Raising prices ranks low on a new owner or manager’s responsibility list, but in a world of fluctuating costs, it has to be done.
When Holli McMahon purchased a boarding facility in Salem, Oregon, she immediately compared the barn’s prices to other stables in the area. Her research revealed it was time for a price increase.
She presented incoming boarders with updated pricing right away but waited six months before adjusting the price for existing boarders.
“You have to do your research, know what your prices are gonna be and know why you have to raise them and then stick to it and don’t back down,” she says.
McMahon encourages new owners to tell boarders why prices are increasing and give them ample notice before making it effective. At her barn, she also included a clause about price fluctuation in the boarding contract so boarders were aware of potential increases upfront.
[Read more: So You Bought a Boarding Facility series]
Jodie (owner) and Bailie Corless (manager) are a mother-daughter team at Shingle Mill Stables in Sandpoint, Idaho. After taking over, they also implemented a price increase right away with incoming boarders and waited to raise prices with existing boarders.
“I think everyone expected it,” Bailie says.
The Corlesses took a gradual approach and raised the price in small increments, such as $25 or $50, over time.
“It’s better to slowly raise the prices or raise it as you get new people or do it in a way where it’s not breaking the bank for everybody,” Bailie says. “I think if you do it that way you end up keeping a lot more of the boarders.”
Whatever approach a new owner or manager takes, explaining why an increase is taking place combined with firm but empathetic communication is important.