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

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  • #41
    Originally posted by Jamie2337 View Post
    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 have to agree with this.

    It is not that I do not agree with the fact that the OP was happy paying what she is paying and this should have no affect on that, but being human it is hard to not feel taken advantage of in a case like this.
    If the OP was the existing boarder and was paying less because of seniority or being grandfathered in at a lower rate, I get it. But new people getting a better rate just seems weird.


    • #42
      Originally posted by SuckerForHorses View Post
      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.
      I disagree with this. Just because you were willing to pay, doesn't mean you wanted to pay that much. But, given the circumstances, it was the rate at the time.

      It's one thing to be *willing* to pay a certain rate, and be *willing* to pay more for the exact same services someone else is getting at the same place, same people, same time.

      Since the BO advertised the price in a public place, then they should expect that other people will see the rate, and/or it might get discussed at the barn. And therefore, he/she should not be surprised to have any current boarders inquire about the change.

      I would simply say: "Hey, I saw on CL that you are offering a lower board rate than I am paying. Can I pay that amount also?" If the answer is no, then I'd want to know why, and unless there is a specific reason related to my horse (your horse is high maintenance, needs special feed/turnout/care; etc.) I'd be pissed and would say as much.

      Obviously, if you push it too far, you may have to consider whether you want to stay or not. But if you don't ask, you can be pretty sure you WON'T get the new rate (since the BO hasn't talked to you but is offering new rates on Craigslist!)


      • #43
        Interesting thread. I think that the OP is handling this perfectly, providing all the facts have been presented and her board arrangement is identical to that which is being offered. I believe that she is waiting for the BO to have an opportunity or several to discuss the board with her (the OP). If the BO continues to ignore this discussion then the OP has to decide if she wants to bring this up. She has to be prepared for a possible leaving the barn outcome since the very reason for her board rate discussion with the BO is the exact situation for the BO to get defensive and irate about. So she has a tough decision: confront and possibly have to leave or say nothing and continue to maintain the current relationship which the OP indicates is good.


        • #44
          If I am getting exactly the same services and it is not an incentive (goes up after a certain amount of time) I expect to be paying the same amount. But I would just ask the BO about it and if that was the same board package you had. No big deal. Depending on what the answer is you will have to make your decisions from there.


          • #45
            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 sure crossed my mind... and to those who say, it's a rotten thing to do to the BO... well, as a boarder, I'd feel it's a rotten thing to do to an existing boarder!


            • #46
              When this happened to me, I asked the BO about the lower rate and she said my rate would stand as is. We did not have a boarding contract. Since the quality of care had been going downhill for several months, I voted with my feet and left her with several empty stalls to fill. I was a boarder that always paid on time and had been there for more than three years.

              Interestingly enough, three years later, she's still trying to fill my stalls.


              • #47
                I'd investigate the current market before you act. Shop around so that you know clearly what kind of facility and amenities you could get for the same $, and who has openings.
                I am sure the conversation will go fine, but I'd develop options first. Because if the BO is indeed unprofessional and new at business, then your attempt to re-negotiate board, no matter how bright and friendly you are, could make the BO feel defensive and uncomfortable. There's really no reason your request should sour the relationship, but it's not always under your control.


                • #48
                  Originally posted by FalseImpression View Post
                  \that sure crossed my mind... and to those who say, it's a rotten thing to do to the BO... well, as a boarder, I'd feel it's a rotten thing to do to an existing boarder!
                  It [Writing a check for a lower amount without negotiation] isn't merely rotten, it's bad business. Would you do business with someone who treated you that way? If not, assume the other guy won't accept that kind of treatment either.

                  And the folks that say "My barn, my rules" in defense of charging people different prices for the same service or whatever. You need to remember that people tend to think "my money, my rules."

                  So here's the thing: You can grab your balls, roar and tout your right to be imperious for a minute.... but the other party gets to do the same thing and then no one is happy.

                  Sheesh, people! I hope y'all aren't really torching business relationships like this IRL!
                  The armchair saddler
                  Politically Pro-Cat


                  • #49
                    Is it possible he offered the new people a "two-fer?" Years ago I used to give a discount for owners with more than one horse, just because it kept the "people-traffic" lower and likewise I felt lowered liability and just the numbers of peeps to deal with. Yes, people talk, but not all situations are created equal and most adults who desire to be in a place are capable of understanding that. Same thing with "grandfathering" customers who've been with you for a great many years.

                    I've gotten away from both these former practies now, however, just because the price of all my supplies has gotten so high.

                    I would have a friendly conversation with the guy and just come right out and ask him what the deal is for YOU.


                    • #50
                      I frankly think some of the comments on here are more of the defend the BO at any time variety than anything else.

                      Look, it's fairly simple.... They advertised a lower rate on CL. Go to the BO and respectfully say you saw the new rate and you're hoping this applies to everybody because you could sure use the savings right now.

                      They will either give you a good reason for the rate not applying to you, or not. If they do not have a good reason, then you know what kind of people you're dealing with and that may influence your choices in the future.

                      It is poor business and unethical to charge two people different rates for the same service. And, as a loyal boarder, this would absolutely sting IMHO. Now there can be many reasons for a different rate. A multi-horse discount is an obvious one.

