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grandprixjump
May. 28, 2010, 02:18 PM
As a few of you have seen, I'm giving up on MS and moving to VA. In an attempt to keep the peace, till I go, I have even been pulling ads off the net for potential help here.

One couple said they wanted $2000 a month for working here, EACH... This place is only 20 stalls, and not a show within 3 hours of here.... (With this kind of money I wouldn't be leaving)

Guess their ad should have read, "we will care for 70 horse boarding stable, by ourselves - Stalls, turnout, training, EVERYTHING.." or "Want to work for Dignelli, Madden, Etc. High dollar, high rent farms"

I think that amount sounds absurd, especially with so many places struggling now days....

caffeinated
May. 28, 2010, 03:05 PM
I dunno, from my perspective getting by on $500 a week seems really absurd too, though I know it's possible to do...

yadayada
May. 28, 2010, 03:11 PM
I agree with caffeinated, $500 a week is not alot of money at all, unless maybe you would be offering them room and board as well?

soloudinhere
May. 28, 2010, 03:22 PM
I made $500 a week with housing included for a job that had no stall cleaning of any kind. Just feeding, watering, grooming, riding. Now, if they wanted to be hired as a couple at $1000/wk for the two of them, and you only need one person, that's a different form of unreasonable but by itself, $500/wk is not unreasonable pay really.

Doesn't seem that unreasonable to me, and while it was a high rent district, the barn itself wasn't that horrendously expensive to board at.

grandprixjump
May. 28, 2010, 03:31 PM
The barn is ONLY 20 stalls, and can't pay boarders to come in. Bad area, bad economy, 3 or more barns shut down recently closer to Jackson.
People here, who have horses, are happy to have them chained out with a logging chain (probably stolen from the logging trucks) in their front yard. I have seen this with my own eyes...

Trixie
May. 28, 2010, 03:44 PM
$500 a week for 40 hours of work is $12.50 an hour, and I've not seen many barn work jobs that are actually only 40 hours per week. I just don't see it as being that unreasonable, particularly if the job doesn't offer housing and it's enough work to be a full time job for each.

loshad
May. 28, 2010, 04:21 PM
The grooms (6 for about 50 horses) at my barn get about $400/week plus housing, so $500/person doesn't seem outrageous for people who can manage the place as well. If that number surprises you, you're going to be shocked as hell by VA pricing.

soloudinhere
May. 28, 2010, 05:59 PM
I made that plus housing in prime horse country, VA, and that was my starting rate-- I made a lot more after I'd been there 6 months. I don't think even the stall cleaners made less than $400/wk.

Alterrain
May. 28, 2010, 07:02 PM
you think that's HIGH?

Wait til you get to VA, you are going to get a rude awakening. :)

I thought from the title they wanted to get paid in crack or something, or film low budget porn in the barn after hours. I think $2000/ mo is VERY reasonable, quite low even.

Roxy SM
May. 28, 2010, 07:03 PM
I agree with everyone else, I don't see why you are so outraged at them each wanting $500 a week. You keep emphasizing there are only 20 stalls, would that be their only job, to muck stalls? Or would they also be feeding, turning out, etc? I also agree with those who said you're in for a big shock if you think that is a lot and you are moving to VA.

mvp
May. 28, 2010, 07:49 PM
I think the OP meant that a couple wanted $2k /month each. I don't know if that amounts to 80 hours of work per week. But if you aren't paying housing, benies and all, I don't think it's a living wage. I do see how a BO can get a little sticker shock at the prospect of shelling out $48K for barn help per year.

And yes, the OP may be in for a rude awakening in terms of sheer cost of everything-- land, labor, living-- when moving from MO to VA. Presumably, however, the horse community in the new spot has more discretionary income to put into their version of horsing so that it's possible to make a living at boarding and training at all. If the local economy just doesn't make lots of well-paid people almost all BOs and trainers operate on small margins.

lauriep
May. 28, 2010, 07:50 PM
Could YOU live on $24K a year? I don't know many people who can. Also agree you will be shocked when you get here.

Why do people think the horse business should pay less than any other business? It is HARD work, lots of responsibility with little reward and few, if any, benefits. IMO, you either have to have a passion for horses, or be utterly unemployable elsewhere to try and make it in the horse world. It ain't easy.

superpony123
May. 28, 2010, 08:37 PM
$500/week is not unreasonable for them to ask at all.. people have to get by

Montanas_Girl
May. 28, 2010, 08:40 PM
Ummmm....I don't take home much more than that at my full-time job (with a Master's degree)! So, yes, in my area, that would be an outrageous amount of money to pay for barn work at all but the nicest, largest of barns. I have worked for four different barns of various sizes/styles in the last ten years, and I have always made between $6.50 and $7.50 an hour (standard barn work + some other "management" type duties).

NorthFaceFarm
May. 28, 2010, 09:16 PM
Then you either aren't worth a better wage or [don't] know better. I'm sorry to be blunt, but I made $500/week at a riding camp when I was 14. $500 in a weekend just to groom for five horses at a show at the same age. I was hoping you were just going to say you don't need two full timers and thought it was ridiculous they wanted full pay for splitting one job.

Montanas_Girl
May. 28, 2010, 09:34 PM
Yep, that's it, I'm stupid and incompetent. :rolleyes: That MUST be how I worked at barns for years and was literally begged to come back by not one but two different employers when I left. Must also be how I landed a research assistantship with one of the top equine researchers in the country and how I finished my M.S. on time and was asked repeatedly to stay and finish my Ph.D.

It couldn't POSSIBLY be that not all of us live in well-off metropolitan areas....nope, that's not it at all. Or that we work in careers/industries that cannot and will not support higher salaries. I make almost the exact same salary as my elementary school teacher sister. Not everyone in the horse world makes (or needs to make) $40K+ a year. Welcome to the real world.

loshad
May. 28, 2010, 09:49 PM
A research assistantship is slightly different from a stable job, let's face it. Goodness knows, if you are a top researcher you can pay peanuts and get 500 REALLY amazing people to pick and choose from who will work their butts off for the pittance you pay, let you abuse them, and then thank you for it.:winkgrin:

If you advertise a pittance for stable help, you'll get 500 tweenage girls who want to ride and brush the pretty ponies and upteen slackers who fancy themselves trainers and have no intention of mucking stalls, scrubbing buckets, and doing all that *shudder* work. If you're lucky, you'll get someone with half a brain who may have seen a horse once or twice before, can do the work, and will recognize that if the horse has a leg hanging off it might be a good idea to call a vet. Possibly. If you're really lucky, you'll get someone who knows horses, works hard, recognizes the signs of various horse ailments, knows what to do about them, and actually likes both people AND horses. Or at least horses. If you get one of them, you pay them whatever they want and pray that no other barn with more cash finds out about them. :D

nlk
May. 28, 2010, 09:50 PM
My husband and I make around $50,000 a year (which is what the total would be for these two potential employees). We have two children a nice house two vehicles a dog and a horse....So no NOT everyone needs tons of money to live on. We are doing well and are BLESSED to have two jobs!!

Now that said when I was on salary I made $500 + board. I managed a 70 or so barn covered with stalls when I had to (rare) feed, groomed, rode, tacked, taught.....You name it I did it.

I did have other jobs, same capacity that paid considerably less. What's listed is simply the best.

Now to be outraged... maybe that's a little extreme. But everyone else shouldn't fool themselves in thinking you can't live unless you make over $2,000 a month for two people....

Now that said...I have interviewed people who went to school for equine studies, graduated and have never actually touched a horse. I have had people who simply though they should be hired because they have always liked horses, some who have trail rode a few times and therefore knew what they were doing....Or the best is the parent who wants you to give their child a job because they are so great and said child can't tack up a horse or NOT run into another rider after riding for 5 years!

alto
May. 28, 2010, 10:12 PM
This place is only 20 stalls, and not a show within 3 hours of here

I'm with the OP on this one - a quiet 20 stall barn is NOT fulltime work for 2 people especially if the job posting was for barn HELP!
- ie OP will be at the barn working too

:rolleyes:

Montanas_Girl
May. 28, 2010, 10:18 PM
A research assistantship is slightly different from a stable job, let's face it. Goodness knows, if you are a top researcher you can pay peanuts and get 500 REALLY amazing people to pick and choose from who will work their butts off for the pittance you pay, let you abuse them, and then thank you for it.:winkgrin:

Oh, I know. That's not what I do *now*. ;) I was pointing out that not only "stupid" people make $500 week working full time jobs.

DandyMatiz
May. 28, 2010, 10:56 PM
That would be really, really, really high in my area too. Board averages $200.00-$300.00 for Full board for a Stallion (private paddock, etc), 125.00-175.00 for shared paddock full board (mares, geldings, etc) and is around $100.00 for pasture board. Fully boarding 20 horses, you could barely pay the wages they are asking, much less for the home lol. Trainer (western) is an additional 300.00 a month.

Trixie
May. 28, 2010, 11:16 PM
I'm with the OP on this one - a quiet 20 stall barn is NOT fulltime work for 2 people especially if the job posting was for barn HELP!
- ie OP will be at the barn working too

That certainly wasn’t the impression that I got, given that the OP is moving to Virginia.


Now to be outraged... maybe that's a little extreme. But everyone else shouldn't fool themselves in thinking you can't live unless you make over $2,000 a month for two people....


My husband and I make around $50,000 a year (which is what the total would be for these two potential employees). We have two children a nice house two vehicles a dog and a horse....So no NOT everyone needs tons of money to live on. We are doing well and are BLESSED to have two jobs!!

So, what you seem to be saying is that their request is actually reasonable - i.e., an amount that is possible to live on. You’re making a combined income of 50K and managing to live just fine, but the OP seems to believe that these people are unreasonable and wants to pay them less. What should he be paying them?


I have worked for four different barns of various sizes/styles in the last ten years, and I have always made between $6.50 and $7.50 an hour (standard barn work + some other "management" type duties).

Out of curiosity, were you given housing? What about health insurance? Worker’s comp? Because $6.50 an hour is under minimum wage. So we’ll assume $7.25 (minimum wage) X 40 hours per week. $290 a week, or about $15K a year.

I don’t think it particularly matters if you’re in an urban area or not, it’s awfully difficult to survive decently on an amount like that without housing provided - and even then, it’s frequently pushing it. It also makes it impossible to plan for a future where one would eventually need savings, a new vehicle, a down payment, a veterinary or medical bill, a start on a child’s college fund. You pay wages like that, you get nothing but transient workers or children.

