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TOPIC: How Long did it take???

How Long did it take??? 03 Oct 2005 19:28 #1

  • Paints4me
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I have been shoeing horses now since I was 20, Im 26 now. I had the privilage of working with a great farrier for my first couple years who taught me a lot. Now Im on my own.. but we have re-located and I don't know a lot of people yet in my area, so Im barely getting enough clients to call it work. I maybee shoe 12 horses a month if Im lucky. I have had very good luck with the people I've accquired so far and I get a lot of word of mouth in my favor, but things are just Crawling along!! My husband says GIVE IT UP.. becuase Im not profiting hardly anything.. but I can't see myself doing anything else. So HOW LONG DID IT TAKE you to get busy??? I want to get my certification and new tools and really start going hard at it.. but the moneys not there and Im scared to take out a big loan to buy all the nice stuff and not have the work to pay for it. So how do you do it???
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RE:How Long did it take??? 03 Oct 2005 21:44 #2

Honestly, I worked 40+ hours a week at a real job, trimmed and shod evenings, mornings, weekends until I had a good base, then I jumped into the ocean without a life jacket. I worked a job to pay bills, and used "horse money" to buy tools etc. My first shoeing rig was a 22 year old chevy with a gangbox...it takes time and ALOT of effort and sacrafice. When i went full time, I worked with my teacher every wednesday for two years or better. I would then work Saturday to make up for the lost income.
Good Luck
Jason
"Always listen to the experts. They tell you what can't be done, and why. Then do it." Robert Heinlien
Jason Maki CJF, RJF
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RE:How Long did it take??? 03 Oct 2005 23:07 #3

Pretty much same story, I worked as a machinist second shift, so I could shoe from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., go to work at 3, off at 11, home by midnight. Did alot of shoeing on saturday, tried like hell to keep sundays for the family, but building a business is a pain in the donkey. I also worked with my mentor every other friday for lord knows how many years. In fact we still have a barn we work together at.

You need to find an experienced farrier in your new area, and become close friends. Offer to pull off and pull down for free for awhile. Just get in somebody's truck and get your name out there. The best way to aquire new clients is from old farriers. They don't want them, so they give them your number. But if they don't know who you are, how can they give you business? Join your local AFA chapter, get involved. show up at contests or certifications and offer to scribe or hold horses. The hard part for me was wondering when it would all come around, then I realized that it would come around when I made it come around.

Make some phone calls, so what if you get hung up on a couple of times. Keep trying, go to some local shows, introduce yourself to the "official" farrier and ask if you can hang out, unload your truck and make yourself visible. Show up at the local vet clinics, hound them until they refer you. They may not be great horses, but it's business, and once they see what you can do, the sky is the limit.

now get in there!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Dave
"Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects." Will Rogers

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vBimQu6Pxxs
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RE:How Long did it take??? 03 Oct 2005 23:09 #4

One more thing, don't think that it's ***ist if some of the guys won't let you ride with them. I know that if I told my wife that a 26 year old woman wanted to ride with me once a week there would be hell to pay. It's not fair, but it is marriage.


good luck

Dave
"Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects." Will Rogers

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vBimQu6Pxxs
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RE:How Long did it take??? 03 Oct 2005 23:33 #5

I had to work a part time job for about 3 years as I built up my buisness. Hook up with another farrier. I know it is awkward for a guy to let a female ride with him, but hey there are veteran female farriers out there also. I have had female farriers ride with me before never noticed a problem with it. Hang in there, it takes time and patience. My wife still gets on me to give it up. Anytime I make a comment about a sore back or I am tired she will say, "then find a real job, your the one who wanted to do this". I quess it doesnt matter if your male or female, sounds like us farriers get **** either way. :D Hang in there, times will get good. Tell your husband to get on this site, we will explain things to him. What does he do for a liveing?
Phil Armitage, CF
AFA member 7480

"Anyone who proposes to do good must not expect people to roll stones out of his way, but must accept his lot calmly if they even roll a few more upon it." Albert Schweitzer
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RE:How Long did it take??? 03 Oct 2005 23:58 #6

