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TOPIC: Advertising to gain clients

RE:Advertising to gain clients 02 May 2010 15:05 #46

  • smitty88
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Mike Ferrara wrote:
I don't think I missed your point.

For all the reasons stated above, I think word of mouth is somewhat unreliable and unpredictable. Sure, do good work and let that work for you but I think there are times when you might need more control over your business and need to take a more proactive approach.

I think what the thread is really about is getting work in an area where you don't have any. If you aren't doing any work, there isn't much to see.

"Area" could be geographical or it could be the discipline. For example, if you want to move/expand from shoeing long footed show horses to jumpers, you may have to take some proactive steps to meet some jumping people and get them to check out your work.

I didn't miss Smitty's point either but he's on a different continent. I cover an area larger than his country and almost certainly shoe fewer horses. his father was a farrier and he served a 4 year apprenticeship. By the time he hung out his own shingle he probably knew every horse and horse owner in the area.

I started similarly but that was 150 miles away. I worked for someone that was well established and just stepped right into a business. All I had to do was not lose it. I got back into shoeing the same way. I called people I knew and told them I was back and walked right into some work.

Things haven't gone so well close to home. Mostly trims in the mud on rank horses and people don't want to pay more than the Amish charge. I lost one client who had a single horse they kept shod to the Amish ($35) and one horse because I was working out of town and couldn't get there until the weekend.

There are some barns in range but they don't know who I am. In each case, someone is doing their work today. I'm going to have to take some of it away. First, I have to get my foot in the door.

I have an Arab place 10 minutes walking time from my door. Worst looking work I've ever seen. I don't mean to brag but I have money that says I could do a nicer job blindfolded. It must be cheap but the lady seems happy.

There's a lot more to it than the quality of your work.

Mike,
the week i started my Apprenticship my father died under a horse
by the time i finished an Apprenticship with another master

i did not get one client my father had
had to do it all from scratch

i have never advertised for work
i shoe in a 25 mile radius
Smitty88
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RE:Advertising to gain clients 02 May 2010 15:09 #47

  • Mike Ferrara
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I stopped by a big place near my house the other day. It's a school and they have almost 100 head. I spent about 30 minutes talking with the guy who runs the stable and I got a nice tour.

They've been using the same guy for about 15 years. It's not the prettiest work but he shows up and gets them done. Prior to getting him, they had trouble finding somebody reliable. I'm pretty sure I can do nicer work but his work is "good enough" and they aren't going to take on any risk for a marginal quality improvement.
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RE:Advertising to gain clients 02 May 2010 15:11 #48

  • Mike Ferrara
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smitty88 wrote:
Mike,
the week i started my Apprenticship my father died under a horse
by the time i finished an Apprenticship with another master

i did not get one client my father had
had to do it all from scratch

i have never advertised for work
i shoe in a 25 mile radius

I've only shod one or two horses within 25 miles of my house in the 5 years or so I've been shoeing again. You think my work is that bad?
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RE:Advertising to gain clients 02 May 2010 15:18 #49

  • smitty88
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Mike Ferrara wrote:
I've only shod one or two horses within 25 miles of my house in the 5 years or so I've been shoeing again. You think my work is that bad?

how would i know if your work is bad
i havent seen to much of it
Smitty88
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RE:Advertising to gain clients 02 May 2010 15:43 #50

  • Mike Ferrara
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smitty88 wrote:
how would i know if your work is bad
i havent seen to much of it

Niether has anybody around here.
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RE:Advertising to gain clients 02 May 2010 15:59 #51

  • smitty88
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Mike Ferrara wrote:
Niether has anybody around here.

I dont have that problem
Smitty88
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RE:Advertising to gain clients 02 May 2010 19:01 #52

  • Alicia Thompson
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I am trying something new... to me anyways.

I am in the process of developing a website and am having T shirts/sweaters made with my web addy embroidered across the back.

I find around here you go into a barn with 75 horses and people watch you work from a distance but are to shy/intimidated/polite ... to disturb you while you work. I get a lot of referrals but not all horse owners at the big barns know each other so not everyone knows how to contact you.

Anyways I figure I could put my name on my shirts or my contact info.
I chose contact info and can wear them not only to shoe but at equine events also.

As a horse owner I say advertise but be subtle. In your face advertising in an industry that is a bit elitist means some advertising forms can be BAD advertising. If you look desperate people assume no one is using you and they wiil think there is a good reason for that.

Just my two cents worth.

p.s. I am still working on the website so it isn't perfect.
Forget thinking outside the box, instead realize there is no box.
- Alicia Thompson


http://thompsonfarrierservice.com
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RE:Advertising to gain clients 02 May 2010 19:33 #53

Mike, there's not any type of equine events, shows, playdays in or around your area oyu can set up at?
It's funny how people always want the truth as long as it's what they want to hear. Tony Dingianni CJF
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RE:Advertising to gain clients 02 May 2010 20:10 #54

  • Mike Ferrara
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centexferrier wrote:
Mike, there's not any type of equine events, shows, playdays in or around your area oyu can set up at?

