Here are Some Tips on How You Can Start a Horse Boarding Business
Boarding horses can be extremely satisfying career. Do you want to start a horse boarding business? Then let me ask you a few questions. Do you love horses? Is caring for animals something that satisfies you? Do you have a farm or stable?
If you answered yes to any of those questions listed above than boarding horses may be a great career for you!
Your love of horses is definitely something you can work with. You should also have an abundance of experience, or work with someone who does.
There is some criteria you should meet when starting a horse boarding business, but mostly you just need the drive and desire.
Horse owners need to board their horses for a variety of reasons. They may be going out of town for a little while and need someone to care for their horses. They could be leaving for vacation, business, or various other reasons.
It’s possible that they just purchased the horse and have nowhere to house the horse. They may just need a comfortable and suitable home for it. Another reason could be that they want their horse to socialize with other animals. Perhaps the horse is only staying for a short period of time, just long enough to introduce it to other horses.
Whatever the reason may be a great boarder is a horse owner’s hero.
If you board horses and do a great job you could be beloved by so many, and that doesn’t even include the horses themselves.
You could provide so many benefits to a horse owner, but most importantly you should provide them with peace of mind.
When they leave their horse with you, they want to know that the animal they love is being taken care of.
Check out this sneak peek! It will provide you with a closer look at what it’s like to manage a horse boarding facility.
CHOOSING A SITE TO BOARD YOUR HORSES
If you’ve decided to start your own horse boarding business, you are probably full of questions.
Questions like how much space you will need and how you can make the horses comfortable will plague your thoughts.
You need to choose a site to board the horses, but you are plagued with these questions.
To find the answers to your questions you will need to consider so many things.
Some of which are as follows.
1. The Size of the Horse You Will Board
The size of the horses you will possibly board should be a huge consideration.
The horse’s size will determine how big the stalls will need to be, which will affect how many horses you can board. Your stable or barn only has so much space, and larger horses will need more space.
If you already have the stable or barn you plan on using, take a look at the stalls. The size of your barn, or stable, stalls will determine how large of a horse you can board.
2. Space Necessary for Comfort
This consideration goes hand in hand with the first. You’ll need to determine how much space each horse will need for comfort.
The stalls should have room for feeding space, bathroom space, and restroom space. The horse should be able to find a clean space for eating and resting.
The horse should be able to comfortably walk around their stall. They shouldn’t be stuck standing still until someone can let them out to pasture.
You may also need space in their stalls to clean the horse, unless you have a separate area for that.
3. Room for the Horses to Exercise and Graze
Consider the size of your field. It should be fenced in and should provide plenty of room for your boarded horses to exercise and graze. How many acres of fields do you have?
The amount of field space you have will also help you decide what size horse you could board and how many you can board at one time.
The horses should have plenty of room to run and plenty of grass to graze on.
4. Allow for Hygiene and Cleaning
When you are boarding multiple horses, you may need to hire a helper or two.
Each of those horses will need bathed and that can take a lot of your time. If you are the one spending time with all of the horse you board, you will need to limit the number.
You may want to have a separate area set up for the horse to be washed. You will definitely want to have a specified place for the soiled hay.
Hiring a helper or two may increase the number of horses you can take care of. Remember that you will need to bathe each horse, feed each horse, comb each horse, muck each stall, and play with each horse.
You only have so much time on your hands.
When you are choosing the site of your new business, take your time. It’s a big decision and ultimately the location you choose will outline the limits of your horse boarding business.
You need to choose a site that will allow you to expand your business if you choose to, but you also need a site that is affordable.
The site should be able to meet the four criteria above, but also have space for riding trails and pasture gates.
As a horse boarder you will need to meet the needs of the horses you board, but you will also need to be able to handle the space you utilize.
After purchasing a site, you will need to look into the regulations and laws that are in place.
The area your site is in may be subject to different regulations depending on the country, state, or county. You need to ensure that your business follows all laws and regulations.
STAFF AND SERVICES
You have full control over the services you offer.
You will need to decide which services you plan to provide.
