Frequently Asked Questions
It's often asked how we price our paid events such as our hugely popular hostel and camping weekends. OutdoorLads' pricing policy is completely transparent and we never hide anything from our Members. There are a number of factors taken into account when pricing an event:
Cost of Accommodation
The first and typically most expensive element of the event price is the accommodation whether this is exclusive use of a YHA premises, private rooms in a hostel or pitches on a camp site. Our office staff work hard to build up relationships with venues around the country and always aim to get the best possible price.
If the event includes food (which most of our hostel weekends do) then this is the next element of the event price. This is usually £7 per person per main meal. So for a typical hostel weekend running from Friday to Sunday the Leader would have £7 to cover the Saturday evening meal and they'd also need to cater for Saturday and Sunday breakfasts from that amount. Members are asked to bring along an item for the buffet on the Friday evening and their own packed lunches.
All our events are run by our fantastic volunteers who give of their time for free however they are able to claim back certain expenses depending on the event type. For hostel events where there will be shopping and cooking to do Leaders can claim up to £5 per person; for camping and camping barn events where there is typically less to do they can claim up to £2.50 per person. From this amount, Leaders are able to claim expenses to cover the cost of their own attendance at the event, for their transport to and from the event and for anything else they need in order to run the event.
Early Payment Discount
If you book one of our paid events up to eight weeks before it takes place you get to take advantage of our Early Payment Discount. If you book closer to the event date then we add on 10% to the event cost. It's critical that we fill all our events to capacity so we don't lose money and by encouraging Members to sign up early it makes it easier for us to plan should this look like it may not happen.
As a charity we need to generate an income in order to cover our overheads and to have money to put back into the organisation so we add 30% (minumum £2.50 per day) to the cost of each event. There is a huge amount of admin involved in booking and planning over 100 paid events a year including negotiating the original booking with the venue, creating the actual event page, paying invoices to suppliers (most typically request a deposit when booking then a further one or two balance payments nearer the date), processing the individual Member payments in our accounting software and following up with Members, Leaders and suppliers after the event.
Payment Processing Charges
We get charged every time you make a payment via our website by our payment processor, Sage Pay. This is the company that handles your transaction securely (OutdoorLads never sees your payment information) and then deposits the monies into our bank account. Confusingly, the amount we pay varies depending on what type of credit or debit card you have so we average this out to 3.4% + 20p per transaction.
Finally, as we are a VAT registered organisation (which we have to be by law) we must add on 20% to the event fee which we collect on behalf of the Government and pay to them in a lump sum each quarter just as the vast majority of other organisations and businesses in the UK do. If elements of the event outgoings have VAT included in them then in turn we can recover those and we take that into account. This is typically why events at smaller hostels or camp sites, who are unlikely to be VAT registered, can prove expensive as we can't claim any VAT back on the accommodation costs but still have to charge it on our event.
Here are two examples of actual event costings - one camp and one hostel weekend:
Lake District Activity Camp (29399)
Chapel House Farm Campsite
Camping Fee (per person x 2 nights) - £12.00
Leader Expenses - £2.50
OutdoorLads Markup - £5.00
Payment Processing Charges - £1.00
VAT - £3.90
Event Cost - £24.40 (rounded down to £24.00)
Hawaiian Dovedale Holoholo Weekend (27284)
Accommodation Cost per person - £26.04 (total cost is £500 which is £416.67 + VAT / 16 beds)
Food - £7.00
Leader Expenses - £5.00
Other Expenses (prizes or special items) - £5.00
OutdoorLads Markup - £12.91
Payment Processing Charges - £2.48
VAT - £11.19
Event Cost - £69.62 (rounded down to £69.00)
Whilst we don't ban campervans or motorhomes from our camping weekends, these events are typically 'under canvas' and held at smaller campsites in often rural locations that aren't suitable for such vehicles.
Campsites charge more for campervans/motorhomes and this is not factored in to the event costing which can leave OutdoorLads out of pocket.
