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TOPIC: How Long did it take???

RE:How Long did it take??? 05 Oct 2005 13:59 #16

  • John Barney
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Where are you at in Kansas? My wife is from there and some areas are not heavily populated. I would not go door to door, I think word of mouth is best but takes some time. The same goes for posting cards and fliers, seems like you are not busy and leads to why questions. Doing good work for a couple of vets has helped me alot. I also warranty shoes for 30 days( alot of people don't) this has also helped because customers know I stand behind my work. Also I have my logo embroidered on shirts which is a covert advertising. Not really asking for business but if someone ask and I just happen to be free... I also think you need to be realalistic about how many you can do and still have time for emergency calls good customers. I have gotten clients for that reason. Horse loses a shoe and the farrier can't get there for 3-4 weeks. Anyway good luck I think you have gotten some good advice here. If you are close to Topeka let me know maybe you can do my mother-in-law's. I have to drive 170 miles so they are not done as often as they should be.

JB
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RE:How Long did it take??? 05 Oct 2005 15:49 #17

  • SlowShoe
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I just had serveral of my clients move. This past year up until about 3 weeks ago I was working 7 days a week. Now this week I've done 2 shoeings so far? Its wednesday. I think I have 3 or 4 shoeings and a few trimmings lined up. But somethign ussually comes along. Someone ussually calls me, we'll see.
________
CBR600F4
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RE:How Long did it take??? 06 Oct 2005 03:03 #18

  • Bill Adams
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Hey Mike,
OK, fine. I see what you mean, you have made some good points. I'll bet that the head of ATT dosen't see the head of MCI and say "let me get you a beer buddy, how's the kids?"
The reason I like this profesion is that I compete against myself not the other Farriers. I have lost clients because I wasen't a cowboy and gained clients because I wasen't a cowboy.

So paints 4 me (what's your name?),
Think how you would feel in a few years, if you get a call from an asspiring young buck, asking to ride with you (the famous CJF) when you just heard that day from one of your clients that he wanted them to dump you and hire him.
Mike,
one more thing . I see "professional courtesy" (courtesy between professionals) as putting a thrown shoe on a horse for another Farrier, and not charging, not as trying to take their client. In the past I have addvertized to let the public know I was available, if they wanted to change Farriers. I found that the established guys even sent me horses to do. Although as I think back on some of those horses, maybe they were mad at me.
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??? 06 Oct 2005 13:00 #19

  • Paints4me
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Bill Adams wrote:
So paints 4 me (what's your name?),
Bill

My name is Erica.. Why is that so important??? LOL

I don't think I will go around handing out business cards. I can' afford to make any shoers mad... when Im still climbing upwards in the area. I do get a lot of others shoers rejected customers though.. LIke the ones that tell me "We called EVERYBODY and your the only one that showed up!! LOL (thats always scary) then I find out why nobody would come out!! I have gotten several bad checks.. and I have a couple guys that call me to have their horses routienly done every 6 months (whether the horse needs it or not) I guess that goes along with being the new guy in town (or in my case gal) Its defintaly hard moving somewhere where you don't know anyone.. espically in this business, where we used to live I got a lot more calls and acctually stayed pretty steady... but things will pick up eventually. Thanks for all the advice.
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RE:How Long did it take??? 06 Oct 2005 13:19 #20

  • Mike Ferrara
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Don't get me wrong Bill. I don't think we need to (or should) go around bad mouthing each other to get business. Good will between pros can go a long way. Just a couple weeks ago I had a mess of a job on a horse at an account I just took over from my old teacher. He offered to come and give me a hand with it but we both had other stops that day so we teamed up. I helped get some of his done and he gave me a hand with my stuff and we only burned up one truck doing it. When a customer has an emergency and you're on the other end of the state it's nice if you have a bud that'll patch things up til you can get there. It makes things easier on us and it's good for the clients. It won't work, though, if you're out cutting each others throats and that's not what I'm suggesting. At the same time I want the good accounts to want me. For starters they need to know I exist. Years ago when I first started I knew people in the area. Now, in a new area, I'm finding things much more difficult and do as much or more work in the old are where I know a few people...and it's FAR away. If I want more work close to home, I'll have to get more aggressive. Oh, I have some backyard folks who pass my name to all their freinds. All that gets me is a bunch of clients who have their horses trimmed twice a year whether they need it or not. LOL I won't make a living on that.