I'm sure there is. I've just never done much of it.

I went over to the horseman's day use area at the state park today. It rained this morning but it was free-day and cleared up this afternoon so I thought there might be some traffic. I figured I'd warm up by making a couple of hoof picks and then make some shoes.

Folks showed up before I started any shoes. I did lots of chatting, handed out some cards, got one to trim.

The trim really impressed them and if you saw the work that their horses were sporting, you'd understand why. Here's the kicker though, they've been paying $45 to get a horse shod all around. I quoted them $100 which is half what I normally charge. We'll see but I'm not shoeing anything for $45...I'll get a job before I do that.

I've walked around the county fair/pony club stuff and that's what you see. Mostly really cheap work. I'm pounding the pavement, so to speak, but I can't shoe for $45. I said that already, didn't I? LOL
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RE:Advertising to gain clients 02 May 2010 23:07 #55

  • cuttinshoer
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centexferrier wrote:
Mike, there's not any type of equine events, shows, playdays in or around your area oyu can set up at?

I am about 3-4 hours south of Mike, and I can say what he is talking about in the area is right on the money. People use the best value and don't like change much. Theres very little loyalty when someone will do it cheaper but quality is not usually a factor.

I saw another horseshoer that lives a few miles from me, set up a booth at a Chris Cox clinic with a raffle for a free shoeing at $1 a ticket. There were over 500 people at this event. I was curious to see how many he sold at the end of the day to see how well it worked, I went back and there were less than 15 tickets in the bowl. I doubt anybody won the free shoeing, just because I know the guy, but just imagine the cost he had involved in one free shoeing. He stands a few stallions and told me he gets very little shoeing business at these events but usually picks up some mares to breed.
Justin Decker

"As I see it, good enough is never good enough, it's just an excuse for mediocrity. If every shoeing ain't worth your best shot, you're just going through the motions." Tom Stovall, CJF
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RE:Advertising to gain clients 02 May 2010 23:47 #56

I travel to get prices I want. My local area is still way behind,(there's guys shoen around here for 45-50 dollars) I do some around my town,moved here a few years ago when I married,not that cheap but cheaper than what I normally charge and look at it as a trade off(I like staying home as much as I can with my wife) I moved here a few years ago from a large city and to make the money I want to make I have to travel.It is what it is.I accepted this and do what I have to do.If you charge a premium price your going to have to find top end horses,trainers,barns,and for me the only way that I knew how to do that was to put myself in the middle of them(shows,bigger barrel races,endurance meets,etc).Just my opinion
It's funny how people always want the truth as long as it's what they want to hear. Tony Dingianni CJF
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RE:Advertising to gain clients 03 May 2010 02:16 #57

  • Gary Hill
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Mike, I understand the frustration it must be. I know when I started shoeing in Fla, I would roll into a barn and there would be 5 Farriers at every door to the barn. :eek: I worked on one horse for a lady that had used everyone of the other guys plus more. After one year I had her horse back jumping fences and picked up 10 horses in that barn. Now when I moved back home to Texas, that lady wanted to fly me back every 6 weeks just to shoe her one horse. :D I have no idea how the horse population is in your area but here we have all western events and the only folks that use an English saddle that I shoe for are gaited horse people. I ride and compete on most Saturdays and always get questions from friends and competitors, they all ask about problems wanting free advice....Anyway on most Sundays I follow the wife to the canraces and today alone picked up 4 new clients with who knows how many horses at their places? Point is, go after the disipline that you are most confy with and or find the most popular sport horse there and well, Good Luck?
"As I see it, winners get the money - while losers talk of "individual goals" and similar stuff." Tom Stovall
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RE:Advertising to gain clients 03 May 2010 02:46 #58

Hey folks, thanks for the feedback. I haven't heard a thing from the thrifty nickle, but got 2 calls from the local freebie paper so I think I will continue with that, the guy I am going to do on wednesday is big with team penning and I am going to go to some of the events for that and see if I can drum up some business. I was toying with the idea of getting custom shirts done up, but I don't know how much that would bring, and the cost is more than I can justify right now. Trying to break even as much as possible right now. Thanks for all your ideas and thoughts on the matter.
James Cockrell
I learn every day, most days the horse teaches me.
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RE:Advertising to gain clients 03 May 2010 10:10 #59

  • smitty88
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What about working for a farrier 1 or 2 days a week
Smitty88
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RE:Advertising to gain clients 03 May 2010 10:19 #60

  • Mike Ferrara
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smitty88 wrote:
What about working for a farrier 1 or 2 days a week

I think that's always a good way to go...for a lot of reasons. I don't see much chance of that around here but I'm always willing.
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