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TOPIC: The economy, no smoke!

The economy, no smoke! 25 Jan 2011 11:57 #1

HI all,
I haven't posted here in a while as I was too biz working on horses. I'm working on year 3 of my shoeing career. So I have survived school, building clientele, skills and the rep and backing it up. I understand there is more to learn and that education is vary important to further my career. What I don't know how to do is survive the economy in its down turn. The scary thing is my income is still better then some farriers in my area that have been doing it longer and I am flat broke. I see people scrambling all of a sudden to survive realities that clients are gone and the money with it. I'm use to it as a new farrier however I'm not use to seeing what I'm seeing now and finding a was to survive it.

I guess at this point I'm just saying Now What?! What do I need to do to build clientele and survive this? Where do look/ advertise that everyone ease has not? How do I make myself stand out over the rest?


I know we are all thinking this but lets really talk about this! How can we improve our Businesses in this economy?

What would you recommend to others? That is why we are here to lean and help others.

What do you do that works?
Payed advertising in local papers/ penny savers, Cragslist, Ebay classifieds, showing at local shows, showing up as a farrier at local shows, posting on local forums, putting up flayers/ cards at feed stores, education.......

What can you add to this? How can we help each other out to better client relations?


Thank you
Bex
AKA Rebecca Cothran
www.Bexhorseshoeing.com
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RE:The economy, no smoke! 25 Jan 2011 12:18 #2

  • George Geist
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Bextackbox wrote:
HI all,
I haven't posted here in a while as I was too biz working on horses. I'm working on year 3 of my shoeing career. So I have survived school, building clientele, skills and the rep and backing it up. I understand there is more to learn and that education is vary important to further my career. What I don't know how to do is survive the economy in its down turn. The scary thing is my income is still better then some farriers in my area that have been doing it longer and I am flat broke. I see people scrambling all of a sudden to survive realities that clients are gone and the money with it. I'm use to it as a new farrier however I'm not use to seeing what I'm seeing now and finding a was to survive it.
If you've been getting new work in the last three years you're obviously doing something right. I'd say whatever you're doing keep doing it.:cool:
George
For another fun place to play........
www.horseshoersforum.invisionzone.com
Come over and say hello.
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RE:The economy, no smoke! 25 Jan 2011 14:23 #3

  • 13puppet
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My best advice would be to consciously search for better clients, find the clients who allow you to run your business, not the ones who try to run you into the ground.
Find theses clients and take care of them, the rest should take care of it's self.

Oh yeah one more thing, be careful where you advertise, example: if you advertise in the local bargain paper that's what kind of client you will get 9 out 10 times some one looking for a deal.

The way I did it was at a certain point stop advertising and only take referrals from other clients and vets.
Bo Crotta - Equine Specialist
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RE:The economy, no smoke! 25 Jan 2011 14:57 #4

  • Rick Talbert
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Improve your skill, knowledge, ability, communication and professionalism and you will see that the economy is just an excuse for someone who is lacking in one or more of these areas. I know a farrier who turns down around 6 new prospective clients per week on average because he is slammed and I mean slammed with work, and yet there are other farriers in the same area moaning and groaning about the economy and how there is no work. Is the first fellow living in a different economy? No. He has done something right that some of the others have not. Actually he has done a lot of things right that the others have not.
Rick Talbert
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RE:The economy, no smoke! 25 Jan 2011 15:31 #5

  • Frank Turley
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This may not work after three years in business, but when I first started, I would comb the newspapers and regional horse journals for news of horse shows, games, rodeos, and 4-H. I would studiously look up the addresses of the parties involved using the phone book or city directory. I sent out post cards, USPS, the cards made on heavy stock at the local printer (long before internet).

Somewhere, I found a cartoon of a shoer getting kicked through the air by a horse; the cartoon showed stars and 'motion lines.' The title below the cartoon was, "I get a kick out of your business." This was followed on the post card by my contact info.

Hey, it was only a cartoon. I wasn't looking to get kicked. When you're starting out, you'll get a few fractious horses, because the owners have tried everyone else in the area.
Frank Turley
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RE:The economy, no smoke! 25 Jan 2011 16:24 #6

  • ray tyron
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Quality work and professionalism are the best advertising you can have. Being involved with the horse community will get you a lot of business. 4h. sheriffs p. Gymcona. Doing the best work you can and standing behind it will keep it and bring you more. This economy has improved my business. Guys efforts to undercut me and a few others has put them out of business and left a lot more work for the rest of us. I had a small slump last spring but people doing cheap sloppy work is the best advertising I have ever had. Continually working to improve your work will do a lot more then a newspaper add.
Nothing forced or misunderstood can ever be beautiful.
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RE:The economy, no smoke! 25 Jan 2011 23:54 #7

  • Dave Whitaker
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Rebecca,

If you have withstood and prospered with a start up in this economy, you have done well. When I was building a practice, I found much success in getting friendly with the vets and clinics in my area and let them know that I was interested in doing therapeutic work, ( I happen to really enjoy this type of shoeing). What it led to was an increase in "normal" horses because when I happened to be referred to a horse with issues and was able to do some good, not only did they want me to stay with that horse, but "oh by the way" can you do my other three sound horses as well.

