View Full Version : What should I expect if I take over managing my barn?

Feb. 4, 2010, 01:54 PM
Greetings! This is my first time posting here, but I'm familiar with all the great advice and viewpoints available. I've known this was coming, but just recently the person who manages the facility I'm at approached me about taking over that responsibility. This is a primarily pasture board place, with access to a small barn where the horse owner is supposed to do all their own care. I've been around full care facilities before and am quite familiar with feeding, turnout, blanketing, mucking, etc. But what else do I get to do with managing the entire property? I know there's mowing, arranging hay delivery, vet/farrier visits. But I'm asking for the nitty gritty, the unpleasant parts I may not have thought of. And, what kind of compensation would be reasonable? The current manager suggested I ask for nothing less than $600/month compensation (free board/pay). It's a very inexpensive facility, with very few ammenities other than good boarders who look out for each other, and plenty of love from everyone. Anything pointers, big or small, are much appreciated!

Feb. 4, 2010, 02:15 PM
That would be entirely up to the owner and depend also on the board contracts. Here are some things which you need to ask the owner about:

1) Be available on premisis for delivery of a new horse, pick up of a horse, etc.

2)Building maintenance - who paints, repairs damaged doors, what have you

3) what equipment belongs to the barn, what belongs to horse owners

4) repair and replacement of said equipment, where does the money come from (say a hose)

5)Be available on premisis for vet, or farrier?

6)Who orders supplys like hay, grain, etc.

7)Be responsible for new boarder contracts

8) taxes and health insurance (check with the laws in your state, call dept of labor and describe job and salary and ask what you should expect from the employer)

8) be responsible for new boarder insurance and waivers for non-boarding riders on the property

Who knows what else the owner will want you to do. Why don't you ask the owner? Why don't you ask the former BM?



Whatever you do, please make sure you get it in writing and signed by the owner/employer. Not to do so would be really foolish, and then you'll be back on this board looking for "Help! My employer isn't paying me what we agreed on and is making me do work we didn't agree on but I don't have anything in writing". Just a heads up, forwarned is forearmed!

Good luck

Feb. 4, 2010, 02:20 PM
Thanks! Yes, the current manager is going to sit down with me and go through things he takes care of, but I know there are other things that can/should be addressed. The actual property owner knows NOTHING about horses, so it would be virtually like running my own place, just not actually collecting all the board fees. Yes that gives me some leeway, but still seeking thoughts on what I may be overlooking.

Feb. 4, 2010, 02:38 PM
First you need to figure out how many hours you'll be working. You might want to try it out for a few weeks before establishing your salary "In stone".

When I took my barn job, it was only supposed to be for 4 hours a day, only until I started actually doing it, I realized I needed an additional hour to each day and we agreed to switch from salary to and hourly pay.

What are you paying in pasture board now, if you want to divulge that?

It sounds like a lot of time and work for only $600.00 a month.

I'm making a lot more than that for only 5 hours a day with much less responsibility.

Where are you located? Do you have a DH to pick up the other household expenses? As $600.00 is not a livable wage.

Benefits? Paid holidays?

Honestly? I'd rather be paid by the hour. I don't *milk* the job, but you certainly don't want to be working a 10 hour day for such a small salary.
Plus the BO could spring on additional jobs which might lengthen your day.

Feb. 4, 2010, 02:53 PM
My standard advice to anyone in your position is to start with a written agreement with all your responsabilities and remuneration that has been agreed to.

My first, part time managing, as an assistent instructor in my teens, the instructor sat me down and showed me the daily record book, that consisted of TWO books.
All entries were made on both books and he took one home EVERY DAY.
I don't know what his experiences were for that and was not about to ask him, but I guess at some time, someone may have altered or questioned the original.

In any management job, accountablility and independent oversight, I always requested a well respected CPA firm was looking everything over a few times a year, will protect you.
Cost little if you already keep the books, they will add to your managing with suggestions and stand behind you, explaining, if there are any questions.

How you manage may never come in question, but if it ever does, you will have recourse if you are very meticulous with your record keeping, plus you can't see what you can't measure.
Excellent records permit you to measure where every expense goes, where income comes from and what your profit or loss is at any time, from any source.

I liked managing stables, didn't like managing "some" people.
I learned that I like doing the work myself much better and am a better working manager than overseer.
Leading by example works better for me than staying on anyone's back and trying to find ways of keeping all kinds of people motivated.
That became tiresome for me, but for some postitions in larger jobs, you have to delegate.

You will find managing a learning and growing experience, if you have never managed.:cool:

Feb. 4, 2010, 03:02 PM
Where are you located? Do you have a DH to pick up the other household expenses? As $600.00 is not a livable wage.

It certainly is not - it transfers to $7,200 per year, about $138 per week. Something to consider when you make more than that doing just about anything else - the hourly rate is quite likely to fall under minimum wage.

I imagine for that sort of salary, this would be part time, so I strongly suggest you spell out your duties and hours precisely in writing with the barn owner, as "barn management" jobs tend to say things like "40 hours a week" when it's actually more like 60+.

Do you have health insurance? Would it be offered?

Feb. 5, 2010, 02:46 PM
$600. as an "employee" or as a "private contractor"? If the latter, you have to figure in both employer/employee portion of taxes, social security and medicare deductions. How many horses?

Feb. 5, 2010, 02:58 PM
Taxes wont be that hard. Jut get quick books. The farm should have it anyway, to keep track of expenses and the like.

Feb. 5, 2010, 06:42 PM
Remember that this is a "customer service" position. It also might take a thick skin and a commanding presence. If you don't want to do these things, are not a good negotiator or don't particularly want to grow a pair, don't take the job.

You also need to get a sense of A) just how small the profit margin is for the barn, and B) how much the property owner will ever want to do about maintenance. If there's no money and an unwilling owner, you are taking on a tougher than average management position.

A low salary may be a problem, but scheduling (or lack thereof!) may be the even larger day-to-day issue. Remember that as the barn manager, you are the buck stopper. All problems or emergencies will have a way of making their way to your doorstep. That's not bad, as you get to solve them *your* way. But you do have to be willing and able to step up and make good decisions you can stand behind.

Many of us who board would like some of the control you'll have. It's great that you have a bunch of good boarders. Best of luck in your decision.

Feb. 5, 2010, 08:02 PM
Also find out what your responsibility will be if one of the
boarders does not pay their board or, worse, abandons
the horse at the farm. If you are expected to deal with
that, you may need legal assistance and you will need
to know (preferably in advance) what is available from
whom and who pays for it. Also check what your
responsibilities may be for a human or equine injury
which may occur at the farm.