Boarding as a home business?
I'm considering boarding horses as a business. I have always taken care of my own so I have no idea what's expected by possible clients. It seems the going rate for this area is about $300 a month. What is provided by the boarder? What facilities are expected? What horse care is expected?
This is a project I plan to work at over the next year. I'm going to see what seminars I can attend at MSU on horse care and diet. I have about 300 acres of hayfields and timber with lots of great places to ride. I'm trying to start a business plan for a great place for both horses and riders. Your help would be greatly appreciated.
At $300.00 a month in MS, I would expect nothing should be provided by the boarder. All horse care to be done by BO and barn staff, and feed/hay included in the price.
I'd want at the very least an outdoor arena with lights for night riding. An indoor with lights is great, but not always feasible on a budget. Plenty of places to park, and maybe an area reserved for trailers so owners don't have to take them home. I'd also want a wash rack, airy, open stalls, and plenty of cross ties available for tacking and grooming.
People don't go into boarding to make money, they do it because they like horses. If you try to turn a profit by boarding alone, you're going to find out otherwise.
Most boarding places offer lessons or have an on-site trainer, because that's where they make the majority of their money.
It is very, very hard to make money strictly on boarding. Most successful boarding barns have a "draw" - indoor ring, name trainer or suburban location.
If you don't have any existing structures, and will need to amortize the cost of a barn or a ring as part of your business plan, it's even harder.
And you don't want to compete on price, trust me. That way lies ruin, because there are back yard hobbyists who board at cost or less in order to have company or a riding buddy.
You have one tremendous advantage - by growing and providing your own hay, you can control a signifigant cost. But business rules still apply - if you sell hay to your horse business at cost, that's potential profit gone from the hay business. If you can also secure a cheap, steady supply of bedding, you MIGHT be able to compete on price and still make money.
Anytime you can keep your labor cost under 50% of your total cost you're doing well. Barn help that under-works or over-reports their hours can ruin you quickly, as can help that's hard on the equipment, spills the supplements or leaves stuff out in the rain.
Also be aware that 300 acres isn't large enough for most people to consider trail ridable. Nice to be able to hack outside the ring, but if you're riding the outside of planted fields, you can ride all of 300 acres in about 30 minutes or less.
If you're looking for a horse related business to run on the property, consider hosting small schooling type horse shows or horse trials. Less initial investment and less labor for a better return.
I expected feed cost diddo on arena. Barrels seem to be big here an I have a good area for that as well. There is also a great horse trail within 15 minutes. I figure my biggest draw would be location. I've been asked by a lot of folks if I'd consider it because they are an hour or more from there horses. I'm not dead set at the $300 mark... I'd want the service to be on par with the cost. I can ride my entire property in about an hour. I generally make kind of a figure 8 in opposite directions giving me a hour to two an a half hour ride in my saddle breds gate. Depending on what I'm doing. Most rides are at a purpose... Checking hay, scouting game, or finding cedars for post. I also spend a lot of time training him so I know I stretch it more than most would. Most places I've seen close don't appear to offer near the acreage. But like I said I don't board... My reason for the idea is the love of horses. Aside from the day job it's ll I really do...
Since you probably have box stalls, you would need to supply the bedding,straw or shavings.
i would not pay for supplemental feed (grain bran etc ) but I would feed it for someone once or twice a day.
I boarded horses before, it is a lot of work but with that being said if you love doing it why not try to build on that.
My sister boards her horse for 110 a month that does not include a stall, but he does have a barn for the horses as a run in. It includes hay. He has a tack room, wash area. I think she says he has about a 100 acres but he also has access for his boarders on his neighbors property of about another 100 acres that they can trail ride on. The place also is on a country like road which I would trail ride on anyday. I think if you stall its between 25 to 50 dollars more. My sister loves it there. There are no trainers but he has a listing with vets, farriers and I think trainers. He has a round pen and a squared off area nice and flat for people to practice in as well.
The one thing above all that I found is the downfall of boarding is not having a contract with very specific writing about what is expected of you owner and them as the boarder. Also if you become to friendly with the boarders and they begin to look on you as their friend they almost always need at least once or twice a lenient attitude about something, when you have a few boarders that can start to add up.
Good luck. I hope it works out for you. ;-)
Don't forget the insurance. There's no way I would keep someones horses on my property without covering my hinney from litigious people these days.
And especially if it were a "friends" horse...worst way to ruin a friendship if something were to happen to their horse. :-(
I plan to visit both a lawyer and insurance agency for a good contract an hinny coverage. I have lots of work to do.... Fencing, stalls, an dozer work.
Look into a wood chipping company, you may be able to get a great deal on buying bulk shavings. Find a good hay supplier and get a contract with them also.
Rule #1 Boarders are not your friends. This is a business. Run it as such.
Now if you don't mind getting run over, make friends. But just know if those friends find a cheaper more convenient place, you won't see much if anything of them afterwards.
Rule #2 do a cost analysis then add 20% to cover drought and blight on hay crops. Hay ALWAYS goes up when it's dry. Grain prices too. Anything you don't spend, rebank or buy extra hay when the prices are right. Consider buying bulk amounts when you can get it on a deal.
Rule#3 Fences can make or break your business. If you don't have awesome fencing, and maintain it then your clients will find elsewhere to go. No one wants to pay vet bills because of broken metal gates, downed wire, and the other 2003 things that can go wrong because of crappy fencing.
Rule #4 Insurance, insurance, and then some more insurance. Natural disaster insurance, fire, flood, liability, workers comp. it all adds up, but a lot of the premiums can be deducted from your taxes.
Rule #5 Power bills can kick your profits in the ass rather quickly. If you are going to light up everything (gotta be done) let your boarders know if there is a marked increase in rates, then it will be reflected on the board bill. This will help you by boarders turning off tack room, wash rack, and arena lights. Post signs about turning off lights when not in use. Consider shatterproof sky lights in the barns and arena for taking advantage of natural sun light. You could also consider using solar power since barn roofs are the perfect place for those huge panels to hide ;)
Rule #6 Cost of living increases. It happens. You set prices and 3 years down the road you are wondering where did the original profit go??? Check costs, then notify boarders of increases. Or make those terms clear in the original board agreements. Price your board accordingly.
Rule #7 Expect some turn over. Especially after price increases. It happens, and you need to bank against those times.
These are just some I thought of off hand, holler if you want more ideas LOL
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