Horse Boarding Operations – What is Involved?
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Horse Boarding Operations – What is Involved?

October 10, 2019


with my horse University and extension
horsequest live webcast on horse boarding operations we’re excited to
have you all here tonight and I think we are going to have a rather large crowd
our presenter this evening is Kristen Wilson from University of Maryland
extension Kristen earned a Bachelor of Science degree in animal science equine
industry with a minor and agriculture business from the University of Florida
in 2003 she remained at University of Florida to earn a master’s degree in
extension education with a minor in youth development in 2005 as the
extension horse specialist for University of Maryland extension Kristen
provides a statewide leadership for the Maryland 4-h horse program by
coordinating statewide and equine contests and educational programs for 4h
ORS volunteers and County educators in addition she teaches within the
Institute of Applied Agriculture’s equine business management program
she is also active in showing Tennessee Walking Horses at the national level and
recently received six national championships in 2011 with her mayor
please note that you’re able to ask questions during the presentation using
the text chat on the left of your screen questions tonight will be answered
throughout the presentation by Jennifer Reynolds the extension coordinator at
University of Maryland and we’ll also have some time for questions at the end
of the presentation our webcast tonight will be recorded and uploaded to our
website my horse University comm by the end of the week if you’d like to review
it at a later date and at this time I’ll go ahead and turn the presentation over
to Kristin good evening all it’s exciting to see so many people on this
evening I’m gonna go ahead and advance through some of these sides so tonight
we’re gonna be talking about horse boarding businesses and all that is
involved in it as was indicated if you do have questions since we do have such
a large group feel free to put them in the chat box and general Reynolds will
be happy to answer those as we go through and then we should also have
time at the end for questions so I just wanted to start off by giving a little
bit of a overview of what we currently have here in the US horse industry most
of you being horse people probably know this but the American Horse Council in
2005 did a study and they valued the goods and services related to
the horse industry at almost forty billion dollars these goods and services
create a market for several services such as that’s farriers training
breeders and of course horse boarding operations so it shows you that there is
an industry there that has needs and services to be offered to them our us
first industry as of 2005 also offers four hundred and sixty one hundred forty
six forty six hundred sorry full-time equivalent jobs annually we have nine
point two million horses in the United States probably more now since this was
done in 2005 and we have approximately 4.6 million people that are involved in
the horse industry not including spectators that attend horse shows and
other things like that so this as you can see that we really have a large
number of not only horses but also clientele that need services such as
horse boarding operations to be offered to them so many people think that
running a horse sporting business is an easy way to make money they think that
it really just goes with feeding horses providing stalls providing what care
they need and being able to make easy money but before diving into any type of
new equine business or endeavor such as this you need to realize that there’s
much more to it and you need to know exactly what’s involved with it in order
to be successful so some basic facts to consider starting out is that it does
require considerable amount of knowledge and experienced you are taking care of a
living animal you’re taking responsibility of that animal and
therefore you need to know what it takes to responsibly take care of it because
horses are very different from other livestock species as well as other
companion animals like dogs and cats that people typically have it’s also
important that you understand that if you’re going to have this bit
this beyond your own personal property that there may be a result it may result
in a loss of privacy on the farm you also need to be able to deal with a
variety of personalities horse people in general can be different I’m a horse
person but I still feel comfortable being able to say that and so you need
to be able to deal with people that have different opinions about how you care
for their horse or are just very particular about ways that they interact
with you as well as their animals it’s also important that you look at the
liability issues that may be surrounded by having a horse sporting business
because this can be a major concern and you also have to expect to work 365 days
a year because even if you’re on leave and you have people taking care of the
facility you still have to be a phone call away in case there is a problem
going on at the farm so why don’t you consider those things you really need to
decide whether or not there is a need within your own community for another
horse boarding facility you need to know your market and you need to do your
research to try to figure this out so one of the first things that you can do
is you can look at the current horse population not only in your state but
also in the county or city that you may reside in this information by state is
available through the American Horse Council survey that was done in 2005 and
in addition there are other state agencies for example here in Maryland we
have the Maryland horse industry board that is under our Maryland Department of
Agriculture and they do studies every few years economic impact studies which
also break down the numbers based off of counties by population you can also find
out what the current horse population is and what’s going on within the horse
industry through word of mouth by talking to local feed dealers other
boarding operations horse owners and other industry people
the next thing that you need to do to determine whether or not there is a need
for a boarding facility is to look at the current boarding facilities or
operations and this space is occupied in the community or area that you’re
interested in opening that facility in again here in Maryland and other states
have it we actually have a license boarding stable program through the
Maryland horse industry board so we have a license boarding list by county in
which you can look and see all of the different boarding operations that may
be within that specific area you can also look into the yellow pages as well
as local horsey type publications to see what else might be being offered within
your state or your community and then finally it’s important that you also
