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little miss
Apr. 8, 2009, 04:14 PM
So I'm sure that this is coming up more often these days --- when someone is not paying for either board or training of their horse(s).

1) How long do you give it?

2) What do you do if they continue to not pay?

3) At what point do you have the "right" (if at all) to sell their horse for the money owed?

gasrgoose
Apr. 8, 2009, 04:21 PM
I'm a boarder not a trainer, but I would think you would not have the right to sell their horse. But if it is your barn, you have the right to kick them out. Are the people that are slow paying or not paying also the most demanding? If so how much better would things be if they were gone.

Lucassb
Apr. 8, 2009, 04:33 PM
Depends on the state that you are in (and the laws for each state) as well as what your contract allows.

The contract at my current barn specifies that the owner can put a lien on the horse and sell it to recover monies owed for board or agreed upon services if those charges are not paid. The specific language says something like, "the manager may, at the manager's discretion and without process of law, retain said horse(s) until the indebtedness is paid in full and/or sell horses as provided for by law to recover such unpaid fees.."

findeight
Apr. 8, 2009, 04:33 PM
A business owner DOES have every right to sieze something placed in their care/custody/control when it is not paid for. It is sometimes called a mechanics lien or similar.

Each state has specific laws governing abandonment and siezure for non payment. You must abide by them as business owner.

Typically there must be a written contract and that contract should spell out how long non payment will be tolerated and what steps will be taken after that point to sieze the horse for non payment.

Most contracts also stipulate the horse does not leave their care/custody/control or thier property unless all outstanding bills are paid.

It's usually about 90 days when the stable owner can start procedings to sieze for non payment...but, again, that varies from state to state. Almost always, after that 90 days, the owner must be notified by certified mail and given a final deadline for payment after which the horse is forfeit.

Hunter Mom
Apr. 8, 2009, 06:36 PM
We're dealing with this at my barn. We're actually a club, and members can board. I'm on the board of directors, and we have a couple of people who are behind. After talking to an attorney, there are a few things we can do. First, we can deny them access to the property since we're a club and they're not paid members. We can also put their horses into a locked situation (safely of course - as in locking a gate to a pen where they're outside with water, hay and shelter) where if they did come out, they're not going to be able to ride. We have also turned their account over to a collection agency. Now, according to the boarding agreement, they're not supposed to be able to take the animals away. However, we also feel as though we'd rather the horses just be gone than to keep feeding them for free. These are not horses that would be worth selling to try to recoup expenses.

Each state has various laws, and it may also depend somewhat on what your boarding agreement says. Check with an attorney - it will be money well spent.

Flash44
Apr. 8, 2009, 07:08 PM
I'm amazed that barns don't take in a security deposit, like you would if you were renting an apartment. In fact, renters usually have to give a deposit AND first and last month's rent, so it's like 3 months up front.

Jaegermonster
Apr. 8, 2009, 07:29 PM
i have a couple of boarders here. Board is due on the first with a grace period til the 5th. If that check is not here or they have not contacted me about why it isn't, you can bet I'm at the courthouse filing papers and getting things started.
I'm willing to work with people but they need to let me know what's going on. Dont just not pay.
I'm not running a horse rescue out here.

ThatScaryChick
Apr. 8, 2009, 07:41 PM
I'm amazed that barns don't take in a security deposit, like you would if you were renting an apartment. In fact, renters usually have to give a deposit AND first and last month's rent, so it's like 3 months up front.

So am I. If I were to start a boarding barn, I would require a deposit and the first and last months rent. Maybe it is going overboard, but this would give barn owners a little bit of comfort from boarders who quit paying.

merrygoround
Apr. 8, 2009, 07:48 PM
I think you are talking about every BO nightmare. Most BO really like the animals and people the deal with.

It is very hard to go the legal route, but BO's can't afford to support the world.

Every state has different laws.

Huntrs+eq
Apr. 8, 2009, 07:54 PM
I'm amazed that barns don't take in a security deposit, like you would if you were renting an apartment. In fact, renters usually have to give a deposit AND first and last month's rent, so it's like 3 months up front.

Don't forget a criminal background check and references!

La Gringa
Apr. 8, 2009, 11:32 PM
I think it depends on the situation.

If a boarder that has always paid and suddenly loses their job, or has a major illness etc... that hat is beyond their control, then I think the BO should work something out with them.

I think the main thing is communication. Maybe the non-payer if they have a good history before this, can work off owed board or trade equipment or some other service to the BO in exchange for a short term non payment.

I think in the circumstances today, people need to be willing to work with each other. Sometimes it's beyond a person's control what happens in their job or health, and they have every good will intention to pay their bills.

Wonders12
Apr. 8, 2009, 11:50 PM
I'm also a boarder, but like mentioned before... it really depends on the situation. Why aren't they paying? How far behind are they, etc.?

