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Bluehorsesjp
Apr. 11, 2011, 01:22 AM
This is my first time at a full care barn ever. So I feel a bit lost in the etiquette side of things.

I have been told that it is mandatory to tip the grooms, but there are no guidelines as to how often, or how much. These are the guys at home, not at shows, so I am not quite sure what to tip.

Is this normal? I was required to buy a halter, plate, turnout blanket and stall plate for my horse despite the fact that he already has all of those things.
These are things to use at home, not at shows.

Kestrel
Apr. 11, 2011, 03:45 AM
I tip the stay at home grooms, assistant trainer, etc at Christmas. The amount varies by how much they work with my horse.

alibi_18
Apr. 11, 2011, 10:17 AM
You should probably discuss such issues with the BO or BM because it can differ a lot from one barn to another. You could also ask boarders but, I would first go to BO/BM.

Yes, it is normal. Probably they want everyone to have the same name plates, same blankets, same kind of quality halter with names. Sometimes they even buy them for you, charge them on your bill/credit card directly and Voilà!

Nothing agains't your OP but Why do people go boarding somewhere without asking questions about rules/mandatory things/ways of doing/common practices prior to moving? What if you don't want to buy those new expensive name plates? or find the blankets really ugly? or don't wanna tip the grooms because you don't feel like it? *(IMO, tipping shouldn't be mandatory, tips reflects the quality of services you were provided. If it is not good, no tip. If it is extra good, good tips! But still, people shouldn't expect automatic tips just per say. )
And on the same line, Why do BO/BM aren't clear about what is going on at their barn? Making a list of mandatory things/rules/protocol isn't that hard...

Summit Springs Farm
Apr. 11, 2011, 10:38 AM
That is so random in my opinion. You are "told" you have to tip
the grooms but not how often and how much?

First off, no one tells me to tip anyone. period. I decide if I would like to or not.
Our country club has a no tipping policy and so does our grocery store.

I guess I would ask some of the other boarders what they have done, but if its a significant amount I would ask why isn't the BO paying them.

Lucassb
Apr. 11, 2011, 10:50 AM
The full service barns I've known have all required those things (and more, FWIW - so if you don't have a rate sheet outlining ALL of the requirements, now is the time to ask!)

The last full service place I kept my horse charged $3K/mo. and the "recommended" monthly tip to the groom was $100-120.

magnolia73
Apr. 11, 2011, 10:58 AM
Mandatory tipping sounds like an oxymoron. Why not just ask your trainer what the practices are?

kahhull
Apr. 11, 2011, 12:56 PM
Our country club has a no tipping policy and so does our grocery store.

I'm coming to your country club. :yes:

meupatdoes
Apr. 11, 2011, 02:40 PM
Our country club has a no tipping policy and so does our grocery store.

What would you tip anyone for at a grocery store?

Suddenly I am concerned that I have been a miserly @$$hole this whole time carting my bananas around with no tip.

englishivy
Apr. 11, 2011, 03:18 PM
What would you tip anyone for at a grocery store?

Suddenly I am concerned that I have been a miserly @$$hole this whole time carting my bananas around with no tip.

:lol::lol:

Publix grocery stores have a policy that tips are not necessary when "baggers" help you unload groceries into your car.

A family friend's son worked there, and he was told not to accept renumerations for helping customers. There was one stipulation however: if a customer offered it three times, then he could take the tip.

Three times?! How many people offer their few dollar tip to the bagger more than twice? Poor guy was always one "I insist, take it" away from getting the money!

Mara
Apr. 11, 2011, 03:33 PM
:lol::lol:

Publix grocery stores have a policy that tips are not necessary when "baggers" help you unload groceries into your car.

A family friend's son worked there, and he was told not to accept renumerations for helping customers. There was one stipulation however: if a customer offered it three times, then he could take the tip.

Three times?! How many people offer their few dollar tip to the bagger more than twice? Poor guy was always one "I insist, take it" away from getting the money!

Meantime the Kroger employees have one hand on the cart and one outstretched all the way to your car. :lol:

Not that I've never tipped someone who helped me load a huge cartload of groceries into the trunk of my car (and here's a tip for those guys - fussing over my dogs, when I have them with me, will ALWAYS get you a few $$$), but if/how much depends on the quality of the service and the attitude of the employee.

Same as it would a groom. Good care/ok attitude = OK tip. Great care + great attitude = considerably more.

Now, I don't agree that grooms should be hired and paid under the assumption that they will make lots in tips. It's not the same as waiting tables.

benni
Apr. 11, 2011, 03:35 PM
If the grooms really do a great job - tip them well - they need the money (even if it does end up in the Mexican Treasury)! If the stink - well....

It is helpful to have the same groom assigned to your horse, so at least you only have to pay 1 groom.

Go Fish
Apr. 11, 2011, 03:45 PM
I'm at a full-service barn but the grooms are employed by my trainer, not the BO.

I don't tip daily/monthly. That service is part of my training package. I don't tip my trainer daily/monthly, either.

I DO give a very generous tip to the trainer(s), grooms and barn help at Christmas.

I'll have to think about this...I generally tip plenty of service providers...hair, bellhops, valets, hotel maids, etc. It didn't occur to me to tip the grooms on a regular basis...I don't think any other training customers at the barn do, either. I do tip grooms at the shows, so not I'm not seeing any consistency in my tipping policy now. :confused:

joiedevie99
Apr. 11, 2011, 03:47 PM
I tip my groom monthly. Others at the barn tip weekly, or choose to bring gifts, food, breakfast, etc. instead. I'm sure some people at the barn don't tip - but I think its pretty common.

jn4jenny
Apr. 11, 2011, 04:00 PM
What would you tip anyone for at a grocery store?

Suddenly I am concerned that I have been a miserly @$$hole this whole time carting my bananas around with no tip.

Tipping the bagger used to be standard operating procedure at military commissaries, and it's still an option today. Trust me, if you're an Army wife with a fleet of kids in tow, $1-$2 for someone to bag all your stuff AND wheel it out to your car on a big handtruck AND load it into the vehicle for you is well worth the cash.

In principle, it's not so different from basic board versus full care board. If you have more spare time and energy than money, it makes sense to schlep your own groceries and groom your own horse. If you have more money than spare time and energy, then grocery bagging services and full care board look more appealing. I say this as a frugal banana schlepper who has no need for such services.

To the OP: Request a rate sheet from the BO, and if the tipping is not covered on the rate sheet, then don't be afraid to ask the BO directly about how much and how often you should tip.

Go Fish
Apr. 11, 2011, 04:18 PM
I just had a thought...if tipping the groom is REQUIRED, then you have to wonder if the BO/trainer is expecting you, the customer, to share in coming up with part of the groom's salary. Tipping is giving money as a way of rewarding someone for their services. It should never be mandatory.

Employers are sure getting more clever in the way they get money out of people these days, while spending less on their employees themselves.

Tamara in TN
Apr. 11, 2011, 04:21 PM
if I have enough to need help to my car I certainly tip

Tamara

Linny
Apr. 11, 2011, 10:51 PM
Nothing agains't your OP but Why do people go boarding somewhere without asking questions about rules/mandatory things/ways of doing/common practices prior to moving? What if you don't want to buy those new expensive name plates? or find the blankets really ugly? or don't wanna tip the grooms because you don't feel like it? *(IMO, tipping shouldn't be mandatory, tips reflects the quality of services you were provided. If it is not good, no tip. If it is extra good, good tips! But still, people shouldn't expect automatic tips just per say. )
And on the same line, Why do BO/BM aren't clear about what is going on at their barn? Making a list of mandatory things/rules/protocol isn't that hard...

