Gently approaching "Board Increase"... Ideas? - Page 3 - The Horse Forum
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post #21 of 33 Old 10-22-2012, 06:03 PM
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: OK
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I don't know about anyone else but I only pay $250 for a truckload of shavings because I buy in bulk. I order 2 truckloads at a time and it should last from 9-12 months depending on how much ugly weather we get winter and spring. And I bed DEEP. Cutting the bedding wouldn't save me that much, but might help someone else. Now, not having to pick, that would be a time saver, if I'm full and everyone has to be stalled it's a 2 hr job.

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post #22 of 33 Old 10-22-2012, 11:24 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2011
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Well - this evening, after my spouse begrudgingly opened a horrendous looking round bale to "sort through", we had to pile it all back up and tie it to send back to our hay guy (who has cows - one of his hands accidentally delivered a cow bale to us). We dug into our first $5.00 bale of hay...

One of our boarders was chit chatting as we were moving (and groaning about) the hay, and he says "Well, people are just going to have to understand that if they want their horse to actually have quality hay and consistency, they are going to have to pay for it at a higher rate for a while. And if they want substandard quality then they are just going to have to go elsewhere. People will just have to deal with it."

YAYYYY! So glad people DO recognize this... takes a bit of a weight off of our shoulders! The person who said this is one of the people we were most concerned about not being able to afford it if we did have to increase price.

Also - the boarder was able to see that there is no difference between our $4.00 bales and our $5.00 bales...
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post #23 of 33 Old 10-22-2012, 11:42 PM
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: california
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Get a good hold harmless agreement. be sure to have liability insurance paid up, offer turn out, put it in a boarding agreement, that turn out can have many hazards, if horse is kicked,bitten,run through a fence etc etc you are not liable for Vet bills or death of the horse. You will need to find the wording for your state. If someone cannot afford the extra fee, you will need show them exactly how you want the pens cleaned etc. You will need to make an agreement for how many pens per month, and for how long 6 months, one year etc..
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post #24 of 33 Old 10-23-2012, 12:13 AM
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: North Dakota
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The rate at my barn just went up $30/month starting in November. My BOs just posted a sign on the bulletin board in the office and left it at that. I work there at least 4 days a week to work off my board and only one person made any concerned comment to me about it because she has 2 horses, though she had just brought 4 brand new winter blankets for them, so I'm not sure why it was a sudden concern.

Anyway, I digress. Around the time that the notice was posted, I was talking to my BO about how much grain she would need to pick up one day and said I would just figure out how much we went through a day. 30 horses total. 7 get feeds provided by their owner and 23 get grain we provide. 90lbs. 90lbs of grain a day, we go through. The price of it doubled a couple months ago. At some point, my little note adding it up was posted by that board increase note along with a newspaper clipping a boarder put up about the hay price increase.

If someone does raise concern about it, I would explain the costs of horse ownership has gone up considerably and so have your operating costs.
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post #25 of 33 Old 10-24-2012, 01:14 AM
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: North Texas
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I've upped my board once a year for the last 4 years because we've grown so much and added so many things. I've also posted a similar thread and it was quite the debate. Feel free to look it up but I'll post what worked for me below. Most of my boarders are pretty frugal so I understand the stress of breaking the news.

I simply tell them why and like the others have suggested simply make yourself available for questions.

What I wanted to add was a few ways you and your boarders can save money. When I needed to up board $50 dollars per person to cover the costs and make a profit.. I was able to cut cost elsewhere and not have to raise board as much.

- If you don't already, figure out how much the average horse eats per day and charge more horses that eat more than average.

- Cut labor costs by cleaning stalls 6 days a week instead of 7 with the option of staying out on the 7th day. This was a huge debate topic in the last thread but it has really worked out well and all of the stall boarders love it.

- Horses who eat 4lbs or less get fed once a day to save on labor. Boarders still have the option to feed twice but pay a little extra for it. Out of 24 horses (We have 30 total) that get less than 4lbs, only 1 still wanted it split between two feedings and it saved an hour of labor every day for a total of $250-$300 a month savings.

- Slow feeder hay nets (which are a pain) do make the hay last almost twice as long and saves a bunch on waste.

