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Ideas on marketing a horse business

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  • Ideas on marketing a horse business

    I currently run a small boarding barn (6 boarders plus my horses) and my DH and I are looking into moving to a larger (nicer) facility near a much more expensive area. We are currently outside of Orlando, but closer to a rural area, new place would be outside Orlando but closer to $$ area. Anyways, it's a 27 stall facility with most of the amenities and what's not there will be. Most barns in the area average boarding for about $700 per month. Now, my question is, what's the best way to advertise a higher end facility? There is horse boarding all over Craigslist, but its mainly partial board or pasture board and nothing too awful nice. Any tips?

  • #2
    Be sure you have a website that reflects the quality of your facility. My former BO had a full barn 2 months after opening her facility just by having a website that people could find on Google, posting flyers in tack shops & feed stores, advertising in local publications, and through word of mouth.
    Equine Web Design & Marketing
    designequine.org

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    • #3
      What designequine said. Nice, professional website with lots of pictures. A facebook page as well, linked to your site. If you are trying to attract a specific type of horse/owner, advertise in local discipline specific publications. Craigslist is ok if the ad is basic and redirects people to your website. Maybe host some shows or clinics so potential borders can see how nice of a facility it is.
      It is only through labor and painful effort, by grim energy and resolute courage, that we move on to better things.
      Theodore Roosevelt

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      • Original Poster

        #4
        Thanks! Do you think there are any services and/or amenities that would be more attractive to people?

        Comment


        • #5
          Is your barn going to be more show oriented or recreation oriented? English or Western?
          It is only through labor and painful effort, by grim energy and resolute courage, that we move on to better things.
          Theodore Roosevelt

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            English and show oriented. Specifically hunter/jumper.

            Comment


            • #7
              Several of the show barns around here offer season appropriate clipping (not sure how important that is in FL, since your horses probably don't get as hairy), braiding services (usually clipping is included, braiding for shows is an add on).

              A viewing lounge for visitors is nice if the facility doesn't already have one. Make sure its comfortable for non-horsey people like parents and significant others to watch, but won't be trashed if someone walks in with their riding boots.

              Several barns around here have Eurocisers and include daily conditioning sessions for the horses at no added cost.
              It is only through labor and painful effort, by grim energy and resolute courage, that we move on to better things.
              Theodore Roosevelt

              Comment


              • #8
                I second the website idea. I built one (with NO prior experience!) for my parents using Yahoo SiteBuilder--it pops up on Yahoo! and Google and more than pays for itself each year. Here in Virginia we have a state wide "horsey" website that I placed a free listing on and included a link to their website.
                Originally posted by EquineImagined
                My subconscious is a wretched insufferable beotch.

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                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  I thought about the grooming thing and the viewing lounge is an awesome idea. We will be adding a 200'x300 arena with sand/clay footing and I would love to put a pavilion/picnic area next to it.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    QUALITY horse care!!! The human frills are a nice touch, but my horse's comfort and his care is #1 in my mind!!
                    www.crosscreeksporthorses.com
                    Breeders of Painted Thoroughbreds and Uniquely Painted Irish Sport Horses in Northeast Oklahoma

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                    • #11
                      Could I suggest that you put together a business plan before starting this to make sure this is a viable plan before committing. Twenty-seven stalls will require additional labor that will be needed seven days a week.


                      Just a quick glance at the numbers without even deducting the lease payments of the property makes this appear to be a loss leader once you allocate additional labor costs, feed, bedding, insurance and upkeep


                      $18,900 income is not a lot of working capital (assuming you would have a full barn from day one) .... the expenses will be there even if the horses are not.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by clanter View Post
                        Could I suggest that you put together a business plan before starting this to make sure this is a viable plan before committing. Twenty-seven stalls will require additional labor that will be needed seven days a week.


                        Just a quick glance at the numbers without even deducting the lease payments of the property makes this appear to be a loss leader once you allocate additional labor costs, feed, bedding, insurance and upkeep


                        $18,900 income is not a lot of working capital (assuming you would have a full barn from day one) .... the expenses will be there even if the horses are not.
                        I agree that a business plan is an excellent idea, however, I come up with $226,800 for 27 horses @ $700/month.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by clanter View Post
                          $18,900 income is not a lot of working capital (assuming you would have a full barn from day one) .... the expenses will be there even if the horses are not.
                          Originally posted by Macimage View Post
                          I agree that a business plan is an excellent idea, however, I come up with $226,800 for 27 horses @ $700/month.
                          You are both right. Clanter was giving the potential gross income for one month, and you were giving the potential gross income for the year.