  • Wannabeee
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The biggest thing i can tell ya is be ready when to door opens to walk thru it, make sure your skills are the best they can be and do like the others above me said. Scott
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RE:How Long did it take??? 04 Oct 2005 05:51 #7

  • Bill Adams
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There is no feeling like wondering, at three in the morning, if you will get the transmision in the log truck in time to leave and meet the Vet to work on the show horse at seven AM. I have clients who are quite impressed with my new truck but they can remember helping me push the old beater to get it started. We all have to pay dues, some are just different than others.
My ace in the hole is that one nite on a long drive in 1992, just after we had my kid's horse shod, my wife said, "Hey! You should be a Farrier!" So I could say (when we were having tacos with no chese) "but dear, I can't quit because YOU said I should do this" and then do the big eyes look and all.
Now I'm rich and famous ('cause you heard of me).
Bill

A rightous man regardeth the life of his beast. Proverbs 12:10
I don't give a damn for a man who can only spell a word one way. Mark Twain
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RE:How Long did it take??? 04 Oct 2005 10:19 #8

I spent the first 2 years doing various part time jobs. Year 3 I was too busy to work part time. Year 4 I had to hire my daughter during the busy season to keep up. My issue now is I am too damm nice to turn down folks who need their horse shod and can't find someone. So I consistantly overbook.

Like any other business it takes time to build up clientele. Hang in there.
George Spear
CNBBT, CNBF, CLS


".....and I said to the horse: Trust no man in whose eyes you do not see yourself reflected as an equal."
Don Vincenzo Giobbe
CA. 1700

"What people do not appreciate is that every time a horse submits to...
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RE:How Long did it take??? 04 Oct 2005 11:23 #9

  • Mike Ferrara
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I'm starting out for the second time. I ride with another farrier on and off and have taken some of his overload. This time of year things slow down even for him so he doesn't need me much either right now. For the most part it seems that it's the guys that are looking to get rid of some work who will let you ride with them. Not too many farriers want to take the competition around and introduce them to their clients. I have busy weeks and other weeks I have plenty of time for my bladesmithing and blacksmithing.

All I can say is be patient. In the beginning it builds slow because you have few clients spreading your name. Lots of my clients are backyard folks who don't even associate with many other horse people. Some clients are better for growth than others. The more clients you have the faster you get new ones...it's an exponential thing.

I travel pretty far for some of my accounts and sometimes I'm away from home for several days at a time. Some of them are in the area where I lived and worked before. I do some horses that others won't and sometimes I travel too far to do too little but no one will find me if I'm in my shop making a knife. LOL

I did it before and I'm better now so I'm pretty sure I can do it again. Still, it's going to be a LONG winter. Hang in there, it'll click.
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RE:How Long did it take??? 04 Oct 2005 12:53 #10

  • Paints4me
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Thanks, It makes me feel better to know it was tough for everyone. I am a member of the KFA. I plan on hitting the clinics pretty agressivly this upcoming year. I have rode with a CJF in my area already, but I hate to always be asking to ride, I feel like it proably gets old for them after a while. And I can relate to what Dave said as well. LOL, My husband is not too fond of the idea of me riding around with some guy all day either.
Ok I have another question. I have been back and forth on this one. I have had several shoers in the past stop at my house becuse they saw I had horses, and they wanted my business. Do you think thats a good idea??? Or would people think your just desperate and don't have any customers??? I have thought about doing this a lot.. but I always stop myself. I don't know if its a good idea or not. What do you think??
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RE:How Long did it take??? 04 Oct 2005 14:48 #11

  • Wannabeee
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You can post a flyer with cards at the feed stores and vets, and large boarding barns(training barns is kinda a nono and your card wil be gone before you drive out usually), you may not get the calls you want but it will help the phone ring. Go to any and all schooling type shows(mainly of the type you wanna shoe), anything below class A show doesnt require a farrier so set up your stuff(talk to management if your worried) and be ready to work(pass out cards). Class A shows will have a farrier working go met him/her. Fairs are good too, riding clinics you can pass out cards. Id try to meet all the vets in your area and tell them your building and the hay dealers too they all get around alot. Just so ideas hope they help. Scott
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RE:How Long did it take??? 04 Oct 2005 15:03 #12

