Important Aspects of Opening your own Horse Boarding Facility
Before you decide to turn your barn into a place to board horses and start making a living off of it, there are a few things you should know, and consider first. As with any new business endeavor, a business plan should be devised. Knowing the approximate expenses of a horse boarding is important so you can set boarding fees that will cover these expenses.
The first question you need to focus on is what about your facility and horse boarding business would want to make someone be willing to pay you and keep their horse at your farm? You need understand the marketing of a boarding stable and the availability and market in your particular area. Figure out what type of market will be available in your desired location for your horse boarding facility. Is it in a suburban area constantly being developed, taking over the land used by horse owners to maintain horses on their own property? If so, then you may be very lucky as you will be providing a service in high demand.
Another thing that you'll need to consider when opening a horse boarding facility is how you're going to make money in the off seasons. Having a riding instructor on your staff is one good way to bring in business, even in the off season.
If you are in a rural area, having an instructor that is versatile in riding styles is also usually wise. Having a Dressage instructor will often times bring in riders who really want to learn, leading to dedicated riders who may want stick with one instructor for many years.
Also consider having a trainer on staff. They are often in need of a good facility to start training young horses, or to finish their training with a horse before entering them into the show ring. The peak in business for trainers is many times in the late winter and early spring, so keep this in mind as to not cause conflict with your boarding customers who want to keep their horses at your boarding facility throughout the bad weather.
When contemplating adding a trainer or instructor to your staff, you need to consider both the good and the bad aspects of doing so.
As owner of your horse boarding facility, you'll want to make sure that you offer perks to your customers that will give them incentives to choose you over another boarding facility. Having added staff may be a good way, or offering monetary breaks in costs for boarding may be another. Any perks you offer should however be offered only as incentives, and not just as favors to people; you're running a business and still need to make profit.
Besides all this, there are the obvious issues when it comes to boarding horses. These include the care and safety of the horses as well as the owners and staff, adequate feeding of the horses to keep them in optimal health, and adequate space for exercise and freedom for the horses you are boarding. You should be sure to provide safe fencing and that you place horses in small groups that get along well with each other. Obviously fresh water is a must, and your boarding facility should be open to owners to come and ride their horses or care for them as you agree upon prior to taking in their horse.
There are so many things to think about when it comes to running a horse boarding facility that sometimes, it may seem like too much. There's veterinary care, arena usage, routine health care and maintenance, farrier usage, and so on.
Posting rules and making sure all customers sign and agree to your boarding contract will help in alleviating some of the problems that may arise.
Be sure to take the time to consider all possible conflicts or scenarios, consulting with a lawyer who is knowledgeable in the equine laws of your state, or an equine professional, to help you create the most beneficial and forth-coming contract.
The number of conflicts that may arise in any type of business can be endless, and there is no exception for the horse boarding business. Every state has their own laws regarding the liability of the owner and if you don't know about these laws, you may wind up in a huge mess. Be sure that everything you put into your contract is legal in your state, and that you aren't breaking any laws.
Some boarders may wish to put a clause in their contract that states that there is a 3% fee on each day that a person is late with their boarding fee. However, not all states allow such a clause, and by putting one in your contract, you may be breaking the law. Whatever the case may be, be sure everything in your contract is legal, and that your liability is covered and understood by all clients.
It is possible to make a great living from opening a horse boarding facility, but a lot of time and consideration needs to be put into your business plan before jumping in head first. Consider all the angles covered in this article before making any decisions, and be sure to consult with a legal professional before you accept any horses or signed contracts in an effort to protect yourself, and your business investment.