While I appreciate that you're qualified, I don’t understand how you can justify a position of responsibility (management?) for less than what McDonalds pays their staffers. I’d imagine that for that, of course they’d gladly beg anyone to come back who had even a tiny bit of common sense and horse experience.

vacation1
May. 28, 2010, 11:28 PM
I dunno about the prices, but I am always amazed at how genuinely outraged barn owners here can be about employee issues. Barn worker has to be one of the worst jobs imaginable - dirty, grueling, dangerous, smelly, ill-paid, surrounded by people who are financially better off, no union, no real protection from employer abuses. Employee issues have to be a fairly inevitable part of offering working conditions like that.


Then you either aren't worth a better wage or are too stupid to know better. I'm sorry to be blunt, but I made $500/week at a riding camp when I was 14. $500 in a weekend just to groom for five horses at a show at the same age.

Blunt is not really the right word. Naive might be a better one. There are lots of people accepting inadequate compensation for good work not because they're dumb but because they had different experiences than you did. Luck - who your parents were, what your first boss was like, your own nature - plays a huge part in how much money you make. It takes chutzpah and confidence to get more money - to ask for it outright, to expect it, to hold out for it.

Montanas_Girl
May. 28, 2010, 11:42 PM
Out of curiosity, were you given housing? What about health insurance? Worker’s comp? Because $6.50 an hour is under minimum wage. So we’ll assume $7.25 (minimum wage) X 40 hours per week. $290 a week, or about $15K a year.

These were part-time jobs (equivalent to what the OP is talking about - taking care of 20 horses [minus farm/facilities management] is not a full time job or even close to one), so the answers to your questions are all "no". And $6.50 was minimum wage when I was getting it. (FYI, though: most agricultural jobs are exempt from minimum wage requirements). The pay was equivalent to what I made working retail for various companies during the same time periods.


I don’t think it particularly matters if you’re in an urban area or not, it’s awfully difficult to survive decently on an amount like that without housing provided - and even then, it’s frequently pushing it. It also makes it impossible to plan for a future where one would eventually need savings, a new vehicle, a down payment, a veterinary or medical bill, a start on a child’s college fund. You pay wages like that, you get nothing but transient workers or children.

Funny, but I survive just fine on my <$2300/month (take home) salary without housing provided, as do the vast majority of school teachers, extension agents, etc. in my state. None of us are "transient workers or children". No, we don't drive brand new cars, and we don't/won't send our children to the Ivy League debt free, but we manage to get by. Not everyone "needs" an extravagant vacation every year, AA-level horse shows, and weekly shopping sprees to "survive". When I was "real job" hunting, I managed to pay my bills on my $1500/month combined salary from working retail and mucking stalls - and that was while boarding two horses. Not something I recommend, but it can be done. The way I'm living now feels luxurious in comparison.

Trixie
May. 29, 2010, 12:00 AM
These were part-time jobs (equivalent to what the OP is talking about - taking care of 20 horses [minus farm/facilities management] is not a full time job or even close to one), so the answers to your questions are all "no". And $6.50 was minimum wage when I was getting it. (FYI, though: most agricultural jobs are exempt from minimum wage requirements). The pay was equivalent to what I made working retail for various companies during the same time periods.

If the OP is in fact talking about part time work, then yes, $500 a week might be high. However, as a full time position, it’s really not a living wage at all, and he didn‘t specify. And to reiterate, what you’re saying is that you did not have to pay rent, bills, health care, and put food on the table while working for $6.50 an hour (around $1K a month) - could you have? Could you have done it for a long period of time?


Funny, but I survive just fine on my <$2300/month (take home) salary without housing provided, as do the vast majority of school teachers, extension agents, etc. in my state. None of us are "transient workers or children".

$2300 a month take home is different than $15K a year (a minimum wage type salary). If you read what I wrote, you’ll realize that I said it’s very difficult if not impossible to survive on a minimum wage type salary without housing provided. And yes, the people that take those jobs DO tend to be either young or transient. Do you know a lot of people who are competent and otherwise qualified that are willing to make careers out of minimum wage jobs?


Not everyone "needs" an extravagant vacation every year, AA-level horse shows, and weekly shopping sprees to "survive".

? Where did anyone say that they did? I believe my post referenced some things in life that aren’t generally considered extravagant - a future, not “weekly shopping sprees.”

soloudinhere
May. 29, 2010, 12:07 AM
Ok, living wage debate aside, because that can go on forever, it still hasn't been pointed out exactly why this request seems so unreasonable-- was it park time work? were they to be full time staff? provided housing? too man variables are left unknown to judge either the OPs outrage or the level of reason shown by the people mentioned.

Coreene
May. 29, 2010, 01:21 AM
I love Trixie.

chunky munky
May. 29, 2010, 02:01 AM
I guess that the OP hasn't priced health insurance lately, or don't you offer that? Its been about 10 years since i had a full time barn employee in VA, Back then it was $500 per person plus housing and $30 per day stipend at the shows. They also had access to a vehicle. Don't come to VA if you think you will get a bargain. Everyone needs to make an honest wage. Just because horses are your hobby, don't think it is your employees hobby as well.

Rival
May. 29, 2010, 02:10 AM
The going rate at my barn for staff is $6.50 to $7.00 per horse per day. So at $7.00 per day that equals $4200 a month for 20 horses. Hourly it is about $10.00 per hour for the average person. That is actually a low wage in my area where $15.00 an hour is more the norm and they usually want cash.

HOOF123
May. 29, 2010, 02:13 AM
Yep, that's it, I'm stupid and incompetent. :rolleyes: That MUST be how I worked at barns for years and was literally begged to come back by not one but two different employers when I left. Must also be how I landed a research assistantship with one of the top equine researchers in the country and how I finished my M.S. on time and was asked repeatedly to stay and finish my Ph.D.

It couldn't POSSIBLY be that not all of us live in well-off metropolitan areas....nope, that's not it at all. Or that we work in careers/industries that cannot and will not support higher salaries. I make almost the exact same salary as my elementary school teacher sister. Not everyone in the horse world makes (or needs to make) $40K+ a year. Welcome to the real world.

yup ;)

HOOF123
May. 29, 2010, 02:24 AM
The going rate at my barn for staff is $6.50 to $7.00 per horse per day. So at $7.00 per day that equals $4200 a month for 20 horses. Hourly it is about $10.00 per hour for the average person. That is actually a low wage in my area where $15.00 an hour is more the norm and they usually want cash.

wow:eek:

JellyBeanQueen
May. 29, 2010, 02:27 AM
Here, 500 a week is pretty decent pay for a stable hand. Many TB farms will give a housing allowance along with that at a 48 hour week. (6 days)
At the farm where I work we pay 8.25 hour. We have 4 stall cleaners, 2 are part time (half day) and 2 are full time barn hands. (we also have 2 that do some work for exchange for riding lessons and exchange for some board cost...they help me out alot) We have 32 stalls plus 4 run in sheds and a pony lot that i normally pick out every evening when I bring in the two "butt biters". We actually pay better than many farms around here and even some of the larger TB farms except we cant pay for housing. There is a small "loft" that has the bear essentials that some one in dire need could live in but its been sitting empty for a long time and has stuff stored in it now. I know someone who pays only 7.50 and hour for stable hands with no HI or housing. We do, at least, provide some HI even though its not the best but better than nothing for our full timers.

HOOF123
May. 29, 2010, 02:27 AM
my first job was working with hunters and jumpers and i think i made 4.30 or 4.50 an hour

n2dressage
May. 29, 2010, 04:00 AM
Board is a lot cheaper in the south (where OP is right now...) than say the Virginia area. My last barn that had a huge new indoor, outdoor dressage arena with lights, big jumping arena, and a XC field was $550. I think it depends on how many paying boarders or horses in training you have to determine what you can afford to pay workers. BOs still need to buy hay, grain, etc and most that I know do not provide health insurance or housing (except for maybe one working student). And 20 horses for one person might be full time if they do everything (feed turnout stalls bring in...) but not two people.

judybigredpony
May. 29, 2010, 07:16 AM
OP has failed to give job specifics...

Is it just a muck n feed turn/out bring in job.

Is property maintanace i.e. mowing, snow removale, weed trimming, muck disposal etc included.
Is it a 8-10 hour day job.

Dragging ring and moving jumps

Does it require 2 people.
Time off.
Medicale
Housing plus utilities.
Vacation
Are you required to be 24/7 with nightly barn checks.
Blanketing seasonally
Responsible for ordering feed n hay.
Dispensing medications

30+ years ago I made $275.00 week plus housing and utilitieis, 1 1/2 days week off (except during foaling)
and board for 1 horse. I also had another full time groom and full time maintance man on farm. Someone else do the math to make it 2010 wages.

heartinrye
May. 29, 2010, 07:44 AM
I paid my groom (who was independent from my trainer, stabled in a different area) $500/wk.
This included:
mucking for 2 horses everyday
feeding 2x/day, everyday
riding my (horribly safe and packer-like) horses tues & weds
grooming for me thurs-sunday

she also worked for a vet clinic, so she left by 5 on thurs & friday nights but would come back after work to give meds (she was a vet tech) and check on the boys.
I gave her a very nice tip at the end of our 10 weeks together because she worked so hard and I felt I wasunder paying her.

barnbum81
May. 29, 2010, 07:47 AM
Wow loving the name calling :rolleyes: seriously the standard of living isn't the same everywhere. What could be considered meager pay in one area could be good money in another. i.e at the show barn my daughter trains at the barn manager works only for her house and cell phone, she has an outside job to pay her bills, and you know what, she's thrilled with the deal, it's not one many people would get in our area, it's not big horse country (as show barns go although we have a lot of TB&SB farms) and there are an abundance of students willing to do stalls for "their" horses (who they don't own but merely ride in lessons/shows). I'd love to supplement my husbands income working part time at a big barn, for MIN. WAGE :eek: :winkgrin: alas those positions are already filled by people that are holding onto them for dear life :)

soloudinhere
May. 29, 2010, 07:55 AM
30+ years ago I made $275.00 week plus housing and utilitieis, 1 1/2 days week off (except during foaling)
and board for 1 horse. I also had another full time groom and full time maintance man on farm. Someone else do the math to make it 2010 wages.

Using the CPI, a measure of what you can buy with money earned, $275/wk in 1980 would be the equivalent of $716/wk today.

englishivy
May. 29, 2010, 08:25 AM
I had a WS position open for mucking/feed & bring in/light maintenance. Was part-time (10 stalls) for a college kid type.

The most outrageous line said to me was something along the lines of:

"Please, we are a family of 10 and my DD really wants to learn to ride. Money is very tight. We've never been able to get her lessons (ie she has NO experience) and we'll never be able to get her a horse. But she is willing to do whatever it takes to have an opportunity to be around horses. I can drop her off everyday after school to work, blah blah blah."

Now I'm no charity, BUT I do like the underdog....

Me: "how old is your DD"

Lady: "8"

seriously? She won't even be able to push a full wheelbarrow. And I think that's a bit much for an 8 yr old take on a 15 hour a week job.