I owe my BO my life right now! I lost my job AND got in a car accident and am now a month and a half (about $400) behind on board! :eek: I'm doing everything I can to make ends meet and my horse (since he's leased) will be leaving this Friday.

My BO has been overly nice about. He "reminds" me about once a week by saying something then dropping it. He knows there is no point making me feel awful. I just can't pay it.

He'll get the one month on Friday and the rest as soon as I get a paycheck (May at the latest :( ) And I fully intend on adding some interest onto that because I feel so horrible. In the mean time, I will be leaving my tack at the barn as "collateral" so he doesn't feel like I'm running out and he'll never see me again.

I would sit down an talk to the boarder. Can she make a partial payment? (Getting enough for hay is better than nothing.) Can she work around the barn for a few hours a week? Does she have some "extra" tack you can take/sell to make up some of the difference? If she's like a lot of people in tough times, she will do whatever she can to make it work. If she's not willing to work with you in any way, then it's time to get serious and think about some of the other things mentioned.

Haalter
Apr. 9, 2009, 09:50 AM
I think in the circumstances today, people need to be willing to work with each other. Sometimes it's beyond a person's control what happens in their job or health, and they have every good will intention to pay their bills.
Yes, this is very nice in theory, but please realize that not every BO has the means to accomodate this. Have you seen the news re: home foreclosures? If the banks can't support people going through a rough spot, can a small-time BO really be expected to afford this? I think a conscientious BO will try to be flexible, but please remember, it's just like any other business where the business owner has to meet their own bottom line.

I am amazed at the folks who ask for board/training discounts. Do these folks do the same thing at their doctor or dentist's office? At the grocery store? At their kid's private school? Why don't BOs get the same respect?

katie16
Apr. 9, 2009, 11:01 AM
Yes, this is very nice in theory, but please realize that not every BO has the means to accomodate this. Have you seen the news re: home foreclosures? If the banks can't support people going through a rough spot, can a small-time BO really be expected to afford this? I think a conscientious BO will try to be flexible, but please remember, it's just like any other business where the business owner has to meet their own bottom line.

Why don't BOs get the same respect?

People often think that because they are paying large sums of money for board, that BOs are making lots of money. They tend to think along the lines of "I'm paying BO $x a month, but my horses feed and bedding only costs $x so BO is profitting from all the rest." That is not the case! They often forget all the "other" less obvious expenses that go along with a boarding and/or training business. Those include: taxes (real estate, excise, payroll, etc.), utilities, licenses & permits (local & state), equipment (the drag for the arena, tractor for a variety of jobs, dump truck, etc.), dumpster/trash hauling, manure removal, supplies (feed & water buckets, hoses, jumps, repellent for the automatic fly system, etc.), repairs & maintenance (a huge variety: fences, jumps, feed buckets, new shingles on buildings, stall mats, etc.), and so much more!

jse
Apr. 9, 2009, 11:11 AM
So I'm with the crew who say that you should work things out with people if they otherwise have had no problems before. Times are tough and if you can afford to work with someone on a payment problem you should. But only if you CAN! Some BO's don't have the means to work with people, they are in a ship sinking just as much as the rest.
HOWEVER, the things that annoy me are the clients that don't pay you when you ride their horses.
I for one would get a contract signed if I got a new client but I know people who don't and they don't get paid for weeks! Money adds up after a while and then the people want to complain about the huge check they have to write you. To me, and I would say this to my clients, "I come and ride your horses when you need/want me to, shouldn't you pay me when I need/want to be paid?"
What would you guys do in this situation? What about the people who aren't BO's they are just catch riders who have clients whom they ride horses for and that's how they make their living?

LetsChat
Apr. 9, 2009, 11:42 AM
Don't forget a criminal background check and references!

How about credit check vs. criminal record. Of course that is important but people can have minor infringments and still be able to pay their bills.... Credit score, however, would be MUCH more important in assessing the ability to pay your bills.

LetsChat
Apr. 9, 2009, 11:45 AM
People often think that because they are paying large sums of money for board, that BOs are making lots of money. They tend to think along the lines of "I'm paying BO $x a month, but my horses feed and bedding only costs $x so BO is profitting from all the rest." That is not the case! They often forget all the "other" less obvious expenses that go along with a boarding and/or training business. Those include: taxes (real estate, excise, payroll, etc.), utilities, licenses & permits (local & state), equipment (the drag for the arena, tractor for a variety of jobs, dump truck, etc.), dumpster/trash hauling, manure removal, supplies (feed & water buckets, hoses, jumps, repellent for the automatic fly system, etc.), repairs & maintenance (a huge variety: fences, jumps, feed buckets, new shingles on buildings, stall mats, etc.), and so much more!

