Sorry, it was so long I had to add on:
Now start the BUSINESS EXPENSE. What expenses, you say! First is the transportation to your location. A van or shoeing truck, new, costs $25,000.00. Driving 200 miles per day = 46,960 miles per year. If it lasts about three years = $8,333.33 per year in replacement cost of gas, tires, maintenance, etc. I will use the average payment to a person using their own car for an employer. This is now 32 cents per mile, or $15,027.20 per year, or $12.80 per horse. Total cost per horse = $19.80. Also keep in mind that any service person coming to your home or office charges a trip charge, such as Sears & Roebuck, local phone companies, plumbers, office machine repair and veterinarians etc. The farrier is the only one who finds it hard to convince an owner that it costs money to come to their place to shoe or trim a horse. Would you the owner, be willing to take the time to catch, load, hook on to your trailer, drive to the farrier? You could add as much as a day 1/2 day of your labor to the labor of your farrier. Is your time worth anything?
Continuing education, this person will attend the farrier's conventions and workshops. Going to a couple of seminars within the year, they will need to figure in travel expense and cost of being away from the business, for a total of 10 days throughout the year, $65,000.00 = $5.53 per horse.
INSURANCE??? Remember a full time professional will carry insurance: Health Insurance at $3,000.00 per year, Care, Custody & Control, $12,000.00, ($100,000.00 per horse) Liability, $25,000.00 per year, ($300,000.00 policy), Truck, $3000.00 per year, Comprehensive on equipment, $1500 per year, Workman's Compensation, $1200 = $10.56 per horse.
EMPLOYEES, to do what? Many, many things: scheduling, bookkeeping, answer the phone, designing and sending newsletters, working in the field with horses, ordering shoes and supplies, answering mail, working with owners understanding what the farrier is doing. At $20,000.00 per year plus insurance, vacation, taxes, Worker's Compensation = $26,000.00 per year = $22 per horse. Also remember that even if a farrier doesn't hire a person to do this work, he will do it himself or hire someone outside the business, such as a C.P.A. (my C.P.A. charges $120.00 per hour, my attorney charges $195.00 per hour) or H & R Block, temporary office help, etc. Remember, time is money; whether under a horse or in an office, he or she is still working, because of your horse. A lot of farriers forget to figure this part of the business as labor.
OFFICE EXPENSES, in home of $2600.00, phone (incoming and outgoing lines, 800 number) = $6,000.00 per year. Replacement of office equipment (ink cartridges, paper, computer parts, etc.), and repair $1500 per year = $8.60 per horse.
ADVERTISING & MARKETING, $5,000 per year, (business cards, newspaper ads, flyers, postage, reminder cards, horse flairs, etc.) per year = $4.25 per horse.
REPLACING LOST, DAMAGED AND USED EQUIPMENT, (forge, gas tanks, hand tools, apron, rasp, shoeing knife, etc.), $200 per month = $2.74 per horse. How many times has your shoer dropped or left something behind?
TRADE PUBLICATIONS, subscriptions (Wisconsin Horseman, Farrier Journal, Hoof & Lameness, Michael Plumb's Horse Journal, Equus, Western Horsemen etc.) $300 per year = .25 per horse.
MEMBERSHIP in trade association, WBFA, AFA, $300 per year = .25 per horse.
Cost of keg shoes and nails $6.75 per horse. Specialty and therapeutic shoes, hot forging all add additional costs.
The total cost of shoeing your one horse is $127.88. If your farrier is just trimming horses, you would deduct the cost of shoes which would leave you at $121.13, divided by three horses, $40.37 per horse. A person can usually trim three horses at the same time needed to shoe one horse.
IF THIS IS A TRUE BUSINESS we have only talked about expenses and not about the business of making a profit. Paying a salary to owner and any employees is not making a profit for the business. Any business owner wants to make a profit on the money they have out into the business. A fair profit is 13% on investment. Add another $16.24 on the cost of shoeing or a total of $144.50 to shoe and $45.61 to trim a horse.
THE LAST ITEM TO ADD IS SALES TAX, yes some states such as Wisconsin charges sales tax. Often it adds another five percent to 6 percent to the cost of shoeing. Depending in what county you live in. In this case we will use the five and one-half percent or $7.94 to the cost of shoeing. Making it $152.44 per horse. Trims, again using the five and one-half percent making it $2.25 to the cost of trimming total $47.88 to trim.
One thing you will need to remember, other items do run the cost of shoeing and trimming up. If you are the one, two, three horse owners, or out in the country and you cannot put a group of horses together for the farrier to spend the day, travel expenses increase. If you are a long way out, he has a lot of travel time and possible overnight expense. Or if your horse has a problem about standing quietly for the farrier and it takes longer to shoe or trim, he cannot complete as much work; time is money to your farrier. As a rural owner you should expect to pay a higher rate than at a barn or an area that has a lot of horses in it, just as you should if you have hard to handle animals.
Also, think about the quality of the farrier's work. How much work experience and further education does the person have? Does he do a lot of therapuetic work? Is he in demand? Is he working after hours or on weekends and holidays? The question I ask is do you, the horse owner, receive overtime, night bonus, holiday pay? Remember that most full-time farriers start early in the morning and are expected to work when you get home from your job in the evening. Some will work 20 hour days. Horse shoeing is not a hobby for them, it is a full-time profession. They really care about your horse and what is best for that horse. A lot of full time farriers will work a double shift because they cannot expect to receive the true cost of shoeing or trimming your horse. Now other things can bring the cost down. For example, is he part-time not running a true business, cutting corners on expenses, or is there another full-time job covering some expenses, such as personal insurance, it is the family van or truck, instead of company equipment? Is he young and living at home with parents? Is he only staying within a few miles of the home? Do you bring the horse to them? Does he only do one or two horses a week for extra money, by that keeping the cost down?
Remember that a full-time professional farrier will see a lot more problems and triple the number of feet that a part-time farrier will see. The proper insurance will be in force to protect both the owner the farrier. And he will definitely have a better understanding of the equine.
Now you know why a lot of farriers and horse shoers go and come; very few can afford to stay in the business. The full-timer soon learns that he can go to work as a truck driver and make $35,000.00 per year, or a brick layer at $35.00 per hour plus benefits. Plus have evenings, holidays and weekends off.
Never getting kicked, bitten of pawed are added benefits. Your full-time professional farrier also becomes an extra set of eyes. He will look at your horse in an independent objective way, giving you insight as to what is happening with the entire animal. He may spot problems that you have not seen. By seeing the horse regularly, he may identify changes taking place that you should contact a veterinarian about. As a owner, this input is invaluable.
So the next time you shop for a shoer because yours is no longer in business, think about why. He has probably gotten tired from working double shifts or found a better job. Those that stay in are usually there for the love of the horse.