  • Bill Adams
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I wouldn't go door to door. It shows the horse owner that you're desprate and it shows the other Farrier that you're trying to take his/her client. I know that any client can change Farriers at any time for any reason and I talk to the other guy about the clients that go both directions. Not however if someone is undercutting me so I don't try to undercut anyone.
I will let other Farriers know their clients are shoping around or that they schedualed with me. This is great as then we can get the story and eather way, can then aproach the situation with "inside info".
We all know that almost every horse we do was done by someone else.
Once I walked into a dinner get together with some other Farriers and told one of the other guys that "Haha, I stole your client!". I knew I was in trouble when I gave the name and all four Farriers at the table started laughing. It was good to find out the details. I did the horse twice (great horse) then passed it on to another Farrier who did it twice.
Just think how you might react if you knew someone was asking your clients to leave you for them.
My$0.02,
Bill

A rightous man regardeth the life of his beast. Proverbs 12:10
I don't give a damn for a man who can only spell a word one way. Mark Twain
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RE:How Long did it take??? 05 Oct 2005 08:57 #13

  • Mike Ferrara
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Bill Adams wrote:
I wouldn't go door to door. It shows the horse owner that you're desprate and it shows the other Farrier that you're trying to take his/her client. I know that any client can change Farriers at any time for any reason and I talk to the other guy about the clients that go both directions. Not however if someone is undercutting me so I don't try to undercut anyone.
I will let other Farriers know their clients are shoping around or that they schedualed with me. This is great as then we can get the story and eather way, can then aproach the situation with "inside info".
We all know that almost every horse we do was done by someone else.
Once I walked into a dinner get together with some other Farriers and told one of the other guys that "Haha, I stole your client!". I knew I was in trouble when I gave the name and all four Farriers at the table started laughing. It was good to find out the details. I did the horse twice (great horse) then passed it on to another Farrier who did it twice.
Just think how you might react if you knew someone was asking your clients to leave you for them.
My$0.02,
Bill

Nothing wrong with a little professional courtesy and it can help every one. I don't know why we should beat around the bush about the fact that if we don't have a full book we ARE after the next guys clients. Why not go door to door? Since when is there something wrong with letting the customer know that you want their business? Why not have the next farrier think I'm after his clients? There may be lots of horses but the really good accounts can be hard to come by. I know that established local farriers would be happiest if I shoe the horses they don't want and charge at least as much as they do. Gosh though, I'm not in business to make them happy. They may as well get used to the idea that I am, in fact, after their good accounts because I could use a few good local accounts. There are really three areas in which one can compete. They are cost, delivery and quality. I would add a fourth and that would be branding but that happens by gaining a reputation for some combination of the main three and sometimes through advertising/marketing. Sometimes a company or person with a name can get away with some things that others can't. A well known farrier might more easily get away with charging more, making the client wait or making a mistake or two. Any of which might be instant death to a lessser known farrier. A person or company can ride a name, at least for a time and sometimes for a long time. New farriers can always get there faster because they don't have anything to do. It makes sense to charge less because they are unproven and in need of market share. It's the old supply and demand thing. When you have supply and no demand the cost usually comes down to increase demand. You don't make anything sitting at home and shoeing a horse is more fun (and keeps you in shape for it) than taking up the slack working at McDonalds. In any case, I never understood why farriers seem to appose competing in the same way that ALL other companies compete. Undercutting? Why not? Remember, cost, quality and delivery. The right combination of those is what makes a customer happy and first you have to attract the customer. Then you have to keep them happy. It's also what encourages the market place to be better, faster and more cost effective. It's healthy.

