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TOPIC: Current Fee's and Rates - what is reasonable ?

Current Fee's and Rates - what is reasonable ? 03 Oct 2004 16:35 #1

Hello all fellow Farriers - I need a reality check on current fee's/rates to charge in this particular situation i have.
I have developed a clientel on an Island here (washington state) where it is necessary to take a Ferry in order to get there. The Ferry costs approx. $40.00 , round trip. It takes one hour and a half just to GET to the ferry, then it takes one hour ON the ferry to reach the Island. The total amount of driving time i use is around 4 HOURS. Then I have to consider gasoline also. So I have time traveled, Ferry cost, gas cost, shoeing materials. By the time i arrive on this island, I'm starting in the negative - at least by $100 dollars. This does not include my time. And we all know how precious time is, to us all.
I charge $25 (trims) $55 (front shoes) $75 (full set shoes) extra for pads, special shoes, ect.
By the end of the day, my profit is is maybe $150 to $200, and that is just a guess on my part.
I am growing wreary of this drive, and it is hard for me to raise my prices, at the same time.
The clients and horses i have are exceptional. Excellent mannered horses, and they all treat me very well. So it is hard for me to give up.
The island has a new farrier there now, just out from school. And she is charging the same rate as I. However, she is making much more that I am, as she lives there.
I feel like i am just giving away my services there. Im thinking i should just let the island go and concentrate on local horses only. I would make a lot more profit, and save much time !!!!
Am i charging enough ? I dont feel that i am. How do my rates seem to you ?
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RE:Current Fee's and Rates - what is reasonable ? 03 Oct 2004 19:31 #2

  • Rick Burten
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Raise your prices by at least $5.00 and, add a trip charge which you divide among the clients. If you feel it is costing you $100.00 then divide that by the number of clients and charge each one that amount.

Send them a letter explaining what your new fees are and why and the date you have decided on to raise your fees(call them fees, not prices). You can include such things as the increase in fuel costs, the huge increase in steel prices etc.

Those that want your services will keep using you. Those that don't, you don't need anyway. If the number of clients falls to what you consider an unacceptable level, then you have to drop the full account and move on.

JMNTBCHO.

Rick
Rick Burten PF

In the immortal words of Ron White: "But let me tell you something, folks: You can't fix S-tupid. There's not a pill you can take; there's not a class you can go to. S-tupid is forever."
."


Je pense donc je suis
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RE:Current Fee's and Rates - what is reasonable ? 04 Oct 2004 21:46 #3

Hello Robyn

I agree with Rick. I used to service the San Juans myself until I decided that it took way too much of my time when there are many horses locally. I actually had to be chartered by air to one of them with no ferry service.

I spit the ferry/time charges between the clients I was visiting, and I had a strict 6 week policy with them. If they missed an appointment, or need a service call, they had to wait until the next time I was out because it took a half a day just to get there and back. These people have to expect these things, because they do live on a small island.

P.S.- Fire me an email, I am always excited to converse with another local.
Shane A. Westman
www.westmanequine.com

You can fix a lot of things, but you just can't fix st upid

i find it interesting that when you get to the very basics, in most situations little has changed.
When you get into specifics we have come a long way.

-...
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RE:Current Fee's and Rates - what is reasonable ? 14 Oct 2004 02:19 #4

  • Ken Norman
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Hi Robyn , I agree with Rick too. I know that it hard to raise your prices but it works quite well. Those who will, will change to someone else and you will get more and better clients in the long run. I would raise by 5.00 at least and do that regulary till you get closer to the national avarage. I have had other farriers come up to me at clinics and thank me for (raising the bar) so to speak as I try to get more for a good set of shoes. I know that Vt prices are low as compared to southern N.Y., N.J., Conn, Pa, prices but I now get 95 to 105 for 4 shoes, plain plates.. I too started out at 55. for 4 shoes 12 years ago. I had a client call me from Pa. whose horse I had shod at a Vt. college, complaining about a $100. charge for reset ft, trim hd. I told her that at home I get 75. for a reset ft. and her horse was 90 miles from my home and she had to pay more. I don't know if I will have that one again but that is ok too.......................Ken
" The smell of a horse is good for the soul of a man "




Ken Norman , CF
Thornwood Farm Equines and Farriery
1696 Warren Switch
West Pawlet Vt. 05775
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thornwoodfarmequinesandfarriery.com
President of Vermont...
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RE:Current Fee's and Rates - what is reasonable ? 24 Dec 2004 03:31 #5