look at the demand in the area and the growth potential of the industry or the
area that you’re in that specific niche within the market that you’re interested
in going into you can seek this information by looking at the changing
population the land use within your community as well as the income levels
other major changes or shifts within the community for example if there’s a
military base located there and there’s going to be a big push of them having a
large number of military people being based out of there in the next few years
that is an example of a population change in which you can see there may be
more of a demand as you are moving forward to try to figure out whether or
not that business will work so once you’ve done your research of the market
and you identify that there’s a need there are lots of different things that
you need to consider and know that there’s much more to it than just
cleaning stalls and feeding horses a lot of this will depend on how big your
operation is how small or how small you’re up
raishin is and whether or not you are really running a real business for
tonight’s talk we are going to discuss the basics of what needs to be
considered please think please keep in mind that as
we go through each of the topics I believe each of the topics could were in
a webinar solely on itself for example insurance and liability
issues or but making budgets or looking at building and facility design so we
are going to talk about each of them and maybe not in as great of detail as you’d
hope but I’m also going to my hope is that I can provide you with the
resources that you need and answer some of your questions that at least help get
you started so when we think about a boarding facility there’s a lot involved
as you can see here on the screen it’s the daily care of horses looking at your
pasture management the maintenance of buildings facilities and equipment
customer service managing the people that work underneath of you accounting
and payroll marketing I mean there’s just a number of things in which you
have to consider once you know that there’s a need you’ve identified that
you really could have a boarding business and hopefully get clientele in
there in your community or in your area and you kind of have an idea of the
basics of what’s involved you really need to then ask yourself are you really
prepared the first question I like to ask myself or you could ask yourself is
what do you really want to do with this you need to be honest with yourself an
answer is what you are wanting to do is really to offset the cost of keeping
your own horses or it’s be able to have people at your facility so you have
people to ride with or are you really wanting to make a profit and to have a
real business if you do want a real business then you need to then ask
yourself what are the goals for this business what kind of profit do you want
to make and what needs to happen to make sure that these goals are accomplished
and that’s where you can set up objectives or specific goals that you
may want to meet specific to your individual business that you want to
create the third thing you need to do in asking whether or not you’re prepared is
to define what is success to you success to some people could mean making a
certain amount or a certain salary each year it could mean offsetting the cost
of keeping their own animals it’s really unique to your to you as an individual
and to the individual operation that you’re trying to create so if you’re
really serious about making this into a business then you need a plan plans
allow you to look ahead to plan ahead and to estimate potential expenses a
good business plan is basically a document that summarizes the operational
and financial objectives of a business and contains the detailed plans and
budgets showing how the objectives are to be realized this planning allows you
to focus on your expectations and develop a program to make them happen it
also makes you think about what problems might arise in the future for example
what are those unexpected expenses that you might have to consider and it’s
really meant to make you think about the bigger picture of the business as you
are planning so that you can be successful so there are several items to
think about with a business plan and there’s kind of ten areas and that’s
where what we are going to touch upon in the webinar this evening the first is
what services are going to be offered are you going to solely be a boarding
facility or are you going to offer additional services the second is your
marketing plan how are you going to get the word out that you’re a new business
and people can come and be a part of the services that you can offer you must
also think your customer service because the horse
and the people are the clients that you’re trying to serve and you need to
keep them happy you also need to consider what resources are needed not
only from the facility standpoint but also from the clientele as far as
writing facilities and other amenities that they might want available and then
you also have to consider safety concerns and this is where having
experience with horses can really come in to be handy you know for example if
you have a horse that just isn’t acting right they’re not normal they’re
lethargic standing in the corner you know maybe they’re showing symptoms of
that they’re having a mild colic well by having experience with horses and
knowing being able to identify those symptoms it can really help you and
identify a potentially dangerous situation it’s also important with that
that you also established barn rules the sixth part the sixth part of the
business plan is looking at nutrition and feeding requirements then you must
also consider the health program and how you want to have that set up the biggie
that I look at is having good contracts and agreements because if you have good
paperwork to start with it can really save you from having a bigger such a
bigger problem if a situation where to arise you also want to look at the
finances as well as the legal and risk issues and what type of insurance type
policies you may want to consider as part of your business so now we’re going
to go into each part of the business plan and kind of discuss them in more
detail and again as you have questions please feel free to put them into the
chat if you do have anything so first you need to identify what services
you’re gonna offer and this should be based on the needs of the local market
you need to consider whether or not you’re gonna offer pasture board which
is typically a pasture with a fresh water source and normally some type of
shelter for the first to have and or are you gonna offer stall board
in which you typically offer a stall that would be clean daily it also
includes feed turnout time hay and either one of these options can also be
done as full care or self care the next thing you have to do is really think