WorthTheWait95
May. 29, 2010, 08:33 AM
This place is only 20 stalls, and not a show within 3 hours of here.... .

We have an 8 stall barn and our barn help/groom is paid $600/week at home with free room/board. No shows near us worth going to, the closest shows we frequent are 7 hours away at the KY horse park. He does all the barn work and grooms/tacks up for the BO only (not my horses), handles turn out, dumping manure but doesn't do any other farm maintenance. At shows he gets paid $700/week to care for 2-3 horses and we have a part time guy come in to do the barn and horses left at home.

mvp
May. 29, 2010, 09:03 AM
Why the outrage?

Everyone gets to sell their labor at the best price they can, or the one they agree to. I don't think it's immoral or rude to ask for what you want.

It does bother me, however, when people in a luxury sport get in a huff about people asking for what amounts to barely a living wage. Get mad at bankers who feel pressed by the mortgage on the second house and the kids' private school tuition. But you want to think the person looking for a wage that lets him get through the day, maybe insure himself against medical catastrophe or unemployment during old age is doing something wrong? He's not doing anything out of the ordinary. You just don't want to pay or literally can't, but that's not his fault and he should not be your scape goat.

Equino
May. 29, 2010, 09:22 AM
Seems like $500 is the average where I live/work. I've worked as a FT barn manager at three farms over the years, all in Westchester County, NY, where I would say salary is very competitive:

~worked at a University where I received free tuition, health benefits and $400/week, they did keep my horse but he was also used in lessons, did all the usual, daily groom/management tasks in the barn of 12 school horses, with a staff of one other FT and 3 PT. Because it was a University, I was only supposed to work 7 hour days, had weekends off, and was allowed days off for the holidays I worked.

~a show barn in Westchester County, housed 40 horses, staff of 8 grooms, I wasn't expected to do much "dirty" work, though I would pitch in as needed, mostly supervise, cared for injured/sick and the usual day to day inside the barn management tasks, got $450/week, living. Worked 6 days a week, probably 10 hour days most of the time.

~and then a private family barn, sole employee for 10 horses, did everything except farm maintenance for $770/week, full benefits, living in a brand new apartment, stall for my horse. Granted I worked 7 days a week unless when I had our reduced boarder cover for me, but felt the incentives outweighed the fact the 7th day a week I had to work maybe 3 hours/day to feed, clean stalls, turn out.

From what I gathered, at the show barn I was very underpaid compared to other jobs in my position (especially given their board was $3,500/month), but I valued the experience so I stuck it out for a couple of years and moved on to the private barn.

Ajierene
May. 29, 2010, 10:34 AM
Funny, but I survive just fine on my <$2300/month (take home) salary without housing provided, as do the vast majority of school teachers, extension agents, etc. in my state. None of us are "transient workers or children". No, we don't drive brand new cars, and we don't/won't send our children to the Ivy League debt free, but we manage to get by. Not everyone "needs" an extravagant vacation every year, AA-level horse shows, and weekly shopping sprees to "survive". When I was "real job" hunting, I managed to pay my bills on my $1500/month combined salary from working retail and mucking stalls - and that was while boarding two horses. Not something I recommend, but it can be done. The way I'm living now feels luxurious in comparison.

Just to keep this in perspective.

$2300/month take home equates to about $35,000/year salary. If this is a research assistant job, is further education being paid for? If there is a health insurance plan, add about $500/month to the salary. That brings the salary up to about $41,000/year.

For $2,000/month, you are looking at about $24,000/year. Take taxes out of that and take home is about $18,000/year, per person. If health care is not provided (it is not at most barns I know), then TAKE $500/month out. That brings 'take home' down to $12,000 per year. Not many people can live on that.

My philosophy is that it never hurts to ask. As others have said, it depends on the position as well. The original poster has not clarified if it is a full time or part time position. It also is not big deal to say 'yeah, I only need one person so I can offer one of you the position, but the other one needs to find employment elsewhere'.

KristieBee
May. 29, 2010, 11:09 AM
I thought from the title they wanted to get paid in crack or something, or film low budget porn in the barn after hours.

:lol::lol::lol::lol::lol:

hilarious!

sorry OP I have no experience with this at all, I'm no help, just thought Alterrain's comment was hysterical.

KristieBee
May. 29, 2010, 11:16 AM
Why the outrage?

Everyone gets to sell their labor at the best price they can, or the one they agree to. I don't think it's immoral or rude to ask for what you want.

It does bother me, however, when people in a luxury sport get in a huff about people asking for what amounts to barely a living wage. Get mad at bankers who feel pressed by the mortgage on the second house and the kids' private school tuition. But you want to think the person looking for a wage that lets him get through the day, maybe insure himself against medical catastrophe or unemployment during old age is doing something wrong? He's not doing anything out of the ordinary. You just don't want to pay or literally can't, but that's not his fault and he should not be your scape goat.

Great point - agreed.

Having read through more of the replies in here, (thank you Ajirene for doing the math - not my strong suit) Imo, it really doesn't sound that unreasonable at all. Especially if they bring 'horse sense' to the table. When you consider that these people may have the knowledge to spot injury, brewing colic, etc, that's a level of expertise that is really important and should be financially rewarded.

Tif_Ann
May. 29, 2010, 11:31 AM
$12.50 an hour is a HIGH wage here. $1000 a week (2 people) to take care of a 20 horse barn seems insane to me. I feed and turn out at our barn right now and this time of year it takes me about an hour and a half to feed and turn out 30 horses, feed them back, water and sweep. The stall cleaner had the entire barn - 30 stalls - done in about an hour today. I know there's maintenance and such, but really, I think it would be very difficult to come up with 80 hours of work per week right now. Heck - it's a one person job year round, even in winter - and our barn owner doesn't do 80 hour weeks, even when you factor in bookwork and maintenance and hay deliveries, etc.

OP - around here it's more normal for someone to lease the property. So basically the people pay YOU a set fee and then they are responsible for all costs of the barn. They collect the board and pay all bills. However you also risk bills not getting paid when you do it that way. I know the barn that does that locally the owner lives on site so he's very aware of what's going on. That barn is a 40 stall barn and can have up to 50 horses on the property, with approximately 30 acres of pasture. Board is $140 for pasture and $275 for full care, and the monthly fee paid by the manager to the owner was typically $2500-3500 per month.

Tif_Ann
May. 29, 2010, 11:37 AM
The going rate at my barn for staff is $6.50 to $7.00 per horse per day. So at $7.00 per day that equals $4200 a month for 20 horses. Hourly it is about $10.00 per hour for the average person. That is actually a low wage in my area where $15.00 an hour is more the norm and they usually want cash.

Not sure how you are doing your math - but $7/20 horses a day is $140 per day, so if the average person is making $10 an hour that's a 14 hour day ... for 20 horses. That doesn't make sense.

soloudinhere
May. 29, 2010, 12:04 PM
The stall cleaner had the entire barn - 30 stalls - done in about an hour today.

That's 2 minutes per stall. There is no way this is possible, unless some of the stalls didn't need to be cleaned. Or they're not being cleaned all that well and are merely being barely picked.

Even 5 minutes per stall is slightly more reasonable. Two minutes?

rumblepony
May. 29, 2010, 12:24 PM
I get paid $6/horse at a local, backyard, 20 horse barn, for a job that takes me 2 hours every morning at most. I'm 18 and earning about $600 a week, working M-F, 10 hour weeks. I do not think $500 a week is much to ask.

As for the most outrageous line I've ever heard from potential barn help? I was working at my school's barn, and a perspective was talking to the barn manager about the schools work-study program. The girl told BM that she would like to be paid to "talk to the horses". BM told her that she could talk to them as much as she wanted, while picking stalls or turning out, ect... but NO, the girl insisted that she would be best suited to a job where she would literally just sit in the horses stall, and be paid to talk to them.

Tif_Ann
May. 29, 2010, 12:26 PM
That's 2 minutes per stall. There is no way this is possible, unless some of the stalls didn't need to be cleaned. Or they're not being cleaned all that well and are merely being barely picked.

Even 5 minutes per stall is slightly more reasonable. Two minutes?

I guess it's technically 28 stalls - 2 are cleaned by the owner. Our horses are only in approximately 7-8 hours this time of year and are not fed hay in the stalls because they are on pasture the rest of the time. He also only needed 2 wheelbarrows for the whole barn. I was shocked he got done so fast today as well, but they were CLEAN today, before and after. My sister does them on Sundays and she says she's been taking about 1.5 hours and about 2 wheelbarrows full per side - she doesn't pack her wheelbarrows like the Sat person does. We don't do full strips (unless needed, usually only 2 stalls are bad enough to need strips), just pick, and we bed pretty light on dirt.

Even so - it's only about a 4-5 hour job for one person in the worst of winter, when you're lucky to get 2 stalls per wheelbarrow. In the winter when feeding hay and having to break the ice in buckets the morning chores take me about 3--4 hours.

Our Saturday guy gets in, gets it clean, moves on.

Trixie
May. 29, 2010, 12:39 PM
TifAnn, that sounds like a pretty clear part-time job.

I guess it depends on the nature of the barn and what management wants done. I've seen 20-stall barns that are full time jobs for two people - horses are in a lot of the time, so there's stall cleaning, hay and grain, horses all in full training so tacking and untacking for trainer... it just depends on the job. Most are not that intense.

In this industry, there is often a difference between what the barn owners can afford to pay and what a living wage is. This is certainly true in areas where board is a few hundred dollars a month. However, that doesn't mean that barn staff doesn't deserve to get paid a living wage. It just means that you hire less barn staff, or hire only part time workers so they can work elsewhere.

Equino
May. 29, 2010, 03:12 PM
Just out of curiosity...I know we can't advertise, but is there a forum where people do discuss available jobs?

selah
May. 29, 2010, 03:54 PM
As for the most outrageous line I've ever heard from potential barn help? I was working at my school's barn, and a perspective was talking to the barn manager about the schools work-study program. The girl told BM that she would like to be paid to "talk to the horses". BM told her that she could talk to them as much as she wanted, while picking stalls or turning out, ect... but NO, the girl insisted that she would be best suited to a job where she would literally just sit in the horses stall, and be paid to talk to them.

That's funny...I have heard of folks making biiig money shaking orange sticks at horses, and teaching them to play ball:p

hb
May. 29, 2010, 04:40 PM
I get paid $6/horse at a local, backyard, 20 horse barn, for a job that takes me 2 hours every morning at most. I'm 18 and earning about $600 a week, working M-F, 10 hour weeks. I do not think $500 a week is much to ask.


Are you saying you work 10 hours a week and get $600 per week? That's $60 per hour, way more than I'd expect part time barn work to pay. Or did I read this wrong?

rumblepony
May. 29, 2010, 05:00 PM
Are you saying you work 10 hours a week and get $600 per week? That's $60 per hour, way more than I'd expect part time barn work to pay. Or did I read this wrong?

