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TOPIC: Amish Guy Needs Farrier

Amish Guy Needs Farrier 15 Mar 2006 12:59 #1

  • tbloomer
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Yesterday I got a call from an Amish guy who is looking for a farrier. It seems that the Amish farrier he was using is getting married and therefore needs a real job. So he quit shoeing. This nice fellow asks me how much do I charge to shoe a driving horse. I quoted him $175 which includes hand made shoes with clips and drilltec. I said that resets would be $130 and that we should be able to get two resets out of a good set of shoes.

Well it seams that this guy was paying his Amish farrier $35 . . . he said that he knew another Amish guy that charged $65, but he was not taking new customers . . . There are 3 local Amish farriers that have quit shoeing horses in the past year. It seems that none of these guys are able to make a living before their body gives out. Meanwhile, the Amish guy who charges $65 has a full book of harness race horses where his customers come get him and take him home at the end of the day.

Since he doesn't have the expense of a shoeing rig and his customers have to pay someone to drive him to and from the barn, provide the shoes, nails, etc. I think his customers are actually spending about the same amount of money as they would if they paid for a farrier with a fully stocked shoeing rig. When you factor in the overhead, this particular Amish farrier makes about the same money as I do - maybe more. I admire his business a***en. I've seen this guy at two AFA conventions, several forging clinics, and the IHCS. He is very well educated and his work is top notch. I find it interesting that none of the other Amish farriers have followed his example.

Maybe I should take on an Amish apprentice . . . the problem is that there's too many good paying jobs out there for a young Amish man to take up a more "traditional" trade. :)
Tom Bloomer
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Here's the deal. I'm trying to keep it simple.
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RE:Amish Guy Needs Farrier 15 Mar 2006 14:48 #2

  • Mike Ferrara
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I live near amish country. My wifes uncle and a buch of his buddies that all have horses have trailored to an amish farrier to get their horses done for a long time now. I haven't been able to look at the work close up but what I saw with the horses standing (without lifing up any feet) the work looked fine. From what I hear, the uncle stopped using the amish farrier because of the travel and switched to some lady (not that *** has anything to do with it) farrier who still charges a fraction of what I do (though more than the amish) and now he's having trouble keeping shoes on.

The other day we visited a local hay dealer to try to arrange delivery of some hey and I had the chance to take a much closer look at some amish work. This guy owns a carriage business and pays $35 to get a draught horse shod with new shoes and drilltec. I just plain got nosy and asked if I could have a good look. This time of year he only had one horse wearing shoes and he is due to be done. I picked up one front and one hind and took a good look. Considering that the horse is due, I didn't see anything wrong with the work. I don't have any draught horses currently but without giving it too much thought, I guess I'd charge about $200 for one with store baught shoes and drilltec. The carriage business owner tells me that if he had to pay that he'd just close up and go out of business. Of course, if I had to shoe for what he's paying, I'd go out of business...so I shoe someplace else and he goes to the amish.

I did see some folks at the IHCS who appeared to be amish. I'd expect that there is a wide range in education and skill of amish farriers and I don't know that we can conclude that they are either uneducated or unskilled because they work cheap. I'm told that the amish farrier that does the carriage horses cranks out 20 or more in a day. From what little I've seen of the work, I think it's ok. That tells me that I need to visit the shop and watch for a bit because I don't think that I could do 20 in a day at all, let alone do 20 and have it look as good as what I saw. If he can shoe 20 big horses in a day and do decent work then maybe we need to be going to his clinics rather than him attending ours?

I've heard stories of amish work being poor but I've seen plenty of examples of poor work that cost 5 times as much. I suspect that we don't have a very good correlation between price and quality. There are, no doubt, differences in culture and there are differences in markets and therefor a wide range of costs. The "typical" amish farier may just be another point on that chart.

We have books and magazine articles that give us guidlines to what we should charge and we are certainly good at sitting around convincing each other that we are worth what we charge but in the end it's the market that will make the decissions.
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RE:Amish Guy Needs Farrier 15 Mar 2006 17:15 #3

Mike,

Is that 20 a day pertaining to shoes or horses? 20 draft horses in one day? Somebody is pulling your leg! Even with stocks and factory made shoes I can't see how anyone can crank out decent work, much less good or excellent work at the rate of 20 head a day of draft shoes.

Is that 20 head a day done with a team of farriers? How many on the team? How many stocks in the shop?

If you get the chance to watch maybe you should video the work.

Regards,
Kim
Regards,
Kim

Those who only consider cost, do NOT consider the cost to the horse!

The more we know, the more we know we need to know more! Ya know?
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RE:Amish Guy Needs Farrier 15 Mar 2006 19:42 #4

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Forgewizard wrote:
Mike,

Is that 20 a day pertaining to shoes or horses? 20 draft horses in one day? Somebody is pulling your leg! Even with stocks and factory made shoes I can't see how anyone can crank out decent work, much less good or excellent work at the rate of 20 head a day of draft shoes.

Is that 20 head a day done with a team of farriers? How many on the team? How many stocks in the shop?

If you get the chance to watch maybe you should video the work.

Regards,
Kim

The 20 a day is horses. That's what I've been told without further detail. I'm trying to set it up to go with when the carriage horses are done again so I can see for myself what they do.
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RE:Amish Guy Needs Farrier 15 Mar 2006 20:59 #5

  • George Geist
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I think I talked about them on a different thread where we were arguing about pricing didn't I?

