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TOPIC: How long does it take?

How long does it take? 14 Nov 2009 00:57 #1

  • ollieolson
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Okay, I'm a little dicouraged. I've been shoeing horses for just over 2 years now. I don't have tons of experience, but all my costumers are happy with my work, and I've been very pleased with improvements i've made.
So why can't i seem to get any more work? I'm doing anywhere from 5 to 10 horses a week, been this way for a long time. When will it pick up? I'm in a rural area, lots' of horses around, so I don't get it. I will say that this summer was pretty busy, but I also had a fulltime job to keep me occupied when shoeing was slow for a week or two. I have switched jobs, I'm working in construction 4 days a week, and hoping to shoe the other 2 days, but things have been soooo slow. I know that the economy sucks, and winter is upon us, but what gives?
Anyone go thru the same thing getting started? I'm really thinking of calling it quits, but I love shoeing horses. That's the problem. I'm addicted.
Luke Olson

Trust in God, but hobble your horse.
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RE:How long does it take? 14 Nov 2009 01:41 #2

  • solidrockshoer
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OLLI wrote:
Okay, I'm a little dicouraged. I've been shoeing horses for just over 2 years now. I don't have tons of experience, but all my costumers are happy with my work, and I've been very pleased with improvements i've made.
So why can't i seem to get any more work? I'm doing anywhere from 5 to 10 horses a week, been this way for a long time. When will it pick up? I'm in a rural area, lots' of horses around, so I don't get it. I will say that this summer was pretty busy, but I also had a fulltime job to keep me occupied when shoeing was slow for a week or two. I have switched jobs, I'm working in construction 4 days a week, and hoping to shoe the other 2 days, but things have been soooo slow. I know that the economy sucks, and winter is upon us, but what gives?
Anyone go thru the same thing getting started? I'm really thinking of calling it quits, but I love shoeing horses. That's the problem. I'm addicted.

When I started out I showed horses, ran a 50 horse stable, went to sales, auctions, bought and sold horses, raised horses both quarter and thoroughbreds, taught riding, english and western, broke and trained horses, all to get my name out there. It took about 5 years to be able to say I had enough work that I occasionally turned it down. Everyone's a little different but most would say that because of the nature of the business there's always need to promote, (a story in itself) especially if you're in the need to make a living mode. I haven't been there for several years now so just do it to keep my hand in it and get out of the house. ;)
As has been said before, there are different reasons we get into this trade, mine was that I loved horses and found it both intriguing and a means that I could escape the regular rat race and make a good living.
You are just experiencing the normal difficulties of starting up and gaining the confidence of the market. Today I heard about a stable that I had dropped that has 50-60 horses and the replacement farrier is now calling to try and get payment. Things aren't always what they appear up front. :cool:
If youi're going to make it, you will, but it probably won't be tomorrow. Hang in there and good luck.
John
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RE:How long does it take? 14 Nov 2009 02:00 #3

  • Jack Evers
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Much like John, I had a lot of exposure in the horse community - riding, training, breeding, lessons, etc before I could say I had more shoeing than I wanted. It doesn't come quickly particularly in a rural community where folks are apt to be pretty loyal to their old guy.
Jack Evers CJF AFA#426

The best things about the good old days -- I wasn't good and I wasn't old.

The older I get, the more horses I shoe, the fewer things that I can absolutely, positively fix.
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RE:How long does it take? 14 Nov 2009 02:02 #4

  • T. Wm. HALL
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Ollie,

Just keep on doing what you're doing. Five years from now you will look back on what you wrote and you will be amazed at how far you've come! Continue to provide stellar customer service, competitive rates, and above and beyond services, and you will be wishing for that full time job back that you had to get some rest!! :)

If you are gaining more clients than losing, you are doing well. We surely can't please everyone all the time, and will lose some horses/accounts for a variety of reasons beyond our control. Hang up some business cards at local feed/tack stores and such, maybe advertise some on Craigslist. I have had solid results with that. Your satisfied clients networking for you will be the best bet for you as you progress.

I love shoeing horses as well, it is my addiction, my passion, my obsession, and pretty much what keeps me sane. I have had full-time jobs in the past and shod horses solely for an income supplement. This winter is actually one of the first winters I am relying solely on shoeing horses.

Keep on keeping on!! Stay safe and warm!!


Trevor Wm. Hall, CF
Hall's Horseshoeing
Redmond, Oregon U.S.A.
www.Hallshorseshoeing.com


He that would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools. ~Confuscius
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RE:How long does it take? 14 Nov 2009 10:17 #5

  • Mike Ferrara
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I'm in a rural area too and I don't do much work near home. There's lots of horses here but people don't do much with their feet. When they do, they use the Amish or someone else really cheap.


