Charging a late fee is something that many boarding barns put in their contract but it is something that many barn owners have a difficult time enforcing. It is not fun at all to have to call or email your clients and remind them that the board is late. It can be very stressful to charge a late fee for one reason...we worry that our clients are going to become very upset with us and even worse they might leave our barn. It can become very emotional if you allow it and trying to separate personal from business takes time and growth as a business owner. If you are a barn owner then you know exactly what I am talking about. It is a very real fear that many barn owners have experienced at one time or another.
I had boarders early on in my business that were constantly late and it didn't seem to bother them. My board was due on the first of the month with a grace period of five days. It would at times be the tenth of the month before I was paid by some clients. They would come and ride and I would see them daily and they didn't have a care in the world but I was sweating to pay my bills on time. I would walk up to my house and become upset and stressed but the only one that was upset was me. I started to realize that the problem was with me and how I was running this part of my business. I was allowing my boarders to pay late and I needed to start looking at my job as a real job with a real paycheck.
I started to realize that the problem was with me and how I was running this part of my business. I was allowing my boarders to pay late and I needed to start looking at my job as a real job with a real paycheck.
When a pattern needs to be broken
If a pattern has been developed in allowing your boarders to pay late then you need to take a good look at how you are running this part of your business and break the pattern. It needs to start with you as the barn owner. I had created this issue when our barn was young and I had to change it and it was definitely a learning experience for me...but a great one! I believe it helped me grow in so many ways and it will for anyone that goes through this.
The fear in our mind
The fear that you will have clients that will leave if you charge a late fee is something that we create in our minds and it is not reality. The truth is, if a boarder leaves because they were upset over a late fee for a bill they didn't pay on-time then they had other issues to begin with and you need to let them go. You deserve better for the hard work you do seven days a week to take care of their horse and if they leave then it will open up a spot for a wonderful new client to come to your barn.
It's all about respect
I guarantee that once you start getting paid on-time each month it is going to change how you feel inside about what you do for your clients and their horses. You will start to feel better about yourself and the services you offer at your barn but most importantly you will start to feel respected. It is all connected and even something as simple as getting paid when the board is due can have a huge affect on you in more ways than one. Take a step of boldness and leadership and charge the late fee if needed and you will quickly realize that this issue will take care of itself and will become non-existent. It is because you have set a standard for which you want to be treated and it will change your business and life in ways you can't imagine.
Remember that you have put a lot on the line to start your horse business and what you do every day for the horses in your care is valuable. Take pride in what you do and being paid on time is a very important part of it.
If you are new to my blog, then welcome! I wrote my newest book to give you an in-depth look into the business of boarding horses and all that it entails. This post today is one small example of what my new book addresses. If you are boarding horses or are planning on it, please check out, "A Step By Step Guide To Starting And Running A Successful Horse Boarding Business." It is a very comprehensive book on boarding horses and covers every part of it from building your barn or stable to solid barn management. I wrote this book because I realized there is an information gap when it comes to this subject and my goal is to help others so they don't make all the mistakes I made when we first opened our boarding facility. I want you to be prepared for the crazy and wonderful new career you are going into.
Wishing you many blessings in your horse business, Sheri Grunska