Farriers are a funny lot. Advertising generally seems viewed as tacky. Why not get creative with marketing like other businesses? Why shouldn't one offer to trim a farms brood mares a little cheaper if they also get the show horses that you shoe (a show horse/brood mare package)? Why shouldn't one promise an extra short delivery for x number of horses or a certain dollar value of business? It might not only get you the work but encourage the client to plan things a little instead of calling you for one at a time. Why not offer a some kind of package baseded on a contract term. Might be a good way to help stay busier in the winter/off season. Like the contract I had to sign to get my cell phone. I'm just making stuff up but you get the idea. Why not go door to door telling potential clients about the things you offer...or put it in the paper? I don't get the impression that AT&T is trying to make MCI happy.

You have to use what you have. A new farrier might be a little younger and stronger but may not have the reputation, experience or whatever. Why not sell the fact that you can get there faster, do more and at an attractive price. Use what you have! Cost, quality and delivery! If you have a reputation that allows you to charge enough that you can make a living doing 2 horses a day, 4 days a week, and people will wait, great. If not though, you need another way. Pricing needs to be based on sound business principles or you'll just put yourself out of business. It does not, however, need to please your competition.

How would I react if I knew someone was asking my clients to leave me for them? Why shouldn't I absolutely expect it?
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RE:How Long did it take??? 05 Oct 2005 09:15 #14

  • Mike Ferrara
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Paints4me wrote:
Thanks, It makes me feel better to know it was tough for everyone. I am a member of the KFA. I plan on hitting the clinics pretty agressivly this upcoming year. I have rode with a CJF in my area already, but I hate to always be asking to ride, I feel like it proably gets old for them after a while. And I can relate to what Dave said as well. LOL, My husband is not too fond of the idea of me riding around with some guy all day either.
Ok I have another question. I have been back and forth on this one. I have had several shoers in the past stop at my house becuse they saw I had horses, and they wanted my business. Do you think thats a good idea??? Or would people think your just desperate and don't have any customers??? I have thought about doing this a lot.. but I always stop myself. I don't know if its a good idea or not. What do you think??

Two things. First, I've been in businesses other than this and I have had to travel and work with female associates many times. If my wife enjoys having the benefits of my earnings then she just has to deal with it. If I needed to hire another farrier, I'll decide which one. If you were just going to ride with me for the company I'd have trouble selling her on that one.

I don't know if going door to door presents the image you want to present but that's something you have to decide. You are desperate and without customers though. Since you don't have anything to shoe, it seems to me that ypou can go look for some or practice saying "Would you like fries with that order sir?"
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RE:How Long did it take??? 05 Oct 2005 11:32 #15

Paints4me wrote:
Thanks, It makes me feel better to know it was tough for everyone. I am a member of the KFA. I plan on hitting the clinics pretty agressivly this upcoming year. I have rode with a CJF in my area already, but I hate to always be asking to ride, I feel like it proably gets old for them after a while. And I can relate to what Dave said as well. LOL, My husband is not too fond of the idea of me riding around with some guy all day either.
Ok I have another question. I have been back and forth on this one. I have had several shoers in the past stop at my house becuse they saw I had horses, and they wanted my business. Do you think thats a good idea??? Or would people think your just desperate and don't have any customers??? I have thought about doing this a lot.. but I always stop myself. I don't know if its a good idea or not. What do you think??

Hey in your case you don't have many customers, so what is wrong with that? There are times, when seasoned farriers have lost clientle for various reasons and put the word out that they are accepting clients. Your just starting out, do what you can to build your buisness. Be smart and safe about it, some barns are not too impressed with farriers that will get under anything safe or not. Saying things like I don't know, your horse is not ready, this is over my head, too dangerous, etc.... will gain respect and show you have good sense. If your in need of income, get another job as you build your buisness. Take advantage of this time to learn all you can by rideing with other farriers.
Phil Armitage, CF
AFA member 7480

"Anyone who proposes to do good must not expect people to roll stones out of his way, but must accept his lot calmly if they even roll a few more upon it." Albert Schweitzer
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