My BO is revamping her boarding contract and wondering about 30 day notice.
Right now our standard is simply "if you're leaving, you require 30 days notice to give us time to fill the stall."
So, what do you do if a horse is knowingly for sale, and it takes more than a month to sell. Does the owner of sold horse owe a month from the date it sells and leaves the property? Technically you've known the spot was going to open up, right, but you don't know when, so anyone looking to fill the spot is going to have to give their barn 30 days to get the spot anyway, right?
Seems rather heartless to charge someone 30 days of board when their horse dies. I know its a business but still, you are dealing with people and don't underestimate word of mouth and goodwill/"badwill" generated. If it were me, I would be looking for a new barn when I buy a new horse if I had to pay an extra month's board because my horse died.
The sale horse is more iffy. And it's not necessarily true that anyone who fills that spot will have to give their barn 30 days notice. It may be someone who just bought a horse or some other scenario.
Does the BO require a deposit equal to one month board? If not, it may get pretty dicey trying to collect the 30 days board if notice is not given.
The policy I liked most at one of my barns was that, as long as the Barn Owner knew the horse was for sale, all she required was 2 weeks notice once the horse was sold. (The horse could be moved out before then, but you owed the two weeks.) She also had a cheap rate to hold the stall if you sold a horse but were looking for a replacement. Then again, this was a very popular barn and she had no issues filling in stalls after two-week sale horse notices.
Charging for a dead horse? Come on....I'm not even sure I'd have the guts to do that to one of my boarders. Pro-rating is acceptable and understood, expecting a whole 30 days board is another. Again, yes, it's a business, but something like that will SEVERELY hurt your business.
If I recall correctly, when my horse died, the BO charged me part of a 30 day notice (dry stall only) and promised a partial credit when/if I bought a new horse. In this case, it was a scheduled euthanasia that wasn't an emergency. I think for sudden deaths, the policy is different.
When my horse suddenly passed away on the second day of the month, I was still charged board for the month on the horse. It did leave a bad taste in my mouth, and makes me think a little less of the BO. The stall still stands empty six months later.
I would say the sudden death of the horse negates the 30 notice.
On the horse for sale.. I may adjust the rate to dry stall rate.. its hard to plan ahead on a sale horse since just as many don't get sold promptly..like some are still for sale many months later or never get sold..
Using the 30 days notice clause on a dead horse is cold. I would seriously suspect the BO does not truly care for horses or people, or does not have enough money to run the business properly. Every business should have a "rainy day" fund for such emergencies.
It makes you wonder what else is going on behind the scenes at the barn.
"You gave your life to become the person you are right now. Was it worth it?" Richard Bach
In our contract, we just had a flat 30 days notice clause, but there's no way I would (or did) charge someone after the death of their horse. We didn't really see a point to writing it into our contract, though.
We also would do a sort of standing 30 days notice thing on a horse for sale as long as they kept us updated. We also had a waiting list and never had trouble filling stalls so we could do that. Might have done it differently otherwise. Again, though, we didn't write it into the contract because circumstances vary. We did also have a consignment form (for horses sent into us to sell) that required 30 days notice if the horse was removed other than by being sold.
For sales horses, it is month to month. We also had situations where owner gave 30 days notice because of sale or just moving, and circumstances made it run over into the next month. At that point it was just as a day by day rate.
For a horse that died, the money was refunded.
\"Tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it.\" Anne of Green Gables
I completely understand why some would view charging 30 days when a dead horse is involved as cold. That said, we all know, and it has been oft stated on this board, that the margins at boarding barns are razor thin. I truly don't feel that the BO should have to bear the burden of this sort of unfortunate circumstance. Now, I think most would. They would view it as compassionate and good "customer service". But the money has to come from somewhere. I honestly would not begrudge a BO who approached me and explained that she didn't have a waitlist and asked me to pay 30-day board fee at dry-stall rates.
ETA: In my view, someone is going to have to pay. Either the BO is going to be short at the end of the year (which doesn't seem fair to me) or she will past that cost along to all boarders in that she will do the math on her costs and revenue at the end of the year and realize board rates have to increase the following year. I simply see the logic is having the horse owner bear that burden rather than the BO or the other boarders.
the margins at boarding barns are razor thin. I truly don't feel that the BO should have to bear the burden of this sort of unfortunate circumstance.
Dead horses don't eat hay or grain or feed, nor do their stalls require any paid barn employee time, so not sure why the board rate being pro-rated on this basis would be a burden upon the well-being of the barn owner
No way could I charge for a dead horse, and if at the beginning of the month, I wouldn't even cash the check at all. I couldn't do it.
Horse for sale, dry stall rate if sold quickly, depending on the situation.
I think I would also go so far as to say that if horsey had to go to the horsepital for a good portion of the month, I would just charge the dry stall rate for the days horsey was gone. I couldn't stand taking advantage of someone in that kind of situation.
Of course, this type of attitude totally leaves me open to being used. It's certainly happened before. Too bad not everyone has some hint of a moral compass.
For those of you offering dry stall rate, what percentage of full-use rate is that? If you charge 600 a month (20 a day) what would you be charging?
P.S. Reading all this (I am a boarder), if you are a BO and want 30 days notice no matter what, why do you not just charge a month deposit up front when someone starts in your barn? Seems like that would make your policy very clear and avoid a lot of grief on both sides.