I'd guess that it was a case of "unknown unknowns" meaning the OP having never been at such a barn didn't know to ask the questions about tipping or name plates or blankets. I've always ridden at nice places but never anyplace with grooms or people who took care of your tack or where you were expected to buy certain things to match the barn. Had it not been for my readership here, I'd have no idea that such rules exist at some high end (or even mid-level) barns and wouldn't have asked.

That said, I do think that if there is the requirement that you buy a whole new ensemble of clothes, tack and tack box for your horse plus the expectation of tips for staff, the barn should make that perfectly clear before a new client signs a contract.

I agree that tipping shouldn't be mandatory. In cases where "mandatory tipping" exists, it's just a way for the employer to shift part of he burden of compensation of staff directly onto the clients.

FrenchFrytheEqHorse
Apr. 12, 2011, 10:26 AM
I would sit down with the barn manager and explain that this is your first time in a full care situation, and that you're going to need a breakdown of the expenses you're going to be expected to cover. They are used to getting new clients in and having those clients purchase things that they require, so it shouldn't be too difficult for him or her to provide you with a guide.

Regarding the tipping- as much as it might irk people to be "required to tip", it is the industry standard to tip grooms for their work. Many of the full service barns design their business model around the grooms making a decent portion of their income from tips, and provide them with things like room & board in lieu of a truly livable wage (see Lucassb's response above: if you're in a barn with 20 clients tipping the grooms $100/month, that's $2000/month getting split up between these employees). In a lot of settings, it works kind of like a restaurant- the serving staff makes a nominal amount from the restaurant, but relies on their tips for a significant portion of their wages. If you're unsure of how much you should be tipping, and for what, I would ask fellow boarders how much they tip and when.

VA_Hunter_Aside
Apr. 12, 2011, 11:45 AM
This whole thread just makes me realize how poor I really am. I knew that such barns existed but it was kind of like a fairy tale to me. While it would be nice to be able to afford a place like that, I'm sure glad I don't have to worry about tipping grooms and barn staff.

On second thought, I DO tip my groom and barn staff...it's called my paycheck!
:D:winkgrin::D

MIKES MCS
Apr. 12, 2011, 04:22 PM
If your in a full service barn that charges $3,000.00 but you MUST tip the Grooms and trainers every month .. What are you Paying the full service for ? Seriously Full service includes lessons, training rides, and groom service in most barns. If there are 40 boarders in the barn each paying an extra 100-125 per month divided by 6 grooms you would be paying them another $650.00 to $700.00 per month , that would be the equivlant of an extra weeks or more salary for most grooms. It honestly sounds liek a shell game to me. Tips are usually reserved for Christmas and horse shows or extra work not a regular addition to a pay check .

FrenchFrytheEqHorse
Apr. 12, 2011, 05:25 PM
If your in a full service barn that charges $3,000.00 but you MUST tip the Grooms and trainers every month .. What are you Paying the full service for ? Seriously Full service includes lessons, training rides, and groom service in most barns. If there are 40 boarders in the barn each paying an extra 100-125 per month divided by 6 grooms you would be paying them another $650.00 to $700.00 per month , that would be the equivlant of an extra weeks or more salary for most grooms. It honestly sounds liek a shell game to me. Tips are usually reserved for Christmas and horse shows or extra work not a regular addition to a pay check .

At a full care facility, you're also paying into the pot that includes things like professional landscaping, premium & well maintained/replaced footing in multiple rings ($$$$$, which also requires expensive farm equipment to maintain), high quality jumps that are regularly repainted, premium fencing; premium amenities like bedding, auto waterers, fans, fly control systems, well-appointed & updated lounges with kitchen areas, secure and attractive common areas (consider things like repaving of long driveways and large parking areas); expensive new equipment like trucks, horse trailers, equipment trailers, golf carts, etc... That's just a start.

It's also worth noting that things like fly spray/hoof oil/shampoo/grooming implements are typically communal items in these barns.

Factor all of that into the idea that most of these pricey facilities are located in extremely expensive parts of the US (where an acre or two of LAND can cost seven figures). When the farm itself cost well into the millions, and then clients expect it maintained and managed to a certain standard, the overhead really becomes quite astronomical.

Linny
Apr. 12, 2011, 07:31 PM
I know that in NY it is illegal to pay agricultural help (which is how grooms are classified) under minimum wage on the assumption that they will be tipped, as is done for food servers/bartenders. I live in NY, home of high property costs and high property taxes so I sympathize with barn owners, but... If the trainer can't afford to pay the staff (grooms, muckers, tack handlers whoever they may be) a legal wage they can either run the risk of raising my board or they can forego the new Mercedes this year or they can set at rate at which they can pay ALL the bills and not expect their clients to be opening their wallets several extra times a month.

Flame suit zipped: I know that most trainers are not driving Mercedes and BMW's but at $3k+/month + show expenses etc. I'd feel like I was being nickel and dimed if I was also expected to fork over $100 a week to the groom who you hired and who you should be paying. I'd sure love it it 50% of my income was cash. I might be able to afford a horse if it was.

bumknees
Apr. 13, 2011, 07:01 AM
I would have a difficult time with manatory tipping. If the BM informed me of that I would probably say someting snotty like 'gee are you insuring proper service then? Proper to my standards not to yours?" Remember it is only 'industry standard' because someone began the idea and it grew from there. It would be just the oppsite if someone decided it not a good idea.

Now if the groom/barn worker went above and beyond to do something for me/ my horse then yeah a tip would be in order. Ie hand walk for hrs because numbnuts decided to hurt himself.

As for maintance that should have been built into boarding rates and into their business plan(s) not tips.

I firmly believe the only way we will not be nickled and dimed to death in this sport is if we begin to say 'mmm no not happening' in (or would that be 'en' ) mass.

mlcoursin
Apr. 13, 2011, 08:50 AM
This whole thread just makes me realize how poor I really am. I knew that such barns existed but it was kind of like a fairy tale to me. While it would be nice to be able to afford a place like that, I'm sure glad I don't have to worry about tipping grooms and barn staff.

On second thought, I DO tip my groom and barn staff...it's called my paycheck!
:D:winkgrin::D

Yeah same here...I can't imagine paying that much for a full service barn then having to tip people on top of that! I'll stick with my leased land and self care;). I like grooming my own horse anyways, it's a highlight of my day.

JustThatSimple
Apr. 13, 2011, 09:34 AM
This is a very american standard.

Although I have heard of it before, very rarely in even the highest end facilities in Canada do you find tipping practices.

I also haven't seen a grocery store with somebody to help you to your car in years- small town or large city.

FrenchFrytheEqHorse
Apr. 13, 2011, 09:38 AM
As for maintance that should have been built into boarding rates and into their business plan(s) not tips.

I firmly believe the only way we will not be nickled and dimed to death in this sport is if we begin to say 'mmm no not happening' in (or would that be 'en' ) mass.

I was just pointing out that even at $2-3k/month, that doesn't ensure the grooms are getting paid a decent salary by the barn itself (as another poster suggested). Again, a lot of these places offer room & board along with a very conservative amount of money weekly in lieu of a salary.

En masse.

danceronice
Apr. 13, 2011, 09:45 AM
I was just pointing out that even at $2-3k/month, that doesn't ensure the grooms are getting paid a decent salary by the barn itself (as another poster suggested). Again, a lot of these places offer room & board along with a very conservative amount of money weekly in lieu of a salary.

En masse.

Not to sound cold, but that's their issue. If I were paying $3000 a month for FULL CARE, that means full care. Not that I am obligated to pay anyone $100-$150 extra a month. If it's part of the OBLIGATION, it needs to be in the board and reported on their taxes. If they (barn management) objects to that concept, I'd be suspicious of their business practices.

