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Discuss How to save money owning and operating a boarding facility at the Horse Chat forum - Horse Forums.

My homework for the week is to come up with different ways to save money ...
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    Full Member winnerbuysdinner's Avatar
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    How to save money owning and operating a boarding facility

    My homework for the week is to come up with different ways to save money owning and operating a boarding facility. So I would really appreciate your help on this one
    ~ Have the owner pick up the grain
    ~Buy in bulk when sales are good (wormer, etc)
    ~Haul as much hay as possible to your barn, so you dont have to keep driving to get more.
    ~ Any extra needs for your horse(blanketing, turnout) would be additional costs to the owner

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    Quote Originally Posted by winnerbuysdinner View Post
    My homework for the week is to come up with different ways to save money owning and operating a boarding facility. So I would really appreciate your help on this one
    ~ Have the owner pick up the grain
    ~Buy in bulk when sales are good (wormer, etc)
    ~Haul as much hay as possible to your barn, so you dont have to keep driving to get more.
    ~ Any extra needs for your horse(blanketing, turnout) would be additional costs to the owner
    buy in bulk your grain is a huge money saver if you have enough horses. Have your own "properly" mixed sometimes works well.
    TURN OUT more over stalls saves bedding/shavings
    COVERED Round bale feeders if you offer hay in the paddocks/pastures
    Hay Saver nets seem to work but the hay needs to remain in a covered area in my opinion
    Instead of squares, feed off of a round bale. Fork it off.
    Lock down your hay price/amount with your hay dude/dudette
    Feed individual horses to individual needs. Offer a "flat rate" for up to x amount of grain. Additional bring your own or x amount per pound. (I calculate a 1200 lb horse's grain needs. I offer that for the standard rate, regardless if they need less).
    Nothing like seeing nature from the back of a horse!

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    I don't mind paying extra for things like blanketing, but if you charge extra for turning my horse out, I'm less likely to come to your barn. Makes me feel like you're out to make a buck rather than take care of the horses, who are better off outside. I might consider it if, after adding in the cost of daily turnout, your prices are still lower.


    The reality is that it depends on the market. If you're catering to a high end show clientele, you'll need different amenities than if you're running a barn where people put their retired horses.

    The tips BW gave are good. Others might include things like labor distribution to keep those costs down, anything purchased in bulk (as long as it's not going to waste), utilizing natural features such as light to keep down utilities, and facility management/maintenance (it costs less to replace the fence board than to repair the fence and cover vet bills/lost income when the herd escapes). Set up your pastures for minimal maintenance (put in proper drains in the first place so you're not constantly buying gravel/sand to put near the gate, spending fuel for tractors to scrape mud, etc.) While on the subject of farm equipment, a smaller four wheeler is more fuel efficient than driving your truck around the property, and if things can be done on foot/regular bike, all the better. Drag the arena regularly rather than waiting until it needs massive fixing.

    Charging extra for extras isn't a way to "save" money. It's a way to nickel and dime boarders (at least it often feels that way). Make it easy for someone who works, sometimes goes on family vacations, etc. to be as hassle-free as possible.
    "Please contact the Administrator if your date of birth has changed."

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    Kick the boarders out.

    Honestly, it's very difficult to make any sort of profit on a small scale boarding barn. There were several months last year when we paid out of our own pockets to feed other people's horses.. In this hay climate, it is just SO not worth it to provide boarding unless it's on a very grand scale. In which case it costs A LOT to start up and maintain.

    It's so disappointing to me. My dream as a kid was always to own and operate a boarding stable. Now that it's a reality I've found that it is just a lot of work and even more money. Not the dreamland I imagined.
    Quote Originally Posted by Baylily View Post
    I just want to say, it's natural to want to have babies with Roley. I would go a little lesbitronic (Snookie word) for Roley and make beautiful pinto babies with her.


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    Don't get so wrapped up in saving money that you forget that inconvenience and extra work costs you money on the bottom line.

    I would say a huge mistake business owners AND individual owners make is purchasing their hay by the bale and not by the ton. There are so many baler configurations and so much is up to the fella setting the tensioner that the amount of hay in each bale can fluctuate a lot. A good grower knows what his bales weigh, and you need to divide your hay cost out per hundred lbs or per ton rather than per bale.

    As well, don't cheap on the quality of grain and hay. Spending the money on good quality hay and feed stuffs pays off in how much or how little each animal requires to maintain good health. Short change yourself in hay quality, and you will find that you need to feed more of it and the horses still don't look just right. Purchase a low quality grain, and you will notice horses acting "off", having bouts of respiratory issues from dust, or just not looking as healthy as they would on a good quality product. You may also notice you need to feed more to keep mineral balances correct.

    Operating a profitable training/boarding facility means walking a fine line between offering enough to keep the stalls full and yet charging enough so that your time is rewarded. If every stall is full but you feel run down and broke at the end of the day, you are putting too much effort after too few dollars. If you charge too much or make your customers think you are the tax man, you will end up with too many empty stalls to turn a profit. Find out the right balance, streamline your operation so that you are efficiently able to handle the work load, and be wise in how you spend your operating money.

    That all sounds very nice, but at the end of the day, you need to figure out if all the hassle and headache of having boarders in your barn is worth it. We recently chopped off our boarding business even though it was profitable. There comes a point when you want to enjoy your own place and your own horses. Often, it is hard to balance that AND babysit a bunch of middle aged kindergarteners. There will always be drama at every level of the equine industry. Horsepeople are the most meddlesome, intrusive, and childish people you will ever be around. Everyone believes that if they spend $1 with you, then you owe them all kinds of extras. Your farm will become theirs, and they will have more rights than you do "because the customer is always right". Understand that you must separate friendship and business if it is to be a success. Your boarders will not always agree with you, and sometimes the best thing for them to do is to pack up their toys and go to another day care if they cannot find a way to make it work with you and the other boarders.