The decision on whether these vehicles are allowed on a camping event rests with the event leader who will know the campsite best. Please contact them through the event page before booking.
OutdoorLads welcomes well-behaved and under control dogs on certain events but please remember that not everyone feels the same way and it's important to check with the event leader before booking.
Day walks: our walks can be long and tiring for dogs and will often come into contact with farm animals so ensuring your pet is capable of completing the walk is essential as is keeping them on a lead around sheep and cattle, etc. It's a good idea to check with the event leader before booking to find out more about the walk.
Camping weekends: Different campsites have different rules so please speak to the event leader before booking to find out whether your dog will be welcome at the campsite.
Hostel events: sadly we don't allow dogs on our hostel events - this is because the majority of the hostels we use don't allow dogs on the premises.
No matter what the event, all dogs should be well-behaved, kept under strict control and be used to being outdoors and around groups of people.
OutdoorLads is a registered charity as its aim is to ‘improve the physical and mental state of gay, bi men and trans guys’ through a range of outdoor activities on a not-for-profit basis.
Every penny that is raised through membership fees and from events is ploughed back into helping the organisation to grow and develop. We rely heavily on the work of volunteers to develop, plan, deliver and follow up on the events that we run.
OutdoorLads is NOT a group organising sexual encounters and never will be. This is not what we're about.
OutdoorLads is first and foremost an outdoor activities group. It is designed with gay and bisexual lads in mind to help them enjoy the outdoors, countryside and the pursuits that can be found there, in a friendly, supportive environment.
That's not to say there's no chance of you meeting the love of your life on one of our events, but your primary motivation for coming along should be to take part in the activities we offer.
The only way it's possible to view member profiles, is by becoming an OutdoorLads member. Non members are unable to view member profiles and are also unable to view the event pages with lists of attending members.
The only way your family would find out that you are gay through OutdoorLads, would be to become a member of the group. Obviously it's highly unlikely this would ever happen. It's a group for gay and bi lads so it's extremely rare that a straight person would be looking to join the group.
However, you do need to complete a next-of-kin form. If you are not 'out' to anyone, you still need to tell someone that you're joining an outdoor activities group and that you have registered them as your next of kin. Of course, whether you decide to tell them it's a group aimed at gay and bi lads is entirely up to you.
First of all you'll receive a automated email sent to the email address you put down in the signup form. You must confirm receipt of this by clicking on the link contained within the email.
Your details will then need to be approved by one of the site admins. Once approved, you will receive an email confirming that your account is active.
If you haven't joined OutdoorLads yet, what are you waiting for? Click here and join today for FREE!
We ask that you complete as much of the information as possible. You will need to add an avatar (profile picture) before joining an event so we know who is coming. Once complete you can browse even more of the website and begin registering for events. What are you waiting for?
You'll receive an automated email which is sent to the email address you enter in the signup form. You must confirm receipt of this by clicking on the link contained within the email.
Your avatar will then need to be approved by one of the site admins. We ask for a simple face picture without others in the shot.
Of course you must set up a profile when you join the group, but this is necessary in order to register yourself onto our events.
OutdoorLads is all about the events we put on. It is the whole reason for this website. We're not all talk and no action. Our events are real. We do have fun. We do make new mates. If you want an exciting alternative to the traditional gay scene you've come to the right place.
OutdoorLads is a group run by its members for its members. Events only take place because some members are willing to lead them and other members are willing to attend. The group then is only as good as the effort its members put into it.
If there are no events on the website near to where you live and you'd like to see more, the simple answer is get involved!
Firstly if there is an event taking place near to you and you can attend then go along and take part. It is only through member support of events that demand in an area increases.
Secondly you could get involved further and become an Event Leader. The process of becoming an Event Leader is easy although requires a small amount of work on your part. You will need to ensure that you have created a good and safe event and one that can spark interest amongst the other members of OutdoorLads. To find out more about becoming an Event Leader, click here.