Buy your own timing system or hire a timer?

When timing a sports event, whether it’s a 5K, 10K, (half) marathon, triathlon or cycling race, one of the first questions is: should I invest in my own chip timing equipment or is it a better to hire a timer?


Owning your own chip timing system has some benefits, but for some event organizers hiring a professional timing company is more helpful. As both options have their pros and cons, we have summed up when to choose what.

Chip timing to get results

When organizing a race, there’s a big chance you want to see the results of all participants without using a stopwatch and a lot of manual hassle. Chip timing helps you with this, making it possible to gather precise race results for all participants. Race chip timing systems combine chips (tags) or transponders worn by athletes and detection mats or loops along the course, for example at the start or finish line. When the participants pass a detection point, a passing is created, which is used to calculate personal results. This applies to all kind of sports types, like running, cycling, or multisports.


When should I invest in my own timing system?

If you organize multiple races per year and you’re sure that you’re going to use your timing system for longer than 1 year, it could be wise to invest in your own timing equipment. This gives you full control and makes you less dependent on other suppliers. Not sure what timing system you need? Read more on the differences between an active or passive timing system.

Pros of buying a timing system:

  • You’re in control of your own timing
  • With your own timing equipment you can also time races that are organized by others
  • Buying your own timing system is almost a 1-time investment. You pay for the decoder and detection mats/loops. The only future costs are for ordering extra tags.

Cons of buying a timing system:

  • If you only organize 1 or 2 races per year, having your own timing system is more expensive than hiring a timer

When should I hire a timing company?

If you organize an annual race or a small number of races, it’s better to hire a timing company. This will save money and time, as you outsource the chip timing. There are MYLAPS timing partners all over the world with a lot of experience in event timing. Check out our full list of running timing companies.

Find all MYLAPS timers

Pros of hiring a timer:

  • If you only organize 1 or 2 races per year, you can save costs
  • You can rely on a professional timing company and can focus on other things to offer the ultimate race experience

Cons of hiring a timer:

  • Hiring a timer means that you probably have to pay a fee for each race. The more races you organize, the more expensive this will get

MYLAPS Start Dam tot Dam


More info

If you have any questions, feel free to have a look at our solutions for timing running, cycling, multisport or other races or contact our Sales Team.

Latest blogs: