Many barn owners lose money because they start hiring employees to do the chores but after a while they find themselves paying out much more money than they expected and many times they find themselves in a financial mess. It becomes overwhelming because you really don't have a clear view of how long the job should take or where all your money is going. If you are not careful it will ruin your business.
If you are starting to wonder if you are paying out too much money for labor then you need to put on your work boots and start cleaning stalls. The simple truth is that before you start hiring employees you should really have done each job at your barn (through all four seasons) so you have a true picture of time needed. If it only takes you twenty-five minutes to give the horses grain and supplements than your employee should not be taking forty-five minutes to do the same job. If walking out horses takes you forty-five minutes than it should not take your employees that much longer. If cleaning stalls takes you two hours but it takes your employees three hours than you have a problem.
Now I know that most employees are not going to work at the same pace but there should not be a huge amount of time difference. As the barn owner you should know how long the job takes when the horses are in due to inclement weather vs. when they are outside. You should know how long each chore will take in all types of weather and seasons. You should know your barn and chores so well that you can pin point down exactly if a chore will take fifteen minutes longer on certain days due to different situations. It should be like clockwork. I can say this because I have been doing chores for ten years with our boarding business and I can pin point down to within ten to fifteen minutes how long each job takes in every situation. This makes it much easier when I go to hire an employee. I can tell them right at the beginning how long the job will take and unless there are some unforeseen circumstances it usually works out pretty much that way.
Now I am not talking about unusual circumstances like a sick or injured horse. I am talking about your regular everyday chores that don't change too much except when you go into a new season. During the wintertime the chores around our barn always take longer. In fact everything takes longer in winter and I spend more money paying employees than I ever do in the summer.
Padding time or not?
It can be frustrating for the barn owner if they are paying out a lot of money each month and they are starting to wonder if their employees are padding time. The problem comes in when the barn owner has never done the chores for any amount of time and they don't have any idea of how long it really takes. You won't know if you have an employee that is padding time unless you get in and do it yourself for a bit.
Be clear and very direct about how long the job should take
Once you know how long each job should take at your barn then you can start to have a schedule for your employees and it will help keep them on track. Be very clear about how you like things to be done and explain why you want them done a certain way. If you have your employees doing things they way you do them then the time allotted for the job should be pretty similar to when you do it. The more clear you are in showing them how to do the chores the easier it will be for them to catch on. The faster they feel comfortable with how everything works the sooner they will become very efficient in their job. That is when you start to save money. If you let everyone do things their own way it will become chaos quickly and you will lose money especially when you are paying someone to go back and straighten out how things were before.
As the barn owner you might need to talk with an employee because a job took much longer than should have. I have done that a few times over the years and it is not fun but it is a necessity for any business. Remember that time is money and most barn owners don't have extra money to be giving out. Owning and running a boarding barn is going to have many expenses and the only way to keep track of where all your money is going is to stay on top of it and that includes employees and wages paid out.
Streamlining the chores
Many times money is lost because the barn is not set up efficiently for doing daily chores. The job takes much longer than it ever should because everything is far way and difficult to do. The barn owner may not see this problem because they are not the one doing the daily chores in all types of weather. If the barn is not set up efficiently than it will be very easy to lose thousands of dollars in a year just in paying employees. Even thirty minutes added onto each day will add up extremely fast. I can't tell you enough how important it is to have a clear view of how long each job takes at your barn and stable.
Financial problems can start to occur if you are paying out a lot of money each month to employees but you really don't know what your budget can handle. It is very easy to get overwhelmed by it all once the barn is up and going and the daily busyness becomes overwhelming. As the barn owner there is so much to think about each and every day and if you can get this part of your business organized and streamlined then it will make your job much easier and it will be a plus for your finances.
Today I encourage you to have someone look at your business with a fresh pair of eyes. If you feel like you are losing money everywhere and are not sure where to start to correct the problem than I would love to help. Running a horse business is difficult but it will become even harder and much more stressful if it starts to get away from you. It can happen very quickly if you don't know where your money is going. If it gets too far away it will start to drain you emotionally and bring you down to the point that you start to give up. If you are starting to feel like this than I encourage you to get some help and guidance. I have walked in your shoes and I know what it is like to be overwhelmed with it all.
Having employees is a great thing and I am thankful for the fantastic staff I have at our barn. Once you know how long each chore takes at your barn you will start to feel much more in control of your business and life. It all works together and if one is out of sync than it will throw everything else off also. Don't let it get to that point. I would love to go on this journey with you and help you make your barn and business all that it can be.
I wish you many blessings in your horse business,