New membership rates starting 6/1/23

Please read through the entirety of this post — including the questions section at the end — before replying. We are happy to hold a civil discussion within this thread (posts made outside this thread will be deleted). However, we will remove replies that are purely derogatory, critical without being constructive, or in general do not add anything to the conversation. We fully recognize this is a sensitive topic for some, and we have spent many months considering the pros and cons of this decision along with the needs, goals, and mission of Asmbly. This is not a decision that was made lightly, however this decision is final.

Rate Change

In order to sustain this organization and achieve our long-term goals and mission, Asmbly is increasing membership rates. The structure of the dues increase will be as follows:

  • $95/mo for General Membership
    • $60/mo for each additional family member in household
  • $950 for General Yearly Membership
    • $600 for each additional family member in household

This increase will be effective starting on your first membership renewal on or after June 1st, 2023. All members will be allowed to purchase an annual membership at the current rate ($750) if they wish to lock in their membership before the increase. The following year, your membership will renew at the increased rate ($950). There will not be any grandfathered rates. Additionally, all members who are currently on a grandfathered rate will be brought to the new rate (this is only a single-digit number of members).


The last rate increase at ATXHS/Asmbly was in 2017. At that time, our rent for the space was $7,500/month. This year, our rent will be $13,500 per month, an 80% increase. We have also added over $100k of new machines, tools and infrastructure to the space since the transition from ATXHS to Asmbly in April 2021. While a growing membership base has allowed us to continue at the current rate for some time despite our increase in operating costs and capital expenditures, the long-term goals of Asmbly necessitate increasing dues to provide the revenue needed to accomplish these goals.

Asmbly’s stated mission is to enrich Austin’s creative maker community. Our goal as an educational nonprofit organization is to reach as many people in the Austin community as possible, sharing our knowledge and love of making in order to empower others to learn and join the maker community. To facilitate that mission, we aim to provide a top-notch workspace with industrial-grade equipment. Long-term, we aspire to become an Austin institution known for empowering creatives to learn, grow, and execute on their own goals, whatever they might be. To reach that point, we will need more space and human power than we currently have.

Since the inception of ATXHS, through the merger with Asmbly, and to this day, the organization has always relied upon a massive volunteer effort both from the general membership and especially from the leadership team. While we’ve never specifically tracked volunteer hours, the number is in the thousands of hours per year range from the leadership team alone with some individuals consistently contributing 20+ hours per week. While operating primarily from a sustained volunteer effort has gotten us to where we are today, it will not be sufficient to take us where we want to be in the future. To put things in perspective, if even a fraction of the volunteer hours put in by the leadership team were paid at a reasonable market rate for the work done, Asmbly would be operating at a significant loss. While the leadership team has been happy to dedicate these hours to Asmbly on top of their day jobs because they believe in the mission, it is not sustainable long-term.

In order to take the next steps that we want to take, Asmbly will need full-time staff. Most importantly, we will need a full-time Executive Director to lead the organization and execute on our long-term plans. We view hiring an ED as a force-multiplier and long-term investment. While a significant cost to Asmbly, an ED can likely increase revenue generation enough to pay for themselves and then some down the road. However, Asmbly does not have the budget to afford hiring an ED or even a general manager at current dues rates while continuing to provide high value improvements to the space.

In addition to an ED, another large budget item on the horizon is a potential move or expansion, either of which will cause our rent to increase. If an ideal location is found that would allow us to realize our long-term goals, we need to have the resources on hand to allow us to make that move when the time comes. That means we must begin planning and saving now. Some of you may have heard rumors recently that Asmbly is planning to move when the current lease expires in a couple years. This is indeed a consideration the leadership team is evaluating, but a move of this size is incredibly expensive, well into the six-figure range. A move of this magnitude would also require a full-time staff member to plan and coordinate, an area where an ED would be vital going forward.

Even if we don’t move, we will need to expand in the next couple years. Our membership base has grown significantly over the last few years, and we expect that to continue. We are already approaching the limit of what our current space can accommodate in terms of equipment, and it won’t be too long before we are likely to hit the comfortable working capacity of the space.


We appreciate your understanding with this decision as it was not made lightly. The necessity has been brought up several times over the past few years and we’ve reached a point where it can no longer be avoided. We look forward to seeing all of you in the space for a long time to come. Asmbly is nothing without its members and the vibrant community you all help to create.



I can’t afford the new rate, but I really want to maintain my membership. What should I do?

Our first recommendation: Teach a class! Asmbly is always looking to add new classes as well as add instructors to our cadre for current classes. The average teacher payout for a class at Asmbly is about $140, so teaching one class per month will likely cover your membership and then some. If you are interested in teaching at Asmbly, let us know by filling out this form.

Second option: Asmbly will be implementing a shop on-duty program (more details to come mid May). If you volunteer a certain number of shifts/hours per month as part of this program, we will waive your membership dues. If you’re interested in learning more about this program, please fill out this interest form here.