Sorry, I meant to put 20 hours a week, and its really more like 25-30 after night checks and show mornings are added in.

(i was typing on a phone, and my typing skills go down the drain with new tachnology :no: )

Hilltopfarmva
May. 30, 2010, 08:17 PM
When I hire help I pay by the job and I base it on how long it takes me. We range from 28 to 32 stalls, plus horses outside. I do all the feeding, turning out/bringing in, or my working students will help. I like to check every horses every day and make sure they are eating (makes it hard to take a vacation). I clean all my stalls currently, every day. Right now we have 31. I have two working students until tomorrow, then it is back to me until I find new mucking help or new working students to help. When I pay someone to muck, I base it on $10 an hour, if it takes me 3 1/2 - 4 hours to clean 30 stalls, dump and fill buckets and rake/sweep aisles, then I will pay $50 (so a bit more than $10 an hour), winter time I bump it up to $60. Usually I will clean half the barn and have someone else clean the other half for $25 summer/fall and $30 spring/winter. I will pay for extra jobs, like $30 for cobwebbing, $25 bleaching water buckets, $100 a month for keeping troughs cleaned weekly with bleach, etc.. Boarders who might be having a tough time can inquire about jobs to work off some board. Going rate for just stall mucking is about $350 a week for about 20 to 30 stalls 6 days a week. Our stalls are pretty easy, but since I want to have more money to show and I have a lot of my own horses, I prefer to work myself and have part timers come in, plus most of the time if you want something done right, you need to do it yourself!
Depending on what the OP's job encompassed $500 a week per person for 20 stalls for just mucking is absurd, even here in pricey central VA. OP needed to list what the job required in order to make an accurate response to the $2000 a month per person rate.

Coppers mom
May. 31, 2010, 02:53 PM
Workers get $8 an hour. That's above minimum wage, and plenty for shoveling horse poop and dumping water buckets. Seriously.

That's more than McDonalds, same as the feed store. There is no need to get all up in arms and jump all over the OP.

ETA: We did have a potential barn helper ask what kind of feed we used. Why? Because different feeds weigh different amounts, as if that's what would be a deal breaker in this line of work. Sheesh.

RugBug
May. 31, 2010, 08:59 PM
I guess it's technically 28 stalls - 2 are cleaned by the owner. Our horses are only in approximately 7-8 hours this time of year and are not fed hay in the stalls because they are on pasture the rest of the time. He also only needed 2 wheelbarrows for the whole barn. I was shocked he got done so fast today as well, but they were CLEAN today, before and after. My sister does them on Sundays and she says she's been taking about 1.5 hours and about 2 wheelbarrows full per side - she doesn't pack her wheelbarrows like the Sat person does. We don't do full strips (unless needed, usually only 2 stalls are bad enough to need strips), just pick, and we bed pretty light on dirt.


:eek: I clean my horse's stall each day, usually somewhere about 9 hours after it was cleaned by the barn staff. It takes me about 15 minutes to clean his stall and AT LEAST half a wheelbarrow. Again..this is after it was cleaned in the morning (although not all that well...which is why I go through again). And he's pretty tidy...has a "poop spot" and a "pee spot". I'm not having to look around too hard for buried treasure. I can't imagine 28 stalls (with shavings) only needing 2 wheelbarrows and one hour. Pipe corrals with no bedding, maybe. But a stall that has been occupied? No way.

Hate to be judgemental, but if what you say is true, I would imagine your stalls are way under-bedded and poorly cleaned. I can almost smell the ammonia from here.

As to the OP: I don't think $2000 is completely unreasonable depending on the area and if there is housing included. It is a bit much for rural with housing.

FWIW: my old roomie got a job after college at an Arabian breeding farm . NICE furnished On-site housing, all utilities paid (satellite and internet included) Tuesday thru Saturday, 7 a.m. - 4 p.m., $100/month health insurance stipend (enough for a decent HSA style plan for her) AND $30K salary + bonus. I told her it was a GREAT! horse job. She thought it was okay. She quit, got a job as a vet asst. and is now realizing how good she really had it at the barn.

ReSomething
May. 31, 2010, 10:16 PM
As a few of you have seen, I'm giving up on MS and moving to VA. In an attempt to keep the peace, till I go, I have even been pulling ads off the net for potential help here.

One couple said they wanted $2000 a month for working here, EACH... This place is only 20 stalls, and not a show within 3 hours of here.... (With this kind of money I wouldn't be leaving)

Guess their ad should have read, "we will care for 70 horse boarding stable, by ourselves - Stalls, turnout, training, EVERYTHING.." or "Want to work for Dignelli, Madden, Etc. High dollar, high rent farms"

I think that amount sounds absurd, especially with so many places struggling now days....

So the OP is probably pulling ads off the internet that are aimed at higher end barns in say, VA.

Rural MS, where people stake their horses out to graze, probably doesn't have the base of support for an equine related job that pays $24K. Maybe half that with housing, and somehow I don't think that workers in the equine field are expected to be able to buy new cars, homes and send their kids to a college without a big basketball scholarship. MS is a very poor state, and OP evidently is not receiving $24K.

It might be a little absurd to post an internet resume nationally without specifying the salary range up front, or the degree of duties expected - full charge farm management for example. In the right situation a qualified couple could be worth more than $48K annually.

As an aside, my salary is set by national contract and is the same across the USA, HI and AK. Housing is so steep in some areas that a premium has been proposed to account for the difference, (which never passed) so that the job would have had the same value everywhere.

irideponyhunters
Jun. 1, 2010, 12:19 AM
the ones at my barn get paid $500-$1000 a month doing 21 stalls a day. this includes hay, water refill, scrubbing buckets once a week, and shavings. located in nc

EqTrainer
Jun. 1, 2010, 12:40 AM
:eek: I clean my horse's stall each day, usually somewhere about 9 hours after it was cleaned by the barn staff. It takes me about 15 minutes to clean his stall and AT LEAST half a wheelbarrow. Again..this is after it was cleaned in the morning (although not all that well...which is why I go through again). And he's pretty tidy...has a "poop spot" and a "pee spot". I'm not having to look around too hard for buried treasure. I can't imagine 28 stalls (with shavings) only needing 2 wheelbarrows and one hour. Pipe corrals with no bedding, maybe. But a stall that has been occupied? No way.

Hate to be judgemental, but if what you say is true, I would imagine your stalls are way under-bedded and poorly cleaned. I can almost smell the ammonia from here.

As to the OP: I don't think $2000 is completely unreasonable depending on the area and if there is housing included. It is a bit much for rural with housing.

FWIW: my old roomie got a job after college at an Arabian breeding farm . NICE furnished On-site housing, all utilities paid (satellite and internet included) Tuesday thru Saturday, 7 a.m. - 4 p.m., $100/month health insurance stipend (enough for a decent HSA style plan for her) AND $30K salary + bonus. I told her it was a GREAT! horse job. She thought it was okay. She quit, got a job as a vet asst. and is now realizing how good she really had it at the barn.

RB, you missed the part where she said that the horses are only in for seven or eight hours and they don't get any hay. No hay for seven or eight hours... Because they have grass in the pasture.
:eek:
Because you know... If nothing goes in then nothing comes out, so it only takes two minutes to clean each stall!!! A brilliant barn management technique, not so much.

timeshighmark
Jun. 1, 2010, 01:45 AM
Well, I recently managed a small private barn for what amounted to room and board, for me and three horses. I had an apartment over the barn (a nice studio type), and they paid utilities. I also had pasture board for three horses. I was not otherwise paid. At the time, I was unemployed and this situation enabled me to keep my horses.

They had nine horses and six stalls. Initially, this didn't seem like too bad of a deal. However, the job steadily became so demanding of my time that I was unable to do any other work around their schedule. At first, I fed, cleaned stalls, groomed, handled turn out, blanketing, deworming, scrubbed outdoor troughs daily, etc. The usual. As time went on, I was expected to start two of their babies under saddle, oversee the pregnancies and births of the two broodmares (with which I had no experience), vaccinate, handle the INSANE number of injuries their horses were prone to (in one month: filly with broken jaw and wood impaled behind kneecap, mare with huge gash in hip, mare with chronic abscesses, colt pierced nostril on bucket...). I was also required to watch their house when they left and care for their six dogs. Yeah.

In the end, they pretty much required me to be there 24/7. This left me unable to do other work and unable to even afford gas. I was over that very quickly.

Most other barns in my area pay about $8 per hour. Not worth the effort and hard work, IMO.

equineartworks
Jun. 1, 2010, 08:08 AM
I think I want to work for some of you :D In my area a barn worker is lucky to make $200 a week to handle a 10+ horse barn. They might get $300 for a 20 horse. The larger barns are all owner run for that reason...there is no way to pay anyone when full board is around $350 a month.

nlk
Jun. 1, 2010, 08:21 AM
Another job that I had was managing a ten horse breeding operation for 8.00 an hour. There were 4-5 stallions, 2 broodmares, 2-3 babies and a TWH that needed daily maintenance

My days went as follows. Mon, Wed, Thurs. I would arrive at 11:00am.(Fri and Sun I would arrive at 9:00 and feed my self) The morning help would just be finishing feeding hay and grain. (he arrived at 9:00, it seriously took that long just to hay and grain those ten horses with all the meds, oils and supplements that went in, plus the hay was watered down). When I would get there we would turn out. Re-hay all the horses outside, then start on stalls. With two of us, the stalls having mats, and light bedding it took us an hour together to clean stalls and bed. Then we would re-hay the horses out side again.

After this we would have to care for the TWH. Which included gastro paste, a banimine shot, re-wrap legs and clean off and treat injured hoof.

When all this was done at around 1-2 PM I would start riding the stallions. I did around 3 a day. After I was done with this at 5:00 or so I would bring everyone in and feed.

Feeding consisted of Using an actual measuring cup to measure a cup of this, a cup of that etc. Then each horse got supps. and oils in their bucket, then you used hot water and mixed it all up and dump it in their ground feeders. After you watered down the hay and feed it then watered down hay cubes and feed those. (this was done twice on days I worked morning.

IT seriously took me as long to feed those ten horses as it does to feed 60.

I also scheduled all vet visits and farrier visits as wel as called clients interested in breeding. As well as blanketed, cleaned water buckets and troughs, de-wormed, held for farrier and vet, etc.

All this and I got 8.00 an hour...That's half of what I make now....

magnolia73
Jun. 1, 2010, 09:03 AM
What do you want? Do you just want someone to shovel shit?

I've boarded at places that pay crap wages and/or no wages (trade out help). Those are the places with dirty stalls, injuries that go unnoticed, spaces that don't get maintained and staff that does not show up. Horse throws a shoe? Oh well. Buckets freeze? Oh well. Horse on stall rest has a dirty stall? Oh well. Why drag the ring?