I agree with you. In addition, even if you ARE making money on your boarding business, which I know most people are NOT.... Why shouldn't you be allowed too. If I agree to pay $850 a horse then that is what I agree to pay, even if one of those is a small pony who lives on air and is out much of the day. My point is, whether or not the boarding business makes money DOES NOT mean you can default on your payment agreement, you should have discussed it up front, once you agree, you have to pay no matter how well you think the barn is making out. It is tough times but it is for everyone, so if you are feeling it, chances are the farm owner and trainer are too. I just feel bad for the horses, they can't just be disposed of.... :(

Hauwse
Apr. 9, 2009, 01:18 PM
There are Agister laws in 49 of the states and dictate what a BO may or may not do under theses circumstances.

In California they are complicated, and it is hard for a BO to do anything, but in Ohio for instance it does not require much more than a registered letter to the owner and a public notice that the horse is being sold.

Check your state Agister lien laws.

Thomas_1
Apr. 9, 2009, 01:32 PM
So I'm sure that this is coming up more often these days --- when someone is not paying for either board or training of their horse(s).

1) How long do you give it?

In reality over the decades, there's been a variety of approaches. I've actually taken folks to court and got my money plus all costs, I've reached private agreement and been paid over time and I've also ended up owning some very nice horses.

Depends on the circumstances. Strictly speaking my customers pay a month in advance. (though practically I have some long standing customers that always pay when they see me and I'm happy to let them run up a bill for a few months). However if someone just defaulted without saying anything, then I'd approach them and say something if I was concerned. Then it would depend on the reason why and whether it was just a simple oversight or if this was a deliberate intent or they were in financial difficulty. Then it would depend on what the horse was like and in particular it's value and if I was remotely interested in taking possession of it.

Then it would depend on the circumstances and if I was concerned that I was going to get dumped on, then I'd enforce my legal agreement and rights quickly.


2) What do you do if they continue to not pay? See above. I'd always start by talking to them and seeking an agreement to pay off the debt. If I thought they were in real difficulty then I'd reach some sort of deal whereby they paid over time with something whereby the horse came to my ownership well before it reached its market value.


3) At what point do you have the "right" (if at all) to sell their horse for the money owed?

Ordinarily, unless it was a horse I wanted either for myself or to sell, I'd take action long before I got to that stage.

My contracts say:


Credit Terms and Payment: Billing is monthly on the last day Sunday of each month and is for a period ordinarily one month in advance. Payment is to be made within 7 days of receipt of an Account to Pay. Late payment fee of £10 per month is applicable to overdue accounts. Accounts overdue by more than 30 days may necessitate recovery through County or Small Claims Court. It is understood that in such event that the Owner will be obligated to pay any legal fees and other costs incurred to the Proprietors of Flodden Edge Farm Riding and Driving Centre

Termination of Contract: This contract will consider to have been terminated in the event of any breach by either of the parties, by mutual consent and agreement or by giving 60 days notice of termination and on payment of all Livery fees and other costs due.

La Gringa
Apr. 9, 2009, 03:28 PM
Yes, this is very nice in theory, but please realize that not every BO has the means to accomodate this. Have you seen the news re: home foreclosures? If the banks can't support people going through a rough spot, can a small-time BO really be expected to afford this? I think a conscientious BO will try to be flexible, but please remember, it's just like any other business where the business owner has to meet their own bottom line.

I am amazed at the folks who ask for board/training discounts. Do these folks do the same thing at their doctor or dentist's office? At the grocery store? At their kid's private school? Why don't BOs get the same respect?


I think with today's climate of massive job losses, things are different now. Have you ever lost your job and had no income? Have you had a catastrophic car accident?

If the BO can't accomodate, then they should try to help the owner find a place to keep the horses that they can afford, or can arrange a working exchange or something.

Banks are working with people today.. they have to. They are giving people options to reduce payments, there are programs to help people in trouble. We are in a near depression people. Wake up.. The banks don't win if they take the houses... they end up losing too.

Good honest people are being majorly affected by this every single day right now.

It's going to have impacts on everyone.

Maybe the horse owner is trying to sell and get rid of the horse to pay the BO, but with the current market, horse sales are down too. People are abandoning horses and dogs, and houses etc.. I think if an owner is doing everything in their power to pay, people should work with them.

It's a very bad time right now. Sure not every BO will be able to do this, they won't be able to afford the feed etc... but in cases where there are field board options or the ability to exchange work for board.. that option should be looked at for people that are just in hardship right now.

Thomas_1
Apr. 9, 2009, 05:40 PM
^ I think you've confused a Barn Owner for someone who subsidises someone elses lifetstyle and an equestrian centre for a charitable institution!

katarine
Apr. 9, 2009, 05:50 PM
I work FT away from the barn and take a horse here and there to train. I have a pretty good contract and I'm up front about I will be paid for the first month the day the horse sets foot on the property. Small finance charges for balances and a fee for checks dated after the first of a given month.

