when to buy it.
I also have that they are responsible for blanketing on/off according to the weather and temperatures. I have a boarder that put a blanket on in January when it was below zero but never came to check on him or take it off when the weather got warm- he was sweating. The board is always late and they've finally started paying board on time after almost two years of being late. I don't even care so much if the boarder doesn't come out and see him but she is not properly taking care of her horse especially when it comes to blanketing. Do you make boarders come see their horses? I'm wondering if I should ask her if she wants to do full board for 350.00 a month and buy feed and do blanketing/ fly masks/ deworming?
Can you help with some insight?
Let me first start off by saying that I completely feel your frustration. It is extremely upsetting to come out to the barn to do chores and find a horse that is sweating because the owner has not been out to change the blanket when the weather becomes warmer. The same would be true for the horse that needs a blanket and is shivering with no blanket to be found. I have dealt with both scenarios and neither one is fun at all. It is not only upsetting but it can make the horse sick which is even worse.
At our facility if a client can't make it out to change the blanket and the weather gets warmer I will change it for them but it comes with a fee. I charge a fee anytime I need to put on a blanket, switch blankets or take them off. When new boarders come to my barn I give them a rate sheet and it has the prices and fees for services done and any kind of blanketing is included. I have no problem calling my boarders and letting them know if their horse is sweating and they are always willing to have me switch or pull the blanket and pay the fee. It is as simple as that. You need to run this like a business, no exceptions.
As far as grain - If the boarder runs out of grain, I will give a courtesy text to let them know they are out of grain. I never give their horse any of my grain unless they are going to pay for it. If their horse is out of grain, he is out of grain until they bring more. I understand that life gets busy and I don't mind texting my boarders to let them know they are getting low or are completely out of grain but I would never offer my grain for free. The same would go for supplements of any kind.
No excuse for a late board check - If your boarder has been late with the board check for two years than you have been greatly taken advantage of!! The madness needs to stop. I also had many late board checks when we first opened our barn and it took me a few years to toughen up and stick to my late fee that was on my boarding contract. Once I finally started charging a late fee the late board checks stopped and I started getting paid on time each month. It is a lack of respect when a person can't pay their board on time and you need to be the one to make this happen. It needs to start with you and how your run your barn. Remember it is a business first and if someone can't pay their board on time then they can pay a late fee. No exceptions. Remember this is your paycheck and you are not in it to work for free and you would not work at another job where your pay check came two or three weeks late each month. I don't believe anyone would. The little bit of money you are receiving for board is not enough for all the stress you are dealing with. This is a real job and business just like any other job and you need to make sure your clients understand this.
When a boarder is a "No-show." I have had a few boarders over the years that came out very little to see their horse. I do not require a set amount of days that a boarder needs to see their horse. As long as they are current on their shots, farrier, worming and everything else that needs to be done than I am good with that. Of course it will highly depend on the horse, age and any issues the horse might have. If the horse is blanketed and I need to switch blankets than they understand there is a fee. I charge a higher rate for board and I feel part of my job is to check each horse out daily both morning and afternoon and then before we close the barn at night to make sure they are doing good and there are no new cuts or marks and the horse looks healthy and sound. If the boarder chooses not to come out for a while, I am okay with that as long as no signs of behavior start to show up. I take each situation on an individual basis and if something needs addressing then I will contact the boarder and we will discuss what needs to be done.
Each barn owner will have their own view of how they want to handle boarders that don't come out to see their horse. The great thing about being the barn owner or manager is that you can design your barn rules and boarding contract any way you would like to and you will find the right boarders that will love the way you run your barn. You just need to follow through on the rules you have in place when it comes to these issues.
I believe that if you want to charge more for board and offer these services than that is a great way to go. I think a lot of your frustration will disappear once you do this. My one bit of advice would be to have a very honest talk with your client. If you are going to raise the board to $350.00 per month and offer these services then you need to make sure you are going to get paid. If you were having a hard time getting paid when the board is only a hundred dollars a month than there is a very good chance you are going to have a more difficult time getting paid once you raise it up to the "full board" rate. I would be very careful!
I do believe that all the issues you described above are totally fixable but it needs to start with you. It might not be easy or comfortable at first but once you start running your barn like a business than your clients will start to see the difference. You might lose a boarder or two that don't like the changes you are making but you need to be okay with that because it is vital that you put your barn and business first. Once you start doing this the rest will fall into place. The right boarders will find you and they will pay on time and appreciate what you offer. You will also find your job starting to become so much easier on a daily basis and you will gain a confidence you didn't have before.
Can I encourage you to check out my newest book, "The Total Horse Barn Management Makeover." All the issues you are having are exactly what this book is about and why I wrote it! I went through everything you are going through and I know things can be so much better. The hardest part of your job will be the clients and this book will give you the tools to deal with every one of these issues and so much more. It's real barn management.
Thank you for the fantastic question and for being so honest. Don't give up, it will get so much better if you are willing to make some simple changes.
I wish you many blessings in your horse business,