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TOPIC: Big Barns, Trainers, and Vets...friend or foe?

RE:Big Barns, Trainers, and Vets...friend or foe? 07 Apr 2011 03:34 #31

  • Travis Reed
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Rick Talbert wrote:
yeah travis, I will send u the e-book version. LOL. I almost didnt post that last night when I saw how long it was, and how it may be taken in the wrong way, but what the heck, its just opinions and thoughts. You been quiet on facebook lately, those big barns must have you wore out, lol. ha. You gotta eat a lot of chick o sticks to keep your energy up. :D

I'm glad ya did post it..it di give me a new way at looking at things..and its good info for others ..oh there is no doubt a big barn is a big pain..and its good info for when I get fired ..lol. because u and I both know that's comming..lol..ain't but one thing for sure as a farrier..we will get fired sooner or later
Travis Reed.....


www.sporthorsefarrier.com to direct link..
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RE:Big Barns, Trainers, and Vets...friend or foe? 07 Apr 2011 13:33 #32

  • Mark_Gough
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There seems to be a trend here that supports my own philosophy.

If you work at a large barn, directed/scheduled/managed by a trainer or single barn owner, it's going to feel like a job.

If you work for many small accounts, it's going to feel more like an independent business.

One of the reasons I left corporate America was because of the stress associated with knowing that much of my financial well-being was in the hands of one person.... my boss. That is a source of stress that many workers endure without even fully understanding. You build a life around that income and the boss determines to a large degree whether or not you get to keep that life. In my opinion, that's too much power for someone to have over my life.

I think that Alan, the original poster of this thread, is feeling some of that stress right now.

I wanted to operate a business so I could be the boss. I would own my financial well-being. I would decide where, when and for whom I would provide service.

I'm not "employed" by any of my customers. Instead, I "rent" them my services, contract renewable every 6 to 8 weeks.

This puts us on a level playing field and allows us to communicate more openly with one another. I appreciate and respect those customers and their needs and believe that for the most part, they respond in kind. It's not an employer/employee relationship. It's a low-stress business relationship and in some ways, much like spending the day traveling around, visiting with friends.

I've tried the "big barns" thing. It immediately left me feeling like I was applying for a job and was about to relinquish much of the freedom that caused me to choose this career to begin with.

To loose that freedom again, someone is going to have to pay me a lot more money than I can earn shoeing horses. Even then, it probably won't be enough.

Cheers,
Mark
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RE:Big Barns, Trainers, and Vets...friend or foe? 07 Apr 2011 13:56 #33

  • smitty88
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I dont have a problem with big yards
beats driving around all day

regarding looseing a big client if your going to think
like that forget it
Smitty88
John Mc Loughlin
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RE:Big Barns, Trainers, and Vets...friend or foe? 07 Apr 2011 14:52 #34

  • Mike Ferrara
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I shoe in big places...between 30 and 100 horses. I didn't plan it that way, it just happened.

More than half of my work is in one barn. There are many horse owners in that barn but only one lady owns the barn and she pretty much decides who is going to shoe which horse. If I got on her bad side I could lose more than half of my income in one go. It doesn't matter so much what the horse owner wants. The barn owner is the one in control.

There are good and bad points with accounts like these but don't make the mistake of thinking that the quality of your work is the only thing keeping you there.

That's a public/boarding barn. I work in others that are primarily training barns and THE trainer makes ALL the shoeing decisions concerning ALL the horses. If you fail to please this one trainer (in whatever way), you're out of there! It doesn't have to be right or fair but you'll be out of there just the same.

Years ago, I had lots of good "backyard" accounts. Clients with between one and 8 horses. I had a couple of big accounts but lots of small ones. I liked that better. No one account could really hurt me.

Unfortunately, where I live now, the backyarders pay Amish prices and you could do better working at McDonalds...and not hurt as much at the end of the work day. Oh and all the backyard horses are BAREFOOT> I don't mind trims but lots of people do their own or just or have it done once/year so you need about 10,000 of them to make a living.

Maybe it means that I'm getting old but I don't think this business has changed for the better over the years.
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RE:Big Barns, Trainers, and Vets...friend or foe? 07 Apr 2011 23:13 #35

  • Jack Evers
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Personality is always part of it. Some years ago a farrier I knew bought a practice on the eastern seaboard - big barns. A few years later he sold it and came back West. Part of the reason (personal reasons were also involved) was "In Colorado the owners were my friends, in the new practice, I made a lot more money, but I rarely met an owner". He just preferred to know his owners, some of us (not me) would like to work alone. Do what suits your personality.
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:Big Barns, Trainers, and Vets...friend or foe? 08 Apr 2011 00:30 #36

  • Rick Talbert
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Anthony_Lawrence wrote:
I've been reflecting a bit since losing the big barn mentioned above... and I couldn't agree more about what you say here.

