Stable owners have to realize that they seldom really make money on boarding, especially when you factor in the time spent in the barn, said Barbara Lindberg the equine business management director of Cazenovia College.
“Boarding, however, is a valuable service you offer in order to be able to offer other add-on services that can be more profitable,” she said.
Not every service is going to appeal to every customer. Geographic location, discipline and an owner’s goals factor into what he or she is willing to spend extra money on. Before advertising add-on services, think about what will be attractive to your clientele.
“Some people love extra services and others hate them,” Lindberg said. “Know your people.”
Conversations with boarders, a suggestion box and an on-line survey are all ways you discover which options are most viable.
“Some businesses prefer not to charge extra and instead charge a bit more upfront and automatically do some (or all) of these things,” she said. “You have to make the decision of what your market will bear, as you do not want to be seen as nickel and diming your customers.”
Here’s a few services Lindberg says boarders may be willing to pay extra for:
- Holding horses for vet/farrier
- Bathing, grooming, pulling manes, clipping, trimming, training braids
- Changing blankets
- Putting boots on for turnout
- Rewrapping stable wraps daily, or twice a day
- Medicine administration
- Laundry and dry cleaning
- Supplement fees for those that are not prepackaged
- A supply fee for the things in the barn everyone can have access to such as shampoo, fly spray, hoof oil, etc.
- Hand walking
- Cold hosing
- Lessons and training. Sometimes a boarder might be charged a slightly lower rate than an outside client
The above list is just a starting place for common fee-for-service offerings. You can get creative and tailor the options to the specific disciplines you serve. For example, if you have Western riders and you also have cattle, you could charge riders to use the cattle. If you’re a jumper barn, clients already have access to the jumps, but might not have the time to set up a course, which you could charge to do. A rider of any discipline might pay to have his or her saddle deep cleaned and oiled once or twice a year.
The key is finding a balance between services that clients are willing to pay for because they make their lives easier and offering services with which you can actually make money.