When I first came back to shoeing I put out cards. I got work but it wasn't good work. It was rank horses in mud, dust, out in the sun or some equally nasty place to work...and people want cheap...and all trims.

Again this year, I visited some of the hire and pony club shows to see what I was missing. Almost all the horses were barefoot and in dire need of work (nobody is doing it). Of those that were shod, most were only in front and the work was some of the worst I've ever seen. I've never claimed to be the greatest farrier in the world but I could lay a shoe on the ground with nails sticking up out of it, walk the horse over the shoe and end up with a better job.

The only horses I saw that were shod well were a couple of haflingers that I'm pretty sure the Amish shod.

One of the really bad shoeing jobs was on a horse being ridden by a friend of my wife and owned by a local stable. I visited there to say "hi" and get a look at the other feet. The place is right behind my house but I've never got a call from them.

Anyway, from what I saw I'd say that they don't generally do anything with the horses feet and when they do, they use someone really cheap and not very good.

The exception was one reining horse. The work looked good so I asked who did it. That's her own "special horse" and she trailered down south "to have a specialist shoe the horse". Anyway, it was nice work...on one horse.

Anyway, that's the country horses.
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RE:How long does it take? 14 Nov 2009 10:35 #6

  • Mike Ferrara
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I don't know what others are seeing and hearing but my show horse people cut way back this year. They took fewer horses to fewer shows and that meant a lot less shoeing.

I stopped over at Midwest farrier supply and their business is WAY down. I sat there one afternoon drinking beer and shootin the breeze and everybody who came in was owner buying stuff to shoe their own horses. They tell me that they hear from quite a few farriers that they're out looking for part time winter jobs. That's what I hear anyway.

A couple of years ago when I was first getting going again, I had other show horse shoers wanting me to crank out toe weights for them. This winter I got thinking that it might be a good idea but everybody has more than enough time to make their own shoes this year.
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RE:How long does it take? 14 Nov 2009 11:46 #7

  • smitty88
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Mike Ferrara wrote:
I'm in a rural area too and I don't do much work near home. There's lots of horses here but people don't do much with their feet. When they do, they use the Amish or someone else really cheap.


When I first came back to shoeing I put out cards. I got work but it wasn't good work. It was rank horses in mud, dust, out in the sun or some equally nasty place to work...and people want cheap...and all trims.

Again this year, I visited some of the hire and pony club shows to see what I was missing. Almost all the horses were barefoot and in dire need of work (nobody is doing it). Of those that were shod, most were only in front and the work was some of the worst I've ever seen. I've never claimed to be the greatest farrier in the world but I could lay a shoe on the ground with nails sticking up out of it, walk the horse over the shoe and end up with a better job.

The only horses I saw that were shod well were a couple of haflingers that I'm pretty sure the Amish shod.

One of the really bad shoeing jobs was on a horse being ridden by a friend of my wife and owned by a local stable. I visited there to say "hi" and get a look at the other feet. The place is right behind my house but I've never got a call from them.

Anyway, from what I saw I'd say that they don't generally do anything with the horses feet and when they do, they use someone really cheap and not very good.

The exception was one reining horse. The work looked good so I asked who did it. That's her own "special horse" and she trailered down south "to have a specialist shoe the horse". Anyway, it was nice work...on one horse.

Anyway, that's the country horses.

Mike,
over here the cheapest i here is 45 euros a set
and the dearest 100
and the norm beeing 60 to 80

would you think the 60 job is less of a job than the 100
thats for a plain set of shoes cold/hot
Smitty88
John Mc Loughlin
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RE:How long does it take? 14 Nov 2009 12:19 #8

  • ray steele
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For ease of comparison of Johns/ Smitty 88, euro figure

Today a euro is worth between $1.48 usd and $1.49 usd so a 100 euro shoeing job in Ireland would be $148.00 to $149.00 usd here in the states.

quick conversion, the euro is worth $1.50 usd, 60 euro about $90.00 usd etc.

Regards

Ray Steele
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RE:How long does it take? 14 Nov 2009 12:26 #9

  • smitty88
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ray steele wrote:
For ease of comparison of Johns/ Smitty 88, euro figure

Today a euro is worth between $1.48 usd and $1.49 usd so a 100 euro shoeing job in Ireland would be $148.00 to $149.00 usd here in the states.

quick conversion, the euro is worth $1.50 usd, 60 euro about $90.00 usd etc.