outside of the box I hate to say it but here’s the reality check of this webinar
boarding horses has a very small profit margin and so you really have to think
out of the box of what additional services you can offer at the facility
so that they can be extra sources of income the more services you offer the
higher the boarding fee and or the additional extra charges you can add on
to their boarding fee on a monthly basis so some of these include extra benefits
such as vet care grooming holding a holding fee for the farrier vet each
time they come out because that does take your time taking care of a sick or
hurt animals so if a horse has a laceration and needs daily care wooden
care and bandaging that’s something you could offer blanketing clipping TOC
cleaning other additional services and these are in addition to just the care
of the worst can include offering riding lessons having different riding
facilities so we might have an indoor arena which is of benefit to people who
want to ride in the winter time you could also offer horse training breeding
services the list goes on and on with really unique things such as field trips
birthday parties or even lecture series I know one of the local barns here and
Maryland actually did a lecture series once a month during the winter months
for their adult women within the barn and they did it on topics that they were
very interested in learning about so I want to take this time now to ask you
guys are there any other addition think of
aren’t currently on my list if you’d like to enter them in the chat that
would be great so one of the additional services we
have our hayrides looks like lots of people are typing driving lessons other
farm activities such as pumpkin patches you pick berries so other like
agritourism type things if you have a lot of property and can do that clinics
that’s a good idea I didn’t even put that on my list and Carol did point out
a good a helpful suggestion and that when you’re looking at what additional
services and activities you’re going to offer you also have to consider what
does your insurance cover okay so you can keep putting those in and we’ll get
back to those in a while but we’re going to move on with our next part of our
business plan the second part of our business plan includes a marketing plan
and any successful marketing plan will help you to maximize your revenue
studies have shown that boarding facilities average an 80% occupancy rate
with clients changing facilities once a year so it’s very important for horse
owners to know about your facilities and the great services that you can offer
and the only way that they can do that is if you have a good marketing plan the
first thing to consider for your marketing plan is looking at location
location location you need to decide on the location of your business and it
should be something that is easy to find or easy to locate and near the
population that you are going to draw new clientele from
it’s also then important to decide what message you’re going to use as part of
your marketing plan to get your business out to the public some of these
techniques can include a logo or sign and I find it’s important that your logo
or sign kind of has an indication of what you offer so if you’re not just a
boarding facility and you offer other programs or training for specific breeds
you can see from these logos that are listed here for example the right
retired racehorse training project you can see from left to right it starts out
as a racehorse and then they retrain these racehorses into being dressage
horses and potentially being able to jump or you can see from the Hard Rock
sign logo that these people probably more than likely train some type of
gated horses I can tell you as they’re a firm that I’ve been personally related
to they train Tennessee Walking Horses other things that you might want to
consider our business cards a website we know that I mean we’re doing a webinar
now we know internet is just where everyone goes to find information and
you can create very simple websites for not very much money you’ll you also
might consider advertising and local publications doing some type of open
house to invite the community into your facility so that they can see what it’s
about as well as maybe putting fliers up in local community buildings or at feed
stores or other things like that the thing to remember is that any of these
marketing plans or techniques that you utilize are gonna cost you some money so
those are things that you need to remember to put in your budget when
you’re looking at your overall expenses for running your horse boarding facility
so part three of our business plan includes customer service your facility
should make an make a favorable impression on the clients that you’re
working with it’s important that you create a businesslike atmosphere and
that clients because clients are what keeps your
business running you need to remember that your clients are the people are the
people and the horses so you need to not only treat the people with respect
but you also need to take good care of their animals that they are paying you
to take care of it’s important that you be ready as I said before to deal with
multiple personalities it’s also important that you have communication
with them and that it’s oral communication this can be in the form of
via telephone or in person or it could be as simple as you leaving notes if
necessary if there are things that maybe weren’t happening that they need to
start remembering as part of barn rules for example it’s also important as the
manager as the owner of the boarding facility that you’re available and that
you have additional staff as needed if you can’t physically be there or if
you’re out of town to deal with situations however it’s also important
for you not to set boundaries and to not be available you know at all hours of
the day just for them to ask simple questions you cannot be all things to
all people and you really cannot be available 24
hours a day just to answer simple questions more so only for emergency
purposes part four of our business plan is to identify what resources are needed
as I’ve said before this not only includes the facilities but it also
includes what are the customers needs and what extra amenities as part of your
facility are you going to need to offer because our customers need or your
customers are going to need to feel comfortable and satisfied with where
they are keeping their horses if you already have a property and our
buildings available when you think about our fencing our pastures our facilities
and things like that you need to look at what you currently
have and evaluate them to make sure that they are safe for the horses and that
it’s meeting the needs what your customers may be interested in
having as part of their facility so for fencing just a brief overview it should
be a safe type of fencing sturdy visible durable at least four and a half to five