I think most standard forms of advertising are very ineffective and word of mouth and referrals are going to build your book.

Do your best on every foot, return your calls, go the extra mile, and the rest will all take care of itself. Even as tight as things have been here in Maine of late, I routinely turn down "new" work every week and refer it to my last two apprentices, as my book has stayed full. I am a very fortunate man.

Dave


"Everything is for sale......some are just harder to buy than others......"
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RE:The economy, no smoke! 26 Jan 2011 00:00 #8

  • westtxshoer
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I hear alot of folks talk about the poor economy and I do see alot of evidence of it. But, 2010 was the best year I've had yet.:)
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:The economy, no smoke! 26 Jan 2011 01:08 #9

  • ray tyron
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westtxshoer wrote:
I hear alot of folks talk about the poor economy and I do see alot of evidence of it. But, 2010 was the best year I've had yet.:)

think its ben harder on part timers and fly by nights.
Nothing forced or misunderstood can ever be beautiful.
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RE:The economy, no smoke! 26 Jan 2011 03:27 #10

I love what I have taken from this....... thinking about this today and what you all have told me I think I'm looking at this wrong.

first.... the client's I have I enjoy and they enjoy me.

second.... I won't work on **** horses. I'm a single mom who sometimes takes my kid to work. I will not work on a horse that I know with out a dough will hurt me in front of my kid and forces me to lose my good clients due to a lay up time.

third..... I will not shake from lack of funds to sell my self out.


Today after posting this, I posted an add on crags list feeling hungry. I got one token call from the famous Rio Linda that Rush talks about. the lady wanted me to trim her pony, 2 dinkies, a foundered mare and a brood mare that were all from her description bad for the farrier. She asked me what my rates are. I tolled her, then she asked me for a discount and I sad no. Away she went. I felt better not having that client then knowing I could get hurt and not serve client I like instead of dealing with her drama.

I don't think I'm being unreasonable but my opinion is one sided.

I asked a farrier at the supply store for his opinion. His thoughts were I should be more willing to work with the clients and I got the idea that from his wording I have a bad attitude towards clients. He also said to go where the clients are.


The two problems are I don't think I'm being unreasonable but again its a one sided ..... The second is I don't know what I want to do as a farrier! What I do know is I like working with owners and barns that show there horses. I also noticed my clients that show are moistly mine or draft clients. I have thought about trying to gear towards them in the past.

I don't know where to start to get more of those clients. However you all have got my gears going. I don't have a goal or game plan and I think I do now ;)



Thank you,
Bex
AKA Rebecca Cothran
www.Bexhorseshoeing.com
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RE:The economy, no smoke! 26 Jan 2011 03:47 #11

  • 13puppet
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westtxshoer wrote:
I hear alot of folks talk about the poor economy and I do see alot of evidence of it. But, 2010 was the best year I've had yet.:)
Same here?
Bo Crotta - Equine Specialist
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RE:The economy, no smoke! 26 Jan 2011 03:52 #12

  • BS-Horseshoeing
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Do good work and the clients you want will come. Let people know what kind of horses you want to work on. If it's drafts or show horses, tell people. Those types won't seek you out if they don't know that's what you do or like to do.

As far as not doing bad horses, keep that thought in mind forever. I have one of my biggest accounts (only ten shod horses, (I don't put to many eggs in one basket) where I go to a big ranch mainly to do one horse. He's an ex-jumper with a broken coffin bone and the guy who left him to me when he retired was the only one to get him sound and I've kept him that way. So the ranch makes sure there are 9 more to do so I have a full day. Last time there they added a new horse, nice looking little bay filly. She had shoes on so I figured she would be ok, boy was I wrong. She was tough to catch (a bit spooky) then when I got her set up to work on she had a fit and fell in it. She was ok picking up her feet until I brought the tools over, then she flipped out, kicked the tool box over and kicked me right square in the left but cheek. I untied her, put her away and told the owner I couldn't do her until they worked with her, they agreed to do just that and in between some cowboy gets the joy of shoeing her and training her a bit. If I had the time I could do it but with ten in one day there's no way and I ain't going to get hurt. I got a family to feed and a business to run.

I had a close call a few years ago and had one kick me in the knee after I brought the right hind forward and he stood up on the stand pushed off forward and kicked back. Left me laying in the desert wondering if I'd even walk again. I sold life insurance for six months with my father in law. That was harder than shoeing horses and all cause I thought I was tough and didn't get all the info from the owner.

Stick to your guns, do good horses and good work, and you will be fine. As my great grandpa use to tell me all the time, "Every horse in this world can kill you if your in the wrong place at the wrong time no matter how well trained they are." Keep the possiblity of getting hurt as low as possible.
Ben Sturman
AFA CF #7558

Tough times never last, but tough people do!

Beware the lollipop of mediocrity, one lick and you will suck for ever!

Folks who think traditional farriery means perimeter fit don't know a heluva lot about shoeing. Tom Stovall,...
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