I'm very small time but I take my work seriously. I will not be taken advantage of, at least not if I can see it coming ;)

So far as helping those in need... It is not my job to help you sell your horse or place him elsewhere, for nothing. I'm not going to pass along a non payer to someone/somewhere I like, am I? I'll do charity work as I choose it, not b/c it's my role as 'a trainer' or BO. that's nuts. I'll help friends/owners/etc where I choose to, thank you. It's not a mandate created by the fact I own a barn :lol:

La Gringa
Apr. 9, 2009, 05:54 PM
^ I think you've confused a Barn Owner for someone who subsidises someone elses lifetstyle and an equestrian centre for a charitable institution!

No I haven't. I think that it is just a short term thing until the person can remedy the situation. Of course it would only to apply to good customers who legitimately have this happen. Of course it's up to the BO/BM to decide if this works in their case.

It is a business and if the business will sink from this one person's hardship, then I think the business has more problems than this one person not paying the bills for a month or two.

I am not saying to do this long term, and an agreement would have to be made that the person that owes the money would pay the amount owed to the BO once they fixed the hardship... ie got a job or resolved the problem... by selling the horse or whatever..

La Gringa
Apr. 9, 2009, 05:59 PM
I work FT away from the barn and take a horse here and there to train. I have a pretty good contract and I'm up front about I will be paid for the first month the day the horse sets foot on the property. Small finance charges for balances and a fee for checks dated after the first of a given month.

I'm very small time but I take my work seriously. I will not be taken advantage of, at least not if I can see it coming ;)

So far as helping those in need... It is not my job to help you sell your horse or place him elsewhere, for nothing. I'm not going to pass along a non payer to someone/somewhere I like, am I? I'll do charity work as I choose it, not b/c it's my role as 'a trainer' or BO. that's nuts. I'll help friends/owners/etc where I choose to, thank you. It's not a mandate created by the fact I own a barn :lol:

Someone losing their job or getting in an accident is not a laughing matter. If it's a customer that has always paid and always done things right and suddenly they have a major huge crisis... you will just turn your back?

That's not the kind of Barn where I would want to board with anyway. For me the horses care comes first. Of course it's not your job to help... but if you are decent person in a case like this you could at least give a suggestion or two to guide a good customer in the right direction..

Is that too hard to ask?

Wouldn't you want someone to do that for you say if you had a life altering accident and couldn't run your barn or give lessons for awhile? Would you want your customers to all leave while you are getting back on your feet?

What goes around comes around I say.

Lucassb
Apr. 9, 2009, 06:01 PM
Most BO's I know are not in a position to subsidize their customers' bills for any length of time without putting their own business in jeopardy. It's just a fact of life - boarding doesn't generally produce much profit (if any) so a non payer can really throw a wrench into the works. Presumably those who can't pay their board bills are not going to be doing anything else that generates income for the barn owner, like taking lessons or putting a horse in training, so for the BO it is a difficult situation at best. And although we all know that there are always chores around the barn that need an extra pair of hands... well, if the BO could afford to have someone else do that stuff, they'd probably have the staff working on it. Most cannot afford to just let people "work off" their bills; they need the cash.

La Gringa
Apr. 9, 2009, 06:19 PM
Well then in that case you boot the person out or you end up with an abandoned horse that you end up having to sell to pay the debt.

katarine
Apr. 9, 2009, 06:22 PM
Someone losing their job or getting in an accident is not a laughing matter. If it's a customer that has always paid and always done things right and suddenly they have a major huge crisis... you will just turn your back?

That's not the kind of Barn where I would want to board with anyway. For me the horses care comes first. Of course it's not your job to help... but if you are decent person in a case like this you could at least give a suggestion or two to guide a good customer in the right direction..

Is that too hard to ask?

Wouldn't you want someone to do that for you say if you had a life altering accident and couldn't run your barn or give lessons for awhile? Would you want your customers to all leave while you are getting back on your feet?

What goes around comes around I say.

If you'll read closer I take training horses, not boarding horses. I've no desire to board horses. I'm talking specifically about training horses. I stretch 30 days to 45-50 if the weather gets in the way, trust me, I'm not throwing horses out at 30.01 days, but don't let the bleeding heart get in the way of economics.

I am only saying that my owning the barn does not equal I'm going to feed your horse forever. I have bills to pay too.

goeslikestink
Apr. 9, 2009, 06:43 PM
No I haven't. I think that it is just a short term thing until the person can remedy the situation. Of course it would only to apply to good customers who legitimately have this happen. Of course it's up to the BO/BM to decide if this works in their case.