feet high there should be no sharp edges narrow
corners or projections you also need to consider the initial cost if you don’t
already currently have it on your facility as well as any maintenance that
you may need to have from horses kicking now in the sense or just from you know
general wear and tear of wood rotting or other things like that it’s also
important that when you look at fencing that you also consider whether or not
what is the purpose of that fencing is it perimeter fencing or interior fencing
and could you get away with maybe having a more sturdy fencing such as your wood
three or four board fencing on the outside and then utilizing something as
like electric tape fencing defense off certain areas on the inside types of
fencing to consider for horses typical ones we see include the wood board
fencing on the bottom left the plastic PVC fencing on the top right and or the
V wire mesh fencing with the top board on the bottom right and it’s very
important if you are going to use that type of fencing that you use the view IR
mesh as it has smaller openings not allowing the horses to get their feet
caught in the openings and it also has the board on top so that it is highly
visible for the animals to be able to see when thinking about the pasture some
simple things to consider are your stocking rates it’s suggested that you
allow two to three acres per horse but ideally no less than one to two acres
per horse especially if you’re counting on that grass to meet any of the
nutritional needs of the horses that you have pastured there you may also look
into possibly having a sacrifice plot or a dry lot is what it’s also called
and this basically consists of a small dirt area where horses can be kept when
they’re not on pasture or not in the barn but it’s allowing them to have time
out for exercise or other purposes you may also consider a rotational grazing
system and this is especially good for firms that have a small acreage this is
where the land is split into smaller paddocks and the animals are kept on
each area for a shorter amount of time till they graze down those forages to
stay 3 inches and then they’re rotated on to the next to the next pasture and
then other management considerations include to avoid over-under grazing to
do soil tests and fertilize and lime is needed to also identify any weeds and
poisonous plants and to choose a plant species that will grow well in your
region so that you do have forage is available for the animals that you are
boarding at your facility when you think about facilities or building structures
this can really be dependent on what type of board you’re offering if you’re
offering pasture board you may need different shell different facility
requirements than if you are doing stall stall boarding it’s also important to
consider what your county regulations may be on shelter requirements for
example here in Maryland we have some counties that require if horses are kept
out on pasture that they have some type of run-in shed or some type of shelter
that they can go into in inclement weather if you’re looking at running
sheds it’s typically suggested that you have 90 to 150 square feet per animal
and the typical stall size for horses twelve feet by 12 feet other things to
consider with facilities include your flooring because this can affect the
cleanliness of your facility stalls could have rubber mats you could utilize
sawdust and shavings in the stalls too also
help with some of the cleanliness and to make the animals more comfortable you
also want to consider ventilation because it’s important for your horses
and clients to be comfortable and there needs to be good airflow through the
barn so if you’re building a new barn or new facility you need to consider things
such as placement of doors windows fans and other things like that and then
finally you also want to take a look at what your manure management plan is
typically there are two options one you can set up a composting facility and the
pros to this or that there is no cost and then have it hauled away and it also
creates a new product for you to use on other parts of the facility the concert
earth at its daily maintenance and time that has to go into it and it does take
up space on your facilities so you really have to look at what your
facility layout is and whether or not it’s worth having or you can also have
your manure hauled away which will be an additional cost but then it’ll be you
know something that you don’t really have to deal with on a daily basis when
looking at the resources needed I mentioned it’s not only facilities but
it’s also your customer needs so some things to consider as part of your
facility can include a clean restroom facility in the barn if it’s something
if you have a fresh room in your house then that will decrease your privacy I’m
of people coming in and out you may also consider having a telephone in case of
an emergency and also for people to get to call for information about what
services you offer it’s also important that you have a space available for talk
and equipment and if there is limited space available you need to be able to
tell people how much space they have and make sure that they’re not taking up too
much space where other people may need to store their items other things to
consider are areas for riding this can include outdoor ring an indoor ring
it could also include trails and if you are going to offer you know an extra
nice outdoor ring or an indoor ring then those are those are some amenities in
which you could consider increasing the price of board finally the other thing
to think of is landscaping or the aesthetics of the property these just
add to the overall atmosphere of the facility and increase that appeal to
clients especially if you have new people coming out to look for those so
with that said I was kind of curious to see if you guys have an any other client
needs that we might consider as part of starting up a equine boarding business
if you do please feel free to go ahead and type them in the chat box trailer
storage that’s a good one and that is something that you can also charge extra
for if you do have space available and need to find ways to make extra money
direct access the trails that can be a biggie for people who like to do trail
riding on a regular basis washer and dryer facility I like that
one cross-country courses handicapped riding access it was also mentioned when
we talked about the soil test that your local Extension Office or USDA office
can also help you with that a lower cost to make sure that you’re doing it
properly a round pen that’s also another good amenity to have so thank you for
sharing those suggestions so part 5 of our business plan looks at safety
concerns safety is key to a successful boarding business and it’s important
that you’re always aware of what’s going on it’s important that you inspect and
evaluate things frequently and that you establish barn rules and post them make
