Ok so this may sound odd... Selling a greenie and keeping a hold of the money
So I really believe that my green horse will be marketed to the jumpers. For valid reasons (His style of jump, movement, and likely cost) it makes sense to not market him as aggressively to my "home" discipline of eventing.
Now see I have been around the shows and the horse world long enough to know that the buying and selling of H/J types can come with a string of trainers and multiple commissions and various challenges therein. I am fine so long as the eventual owner and I would get to talk money ourselves and their trainer get commissions from the buyer and the buyer alone. But I have read the threads, heard the stories etc. I am not going to be ok thinking I am selling him for $X and finding out later he sold for $ZZ.
So what advice can you all give beyond "talk to the buyer directly." I will be very clear on my end, but any advice from the trenches would be very appreciated.
Thanks in advance.
"Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgment that something is more important than fear. The brave may not live forever but the cautious do not live at all." ~2001 The Princess Diaries
I've never sold a horse (I'm a hoarder!) but I've known many friends who, knowing that these practices unfortunately goes on, simply has told her various trainers/agents that she wants X for this horse, and that all of the various commissions can come from the top.
She realizes that in the business sometimes to get a horse sold, there might be 4 or 5 trainers/agents involved and instead of being told its sold for Z, then paying commissions out the wazoo, its sometimes just easier to hear- here's the 70k you wanted, not-here's the 100k check, now pay Bobby 5k, Sally 5k, Wendy-10k, and Peter-10k.
Maybe all of this nonsense is why I lease/keep the ponies I have owned
I usually set MY net price and let the agents "do their thing". If you don't wish to deal with agent "politics" you'll have to sell directly to a buyer...not always EZ these days. Pick the number you are happy/satisfied with and let it happen. My DD bought a greenish, kids pony last spring for $200, a fair price for an Ok. pony, but he was a 10 mover and very quiet and very pretty, just didn't have enough mileage for DGD. I made a contact with a show hunter trainer who willingly paid $2,000 for the pony with no further training. Trainer put training and some show mileage on pony and then sold him to a client. I have no idea what THAT $$$ was, but DD was happy. IOW... You can can't control the end price, just pick a price YOU would like....or don't work with agents!!
A lot of people use trainers to find and negotiate deals because they don't enjoy the business side of the process. So "talking money" directly with the buyer may not be something the buyer is interested in doing, even if the agent/trainer is fine with it.
I think the best course of action is to be up front with the trainer- that you personally are not paying out any commissions, their commission needs to come directly from their client, and you would like the check for the full purchase price to come directly from the buyer, not the agent.
When I was selling Vernon, I had to tell a few people that commission wasn't coming out of the price. If they wanted money for themselves, they had to talk to their client about it. Frankly, if I want 20k for a horse, and the buyer's trainer tacks on another 20k for themselves and gets it from their client, then whatever.
Just be up front with buyers, be it the agent or the actual check writer. You won't sell for less than X, and any commission the agent wants needs to come from the buyer, not the purchase price.
I think the only caveat to that would be if you have someone hook you up with a buyer on YOUR end. If someone could be acting more as a seller's agent than a buyer's agent, then I think it is going to be your responsibility to see that person paid (but anyone on the BUYER'S end is the buyer's responsibility). Does that make sense?
The main thing (I think) is that you do not want to end up a part of someone else's unethical scheme. For example, I don't care if a trainer makes money, even a lot of money off of a deal. I also realize it isn't my job to police other people's buyers agents. I don't really care what their arrangement is with their client. However, I would never want a buyer to find out that there were some shady commissions and think that I was somehow part of the scheme. I want to protect my own reputation.
A good place to start is by having a simple sales contract that is signed by all parties, and lists ALL commissions, including finder's fees, etc. I also generally advertise a price on any horse that I am selling. That way, the sales price is information that any buyer can look up. (I do remove ads & price information after a horse sells.) When a trainer or other interested party asks, I make it clear that any and all additional commissions on top of the agreed on sales price have to come from the buyer. I will not agree to state a higher price in front of shoppers to allow for or to hide additional commission money, those arrangements need to be made between the agent and their client.
I have no doubt that my sales practices deter some buyer's agents from bringing their clients to see my horses. Some trainers circumvent these tricky issues by buying horses and then immediately reselling them to their clients at a steep price increase. That's not something I can control, and I think in most cases that is fine, the trainer is using their expertise to flip horses and that is part of their business.