Trixie
Apr. 13, 2011, 09:51 AM
I was just pointing out that even at $2-3k/month, that doesn't ensure the grooms are getting paid a decent salary by the barn itself (as another poster suggested). Again, a lot of these places offer room & board along with a very conservative amount of money weekly in lieu of a salary.

Barn management should be ensuring this. It's one of the big issues of the horse industry and the reason that so many barn owners complain that they "can't find reliable help."

It would be a little hard for me to be told, at that price point, that tips were mandatory, since tipping isn't supposed to be mandatory.

MIKES MCS
Apr. 13, 2011, 09:53 AM
At a full care facility, you're also paying into the pot that includes things like professional landscaping, premium & well maintained/replaced footing in multiple rings ($$$$$, which also requires expensive farm equipment to maintain), high quality jumps that are regularly repainted, premium fencing; premium amenities like bedding, auto waterers, fans, fly control systems, well-appointed & updated lounges with kitchen areas, secure and attractive common areas (consider things like repaving of long driveways and large parking areas); expensive new equipment like trucks, horse trailers, equipment trailers, golf carts, etc... That's just a start.

It's also worth noting that things like fly spray/hoof oil/shampoo/grooming implements are typically communal items in these barns.

Factor all of that into the idea that most of these pricey facilities are located in extremely expensive parts of the US (where an acre or two of LAND can cost seven figures). When the farm itself cost well into the millions, and then clients expect it maintained and managed to a certain standard, the overhead really becomes quite astronomical.

Oh I do understand all of that but when the human amenities become more important than the horses, you have to stop and ask yourself as a barn owner , "am I running a barn or a Country club"? If the focus is on the comfort of the rider rather than horse you might as well put in a golf course. Even with taxes , Insurance and up keep, if you can't pay your help a livable wage that doesn't rely on tipping your cheating the amentity that matters the most and pandering to the least important details instead. We are talking about barns that would spend $20,000.00 on making there show tack stalls look like the ritz but in turn would pay there grooms at the same show $400.00 a week for 16 hour days and rely on the horse owners to make up the short fall. I wonder since the the grooms are the most help to the trainers if the trainers themselves woudl reach into there pokets and tip them . Oh wait your supposed to tip the trainer too, the same one charging 10 clients each $100.00 per day in schooling fees, plus hotels and meal expenses. Then charging a day care fee of $50.00 per day supposedly going for grooms expenses. If there are 3 grooms getting 1500.00 for the week and 1 hotel room to split for another $600.00 I wonder who gets the other $900.00 ? I know this is only at horse shows , nbut at home these same groom you are SUPPOSED to tip are getting just as underpaid because the barn demands the clients who are already paying big money make up the short fall. To the barn the grooms are a dime a dozen and certainly not as valueble as the fresh flowers each day in the marble bathroom.

meupatdoes
Apr. 13, 2011, 10:48 AM
Oh I do understand all of that but when the human amenities become more important than the horses, you have to stop and ask yourself as a barn owner , "am I running a barn or a Country club"? If the focus is on the comfort of the rider rather than horse you might as well put in a golf course. Even with taxes , Insurance and up keep, if you can't pay your help a livable wage that doesn't rely on tipping your cheating the amentity that matters the most and pandering to the least important details instead. We are talking about barns that would spend $20,000.00 on making there show tack stalls look like the ritz but in turn would pay there grooms at the same show $400.00 a week for 16 hour days and rely on the horse owners to make up the short fall. I wonder since the the grooms are the most help to the trainers if the trainers themselves woudl reach into there pokets and tip them . Oh wait your supposed to tip the trainer too, the same one charging 10 clients each $100.00 per day in schooling fees, plus hotels and meal expenses. Then charging a day care fee of $50.00 per day supposedly going for grooms expenses. If there are 3 grooms getting 1500.00 for the week and 1 hotel room to split for another $600.00 I wonder who gets the other $900.00 ? I know this is only at horse shows , nbut at home these same groom you are SUPPOSED to tip are getting just as underpaid because the barn demands the clients who are already paying big money make up the short fall. To the barn the grooms are a dime a dozen and certainly not as valueble as the fresh flowers each day in the marble bathroom.

As usual, Mike is a voice of reason.

It has gotten to the point where if you don't automatically bend over and say "please sir can I have some more" you are a bad customer.

Customers practically compete with each other to see who can do the lowest bow. There seems to be a certain delight in reporting just how exhorbitantly high the charges are and being able to top everyone else on what random things are additionally required.

It is like some weird check writing pissing contest.

Kryswyn
Apr. 13, 2011, 11:43 AM
Mike said "To the barn the grooms are a dime a dozen and certainly not as valueble (sic) as the fresh flowers each day in the marble bathroom."

I agree, because the guy you've got working for you has family, friends, or cousins who would be more than happy to come work their (illegal) butts off for the chance to work in the USA. Like Juan? Juan has someone who's just as dependable who's available. Don't like Gomez? Let him go. Drive to the local loitering spot and pick a temp up until Juan's friend can get here.

This mandatory tipping allows barns to declare some wages paid and a correspondingly small amount of taxes withheld, while hoping that the tips will provide enough $$ to keep the workers showing up. The barn cheats on withholding taxes and the workers don't file tax returns. Burns me up.

Please Note: I am not slamming legal immigrants. They are some of the hardest workers I've ever met. Many of the illegal workers I've met DREAM of being able to work here legally and I'm convinced they'd be good citizens. But they're in a Catch-22, and I have no idea what the solution is. This country needs workers on the bottom rung of so many labor intensive industries and American youth seem to believe starting at the bottom is beneath them.

gottagrey
Apr. 13, 2011, 12:17 PM
At a full care facility, you're also paying into the pot that includes things like professional landscaping, premium & well maintained/replaced footing in multiple rings ($$$$$, which also requires expensive farm equipment to maintain), high quality jumps that are regularly repainted, premium fencing; premium amenities like bedding, auto waterers, fans, fly control systems, well-appointed & updated lounges with kitchen areas, secure and attractive common areas (consider things like repaving of long driveways and large parking areas); expensive new equipment like trucks, horse trailers, equipment trailers, golf carts, etc... That's just a start.

It's also worth noting that things like fly spray/hoof oil/shampoo/grooming implements are typically communal items in these barns.

Factor all of that into the idea that most of these pricey facilities are located in extremely expensive parts of the US (where an acre or two of LAND can cost seven figures). When the farm itself cost well into the millions, and then clients expect it maintained and managed to a certain standard, the overhead really becomes quite astronomical.

I pay about $500 per month for "Full Board" We have decent footing, fly control systems, BO/T recently purchased new tractor (radio, heat & A/C) new trailer, relatively new golf cart, regularly maintains fencing, auto waterer in one field because my horse kept knocking over trough (other fields have better behaved animals), fans, we are billed twice a year for grooming/tack supplies, decent bedding, excellent quality grain, decent jumps though no show ring quality but close, lights, no indoor however. Small heated lounge/bathroom w/ shower, tackroom not heated... I've yet to be billed for mane pulling/sheath cleaning...or holding for vet /farrier...

Man do I have a deal... oh and we tip farrier and barn staff only at Christmas.

And hat-trip to Mike MCS - man I wish I'd a said that...also if you were really interested you could check out your state's law regarding tips and wages. For example in some states, an employer cannot credit tips against the money the employer owes an employee. So if the barn is doing something like this in a state where it is illegal... and where some of the grooms might be working illegally..

I also have a problem w/ barns who mandate you insure your horse - they can recommend it but they cannot compel or mandate you purchase insurance.