sure that everyone’s on the same page that they know what those barn rolls are
so that you can keep order within your facility other recommended practices
include having safety trainings with your employees so that everyone’s on the
same page and they’re doing things in a similar manner you may also look at the
regular maintenance of facilities and equipment if something is broke fix it
then don’t wait to fix it later after a problem has occurred if you have the
funding you may also look at installing fencing around the perimeter of the
property in case an animal were to ever get loose so that you have that as a
safety measure you could also fence off hazardous areas
such as ponds streams trees and other things that horses may get themselves
into trouble with and it’s also important that you put things away so
store chemicals in secured areas but also if you use a pitchfork but you
normally keep it in the storage closet put it away when you’re done with it so
it’s not one of those extra things out in the aisleway that horses could get
themselves into some common burn roles these came directly out of the stable
management magazine which is a great magazine if you don’t currently
subscribe to it it’s actually a free magazine you can subscribe to but they
had a great article in August of 2010 looking at common burn rules some things
they suggested included no smoking and making sure that you post signs so that
people remember that not allowing dogs to come on to the property I know as
being horse people a lot of us are also dog people but dogs can easily chase
horses boot courses and riders snapper bited other animals and humans and it
can be a bigger liability to you than what you think it may be it’s also
important that people don’t use other people’s property so they utilize only
the stuff they’re supposed to be using they don’t go into someone else’s tot
closet and take their brush or steal some of their treats to give to their
horses another rule is to close all gates install doors I think the rule of
thumb that a lot of us like to think of is if you go through a gate close it or
if you see a gate open close it because that just helps to
increase the safety of you know if a horse were to get loose that they can’t
get through it’s also important to respect the hours of the operation this
also it comes in handy if you do live on the property so that people know that
it’s not just a barn it’s also your private residence and they need to
respect that you can also look at children being supervised different
operations do this differently you can have basic rules such as no running
screaming or fence climbing or that children under a certain age have to be
supervised by an adult it’s also important that all riders sign a release
before riding and depending on your discipline you may require them to also
wear an ASTM sei certified helmet additional rules may also be that they
have to have a specific health program which includes vaccines and undie
worming so the sixth part of our business plan is looking at nutritional
requirements feeding programs should be tailored to meet nutritional
requirements of each horse as each horses nutritional requirements are
dependent on their age breed size temperament the degree of their activity
as well as even changing weather conditions it’s important that you look
for common groups of horses at your facility and that you can feed them so
that you don’t have to have different feeds and haze for each horse because
that will drive you crazy and it’s something that you need to make sure
that you don’t let get out of control I know some facilities offer say to feed
options and maybe one or two hay options and then if a boarder wants something
very specific then that owner is then responsible for purchasing that
additional feed or specific supplement that they want given to that horse so
management tips when you look at nutrition requirements
include establishing and maintaining a feeding schedule feeding several small
meals per day and making sure that you stick to that schedule when you’re
looking at your budget horses consume approximately two to two-and-a-half
percent of their body weight per day and feed and or hay and it’s important to
feed horses at at least fifty percent of their diet being from forages horses
evolved as grazing animals and it’s essential for them to have a high amount
of forages within their diet for their digestive system to function well and
then as usual you should also provide a fresh source of water for them to have
at all times the seventh part of our health of our business plan is a health
program generally this was the responsibility of the horse owner but if
at least you should do as a horse boarding owner or manager is established
an emergency plan of action you need to have a conversation with the owner and
decide what will happen in the case in which there’s an emergency and you
cannot get a hold of them are you allowed to call the vet and if so which
that do you call other management tips to consider include requiring a health
certificate negative Coggins test and isolating new horses for any new horses
coming onto the property you should also look into having a vaccination program a
deworming program and making sure that there’s good records all facilities do
this different but it’s probably best for you if you had established what you
want to do and hold all borders to that so whether or not you require that the
vet do all vaccines for all versus at a specific time of year or you leave it up
to those owners and they have to provide paperwork and proof that they have
gotten those vaccines or they have URM those horses and then you have a good
record-keeping system as part of your business plan to keep track of that part
eight of our business plan includes contracts and agreements
it’s so important that you have written contracts and agreements and that you do
not agree to things orally it’s important to have that documentation
there are free examples online that you can download and you can find all
different ways to write up different contracts and agreements but if there’s
one thing that I suggest that you invest in having a lawyer have legal advice as
to having input on something as part of your business this would be one thing
that I highly recommend it for it’s gonna cost you money to start with but
if there ever is an incident later on it probably is gonna save you money in the
long run when looking at a boarding agreement it should include things such
as a description of the horse or horses that they’re boarding with you what
services are included so is it full board is it pasture board is that saw
board is it self-care all of those different things it should also include
when fees and charges must be paid so if it’s the first of the month then you may
also put in that contract that if it’s not paid by the first that there is a
$10 late fee um those are things that you can add into that you must also list