Mostly I want to get paid for my work, but I also want to feel good about what I'm doing because I put my heart and soul into it. I want to feel appreciated.
I am glad you understood my point of view. I was afraid it wouldn't come across well. But what you said is exactly right. Most of the regulars on this site may have different opinions, but you can tell that most of the folks here are passionate about shoeing horses. I enjoyed teaching for a while at a shoeing school, and have had a few guys ride with me over the years, and you can tell that some are motivated by the potential money while a few are motivated by the process. Those who are motivated by the money are the ones who will not be as successful. Because they will not have the knowledge to handle situations properly, they will not have the answers the owner needs, they will not have the quality in their work. I want to get paid a fair price, I have a family to provide for, but I am not motivated by money. What I charge an owner subconsciously helps reassure me that the owner values the effort I have invested in this profession, from the first time I picked up a hammer, from the first night I stayed up till 2am studying till now. Many people on this site have invested much of their life into farriery, and the subject is vast, diverse, and unique. It takes a very special person to have the aptitude to excel in the various aspects required to be well rounded and competent professionally. Monetary compensation should reflect the investment made. That being said, I am terribly laid back about money. My challenge is to satisfy myself. My stress is to get accounts finished and checked off the to do list, trying to get everyone taken care of in as reasonable time frame. Keep you head down working and there will be money in the bank. Something that rarely gets addressed, but weighs heavily on a business is how a person manages their money. If you stretched out with debt, then your more dependent on your clients, and any little blow is going to send you into a panic. I think the lesson to be learned from today's economy is that we should all be recession proof. If you live far beneath your means, your fairly recession proof. Think, what percentage of your house do you own, what percentage of your vehicles do you own, if its not 100% then that should be a priority. How many average days of work does it require in order to pay your mortgage if you have one? How much is in the safe for a rainy day? If you manage to become recession or depression proof, then not only will it improve your state of mind, but you handle a loss of an account in stride, like water off a duck's back.
IME big barns make you feel like cr4p because they only pick the perceived faults where-as the smaller barns and people with 1-4 horses tend to appreciate the positive changes I make to their horses... and they are prepared to work with you as you try to solve problems.
I don't know if I agree, I have worked with some very nice people (owners, trainers, grooms, etc) at large barns. BUT, it is very true that you tend to get your b-utt kissed much more in the course of a day mesmerizing novice owners who think you invented the anvil, lol.
We are all guru and villain... often all on the same day. I don't expect kudos when I know I could have done better (I'll accept a kick in the ring when I've not done my best) and I don't expect slavish adoration when I do well, but a little doff of the cap and I'll put up with a lot of nonsense from a green horse.
Maybe you are, I am waay to nice a guy to come off as a villain :D. But yes, we will all go the extra mile for those who truly appreciate our efforts no doubt.
Rick Talbert
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RE:Big Barns, Trainers, and Vets...friend or foe? 08 Apr 2011 11:56 #37

Mark_Gough wrote:
I've tried the "big barns" thing. It immediately left me feeling like I was applying for a job and was about to relinquish much of the freedom that caused me to choose this career to begin with.

To loose that freedom again, someone is going to have to pay me a lot more money than I can earn shoeing horses. Even then, it probably won't be enough.



Cheers,
Mark


LOL. Mark, you gave me an amusing, evil thought. The next time someone asks me if I give a quantity discount, I think I'll tell them no, I charge more!.

Regards
Rick Shepherd

Although we know what we believe, we may only believe what we know. Dr William Moyers
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RE:Big Barns, Trainers, and Vets...friend or foe? 08 Apr 2011 12:29 #38

  • Mike Ferrara
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Jack Evers wrote:
Personality is always part of it. Some years ago a farrier I knew bought a practice on the eastern seaboard - big barns. A few years later he sold it and came back West. Part of the reason (personal reasons were also involved) was "In Colorado the owners were my friends, in the new practice, I made a lot more money, but I rarely met an owner". He just preferred to know his owners, some of us (not me) would like to work alone. Do what suits your personality.

Yes. I bill a LOT of clients that I've never met and a bunch of others that I might run into once in a great while but wouldn't recognize if I bumped into them on the street. Sometimes it's nice to have one or two contacts for one big bunch of horses. For one, I don't have a bunch of phone calls to field every day.

Another nice thing is that the trainer or barn manager can do a lot to relieve you of the burden of the many owners who are complete novices.

Years ago (I'll grant that it was a completely different area) but I had a lot of small accounts where the owners were fairly knowledgeable. It really seems to me that there are more and more people who have horses and don't know anything at all. Well, some of them have done some reading on the internet and think they know something. That can be worse than not knowing anything. Some of these people are a real chore to have to deal with.
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RE:Big Barns, Trainers, and Vets...friend or foe? 28 Apr 2011 02:59 #39

  • Peters Shoeing
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In this economy, so much is becoming price-motivated that it's hard for anyone (horse owners/barn owners/vets/trainers/whoever) to even discern quality from hack jobs. Sometimes I feel like they think we are all selling the same goods and unless it lames the Horse it's a job well-done in their eyes. At the barns, I see some work from other farriers and some of it is cra.p. Maybe they want the guy who is a couple bucks cheaper or the guy who kisses a$$, or the guy who let's them decide what is best for the horse. I dont get how all the people at a barn follow each other, but they do. You dont even have to make a wrong move, they will find someone else if they want to. The trainers and barn owners rule at the barns I go to. I dont even have the big flashy accounts either. People seem to forget, we provide a service, not a commodity. What can you do though? Just keep on.
Alan Peters
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RE:Big Barns, Trainers, and Vets...friend or foe? 28 Apr 2011 03:13 #40

