My personal thoughts on this are that if a BO feels that he or she may need to charge boarders different rates for different reasons then there should be no posted or advertised boarding fee. I would rather someone advertise that rates are based on idividual needs....or have a base fee that is then adusted as necessary. I have seen a number of barns that advertise a "base" fee and then you have to pay extra depending on what other services you want. I always found this to be the most fair. Again this is just my opinion. I understand BOs can do whatever they want....I can almost understand charging someone less than the posted rate if there are personal issues or you are trying to help someone out, etc.....but that should be kept private. I can not understand charging someone MORE than the advertised rate without some solid reason behind it.
I actually wasn't joking. It's always been my mantra that it's better to beg forgiveness than to ask permission. I'd write the check for the lower amount. If they called me on it, I'd apologize profusely and say I was confused because I had seen the new price on CL and assumed the board rate had changed. So sorry, here's the rest of the check....and my 30days notice. But then again, I'm definitely passive aggressive Expecting you to pay $900/year more than the other boarders for the same services is not fair. I'd be bitter about it every time I went to the barn.
ETA: Probably not the way to go if you have your heart set on staying at the barn though!
OP, read the ETA and take the rest of this with a grain of salt.
IME, confessing to being passive-agressive (complete with smiley face afterwards) isn't a viable strategy for a long-term business relationship. But then again, InstigatorKate knows this as she said she'd pay the difference and exit the barn.
I see no reason to beat around the bush. I see no reason to take a sneaky or scripted approach. The fact that you saw an advertisement and you get on with the BO and are not intimidated just ask nicely by stating you saw the advertisement. As other have said maybe there is a caveat that is only mentioned when a prospective boarder calls. If not well you will get a cut in rate or an explanation. And if that’s the case this was not very well thought out by the BO.
Fortunately we don’t have to rely on boarders to run our farm. We can pick our spots, very carefully. We have an advertised set rate. But I have cut that for someone who I feel has the heart but not the funds. No one knows but my wife, I and the boarder. And they are required to keep it that way or they will have to move. These individuals have always made up for the difference by helping out in various ways without having to be asked. And that more then makes up for the $100 or so shortfall per month. Even if it’s not dollar for dollar. Appreciation to me is just as tangible if not more so then money. Though my banker doesn't feel the same.
I think it's interesting that everyone is insinuating that passive-agressiveness is really bad. I've dealt with a lot of people who are just plain aggressive or passive. Neither is good in and of itself either, and passive-aggressiveness (with a hint of ditz) has gotten me out of a lot of situations with overly passive or aggressive people. I suspect that if the OP thought her BO was one with whom she had an open and honest line of communication, she would not have come on a BB asking for advice.
OP: One should probably assume that your BO has either A) lowered the rate of board and purposely neglected to tell you either because they think you should pay more or because they think you're dumb and won't figure it out, or B) has legitimately forgotten to tell you that they lowered the board rate and of course you will be included in the new rate.
You can best decide which one. Personally, I'd want to board with the B option, and not the A.
Giving the lower check would not offend person B, and would let person A know you were onto their game without you starting a confrontation. If they wanted to confront you afterwards they could.
And, well, every once in awhile one needs to live up to their name--The Instigator
I'm sorry, but as a BO I'd be very annoyed if a client with a contract stating a particular agreed upon board rate gave me a check for anything less than that. If you make an agreement with someone you should honor the terms unless you both agree to change things.
I don't see ANY problem at all with discussing the issue with the BO, mentioning the advertised rate and using that information to negotiate a lower rate. Chances are they will give you the lower rate and you will have retained a pleasant working relationship with your BO. Or, they may give a valid reason why the rate doesn't apply and again, both of you will walk away happy. If they refuse to give you the lower rate and don't give a valid reason, then you can decide what you want to do (move or stay) at your convenience.
As of yet, no one else is actually boarding there and paying the reduced rate, and it may be that once they have another client or two they can afford to drop the rates (with more people to share some of the fixed costs). That would seem like a reasonable thing to me.
For those of you who are comfortable being passive-aggressive...Is that really the kind of relationship you want with your BO/BM? Is that how you want them to treat you when an issue comes up?
False logic to say that you have to be either passive OR aggressive. Be neither: just be direct & straightforward and lose the emotion, the hurt feelings, all that other BS. The passive-aggressive thing is so damaging and unproductive because "you" (I say that generically, meaning whoever the P-A Practitioner may be) aren't being direct about what you want. You derive power (or you think you do, anyway) from making other people come to you and guess at what you want or meant by xyz gesture. Rather than have the basic adult courage to tell the BO you'd like a reduced rate, you short-pay them, and force them to come to you to initiate the Big Scary Conversation. So with much eye rolling and patronizing sighs, the short-paid BO will come to the P-A Practitioner and say "Is there something you wanted to say, dear?" (Bonus points if you've ticked them off enough that they seem like the Big Meanie attacking you.)
You can call it a Power Move all you want, but it will be perceived that you were just too chicken to start the conversation yourself. (And If that's not true, why give that edge away in your negotiating position.)
Maybe they put in a lower fee just to fill stalls, but plan on going up to your rate in a month or so. I think I could understand that, especially if they are a new barn and need to earn a good reputation.
I have also advertised starting at $$$$, then added extra to that. I found out that didn't work too well.