And honestly, why should the staff care? They can get a job at McD's

Now contrast to the barn I am at- probably 30 horses. 3 full time staff, paid with benefits. Probably paid more than what your couple requested. One part timer. Stalls always clean. If a horse gets a cut or pulls a shoe, the staff catches it and starts the proper care process. Things that get broken are fixed immediately. Footing is maintained. Fields are mowed, fences kept in repair.

So.... what barn do you want to be? The one with smelly stalls, bad footing, and a horse standing on a half sprung shoe for two days? Where supplements are forgotten and workers don't show up when it is 5 degrees out?

Or do you want to be the one with immaculate stalls and a clean safe facility and a staff that notices and takes action when horses have issues?

I'm not saying that all barns that pay well are perfect or that barns that don't pay well are all lacking. But I have boarded at two farms that employed people that were well paid, and those places never had issues with lackluster care.

findeight
Jun. 1, 2010, 10:50 AM
Moral seems to be research the area if you want to make specific salary demands. They overpriced themselves for OPs area, where board and training as well as the average cost of living are far lower because the average wage is lower and available disgressionary income to spend on horses is also far lower. Probably why OP is leaving.

But I don't find them ridiculous, just from an area with higher disgressionary income. They didn't know.

justathought
Jun. 1, 2010, 11:26 AM
What do you want? Do you just want someone to shovel shit?

I've boarded at places that pay crap wages and/or no wages (trade out help). Those are the places with dirty stalls, injuries that go unnoticed, spaces that don't get maintained and staff that does not show up. Horse throws a shoe? Oh well. Buckets freeze? Oh well. Horse on stall rest has a dirty stall? Oh well. Why drag the ring?

And honestly, why should the staff care? They can get a job at McD's

Now contrast to the barn I am at- probably 30 horses. 3 full time staff, paid with benefits. Probably paid more than what your couple requested. One part timer. Stalls always clean. If a horse gets a cut or pulls a shoe, the staff catches it and starts the proper care process. Things that get broken are fixed immediately. Footing is maintained. Fields are mowed, fences kept in repair.

So.... what barn do you want to be? The one with smelly stalls, bad footing, and a horse standing on a half sprung shoe for two days? Where supplements are forgotten and workers don't show up when it is 5 degrees out?

Or do you want to be the one with immaculate stalls and a clean safe facility and a staff that notices and takes action when horses have issues?

I'm not saying that all barns that pay well are perfect or that barns that don't pay well are all lacking. But I have boarded at two farms that employed people that were well paid, and those places never had issues with lackluster care.

THIS! So well said - when barns charge less than it costs to provide good care because boarders say they do not want to pay then IMHO the boarders get what they deserve - substandard care from staff who either can't or won't do their best job - even the most well intentioned staff cannot do the job when thiere are not sufficient resources (time or money) to allow it.

luckyduck
Jun. 1, 2010, 11:35 AM
I have been on both sides of the fences....

When I was in ATL...I paid our head "manager" $600 per week and an apartment with all utilities paid. He NEVER picked up a pitch fork but did feed, turnout and clean up general stuff around the barn. Oh...he didn't wrap, hand walk, medicate...NOTHING.....his stall muckers got $450 per per week. I or my assistant trainer, medicated, wrapped and did everything for the horses that needed to be done medically plus we taught 125 lessons a week and did shows on the weekends. Board was $800 plus lessons and we had on average 25 boarders.

Since moving to Florida, I have had a hell of a time finding people who actually show up, care about the horses and have a general idea of what they are doing. Not to mention the economy is so bad, that even if I boarded horses, I couldn't charge more then $450, and I can barely say that covers actual costs to keep the horse. SO...now I and my two boys, take care of 13 stalls, 15 broodmares, 6 foals and 12 show horses. And I have two riders that come in 6 days a week to keep sale/show horses going.

I have found guys to work for $250 a week, but you get what you pay for. And right now...I cant afford to pay someone what quality I am asking...so I am doing it myself.

I SURELY don't have the stress of riding the show horses to add to this mix...nor the lessons, but I have to say...downsizing bigtime is in the future for me untill the economy kicks back in.

TheJenners
Jun. 1, 2010, 02:52 PM
When I was "real job" hunting, I managed to pay my bills on my $1500/month combined salary from working retail and mucking stalls - and that was while boarding two horses. Not something I recommend, but it can be done. The way I'm living now feels luxurious in comparison.

Thank YOU! Sheesh...:no:

I have, twice, been in dark places financially.

While at college (fulltime) I worked (fulltime) at a barn. Not 8-5 mind you, but the hours worked out about the same, ie 16-18 hour days on weekends, and three days a week until 11pm or later at night. I made practically nothing, as in $35 for the day's work mucking 21 stalls and feeding 60+ horses, then $5/ride, $15/lesson given, $10/pulled mane, etc, etc. I owned a small trailer I lived in and didn't go into any debt until I got seriously hurt one summer and didn't made money to keep the lights on. Thankfully the barn kept my two horses for free.

Second time was while going through my divorce (shortly after being fired). I went from DINK-type living to working as a front desk person at a real estate agency 9-5 and pumping gas after work and on the weekends, for however many hours I could get. I made a few dollars more than $1500/mo, no "alimony" (ha), and boarded two horses. I lived in a clean $700 apartment, and did nothing recreational because I couldn't afford it. Thankfully my two trucks were paid off (small one and one for pulling the also paid off trailer). It can be done.

Having said that, because of some of the attitudes here are ridiculous, I think if someone if feeding twice a day 20 horses and mucking 20 stalls and anything else that needs doing...then $500/week for ONE person is reasonable. Not two. I can do that by myself, easily.

findeight
Jun. 1, 2010, 03:09 PM
Yeah, I can't see how a struggling 20 stall barn 3 hours from the nearest show of any kind can make enough off what they can charge for board to pay 4k a month for 2 people. Not sure even in a more horse oriented area, that is 200 per stall per month just for help. In any rural area with no major cities, it would be a budget buster. Especially if you were not full or carry some personal horses or sale horses that are not paying board at the normal rate.

Timex
Jun. 1, 2010, 03:14 PM
So, have we ever figured out what the OP's job entails, or what else is included (health ins, housing, board, etc)? Part time, full time? Just feeding and doing stalls? Or tacking, grooming, mowing, fence repair, etc? A 20 stall barn CAN be a full time, 10 hour a day job. And if there's the maintenance aspect involved, it can be MORE than that. So until we know what the job really IS, then there's no use quibbling about it, is there? Yes, they have every right to request the pay they think is fair. The employer has every right to refuse it.

loshad
Jun. 1, 2010, 03:28 PM
Well, I think the OP said they would be replacements for him. From other things he has said here it sounds like he is barn manager, trainer and coach, and runs the shows. If they are doing all that plus stalls, feeding, turnout, and facility maintenance I think what they were asking was not unreasonable. Unwise, if the business is struggling, but not unreasonable.

magnolia73
Jun. 1, 2010, 04:49 PM
I can totally see where the barn may not be able to afford $48,000 in labor per year. All the OP needed to do was say that sorry, she can't pay that. Yippee if you "scraped by on $1500 a month"- did you want to do that long term? Did you save for retirement or pay for health insurance? I mean, just because you could do it does not mean everyone can. And how long did you want to "scrape by"- were you excited about the prospect of long term relationship with that employer or were you looking constantly for a new job?

As an employer- do you want to pay full time employees (well, in many cases more than full time), just enough to scrape by?Most employers would LOVE THAT! But they don't because paying scrape by wages means more turnover and employees that don't give a shit.

Is it cool to belittle a couple for wanting to make oooo--- $24,000 a year each? For a job that in most cases is a 6 day a week, 10-12 hour a day job that leaves a body tired? It's not like they asked for $100,000 a year.

I realize most barns are not profit centers- but topic after topic here regards people complaining about stalls not being clean, hay not fed right, nobody making sure Peaches gets her IR diet 6 times a day. People complaining about Pookie being only turned out with mares from 3pm to 6pm on fly free days. People essentially complaining about slack care- well, that's what you get when the barn you board at pays it's help $8 an hour and you pay $350 a month in board.

To the OP, I don't know what you were intending to pay, but if you will be an absentee owner with the intention of paying someone $8-$10 an hour to give a shit about maintaining your farm and business, you'd be better served closing up shop for all the trouble it will cause you in the end. If you want someone who cares, and will care over time, not just the next 2 months, and who won't leave you high and dry, you will have to pay a non "scrape by"wage for your area.

ShoPony
Jun. 1, 2010, 05:32 PM
nobody making sure Peaches gets her IR diet 6 times a day. People complaining about Pookie being only turned out with mares from 3pm to 6pm on fly free days.



Hilarious examples. Thank You Magnolia

Dazednconfused
Jun. 1, 2010, 05:39 PM
Thank you so much Magnolia73! Someone that actually has their head on straight!

I'm lucky enough to now be paid a fair wage for the work I do, but not so long ago, I worked for the type of people that thought it was "outragious (sic)"...

You largely get what you pay for. Pay crap wages and no insurance, and you get crap help (and if you manage to land a good one, don't act all surprised and put out when they leave for something better, for goodness sakes. Actually, please get out of the horse business period. That would be even better for everyone.)

Thomas_1
Jun. 1, 2010, 07:37 PM
One couple said they wanted $2000 a month for working here, EACH... This place is only 20 stalls, and not a show within 3 hours of here.... (With this kind of money I wouldn't be leaving)

Guess their ad should have read, "we will care for 70 horse boarding stable, by ourselves - Stalls, turnout, training, EVERYTHING.." or "Want to work for Dignelli, Madden, Etc. High dollar, high rent farms"

I think that amount sounds absurd, especially with so many places struggling now days....

:eek: How shockingly outrageous :yes:

They wanted something that's enough to survive on.

How outrageous that they should state their expectation.

Tch tch, what is this world coming to. Whatever happened to good old exploited labour !

loshad
Jun. 1, 2010, 08:12 PM
no kidding, Thomas. It's a sad and sorry day when people want to be paid like the professionals they are.

It'll be...interesting when the OP shows up in the Old Dominion's horse community.

hntrjmprpro45
Jun. 1, 2010, 11:14 PM
In my opinion you should pay people what they are worth according to their job. If their job entails the skills of a 14 year old girl wielding a shovel, then pay minimum wage. If their job entails the skillful eye of a knowledgeable groom and the experience of a barn manager, pay them a nice salary and hopefully give them benefits.

I own my barn so I clean my stalls (GASP a trainer cleaning stalls) mainly because I prefer the way I do them and we have a small barn (usually 10-12 horses, so about 1- 1.5 hours max). Plus they are all show horses and they require special attention (meds, grooming, wraps, etc). I obviously don't pay myself to clean but do enjoy keeping all the board money and not paying a stall cleaner.