It is a business and if the business will sink from this one person's hardship, then I think the business has more problems than this one person not paying the bills for a month or two.

I am not saying to do this long term, and an agreement would have to be made that the person that owes the money would pay the amount owed to the BO once they fixed the hardship... ie got a job or resolved the problem... by selling the horse or whatever..

highly unlikely - as if it continued the bill would be high and there fore a lieu could be put upon the onwers horse to gain rent monies back

an bo is a business and need to work with proper protcol you cant generalise and say we work something out as it costs to keep horse and if a little ayrd or a big one how many horses would suffer becuase people are out of work
senerio- 10 box yard 7 people out of work arrnagement made as you surgested
how long before all suffer with not enough to feed the lot --- the yard would be out of business
lets see not only food hay and bedding, time, electric water and rates insurnaces all have to be paid
and only three horses paying out of a 10 box yard - do you see now where toms comming from

now speaking from someone thats been made redundant 10 times hardship and robbing peter to pay paul is what i am good at
and i can tel you right now---- yard mangers barn owners etc do not subtisdised me becuase i am out of work how long is how long
hardhship can last one day- a month a year 2 years -

then if you cant afford your horses then sell them its that simple--
luckily for me i work when out of work that i can still pay for my horses becuase i work with my horses to pay for themsleves
in other words how longs a piece of string--------- same pricncipal

Spud&Saf
Apr. 9, 2009, 09:06 PM
I really don't think there is a "right" answer to this question - if there was, I'm sure someone could have figured it out by now.

The problem with being in the horse boarding business, or being a horse owner, is that you are dealing with animals that can't just be disposed of. An owner in tough times can't bring their horse home and keep it in the backyard if $ is short..and a BO can't leave it locked in a garge somewhere and forget about it.

I think this problem is a symptom of a much larger issue - there are simply too many horses out there now. The role of a horse in today's society is so much more limited than it was in days past, yet we continue to breed horses at the same rate.

Because there are no protocols or licensing structures for breeding, heck in Canada we encourage people to do it as farms who breed get tax write offs that other boarding barns don't, we will continue to have a problem with the market being flooded. People who get in trouble and want to sell their horse are facing a market where supply is greater than demand. They can't even unload the horse for a song in many situations.

The most we can ask for to try to rectify this problem is responsible breeding, but even if we eliminated all the Fugly Backyard horses, who is determining how many horses can be bred in a year? No one...and hence, we continue to have the same problem over and over. There is no way to limit the # of horses being born.

A horse's life span is a very long time, and its prime yaers are few...it is unreasonable to think that in today's socieety of suburbanite horse owners that the majority of these owners could sustain caring for a horse over its lifespan.


These factors, combined with today's economy, are going to create crisis situations for owners and BOs. I don't know if there is an answer other than to somehow regulate the production of more horses until demand exceeds supply and the pendulum swings the other way.

Zipping up flame suit.

RumoursFollow
Apr. 9, 2009, 09:48 PM
I am the trainer at a boarding barn and have no "interest" per se in the money paid by boarders (since I am one myself) however I know that about six months ago my BO started allowing people to pay board in two payments, on the 1st, and by the 15th. It almost completely cured the late and/or non-exsistent payments. Not everyone takes them up on it, but it makes a huge difference for a lot of people!

gottagrey
Apr. 9, 2009, 11:04 PM
Some barns do request security deposit and often it is in lieu of having to require 30 days notice.
There are people who just flat out refuse to pay their bills no matter what - doesn't have anything to do w/ the economy today -there are those who are just deadbeats. Some states do allow for seizure of animals for lost board - in Maryland I believe it's 3 months before you can sell horse for unpaid bills and then you are supposed to provide public notice... (in the newspaper under public notice which no one reads..)

I also think that these are difficult times for many people who have lost their jobs and so the circumstances can be on a case by case basis and hopefully the owner and barn owner will be able to work something out.. In those cases - it's difficult for everyone concerned - especially when it's a good reliable boarder.

In the case of unpaid training fees - that's a tough one - generally you have no recourse as often the case it's probably a verbal agreement vs written. However, you could send the person an email or letter (email probably better since it will prompt a reply - which would be an acknowledgement of monies owed - then you could take them to court. But then often you might win a court case, judgement in your favor and still never get paid. You only have the satisfaction of knowing they have a judgement against them which could ruin their credit.

From now on when setting up training schedules - I guess the best/safest thing is to ask for payment prior to training/riding/coaching..?

magnolia73
Apr. 10, 2009, 08:13 AM
It is a business and if the business will sink from this one person's hardship, then I think the business has more problems than this one person not paying the bills for a month or two.

Yup. Sometimes people just can't pay you. In my field, we have plenty of clients with no money to pay us. What can you do? We generally get in line with our demand letter if we don't like you- so you go bankrupt, we are in line. If we like you, we work out a deal- generally a deferred payment that is higher than the original bill.