                      I would encourage you to say something. It's absolutely appropriate as long as you handle it respectfully. I would not assume they were never going to tell you, unless it's been awhile.

                      Good luck.
                      Born under a rock and owned by beasts!


                      • #51
                        Oh, wanted to add... There are a couple times where it could be ethical to charge different rates...
                        Charging existing boarders less and new boarders more.
                        Different levels of care or amounts of food consumed.
                        Multi-horse discounts.
                        Kindness due to hardship.
                        And the like.
                        Born under a rock and owned by beasts!


                        • #52
                          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!


                          • #53
                            If a client handed me a check even a $1 less than my quoted rate, it would be an obvious passive-aggressive move, and I would approach them and inquire as to what motivated this gross display of passive-aggressive behavior. Unless they could give me a VERY good and logical reason for it, I would have to discontinue my relationship with them as it is a lack of respect for our signed financial agreement.

                            IF, however, a client came to me and asked if I could work with them during a hardship, I would do my very best to accommodate them.

                            One scenario assumes the worst of the person you owe money to, and the second assumes the best - it's two different tones in how the situation is handled.

                            I actually had a situation like this occur to me at one of the barns I kept my horse at in VA. When I learned (NOT by asking!!) that another newer boarder was paying a lower rate, I spoke to the BM/BO alone and asked (slightly trembling) if what I had learned was true. I was told that it was, but that it had to do with the horse owner's family circumstances. I thanked her for her honesty. I actually left the barn that evening feeling quite content - I now knew that the BO/BM had a heart and I knew if I ever needed help, I would be able to count on her for her support and assistance. I will also say that I was always pleased with the care my horse received, so it was really a matter of having been given information I really didn't need to know.

                            Hope this makes sense! So sleepy!
                            Horse sense is the thing a horse has which keeps it from betting on people.
                            W. C. Fields


                            • #54
                              OP, please let us know what happens!


                              • #55
                                Originally posted by Kate66 View Post

                                This is the reason where, at my job, discussing salary is a sackable offence - and I agree.
                                Assuming you are in the US, that policy is a violation of federal law, the National Labor Relations Act. Some employers actually have written policies threatening discipline if you discuss salary with coworkers, but it is, in fact, illegal and unenforceable.

                                Whether it's a good idea to discuss salaray with coworkers or not is another story. As you say, it can breed discontent and resentment. There are often good reasons why one employee earns more than another and why one might be more valuable than another. Other times, pay transparency is a good thing, if an employer has an inherently inequitable pay structure, particularly one that bases salary on things other than experience, education, performance and value to the company.

                                In this boarding situation, I don't see anything wrong with asking the BO politely about the new board rate and whether it is available to OP as well. The BO can always say "no" and then OP can decide to stay or go. Even salaries get renegotiated all the time...you can ask for a raise, and shouldn't be punished for asking, but you might not get one.


                                • #56
                                  This isn't a job though, this is being paid for services. Services that are being publicly advertised.

                                  If I joined a gym and then found out that everyone that started the gym after I did was paying a lower rate for the same services I'd be angry. And I'd be in the same situation of deciding what to do next.
                                  “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” Stephen R. Covey


                                  • #57
                                    Originally posted by InstigatorKate View Post
                                    I actually wasn't joking. It's always been my mantra that it's better to beg forgiveness than to ask permission. ..
                                    I had an employee like this; "had" being the operative word. They too were passive agressive, caused far more trouble in the workplace than they were worth. Also, made it really easy for me to build the case of consistent disregard for company policy and management direction.

                                    It's a dangerous game to play and should not be undertaken without full acceptance of the possible consequences.


                                    • #58
                                      Evaluate your BO's situation and your own and ask the question in a nice way so as not to burn bridges. Seething resentment can be very bad.

                                      As an owner whose horses are VERY EASY KEEPERS, I always felt that the board should be based on amount of feed given, amount of extras i.e. blanket changes etc. I was paying the same amount for my little horses who together didn't eat as much as the big guys and were meticulous in their stalls and preferred to be out. They were well mannered, I wasn't around much of the time ...retired horses, healthy...EASY and no drama...the perfect boarder. In the end I figured the big horse owners were really getting a great deal and I was happy with my horses' care and the peace of mind was priceless.

                                      Then the bank offered higher interest rates to 'new money' customers. Yes, an incentive situation to get new business...but ticked me off...I moved my money back and forth between the banks offering the deals and told them exactly why! Frankly I think there should be loyalty points for ideal customers in ANY business!! Reward your reliable customers...it is expensive to get new ones...just look what is spent on marketing!!


                                      • #59
                                        Hoping for an update.


                                        • #60
                                          Originally posted by BlueSunMare View Post
                                          Well....just found their new ad online. Looks like they are in fact offering a lower rate after all for full-care board.
                                          Make a copy of the on line ad, take it to the owner and find out if your board will be reduced accordingly. It should be. If they choose to charge some boarders a lower rate that is their right/ choice (for whatever reason) but, it should be done privately and between the boarder and owner alone. This is an advertisement and you should be getting the same rate.