FrenchFrytheEqHorse
Apr. 13, 2011, 12:33 PM
I pay about $500 per month for "Full Board" We have decent footing, fly control systems, BO/T recently purchased new tractor (radio, heat & A/C) new trailer, relatively new golf cart, regularly maintains fencing, auto waterer in one field because my horse kept knocking over trough (other fields have better behaved animals), fans, we are billed twice a year for grooming/tack supplies, decent bedding, excellent quality grain, decent jumps though no show ring quality but close, lights, no indoor however. Small heated lounge/bathroom w/ shower, tackroom not heated... I've yet to be billed for mane pulling/sheath cleaning...or holding for vet /farrier...

Man do I have a deal... oh and we tip farrier and barn staff only at Christmas.

What part of the country are you in?

judybigredpony
Apr. 13, 2011, 12:38 PM
Tipping the bagger used to be standard operating procedure at military commissaries, and it's still an option today. Trust me, if you're an Army wife with a fleet of kids in tow, $1-$2 for someone to bag all your stuff AND wheel it out to your car on a big handtruck AND load it into the vehicle for you is well worth the cash.

Still is :)

Linny
Apr. 13, 2011, 12:40 PM
How many horses does the average grrom at a BN barn actually take care of and what exactly do they do? I know about racing grooms and what they generally do, but I have no idea how it works in show barns. I'd guess they keep the horse clean but do they saddle and bridle it? Do they take it away and clean it up after a ride? Do you always have the same groom for your horse or does it vary? Does the groom look after your tack and other gear? Is it the groom who cleans the stall?
Stupid questions I know, but I really am lowbrow and have no idea how this stuff works.:uhoh:

kahhull
Apr. 13, 2011, 12:43 PM
I pay about $500 per month for "Full Board" We have decent footing, fly control systems, BO/T recently purchased new tractor (radio, heat & A/C) new trailer, relatively new golf cart, regularly maintains fencing, auto waterer in one field because my horse kept knocking over trough (other fields have better behaved animals), fans, we are billed twice a year for grooming/tack supplies, decent bedding, excellent quality grain, decent jumps though no show ring quality but close, lights, no indoor however. Small heated lounge/bathroom w/ shower, tackroom not heated... I've yet to be billed for mane pulling/sheath cleaning...or holding for vet /farrier...

This was what I had in the CA central valley, but plus an indoor... I had no idea how cheap that was compared to everywhere else. If only I had appreciated it - now I pay more than that for a half lease!

gottagrey
Apr. 13, 2011, 12:50 PM
What part of the country are you in?

ha ha ha In Maryland just outside of Washington, DC. Most of the places around here where board is more reasonable are at places where the trainers also own the property.. so there's less overhead. We don't have an indoor though... so our board is more reasonable than other places. Most places near me w/ an indoor are $600++ My barn does not have full service grooms though - usually an assistant to trainer and then a couple of working students that help w/ horses - we groom & tack up, and clean up ourselves. She does have someone clean stalls we tip them at Christmas.. ha ha but the barn help also makes the meanest salsa you've ever had... so he makes extra for us to buy (and empanadas, etc Lol)

MHM
Apr. 13, 2011, 01:03 PM
How many horses does the average grrom at a BN barn actually take care of and what exactly do they do? I know about racing grooms and what they generally do, but I have no idea how it works in show barns. I'd guess they keep the horse clean but do they saddle and bridle it? Do they take it away and clean it up after a ride? Do you always have the same groom for your horse or does it vary? Does the groom look after your tack and other gear? Is it the groom who cleans the stall?
Stupid questions I know, but I really am lowbrow and have no idea how this stuff works.:uhoh:

It may vary a little from place to place, but generally the serious full-care barns have a system where the rider could just get out of the car, get on the horse, ride, get off the horse, and get in the car and leave if they're so inclined. The groom does everything else.

Which is not to say every rider does that, or if it's right or wrong, but it's an option for them.

The grooms might each take care of 2-4 horses at shows, maybe a little more at home, and most places set it up so the grooms take care of the same horses every day so they get to know the routine for that horse, rider, and equipment.

Some places might have an extra person who helps muck stalls, but mostly the grooms do that, too.

That's the set up I've usually seen.

HorseLuvr
Apr. 13, 2011, 01:16 PM
You sure as hell better tip the grooms! After all, they are the people who really take care of your horse, not the trainer. The grooms feed, medicate, blanket, groom, wrap, tack up, bathe, body clip, pull mane, lunge, give supplements, bring your horse in and out of the pasture, and clean your horse's stall! They are the people who will be the most hands on with your horse! They know who tips them and who is a cheap ass.

headsupheelsdown
Apr. 13, 2011, 01:24 PM
What part of the country are you in?

Add to that: How many championships at prestige shows did you bring home last year?

The people arguing that 3000k a month should include everything are arguing from the point that that they feel is indeed a lot of money (me included). To a lot of the people that populate barns like this, this is nothing. It is a small part of their discretionary income that they are happy to pay to have the opportunity to ride and show out of a big name barn that produces winners. They happily pay $250k for a horse that will take their kid to the top this year, without having to live on ramen. They drive $160k cars, and own jets and yachts. Now, there are people with more ordinary incomes that will pay this for a short while to enjoy the opportunities that a barn like this offers, or to rub shoulders with and get themselves or their kid married off to someone who has this kind of discretionary income. It may be a fantasy to most, but in reality $3k/month is a pittance to more people out there than you would think, especially if being at that barn is something they really want to do.

We don't know if in OP's case the barn help is not paid fairly, they could actually be quite fairly paid. OP has not said what they are paid. OP has not said how much/how often they are expected to tip, which would help others determine if the barn is expecting the tipping to enhance or actually BE the salaries of the staff. I dn't think we have enough info from the OP yet.

That said, before I had my own place and I boarded, in the price range here of anywhere from $350-$600/ month, Not full care. I tipped the stablehand regularily every time I asked them to do anything at all not included in their normal duties (which were usually feeding, turnout, stall cleaning). I also generously tipped at Christmas and their birthday. If I was stopping for coffee or food on my way to the barn, I would always call and offer to bring them something.

I have always said that I don't want my airplane being piloted by some schmuck making $35k/year. I want my pilots and doctors to be very well paid professionals on the very tippy top of their game, with an education from a great school, serious about the job they do with pride and making enough not to be stressed or pressured when they are doing their job for me. I would feel exactly that way about the professionals caring for my horse if I could pay $3k a month. I would gladly tip.

I would ask fellow boarders what they do and/or go by a small percentage of some sort of the actual board total.

BAC
Apr. 13, 2011, 01:47 PM
It may vary a little from place to place, but generally the serious full-care barns have a system where the rider could just get out of the car, get on the horse, ride, get off the horse, and get in the car and leave if they're so inclined. The groom does everything else.

It also includes all your tack being cleaned after each ride as well as the barn doing all your horse laundry, wrapping, etc. Some full service barns actively discourage owners from trying to groom and care for their horse, others allow it.

My barn is definitely not fancy, there is no full service and no where near as costly as the places under discussion, but many of us still tip our grooms throughout the year, as well as Christmas. If you value the care your groom provides then it is always appropriate to tip him/her IMO. I don't believe tipping should be mandatory, but that is something you should look into right from the beginning, when you ask for a rate sheet.

MHM
Apr. 13, 2011, 02:11 PM
It also includes all your tack being cleaned after each ride as well as the barn doing all your horse laundry, wrapping, etc.

Yes, that comes under the heading of "everything else" to me.

gottagrey
Apr. 13, 2011, 02:13 PM
[QUOTE=headsupheelsdown;5543849]Add to that: How many championships at prestige shows did you bring home last year?
QUOTE]

Gee I always thought that championships are determined by how well they rode/horses performed that day, not by their boarding fees...