Horses are a whole lot like homes these days- you can't necessarily turn around and have a fire sale to cover your bills.

Probably the best practice is to have a clear policy and stick to it. But work with people that you trust and feel just need a bit of time. If all else fails, at our business, a nicely worded letter from our attorney generally yields a couriered check within 24 hours.

katie16
Apr. 10, 2009, 09:35 AM
If the BO can't accomodate, then they should try to help the owner find a place to keep the horses that they can afford, or can arrange a working exchange or something.


Banks are working with people today.. they have to. They are giving people options to reduce payments, there are programs to help people in trouble. We are in a near depression people. Wake up.. The banks don't win if they take the houses... they end up losing too.



I have a comment for each of your paragraphs above. First, however, I will say that in my experience MOST barn owners will work with people as much as they can. The vast majority of BO's got into the business because they love the animals, not because they expect to make money hand over fist. However, it seems to me that in some posts here there is an attitude that the BO should be obligated to take payments, reduce the fees due, or help the horse owner in whatever other way will benefit the horse owner. Maybe I am misinterpreting it, but that attitude bothers me.

With regard to the first paragraph: Why should the burden become the BO's? Again, not saying that most won't try to help, but in my opinion, that help should be something that is voluntarily offered by the BO and appreciated by the horse owner - not expected.

The BO still has continuing financial obligations, regardless of whether or not customers pay. Those obligations do not go away, or get put on hold, simply because a customer does not pay. An owner that does this is preying on the fact that the BO loves the animals and is unlikely to do something detrimental to the animal.

The horse industry is hard because you are dealing with a live animal. In another industry you would have the option to simply stop serving the customer. Shut off the cable tv, no more charge account at the local hardware store, etc. In the horse industry, they BO is not only getting stuck by not getting the income agreed upon, but they are getting stuck a second time by also having increased expenses (caring for the unpaid horse).


With regard to the second paragraph: I do not think the analogy of banks and homes works quite the same with barn owners and horses.

a) The house is not costing the bank out-of-pocket cash each month that the owner does not pay. The BO still has to pay to feed, bed, shoe the horse. Not to mention the "lost wages" for the labor that is not being paid.

b) A forclosed home can [generally] have the utilities turned off thereby reducing expenses. Horses can have training eliminated, but they still need to eat, bedding, shoeing, etc. The horse expenses cannot so easily be reduced.

c) And the biggest difference, IMO, is that in the case of a home, the bank agreed to fund the purchse for you. I don't know any barn owners who agreed to back-up a horse owners purchase! The bank intentionally stuck its neck out and gambled on the home owner - with the hope and expectation that the homeowner would keep up their end of the agreement and the bank would therefore make a profit off of the homeowner. The bank takes an intentional calculated risk. That is NOT the case with a Barn Owner.

One other thought for those that feel the BO has a resonsibility to support the customers horse until [some undetermined time that may or may not come] the customer can pay in full again. How is your BO doing financially? How many customers not paying as agreed would it take to put your BO under? How quickly? A BO supporting horses that it did not expect could be the tipping point to put a BO under and then even those who were fulfilling their obligations would be hurt and in need of a new place.

I have had expereince with a few (about five) over the past couple decades who have been WAY behind or simply not paying at all. It is never a good thing.

little miss
Apr. 10, 2009, 12:13 PM
In the horse industry, they BO is not only getting stuck by not getting the income agreed upon, but they are getting stuck a second time by also having increased expenses (caring for the unpaid horse).


This is the point ! Not only is the person not paying but it costs ME money to keep the horse in my care.

Agreement was xxx amount of money per month which included board and training. It was for me to show and have fun with (for the owner to basically stand at the ring a be a happy owner) but after 2 weeks I told the owner that the horse was not "good" enough to be a professionals horse (he shows 1m30) and should be sold as an amateur horse, that the trainning fees would quickly cost more then what he would see in the end during re-sale. The owner wants about the double of what the horse is worth. I told him that I would try to market the horse, in the mean time the horse would stay in training and expences paid for.

Well after the first bill went out he said the money was on the way, never came into my account. I have heard EVERY excuse (can't believe he's still able to come up with so many or even picking up my calls still!!!) I said I had clients for the horse and I would like him to provide me with a show record so that I could back up the "1m30" claim (he actually said it had jumped 1m40 before, turns out he hadn't). No records arrived. So now the only way I can sell this horse for decent money(several months rent) is if he shows (or at least the way I see it), which increases my expences. And what if he gets hurt??!

mvp
Apr. 10, 2009, 01:28 PM
This is a business like any other so I think four principles apply

1) Don't take anything personally. Yes, it is frustrating when customers don't pay or rank you below their other creditors. But that's their business, not yours. No need to get riled up about "charity" or not, opinions about what the customer should feel or not. Which leads to...