Will your horse boarding business provide the horse’s daily care?
Such as, brushing, bathing and stall cleaning.
Do you plan to house the horses in a barn or stable?
Meaning, Will the horses have their own stall? Will you offer horseback riding or riding lessons?
You will need to determine what services you will offer horse owners.
The majority of horse boarding business have a variation of the following five options.
You can use all of these options together, or just use one or two.
You can even personalize each option as you see fit. Just make sure that the clients are aware of the options and what they entail.
These five options normally entail.
1. Full-Service Boarding
Typically, full-service boarding includes a stall for the boarded horse.
With this option, the boarder normally provides all of the horse’s daily care.
That means you would be responsible for cleaning the horse and the stall. You would be responsible to take the horse out to exercise.
2. Partial Boarding
Partial is normally outlined by the horse boarder.
You will provide a stall for the boarded horse, but you won’t provide all of the daily care. You may do some of it for the owner, but they will be primarily responsible for meeting their own horse’s needs.
3. Pasture Boarding
When a horse is pasture boarded, it means that the horse stays in a field or pasture. You should provide some type of shelter for the horses though.
The owner may be responsible in taking care of the horses, it just depends on what you decide to do.
4. Horseback Riding
Often times boarding businesses also offer horseback riding. The business typically has a riding trail or two, sometimes more.
These trails are perfect for horseback riding sessions.
5. Riding Lessons
Riding lessons are often provided by boarding facilities as well. You may need to hire a trainer to provide these lessons. Riding lessons can even be provided for the horse boarders.
Depending on which type of service you choose to offer and how many horses you are offering it to, you will have different staffing needs.
If you plan on running a successful horse boarding operation you may want to consider hiring a barn manager.
They have a crucial role in your business.
The barn manager should be a likable person with a great reputation, as they will be the face of your business.
Your reputation will play a huge role in the advertising of your business, so only hire employees with good reputations and clean records.
Another staffing need would be a groom, or grooms.
The number of grooms you hire should be dependent on how many horses you are boarding with full service. You need to ensure each horse is offered plenty of personal care time.
Riders are another potential staffing need. The horses will need exercise, so riders are great to have if you offer full-service boarding. The larger your operation, the more staff you will need.
Consider every aspect of the business. You will need countless staff members. Possibly a trainer, and someone to take care of the land. You may need a handyman even.
Who will fix the fences, and stall doors? These are all things you will need to consider.
Watch this video to hear about the differences between full horse boarding and partial horse boarding. It will give you a clear idea about the differences:
GETTING YOUR NAME OUT THERE
I fully believe that the best thing you can do is offer exceptional service.
You should offer exceptional service for so many reasons, not just because it is the right thing to do.
When you are good at what you do, clients come back to you, they talk about you, and spread the word of your operation.
Along with exceptional service, you should provide exceptional customer service. Your clients should feel well taken care of, they should feel respected and valued. If your customers are happy, they will advertise for you.
To run a successful horse boarding operation, you need to increase your visibility. You can do this by offering great service to the clients you are currently serving, but there are many other ways to do it too.
First you should build relationships. You need to have healthy business relationships with the people you work with, this includes the veterinarians, grooms, riders and previous clients.
These business relationships should be built on respect and trust. If the vet trusts you and respects your business, he could recommend you to his clients, and potentially boost your business.
Trainers or nutritionist you work with could advertise your business by word of mouth. They could talk about their experiences with your business to their own clients and increase your business.
They could also post advertisements for you in their own establishments which will increase your business’s visibility.
Word of mouth is the single best way to advertise your business.
People will look into a business that has been positively reviewed to them, they are less likely to look into a business advertised on a flyer.
Another great way to get your business out there is to socialize.
You need to put yourself out there to get your business out there.
There are quite a few different ways you can do this. All of which will require you to network and build connections. Connections are the lifeline of small businesses.
The first is to join a couple organizations.
This will allow you to meet a bunch of new people. You can promote your business to these people. The organizations you join should be related to your business.
A second option is to attend a conference or two.