I guess it would be nice not to be burdened with the expense of having to run a truck. That's without a doubt the most costly thing most of us have.

Amish, due to their religious and cultural differences do not put a very high value on labor. That does not extend to things they have for sale. If any of you guys have ever bought from them you'll know that they charge what things are worth and bargains are few and far between. Human labor is looked upon cheaply though.

Now, the thought of trucks brings something to mind. In the state I live in, when you bring a car or truck in the shop for servicing, in addition to the inflated high cost of parts which nobody has any control over, the labor could be variable. Now, I just said it "could" because independent businesses can charge whatever they want right?

Reality is that anywhere in the state you go regardless of the income levels of the area your'e looking at between $65 and $75 an hour for labor. Unlike us they also have very little or no concern about how well their customers can or cannot afford what they charge them. As a result you as a customer know going in that this is what it will cost.

As horseshoers, we are clueless about what it costs to get a horse shod. Of course we know what we personally would get but as to anybody else it's all over the board. I would say probably anywhere between $35 and $350 and all points in between.

Am I saying we should all charge the same? Of course not. But we should be a lot closer to each other than we are. When I put up useful formulas that worked well for over 100 years, Mike for one says that's silly. I'm sure others think that way too. I believe automobile mechanics are a good example of a trade that sets the so-called "going rate" themselves. Is worthy of more study.
George
For another fun place to play........
www.horseshoersforum.invisionzone.com
Come over and say hello.
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RE:Amish Guy Needs Farrier 16 Mar 2006 10:40 #6

  • Mike Ferrara
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George Geist wrote:
Am I saying we should all charge the same? Of course not. But we should be a lot closer to each other than we are. When I put up useful formulas that worked well for over 100 years, Mike for one says that's silly. I'm sure others think that way too. I believe automobile mechanics are a good example of a trade that sets the so-called "going rate" themselves. Is worthy of more study.
George

The reason that I say thoise formulas are silly is because they don't take the market into account. Not paying attention to the marjet can hurt us in a several ways but here's one. A friend of mine gets $200 for 4 kegs and is turning people away. I, for one, am not in demand to the point where I can get that much. Should he lower his prices to be closer to what I charge and purposly not take advantage of the high demand for his services? Should I raise my prices even though I don't have a full book at $140. I just took an account where I'll get $160 so I'm getting there though. Some of us can charge more/less than others because we aren't working for the same clients and we don't have the same name. I don't just sell horse shoeing, I sell horse shoeing by Mike Ferrara. George Geist horse shoeing may not be as highly valued by my clients...or it may be more highly valued.

The market determines the max that we can charge. Our costs and what we are willing to work for sets the min that we can charge. If the market max is below our min then we don't have a marketable product. In areas where many people don't mind hauling to the amish and are happy with their work, I don't have a marketable product/service because I won't work that cheap...not today anyway.

We could jsut all charge the same but I'm not sure that it would work to our advantage. Some guys would have to work for way less than what they get now and others wouldn't be working at all.

If you take your Chevy to the dealer or a local shop for service you can probably plan on spending about $65 for labor but if you take you're clasic Rolls in you'll probably spend a lot more. Likewise you didn't pay anywhere near as much for that Chevy as that other guy paid for his car either.

I also asked how would you use the price of haircuts in a formula. There is a a barbor shop down the street from my house where I can get a hair cut for like $7. In some places they have stylists instead of barbors and the same hair cut might cost you $50. Someone who is working on the hair of movie stars might get $1000. So, what is a haircut worth today and do we charge $56 for or $8000 based on a the formula 8(haircut price) = price of 4 kegs?

I think it's better to understand the market that you are working in and get as much as you can and still have the amount of work you want.
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RE:Amish Guy Needs Farrier 19 Mar 2006 18:15 #7

I would say probably anywhere between $35 and $350 and all points in between.

Am I saying we should all charge the same? Of course not. But we should be a lot closer to each other than we are.

I'm all for everyone charging $350 for 4 plain shoes. However, Like Mike said, the market will dictate wether or not that is possible. I'm quite certain that 90% of the horse owning public cannot afford $350 every 4 to 6 weeks.

So are you suggesting that we all charge $150? That's a great deal for those guys that are charging $35, but it puts a bit of a damper on the guys charging $350. I will charge as much as the market will allow me too, and most of the time, I'm trying to test that limit. Others aren't willing to test the limit, and some are testing the limit at $60.

You're comparison to auto mechanics doesn't quite fit, either does plumbers, HVAC or most other service professions. The problem is our clients are going to see us every 4 to 8 weeks, how many times do you see your mechanic? Do schedule routine engine maintenance every month and a half? Oil changes don't cost $70 hour so those don't count. Does you plumber stop by once every couple months to check on things, run some drano through the pipes and leave a bill for $350? NO. Most other service industries are used only when something is wrong, the plumbing starts to leak, the transmission goes out in your truck, the AC stops working in the house. Those guys are counting on seeing you because something is wrong and you need thier expertise. Our clients are counting on us to prevent problems and therefore they see us much more often. If you had to see your mechanic every month and a half, I'd be willing to bet that the cost of labor wouldn't be $70 hour.

jmo
Dave
"Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects." Will Rogers

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RE:Amish Guy Needs Farrier 19 Mar 2006 23:41 #8

  • J.H. shoeing
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Oh Dave

There goes that common sense thing again.
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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