2) Make sure you have a way to make your bill a compelling one. A good written agreement is the best way to do what you can to move yours to the top of the unpaid pile. If the agreement is strong in this respect up front, you can often scare off would-be flakes.

3) Accepting a temporary loss is sometimes profitable in the end. If the delinquent customer will agree to a payment schedule, that's good and you ought to ask. If you wait, or wait and trust, that's on your end. Many businesses end up extending terms to their customers, not happily, but in the interests of maintaining cash flow. Just do that in a timely fashion and with a solid agreement.

4) Know when to cut your losses. In the boarding world, where profit margins are slim and you don't want to be in the horse repo business, punt the non-payer's animal out ASAP if there is no communication, broken terms of a payment schedule you drew up quickly and or any other weirdness that really bugs you.

But I think the first one-- don't take anything personally-- goes a long way to make a business run like a business.

LetsChat
Apr. 10, 2009, 02:05 PM
I have a comment for each of your paragraphs above. First, however, I will say that in my experience MOST barn owners will work with people as much as they can. The vast majority of BO's got into the business because they love the animals, not because they expect to make money hand over fist. However, it seems to me that in some posts here there is an attitude that the BO should be obligated to take payments, reduce the fees due, or help the horse owner in whatever other way will benefit the horse owner. Maybe I am misinterpreting it, but that attitude bothers me.

With regard to the first paragraph: Why should the burden become the BO's? Again, not saying that most won't try to help, but in my opinion, that help should be something that is voluntarily offered by the BO and appreciated by the horse owner - not expected.

The BO still has continuing financial obligations, regardless of whether or not customers pay. Those obligations do not go away, or get put on hold, simply because a customer does not pay. An owner that does this is preying on the fact that the BO loves the animals and is unlikely to do something detrimental to the animal.

The horse industry is hard because you are dealing with a live animal. In another industry you would have the option to simply stop serving the customer. Shut off the cable tv, no more charge account at the local hardware store, etc. In the horse industry, they BO is not only getting stuck by not getting the income agreed upon, but they are getting stuck a second time by also having increased expenses (caring for the unpaid horse).


With regard to the second paragraph: I do not think the analogy of banks and homes works quite the same with barn owners and horses.

a) The house is not costing the bank out-of-pocket cash each month that the owner does not pay. The BO still has to pay to feed, bed, shoe the horse. Not to mention the "lost wages" for the labor that is not being paid.

b) A forclosed home can [generally] have the utilities turned off thereby reducing expenses. Horses can have training eliminated, but they still need to eat, bedding, shoeing, etc. The horse expenses cannot so easily be reduced.

c) And the biggest difference, IMO, is that in the case of a home, the bank agreed to fund the purchse for you. I don't know any barn owners who agreed to back-up a horse owners purchase! The bank intentionally stuck its neck out and gambled on the home owner - with the hope and expectation that the homeowner would keep up their end of the agreement and the bank would therefore make a profit off of the homeowner. The bank takes an intentional calculated risk. That is NOT the case with a Barn Owner.

One other thought for those that feel the BO has a resonsibility to support the customers horse until [some undetermined time that may or may not come] the customer can pay in full again. How is your BO doing financially? How many customers not paying as agreed would it take to put your BO under? How quickly? A BO supporting horses that it did not expect could be the tipping point to put a BO under and then even those who were fulfilling their obligations would be hurt and in need of a new place.

I have had expereince with a few (about five) over the past couple decades who have been WAY behind or simply not paying at all. It is never a good thing.

And one more thing you are forgetting, the bank gets INTEREST on the mortgage for taking that calculated risk. As it has been noted in this thread a boarding business doesn't make huge bucks, generally they are just charging enough to cover the expenses of owning and running the boarding facility. It is a huge difference, and of course, as also noted, these are LIVE animals definitely different that real estate.

Flash44
Apr. 11, 2009, 10:59 AM
Good thing I don't take in boarders, because I would not hesitate to load the horse up on a trailer and haul it to the non-paying boarder's house and hand it over. I would make sure my boarding contract would say that once the grace period was over, the horse would be delivered to the owner at no extra charge!!!

alterrider23
Apr. 12, 2009, 03:00 PM
I am writing as an alter, as you could imagine. In the last 6 months I have had to deal with twice, my policy on non-payment is clearly spelled out in my 5 page long boarding contract; and gives the horse owner 90 days before I can take action. (That is 90 days, that I as BO have to care for the needs of the owner's horse before I can take a lien on it.) I am willing to work with people, if they are amicable, polite and gracious of the FAVOR I give them.

