Boarder Ettiquette - The No-Nonsense Guide to being a Responsible Horse Owner - Page 10
 
 

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Boarder Ettiquette - The No-Nonsense Guide to being a Responsible Horse Owner

This is a discussion on Boarder Ettiquette - The No-Nonsense Guide to being a Responsible Horse Owner within the Horse Boarding forums, part of the Barns, Boarding, and Farms category
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    01-05-2013, 09:51 AM
  #91
Foal
You're saying boarders should be sweeping aisles, mucking out stalls, gleefully ignoring the knee deep mud in the pastures, all while presenting the BO with monetary gifts alongside monthly board?

Why do BO's envision their boarding business as immune from the issues all other small business have to face?

I ran my own business for 5 years. I worked 80-90 hour weeks, and was lucky to make minimum wage for most of those years. You want to be your own boss, that's the price you pay.
  • Small businesses owned by the founder have a 77% failure rate.
  • 57% of small businesses generate revenue of less than $25,000 per year.
  • The average small business will generate a 33% margin. Meaning profit is about $8 to $9,000 a year.
Why is it that these stables seem to think that they're immune to all the hardships the rest of small business owners face?

To expect that your customer should be sweeping your floors?? Really? Would you walk into Walgreen's and ask for a broom because you tracked mud or slush into their building? Why are you not helping them stock shelves? OMG, you're a terrible customer. I hope Walmart tosses you out and never lets you back in.

I was thrilled if a customer put their dish in the dish bin, but the customer was thrilled if I bussed the table for them. Do you see my point? Customer service made people want to come back, it made them happy to pay more then my competitor charged.

If your boarding business is not making enough to even support itself, you need to go take business classes. Learn how to run a business correctly.
     
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    01-05-2013, 11:58 AM
  #92
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by core    
You're saying boarders should be sweeping aisles, mucking out stalls, gleefully ignoring the knee deep mud in the pastures, all while presenting the BO with monetary gifts alongside monthly board?

[...]

To expect that your customer should be sweeping your floors?? Really?
I help do the chores at our family owned private facility and...

Yes, boarders should be sweeping the aisles and cleaning up after themselves. I cannot imagine bringing my horse in, making a mess, and then leaving it for someone else! That kind of attitude would get a person kicked out of our barn in a month flat. Yes, try to ignore the deep mud - or at least complain quietly! Knee deep mud is also something that isn't always easily solved. We've worked tireless for YEARS trying to do our best with drainage and prevent what mud we can, sometimes it's not as easy as just fixing it. It took thousands of dollars worth of gravel and asphalt to get just the driveway to not be muddy in the spring. If you use a tack stall and your horse makes a mess, here, you are expected to muck it. If you're an indoor boarder, mucking here and there is truly appreciated and a nice surprise but I agree that I would never expect it. I also agree that monetary gifts are unnessecary, but a little token of appreciation is nice. Even a thank you goes a long way.

It seems that most boarders have no idea what it costs to run a boarding facility. Here we have a decent sized heated barn: 2 tack stalls, cross ties, 7 stalls (with that mattress/soft stall base) and an indoor heated arena just shy of the size of a regulation dressage arena, and 40 acres of pasture to care for. The boarders have no idea how much it costs to run that barn and keep our farm equipment up and running. We don't make much of a profit at all and what profit we do make goes directly back into the facility and equipment. We don't 'make a killing' like a couple of our boarders like to assume, that's not what we are trying to do. The BOs run another independent company and after a day there they come home to do the maintenance chores here. Its not always easy or fun.

Next time you see your BO, consider saying thank you...they'll appreciate it.

And that's my 2 cents
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    01-05-2013, 12:34 PM
  #93
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gremmy    
I did the barn staff thing for years and could easily rant for days about boarder/BO relations, but to keep things short I'll make my contribution simple:

1) Learn to communicate effectively. Most of the threads I see on here involve an unhappy boarder who did not go to the BO when issues arose, to the point where things are out of control and people are upset. Stay calm, give everyone the benefit of doubt and aim to work WITH the BO to find a solution as opposed to complaining and demanding change.

2) RESPECT. Respect the barn's way of operating and educate yourself before you move in. Respect the roles of the barn staff, the BO, and you as a boarder. Be considerate and polite, and you will have a better experience.

3) Good barn staff > 1 boarder. I cannot stress this one enough. A well run barn will not have a problem filling stalls, but good reliable barn help and keeping it is very difficult. If as a boarder you are clashing with the barn staff or making unreasonable demands, more often than not you'll be finding a new place to board.

