All business endeavors are a risk. Some of those will pay off and some won't. However, the goal is to bring in more money than you lay out, and have that difference be enough to make it all worthwhile.
I can't really say where that line lies. It depends.
Obviously if, say, someone is buying and selling horses and losing money over time, then it's time to change the business plan. Of course, some folks will knowingly continue as-is because it's more a hobby/joy to them than a business. But they should carefully weigh those decisions.
And sometimes people take a loss on something in the short term to keep business long term. Or they take a loss for ethical reasons (such as euth over slaughter, or retiring horses over slaughter, etc).
Why would a professional's finances be any of my business? If they are not making any money they won't be in business long so it is a moot point.
Well that ain't true.... Businesses can stretch things out for a long, long time by delaying payment on a long, long, long string of bills. You can stall the hay guy, the feed store, blanket repair, farrier, vet, and oh my just about everyone can be suckered if you are good at it..... Not repairing broken things. Leaky roofs, bubbling septic systems, crumbling fencing, sketchy tractors, stall floors that are deteriorated, etc etc Paying cheap illegal help instead of following employment laws.
My oh my the ways that horsefolks can shuck and jive with the $$. Anyone who has truly made their living in the horse biz has likely dealt with all manner of managements sins...
If your business is set up correctly, you screen your customers in advance for honesty, reputation, and fruit-battery, your written-off losses should be rare. Once in a blue moon I used to refund a month's board if a new horse didn't work out; now, it's agreed in advance that every new horse's first month is "on trial" and the first month's fee doubles as a "security deposit," so end of issue.
Losses to vets and farriers are not accepted BY ME: I want the best people to serve my clients, the clients sign off on my boarding contract that they'll keep the accounts paid with any professional who works on their horse. That, or they get invited Onwards. The vet, dentist, & farrier all report to me when someone is overdue, and they get one of those e-mails. Problem now exceedingly rare!
I have to admit, it came as a shock to me in the last 10 years to discover that many people no longer have a "sense of honor" when it comes to paying their bills--or even concern for their credit rating or reputation. All I can tell you is the names of people who don't pay get around really, really fast--and then good luck finding a stall!
Should a client have a dispute with, let's say, a farrier over some work she didn't like or caused an injury, etc. it's best to discuss the matter openly and honestly and come to a mutual agreement--like maybe eating it half and half. Believe me, folks, $50 is NOT worth blowing your reputation in the neighborhood over.
The losses of someone I do business with are none of my business...unless I personally caused that loss by not holding up my end of the bargain and being negligent.
I want to do business with professionals who set their fees in a way that they can cover routine, and the occasional unexpected, issues and insure themselves appropriately. Plan ahead and build it into your fee structure.
I want them to tell me what I should pay for XYZ service. I will pay them on time. If they find their fees aren't covering their expenses, they should raise their rates and I'll then decide whether I want to continue receiving XYZ service at the new rate or not. What makes me angry are professionals who set the fees at a certain amount and then nickel and dime you with extra, random costs, because they didn't set their fees high enough in the first place, didn't plan ahead and find themselves in a hole they now expect me to fill after the fact. That just pisses me off. Plan ahead, raise your fees and communicate that in a straightforward manner, so I can make an educated decision about continuing with the service.
Beginning my own business now. Have also in the past. But don't expect to be out of the red the first week! And once I am in the black, wouldn't necessarily be horrified at an occasional monthly loss. That's what budgeting is for. And that's why you normally try to start a business with a plan, with losses anticipated, and hopefully the ability to rise and fall with profits and losses.
Let alone the myriad things that can be written off, once you do have a legitimate business...
Being right half the time beats being half-right all the time. Malcolm Forbes
Where humidity isn't just a word, it's a way of life.
The ability to absorb some losses is what sets apart a sustainable business from an unsustainable one. Of course, I'm referring to individual occurances, not running in debt over a period of time.
Breeders may lose a promising foal or breeding animal, the feed store may purchase a load of hay only to find it goes moldy, or a tack store may have to take back an unsaleable item to keep a long-term customer happy; all will have to absorb that loss.... or pass it on to the customer in higher fees.
Every business, horse related or not, needs to have a business plan which covers unexpected losses, whether it is bad weather, equipment breaking down, a suplier delivering defective goods, customers bouncing checks, or customers just no buying.
Costs due to wear and tear, and predictable maintenance, should already be accounted for in the budget, and not considered "unexpected",even though you do not know exactly when they will happen.
chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).
The poll says "How big a loss is a business supposed to a absorb".
As a business owner I would answer both A & B: "They are supposed to operate on profit, that's what businesses are for" and "Some losses have to be expected". Yes, I expect my business to operate at a profit and we will have some losses.
However, the title of the thread says "How many losses do you expect your prfessionals to take? ".