                          Clanter, you make a good point about expenses, but the actual cost to occupy the propery and insure the business are the only constants in the equation. Cost of operation will be directly proportional to the number of horses that occupy the property. Fewer horses means fewer resources such as hay and bedding being used, but it also means less revenue.

                          A business plan is a good thing to have and will give the OP a good idea whether the move to a bigger facility is a good idea. For all we know the OP and her husband already have one in the works. I also got the impression, and I may be wrong, that the OP is looking to charge a little more than the average asking price for the area. Hence the request for marketing a higher end type facility.
                          It is only through labor and painful effort, by grim energy and resolute courage, that we move on to better things.
                          Theodore Roosevelt

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            The money to be made with a larger facility will come from services outside of just boarding. Lessons, training, shows, and clinics are other revenue streams. I would not want a larger facility just for a boarding business.

                            I'm also curious about OP's comments about this new facility having amenities and "what's not there will be." Exactly what needs to be added and who would be paying for it? Capital improvements are expensive. They have to be part of a business plan, too.
                            Where Fjeral Norwegian Fjords Rule
                            http://www.ironwood-farm.com

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              this new facility will have to go after existing clients as you are not going to develop a new horsey interested person that will be willing to drop a thousand to two thousand a month to have a competition level show horse or even spend the $700 to $800 to house a pet.

                              You will be marketing to a narrow grouping of people most of which are very satisfied with their current environment

                              Are there 25 to 30 unhappy potential clients in the Orlando area?

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Thoroughbred in Color View Post
                                Clanter, you make a good point about expenses, but the actual cost to occupy the propery and insure the business are the only constants in the equation.
                                Er, this is not true at all. The paddocks, even if unused, still need mowing, the fencelines still need weed whacking, the jumps still need painting no matter how many people are using them, the ring still needs to be dragged, you still need the same size tractor to do the above, etc etc etc. In other words, maintenance is pretty much the same.

                                As a small scale BO (10 horses) I find most of my costs are fixed, just the opposite of what you are saying. As I own our farm, I also have to factor in taxes too.

                                However, if the OP has run even a small barn like mine, she probably has a good sense of what costs are and what's fixed vs what's not.
                                https://www.facebook.com/SugarMapleFarm
                                Follow us on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/peonyvodka/
                                www.PeonyVodka.com

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by SMF11 View Post
                                  Er, this is not true at all. The paddocks, even if unused, still need mowing, the fencelines still need weed whacking, the jumps still need painting no matter how many people are using them, the ring still needs to be dragged, you still need the same size tractor to do the above, etc etc etc. In other words, maintenance is pretty much the same.

                                  As a small scale BO (10 horses) I find most of my costs are fixed, just the opposite of what you are saying. As I own our farm, I also have to factor in taxes too.

                                  However, if the OP has run even a small barn like mine, she probably has a good sense of what costs are and what's fixed vs what's not.
                                  Note that I said cost to occupy the property, not lease or mortgage payment. The cost to occupy the property would include that, but also maintenance, utilities, salary for employees, etc.

                                  I do not run a boarding facility. Never have, hopefully never will, but I have managed several horses at a time. It does not cost me any more or less money to occupy my property when I have one horse or five. The costs come from the consumables: hay, grain, bedding and my time.
                                  Last edited by Thoroughbred in Color; Nov. 17, 2012, 08:32 PM. Reason: spelling
                                  It is only through labor and painful effort, by grim energy and resolute courage, that we move on to better things.
                                  Theodore Roosevelt

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Thoroughbred in Color View Post
                                    It does not cost me any more or less money to occupy my property when I have one horse or five. The costs come from the consumables: hay, grain, bedding and my time.
                                    Ah, I see we were saying the same thing. Agreed, the "cost to occupy" is there with one horse or twenty horses. However, for me those fixed costs are way higher than feed and even hay. (I don't use much bedding).
                                    https://www.facebook.com/SugarMapleFarm
                                    Follow us on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/peonyvodka/
                                    www.PeonyVodka.com

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      You might want to check out this website http://howtomarketyourhorsebusiness.com
                                      Not mine, I just know about it. Also she has a facebook page.
                                      Last edited by GotMyPony; Nov. 18, 2012, 04:01 PM. Reason: added facebook
                                      It's just grass and water till it hits the ground.

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