    I believe I have gotten off topic here. Sorry. I am down to one boarder now, and have not been this happy in years. My stuff is MY STUFF, I can turn my sheep out by the round pen, and I know the lights are turned off and the gates closed at night. It is quite frankly like having a breath of fresh air.

    Cheers
    M
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    Senior Member+ Roleysnewmom's Avatar
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    here here aladatrot! I'm jealous of your boarding dispersal.. *sigh* one day my barn will be MY barn and my tack room wont have everyone else's carp in it.
    Quote Originally Posted by Baylily View Post
    I just want to say, it's natural to want to have babies with Roley. I would go a little lesbitronic (Snookie word) for Roley and make beautiful pinto babies with her.


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    RNM, it is so awesome. I can leave my conditioner out on the sink by the washrack and actually come back an hour later to a bottle that still has conditioner in it! Also, I use a lot fewer bottles of $22 fly spray.

    I used to love having boarders on the 1st of every month, but by the 5th I would wish they were all gone. I must say that getting rid of the troublemakers made for more pleasant time for me spent in my own barn. The only issue I had was getting rid of the boarders I liked most of the time. One set was long term boarders who had been here 7 years. As it turned out, they took my advice on which facility to move to, and they ended up really liking it. That was a win/win.

    ETA: I need to add that we did keep one boarder - the world's most perfect boarder. The guy pays his bill on time every month, comes out once a day to feed, never complains no matter what, and lets me have carte blanche with his animal. If I want to change paddocks, change his stall, change his feed room - anything is fine. Recently spoke to him about temporarily cutting his mule's turnout in half for the sake of propagating some grass where our leveling and pond digging project wiped it out. No problem whatsoever. I know, I'm evil for hogging this guy to myself, but he really is the World's Best Boarder.
    Cheers
    M
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    Senior Member+ Callie's Mom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roleysnewmom View Post
    Kick the boarders out.

    Honestly, it's very difficult to make any sort of profit on a small scale boarding barn. There were several months last year when we paid out of our own pockets to feed other people's horses.. In this hay climate, it is just SO not worth it to provide boarding unless it's on a very grand scale. In which case it costs A LOT to start up and maintain.
    This isn't totally true... maybe different parts of the country it is more difficult than others because of lower boarding rates (but hay is also cheaper in those areas as well)

    We have 8 horses at our house - 3 of which are my own (1 of the 3 half leased out so we break even on her)... we charge between $350 - $425/mo and make profit even with the cost of our own horses included.
    We figure hay is $80-$100/horse/mo, stall cleaning is $40/horse/mo, manure removal is about $10/horse/mo... so on the highend it costs me $150/horse/mo which leaves $200-$275/mo in profit... or in our case - to pay into our mortgage.
    2008 RMHA Mare - "Polly"/ 2004 TWH Gelding - "Java"

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    Senior Member+ Roleysnewmom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aladatrot View Post
    RNM, it is so awesome. I can leave my conditioner out on the sink by the washrack and actually come back an hour later to a bottle that still has conditioner in it! Also, I use a lot fewer bottles of $22 fly spray.

    I used to love having boarders on the 1st of every month, but by the 5th I would wish they were all gone. I must say that getting rid of the troublemakers made for more pleasant time for me spent in my own barn. The only issue I had was getting rid of the boarders I liked most of the time. One set was long term boarders who had been here 7 years. As it turned out, they took my advice on which facility to move to, and they ended up really liking it. That was a win/win.

    ETA: I need to add that we did keep one boarder - the world's most perfect boarder. The guy pays his bill on time every month, comes out once a day to feed, never complains no matter what, and lets me have carte blanche with his animal. If I want to change paddocks, change his stall, change his feed room - anything is fine. Recently spoke to him about temporarily cutting his mule's turnout in half for the sake of propagating some grass where our leveling and pond digging project wiped it out. No problem whatsoever. I know, I'm evil for hogging this guy to myself, but he really is the World's Best Boarder.
    Cheers
    M
    One of mine is great and I would probably hold onto her. She has her board paid direct deposit into my bank account at midnight of the first of the month. She also lets me do whatever I want with her horse and I love that her horse gets along with mine as well.. She doesn't come out and ride much, but at the end of the day someone's paying for my horses to have a good companion that wont beat them up. A couple of my other boarders though.. UGH. One pays me in $20 increments, her horse is the devil on earth, and she works at a scrap yard so is constantly bringing over garbage to our place that she thinks we may be able to use. I can't think of the last time she brought over something actually useful for us. Since it's always metal scrap we just take it BACK to the scrap yard and get the money for it. Not even worth the hassle. But she's been with me for years and I know she'd never be able to board her idiot horse anywhere else. So I would feel so guilty if I ever booted her. Her one plus side; she doesn't work so whenever my bf and I need to get away for a vacation she will feed and clean for free. If she ever paid her board on time I'd almost consider paying her to do it. But both she and we know that will never happen. So free babysitting is OURS.
    Quote Originally Posted by Baylily View Post
    I just want to say, it's natural to want to have babies with Roley. I would go a little lesbitronic (Snookie word) for Roley and make beautiful pinto babies with her.


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    350-425, what facilities do you have?

    I pay 195 per horse right now for pasture board. No stall, no run. I have a small indoor "round pen" as I call it and a small outdoor arena. around 75 acres to ride on as well.

    Most stalls range 275-375 here. The higher end have indoor riding arenas usually.
    I think one up the road is 425-650 with x amount of time wiht the trainer.
    Nothing like seeing nature from the back of a horse!

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