Conferences are typically attended by hundreds of people. That’s hundreds of potential connections for you to make.
Tell them about your business! At least a few of them will tell other people about it and you could potentially earn multiple new clients.
Your third option is to take to the internet.
The internet gives you the ability to reach thousands of people with one post. Use the internet to make new friends.
Friends interested in the same things as you. You can also use the internet and social media to advertise for your business.
The fourth, and final, option is to attend or host a meet and greet. You can run your own booth and promote your business.
You can make business connections with the other vendors and advertise your business to the attendees.
If you host a meet and greet, you could get creative and use you own space.
This will further increase your visibility and promote your business.
This video explains how to make money boarding horses. She describes her opinion on boarding horse and her worries. So, check this out:
PRICING YOURSELF SO THAT YOU MAKE A PROFIT
Boarding horses is a great career choice. It’s very satisfying and it makes you feel good, but it is a career choice. You have to make money, but that leads to the question- How do I price my services so that they are fair, but I also make money?
Well there are multiple techniques you could try!
As with any other aspect of your business you should be well aware of the ins and outs of the subject.
A successful business owner understands their business and their competitors’ businesses.
You should have a solid understanding of what your business provides your customers and its overall impact on the industry.
The business of boarding horses is no different and neither is the subject of pricing.
That said, the first thing you should do is research. You need to figure out what other horse boarding businesses are located in your area, then you need to figure out which services they offer and how much they are charging.
Once you’ve figured out what the range of prices are, you should price your service in the middle, or middle range.
It’s important that you are not too cheap or too expensive. You need to be able to cover all of your business costs and pay your employees decently.
You probably want to offer your services at a fair, but profitable, price. You need to get a good return on investments.
You should be able to make up the costs of opening your business and keep the business running debt-free.
You need to be able to make a substantial profit after you cover all of the costs of running the business.
That excess money should pay off the costs of opening the business within a few years at least.
The pricing should reflect the quality of your business. The revenue will also cover labor wages.
So, if you pay your employees generously, you may need to charge a little more.
Your employees will be happier though, and that could enable them to work more efficiently.
You will need to offer your customers a great value.
To do this, you have to ensure that what you are offering matches the price. If you are charging full boarding prices, your customers should be receiving full board services.
Another way to offer your customers a great value, is to offer incentives.
When a customer selects your business for their horse’s boarding needs, they should receive and incentive.
Something that encourages them to choose your business to board their horse over all the rest.
For example, when a new customer boards their horse in your stable, they could receive the first day free.
You could also use your connections and offer them a coupon, or discount, at your connection’s business. If you offer riding lessons, you could offer a free lesson.
Whatever incentive you choose, the incentive should be enticing, but come at little to no cost to the business.
This video gives you an idea of what horse boarders are looking for in a horse boarding facility, check it out!
Building a new business is difficult. There are so many details that need to be worked out, people to be hired, and clientele to be built, and it’s hard work to do it.
As the saying goes, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Well neither are small businesses! They take time, money, and work. Lots of hard work.
The process of building your business will test you. It will test your patience and will power. Building your business will suck up your money and take up most of your time.
Plus, you will likely have to work your regular job while you are building the business. You need to have grit and a strong urge to succeed. A need and desire to build something from the ground up.
Be honest with yourself. Do you have what it takes? Do you have the willpower to build your own business? Not only that but a horse boarding business? It’s hard manual labor and you have to be willing to put in the work.
Small businesses tend to fail, and oftentimes they fail within the very first year.
Can you handle that potential outcome? Failure can break some people. Do you have it in you to build a business?
If you feel that you do, go for it! Owning your own business is incredibly rewarding.
Building something of your own is rewarding and being your own boss is a once in a lifetime opportunity that so many people yearn for.
If you have it in you to obtain your dream and build a business that you’re passionate about, then do it. Just go for it!
I urge any current small business owners to share their own experiences.
Tell us about how you built your own business, or how you feel about working for yourself.
If you are interested in this type of business, I’m open to answering any questions and would love to read your thoughts and ideas. Leave a comment, I can’t wait to hear from you!
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