How to Find Budget For A Team Building Event

The Challenge

Organizations of all sizes benefit from employees who trust each other and work well with each other. A team’s performance is often a function of time and energy invested in fostering a strong culture and nurturing atmosphere.

In creating a culture where team work is rewarded and encouraged, many teams conduct team building events outside of the office. This then leads to a multitude of questions and considerations such as: what should activities should we pick, and what should the cost be?

In this post, we will briefly go over a couple key considerations so that you can best maximize your budget for the next event.

Food and Drinkpicture of a woman enjoying a well prepared meal with a colleague

It is always to plan for food and drink for any event outside of the office. A team enjoying food and drinks together is an easy opportunity to share a common experience.

In terms of budgeting for food, a typical lunchtime meal is approximately $17. To keep the math simple and to have some extra wiggle room, let’s budget $20/person.

For drinks, let’s assume one coffee and one alcoholic drink. A cocktail is approximately $14 and a coffee is approximately $4.50. To keep the math simple, let’s assume $15 for the cocktail and $5 for the coffee.

So what does that get us? $20+15+5 sums up to $50.


picture of someone holding up a smartphone with the uber app open ready to call a car

Getting people around the city has many variables. But let’s use the Uber Fare Estimator to get a rough sense of how much transportation should cost.

San Francisco is a fairly compact city compared to other tech hubs (46.89 square miles or 121.4 square kilometers) as opposed to New York City (302.6 square miles or 784 square kilometers).

In terms of starting and end points for the day, we are going to assume the Cal Train station at 4th and King. This is a good spot, since it is close to Cal Train and Muni so it is accessible for everyone.

In terms of destination, we’re going to pick Mid-Market, specifically 1355 Market Street, since a lot of restaurants and businesses are located a few blocks away from there.

So what does this get us? According to the Uber Fare Estimator our trip on an uberX is between $8 to $11. Let’s assume $12 to keep the math simple.

In addition, an uberX seats 3 people comfortably and 4 is usually a squeeze. For our purposes, let’s assume 3 people in an uberX making each trip $4/person.

Now that we have a rough cost per person, let’s see how all of that fits in a day. Generally people will depart from the office or a common meeting point, go for a team building activity, go for food, go for drinks, then return to the office or the common meeting point. Sometimes people will go directly home from the last stop on the itinerary, but some may chose to return to the office. This means that there is a total of 4 trips per person. Since each trip is approximately $4 in the city, the total cost per person is approximately $16.

Team Building Activity

picture of a team of people working together to push up a wall

What are some activities that is appropriate for team building and how much do they cost?

Below is a list of some options that span different interests and price ranges:

The average of this list is $61.75/person, so let’s count it as $65/person.

Putting it all together

picture of a bartender mixing drinks by pouring two clear spirits into one shaker cup

What do we have once we put everything together? Food and Drink is $50/person, Transportation is $16/person, and activity is $65/person. This adds up to $131/person. Thus, when planning a team building event budgeting $131 per person is a good rough start.

Since this is a rough calculation and depending on where the activities are and what is it, the budget can be much higher or lower. You can also save on some budget by being creative with food and drink options (i.e. potluck).

If you’re looking for help putting this all together, take a look at our Team Building Workshops, which includes a team building activity, food and drinks, and leadership instruction at $150/person.


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