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TOPIC: picking up work

RE:picking up work 15 May 2009 03:37 #16

  • westtxshoer
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Don't leave cards in mailboxes. That can get you in trouble. In fact, don't leave cards at all, leave brochures. At www.vistaprint.com, you can get full color brochures printed for free, just pay shipping of $5-$8. You can get 25 brochures of good quality again and again. Business cards also. Don't leave a card in the mailbox. Leave a brochure on the gate.

When I got out of shoeing school, I wanted to apprentice with someone in the area. Fact was, at the time, there was nobody better than me (I am not being arrogant). I rode with one guy a couple of times who is a good guy, but nothing more than a cowboy shoer. I just started on my own. It took a little over a year to get a good book of clients (and you gotta do the bad ones or at least try), but I found some good clients who recommended me to everyone they knew and my business grew fast. It really only takes a few good ones to kickstart you.

Rick, you should open a "farrier therapy" practice. Good words.
RJ Little
Merkel, Texas
817-341-9857

"I ain't askin' nobody for nuthin', if I can't get it on my own." - Charlie Daniels
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RE:picking up work 15 May 2009 03:38 #17

  • Rick Talbert
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someone will say, you can't go around undercutting local farriers. From what you've stated, you've tried to make an effort and do things right. the heck with them, undercut them. This is a business and your in desperation mode. If they will not help you. You gotta do something. I have farriers try to get my clients all the time, they offer to shoe them for less money. I don't care, it doesn't bother me at all. It is a test for my clients. I don't want any clients on my book that do not want me to be shoeing their horses, and I don't want any that are looking for the cheapest farrier they can find. If one of my clients goes with another farrier, it is a client I do not want back. I don't mind farriers testing my clients for me, I learn what kind of client they are. Farriers that get P.O.ed at guys trying to undercut them, don't have good loyal clients. They would have good loyal clients if they were doing things right.
Rick Talbert
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RE:picking up work 15 May 2009 03:44 #18

  • Rick Talbert
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westtxshoer wrote:
Rick, you should open a "farrier therapy" practice. Good words

I used to work at a shoeing school, and I've dealt with this a time or two. lol:D
Rick Talbert
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RE:picking up work 15 May 2009 15:13 #19

  • DavidinGA
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I don't know about PA but in GA there are several organized rides each year and I have seen lots of guys build a business in one or two rides ( at least enough of a business to pay most of their bills). What the guys do here is go to the ride the day before and either take their own horses or meet a client or friend at the ride. Once there is a bunch of people there they pull out the pre arranged horses and start shoeing. When they are done they usually have a line. Have some business cards handy and give one to each person you shoe for. If you do a good job and charge reasonable prices, they'll call you.

I also know of at least two guys who have a full client list but will schedule empty days for these rides just to make some "side" money. They are both well established and well known farriers and they will charge as much as $40 per foot at the ride even though normal prices are more like 70-100 per horse.

Hope this idea helps
David
David H. Van Hook
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RE:picking up work 15 May 2009 20:43 #20

  • smitty88
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What kind of work are you doing?
Smitty88
John Mc Loughlin
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RE:picking up work 16 May 2009 01:18 #21

Can you be more specific? are you asking as far as shoeing trimming ratio? Im doing alot of trims mostly
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RE:picking up work 16 May 2009 02:51 #22

  • Dan Puckett
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Brad- I am in the exact same boat as you are. I am in southeast MO, and it is not really a hotbed of great farriers- I am one of the best around, judging by the work I've seen and comparing it to my own, and have been out of school for almost 3 months. I took a M-F 8-5 job in a tire warehouse to pay the bills, and it is only a temporary gig. I hate my co-workers and the job itself (everything I dont like that got me into farriery- inside, hot, humid, same old same old, etc), but if that motivates me to do what it takes to grow my business, it will be for the best. I plan to apprentice with my mentor on Saturdays that he is in town (he's an AFA examiner, and apparently in high demand)- 45mi away.

My rig isnt the best looking (92 Dodge 4x4 dually with fading paint and a $100 topper) but I keep it clean and the back is organized. When I show up, I have a game plan, and get to work.

I have done a lot of networking, and plan to do more. I have already gotten a few referrals from the equine vet in the area, and have had several people at stables tell me "next time I need shoes, I'll call you." Of course, I dont expect every one of them to call me, and some of them said that over 2 months ago. But, with the average local shoeing cycle being in the 8-12 week range, I'm not surprised either. I plan, starting this Monday, to go to a stable or training barn after work, and talk to SOMEONE and try to get my name out there more.

