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My barn lowered board rate for new boarders: What is proper approach here??

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  • Original Poster

    Wow..thanks for the responses everyone. This is a tough call. The ad I found for my barn was on craigslist and it describes the same "full care" services I receive currently. By the way, my horse is a very easy keeper. She doesn't eat grain. I do my own blanketing and even pick out my stall because I'm around so much. Hmmmm....not sure what I will do but the fact I have seen an ad certainly makes the approach easier. I seriously doubt I would be "kicked out" for asking about it....but very awkward nonetheless. And one poster here was correct in that this boarding venture is new for the barn owner. There have been a lot of kinks that were worked out from the get-go but a new barn manager took over the details (feeding, turnout, etc) and all of that smoothed out. But he doesn't handle board rates.

    I'll see how it goes! Maybe they will surprise me and inform me of the lower rate. One can hope!!


    • #22
      Since the new rate is actually published in an ad, I think it is ok to inquire about it and whether it could be applied to you, the current boarder. It is possible that the new rate is based on a different level of service or some such thing, so best to find out first. Like maybe they will be feeding $ local hay instead of super premium $$$ hay...or maybe they just decided they were charging too much for the market and decided to drop the rate. Just inquire, nicely. Good luck!


      • #23
        Print out a copy of the ad before it disappears!
        I realize that I'm generalizing here, but as is often the case when I generalize, I don't care. ~ Dave Barry


        • #24
          Originally posted by BeeHoney View Post
          I agree, it's generally unprofessional for a boarding barn to offer different rates to different customers for the same service. .

          and that is why I canceled my cell phone, dropped my telephone land line and few other things that required locked in contracts but refused to negotiate new contracts; I let then expire.

          As for boarding, when we did board the rate which appears to be the same now as it was twenty-three years ago. I really do not understand how a barn's rate can still be at the same as it was last century. We thought the value then was good, I suspect if we were still boarding now at the same rate, the value would be excellent.

          Might just be me, but a contract is there for a purpose to state what is provided for what fee... its there to protect both parties. If I thought the value was acceptable at the time I agreed then it is my responsibility to live out the terms of the agreement once those expire then it is fair game to renegotiate, hopefully for more favorable terms (well more acceptable to me not favorable to the BO).

          As others have stated, you can approach the barn owner to see if negations could be reopened... but expect this may open you to a higher rate since the new horses may have filled the barns.


          • #25
            Well, my BO has the rates published on the barn board... no questions ever! The only thing she does adapt is for meds. If the horse has been there long, if he/she is easy to medicate, she won't charge extra. If the horse is a PITA, she will charge! It's fair!


            • #26
              In legal terms, it is called a "favorite nation's" clause, that states if rates change in your favor, you are entitled to the same breaks others are getting, all else being equal.
              Most in business consider that the ethical thing to do, but it never hurts to have that added to any contract that may apply.


              • #27
                Originally posted by clanter View Post
                Well I wished my cell phone provider, cable TV, auto loans, home loan and electrical power providers thought your way as each of these is always announcing new or introductory rates that do not apply to existing customers
                My experience has been quite different. With the exception of the loans (which are a different category ... and I HAVE refinanced often, as rates dropped enough to make a difference on my mortgage or car payments), I have always gotten the introductory rate offered to new customers when I asked. Land line, cell phone, cell phone data plan, cable, Internet, CCs, etc., etc. Even with the "new customers only" disclaimer. From a marketing standpoint, attracting new customers is easy. Keeping long-term customers is harder and ultimately more lucrative. Never had anyone say no. It probably doesn't hurt that I am always ready to walk.

                To the OP: You've already gotten great advice. Nothing to add here.
                Equinox Equine Massage

                In the depth of winter, I finally learned that there was in me invincible summer.
                -Albert Camus


                • #28
                  Y'all are nicer than I'd be. I'd just write the next check for the new amount and see if they called me on it. I'd love to see them have the balls to do that!


                  • #29
                    I once moved my two horses to a new farm. Paid 300 each for field board. In becoming friends with another boarder there, I learned that she was paying $150.per month for her 1 horse!! I told BO that I'd be leaving if I wasn't offered the same board rate. (Ended up moving my horses home and then got a call from BO begging me to come back--and was willing to let me come back for $250 total per month!)
                    Charlie Brown (1994 bay TB X gelding)
                    White Star (2004 grey TB gelding)

                    Mystical Moment, 1977-2010.


                    • #30
                      Originally posted by InstigatorKate View Post
                      Y'all are nicer than I'd be. I'd just write the next check for the new amount and see if they called me on it. I'd love to see them have the balls to do that!
                      That's probably what I'd do too. Maybe with a note that said "Saw the ad! Great news!") But sometimes my passive aggresshole gets the better of me and I regret it later.
                      "Aye God, Woodrow..."


                      • #31
                        I boarded at a barn for a while that had two rates; the cheaper rate excluded Sunday turnout and stall cleaning. But I always rode Sundays, so picked my own stall (which was fine w/ them...) And since my horse went out in a group, where all the others paid the higher rate, he got turned out Sundays anyway - because the staff felt bad leading the others by his stall!
                        But this situation, given that it was an ad, that described services, and doesn't appear to be an intro offer, would have me politely asking the question.
                        We don't get less brave; we get a bigger sense of self-preservation........


                        • #32
                          This seems to be a very simple issue here. Simply mention to the BO that you saw the ad on craigslist with a lower board, and inqure as to whether or not you will be charged the lower rate. If yes, you have an extra $75 a month to spend. If not, then make a decision based on that.