Another option: If you are a member interested in making money on the items you create, lean into the entrepreneur community within Asmbly for resources on building a business. Some members have reached the point in their entrepreneurial journey where they are hiring help, so you may also find opportunities like this. We also have a monthly entrepreneurs meetup group (check the Asmbly events calendar for most up-to-date meeting times) and a dedicated section on our forum.

I have a membership gift certificate that I haven’t used yet. Will I still be able to use it once dues increase?

Yes, we will honor all currently outstanding gift certificates. Effective today, Friday 4/21/23, all new gift certificates will be at the new rates.

I didn’t see this message until <insert any number> days after the rate increase became effective. Can I still purchase an annual membership at the old rate?

No, we will not allow late purchases of annual memberships at the old rate. We are providing ample warning via emails, shop signage, and this post. If you want to lock in your rate, make sure to do it before June 1st.

My yearly membership ends after June 1st. Can I buy another year before the rate increases?

Yes. Conveniently, a related question was raised recently on the forum about purchasing a membership in advance of membership expiration. You can read this post and details on how to do this here.

I bought a membership in advance of the rate increase to save money, but I’ve decided I don’t want to use it after all. Can I get a refund?

Sorry, but no; memberships are nonrefundable.

Why isn’t Asmbly focusing on other revenue sources instead like grants and sponsorships?

Our volunteer efforts in pursuing grants have ramped up recently, however obtaining large grants and sponsorships is significantly more challenging without a full-time ED in a very competitive fundraising landscape. In the fundraising world, it is often said that “people give to people,” not organizations. A full-time ED puts a face to the organization who can build relationships with potential donors and sponsors.

When will the next rate increase occur?

No one has a crystal ball that will definitively predict the future, but we do not currently have any plans for additional increases on the horizon. When discussing what to increase the rate to, it was important to us to keep it below $100 while making the increase substantial enough to prevent the need for additional increases in the near future. Our hope is that with the additional revenue of the current increase, we can invest in streams that will allow us to diversify revenue sources and broaden membership options.

One way we keep membership rates as affordable as possible is through dedicated volunteerism. While we see paid staff as essential for Asmbly’s growth, volunteering will continue to remain a vital component of Asmbly’s core values and success.


No one likes a rate increase, so I understand there will likely be some pushback. I had a bit of a knee jerk reaction myself at first. But considering inflation since 2017 when the $75 rate was set has been 23.14%, that rate is equivalent to $93.25 or so today, so I think this is fairly modest and reasonable. Probably about time, prices always rise eventually.


Much as I have enjoyed the relationships at ASMBLY I have not been able to use the facilities because of the distance from SW Austin. I will have to discontinue membership.

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I’m going to have to find some ways to monetize my work at Asmbly to offset costs… who do I email about teaching a class?


I’m proud of my monthly investment into our wonderful space, members, and leadership team. Truly an enormous value.

Thanks for explaining it all @valerie !

// JRO


I’ve learned a lot over the time I’ve spent with Asmbly and I find the increase extremely reasonable. It’s an unbelievable value in the heart of Austin. There hasn’t been a rate change since 2017, but inflation, and rent, keeps on rising. The rate increase makes sense.

In true Asmbly-style, you explained in detail why the increase was necessary, and the steps we can take to mitigate the $20/mo increase. I look forward to supporting Asmbly for years to come.


You can use this form to express interest in teaching a class.


I have a few questions about this. I think it makes sense to have people who are full time working to improve the space, encourage outreach, increasing membership, etc. Volunteerism is obviously a huge part of any makerspace, but it limits the capacity of what people are able to give and encourages high turnover in volunteer positions.

How will this position be filled? Is ASMBLY looking to hire someone from outside the organization with experience with other non-profits, or looking to bring on existing board members into a paid and full time capacity?

What will be the powers and responsibilities of this role? To what degree will this person/people have executive decision making capacity when it comes to the direction of the space? Will there be any way for the membership to hold them accountable?

Will there be any transparency when it comes to compensation for this position? What will be the process for this compensation to be reviewed and adjusted over time? Will pay be fixed, or will there be bonuses based on revenue increases or membership numbers?

I understand these questions may not have been thought through and decided on, but I think they are important to think about as we move forward.

The price increase is fare and I agree for the most part. The first part of the post I got the message the increase was to account for inflation and maybe you should have stopped at that (too much information, less is always better). The second half I fully got the message that the increase is more to accomodate full time staff and my logic is that currently, the expenses are being met and not only that but stil left room to buy new machines to improve the space. I still agree to the increase but I disagree on the priorities of hiring staff. How can you have an “ED” and members not being able to fully use the space because the equipment is broken? In other words, you are increasing my membership but not giving me an assurance that when I take time and spend on gas that the equipment is going to be operational. To complicate the equation even when is known the equipment is broke, there is no timeline when is going to be fixed. In essence before hiring a head honcho you should really look at hiring a part time maintenance person. Three weeks ago (when I quit fixing machines), you had re-saw bandsaw red tagged, router, sawstop, and drumsander the same. I was working on the drum sander and heard two persons (different times, different persons), make this comment “what am I paying for? come all the way here and the @#$@ is broke!” So if you’re going to increase my membership, how are you going to keep me happy? Hiring an ED for me is not a good answer. An ED surely is not going to fix the equipment. Properly maintained equipment would give members a sense of accomplishment when they come to the shop and in essence will keep them coming back. Also, having a person that novice users can go to ask questions would give them confidence and keep them around as members.


