Setting a rate for lessons or board can be a challenging decision. Charge too much and your stable or lesson program will be empty. Charge too little and you’re underselling the value of your expertise and perhaps not making enough to keep your business open.
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Charging the going rate is Krista Schneider’s number one piece of advice to equine business owners. The New Jersey-based trainer is certified with the Certified Horsemanship Association (CHA) and is a regional representative for the association.
Rates vary by geographic location, discipline and the instructor or trainer’s level of experience. A barn focusing on beginner or novice riders likely won't have clients who can afford or will pay the same fees as those competing on major circuits.
“It’s important to charge the going rate per hour,” she said.
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Determining that rate is partly based on rates of other facilities offering similar services in the area. And that’s likely a good starting place. However, it’s important to also base your rates on your expenses and the income needed to be profitable.
Schneider added that it is difficult to conduct a profitable equine business while operating part time, but it can be done. Running any successful business takes energy and focus. Working multiple jobs can make it challenging to give a lesson or boarding stable business the focus it needs to succeed, but with the right planning, you can have a profitable lesson or boarding business.
Many people work off the farm and supplement their equine income by teaching lessons or caring for outside horses. The key is to establish practices that allow it to run like a business.
Set a budget, track your expenses and set rates based on what has been invested into the facility and your time.
Establish a separate bank account to separate a hobby from a business that earns income. Running a part-time business when managed properly allows the owners to have access to benefits through outside employers and to get started in an equine business slowly. The key to long-term success is treating it as a serious business entity from day one.
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