who is responsible for each area of horse care and that’s when that plan of
whether or not you do the vaccinations or you do the deworming or they do when
all of those things come in to be part of the plan you also want to include
verbage on the termination of things so that is where it would outline under
what circumstances the agreement may be terminated so for example you need to
give them 30 days notice of the horse needing to leave that would be an
example you should also include risk of loss indicating that it is the
responsibility of the horse owner if something happens to the horse you can
also include right of lien in which cases if the stables are not paid the
bills for the horse that the stable can obtain
the right of that horse now that is dependent on each state and that’s you
know really one of those things that is really good to seek legal advice on and
then you can also include waiver of liability which waives you and/or the
business from being liable if say a rider were to fall off and break their
arm another thing that you may consider adding is also putting the Bern rules as
part of your boarding contract and having a spot at the bottom where they
have to sign so that they really do know what those barn rules are because even
if you have them posted in the barn they may never read them so it’s good to have
bern rules in multiple places and by having a good contractor agreement as
part of your boarding facility it really will help to make sure that everyone is
on the same page the ninth part of our business plan nine out of ten so we’re
almost there is finances finances are really the heart of the business and
that’s why it’s so important to it’s such an important aspect of helping
aborting business to be successful I’m things to think about are the rates of
your services I you should be able to identify expenses that you’re going to
have you should be able to develop a sample budget as something that you can
stick to and tweak is needed as things as you continue on with your boarding
business as well as having a good bookkeeping system so rates of service first and foremost
you need to figure out how much you’re going to charge this can be dependent on
the industry as well as the market demands I wish I could have given you
exact numbers to tell you this is how much it costs to keep one horse and feed
it and this is how you can base your prices off about what you should charge
unfortunately because we’re all from different parts of the country or me
maybe even out of the US you know these prices are going to be
dependent on your specific area for example you know up north where we grow
hay our hay cost is much less than what they may pay in Florida where they only
grow very limited types of hey alfalfa for example is something they import in
a lot and when you may pay something like you know eight dollars a bill for
alfalfa up here you may pay upwards of fifteen sixteen eighteen twenty dollars
a bale down in Florida because of them having to haul that type of hay down
there you also should make sure that you’re
pricing things realistically this is where your research can come in to
looking at what other facilities are charging and comparing what the prices
they’re charging based on what are they feeding the horses and what extra
amenities are facilities they are offering to their borders and then I
also suggest that you use caution when bartering or offering in-kind
compensation to employees because it’s very important that you do not make too
many free arrangements because you could really be making money by having an
actual border in that stall and occupying that space so given examples that people
automatically think about when considering what they need to pay for
for boarding horses things that people automatically think about our feed hay
betting potential labor costs but a lot of times they don’t always um as well as pasture management cost other
expenses to think about because there are a lot more to it than just those
five are utilities insurance advertising workman’s comp payroll taxes and
benefits and you can see the list just goes on and on especially if you don’t
already own your property outright you’re also gonna have those extra
expenses of a mortgage or renting the facility as well as any additional
expenses you might need to look at if you’ve built new buildings or new
fencing and those payments that you have to make once you’ve identified the
potential expenses for your operation you must then build a budget to see if
you can really be successful and make some money at running at running a
boarding business as I said before just boarding horses typically does not make
large profits by itself therefore it’s important that you look at those
additional services or benefits that you can offer your clientele to make sure
that you can be more successful and actually make money at running your
boarding business as I said before your budget is unique to your operation and
location and the costs of the different supplies or feed or other things that
you need to take care of those animals can be very dependent on your business’s
location once you come up with a budget it’s important that you stick to that
budget and that you continue researching to make sure that you’re keeping up with
the changes and trends within the industry and how that
affect your overall business there are a couple places that offer some example
budgets that you can go and look at one being from Virginia Tech their firm
business management group has put together several budgets not only on
horses also on other livestock species but they have budgets on horse boarding
for full care who are sporting for South care they also have budgets that you can
look at for self in-home care budgets and whether or not you currently own
your land or you’re still you know making payments on it and they even have
neat budgets for putting up different types of fencing um now it’s important
to remember that these budgets and some of the cost that they have put in there
based off of this region or this area in the northeast area and Virginia area and
so as you look at those it’s important that you take that research that you’ve
had and if you say well they’re saying an average cost of hay is five dollars a
bale but say you’re feeding alfalfa then you’re gonna need to plug into that
excel sheet you know that higher costs for that hay that you might be feeding
Penn State University also has another great resource through their agriculture
alternatives fact sheet series and at the end of this publication it also has
a sample budget that you can utilize to at least get you started and thinking
about about this the Virginia Tech budgets are something I’ve been around
for a while but they’ve recently updated them as of May 2011 so they should be
very current and helpful as something for you to use as a tool as I said the
other thing that finances is having a good bookkeeping system it’s important
