Setting a rate and getting paid are as important as having the right horses and determining the duration of your facility’s horse camps. At a minimum, the fees must cover your costs. Think about how much you paying the camp staff or counselors and how many hours per day they are with the campers,” said Louise Bienieki the Equestrian Center Manager at Mountain Top Inn & Resort in Chittenden, Vermont.
If you are bringing in an outside expert as a guest speaker or taking an off-site trip to an event or facility, those costs need to be covered. “A portion of daily horse keeping expense should be included as well,” she added.
Offering discounts for families booking multiple campers and multi-week registrations have been effective in filling slots at Mountain Top Inn & Resort.
At Emory & Henry in Virginia, the college determines the fees for the meals and housing, then Lisa Moosmueller-Terry, the college’s equestrian center director and Intercollegiate Dressage Association coach, looks at competitor’s fees to determine a fair price.
Once the fees are set, getting paid is critical.
“We require a credit card to hold the reservation and have a one week cancelation policy,” said Bienieki.
At Mountain Top, a late cancelation or no show results in charges that cover the cost of doing business. For barns that are not associated with an inn or resort like Mountain Top is, Bienieki recommends a 50 percent payment and a 30-day cancelation policy.
“Hopefully you can fill any vacancies if there are cancelations,” she said.
Another alternative is to require a deposit via check. “Once accepted attendees submit a deposit via check, full payment is due two weeks prior to the start of camp,” said Moosmueller-Terry.
Cloud-based systems like PayPal and other bookkeeping systems make it easier than ever to bill and collect payments from prospective campers.