BAC
Apr. 13, 2011, 02:20 PM
Yes, that comes under the heading of "everything else" to me.

To me as well, but it might not to those who are not familiar with full service, same with laundry.

SmileItLooksGoodOnYou
Apr. 13, 2011, 02:27 PM
I have my horse in full care, but I've never been expected to tip at home.

I tip at the shows, anywhere from $10-$50 a week depending on how much I ride, how much I do myself and how good the service is, as well as considering how many other horses the groom is working with, even how nice or crappy the weather is. When we have a muddy week somewhere and the groom(s) take the time and put in the effort to have everything spotless, there's always extra $$ in that for them.

I'd say some of those same things are going to apply at home. If you have a messy horse that rolls and they always have him spotless, more $, if your horse is clean and you don't have a lot of tack or tack that's easy to clean (like eskadrons that you hose off instead of leather boots or something) maybe a bit less. The more they do and the better they do it the more gratuity you should be extending.

Trixie
Apr. 13, 2011, 02:32 PM
I have always said that I don't want my airplane being piloted by some schmuck making $35k/year. I want my pilots and doctors to be very well paid professionals on the very tippy top of their game, with an education from a great school, serious about the job they do with pride and making enough not to be stressed or pressured when they are doing their job for me. I would feel exactly that way about the professionals caring for my horse if I could pay $3k a month. I would gladly tip.

It can be so subjective, though – and I would imagine that were I a groom who was making “minimum wage + tips” I might feel a little insecure financially because there’s insufficient guaranteed income here. And a lot of the barns that hire on these minimum wage grooms don’t exactly offer them a decent quality of life with health insurance, decent living conditions, and a reasonable work schedule – which could make anyone feel pressured or stressed.

For one of the above posters, I think it’s also inappropriate to refer to people who spend $3K in discretionary income on the care and feeding of an animal as a “cheap ass,” btw – I would point that word more towards the actual employer of the grooms. It’s the responsibility of the EMPLOYER to make sure their employees are adequately compensated.

In the case of the OP, I would definitely find out what is expected and factor that into the cost of board. It wouldn’t necessarily be a deal-breaker, but I would want some details here – the tax issue is one of them, making sure the grooms were otherwise taken care of would certainly be a concern for me. Once I knew what was expected (and it would need to be communicated clearly) I would be able to make a decision as to whether or not I wanted to board there. There are just so many variables.

Zenyatta
Apr. 13, 2011, 03:39 PM
I'm not in a full service barn, but if the guy taking care of my horse is good, I tip often.
I wouldn't want to be told I had to tip and how much to give.
I guess if you're paying $3000 a month, what's a couple of hundred more??:eek::eek:

Bluehorsesjp
Apr. 13, 2011, 04:18 PM
I know that in NY it is illegal to pay agricultural help (which is how grooms are classified) under minimum wage on the assumption that they will be tipped, as is done for food servers/bartenders. I live in NY, home of high property costs and high property taxes so I sympathize with barn owners, but... If the trainer can't afford to pay the staff (grooms, muckers, tack handlers whoever they may be) a legal wage they can either run the risk of raising my board or they can forego the new Mercedes this year or they can set at rate at which they can pay ALL the bills and not expect their clients to be opening their wallets several extra times a month.

Flame suit zipped: I know that most trainers are not driving Mercedes and BMW's but at $3k+/month + show expenses etc. I'd feel like I was being nickel and dimed if I was also expected to fork over $100 a week to the groom who you hired and who you should be paying. I'd sure love it it 50% of my income was cash. I might be able to afford a horse if it was.

I do know that the barn pays the guys, not the trainer in this instance. It is also a smaller private barn, so there are not a bazillion boarders to line the guys pockets. There is one groom who is assigned to my horse who is doing a good job.

Oh and I am not paying 3000 a month that's for sure.

Bluehorsesjp
Apr. 13, 2011, 04:27 PM
You sure as hell better tip the grooms! After all, they are the people who really take care of your horse, not the trainer. The grooms feed, medicate, blanket, groom, wrap, tack up, bathe, body clip, pull mane, lunge, give supplements, bring your horse in and out of the pasture, and clean your horse's stall! They are the people who will be the most hands on with your horse! They know who tips them and who is a cheap ass.

And this is my concern. I am pushing the limit with the board at this barn as it is. I am not a cheap ass, but do not have deep pockets like some of the other boarders.
So does this mean if I tip $50 a month and Jane Dough big money client tips $120 or more that my horse gets lesser care?
See, there in lies the issue I am having with the mandatory tipping practice at this barn.

MHM
Apr. 13, 2011, 04:56 PM
So does this mean if I tip $50 a month and Jane Dough big money client tips $120 or more that my horse gets lesser care?

Hopefully not.

It might mean that when you and Jane need something done at the same time by the same person (say both your horses are supposed to be tacked up for a 2:00 ride), you might have to wait a few minutes until 2:10. Or if Jane is a good tipper but a nasty cow in the barn, maybe your horse will be ready at 2:00 and Jane will have to wait until 2:10.

There are lots of variables. :lol:

mvp
Apr. 13, 2011, 06:44 PM
Now, now, you all in different parts of the country are getting hung up on a figure that applies near major metropolitan areas. I have only seen the $3K number (and that's a tad low) above NYC.

I have seen tipping (with money or in kind) at Christmas for training barns of all description. It's not required but convention among the old timey clients in those operations. This is also how it is done in apartment buildings with doormen.

I think the tipping each month is over the top. I do think the trainers are indirectly getting a deal here. They'll tell you why they do as they do-- clients need creature comforts like a very nice lounge and yada, yada. They'll also tell you they need really competent professional grooms because the clients can't deal to anyone's satisfaction. Whatever.

I also think that if you are spending $3K+ per month before you went to your first horse show, you should be willing to pay the hardest working, least paid members of your team a tip of $100 or so. That $1,200+ per year should be spit in the ocean to you. If not, then you should look around for a barn with a base rate that's lower. At least in that area above NYC there is *no* shortage of talent and plenty of smaller operations that will provide great care, training and help for less. Their facilities won't be appreciably worse where it counts.

In this case, however, I think it's really out of line to tip the trainer. It's inappropriate to tip the owner of a business as he or she has the right to set the price of services. I can see an in-kind gesture for Christmas or after a big win. I think a cash is tacky. I'm sure someone trainer will correct me!

headsupheelsdown
Apr. 13, 2011, 07:19 PM
[QUOTE=headsupheelsdown;5543849]Add to that: How many championships at prestige shows did you bring home last year?
QUOTE]

Gee I always thought that championships are determined by how well they rode/horses performed that day, not by their boarding fees...

That is true, but the reason why some barns can charge $3k a month is because there is a trainer there that can produce great horses and/or riders on a very, very consistant basis, with trainers that can find the best horses and make the best horse/rider match. Other than the barns that get $3k a month on location or amenities alone. I would be interested to see if any barn that charges $3k a month is not a show or training barn with everyone riding with a very good proven trainer that has all their students or horses in ribbons constantly.

Can you win working out of a lesser priced barn? Sure, there is no question about it.

Rio Blanco
Apr. 13, 2011, 08:34 PM
And this is my concern. I am pushing the limit with the board at this barn as it is. I am not a cheap ass, but do not have deep pockets like some of the other boarders.
So does this mean if I tip $50 a month and Jane Dough big money client tips $120 or more that my horse gets lesser care?
See, there in lies the issue I am having with the mandatory tipping practice at this barn.


