How To Choose The Right Pay Per Head

Did you know that having a pay per head manage your book’s operations may probably be the best thing you can do for yourself? It’s true. And, in this article, we’ll take you step by step through 10 critical questions you should ask before you choose a pay per head and suggest some key insights that can save you a lot of headaches.

We’ll also show you how to avoid a common pitfall when you hand the management of your players to someone else, while still getting what you need.

It’s a common occurrence that bookies are hesitant to hand over the reins of their business to a pay per head. In fact, a lot of bookies are still doing things the old way, taking bets by hand in some backroom and signing their lives away tied to their business.

However, for those who have found a pay per head they can trust it has literally changed the way they do business. Finding the right per head can be a game-changer that can save you money, time, and probably avoid some major pitfalls in the way because of the nature of the business.

Many bookies who find themselves tied to their business, frequently can’t believe how much time they can save by using bookie software and sportsbook services to manage their operations, let alone the savings in money that come from paying per head rather than having to share a, sometimes hefty, percentage of their profits with offshore sportsbooks.

“Pen-and-paper” bookies can catapult their income to another bracket with a pay per head because they no longer have to keep track of every game, wager and bettor since this is done automatically plus they can offer many of the other services once only available at much larger offshore post-up sportsbooks.

In other words, the playing field is leveled and there’s no reason why a local bookie or small betting shop can rival a big casino.

Many online bookies have grown using these services. Using the right pay per head can be a huge boon for your bookie business, too.

But, choosing the right pay per head is hard. It’s a lot harder than finding clients or growing your business!

A Word of Warning Before You Even Think About Hiring A Pay Per Head

This article is about how to find a good pay per head.

But before we get into that, you need to understand the value and benefit of a pay per head.

If you’re running your own business, if you’re selecting your clients, have the know-how, move your own lines, grading games, managing the risk, and giving credit and settling accounts, you absolutely have your finger on the pulse of your book.

You have a deep insight into what it takes to run a tight operation and you’ve developed a sort of intimacy with your players.

Yes, even though you probably experience your players through discrete means, you are indirectly involved with your players on a week-by-week basis.

There is no substitute for this. And there are few things more valuable than your know-how, especially in this business.

That’s why you should only outsource to a pay per head with great care and you need to have rock-solid confidence in the per head that manages your business.

Please keep in mind that pay per heads are a dime a dozen these days but that less than a handful of these know what they’re doing, let alone know what you know.

Regardless of whether you have ten players or 1,000, finding the right per head with the chops to do a good job is one of the most important decisions you can make.

However, if your book is managed properly, your business will grow and so will the number of players you have. And as your business grows, the things you can then do with the extra time become immensely more valuable.

Eventually, you can reach the point where you make more money solving and working on other projects and opportunities than by managing the day-to-day operations of a bookie business.

Using a pay per head to run your shop can easily save you thousands of dollars each week that you can turn into other sources of revenue in your business.

Before we move on, though, let’s be clear on two important factors:

  1. Finding a good pay per head is not easy. Typically, you’ll find dozens of per heads that are full of bells and whistles but lack the in-the-trenches knowledge and experience. The money lost to incompetent pay per heads around the world is staggering and they can burn through dollars like wildfire.
  2. You shouldn’t jump the gun to outsource your operation. It’s twice as hard to outsource if you don’t understand thoroughly the basics of it yourself. Time spent learning how things work in a pay per head is never wasted. And, when you find the right pay per headrest assured that your business can grow much more than you may imagine.

Let’s get on with it. You have two options in pay per heads: 1) Hire a per head that advertises cheap, rock-bottom prices or 2) hire a per head that has a reputation and experience to back up a fair price.

You Get What You Pay For – Cheap Doesn’t Mean Good

With the cheap option, you get what you pay for which is often, most of the time, a bare-bones service that’s cutting corners and lacks experience. Plenty of unknowing bookies choose the cheap option to save money. But, in our view, these are false savings. Any savings you get by hiring a per head that can’t even cover their own overhead are dwarfed by the increased profits that a well-established, quality pay per head can provide.

Great pay per heads also give you a number of other benefits that cheap per heads will struggle to match:

  • In-the-trenches knowledge. This is a cutthroat industry and it’ll only get harder in the years to come with rising competition and the changes that the Internet brings along. In fact, this is arguably the biggest factor for not doing it yourself.
  • By managing the books for multiple agents, a pay per head is able to stay on top of industry trends that you may not notice yourself in your neck of the woods doing it solo.
  • Good pay per heads always stay on top of managing your book.
  • You frequently have access to the newest technologies by using a pay per head.

If you’re ready to let a professional pay per head take the wheel of your book, hiring right is your most important choice.

But knowing that you are to hire a pay per head doesn’t mean your decision-making is over. No joke. The difference in class between the best and worst price per heads is a gap where you can’t see the other side. Bad per heads will end up burning you.

Here are 10 questions to help you make a good decision.  

10 Questions to Ask Your Pay Per Head Before Hiring Them

There are some questions that probably are more important than others, but you should consider them all carefully because each gives you a broader perspective to make a better choice.

See how many of these you can answer by doing some basic research on the website of the per head you’re considering.

  1. How Much Real-World Experience Does The Pay Per Head Have?

This is probably the most important question you’ll ask. The fact of the matter is that managing a sportsbook isn’t easy and it’s practically impossible to pick up without at least a few years under your belt. In the old days, for example, people that moved lines were worth their weight in gold because of their in-depth knowledge of both sports and betting. These days, greenhorns with gadgets will tell you that they don’t need to know the difference between spread betting and money lines, parlays or teasers, to manage your book.

