Over the past year I had the wonderful opportunity to work at a horse barn and work with six horses, meet amazing people, and gain so much experience. I have moved back home (I was in MN but now I am back in ME). This fall when i go back to school my dream job would be to work at another barn, riding isn't a must. I contacted a few barns in the area that I will be going to school and they turned me down because their barn worked in a co-op system, which is that the owners of the horses do their own chores so outside people do not need to be hired. Unfortunately most of the barns in the area work the same way.
A coworker and I were discussing this and she said that I could market myself and talk to horse owners and offer to clean stalls and/or grain their horses for $10 a horse per day. Is this a practical idea? And if so how do I market myself and find people that may be interested in this service?
Do you mean on a part time "can't get to the barn" basis?
Otherwise, $10 day turns into $300/month per horse, which is high for labor. Grooms at large show barns don't even make that.
Also, since co-ops often involve boarders swapping out chores for one another (they'll each take a day or part of a day), it may be a hard sell. Boarder A might want to get out of Tuesday morning's feedings, but Boarders B, C, D & E might not be cool with you tending to their horses and may be unwilling to pay anyone to perform the trade off work that Boarder A is to provide for free as part of their arrangement.
You could try marketing yourself as a farm sitter - I have a pet sitting business and will farm sit, but I also have an LLC to protect my assets, carry insurance to cover the animals in my care, and have experience as the head groom of a 40+ horse barn.
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You could also check with the farriers of the area, see if they need help holding. Even if you do this for near-free, it will put you in contact with folks you'd otherwise never find.
Once you get started, there will be plenty of work. I did farm-care on a as-needed basis, first to just help a friend; then before you knew it ... I was full-time! one lady even split her morning paper route...
you'd be surprised how this type of entrepreneurship can change your life, so buckle your seat-belt!
Dependability, flexibility and a professional manner are imperative. (yes, as mentioned, LLC/ins. etc).
Just out of curiousity, who is responsible for liability insurance in this type of situation?
Years ago when I was looking for barn help during a convalescent period, I was informed by both my accountant & my insurance carrier NOT to even consider hiring outside help (as in teenagers, college kids, etc., etc.) who didn't have their own liability insurance. Was told that any injury - via horse, stepping on a rake, stung by a bee - whatever - would fall on my shoulders & could end up ugly since I wasn't carrying Workmens' Comp.
Depends on how you are set-up. If the barn is at your home and is not a commercial enterprise, your homeowners would have coverage for independent contractors who may be injured or have their property damaged while at your barn.
If it is a commercial venture, then your commercial general liability policy would cover it.
I would be very careful about what duties were assigned so that the person really is an independent contractor and not just a way to avoid taxes and W/C for an employee. Worker comp insurance is not that expensive BTW. Believe me, in the event of a claim, one of the first things the insurance carrier is going to examine is whether the injured party was an employee or an IC. Just saying so isn't enough. You need to comply with the IRS definition.
I went to school up at Orono and I know of a couple barns in that area that are regularly looking for workers. You do need to travel a bit south to get to the bigger/more active barns (I drove 30 minutes to the barn where I boarded). Feel free to send me a PM if you'd like more info!