Regards

Ray Steele

Ray,
how does that fair out with your prices over there
is a 70/80 job over here to cheap (anybody)
Smitty88
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RE:How long does it take? 14 Nov 2009 13:02 #10

  • Mike Ferrara
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smitty88 wrote:
Ray,
how does that fair out with your prices over there
is a 70/80 job over here to cheap (anybody)

Prices vary quite a bit here. I average $175 usd with a low of $150 usd and a high of $200 usd depending on location and client... between 100 euro and 133 euro. The Amish around here are shoeing for like $35 usd (23 euro)
would you think the 60 job is less of a job than the 100
thats for a plain set of shoes cold/hot

Not necessarily. The Amish around here are the least expensive shoeing that I know of but I've seen some of their work that I think looks pretty good.

I think price is more a reflection of what the market is and the business stratagy of the farrier.
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RE:How long does it take? 14 Nov 2009 13:15 #11

  • smitty88
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so would it be fair to say a 200 usd job might not be as good as a 100
usd job.

and the fact that your getting top dollar for your work
does not mean you are doing top dollar work
Smitty88
John Mc Loughlin
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RE:How long does it take? 14 Nov 2009 13:34 #12

  • Mike Ferrara
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smitty88 wrote:
so would it be fair to say a 200 usd job might not be as good as a 100
usd job.

and the fact that your getting top dollar for your work
does not mean you are doing top dollar work

Maybe you should ask my clients? I get $200 because I won't go there if I don't. They apparently want me there.

Is that top dollar? A buddy of mine gets $230. I think some of the hunter/jumper guys are getting like $250. I reset a long footed show horse for between 200 and 225 but a buddy of mine gets 250 and he's bussier than I am...he's also better known and more experienced. When you look at the whole picture I don't think I'm getting top dollar.

What is "top dollar work"? I'd submit that it's work that people pay "top dollar" for.

I mentioned the market. I get those prices in barns where they have show horses. They want a farrier who can do long footed show horses and anything else they need. Having something of a specialty can get you into places that not everyone else can get into.

Out here in the country I'd probably have to cut my prices in half. Does that mean that my work would suddenly be half as good? LOL, I'm not sure what you're getting at. It's supply and demand.
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RE:How long does it take? 14 Nov 2009 14:46 #13

  • vthorseshoe
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Mike covered it pretty good.
If your shoeing country or backyard horses then you have a couple of things you'll contend with.
1. folks are inexperienced and most don't know a good job from a bad, but they understand cheap cost.
2. Most don't realize horses need to be done on a regular schedule so horses are overgrown more often than not.
3. There will be many shoers of varied experience vieing for the same work.

My suggestion is find a disciline or breed you enjoy working with and focus on that. (keep the others until your business lets you know you can start dropping them)

I went from riding horses into drafts.
It was an area not many shoers care to do.
It was a niche in the business where opportunity was wide open.
It was an area I found I truly liked.
I have been busy from day one and stay busy because I choose to keep learning from others who are more experienced than I am.

As others have said, Time combined with good work and good customer service will build your business.
Good horse handling is always a plus to winning customers.

Promote yourself by introducing yourself to as many horseman and stables as you can.
Volunteer to give demonstrations to 4-H or FFA groups.
Talk to your local feed store and see if you can set up a Saturday and put on a shoeing demonstration and talk. (this is good for the feed store to brin g in customers and good promo for you to meet many folks and get your name on their tongues.

And finally as others have already said hang in there.
If your work is good you'll wake up one day and say when am I going to have some time for myself....

my 2 cents worth ;)
"you may not like what I say" !
-but-
"you'll never have any doubts where I stand
quote Cindy Matthews 1948-2006


I thought my life had come to a close with Cindy's passing, but there is life after death Thankyou Sharon !

Bruce Matthews
Southeast...
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RE:How long does it take? 14 Nov 2009 15:43 #14

  • ray steele
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Smitty ,

to me anyway, a good job is a good job no matter the price and a c r a p job is a cr ap ,no matter the price. Price difference is pretty much as has been stated by several here, what the market will bear!

Ollie olson,

my advice is to do good work no matter the horse or client, if there is a need for your quality of work in the area that you choose to practice in then you will make it, though it may take time. you need to evaluate alot of factors, supply and demand is one of them.

regards

Ray Steele
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RE:How long does it take? 14 Nov 2009 16:00 #15

  • smitty88
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In that case a good 35 usd job sounds good:rolleyes:
Smitty88
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