-Feed coupons. When purina did monthly coupons, my boarders and myself signed up with every email we had and then some so that we could print coupons. My boarders gave me the coupons and then I took that amount off board and then I'd use them to go buy feed. One boarder saved $100 on board one month with her coupons. Even though we have switched to a similar, cheaper local feed the idea is still an option. If they bring me coupons I can use, I will take it off their board in a heart beat.

- Raise lesson fees by $5.

- Lesson horse discounts. I give some boarders a discount on board per lesson their horse is used in. I have 5 boarders who participate and love it.

Just ideas.. they may not work for you but you never know!

~ Starline Stables ~
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post #26 of 33 Old 10-24-2012, 07:38 PM
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Portland, OR
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Board at my barn went up in July- same situation where the BO was paying more each month for feed, hay, labor, etc. than was coming in.

She buys all the hay for the year in one go (it's quite impressive to see a year's worth of hay for 76 horses being brought in and stacked!) so she offered a small discount for those who were willing to pay for their 'share' of hay upfront. I ended up dropping to partial care (same services, but with the boarder providing her own hay & grain and I was providing my own grain anyway) and 'buying in' to the barn hay. Unfortunately, they feed by the flake and some of those flakes are TINY. I don't think my horse is getting the 20 lbs/day average that I paid for, so next year I will probably buy my own hay as well.

Regardless, there were definitely people who left because of the board increase, but from what I have heard, most of those who left were already behind in board. The barn was completely full last December, and probably has 20 empty stalls now (not entirely from boarders leaving... there were also a number of very old ex-school horses who passed away, and 2 who died of colic)

I do get a discount on my board for feeding once a week- not because I needed a discount, but because the barn needed a new feeder for Saturday nights and they'd rather pay someone they know than bring in someone from outside. If you're currently paying for outside labor to clean stalls, feed, etc. then maybe you can replace that labor with boarders who don't mind do a little extra labor for a discount.
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post #27 of 33 Old 10-26-2012, 01:59 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: SE TN
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I'd just blame the weather and Obama, not necessarily in that order....while we can't do much about the weather we can do something about Obama.

I mean, what ISN'T going up in price?
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For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
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post #28 of 33 Old 10-27-2012, 10:48 AM
Join Date: Jan 2012
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I am not rich by any reach of the imagination, but I am willing to pay for quality care. A barn I used to board at raised their board $25 a month (and I have two), and BO was afraid to tell people but I said that honestly, the extra $50 was worth peace of mind. Unfortunately, some time after that, the barn worker quit and they never had anyone in as good, and all the "extras" he did for the horses went away, and it was no longer worth the value. Yes, the same hay and shavings and grain, but not that extra care. I left. Actually, it wasn't just about value, even if they dropped the price $100 at that moment, the care was no longer what I wanted.

Being a good barn and caring owner for both the horses and the boarders (and I can tell you are, by this post!) goes a lot farther with most people. Not just the people with $ at their disposal, but with horse lovers, and that's who you want there!
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post #29 of 33 Old 10-27-2012, 01:18 PM
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Minnesota
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What I hate about getting board increases is when I get a list of what everything costs. For me it makes me feel like I should feel guilty with what I'm paying. If you want to increase the board because of hay cost, lighting cost, heat costs, or you just need more money for your services, do it. If someone questions it then explain why. I'm a boarder, if I have an issue with the money I will talk to the BM myself, everything is going up and honestly I don't want to have a list of your expenses.

You guys sound like you have an awesome place and some good boarders, you can't help but be friends with the people you see every day. I'm sure they will understand, I personally just don't like getting a list of someone else's problems. If you need to increase board, you have to do it. Good luck!
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post #30 of 33 Old 10-27-2012, 02:43 PM
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Georgetown CA
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Just raise the prices as you need to and move on with your life. Raising prices once in 4 years is reasonable and be sure, as someone else said, you raise them enough so you don't have to do it again for a while. As a boarder, I understand the need to raise prices, but if someone is raising them every year, I get annoyed. Just raise the prices and let the chips fall where they may. There will be initial backlash, but things will settle down eventually.

At my barn last march, they raised the prices by $25 a month. I never heard such whining. People that I know who are, for lack of a better word, loaded with money, moved their horses. Give me a friggin break. Horses are expensive and a luxury. Period. If people haven't figured that out by now, they never will. Even though you may lose a few boarders, you may gain even better ones. If you run a good facility and offer good amenities, people will pay to be there. Keep your chin up
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