The easy answer is to simply board other people's horses and the money will come rolling in. Right? If you have had these same thoughts before, then I am sure you are smiling as you are reading this. Many people can relate to this story and many people have attempted it with hearts broken and dreams shattered. It almost happened to us years ago.
No matter how big or small
No matter how big or small your horse boarding business is going to be, there are some core elements for the foundation of your business that are so important and vital to keeping and maintaining a healthy and strong business. It doesn't matter if you board five horses or fifty. Where you start and how you set up your business is so important and you want to do it right the first time.
I have talked to people who have small horse farms with only a handful of boarders and they are struggling with the same issues that a huge boarding facility will have. The reason for this is simple. People are people with different needs and opinions for their horse and horse care. Horses all have their own quirks and vices and as long as you have more than one horse, you will have differences. You might think that because you are small that you won't have those problems but let me be honest and tell you that size has nothing to do with it. I have talked to people who only board a handle of horses and are ready to call it quits! They couldn't take it anymore because of all the different opinions (which lead to disagreements) between them and their boarders.
A different kind of lifestyle
Having boarders on your property is a unique lifestyle and learning to separate the business from the home life and friendships take time. I can say this because I went through it myself and I made many mistakes along the way. If you have boarders on your property then you need to have a boarding contract in place (to protect yourself and your farm) because accidents happen. If you have boarders on your property then you need to have insurance because accidents happen. If you have boarders on your property then you need to have barn rules because if you don't then your place will become a free for all and you will find yourself becoming very frustrated. You need to remember that this is your home and your boarders will only be out at your place for a few short hours but you live there. It will become very frustrating if you continually need to pick up after people and fix things that are broken because of carelessness or lack of respect for your barn.
When we first starting boarding horses we were just like so many people. We didn't have the proper insurance, liability forms, barn rules or a boarding contract. I didn't know where to go to put all this stuff together and it overwhelmed me when I would think about it. If you are there I completely understand and you are not alone. But let me tell you right now, your life will not become easier until you have these things in place. They are vital to your boarding barn and once you have them in place your job will become much easier and you will wonder why you didn't do it sooner.
Making the transition to running your farm like a business and not a hobby farm takes time and sometimes it is painful in the process but it will help you grow in so many ways and you will become much better at your job. Don't let the size of your stable fool you. You can have just as many problems with only a handful of boarders as you do with forty boarders. All it takes is one person.
It doesn't need to be complicated...Just well thought out
Setting up your boarding business doesn't need to be complicated at all but it does need to be well thought out. There is a lot that goes into being prepared for the unexpected and when you have horses that is a big part of it. I always tell people that feeding horses and cleaning stalls is the easiest part of my day. It is all the others things that will come up that you need to think about.
It is a great life but that was only after I had a strong foundation in place for my business and I was ready to handle the unexpected things that happen on a daily basis. Let me help you get your boarding barn off to a strong and healthy start.
If you are new to my blog than welcome! If you are ready to put your barn and business on the right path to success then please check out my two books. "What it really takes to start and run a horse business" goes into the very real life of starting a horse business and how to do it right the first time. This book is about my famlies story of building Vinland Stables and all the mistakes we made along the way and what we did to change them. This book talks about barn rules, boarding contracts and the core elements needs in a boarding barn. I also include samples of barn rules and boarding contracts.
My second book is titled, "The Total Horse Barn Management Makeover" and this book will change your life and how you run your barn! This book talks about every area of running your horse business and the clients that you will have. Everything you do and every decision you make will directly affect your clients and at times you will find yourself situations that can become very stressful. You will learn to run your business with confidence and resolve conflicts in a positive way when they come up. I truly believe this book will help anyone that is in the horse industry and there is not another book on the market that talks about these difficult issues. These two books compliment each other and give a complete and honest look at horse barn manangement.
Wishing you many blessings in your horse business,