Having worked at a Big Eq barn, your horse won't get lesser care, you just might not get the best groom that they have - not to say you'll get crappy care, you just might get the new(er) guy or the one that doesn't "play well with others" or you might get the best groom in the barn that just doesn't care to deal with the demands of the "I tip you a lot, so when I say jump, you ask how high" mentality client. The guys are what keep the bigger farms a well oiled machine, so you can bet your butt that the good bosses/trainers/barn owners take SOME of what they think into consideration. Where I worked, the guys more or less got to choose their clients. They were divied out, but it was always ensured that it was a good match (with groom, horse(s), and client). The guys didn't get a monthly tip per se, but they DID get tipped at EVERY horse show (which was at least once a month) and they DID get a very decent Christmas bonus from client and boss alike. But honestly, the easier you make these guys lives, the more they appreciate it. So treat them kindly, don't be too demanding, bring them lunch every once in a while and a tip here and there and you'd be surprised how far it goes. I realize that this is probably not always the case at bigger barns, but this was my experience often working alongside them while a working student for nearly 2 years.

mvp
Apr. 13, 2011, 09:52 PM
Having worked at a Big Eq barn, your horse won't get lesser care, you just might not get the best groom that they have - not to say you'll get crappy care, you just might get the new(er) guy or the one that doesn't "play well with others" or you might get the best groom in the barn that just doesn't care to deal with the demands of the "I tip you a lot, so when I say jump, you ask how high" mentality client. The guys are what keep the bigger farms a well oiled machine, so you can bet your butt that the good bosses/trainers/barn owners take SOME of what they think into consideration. Where I worked, the guys more or less got to choose their clients. They were divied out, but it was always ensured that it was a good match (with groom, horse(s), and client). The guys didn't get a monthly tip per se, but they DID get tipped at EVERY horse show (which was at least once a month) and they DID get a very decent Christmas bonus from client and boss alike. But honestly, the easier you make these guys lives, the more they appreciate it. So treat them kindly, don't be too demanding, bring them lunch every once in a while and a tip here and there and you'd be surprised how far it goes. I realize that this is probably not always the case at bigger barns, but this was my experience often working alongside them while a working student for nearly 2 years.

That matches what I have seen even at more modest barns. I can't think of a time I saw "one of the guys" not care for a horse to the best of his ability because he wasn't treated well by the client..... or by the horse for that matter.

You'd also be hard pressed to find a groom openly expressing an opinion about a PITA client. Be kind or considerate to them at all, on the other hand, and that will be repaid in spades. It won't be visible in what your groom does for your horse so much as the little things he'll think to do for you.

I love being in a barn with professional grooms. Working along side them and learning from them, not having them replace me, is the just the best.

magnolia73
Apr. 14, 2011, 11:28 AM
As a petsitter, I get tips. You leave me a tip, I will spend extra time with your animal. You don't? I will spend the time you paid for. I will feed, pet, water and clean up a mess.

I will also say that nothing is worse than people who don't tip, then ask you to go out of your way. If you tip, yeah sure, I'll make sure every last hair is swept up daily in your kitchen. If you go out of town at the last minute, I'll be there.

It's the people who not only don't tip, but also complain that you don't go out of your way for. I have one client who I am not available for. Ever. They complain. Never tip. And their pets have a list a mile long of things you have to do special. Therefore, they run through sitters.

I guess here are my thoughts, if you want your horse to have 5 blanket changes a day, grain 5 times, he is a pig in his stall and bites.... when everyone else has horses who go naked, eat twice a day and are nice... maybe consider tipping. If you expect standard care, and have a simple to care for horse, maybe you don't need to tip.

magnolia73
Apr. 14, 2011, 11:30 AM
And yes, please, thank you, nice job, I appreciate you, Pookie seems so happy with you.... these all are as nice as getting tip when delivered with sincerity.

Lucassb
Apr. 14, 2011, 11:36 AM
Add to that: How many championships at prestige shows did you bring home last year?

The people arguing that 3000k a month should include everything are arguing from the point that that they feel is indeed a lot of money (me included). To a lot of the people that populate barns like this, this is nothing. It is a small part of their discretionary income that they are happy to pay to have the opportunity to ride and show out of a big name barn that produces winners. They happily pay $250k for a horse that will take their kid to the top this year, without having to live on ramen. They drive $160k cars, and own jets and yachts. Now, there are people with more ordinary incomes that will pay this for a short while to enjoy the opportunities that a barn like this offers, or to rub shoulders with and get themselves or their kid married off to someone who has this kind of discretionary income. It may be a fantasy to most, but in reality $3k/month is a pittance to more people out there than you would think, especially if being at that barn is something they really want to do. (snip.)

Actually you might be very surprised ... there are plenty of clients in those big time full service barns that spend a *substantial* portion of their income to do so. There are fewer people than you might think for whom money is no object.

I know, because I've done it personally, and I can promise you that my horse cost nowhere near $250K... nor do I drive a car that cost six figures. Oh and for what it's worth - I did it so I could access the training available at that level, not so I could "rub shoulders" with anyone (and my stepson sure was not interested in dating any of the girls at the barn, let alone marry any of them - that is hysterical.) And I know *plenty* of others who sacrifice quite a lot so that they can ride with top trainers, or afford their children an opportunity to do so.

It always amazes me to see how much judgment is ascribed to people who ride in these types of programs. Yes, there are some people who just get out of their (expensive) cars and hop onto their perfectly groomed horse... take a lesson and hop right back into their car. But they tend to be the exception, not the rule, IME. A lot of people choose these programs simply because they want to be competitive, and they understand that having instruction and training from a top, top professional is often a key to competitive success. Others have very, very busy professional lives and the only way they can ride is to have a lot of help involved.

I have done everything from self care to full service, personally. I prefer being a hands on owner but, like a lot of amateurs, I don't have a trust fund handy... so in order to afford my horse I have to work my @ss off. Yes, three grand a month was (and is) a lot of money. I have had mortgages on very nice houses that cost less than that. However, I paid that amount to keep my horse in a program that kept him fit and happy... and in good shape for me to enjoy when I was not traveling for work or engaged in other personal responsibilities. It also allowed me to have access to some really great instruction. This is an expensive part of the world, unfortunately. Board alone at most decent places would be around $1200-1500. If you paid a la carte for daily riding/training/lessons... the total bill would be far above $3K. In other parts of the country where board and lessons are less expensive, that might not be the case - just like housing, there can be huge differences in what things cost.

gottagrey
Apr. 14, 2011, 12:07 PM
That is true, but the reason why some barns can charge $3k a month is because there is a trainer there that can produce great horses and/or riders on a very, very consistant basis, with trainers that can find the best horses and make the best horse/rider match. Other than the barns that get $3k a month on location or amenities alone. I would be interested to see if any barn that charges $3k a month is not a show or training barn with everyone riding with a very good proven trainer that has all their students or horses in ribbons constantly.

Can you win working out of a lesser priced barn? Sure, there is no question about it.

Why do you insist on making this class warfare, when it isn't. The $3k barn is what the local market dictates in terms of real estate and cost of living. I'm in fairly equestrian friendly environment. There are many options for boarding and many options for trainers... Simply put the market here would not allow for too many trainers/facilities to charge upwards of $3K per month for training board. I'm not saying plenty of people don't chalk up $3K per month in expenses though.

Back to the question at hand - the best bet it is to ask whoever it was that said tipping was mandatory and also a few of the other boarders and get their opinions.

MIKES MCS
Apr. 14, 2011, 01:31 PM
Lucassb wrote:
"Actually you might be very surprised ... there are plenty of clients in those big time full service barns that spend a *substantial* portion of their income to do so. There are fewer people than you might think for whom money is no object".