Being in the trenches for a football season or three gains experience you can’t get anywhere else because when you have a full slate of games going off the board and something happens (and, it inevitably does), you want the experience of grizzled veterans making decisions. Otherwise, you can be out of hundreds of thousands of dollars in bets not taken because they didn’t know what do to.

There is no substitute for experience when it comes to running a pay per head sportsbook. Again, you should look for proof that the people running the show know what they’re doing, which brings us to the next question.

  1.  Is it a Ragtag Shop or a Group of Professionals?

You want to find out if the company is really a put-together scam operation ready to milk you out of your hard-earned dollars. You want a company made up of professionals with lots of resources, lots of experience, and personnel. You don’t want your sportsbook run by amateurs who will neglect your players at every turn, that doesn’t care whether you make money or not and that doesn’t keep their eyes on the ball.

Now, this doesn’t mean it has to a gigantic enterprise, that has its pitfalls as well, but at least they should have the trained personnel to deal with the volume. You can tell from leagues away when a pay per head doesn’t have the resources needed when they suddenly go offline on NFL Sunday or worse yet during the opening football weekend.

  1. What Additional Services Are Offered By The Per Head?

You might not be ready yet to offer horse betting or casino games, but a pay per head that’s worth its salt can offer these things and more and you should expect to find them at most reputable shops. The best companies have in-game and live betting and live casino.

They should also offer call center services, multi-language capabilities (if you cater to a different market), and trained, competent, support teams that can take your player’s action. Anything less would probably hurt you in the long run and you might be looking to switch when it’s not convenient.

  1. How Did You Hear About The Pay Per Head?

Here’s the thing, there are many scams in online betting so the best case scenario under which to choose a PPH sportsbook is if a trusted friend recommended it to you, or you’ve done thorough research enough to make an informed decision. Another option would be to look for a pay per head review site and read through some of the companies listed there.

Always do your research. It shouldn’t be left unsaid that a bad per head can have your players run away faster than a New York minute. You should find a company that has you as their priority and does a high-quality job of treating your players to VIP service.

  1. Do They Specialize In Specific Markets or Vertical Niche?

There are plenty of companies that only cater to the English-speaking market; however, do you deal with Chinese, Vietnamese or other specific markets? Well, there is only a handful of pay per head books that can handle this market such as PayPerHeadAgents. If you’ve dealt with these markets, then you know each has their own idiosyncrasies and there’s no substitute for a company that understands this.

  1. What Types of Reports Can You Get?

You don’t know what you don’t track and you can’t improve what you don’t measure. That’s why it’s important to make sure the company you do business with offers reports built in as a standard of the software. The only way to stay on top of your business is by having access to daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, annually and any other report in between.

  1. Are They Privy to The Most Important Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) In the Industry?

In other words, can they talk the talk? If you ask, can they help you find out what the most important indicators of your sportsbook’s health are? Information such as hold percentages, player activity, and settlement activity are important to know if you’re going to be a successful bookie.

  1. What Sportsbook Management System Do They Use

Some companies use standard sportsbook management software such as Digital Gaming System’s (DGS) software as their core offering. This type of software is robust enough to manage thousands of players and should be something you look for in a pay per head. Some companies can offer customization to fit your needs if there’s something specific you’re looking for and they all should be flexible enough to make some basic changes to its set up such as customer limits. Other companies offer their own in-house software, but at a higher cost.

  1. Who Will Be Dealing With Your Players?

Make sure your players are serviced by trained, knowledgeable, and English-speaking (if that’s your market) personnel. There’s nothing worse than speaking with someone that doesn’t know what they’re doing, that don’t know the difference between a parlay and a teaser, or that doesn’t even know the name of the teams. You’ll know who you’re dealing with when you ask questions related to gambling. It will be immediately apparent when you speak to a trained staff member that knows what they’re doing and a greenhorn that doesn’t know the first thing about what you’re asking.

  1. What Does Your Gut Tell You?

Did you wince when you read this question? You shouldn’t. At least, not as much as when your intuition is telling you something which you ignored that ended up biting you in the ass. As it’s been mentioned on this article on more than one occasion, there are plenty of fly-by-night scams out there and you shouldn’t choose a pay per head until you’re confident and comfortable with your choice, whether it’s to do business with them or look elsewhere.

The right pay per head will talk the talk, have experience, be open to communicate with you, have an in-depth knowledge of the industry, and understand what’s important in running a successful sportsbook and casino.

If you have positive answers to the above nine questions and you gut checks out, you probably have found your winner.

Who Will Manage Your Book of Players?

There’s something else that extremely important that we’ve left until the end of this article that we need to mention.

No matter how professional or reputable a pay per head appears to be, even if everything checks out, you must always retain ownership of your players. It’s your business and you’re granting management of your players only.

Completely giving up your players is like leaving your front door open so that anyone can steal your lunch. That’s a recipe for disaster. You want to keep ownership of your players so if you need to move them to another pay per head you can do so easily.


If you’re a bookie, using a pay per head is probably the next best step if you’re doing everything by hand. The right choice in a PPH sportsbook can dramatically change things for you by allowing you to grow, cut down your time commitment and greatly improve your results.

  • Make a shortlist of the options you’ve found based on research and your experience.
  • Do some basic website sleuthing and see if you can answer the questions in this article.
  • Speak to company representatives to get answers to additional questions you might have.
  • Make sure to keep ownership of your players
  • Listen to your gut feeling!