributing to a movement I value. For me, I don’t really think there’s a need to have an option between free-Wednesdays and monthly drop-in membership.
    I know I’m branching on another issue here but, when I do have more time and money, I would like the opportunity to let myself in when I please. Or maybe I’d just like to KNOW that the space would be open on certain hours/days.

  • Holder

    At this point i understand the need for key holder membership, however it poses the question of who governs this entity and whether that privilege be reserved only for the higher paying members.

    Here’s a thought, offer qualified members the opportunity to reduce their monthly fee for every hour they spend at the space in the role of Trainer/supervisor/first aid/key holder. This would offer Alice the financial incentive to train others, and would make Bob safer now that Alice is actually qualified to train him.

    Punch cards are an great idea!

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