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Facility/Trainer Use Fees - What to charge??

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  • Facility/Trainer Use Fees - What to charge??

    What better place to get opinions than on the COTH... I have a question about facility use fees. We currently own farm with great outdoor ring. We have people trailer in to use ring on a weekly basis and they pay a "ring useage fee" per horse. Now we have been approached by a trainer who wants to use the ring on occasion to teach a student or two. Trainer has insurance. What would you charge? Do you charge the student the ring fee and the trainer a fee since she is making money by using the ring?? Do you charge the trainer a fee based on how many students she is teaching?? Any opinions or advice would be appreciated!!

  • #2
    Our barn charges $10 per person hauling in. It also charges a percentage of the lesson fee, I think around 15-20%. The trainers then transfer this charge on to their students, usually. You can also pay to use the arena for the whole month for $100. Our arena is indoor, however, and highly sought after in the winter!


    • #3
      My barn charges $10 per hour to visiting trainers for use of the (outdoor) arena for lessons. The trainers charge students $70 to $85 per private lesson. Most students are boarders, there's no trailering in fee for the few who do. There's no additional fee to students but the trainers can choose to pass their fee on to the students or not.


      • #4
        All the facilities I use around here charge the same per-horse fee, whether you are riding on your own or having a lesson from an instructor.

        chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).


        • #5
          Any thoughts on a boarder being charged a "ring fee" by the barn to have a trainer come in for a lesson? What about when that trainer has their own insurance and there is no designated trainer at the barn?
          Handmade Cotton Fabric Dog Collars


          • #6
            Originally posted by RunningRedLights View Post
            Any thoughts on a boarder being charged a "ring fee" by the barn to have a trainer come in for a lesson? What about when that trainer has their own insurance and there is no designated trainer at the barn?
            As a boarder who's been asked to do this; my initial reaction was NO WAY. I'm already paying board which is supposed to cover facilities maintenance etc. In that case, there was no resident trainer that could meet my needs. I was organizing clinics with an outside trainer. The outside trainer did carry their own insurance.

            In my case, I had a civil discussion with the BO and explained what I was looking for and why I felt the resident trainer did not meet my needs. I also explained that it was my preference to continue boarding where I was, however, as I wanted competent instruction my options were to organize clinics, trailer out (pain in the patootie plus gas $$$$) or move. BO agreed to the clinics, with a couple of reasonable restrictions and life went on.

            The resident trainer was a tad PO'd but watched the clinics and was basically quite nice to the visiting trainer.

            So I guess, in answer to your question, it depends. If having a visiting trainer actively interferes with normal business at the barn, it's probably reasonable to ask for a ring fee.


            • #7
              How much to charge depends on a barn's setup and way of doing business. If I were a trainer with my own barn and training was part of my business, I would almost certainly charge an extra "ring fee" to any visiting trainer whether they were teaching in house or outside students. Why? Because in that case boarding is typically a break-even hassle that trainers put up with in order to have an at home client base. In the case where the resident trainer pays a fee (or a percentage) to the facility I think that an outside trainer should be charged similarly (proportionately of course).

              However, if a barn makes most of its income from boarding and there is no resident trainer, then it may not make sense to charge fees to visiting trainers who are teaching in house clients. Those trainers will help keep the client base happy. In the case of a boarding barn without a resident trainer, I think that an outside rider who comes and rides should pay one fee if they are willing to share the arena with other boarders and a higher fee if they want to reserve the ring for their private use during their ride.

              IME the economics of allowing outside riders isn't great. Arenas are expensive to build and maintain, and $10/ride or $100/mo. doesn't really help out much when compared to that cost plus the hassle factor of having extra people and horses coming and going. People park on the grass and leave ruts, back over landscaping, leave a mess behind, bring dogs, bring guests who want to "pet the horses", etc.


              • #8
                Charge a grounds fee similar to a show. $10-$30 is pretty reasonable, depending in the facility or region. Charge trailer in riders the grounds fee and the trainer 10-15% of the lessons. The only tricky thing with that is monitoring the actual lesson income. If you get in a scenario where it's an honor system, there's always the potential to be scammed. When I had contracted instructors working out of a facility, a secretary took the money for lessons and grounds fees, then the trainers were paid bi-weekly, minus the commission of 20%. We still had a sneaky trainer that would do lessons under the table the days the secretary wasn't there

                If you think the monitoring of lesson income is tricky, charge a monthly flat fee and collect the grounds fees. I would highly recommend a written agreement outlining what the trainer has access to- equipment, hours, etc...

                If done correctly, it could be pretty lucrative for both the facility owner, boarders and trainer.
                Claire Pelton
                The Pelton Equestrian Experience
                Precision Training and Management of Horse and Rider Teams


                • Original Poster

                  Thanks everyone. All of the responses have helped!!