I personally do not expect any professionals that I deal with to take a loss when doing business with me. I do appreciate when a vet cuts us a break on a bill or the feed store drops off feed when driving by and doesn't charge the delivery fee. I would expect if a professional made an error that they would work with me for an equitable solution.
I think it depends on the business and the type of loss. Feed/tack stores are going to absorb the cost of things like returns that can't be resold at full price. They can, of course, raise prices on other items to offset that, but the downside of that is that consumers will go elsewhere if the prices are too high in comparison to other retailers.
Boarding barns-smae thing, to an extent. Things break and wear out, and if you raise board every single time something needs to be fixed or replaced, boarders will feel nickel-and-dimed and you risk losing them. Better to charge a little more for a cushion from the start and absorb a bit yourself than lose business. If a boarder or their horse breaks something, then they should be billed for it, but if, say, a section of fence needs to be replaced because it's several years old and the elements have taken their toll, that shouldn't be charged as such to the boarders; that's an expense that the business owner should reasonably expect and be prepared for. Yes, boad should be increased from time to time to help cover these expenses, but charging extra each time something comes up just isn't smart business.
As for farriers, it depends as well. Mine absorbs the cost of fuel to come out and reset a shoe if my horse throws one, and that's one of the reasons he has my business--he stands by the quality of his work. I wouldn't expect him to have to eat the cost of another shoe if I couldn't find the one my horse lost, though, because that's my fault entirely.
Large animal vets don't, for the most part, make a whole lot of money, and for the most part, they shouldn't have to eat the cost of a service. However, if the service resulted from a mistake they made that could have been foreseen or avoided, then I wouldn't expect to pay for reasonable treatment by them (I'd expect to pay for resulting hospitalization or other vets' work to fix it, but not the charges for the vet who made the mistake in the first place). Of course, if the mistake wasn't foreseeable/avoidable by a reasonably competent professional, I wouldn't expect the vet to cover it. Or if, say, they dropped a syringe full of vaccine in the manure pile and had to use a fresh one, I wouldn't expect to pay for two sets of vaccine unless my horse had caused him to drop it.
It's a fine line. Anyone operating a business so close to the edge that you can't absorb anything, including costs resulting from normal or foreseeable circumstances, than that's juts not smart business, because it will ultimately result in a loss of business from patrons. On the other hand, a business has to make money, and should set their prices in such a manner that losses are minimized. It's not black & white; it's really determined by situations as they come up, IMO.
There are too many variables to this question or poll. Are you referring to a situation where a client and professional have some sort of an arrangement on a prospect/sale horse ? are you talking about a facility that is going to rag and ruin because the professional is not putting any money into the place which may happen because they lease it and it's the owner's responsibility. So the bottom line is the way the poll is phrased it's pretty much impossible to provide an answer
If you are a horse professional with whom I do business, and I learn that you sell your unrideable schoolies to the KB rather than retiring / euthanizing, you will quickly become someone I used to do business with. How's that for clarification?
I tolerate all kinds of animal idiosyncrasies.
I've found that I don't tolerate people idiosyncrasies as well. - Casey09
I am sorry, Darling. I don't really take unprovoked attacks well. You should know that by now.
So, what do you think: To what extend do you expect a business to absorb losses?
Playing the innocent victim? You have replied to many with your typical snark, if you dish it out, you should not cry foul when it is served back to you. There are quite a few people on that other thread who have already posted that the responses to you were definitely provoked by you.
I agree that the first two survey options are both appropriate, since I could only vote for one, I picked the second.
Annabelle Mayr, Arcadia Farm
Home of Fitz, Max, Daeo & Austria
Now over the Rainbow Bridge: Finn, Jake & Seamus
I expect a smart business person to take a loss on a transaction where doing so will either attract or retain a customer whose lifetime value to the business is positive. In other words, perhaps I'd teach an extra lesson for free, forego a commission on a deal, cut someone a break on shipping or do a bit of extra service (handwalking, trimming, etc) IF it was appropriate to support a good customer from whom I made a profit overall. I'd consider the loss on that single transaction to be an advertising/marketing/PR type expense, for which I would have a budget.
However, from what I gleaned skimming over the other posts here, it seems that the question is actually related to sending horses to the KB instead of paying to have them euthanized, because of the economic consequences associated with each choice. In that particular situation, I would expect an equine professional to euthanize the horse despite the cost differential, not ONLY because it is the right thing to do, but because there is a business risk associated with being viewed as a person who treats their animals as soulless vehicles who can be discarded for whatever pennies can be wrung from them from the KB. Very few horse lovers - who are the customers necessary to support most equine businesses - will support that practice, and I would imagine the potential chilling effect that decision would have on the business to far outweigh the dollars one would receive from the KB.