                          As a BO, there is no reason they should be offended by your question, provided you do so in a professional, non-confrontational manner. I think it is wrong just to write the board check for a lower amount with no discussion beforehand.
                          "I'm an idealist. I don't know where I'm going, but I'm on my way."


                          • #33
                            Originally posted by InstigatorKate View Post
                            Y'all are nicer than I'd be. I'd just write the next check for the new amount and see if they called me on it. I'd love to see them have the balls to do that!
                            You'd get 30 days notice if you did that at my barn. I have several different boarding rates for legitimate reasons, based on how much hay/grain each horse gets, but I'm not about to go and outline what my board rates are and why to every single boarder.

                            FWIW 2 of my boarders (out of 4) have been at my barn for years, since I first started taking boarders, so I doubt I'm the BO from hell.

                            I would not mind if a boarder simply asked me if the new rate applied to them, but just writing a check for the new amount would not be a move I would tolerate.
                            come what may

                            Rest in peace great mare, 1987-2013


                            • #34
                              Wow, I'm kind of surprised and some responses here. I don't think I would simply write a check for the new amount, or act like I was entitled to it. That just seems like a rotten thing to do when you haven't talked to the BO yet.

                              OP, I would just casually mention it to the BO that you saw the new rate online, and were wondering if it applied to you. If they say no, I would probably inquire as to why, because there could be a legitimate reason.
                              I just kind of doubt the BO is going to post the new board rate online and whatnot where you could easily see it, if they are trying to pull the wool over your eyes and keep you paying the higher rate. Just seems like an idiot idea IMO, although I guess some people aren't too bright.

                              I have to say I kinda agree with SAcres here,
                              OP, are you happy at your barn? Do you feel like your horse has quality care? Are you comfortable not going to the barn for a weekend? If you can answer yes to those questions I would strongly recommend considering not even bringing it up to the BO. Good barns are very very hard to find.
                              If I was really happy at the barn I might not even bring it up. I know you have the best of intentions but things could go south very quickly if someone gets defensive. I've seen it happen, had it happen to me. Convo is a simple question, starts out perfectly civil, and then someone gets their back up against a wall. So please remember that when you ask the BO about the new rate.

                              It does seem odd though that a horse that is an easy keeper would need a higher board rate then new boarders. I know my BO loves my QH and charges me less per month because he eats less and doesn't require specific hay or grain.


                              • #35
                                Originally posted by AliCat518 View Post
                                I once moved my two horses to a new farm. Paid 300 each for field board. In becoming friends with another boarder there, I learned that she was paying $150.per month for her 1 horse!! I told BO that I'd be leaving if I wasn't offered the same board rate. (Ended up moving my horses home and then got a call from BO begging me to come back--and was willing to let me come back for $250 total per month!)
                                See, I don't really get this.. when you moved in you were obviously quite content to pay the $300/month. Nothing changed in what you were being offered, nor presumably did the horses care changed but, from your post, it sounds like you suddenly decided you were being ripped off, although nothing at all had changed, other than you speaking to that one person, and it sounds like you were subsequently rude to the BO.

                                Whereas, I think the OPs approach is way more professional. She's seen a changed rate and is willing to wait and see what the BO says. Sounds like even if she does say something that she will ask politely and refer to the advert that she saw.

                                This is the reason where, at my job, discussing salary is a sackable offence - and I agree. What we say at work is that if you discuss salary someone is always going to be pissed off, so don't discuss it. If you ask and earn less, you are going to be annoyed, if you earn more then the other person is annoyed - however, nothing actually changed in the workplace environment at all, your salary is the same as it was the day before, but suddenly you have become dissatisfied with it. I am really relieved that I don't have a clue what anyone else at work earns.


                                • #36
                                  You obviously thought the board price was fair for the services offered. If you are happy with the care your horse is receiving for the price you are paying, I would zip it and be thankful your horse gets good care for the price you thought was a deal when you decided to board there.
                                  "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."


                                  • #37
                                    It sounds to me like the barn management just hasn't really figured out that you are going to notice and might want to renegotiate your rate. Sounds like they're focused on bringing others in and maybe lost track of the one they have.

                                    I'd just brightly ask if you could get the rate that is being offered to the new folks can be applied to you. Know in your head how you are going to react if they take after different factions of this board. If they say no, what message do you want to give them? That's you're mildly disappointed and set back on your heels a bit or that you're going to be looking hard for a new barn and ready to badmouth them to everyone. If they say no are you going to be ok with it?

                                    I don't agree that just b/c the rate was acceptable at one time doesn't mean you wouldn't have looked to a better rate if it was possible. Only you know if it's enough of a price difference to now risk your current good relationship with them. Maybe they're going to get pissy, maybe the interchange is going to go somewhere you can't anticipate now. Think it all through.
                                    “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” Stephen R. Covey


                                    • Original Poster

                                      There are lot of strong opinions on this topic. I do want to say that I am assuming the posters who were suggesting I just hand a check over for the lower board rate were being a bit sarcastic and I don't think they were seriously suggesting that? If they were, they are braver than me! The topic of money is always tricky. (sigh)


                                      • #39
                                        Just tell BO you saw the new rate ad, and that you wanted to confirm that your board will be that too. Then go from there. Don't be confrontational. Most likely, she'll do the same rate as new boarders.


                                        • #40
                                          BlueSunMare, they may very well have been sarcastic. But I know plenty of horse people that would still do that.
                                          come what may

                                          Rest in peace great mare, 1987-2013