Scenario 1: Mediocre horse is sent in for consignment, client paid first 2 months up front as well as bought a back yard pony for their kid which they took home. Owner comes down w/ cancer, and takes pay cut. Checks stop coming, and they stop answering calls. I finally get in touch with owner; she's crying, I understand. In the end, she just sends me signed papers on the horse with a note about her embarassment. I feel for her. Absorbing this horse won't break me, and I can't just turn him out in the woods. I'll train it, find a place for in the lesson program and maybe down the road it'll sell or lease. No other real option.

Scenario 2: Client I rarely see, maybe comes 8x per month, and never rides. Husband gets hours cut at work, ask can they help out to reduce cost? Well, okay how about Sunday chores? They're late, they take all day, trash the barn, tell all other clients how pitiful their life is. This goes on for a while, and I discuss with them that I am not happy. How about I do some grooming on the training horses for you she says? Then they start writing board checks for what they think they owe!! A nigtmare, a nasty nasty nightmare. These are slow pay people. I have tried to work with them, and I won't live with them anymore, they've been asked to go, and go quickly. These people will never pay full price for anyone given the opportunity to pay less, they are ungrateful and honestly feel I should just give them a handout.

I see two things when this happens: The good people will do right by the BO in the best way they can. The others will take you for a ride until the BO cracks, then they will do it to the next person.

Those of us that own barns do occasionally get caught in pickles, and we do need the monthly income to continue with improvements, and maintenance etc. Ideally owners shouldn't go under because somone can't pay, but we shouldn't be expected to carry you either. THings do change in people's lives, but your horse is your responsibilty and you better get yourself to McDonald's to pay the person feeding your horse! Hopefully, absorbing one horse won't kill you, make things tough for a little while, but shouldn't hurt too bad.

EquineLegalSolutions
Apr. 21, 2009, 12:43 AM
First, please be reassured that you have lots of company - non-paying boarders are practically an epidemic right now. :( Nearly every one of our boarding barn clients (at every point on the spectrum of stables, from pasture-only to super-ritzy full-training-only) has called for advice about what to do with non-paying boarders.

Second, there are things you can lawfully do, and things you can't. Here are several articles I have written on the topic:
Non-paying boarders - general remedies: http://www.equinelegalsolutions.com/deadbeatclients.html
Specific remedies for California stables:
http://www.equinelegalsolutions.com/nonpayingboarders-legalremedies.html
And last but certainly not least, why foreclosing on an agister's lien is not always (or these days, usually!) the practical thing to do:
http://www.equinelegalsolutions.com/ReasonsNottoForecloseAgistersLien.html

If you're in California, New York or Washington, I'd be happy to offer a free consultation about your specific situation - just give our office a call at 866-385-2972.

Hope this helps!

findeight
Apr. 21, 2009, 10:24 AM
Glad this one came back up...I did lose a job once and I promptly SOLD the horse at a big loss.

Just talked to somebody who boards 10 head and 3 are in default by at least 90 days, 2 with the same owner-who also owes the vet and farrier to the tune of almost 5k at this point. They will have to sieze them and get them off the property because they cannot afford to feed, shoe/trim, tend to routine vet even if the vet and farrier would do them without the past balances being cleared with them-which they cannot afford to do as they have their share of non pay themselves.

And, as far as the banks working with their no pay or slow pay? They don't give them a free ride, they can't just not pay or pay a part of it for more then a few months.

I almost sense an entitlement to get way behind with the horse board here and expect the BO to accomodate the situation. That's the owner's job, move immediately to a cheaper place you can afford, turn it out and get a reduced rate where you are or sell it. You get behind at, say, 600 a month, plus farrier, plus vet and you better get the hours back up or another job or you will get so far behind you'll never catch back up-and the BO won't be able to subsidize that for long.

Once you hit 90 days behind, you are in trouble and the BO cannot help any more.

Hunter/JumperMom
Apr. 21, 2009, 11:21 AM
question for barn owners/trainers. Do any of you accept credit cards? And if so, does it make a difference. I would think by accepting them, and sure loosing 2-4%, would be better than not getting paid at all? Just curious if that could be a route to take.

findeight
Apr. 21, 2009, 11:24 AM
My barn started taking them about a year ago. It is a nice option to offer.

Hunter/JumperMom
Apr. 21, 2009, 11:27 AM
thanks - thats what I would think. I have a business (electrical), and our A/R is rather high right now, I'm considering offering credit card and even telling the customers if they want to use the CC, they need to add on half the fee. I would think I would get paid quicker. I am hearing stories of barns not getting paid, and would think this would help. Especially to get old debt cleaned up.

findeight
Apr. 21, 2009, 11:32 AM
Um...my cc contract forbids adding the fee on only for those using the card or offering a discount for cash. Just price up a tiny little bit across the board if you need to cover that...or just eat it. Beats getting stiffed.