We do have a lady that comes out and helps a few times a week on my really busy days. She does it for free because she loves being around horses and often won't accept payment (though we sneak gift cards and buy her presents). I call her the "barn fairy" because sometimes she will come while I am gone to shows and clean up. Its wonderful coming home to a meticulously clean barn after a long day at the show!

Montanas_Girl
Jun. 1, 2010, 11:54 PM
Hey, be as outraged and self-righteous as you want. I never said that my student-days budgeting was ideal, just that it was *possible* - in response to those who don't think it is humanly possible to live on less than $50K/yr combined income for two people.

IF the job description in the OP outlines the whole job - barn work for 20 horses - this is hardly a full time job for one person, never mind two. Those of us having a hard time with the requested wages are responding to what the work is worth, not what a "living wage" may or may not be (which depends on where you live). Barn work only (stall, buckets, feeding, turn in/out, etc.) for 25 horses takes me about 4-5 hours per day - I cannot imagine making $500/week for 28-35 hours of barn chores (IF the employee is working 7 days a week), because it has not been my experience that mucking stalls pays that well!

In my area, what some of you are calling "less than a living wage" is more than many (if not most) people - many of them with advanced degrees - make. This is our point. Just because YOU can't live on that amount doesn't mean that WE can't. I could not survive on my current salary in Lexington (KY or VA), for example, but I am doing just fine here because the cost of living is dramatically lower. Similarly, if the OP is looking to hire someone in MS, she is not going to be paying Northern VA wages.

Coppers mom
Jun. 2, 2010, 12:54 AM
In my opinion you should pay people what they are worth according to their job. If their job entails the skills of a 14 year old girl wielding a shovel, then pay minimum wage. If their job entails the skillful eye of a knowledgeable groom and the experience of a barn manager, pay them a nice salary and hopefully give them benefits.

Seriously. If all you've accomplished in life is being qualified to shovel horse shit, don't complain that you don't get paid like the big boys who actually did something with their life.

And I clean stalls, so no holier-than-thou, unappreciative nonsense over here.

Trixie
Jun. 2, 2010, 09:43 AM
IF the job description in the OP outlines the whole job - barn work for 20 horses - this is hardly a full time job for one person, never mind two. Those of us having a hard time with the requested wages are responding to what the work is worth, not what a "living wage" may or may not be (which depends on where you live). Barn work only (stall, buckets, feeding, turn in/out, etc.) for 25 horses takes me about 4-5 hours per day - I cannot imagine making $500/week for 28-35 hours of barn chores (IF the employee is working 7 days a week), because it has not been my experience that mucking stalls pays that well!

Again, no one is suggesting paying full time wages to part time staffers, and no one is suggesting that you pay two people to do one job.

However, sorry, but you can't ask someone to work full time for less than a living wage, unless you want either a transient staffer or one who does poor quality work. If you want GOOD people to stay, you need to make it possible for them to do so and maintain their health and their sanity.

You also said above that you haven't tried to live on a minimum-wage barn-worker salary. The difference between about $15K annually and $24K is a big difference.

nlk
Jun. 2, 2010, 10:12 AM
no kidding, Thomas. It's a sad and sorry day when people want to be paid like the professionals they are.

It'll be...interesting when the OP shows up in the Old Dominion's horse community.

I think we are all assuming a great deal in saying these folks are
"Professionals"

If this was a high end barn in the middle of horse country I might be a little more inclined to believe it. BUT this is in the middle of no where, these people are likely no more the ok stall cleaners who have done nothing BUT clean stalls their whole lives.

No the OP hasn't been back to explain what the job entails but she was also attacked for what she believed was an outrageous claim, everyone jumped to the helps side with no thought about who, what, when, where, or why.

Not to say she's not in for a reality check when she DOES move to horse country but for right now that IS NOT reality.

Now I can come to this conclusion because I have had my fair share of prospective employees come to their interview whom have taken a total of 3 lessons in their lives, have only been on a horse as many time, want to get paid $8.00+ an hour, and want to teach summer camp because it looks like fun. I have had prospective stable hands come from Equine programs at college, want to get paid decent (above minimum wage) but have NEVER touched a horse. I have also had the people who work their whole lives cleaning stalls at various barns because they are qualified to do NOTHING else.

I get far more of this then actual people who have decent experience whom we'd be MORE then happy to pay a good wage to. As do my friends and fellow trainers in the area. THIS allows me to give the OP the benefit of the doubt

loshad
Jun. 2, 2010, 10:46 AM
First, the OP is a he.

Second, he has a large number of posts on CoTH that describe the sorts of things he does for his barn and give a pretty good indicator of what the job entails -- and it's a hell of a lot more than "just" picking stalls and feeding. If they are being hired to replace him, it would need a professional. Based on that, I don't think that $500/week each is outrageous. Maybe a bit high for the market where he lives, but not "OMG! I have to post this insanity on CoTH!" high.

danceronice
Jun. 2, 2010, 10:48 AM
You largely get what you pay for. Pay crap wages and no insurance, and you get crap help (and if you manage to land a good one, don't act all surprised and put out when they leave for something better, for goodness sakes. Actually, please get out of the horse business period. That would be even better for everyone.)

Yep. I don't know about the OP's situation (because she didn't say what the job entailed) and I do live in an area where I get by, for one person on $1400/month, roughly. But one of my old employers always wondered why their employees never did more than what we HAD to, why we tended to mock management, and why we didn't exactly take some "requirements" seriously: BECAUSE YOU PAID US STATE MINIMUM WAGE WITHOUT BENEFITS AND TREATED US LIKE IDIOTS WHEN YOU REQUIRED US TO HAVE JOB-RELATED FOUR YEAR DEGREES TO HIRE US IN THE FIRST PLACE. Of COURSE we weren't going to give much effort, of COURSE our other jobs always got priority, and of COURSE we would all drop the place in a heartbeat for a better offer. When you make us show heavy-duty qualifications, then pay us like high schooler summer help and treat us like idiots, guess what? No corporate loyalty.

On the other hand, I would STILL bend over backwards for my old dance studio where I was a receptionist, because even if he could only pay $10/hour, the manager and owners looked out for employees.

And I agree with Magnolia, too--if it's the kind of place where owners expect Pookie to have her special diet six times a day and five different blankets depending on weather conditions and buckets scrubbed twice a day and only being turned out with Dobbin on sunny days when the relative humidity does not exceed 62% and the hoof and joint supplements must be given with the early AM feed while the coat, weight, and color-boosting ones have to go with the mid-afternoon feed, that is NOT basic care and you shouldn't expect to pay like it is.

magnolia73
Jun. 2, 2010, 10:52 AM
See, my interpretation of the couple is a husband that is handy- and can really fix and maintain a property. And a wife good with horses.

Yeah- if all you can do is clean a stall you probably can't count on earning that much. But those other skills needed to maintain a barn- landscaping, electrical work, machinery repair, some carpentry- they don't come cheap in all parts of the country. I'm sure the couple brought more to the table than the ability to shovel. Now, whether or not the OP needed those skills is unclear.

It's interesting that we have really devalued good laborers in our country- then turn around and bitch about "mexicans" and/or laborers being unreliable or doing bad work. Hey, we don't want to pay you, and we'll treat you like shit.... then we are *shocked* when you do a crappy job. Why are we so averse to paying someone a living wage just because they work physically hard instead of mentally hard?

Like bankers and CEO's provide so much value for what they get paid. :o

findeight
Jun. 2, 2010, 11:31 AM
But it is only a 20 stall barn, probably don't need 2 people full time. I can agree that having one person in more of more of a management position would be worth more...but not 2 people at 2k each in a very low cost of living area that does not support high horse costs. Local owners cannot pay the board rates typical in other areas.

I'm not in a low paying or chronically short of help barn either...and my board reflects that fact. By my area can support it. OPs can't.

Coppers mom
Jun. 2, 2010, 11:46 AM
It's interesting that we have really devalued good laborers in our country- then turn around and bitch about "mexicans" and/or laborers being unreliable or doing bad work. Hey, we don't want to pay you, and we'll treat you like shit.... then we are *shocked* when you do a crappy job. Why are we so averse to paying someone a living wage just because they work physically hard instead of mentally hard?

Like bankers and CEO's provide so much value for what they get paid. :o

An (illegal) immigrants living wage is going to be way less than mine, given that they don't pay taxes and for the most part get paid under the table, for one.

For two, we've treated everyone who's come through the barn like gold. Housing without rent or utilities, friendly atmosphere, not exactly demanding work (just stalls, buckets, and mowing), and we paid them $8 per hour. Guess what? We still got crappy workers, no matter what race. Why? Because people are idiots. No matter how good you treat them, they're rarely going to be happy with what they have. We've had more than one person leave and call back in a week wanting their job back because they were either fired or the new job was awful. Personally, I think the problem is that people have an awful sense of entitlement more often than it's a bad working condition.

Basic physically hard jobs get paid less than mentally hard jobs because anyone can shovel poop, fill water buckets, mow, or turn a horse out. Those are not hard things, and the supply of people who can do them is huge. There is no reason to pay them as much as someone who has a skill that few others have. Most may be "handy", but few will be able to have the grounds looking like an actual professional landscaper, so they shouldn't be paid like one.

And yes, bankers and CEO's do provide a lot of value for their company. When some stall cleaner makes me a couple billion, then I'll start paying him better. Until then, he can just continue to be happy with his above minimum wage, easier than McDonalds job.

meupatdoes
Jun. 2, 2010, 12:57 PM
An (illegal) immigrants living wage is going to be way less than mine, given that they don't pay taxes and for the most part get paid under the table, for one.


I get a little tired of seeing this misconception repeated over and over again.

Many times people working illegally are doing so under a false social security number. If they get caught the employer can say, "Oh, we had no idea!"

Taxes get taken out of their pay the same as anybody else, they just never get any benefits back out.

Many people like to say that undocumented workers get benefits from our system without paying in, when often it is exactly the opposite.

magnolia73
Jun. 2, 2010, 01:26 PM
Basic physically hard jobs get paid less than mentally hard jobs because anyone can shovel poop, fill water buckets, mow, or turn a horse out. Those are not hard things, and the supply of people who can do them is huge.

I get that, but a lot of people complain that the people filling these jobs are idiots, flaky, unreliable or do a poor job. So the people who are willing to do this work reliably and well are not so much in supply. It seems to me that bumping up the wage a couple of bucks might bring you a more reliable worker, who is willing/able to do additional tasks. Instead people just keep the wage low and complain about people who well, suck. Now I think barn owners sometimes luck out mainly due to teen girls who will do anything to hang out with a horse or people willing to work off board.