  • dbfarrier
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I am finding out in south Virginia that i am one of the higher priced farriers. I was also worried about charging too much for certain services. After surviving a few jobs, that i probably spent more than the customer, i realized that if i try to soften the impact on the customer that they would take full advantage and didn't feel a bit of guilt. They don't worry if i pay my bills, just that they save as much as possible or move to the next cheapest farrier. This is not the case in all areas but i suspect that it is in most. If you are providing quality, not quantity, your customers will pay for it and not question you. I also read that a slight decrease in business can sometimes make you more money because you don't spend as much on mileage, supplies, and overall operating costs.
Dave Bell

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RE:Current Fee's and Rates - what is reasonable ? 24 Dec 2004 16:39 #6

  • Donnie Walker
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With 4 hours travel time you've already completed one half day of work. If money is a definite issue you might drop this one, especially in the light of the "new kid on the block", unless your clients are the type that won't change. If so, then you need to adjust your charges. Notify them first. You must recover your actual expenses, which includes your time, with a margin of profit on each expense. An A/C repairman certainly would, and you are no different. Too often our feelings for the horse get in the way of the "bottom line", which is "profit". This is certainly "OK" on occassion, but must not be the "norm". If you can live with this one, do so, if not, move on, and best of luck. I've moved on many times, but still have a charity case or two.
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RE:Current Fee's and Rates - what is reasonable ? 01 Jan 2005 14:46 #7

  • Gary_Miller
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There has been some treads when farriers have complained about the new guy chargeing less and under cutting the established farriers in the area. Under the Guild post Bill Adams suggested that I should charge what the same fees as the other guys in the area, and had very good reasons that this should be done. Though this is very good advice in order to keep peace.

Why should horse owners use a new guy fresh out of school who is charging the same as the more experienced guy? I know I don't think I would use the new guy over the more experienced guy if the fees were the same. But may use the new guy if his fees were less.

I would also like to here what other charge, for a simple basic shoeing using keg shoes, and a simple basic trimming?

In talking to my current farrier the fees around here range from $50 to $95 a horse for a basic shoeing job and an average trim is $35. His fee is $85, and $35.


Thanks for all you advice and help.
Gary

Just a rookie trying to get established, and wanting to do it right.
Gary Miller, PF

Ride hard, shoot straight, and always speak the truth.
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"Our level of quality is how well our eye can see it." (Eric Russell, Oct 2008, Horseshoes.com)

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RE:Current Fee's and Rates - what is reasonable ? 02 Jan 2005 09:33 #8

  • Bill Adams
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Gary,
In your area the rates are $50-$95 basic.
$8 shoes
$1.50 nails
$1 Propane
$5 gasoline
$7 self employ tax

From a $50 shoeing that leaves $27.50. With drive time thats about two hours work. so your making $13.75 an hour when things go well. With a little planing and efficency it could be more, on a bad day it could go bad fast.

Then at the end of each day, from your $13.75 hour, take out a little for tools, truck, insurance, other taxes, eudcation loan payments, inventory, retirement, savings, vacation, emergancy fund (healing up time), continuing education (clinics), assocation fees, etc.

Then call a plumer who will work for that amount.

Now you mentioned that you may not have the overhead that others have. So what? Charge the top fee so that you will be rich beond your wildest dreams. It will help the other Farriers in your area make a good liveing by keeping prices up, and you can shoe for the poor people who can't afford the high prices of shoeing on a pro bono basis (free) so that the under privledged can own one of the most expensive luxury items in the country.

I have this funny feeling that your disire to shoe cheaply may be cured by doing a couple thousand horses. Espesialy while listening to the owner telling you she couldn't ride much 'cause she spent a month in the south pacific (yesterday).

My $0.02,
Bill

A rightous man regardeth the life of his beast. Proverbs 12:10
I don't give a damn for a man who can only spell a word one way. Mark Twain
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RE:Current Fee's and Rates - what is reasonable ? 02 Jan 2005 15:44 #9

  • Gary_Miller
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Bill, thanks for the insite very informative. I had not yet taken the time to break down the cost.

My desire is not to shoe cheaply but to give a good product for a far price, with me making a far profit. I don't want to hurt others in the process by charging such low costs that they lose clients because of cost, but at the same time I want to make sure there is an insentive for people to want to use my services as well. That can be is several forms, good service, propt arrival at appiontment, lower fees, as well as other things.

Its been my experience that most people prefer the lower cost, over the good service.

So once agin.

1. Why should horse owners use a new guy fresh out of school who is charging the same as the more experienced guy?

2. How does a new guy market himself in order to give the insentive for horse owners to use his services over the more experienced guy?