4) Respect other people's property, but also consider protecting yours. I don't like open tack rooms and would never leave any tack or supplies out for others to access. If the place doesn't offer personal lockers, a locking tack trunk is a good investment. Additionally, save special halters/blankets for shows or use at home - horrible things will happen to the halter you hang on your stall door, accept this as a fact of life and buy a cheap one.

I'm assuming that 66Domino's comment about gifts is a joke Boarding is a very costly operation with very narrow profit margins, so if such a stable has any right to stay in business, virtually all of that $1000 goes towards taking care of your horse and the amenities you enjoy.

The work is thankless and destroys your body, the hours are long, and burnout rate is very high. I did it out of love for the horses and the industry - I never expected more than basic human decency from boarders, but the odd thank you or small token of appreciation during the holidays means the world.
Hi Gremmy, it was half joke, half truth. Over the many years we've boarded, it was always a fairly easy endeavor. My philosophy at home and at the barn is; if you make a mess clean it up, do not groom or tack your horse in walkways baring thoroughfare, do not touch anyone's tack or horse, be cordial but keep a distance from gossips and troublemakers. If I see that buckets are low on water - I water. If a wash stall was left a mess - I clean it. I throw empty cups away others leave on tables.

In exchange for this, I was given 24 hrs notice that the board was going up $150, my horse was turned out into a pasture with substandard electric (non working) and became entangled, boarders fed the horses rather than farm manager, and the 24/hr on site person was a drunk and his girlfriend who knew nothing about horses. Vets and farriers refused to service the facility and it was a nightmare. It did teach me not to rely on recommendations from colleagues. The horse was shipping cross country and we did not see the facility until he arrived. Nutcase of a BO who kept introducing her daughter by another name. Can you say drugs.

Found a place and we moved ASAP. I don't need someone BSing me about what it costs to feed a horse. We had our own place for many years. Actually, actively looking again.

I agree there are nightmare boarders but the road runs both ways. If I ever give that person another $1000, it will be to get an attorney. (Apologies for the rant.)
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    01-05-2013, 01:09 PM
  #94
Banned
Quote:
Originally Posted by 66Domino    

I don't need someone BSing me about what it costs to feed a horse. We had our own place for many years. Actually, actively looking again.

This!!! My friends with horses at home are feeding theirs for $50 a month ish. Now obviously there's other costs, but most places should be making a profit with the amount boarders are paying.
I pay $375 a month, have access to a stall for the worst of weather, but have yet to use that stall. There has to be a decent amount of profit there.
     
    01-05-2013, 01:18 PM
  #95
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexS    
This!!! My friends with horses at home are feeding theirs for $50 a month ish. Now obviously there's other costs, but most places should be making a profit with the amount boarders are paying.
I pay $375 a month, have access to a stall for the worst of weather, but have yet to use that stall. There has to be a decent amount of profit there.
$50/month? You needed to include a portion of their mortgage on that for pasture land, then. Around here, grain alone costs about $60/mo per horse (at a rate of 6lbs/day). Hay is now over $70/month per horse, thanks to the drought (and that is feeding 16-18lbs day). If you are in a position to feed pasture year round, or bale your own hay it makes a difference in the sense that you don't pay the fees for hay up front, but you are still paying for it (gas, equip repairs, mortgage for your property, etc.) The "$50" quote is not realistic unless your friends horses are minis, or they inherited a substantial farm from someone, lol.
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    01-05-2013, 01:23 PM
  #96
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by core    
You're saying boarders should be sweeping aisles, mucking out stalls, gleefully ignoring the knee deep mud in the pastures, all while presenting the BO with monetary gifts alongside monthly board?

Why do BO's envision their boarding business as immune from the issues all other small business have to face?

I ran my own business for 5 years. I worked 80-90 hour weeks, and was lucky to make minimum wage for most of those years. You want to be your own boss, that's the price you pay.
  • Small businesses owned by the founder have a 77% failure rate.
  • 57% of small businesses generate revenue of less than $25,000 per year.
  • The average small business will generate a 33% margin. Meaning profit is about $8 to $9,000 a year.
Why is it that these stables seem to think that they're immune to all the hardships the rest of small business owners face?

To expect that your customer should be sweeping your floors?? Really? Would you walk into Walgreen's and ask for a broom because you tracked mud or slush into their building? Why are you not helping them stock shelves? OMG, you're a terrible customer. I hope Walmart tosses you out and never lets you back in.

I was thrilled if a customer put their dish in the dish bin, but the customer was thrilled if I bussed the table for them. Do you see my point? Customer service made people want to come back, it made them happy to pay more then my competitor charged.
If your boarding business is not making enough to even support itself, you need to go take business classes. Learn how to run a business correctly.
It is people like you, Core, who need to take notes from this thread. Comparing a barn to a box store? Really? And comparing it with other small businesses? Get a grip and face reality. You are clearly out of the loop.