I look at my insulation- guy #1 offered to do it for $10 an hour... and never finished the job. He was lazy, unreliable and probably drunk. I offered guy #2 $100 a day for 6 hour days. He got the insulation done and then went ahead and did a bunch of other stuff. So by paying an extra $5 an hour, I got more work done for $100 than paying the other guy $10 an hour. Plus he was more skilled and knowledgable and could actually be of more help.

And, well CEO's like Ken Lewis actually lost a lot of people thousands.... and some people millions. LOL, I guess he deserves negative pay, though I think he received a bonus upon parting.

Coppers mom
Jun. 2, 2010, 03:46 PM
I get a little tired of seeing this misconception repeated over and over again.

Many times people working illegally are doing so under a false social security number. If they get caught the employer can say, "Oh, we had no idea!"

Taxes get taken out of their pay the same as anybody else, they just never get any benefits back out.

Many people like to say that undocumented workers get benefits from our system without paying in, when often it is exactly the opposite.

Wrong.

Many get paid under the table so that the business owner doesn't have to be bothered with it, and no one will be any the wiser.

The ones who steal a SS aren't actually paying any more than what's getting taken out. When taxes are due, it's the one who's stolen SS is registered that gets hunted down for taxes. The illegal immigrant doesn't get a letter saying they haven't paid.

No matter how you try and spin it, they're not paying in as much as any other "normal" worker. Therefore, they've got more money to live on no matter how little they make next to a citizen who has to pay all taxes.

And don't get me started on the nonsense about how they pay in without getting any benefits. The neighbor's under the table, illegal mexican got his girlfriend pregnant, and drove all the way up to Chapel Hill (over 3 hours) when she went into labor so that the state would pay for it. We have a ton of illegal immigrants in this area, they are actually the majority. I know exactly what goes on.

Coppers mom
Jun. 2, 2010, 03:53 PM
I get that, but a lot of people complain that the people filling these jobs are idiots, flaky, unreliable or do a poor job. So the people who are willing to do this work reliably and well are not so much in supply. It seems to me that bumping up the wage a couple of bucks might bring you a more reliable worker, who is willing/able to do additional tasks. Instead people just keep the wage low and complain about people who well, suck. Now I think barn owners sometimes luck out mainly due to teen girls who will do anything to hang out with a horse or people willing to work off board.
I think the people in these jobs are lazy/flaky/poor workers because of more reasons than pay. If someone couldn't even finish high school, what does that tell you about their motivation? Someone who is only qualified to muck stalls clearly isn't the most motivated or hard working person to begin with. The reasons are more social than monetary, IMO. You can pay a lazy bum $50 an hour, it's not going to suddenly change his outlook on life. See all the examples of people who get paid hundreds an hour and are still lazy, useless, unethical, or unmotivated. I agree that a higher wage can help keep someone, but it's not going to change their attitude.


And, well CEO's like Ken Lewis actually lost a lot of people thousands.... and some people millions. LOL, I guess he deserves negative pay, though I think he received a bonus upon parting.
I agree with you on the negative pay. Hopefully, he'll be demoted to stable boy or something.

But this is another example of how it's attitude, not pay. You can pay them all the money in the world, but it doesn't mean they're going to do the job right.

ETA: I think my attitude on this comes from the area I'm in. We have one of the lowest graduation rates in the state, and most would rather live off the government, since it pays just as much as a real job. The lazy bum attitude is rampant here, so I think I'm a little more aware that most people just aren't going to care, and a little more calloused to the idea that people should be paid more than what they're worth.

meupatdoes
Jun. 2, 2010, 04:35 PM
The ones who steal a SS aren't actually paying any more than what's getting taken out. When taxes are due, it's the one who's stolen SS is registered that gets hunted down for taxes. The illegal immigrant doesn't get a letter saying they haven't paid.

Have you looked at a pay stub lately?

Because the last time I looked at a pay stub, there was my income, and then there were all sorts of subtractions, and then when the original figure was reduced by roughly half I got paid.

"When taxes are due they send a letter..."
Are you for real? Do you actually work?
Nobody sent me a letter, they got paid before I did.

In fact, I had to file in order to get my REFUND.
In 2008 my refund was over $7,000.
For 2009 it was over $4,000.
This was all money THEY TOOK from my pay check before it even hit my direct deposit. They certainly did not wait until April 15 to send me a letter.

They weren't hunting down what they were owed, it was the other way around.


I would love to find this magic job where I can keep my taxes in an interest earning account until they actually come due when the IRS sends me a little bill, instead of auto-paying out to the IRS every paycheck (so they collect interest on it from that day forth) and getting my money back sans interest months later.

Even though it should be evident from the start that when employment starts in SEPTEMBER the maximum someone can earn is their weekly salary times 4 months, they were still taking money out as if I was making my weekly salary times 52 weeks. In other words, I was being taxed as if I was earning THREE TIMES my pay, and they kept that money and earned interest on it until I filed at the end of the year and asked for it back.
For the record, yeah, I could have used those extra $2k I was being needlessly taxed per month.

If anyone starts work later than the first of the year they will still be taxed as if they started Jan 1, and they will have to wait until they file to get their money back. Nobody sends a letter. It gets taken out before the employee sees it. (And the employer is paying payroll taxes that the employee never sees on top.)
Welcome to the real world.


I would like to know what job you have where you get paid in full and the IRS politely waits until April 15 and then "hunts down" what they are owed.

Isabeau Z Solace
Jun. 2, 2010, 05:10 PM
It's not unusual for employers to issue a 1099 to "independent contractors." The employers do not want to pay for workman's comp insurance, or go through the extra paperwork for a W-2 employee.

1099 is more straight forward. In which case, 1099 recipient is responsible for paying to the government taxes that are owed.

meupatdoes
Jun. 2, 2010, 05:23 PM
It's not unusual for employers to issue a 1099 to "independent contractors." The employers do not want to pay for workman's comp insurance, or go through the extra paperwork for a W-2 employee.

1099 is more straight forward. In which case, 1099 recipient is responsible for paying to the government taxes that are owed.

Yeah, but you can't just call anyone an independent contractor just because you feel like it. The independent contractor status has to be clearly indicated by the relationship.

The main issue is control. If the employer controls what gets done and how it gets done, and owns all of the equipment with which it gets done, and the employee does not constitute a separate business entity, you can not call people independent contractors just because you feel like filling out an easier form.
I am sure a lot of companies would love to avoid paying FICA taxes by calling all of their employees independent contractors, but that is not going to fly.

soloudinhere
Jun. 2, 2010, 06:49 PM
Have you looked at a pay stub lately?

Because the last time I looked at a pay stub, there was my income, and then there were all sorts of subtractions, and then when the original figure was reduced by roughly half I got paid.

"When taxes are due they send a letter..."
Are you for real? Do you actually work?
Nobody sent me a letter, they got paid before I did.

In fact, I had to file in order to get my REFUND.
In 2008 my refund was over $7,000.
For 2009 it was over $4,000.
This was all money THEY TOOK from my pay check before it even hit my direct deposit. They certainly did not wait until April 15 to send me a letter.

They weren't hunting down what they were owed, it was the other way around.


I would love to find this magic job where I can keep my taxes in an interest earning account until they actually come due when the IRS sends me a little bill, instead of auto-paying out to the IRS every paycheck (so they collect interest on it from that day forth) and getting my money back sans interest months later.

Even though it should be evident from the start that when employment starts in SEPTEMBER the maximum someone can earn is their weekly salary times 4 months, they were still taking money out as if I was making my weekly salary times 52 weeks. In other words, I was being taxed as if I was earning THREE TIMES my pay, and they kept that money and earned interest on it until I filed at the end of the year and asked for it back.
For the record, yeah, I could have used those extra $2k I was being needlessly taxed per month.

If anyone starts work later than the first of the year they will still be taxed as if they started Jan 1, and they will have to wait until they file to get their money back. Nobody sends a letter. It gets taken out before the employee sees it. (And the employer is paying payroll taxes that the employee never sees on top.)
Welcome to the real world.


I would like to know what job you have where you get paid in full and the IRS politely waits until April 15 and then "hunts down" what they are owed.

If you have your witholdings adjusted correctly, you get no refund or owe a small amount. Just because the average person has their witholdings done incorrectly and thus gets a huge refund doesn't mean we all have to file to collect what's ours. I decided I would rather have my $4000 as an extra $160/check and adjusted my witholdings to match that...I owed $25 at tax time this year. I wasn't interested in giving the government an interest-free loan and there's nothing that says you have to.

Similarly, what many people do who think they can get away with this is set their witholdings to 10 (effectively having $0 witheld) and then dodge the bill when tax time comes. You'd be surprised how many people actually owe quite a bit at tax time.

WorthTheWait95
Jun. 2, 2010, 06:55 PM
If you have your witholdings adjusted correctly, you get no refund or owe a small amount. Just because the average person has their witholdings done incorrectly and thus gets a huge refund doesn't mean we all have to file to collect what's ours. I decided I would rather have my $4000 as an extra $160/check and adjusted my witholdings to match that...I owed $25 at tax time this year.

Similarly, what many people do who think they can get away with this is set their witholdings to 10 (effectively having $0 witheld) and then dodge the bill when tax time comes. You'd be surprised how many people actually owe quite a bit at tax time.

:yes:

I'm a young professional as are many of my coworkers/friends and it does seem like a lot of 20-somethings claim a high number for their withholdings to have a bigger paycheck. No clue what they're going to do when they have to pay all those taxes since I don't see them saving anything or even living within their means...
I personally claimed 2 and might owe a few bucks next year but I don't anticipate a large refund. I prefer having the extra money now in order to keep ahead of my bills and start some savings since I'm still kind of living pay check to pay check as a newly independent person (man do I miss living at home with no bills!).

kookicat
Jun. 2, 2010, 07:47 PM
That's 2 minutes per stall. There is no way this is possible, unless some of the stalls didn't need to be cleaned. Or they're not being cleaned all that well and are merely being barely picked.

Even 5 minutes per stall is slightly more reasonable. Two minutes?

Yup. 5-7mins for a good cleaner. I'd give those beds a poke.

ynl063w
Jun. 2, 2010, 11:40 PM
Earnings are dependent on aspects aside from how many hours one works per week. One can't just assume that because he works 40 hours a week, he should automatically be able to live well and pay all of his bills. The employer's income has a huge part in how much can be allocated to employees' paychecks. This is a huge part of the reason that shoveling shit for a living rarely pays off. Most barns don't bring in much money for the owner/trainer; therefore, there isn't much money left to pass on to the barn help. If you need a living wage, make sure you are good enough around a barn to be attractive as an employee at one of the top money making establishments, or learn to do something else.

And if you are getting $7k back from the government at the end of the year while complaining about the amount that was withheld from every check that year, you clearly need help filling out your W-4.

