Originally Posted by Sunnybrooke
Well, leonalee, I have looked online, in the paper, in the phone book, if they are commercial stables, I havent found them, and neither have others who are bailing from their barns for lack of care. Ther are several around me going out of business, I have stopped at those, they were run down and pretty well used up. Another, the b/o is in a nursing home, her b/m has left the barn, so there are just boarders there...maybe 100 miles is stretching it, but I am pretty sure going to Jackson or Lansing is a bit too far for people. Flint would be stretching it, the barns in Saginaw I have checked into except one, who is priced way too high, and her teenagers run it into the ground...and it brand new. Other than Freelands barn, I can't think of any. You could give me a hint where you found them listed...
I know of a number of smaller boarding operations in Central Indiana that try to fly below the radar of planning and zoning and other restrictions and just depend on word of mouth instead of running any ads. A lot of the old traditional advertising is also just about cost prohibitive these days. Craigslist has made many of them useless. The classified ads in our local paper is just one good example. Nobody runs ads there any more and nobody looks for ads there any more. Why would they? Craigslist works great and is free. The local paper is higher than blazes and no longer works.
Many locally do not put up any kind of a sign except maybe their farm name. Nothing that says "boarding". We are doing pasture rental. You can read about what we are doing in message #141 in the thread called "How much do you pay for board?"
I should mention that we are both retired and draw SS and have other rental income sources as well so we do not need as much money as many folks would. We are pretty frugal and have no debt, not even short term. Any mortgages were paid off years ago, no car payments, truck payments etc.
I have no interest in showing horses or catering to the show set. Not that they are not fine folks, we just don't have that interest in common. The folks we are getting are the fun horse/trail riding set. I would however be more than willing to work with the 4-H kids if I can. The folks I am getting are also the ones that don't mind coming out and feeding twice a day even in bad weather. We have made an effort to make them feel welcome at any time that fits their schedule. I have had extra security lighting installed and one fellow who works until 9 PM in Indy stops and feeds at about 10 PM every night except on days off. Another lady who works in an office just about a mile up the road stops and feeds at about 6 AM wearing high heels.
That may change this winter.
You are getting a lot of good advice from this group. I would though offer a few additional thoughts. There has been mention of barns going out of business... It is easy to make some "extra" money from such things. It is another matter entirely to make a "living" from it. That is especially true if both husband and wife are working full time in the barn and do not have outside income.
In my case I have the land and if cash rented to a grain farmer I can get about $150 to $175 an acre per year (gross). With our horse pasture renting it averages about $80 per acre (one horse) per month. That is about $1,000 per acre per year. I have to pay the property taxes regardless. I have to carry good insurance regardless. Once the whole thing is sat up the labor involved will drop to regular maintenance most of which I already have to do.
There are many ways to "go out of business"... I will not make a big list. I will mention one that I have seen the most frequently over many years. That is to simply spend your way out of business. I know of one barn in particular ( very nice folks) that is not especially well kept up or re-invested in enough yet the BO spends a lot of time and money showing. Not just locally but sometimes a thousand miles away. There is maybe close to $200,000 worth of trucks and trailers sitting in the drive... If that is what they want to do that is fine but the return from those vehicles is about nil as far as the business is concerned. Everybody has to set their own priorities and you have to be able to be honest with yourself as to what is truly a want and what is a need. Likewise what will help business and what is maybe a more than a practical level of ego stroking.
You usually do not want to drive an old junky piece of crap like I do (I get away with it because I am a colorful old maverick
) but neither do you usually need the very best of everything. Something that looks nice and runs well is really good enough and put that saved money back in the business where it can do more good like in making room for more paying customers to grow the business. If you are too flashy they will think you are making too much money from them. There is a huge new bank in a nearby town that is actually extremely palatial. Quite huge and grand. Everybody I talk to wonders where all of that money came from. Guess where... They will not get any of mine. My bank in in a nice concrete block building.
I expect them to make money from me but not a "killing".
The hardest part will likely be deciding on your target market. Keep in mind that you will need to be seeing these folks over and over. Pick a target group that fits your likes and it will make everything else easier.
Best of luck.
BTW, did I remember to say "go for it".