That income is usually well over $250,000 per year, otherwise a person would not be able to spend a $100,000.00 per year on showing and board. Not exactly among the working poor. While a person like that actually works for a living, it is of no concern to the barn where and how a client gets their money, only that the bills are paid and the client makes them money. The reason for this is as someone else said there is a glut of money out there up for grabs even in these ecomomic hard times the real money in this industry is unaffected. If it were, Wellington would have shut down this year, it didn't and so it goes. The barns with the best trainers will always attract the clients with the most money who can buy multiple horses and afford trainers the time to concentrate on the top ten money spending clients in the barn, thus nescessatating the hiring of multiple asst trainers, barn managers and office help thereby driving up the cost of board up for all. In the bottom of this pile is the grooms the ones who put in the 16 hour days 6 days a week and make $400.00 per week so it's up to you the boarder to make up for it and since that $250,000.00 per year income is probably more then the trainers yearly income.

Lucassb
Apr. 14, 2011, 01:51 PM
Lucassb wrote:
"Actually you might be very surprised ... there are plenty of clients in those big time full service barns that spend a *substantial* portion of their income to do so. There are fewer people than you might think for whom money is no object".

That income is usually well over $250,000 per year, otherwise a person would not be able to spend a $100,000.00 per year on showing and board. Not exactly among the working poor. While a person like that actually works for a living, it is of no concern to the barn where and how a client gets their money, only that the bills are paid and the client makes them money. The reason for this is as someone else said there is a glut of money out there up for grabs even in these ecomomic hard times the real money in this industry is unaffected. If it were, Wellington would have shut down this year, it didn't and so it goes. The barns with the best trainers will always attract the clients with the most money who can buy multiple horses and afford trainers the time to concentrate on the top ten money spending clients in the barn, thus nescessatating the hiring of multiple asst trainers, barn managers and office help thereby driving up the cost of board up for all. In the bottom of this pile is the grooms the ones who put in the 16 hour days 6 days a week and make $400.00 per week so it's up to you the boarder to make up for it and since that $250,000.00 per year income is probably more then the trainers yearly income.

There are certainly some very wealthy people in the sport, no question. But IME - and I have been doing this a LONG time - there are also many, many people of much more modest means who sacrifice to ride in these programs, and we do not all have incomes of a quarter million plus a year. I'm not "working poor" either... but there is a lot of middle ground in between those two extremes, and most of the people I know personally who show in those barns fall into that middle ground, not the upper echelon.

The statement about the grooms' income is not in line with my experience either, at least in this part of the world/in the barns I am personally familiar with. (No doubt there ARE places that don't pay as well or offer such great conditions.) I made more than the amount you quote in my younger days as a groom, FWIW, and that was a couple decades ago.

You wouldn't find a top show groom for anywhere near that amount in this area. Good grooms DO put in long days, for sure, and the ones I know do an excellent job and take considerable pride in their work, for which they are paid much better than you think. They also receive a fair amount in cash tips - the ones I know tend to have 4-5 horses in their charge at home, and perhaps 3 on the road, so they do pretty well.

bumknees
Apr. 14, 2011, 02:13 PM
You sure as hell better tip the grooms! After all, they are the people who really take care of your horse, not the trainer. The grooms feed, medicate, blanket, groom, wrap, tack up, bathe, body clip, pull mane, lunge, give supplements, bring your horse in and out of the pasture, and clean your horse's stall! They are the people who will be the most hands on with your horse! They know who tips them and who is a cheap ass.

Barn help/grooms are paid their salary and it is the BM/trainers who make sure they are paid enough for the area not the client other than their payment of monthly board.
To feed, turn out bring in,give supplements, ( I assume in their feed)blanket as weather/clip jobs demands, clean stalls all are part of their job discription.
Depending on barn it might be part of job discription IF NOT then there had better be a price list of how much extra it will cost.
Medicating, wrapping( if not the norm at that barn).
I normally pay someone to body clip my horse if I do not do it my self.
I normally would pay someone to pull mane again if I did not do it mysef.
Lunge pay someone extra if I am unable to.
Bathe,tack up all the same as aboveIf I am unable to.

BUt if the barn help decides that I do not tip enough and does not treat me or my horse the same as other clients then you bet I will do my best to see that person no longer has a job( and I can be a real with when I want to be) as all but noted is in the job description. And no do not care if he has family some were else depending on his wages< not my problem, Or that he is the 'best groom' in the barn. All clients who pay their board on time pay for equal treatment which is not based on tipping after all the 'word' tip means to insure proper service, not because we dont pay our help enough you who already pay for the care/service need to hand over more.

Old Fashioned
Apr. 14, 2011, 07:01 PM
As a petsitter, I get tips. You leave me a tip, I will spend extra time with your animal. You don't? I will spend the time you paid for. I will feed, pet, water and clean up a mess.

I will also say that nothing is worse than people who don't tip, then ask you to go out of your way. If you tip, yeah sure, I'll make sure every last hair is swept up daily in your kitchen. If you go out of town at the last minute, I'll be there.

It's the people who not only don't tip, but also complain that you don't go out of your way for. I have one client who I am not available for. Ever. They complain. Never tip. And their pets have a list a mile long of things you have to do special. Therefore, they run through sitters.

I guess here are my thoughts, if you want your horse to have 5 blanket changes a day, grain 5 times, he is a pig in his stall and bites.... when everyone else has horses who go naked, eat twice a day and are nice... maybe consider tipping. If you expect standard care, and have a simple to care for horse, maybe you don't need to tip.

Shoot me - but here is my problem. Unless you work for an agency you (the pet sitter) set the fees I pay. I make arrangements for the service and pay what you (the pet sitter) has determined is a fair price for your services/time. Then why expect a tip?!? Why do I have to pay more than your (the pet sitter) listed rates? Now if I need something above and beyond done or I have a last minute out of town emergency I am more than happy to leave a note of thanks with a tip (maybe a Starbucks card too). But if this is trip that I have planned for I am just going to leave your (the pet sitter) check by the phone with the list of emergency numbers. If you (the pet sitter) need to be paid more than you (the pet sitter) need to re-set your fees. I'll pay them - JUST DON"T CALL IT A TIP.

RockinHorse
Apr. 14, 2011, 07:12 PM
Shoot me - but here is my problem. Unless you work for an agency you (the pet sitter) set the fees I pay. I make arrangements for the service and pay what you (the pet sitter) has determined is a fair price for your services/time. Then why expect a tip?!? Why do I have to pay more than your (the pet sitter) listed rates? Now if I need something above and beyond done or I have a last minute out of town emergency I am more than happy to leave a note of thanks with a tip (maybe a Starbucks card too). But if this is trip that I have planned for I am just going to leave your (the pet sitter) check by the phone with the list of emergency numbers. If you (the pet sitter) need to be paid more than you (the pet sitter) need to re-set your fees. I'll pay them - JUST DON"T CALL IT A TIP.

I completely agree :yes:

kahhull
Apr. 14, 2011, 07:25 PM
I understand an "above and beyond" exchange - someone does something extra for me, I pay them extra, and vice versa - but if I'm getting what I paid for, I expect it to be done with a reasonable standard of quality and service. Just in the way I wouldn't pay someone (like a pet sitter) less than their rate if their service didn't blow my mind, I wouldn't expect them to give me subpar services for not paying extra. You give me basic service, I pay you the basic rate and we call it a day. You give me extra, I pay you extra and everyone's happy.

mvp
Apr. 14, 2011, 07:44 PM
BUt if the barn help decides that I do not tip enough and does not treat me or my horse the same as other clients then you bet I will do my best to see that person no longer has a job( and I can be a real with when I want to be) as all but noted is in the job description. And no do not care if he has family some were else depending on his wages< not my problem, Or that he is the 'best groom' in the barn. All clients who pay their board on time pay for equal treatment which is not based on tipping after all the 'word' tip means to insure proper service, not because we dont pay our help enough you who already pay for the care/service need to hand over more.