Coppers mom
Jun. 2, 2010, 11:42 PM
Have you looked at a pay stub lately?

Because the last time I looked at a pay stub, there was my income, and then there were all sorts of subtractions, and then when the original figure was reduced by roughly half I got paid.

"When taxes are due they send a letter..."
Are you for real? Do you actually work?
Nobody sent me a letter, they got paid before I did.

In fact, I had to file in order to get my REFUND.
In 2008 my refund was over $7,000.
For 2009 it was over $4,000.
This was all money THEY TOOK from my pay check before it even hit my direct deposit. They certainly did not wait until April 15 to send me a letter.

They weren't hunting down what they were owed, it was the other way around.


I would love to find this magic job where I can keep my taxes in an interest earning account until they actually come due when the IRS sends me a little bill, instead of auto-paying out to the IRS every paycheck (so they collect interest on it from that day forth) and getting my money back sans interest months later.

Even though it should be evident from the start that when employment starts in SEPTEMBER the maximum someone can earn is their weekly salary times 4 months, they were still taking money out as if I was making my weekly salary times 52 weeks. In other words, I was being taxed as if I was earning THREE TIMES my pay, and they kept that money and earned interest on it until I filed at the end of the year and asked for it back.
For the record, yeah, I could have used those extra $2k I was being needlessly taxed per month.

If anyone starts work later than the first of the year they will still be taxed as if they started Jan 1, and they will have to wait until they file to get their money back. Nobody sends a letter. It gets taken out before the employee sees it. (And the employer is paying payroll taxes that the employee never sees on top.)
Welcome to the real world.


I would like to know what job you have where you get paid in full and the IRS politely waits until April 15 and then "hunts down" what they are owed.

Please try to read before you get your panties in a twist. I mean, really, do you ever read anything in whole and for comprehension before going off on a wild rant?

Yes, they get taxes taken out if they aren't paid under the table, I already noted that.

HOWEVER, they aren't going to go and file in April. If you don't file and pay whatever else they want then, they're going to go after you. However, the illegal immigrant isn't the one who's going to end up harassed over it, it'll be the person who's social security number they stole who will be getting letters, calls, and visits because they're supposed to be earning money somewhere. Don't believe me? Someone stole my uncle's SS after he died, and he got all kinds of nonsense from the IRS, which meant my family did, since he was dead and relatives then owned the house and mailing address.

It's not some majikal land where they send you a letter for not doing something right, they're starting to send stuff out to everyone. I even got one for understating my interest earned on an account because the bank was slow in sending me the paperwork, and I don't think the difference was even worth the paper and postage to notify me. The IRS is just after all they can get right now.

Coppers mom
Jun. 2, 2010, 11:45 PM
And if you are getting $7k back from the government at the end of the year while complaining about the amount that was withheld from every check that year, you clearly need help filling out your W-4.

Yup. I think her "real world" needs some adjustments.

HuntrJumpr
Jun. 3, 2010, 12:27 AM
I've only read a few pages - but seriously? $500/wk in MS is considerably different than $500/wk in other poster's areas. Huge, huge difference.

Isabeau Z Solace
Jun. 3, 2010, 10:46 AM
Yeah, but you can't just call anyone an independent contractor just because you feel like it. The independent contractor status has to be clearly indicated by the relationship.

Well... I can tell from this you haven't worked for a lot of the people I have worked for !! Yes, horse business owners most certainly DO use the 'independent contractor' story line to make their lives easier. Up, down, right and left they use it. Workman's comp/W-2 situations being the ABnormal situation in my experience.

Trixie
Jun. 3, 2010, 11:01 AM
Earnings are dependent on aspects aside from how many hours one works per week. One can't just assume that because he works 40 hours a week, he should automatically be able to live well and pay all of his bills. The employer's income has a huge part in how much can be allocated to employees' paychecks. This is a huge part of the reason that shoveling shit for a living rarely pays off. Most barns don't bring in much money for the owner/trainer; therefore, there isn't much money left to pass on to the barn help. If you need a living wage, make sure you are good enough around a barn to be attractive as an employee at one of the top money making establishments, or learn to do something else.

Well, this goes right back to the question of "why can't barn owners keep good staff".

If you need a DECENT EMPLOYEE, you will pay a living wage.

If you don't care, and think that because you can't afford to pay your staffers enough they should still work for you anyway, you're going to get bad staff.

Dazednconfused
Jun. 3, 2010, 03:58 PM
Well, this goes right back to the question of "why can't barn owners keep good staff".

If you need a DECENT EMPLOYEE, you will pay a living wage.

If you don't care, and think that because you can't afford to pay your staffers enough they should still work for you anyway, you're going to get bad staff.

Agreed.

Personally, I feel at this point that if you cannot afford to pay your staff a true living wage (for fulltime work), and if people cannot afford to pay board with the resulting rising cost of boarding the horse, then you cannot afford horses period. It's easy to pass the buck and say "Well if I raise my board to cover a legal & living wage, my boarders will leave." Well, that's the cost of doing business.

Something I love about horse people is a) how cheap they're willing to be when it comes to the people that handle and care for animals that are either worth a crapton of money, or part of your family, a pet, and b) how they think the rules regarding legal wages, taxes, etc don't apply to them. It's actually rather insane. A farm I once worked for thought payroll taxes were optional (of course, they got caught). Same farm was paying roughly HALF of the minimum wage to salaried employees (who weren't even eligible to *be* on salary in that particular state). It's extremely commonplace in the horse industry, unfortunately.

mvp
Jun. 3, 2010, 04:44 PM
The problem is that everyone-- perhaps beginning with horses-- don't want to pay what it costs. I have argued there that if board were raised appropriately, a lot of good would come of it. People wouldn't have the money to show and show and show. Horses might be cheaper on average. People would stay home and learn to ride.

The thing is that the people in power don't want to take a pay cut. Conversely, the people who have been asked to take pay cuts to minimum wage or less don't have power. But apparently they are getting it because BOs are wringing their hands about the lack of good help.

If you think you should pay your stall cleaner like a 14-year-old girl because those are the skills he/she possesses, do remember that someone is paying the rest of the bills-- health insurance for one. Don't wanna pay that? Then don't complain when your uninsured help gets their medical care at the state hospital your taxes help fund.

I see how the OP feels squeezed here. But I think it is morally wrong to place the blame on the group with the least power. Sorry to put it so plainly.

ynl063w
Jun. 3, 2010, 06:56 PM
But I think it is morally wrong to place the blame on the group with the least power. Sorry to put it so plainly.

I do see everyone's point and agree that it would be nice if one could live well on barn help salary, but there is another side to it. Here's an example:

When I finished school, I thought I might want to follow a certain career path, so I took the necessary steps to get my foot in that door and try it out. I loved many aspects of the job, but realized that I couldn't make enough money in that career to cover my bills. I left that job and moved to a completely different, higher paying industry where my starting salary was 30k more per year than it would have been in my first choice. I can pay all my bills and can afford to have a horse. I didn't complain that I should have been paid more in the first career choice so I could live the lifestyle I wanted to live; I went and got myself a job that does pay enough for that. Life isn't fair folks - that's the way it is. I took responsibility for my own needs and planned accordingly.

No one is forcing anyone to work dirt cheap at a barn, so I disagree with the notion that barn workers are powerless. Most barns just don't bring in enough money to pay a lot for cleaning stalls. Anyone who wants to clean stalls for a living needs to understand that he or she will probably not be able to live comfortably on that paycheck alone. And barn owners need to know that they will probably experience chronic high turnover when it comes to barn help because of this, unless they can figure out a business plan that allows them to pay a decent wage. Life probably isn't going to be easy for either side in this equation, ever. That's just the way it is.

hntrjmprpro45
Jun. 3, 2010, 07:55 PM
This has turned into quite an interesting thread about stable management. Personally at our barn we pay about $10 per hour for manual labor type things (mowing, weed eating, stacking hay bales, etc). Most of the people that work, come out and work a few days a week (so this is not a full time job) and are generally college aged guys who LOVE the fact that they get to work for more than minimum wage and not have to cook hamburgers. There is no shortage of these type of workers in my area (and they are all very nice and do great jobs).

My barn is somewhat unique in the way it is set up. First off, I am the owner and trainer- so I don't have any disputes with barn owners like most trainers! I do a lot of the "stable hand" work myself so we don't have to hire any full time help (only some part time manual labor). This cuts down costs which I then pass on to my clients. We are on the lower end of average for the price of board in our area but offer much nicer services and facilities (therefore we have a waiting list). Yes we could easily raise our prices and stay in business (we may lose a customer or two but those spots would fill quickly) but I just can't make myself do it to my customers. I feel lucky enough to be able to be in this business and happy to make enough money to allow me to buy nice horses and get the opportunity to show.

It DOES take money to own a horse, and people should invest in their horses care but I think some trainers get carried away (or just plain greedy). It breaks my heart when I get incoming students who had to leave their trainer (and barn and friends) because trainer told them they HAD to spend $100k to be able to ride and show. Horses do become part of the family and I have seen a LOT of family drama due to horse related financial issues (some even ending in divorce).

Coppers mom
Jun. 3, 2010, 08:11 PM
Agreed.

Personally, I feel at this point that if you cannot afford to pay your staff a true living wage (for fulltime work), and if people cannot afford to pay board with the resulting rising cost of boarding the horse, then you cannot afford horses period. It's easy to pass the buck and say "Well if I raise my board to cover a legal & living wage, my boarders will leave." Well, that's the cost of doing business.

Something I love about horse people is a) how cheap they're willing to be when it comes to the people that handle and care for animals that are either worth a crapton of money, or part of your family, a pet, and b) how they think the rules regarding legal wages, taxes, etc don't apply to them. It's actually rather insane. A farm I once worked for thought payroll taxes were optional (of course, they got caught). Same farm was paying roughly HALF of the minimum wage to salaried employees (who weren't even eligible to *be* on salary in that particular state). It's extremely commonplace in the horse industry, unfortunately.
Completely agreed. Kind of like how you shouldn't expect to make something for nothing, don't expect to pay nothing for something.

soloudinhere
Jun. 4, 2010, 10:08 AM
Well... I can tell from this you haven't worked for a lot of the people I have worked for !! Yes, horse business owners most certainly DO use the 'independent contractor' story line to make their lives easier. Up, down, right and left they use it. Workman's comp/W-2 situations being the ABnormal situation in my experience.

This only works as long as it doesn't catch up with you. But there are actually laws that define who can be an independent contractor, so if you:

Set the hours the worker must work
provide the tools with which the worker performs his or her job
control how and when the worker is paid
control how and when the worker performs their job
allow the worker to represent themselves as a representative of your business

then you have an employee, not an independent contractor. Regardless of how the barns you've worked for use it, you can't just make anyone an independent contractor because you feel like it. And it isn't pretty when that catches up with you.