that you record every transaction and anything that you do as money gets put
down gets recorded and and any way that you can think of doing it depending on
what type of business entity you are several of the expenses may be
tax-deductible so it’s important that you keep track of them it’s also
important that you take time to categorize each transaction and that you
track the income and expenses that are occurring within the business having
good records of what’s actually going on in your business will tell you one when
you’ve made a profit two it helps you to manage yourself more efficiently
especially if you read the financial situation often it also helps you to
comply with state and local government regulations and let’s face it it’s
something that the IRS is really going to hold you to if you are truly an
equine business if this is an area that you’re not comfortable with this is
another expense that you might look at is hiring an accountant to take care of
your bookkeeping and your tax needs the final part of our business plan is
looking at legal and risk issues these can include insurance licensing the form
of business entity you decide to be as well as the environmental and zoning
regulations and this is really where you could get into trouble so it’s important
that you keep up with with these areas the first thing that consider is
insurance and when you’re looking at what type of insurance policy you might
need you can consider several things the first would be the financial stability
of your business you can also look at the value of the horses if you’re gonna
take out individual horse policies you should also look at the level of risk
and the activities that you are going to have going on at the facility on your
level of personal involvement and whether or not you really need to
protect yourself from your personal assets not being touched if there were
an incident as well as looking at the likelihood of experiencing a covered
loss while insured by doing so this will help you to anticipate all
potential situations in which the horses our business may be at risk and it
really helps you to it’s just part of that bigger picture of what you’re
trying to look at when putting together successful business there are several
different types of insurance policies you can consider and again like I said
this could be a whole webinar in itself but first and foremost is to look at
commercial liability this is what we’ll cover all horse related activities
including riding lessons horse shows clinics meetings and actions resulting
in any property damage or injuries to a third person I have to tell you if
you’re running a business on your own property a lot of times people think
things like this are covered under their home insurance but if it’s a real
business I’m sorry to tell you more than likely it’s not the other mistake that
people also make when it comes to commercial liability insurance is that a
lot of times they think that if they have people sign a written release
holding the operation harmless they think that that is will protect them but
unfortunately those releases don’t always stand up in cases of negligence
the third mistake people make with liability is some of our states actually
have equine activity laws and they think oh well then I’m protected well these
laws really only help and limited when to limit or control liabilities not to
have zero liability laws they’re not zero liability laws so they are only
going to protect you to a certain extent other things that consider our property
insurance fire and theft care custody and control policies this is where if
you already have liability insurance you may also take this out and it would help
you in the case that say a horse say I boarded horse got off or got out of the
property to the road and a car hitting well your
liability insurance would help cover the damage the car the injuries to the
person that are riding in the car but it’s not going to cover that horse and
so if you have care custody and control a care custody and control policy then
that can help you in the case in which that horse owner may come back and try
to sue you because their horse got out that’s an example when that might help
you should also consider individual horse policies whether it’s for your own
horses and depending on what their value is and then workers comp insurance is
also another option and as many of you probably know this covers work-related
injuries and lost wages of employees if something were to happen it generally is
fairly inexpensive and it’s probably worth you paying it to start with
instead of having a big fee of something were to happen with one of your
employees on the job other things to consider under this also include if your
state requires a licensing to become a body a boarding facility here in
Maryland our Maryland horse industry board actually inspects and licensed
stables if you have five or more horses that you’re boarding it’s a requirement
that you have to go through this there is an annual fee and basically they
inspect the property to make sure that the facilities are meeting minimum
standards for care of horses as well as they look at the how the animals are
being cared for and what their current animals that that facility look like you
must also consider what kind of business entity you’d like to be and I could talk
for hours about this but you need to look at the different forms of business
that you can do some general ones are sole proprietor in which it would be one
person running the business you could also have partnerships and that’s in
which you may have to work two or more people
in some cases you may have one person that runs a business but one person that
also finances it as a silent partner and so that would be an instance in which a
partnership would be a good way to run that business and you can also look into
becoming a corporation but becoming a corporation does have its benefits but
you also need to seek legal assistance in order to become one if you are a
corporation typically we see most often the LLC or the limited liability
corporations being formed but by doing so it helps to separate the business
from personal assets it also makes only the operations assets be at risk if
something were to happen and typically you have a lower taxation rate on your
income so if you are a real business and this may be something that you want to
look into and then finally you must also consider environmental and zoning
regulations several counties have zoning ordinance ordinances based on how you
can use the land and how it can be used and what public facilities and amenities
are needed to provide to our communities and they also have restrictions on how
many horse some have restrictions on how many horses you can have on so many
acres you know the shelter requirements I referred to before how you may deal
with your manure or horse disposal I mean the list goes on and on it’s