Walmart? Buys products cheap, sells them for huge profits and pays their employees Minimum wage, holds them stationary just under full time employment and the higher up positions rake it in.

Barns? Usually family owned & operated, provides a service (not a product), is much more personalized and community based than ANY small business can claim, is exposed to much higher liability issues than most other industries... There is ZERO comparison. I think the closest thing you can compare to a horse farm is a soup kitchen. They make just enough to keep going, and that "just enough" usually doesn't come out of the pockets of the "main"clients, but from other endeavors that the barn owners invest themselves in.
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    01-05-2013, 01:34 PM
  #97
Weanling
And... The people running them do it because of a love and passion for some aspect of the profession - in spite of clueless know it alls such as yourself.

Snotty know it alls are the ones who most need to silently reflect on what they read in this board. You will be the ones barn hopping your way either to a much higher priced barn that WILL provide the level of service you seem to expect (at a price reflecting that mentality) or into mud pits then completely out of horses until you buy your own barn.
Sure, there ARE barns that provide THAT level of service. The closest you could come to comparing them to ANY other business is to compare it to going from the neighborhood Holiday Inn to The Drake (Chicago... You know - dress code, harpist in the lobby, etc).
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    01-05-2013, 01:46 PM
  #98
Started
I know my expenses run the following per month:
12 bales of grass hay at $9/bale (which is CHEAP for here) : $108
Either Strategy or Smartpaks for the month: $32
Pellets for stall at 2 bags/week, $5/bag: $40
So, the MINIMAL expense in consumables per month down here is $180 and that is without paying for fencing, mortgage, anyone mucking the stalls, turning horses in/out, feeding, electricity, my tack space or any of that 'board' stuff. I wouldn't expect to pay less than double that, and the going rate around here for full board (even without a nice arena, etc) is $400, which makes sense to me. The NICE places are $550 or more, which makes sense- building a nice barn with a nice indoor and maintaining it is a half a million dollar or more endevour in many cases, so you gotta pay for it.

Yeah. I can lend a hand and pick up after myself. It's the right thing to do.
     
    01-05-2013, 01:48 PM
  #99
Trained
No, I'd say you're out of the loop if you think being a BO is so much different than a small business.

I work in a small, family owned business and all of the family members bust our butts working long, hard hours for a very small profit margin. I don't expect my customers to clean up after themselves and believe me they make a heck of a mess when it's snowy or muddy outside. Being a BO is hard, I get that, but being a small business owner is hard period. BO's have mortgages, but business owners do too, we also have employees, and oftentimes dangerous equipment to work around. Just like BOs. Sales tax, employment taxes, unemployment taxes, worker's comp, liability, etc, etc. Other small business owners don't live on their business property either, so they also have to pay a home mortgage.

I have yet to board my horses, but I have taken lessons and worked for boarding barns before, so I understand the amount of work that goes into maintaining and taking care of a place. But that is the profession you (general you) chose, there are pluses and minuses to all of them. You're being paid to take care of someone else's animals. That means it is all YOUR responsibility, not the customer's. If they want to help, great, but if not too bad. Obviously I'm not talking about breaking stuff or stealing or any of that nonsense, but they are paying YOU to take care of all the little everyday stuff of horse ownership so they don't have to do so. If they don't want to clean up after themselves, too bad, it's your job to clean the barn, not theirs. Now, I'd clean up after myself, but I enjoy all of the aspects of caring for horses and prefer to clean up after myself. Others don't, but again, they are paying you to keep the barn clean and take care of their horse.


ETA- Obviously if your rules are that the client cleans up after themselves and their horses, and it is posted, that is a different story. Especially if your prices reflect that and are lower than typical. I'm not saying it's ok for people to be jerks either, but that is a peril of working in any customer centric job. Believe me, I could tell you horror stories all day about my customers. Somedays I'm surprised I still have hair when I get off work!
     
    01-05-2013, 02:01 PM
  #100
Trained
And now I read the rest of the thread, should've done that first. Haha!

Some of the issues that were addressed are definite manners issues, like cleaning up manure in the arena, wash stall, middle of the aisleways, "borrowing" equipment, etc. If MY customers were pooping all over I'd make them clean it up, even though cleaning the bathroom is part of the job description and if they were "borrowing" equipment I'd also get pretty PO'd. On other things I think that BOs/barn workers are being too touchy. Customers are hard to deal with, horse people are more "interesting" than the general run of human too, but it is what it is and is the price of doing business. On the plus side you get to work with horses. ;-p I sit on a computer all day long and juggle money, customers, and herd cats. Haha!
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