One of the biggest complaints I hear about other farriers is that they don't show up or return calls. I let clients know that I want to work. I'm picking up some new work now in a barn where I already do a few. Apparantly another guy just isn't showing up. I new my other work there was comming due and called the barn owners to let them know I'd be comming up soon and asked if they knew of anything else that needed to be done while I was there and let them know that I could schedule additional time there if needed. As it turns out they did. They may or may not have called me anyway but I sure don't want them thinking that I'm so busy (or otherwise engaged) that I can't help. I'll take the work but I don't feel that I wronged anybody by letting the right people know that I'm around and available.
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RE:How Long did it take??? 06 Oct 2005 18:48 #21

When I started into this business I was working full time at a boat mfg. co. We had to clock in by 5am so were out by generally 1:30 to 3pm, leaving plenty of daylight to practice and learn with my mentor. As my skills improved we would go to horse shows where he would coach me on making shoes, hoof picks pulling clips etc. The dinging of the anvil would draw a crowd. Some interested people would ask us to look at their horses. I was straight up with them that I was still in the learning process, but between my mentor and I we'd see if we could help.

Some business came my way through successful competitions with my own horse. My competitors knew I'd been having trouble with hoof work previously and noticed a difference in my horse. When they inquired as to who was the new farrier and I said I was, they asked me to do theirs!

Some clients of course had used up the practiced guys in my area and being the "new guy on the block" I was called in to do these "scrubs"/ Yeah, I got burned a LOT by these unscrupulous people. But every hoof I did then was more experience for me.

To increase my clientele base I did direct mailouts. While enroute to a client I would make a note of the street name and scan for backyard horses or stables. I then made up post cards and put something to the effect of:
Is dobbin standing at the gate looking for a new farrier? Please call.... I can help! Thanks! I got about a 14% increase in clients from those mailouts!

As a kid I sold many things door to door, so I don't have a problem asking people if they would like to try something new. I sold cookies, candy, homemade potholders, dog walking service, lawn rakings, snow shovelings, lawn mowings etc. I earned my way to horse camps and eventually collected enough money to purchase my first horse doing this!

As a farrier you will find that tooting your own horn can be a beneficial thing, as long as you aren't too brassy! You won't keep EVERY client happy, and you won't be happy with every client. But be happy with the job you do and in your work and you will succeed!

Hanging out at show grounds or horse events is a great way to be seen and get t loisten to the stable talk. Get involved with the local horse clubs, 4-H, FFA, Look for a niche that you could fill. Minis? Halter? Reiners? trail? etc? Not to say you should exclude any one particular horse, but often there are farriers that just don't want to work on certain types of horses which can leave that location wanting for a farrier willing to do that work!

Never ever stop learning! Go to as many farrier clinics and seminars as you can! Offer to help an overbooked farrier- even just picking hooves and pulling shoes is a big help to some!

Do whatever your business card says! If you focus on punctuality - be on time! Focus on availability - be ready for that call at 4 am loading up for a show and the shoe gets pulled. Or on Sunday when they want to go on a trail ride and just realized the shoe is off. Etc You get the idea!

Density of horses and ratio of horses to farriers in any given area will be crucial to how quickly your business builds.
Regards,
Kim

Those who only consider cost, do NOT consider the cost to the horse!

The more we know, the more we know we need to know more! Ya know?
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RE:How Long did it take??? 06 Oct 2005 23:48 #22

  • Bill Adams
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Mike and Kim,
I see what you mean. I have always up untill a few years ago had an add in the local trader paper and the fliers at the feed stores, amd even set up at a few horse shows and made shoes. Always tried to be availible but not trying to "steal" someone's business.
I remember once at a stalion show I was passing out cards and about six months later i got a call. The lady and I recognized each other but couldn't remember where we had met. We then relized that we had talked at the stud show and she had my card pinned up in her tack room, but she called me because I did her friend's horse.
I also remember a guy moved to this area and put up fliers to the effect that he was "accepting clients" untill he had a full book and stated his qualifacations. He told me he couldn't blieve that he got the full book in six weeks. He figured that no one knew of all the bad stories where he was from.

Erica,
Call me old fasioned, but I think when conversing with a person who is in the same craft and therfore shares the same trials and joys, a name makes it a bit more personal and gives a bit of responsability with a signiture.
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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