  • Gary Hill
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Alan, charge them until you like them!!
"As I see it, winners get the money - while losers talk of "individual goals" and similar stuff." Tom Stovall
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RE:Big Barns, Trainers, and Vets...friend or foe? 28 Apr 2011 06:51 #41

  • smitty88
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Peters Shoeing wrote:
In this economy, so much is becoming price-motivated that it's hard for anyone (horse owners/barn owners/vets/trainers/whoever) to even discern quality from hack jobs. Sometimes I feel like they think we are all selling the same goods and unless it lames the Horse it's a job well-done in their eyes. At the barns, I see some work from other farriers and some of it is cra.p. Maybe they want the guy who is a couple bucks cheaper or the guy who kisses a$$, or the guy who let's them decide what is best for the horse. I dont get how all the people at a barn follow each other, but they do. You dont even have to make a wrong move, they will find someone else if they want to. The trainers and barn owners rule at the barns I go to. I dont even have the big flashy accounts either. People seem to forget, we provide a service, not a commodity. What can you do though? Just keep on.

What you do is show up on time
and try do the best work you can

lads that do these 2 things will come out on top
in the end providing your work is good enough
Smitty88
John Mc Loughlin
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RE:Big Barns, Trainers, and Vets...friend or foe? 28 Apr 2011 07:29 #42

  • AussieOne
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Anthony_Lawrence wrote:
I've been reflecting a bit since losing the big barn mentioned above... and I couldn't agree more about what you say here.

Mostly I want to get paid for my work, but I also want to feel good about what I'm doing because I put my heart and soul into it. I want to feel appreciated.

Why?

I take a risk every time I get under a horse and I don't think farriers are fairly compensated for that risk. I do this because I enjoy working with horses and could earn more in another field I am qualified in, but don't enjoy the work.

IME big barns make you feel like cr4p because they only pick the perceived faults where-as the smaller barns and people with 1-4 horses tend to appreciate the positive changes I make to their horses... and they are prepared to work with you as you try to solve problems.

We are all guru and villain... often all on the same day. I don't expect kudos when I know I could have done better (I'll accept a kick in the ring when I've not done my best) and I don't expect slavish adoration when I do well, but a little doff of the cap and I'll put up with a lot of nonsense from a green horse.

I find small operations more likely to be pleasant to work for and those that aren't, I don't miss when I tell them to go hopping to hell.

It doesn't take a hell of a lot of horses to make a business and I've just decided I only want to do those that make me feel good about what I'm doing.

$0.02


Anthony,

I don't reflect too much anymore.
Having said that. if you sat down and honestly assessed the amount of time you spent on/at that stable, given what you have said about it, looked at every horse you attended to, dealing with their problems and demands, calculate all your costs including travel etc, I reckon you would be very surprised at how little you were making out of that $4K stable. In Au $, at a guess, I reckon about $650 per week if you were lucky. Sweet FA considering the time I imagine you were spending there. Enjoy the break, turnover of dollars is sometimes meaningless.

Glenn
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RE:Big Barns, Trainers, and Vets...friend or foe? 28 Apr 2011 09:55 #43

  • Anthony_Lawrence
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AussieOne wrote:
Anthony,

I don't reflect too much anymore.
Having said that. if you sat down and honestly assessed the amount of time you spent on/at that stable, given what you have said about it, looked at every horse you attended to, dealing with their problems and demands, calculate all your costs including travel etc, I reckon you would be very surprised at how little you were making out of that $4K stable. In Au $, at a guess, I reckon about $650 per week if you were lucky. Sweet FA considering the time I imagine you were spending there. Enjoy the break, turnover of dollars is sometimes meaningless.

Glenn

Glenn,

Yep

I'm happier than I've been in months, it's like being let out of gaol... and I've already replaced more half of the business. But all dressage and jumping horses rather than gallopers, stuff I much prefer to do (and more profitable).
Ant.
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RE:Big Barns, Trainers, and Vets...friend or foe? 28 Apr 2011 10:44 #44

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smitty88 wrote:
What you do is show up on time
and try do the best work you can

lads that do these 2 things will come out on top
in the end providing your work is good enough


Yep, as long as you are bent over in the perfect world.!

Glenn.
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RE:Big Barns, Trainers, and Vets...friend or foe? 28 Apr 2011 21:04 #45

  • J.H. shoeing
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Gary Hill wrote:
Alan, charge them until you like them!!

Some folks are easier to like than others. I can usually make it if they are willing to pay but sometimes they rum out of money and I run out of time.;)
Jeff Holder

Some people are like Slinky’s, pretty much useless but make you smile when you push them down the stairs.
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