Hehe. You are right about what kind of job should get done for the set price, not the set price and the tip (that's actually required). You are also probably right about your ability/willingness to become a witch (right?) when you want to. But you might not have the power to get an "important" groom fired. Those guys are essential to the pro's business at large and they (the trainer) knows it. The last think the trainer wants is to be in a "he said/she said" squeeze between a groom and a pissed off client.


Shoot me - but here is my problem. Unless you work for an agency you (the pet sitter) set the fees I pay. I make arrangements for the service and pay what you (the pet sitter) has determined is a fair price for your services/time. Then why expect a tip?!? Why do I have to pay more than your (the pet sitter) listed rates? Now if I need something above and beyond done or I have a last minute out of town emergency I am more than happy to leave a note of thanks with a tip (maybe a Starbucks card too). But if this is trip that I have planned for I am just going to leave your (the pet sitter) check by the phone with the list of emergency numbers. If you (the pet sitter) need to be paid more than you (the pet sitter) need to re-set your fees. I'll pay them - JUST DON"T CALL IT A TIP.

Yes, ma'am. This is part of the old convention of not tipping business owners. Many will take some under-the-table cash happily. It used to be an insult to tip a proprietor.

I don't mind someone who goes untipped doing the minimum. But is scares me if they do the minimum job with a bit of a grudge. Almost every job-- sooner or later-- requires that you extend yourself just a bit. I'd hate to think that the person who didn't *know* to tip wasn't getting that.

headsupheelsdown
Apr. 14, 2011, 09:08 PM
Why do you insist on making this class warfare, when it isn't. The $3k barn is what the local market dictates in terms of real estate and cost of living. I'm in fairly equestrian friendly environment. There are many options for boarding and many options for trainers... Simply put the market here would not allow for too many trainers/facilities to charge upwards of $3K per month for training board. I'm not saying plenty of people don't chalk up $3K per month in expenses though.

Back to the question at hand - the best bet it is to ask whoever it was that said tipping was mandatory and also a few of the other boarders and get their opinions.

How on earth do you equate anything at all I have said is class warfare????

NeedsAdvil
Apr. 14, 2011, 09:17 PM
this is interesting to me, because I have just moved my horse to a much more full service barn- although grooming is not included- (though ghetto by many "full service" standards) and tipping had not crossed my mind. I did bring a Sam's Club sized tub of peppermints for the BO as a thank you gift from my horse for squeezing us in. I have an extremely busy work schedule, so I am on a slightly different agreement than the other boarders there, I am paying more for more services. I am paying for several training rides per week, which requires the trainer or working student to groom my horse, so should I tip for those? If I have a groom at a show and they do a great job, I tip. But most of the time I do my own care because it helps with my nerves and I feel like a get a better read on my horse before showing. I also feel guilty letting someone else take care of my horse, and I also worry that things will be missed.

When I was a groom on the A circuit, it sucked because the barn I worked for was not one that encouraged tipping, so I didn't get too many tips. Many of the clients would do special things for me though, such as buy dinner, bring me snacks, and one client always gave me great polo shirts at the end of a big show.

headsupheelsdown
Apr. 14, 2011, 10:20 PM
Actually you might be very surprised ... there are plenty of clients in those big time full service barns that spend a *substantial* portion of their income to do so. There are fewer people than you might think for whom money is no object.

I know, because I've done it personally, and I can promise you that my horse cost nowhere near $250K... nor do I drive a car that cost six figures. Oh and for what it's worth - I did it so I could access the training available at that level, not so I could "rub shoulders" with anyone (and my stepson sure was not interested in dating any of the girls at the barn, let alone marry any of them - that is hysterical.) And I know *plenty* of others who sacrifice quite a lot so that they can ride with top trainers, or afford their children an opportunity to do so.

It always amazes me to see how much judgment is ascribed to people who ride in these types of programs. Yes, there are some people who just get out of their (expensive) cars and hop onto their perfectly groomed horse... take a lesson and hop right back into their car. But they tend to be the exception, not the rule, IME. A lot of people choose these programs simply because they want to be competitive, and they understand that having instruction and training from a top, top professional is often a key to competitive success. Others have very, very busy professional lives and the only way they can ride is to have a lot of help involved.

I have done everything from self care to full service, personally. I prefer being a hands on owner but, like a lot of amateurs, I don't have a trust fund handy... so in order to afford my horse I have to work my @ss off. Yes, three grand a month was (and is) a lot of money. I have had mortgages on very nice houses that cost less than that. However, I paid that amount to keep my horse in a program that kept him fit and happy... and in good shape for me to enjoy when I was not traveling for work or engaged in other personal responsibilities. It also allowed me to have access to some really great instruction. This is an expensive part of the world, unfortunately. Board alone at most decent places would be around $1200-1500. If you paid a la carte for daily riding/training/lessons... the total bill would be far above $3K. In other parts of the country where board and lessons are less expensive, that might not be the case - just like housing, there can be huge differences in what things cost.

I believe that I included horseowners like you in my statement "Now, there are people with more ordinary incomes that will pay this for a short while to enjoy the opportunities that a barn like this offers" and by this I meant the training and/or facilities or location.

And I am sorry, anyone spending $3k a month on their riding, they really have a great income. You may not be able to afford a $250k horse, but considering the median household income in the United States is $46,326(2010), meaning that 50% of the population makes less than this (gross, not net).

I think I have to admit that the percentage of people at $3k barns that can afford it easily and still afford a $160k car is less than I originally figured, but they are still in reality amongst the fortunate upper 50 percent.

mvp
Apr. 14, 2011, 10:56 PM
I believe that I included horseowners like you in my statement "Now, there are people with more ordinary incomes that will pay this for a short while to enjoy the opportunities that a barn like this offers" and by this I meant the training and/or facilities or location.

And I am sorry, anyone spending $3k a month on their riding, they really have a great income. You may not be able to afford a $250k horse, but considering the median household income in the United States is $46,326(2010), meaning that 50% of the population makes less than this (gross, not net).

I think I have to admit that the percentage of people at $3k barns that can afford it easily and still afford a $160k car is less than I originally figured, but they are still in reality amongst the fortunate upper 50 percent.

Wait a sec. I think these high-end numbers are coming from the Northeast. Equus did a survey a few years ago and found that *the* most expensive part of the country for keeping horses. I don't know if LA or Chicago is comparable, but I don't think so. I don't know why the cost isn't given land values.

The median income for the US doesn't mean a whole lot when you talk about vast differences in the cost of living and especially land values. A buddy in Durham, NC says you can buy a pretty nice house for $150K. Anywhere near the NY/CT region where this $3K number comes from? You might be able to buy a tent with bars on the windows for the same money. People in this part of the country are paying a premium for their housing and the land these farms sit on.

So, believe it or not, people pulling in that quarter million a year somewhere near NYC aren't doing fantastically well. When they take their money and go elsewhere, however, things change. Ask the people in Ithaca, NY who drives up the price of real estate there. Ask folks in Oregon and Washington State how they feel about Californians.

kahhull
Apr. 15, 2011, 12:57 PM
I am paying for several training rides per week, which requires the trainer or working student to groom my horse, so should I tip for those?

Hm, good point, I never thought to tip a working student for grooming before/after training rides. Partly because I never really knew what student was working and sometimes there wasn't one... but mostly it just never occurred to me, and I doubt anyone else in my barn thought of it.