@HannaKessler in terms of how the position will be filled, we will follow the same process we did for the other paid positions we have – post the position, then interview and vet applicants. Like the process we took for hiring our current paid staff, it will be a combined effort between board members, leaders, and select members who together will assess candidates to help ensure we select the right person for the job. It’s highly unlikely any existing board members would apply for a paid position given that all but one of us have full time jobs and careers outside of the work we do at Asmbly (and the one that doesn’t isn’t interested, retirement life FTW). Regardless of where an applicant comes from, they will go through the same application process as everyone else.

The powers and responsibilities of the role will depend on what role we are hiring for. A paid ED is an eventual necessity, however in all likelihood the first paid full time position will more likely be a General Manager. Because the role is still being developed, we haven’t solidified what compensation will look like, but we’ll be doing our due diligence to ensure we offer a fair, modest rate for the work required. Inflation and economic changes should always cause those in hiring positions to revaluate compensation rates. Bottom line – compensation will be both reasonable and not excessive as that is a fundamental requirement for nonprofits to maintain tax-exempt status. Asmbly is a nonprofit and like all nonprofits the board is responsible for ensuring the organization is run well and is also responsible for hiring or removing an ED.

None of your questions are new to us. These are things we are already thinking through. A rate change a month-ish from now does not mean we’re hiring tomorrow. We are a thoughtful, methodical group of volunteer leaders that are deeply passionate about doing right by this organization and seeing it succeed and flourish. We will continue being thoughtful and methodical throughout the process of hiring our first full time staff to ensure we follow all legal requirements and set Asmbly up for success.

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@JOSEGAYTAN I’m sorry if the message was unclear to you. As you mention, the increase is obviously in part due to inflation, but it is also for the needs of the organization both in terms of space and staff. We chose to go beyond just saying “inflation” to give members who care more of an idea what that extra dues money would go towards – bigger space, more tools, staff to make sure everything is in order and progressing further.

I’m not sure how you have come to the seemingly definitive conclusion that hiring staff would not address machine down time issues. This assumption is entirely false. An ED was mentioned several times in the post because at a high level this is an important role in the organization that really drives and propels us forward. As I mentioned in my reply to Hanna, the first full time hire at Asmbly is more likely to be a General Manager. One of the many tasks this person would be in charge of would be ensuring machines are up and taking necessary steps to resolving machine issues whether that’s ordering parts, coordinating with experts, or doing the repairs themselves.

In replying to your post here, I also feel a need to uplift and highlight the many volunteers we have who contribute to machine maintenance. We’re lucky today that we have a robust stewards program with members volunteering their time to help fix machines. This has been and will continue to be a vital program at Asmbly. @JoeN fixed the bandsaw. @David fixed the router. Asmbly as an organization quickly bought a second SawStop when the main one went down so that members still had a table saw to use while the other is in repair. @TravisGood @Joaquim @JOSEGAYTAN and @jamesfreeman worked together as a team to get the new SawStop set up for member use quickly with @jamesfreeman personally putting in over 13 hours to ensure it was done as quickly as possible. With regard to a person around that novice users can go ask questions – that is something our current paid staff and our stewards in the space serve to do. The new on-duty program we are developing will also help us have more people serving this role in the space and helping to ensure basic needs and issues are addressed in a more timely fashion.

I realize there is a lot in this post and some may have missed the on-duty program mentioned in the Q&A so I want to call it out in a separate reply here to make sure people read it.

As part of this rate change, we will also be rolling out an On-Duty Program giving members a path to reducing their membership rate to $0.

Volunteers participating in this program will earn free membership on a monthly basis. The details of this program will be shared sometime mid May. This program was important to us to include with this rate change to ensure that for those where money is a concern there is a path to maintaining membership. It also gives us the much needed boots on the ground help that we can always use more of.

If you’re interested in learning more about this program, please fill out this interest form here so that we can reach out to you directly as soon as the program is available.


Thanks for clarification! Of course nobody likes hearing that costs are going up but I do feel like as long as this is done responsibly it can be a big boon to the space.


Thanks @HannaKessler :heart: We wanted to be very forthcoming and transparent with this as it is a big change. We’re excited for what it will help do for the organization. We’ve got a really exciting future ahead! :mario_star:

@JOSEGAYTAN losing you as a member will be a big hit.

You’ve been a source of experience and help to many members, and a major contributor to shop maintenance in general.

Bringing this forward as a reminder for this thread.

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That’s a big problem. We really need to figure out why red tags aren’t being propagated to Skedda over weeks.

@buzmeg The short is poor communication. That’s a separate discussion that should be had and is not relevant to this topic. If someone would like to start a new thread to hold a discussion on how to better ensure red tags are communicated and propagated to Skedda, that is an important discussion to have.

Rate increases are never fun, but Asmbly is a real gem and I’m happy to pay it if it means your doors stay open.