important that you contact your County Planning and Zoning office to see what
type of ordinances may be in effect for the area in which you’re living other
things that you may look into I know here in Maryland several of our firms
can have soil and water conservation plans in which the soil and Conservation
District gives the landowner recommendations on how to make decisions
in the protection conservation enhancement of our natural resources
such as water soil animals and all things that are included in a boarding
business and and also specifically to Maryland and
there may be things like they’re specific to other states we if you meet
certain requirements you also have to have a nutrient management plan which is
just another piece of paperwork that you’re gonna have to add as part of your
business plan so in conclusion profits can be low if
you’re just running a boarding business but if you can think of those
out-of-the-box unique services or just services that are needed to entice the
clientele in your community you can be successful and you can make money as
part of offering this equine business endeavor it is something that requires
hard work and dedication and you really need to have a business plan and stick
to it you need to make sure that you have a business mentality and that yuria
what you’re doing on a monthly basis so that you can see where the holes are
in the plan that you may have just started out with it’s also important to
continually educate yourself I think as horse people and that’s something that
we typically do anyways and it’s important to remember that
you’re not gonna be successful overnight this takes years to be successful and to
establish a business within the industry so build yourself slowly
I’m start out with the basics and then build on more services and amenities as
you see what the needs of your clientele are we had a local farm horse boarding
farm called full full moon farm give a horse boarding talk at our recent Expo
and they had a quote that said you know horse boarding businesses are not
necessarily about a good living but it’s a great lifestyle or a good lifestyle so
you might not always make you know six figures but if it’s something that you
enjoy doing you can be successful at it if you do have the right type of
business plan in place and you continually evaluate it to see where
you’re at with your business so just real quick before we take
questions some helpful resources that you may consider looking into for our
equine business management class here at the University we use a book called
complete guide for horse business success it’s the second edition it has
all kinds of great stuff on the business side of things and then there’s also
another great book that I utilize a lot called horse keeping on us on a small
acreage and this has a lot of great information specific to facilities and
needs of horses so if you’re looking at starting from the ground up or if you
have a current facility in need to revamp it that can be a great book for
you to look into both I believe are available through amazon.com if that’s
an easy way for you to get to it and then some other additional resources are
that your soil conservation district extension horses which has a lot of
great business resources and other things specific to horses your local
land grant University as well as any of your state agencies such as a state
horse industry board your Department of Ag and/or your state horse council so
with that said I’d be happy to take any questions again please utilize the chat
box I know some of you have already asked some but if you have additional
please feel free to go ahead and put them in the chat box there was a question about whether or
not this PowerPoint will be posted the whole entire webinar will be posted on
to my horse University website for you all to view at any time that you’d like can we do have one question from Lisa it
says what about neighbors friends signing liability waivers for riding on
the property once you become a business I think that all comes back to what I
said earlier about whether or not you have oral agreements versus having some
type of signed contractor agreement so if you do have something in place once
you become a business and it’s something that’s easy for them to sign I would
definitely recommend having them do that I’m even though they are a neighbor or a
friend it’s just part of having a good business practice to have anyone do that
whether or not they’re related or there’s someone that you’re just
providing services to any other questions you Amercia had a question about whether or
not a burn manager would have insurance as well as the property owner I think
depending on how the situation is set up if the property owner just owns the
property and then the barn manager is running that business and yes they
should have their own insurance if it’s a partnership then they would need to
discuss you know how that insurance is taken out and who would be included on
the policy and then other forms of insurance would also be if you have say
visiting riding instructors coming onto the property they may also have their
own inch liability insurance connected to the training and lessons that they
are providing on your property you we also had a question about what about
a partnership with the trainer who has clients boarding at your facility and
uses your facility for lessons I would suggest that that trainer has their own
insurance to deal in situations with their own clientele okay so it looks like maybe we don’t
have any other questions I don’t see anyone else typing I did want to let you
all know that go ahead Amanda no that’s okay I was just gonna
conclude but if you have something else to say first and that’s fine
no go ahead well Kristen I just want to say thank you so much for your
presentation it seems like everyone learned a lot and again it will be it
was recorded tonight and we’ll post it to the my horse University comm website
by the end of the week if anyone wants to review it or suggest it to anyone
else and thanks so much to all of you for
your participation and your questions tonight we will probably send you a
survey by email in the next few days and if you could just take a few minutes to
give us your feedback that will certainly help us as we plan future
webcasts that will benefit you and we hope you’ll join us for next month’s
free webcast on the topic of managing live horse events which is scheduled for
March 27th at 7 p.m. and registration for that is online through my horse
University comm and my horse university also has Facebook and Twitter sites for
anyone who wants to follow us and get the most up-to-date information on our
events courses webcasts and more and again thanks everyone and if you have
any feedback or follow-up for us you can reach us at info at my horse University
comm or visit us on our website and we hope to see you at another webcast

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