Gary
Gary Miller, PF

Ride hard, shoot straight, and always speak the truth.
Gunfighter Motto

"Our level of quality is how well our eye can see it." (Eric Russell, Oct 2008, Horseshoes.com)

"Discover what it is that makes you passionate then grab a firm...
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RE:Current Fee's and Rates - what is reasonable ? 02 Jan 2005 22:37 #10

The new guy is going to get those horses that no one else will shoe because:

1.) They are too dangerous
2.) The owner is a deadbeat
3.) The working conditions at the barn are too unpleasant

Lowering your price will not get a good owner with good horses to switch to you.

You will also get new backyard horse owners who see your ad and do not have a shoer. You will need to educate the new owner about hoocare, nutrition, horsemanship etc. Well worth doing as you will want to retain some of these folks till you retire. The dinks you pick up for the reasons listed above you will drop as soon as you can find better owners/horses to replace them. It is well worth charging the going rate for the dinks due to the danger/inconvinece factor and for the new horseowner as you will be providing lots of education. Discounting will not get you the dinks any faster and will make it hard to raise prices to a fair market rate on the good owners you pick up along the way.

George
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RE:Current Fee's and Rates - what is reasonable ? 02 Jan 2005 22:49 #11

  • Bill Adams
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Gary,
My expreance, 12 years, prefer the good service. Were thaking care of their expencive babys.
The best clients won't use the new guy out of school. They will stay with the guy they have used for the past ten years till he dies. The clients who use the cheap guy are the ones who will drop him in a hartbeat for the next cheap guy. This makes it sound impossible to get in to this biz. It is. So you just have to do it.

As to marketing yourself over the experanced guy, you don't. In this biz you don't compete aganst other Farriers. You compete aganst yourself. You help the other farriers. You call around to let others know about bad horses and bad clients. You charge within a few bucks of tho top rate. People won't hire you if you have long hair, they wont hire you if you have short hair.

You have to read Dr. Butler's book "Six Figure Horseshoeing"
You have to get over this idea of discounting your self.
Bill

A rightous man regardeth the life of his beast. Proverbs 12:10
I don't give a damn for a man who can only spell a word one way. Mark Twain
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RE:Current Fee's and Rates - what is reasonable ? 02 Jan 2005 23:51 #12

  • Gary_Miller
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Bill, George

Thanks for answering my questions. I'm now beginning to see the light, and agree with what has been said. All good points I think I will set my start up fees around the same as my current farrier, about $85 for a basic shoe and $35 for a trim. Looks like that would be the best. And since he said I could ride with him I think I will do that for a while as well. It will give me some insight to the busness and help me to meet the other farriers in the area. I think this will give me the boost I need to make this a long term affare.

Six Figure Horseshoeing is the next book I plan to read, but have to get through Principle of Horseshoeing II first, I'm about half way through.

There sure is alot of stuff to digest. I've already learned alot form the reading I have done and from these posts on this web site and others.

I know at times my questions sound redicules to you guys and gals who are already full time farriers. But if I don't ask them here where all the experience is I won't get them answered. So bare with me and don't be afraid to tell me I crazy or to get my head out of my butt. If I need it.

Shoeing class starts tomarrow, and the real education after that.

Wish me luck.

Gary
Gary Miller, PF

Ride hard, shoot straight, and always speak the truth.
Gunfighter Motto

"Our level of quality is how well our eye can see it." (Eric Russell, Oct 2008, Horseshoes.com)

"Discover what it is that makes you passionate then grab a firm...
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RE:Current Fee's and Rates - what is reasonable ? 03 Jan 2005 02:42 #13

A little inside information, first charge the same as most of the shoers in your area cause you really don't want anyone to know that you just got out of school, 2nd ride with anyone that is established and make good friends inside the farrier community, have the locals over to your place for a BBQ, or a hammer in. If the guys that are established know you and know your name you will be getting referals very soon, and guess what, those clients are expecting to pay what those guys are charging. Ask the local vet to ride with them and find out what the types of foot problems are most prevelent in thier practice, this will get you some brownie points with the vet. If you advertise in the paper or feed mills or supply stores 1 out of 50 calls you get will be a good client, the clients you want will come from referals. I've had quite a few people call me simply cause I'm in the AFA and certified and thier previous farrier from Nebraska or wherever, was also and he found my name in the directory. Good clients. You don't want to start off with the clients that want cheap cause guess what, as soon as you build your business, become more skillful and knowledgable and you think you deserve a raise, you get fired for the next cheapes guy that comes down the pike, and they will come. The cheap guys are a dime a dozen, you hear about them for a couple of years and then they disappear. No one is telling you to price yourself too high, just know your limitations and call in back up when you need it. This will keep your reputation good and help the horse owner. Everyone wins.
good luck and go learn something tomarrow.
Dave Purves CF :D
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