Like has been previously stated, join your local association and network with some other farriers, good bad, or mediocre. If they give you their overflow, and you provide better service and/or performance, so much the better for you.

Good luck,
Dan
Dan Puckett, CF
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RE:picking up work 16 May 2009 10:58 #23

  • Jay Mickle
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Brad,

You are in an area, Bucks Co. Pa, Hunterdon, Somerset, and Morris Counties, NJ
That is where the general level of horseshoeing maybe higher than any place in the country. You will need to work with someone to get the skills necessary to compete in that market.
Jay Mickle
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RE:picking up work 16 May 2009 11:30 #24

  • tbloomer
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A few years ago I ran into a woman at the Hoof Care Summit who complained about how hard it was for her to build a business. She looked to be about 18 years old. She was actually 27, and had been shoeing horses for about 8 years. Said her biggest problem was that people didn't think she looked old enough to know what she was doing. From talking to her I could tell that whe really knew her stuff and her hands told a different story than her highschool girl face. Some people can't get past a first impression. Even talking on the phone, if you don't have self confidence, it will come out in the way you express yourself.

OTOH, if you aren't getting telephone calls from perspective clients, then you may want to look at how and where you are advertising. Usually there is some kind of free weekly publication that is distributed in all the local feed, tack, and convenience stores. Any publication that has regular livestock, feed, hay, and straw for sale classifieds is a good place to put an advertisement for farrier service.

"Trimming and Horseshoeing call 555-1234"

You'll get calls from everybody that is desperate for farrier service. If they call, don't try to talk them into hiring you. You already have them on the phone. Make an appointment. If they are desperate, then they don't get the luxury of an interview. You're the guy that's going to show up.
Tom Bloomer
http://blackburnforge.com
302-222-6404


Here's the deal. I'm trying to keep it simple.
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RE:picking up work 16 May 2009 11:50 #25

  • smitty88
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Go and clock up some miles with a good farrrier
if you have to travel or move thats what you got a do

if you work hard for 3/4 years get the right teaching
it wont matter whoes in your area

they will have to worry about you
Smitty88
John Mc Loughlin
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RE:picking up work 16 May 2009 12:23 #26

  • BPethick
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Brad,

You have mentioned how much effort you have put forth into contacting Farriers to work with etc.
Have you been attending meetings of the GSHA, PPHA or DelMarva?

The Associations would be a place to meet and talk with farriers in the area.
If you made the effort to attend the meetings regularly and show an interest you may have a better chance of finding someone to work with.


Bucks Co. Pa, Hunterdon, Somerset, and Morris Counties, NJ. as Jay mentioned also have the highest concentrations of horses per square mile than anywhere in the country.
I don't think relocating is going to make it any easier, you are in a very good area.

You need to rethink your efforts, and come up with a plan.
There are many opportunities available out there.
Bob Pethick CJF AFA #1340
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Only those who have the patience to do things perfectly will acquire the skill to do difficult things easily...
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RE:picking up work 16 May 2009 21:38 #27

Dan Puckett wrote:
I am one of the best around, judging by the work I've seen and comparing it to my own, and have been out of school for almost 3 months.


that´s the attitude that keeps you from getting the clientele, and that´s also something to be changed when you´ve been out of school for 3 years.

usability is what counts to the most owners, good looks is just +
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RE:picking up work 16 May 2009 22:28 #28

  • smitty88
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Puckett
I am one of the best around, judging by the work I've seen and comparing it to my own, and have been out of school for almost 3 months.


dont you just love it:(
Smitty88
John Mc Loughlin
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RE:picking up work 17 May 2009 01:55 #29

  • Dave Whitaker
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A lot of good advice/info in these posts, Brad.

One thing I didn't see that has worked great for my last apprentice..... find the Humane Society/ horse rescue type places around your area and VOLUNTEER some time to help out there horses' feet.

1. You get to work on some pretty distorted stuff and that does wonders for your learning curve.
2. They work with Vets in your area and that helps get your name around..
3. These places have volunteer help that OWNS THEIR OWN horses, that need foot care and if you do good work and are likable, a few horses will eventually swing your way.

You will find that as your business grows, it will begin to snowball....you know..one horse makes two, two makes four, four becomes eight, etc. It's all word of mouth....

hang in and keep the faith....

Dave


"Everything is for sale......some are just harder to buy than others......"
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RE:picking up work 17 May 2009 17:06 #30

  • Bill Adams
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Don't undercut other Farriers unless it's in an area you don't plan on staying in, like say, Georga-most-of-the-time.

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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