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How to put a ring in and raise board...when you already have boarders?

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  • How to put a ring in and raise board...when you already have boarders?

    I've been toying with the idea of re-footing my farm's outdoor ring. At one point somebody put a base and footing in, but over the years it has packed down and grown grass overtop. I had someone out to look at it and he felt that the base was solid still and it would work the best to re-foot, rather than put a whole new base in. This puts the whole project in my price range, which I hadn't thought possible.

    But now the question comes...I currently have 3 boarders at my farm, good people that I like having, I don't want to lose these people as boarders. They're trustworthy, reliable, and for the most part, don't complain. However re-footing this ring would allow me to raise board at least $150 and still be well within the acceptable price range of my area. Currently my barn is below the average price for what amenities I offer, but I'm fine with this because I have good boarders. I'm fairly certain my boarders won't be able to afford this new price, so raising the price would likely mean bringing in a new set of boarders, but not raising the price (while still putting the footing in) will set me back significantly without any hope of recouping some of the costs. I personally have no desire to put this ring in, I trail ride for the most part and have access to other rings (that my boarders also have access to); so my main reason to re-foot are for my boarders benefit.

    I realize it seems like the obvious choice would be to not re-foot the ring, because doing so will result in a no-win situation for me (IMO), but I think about the future and know that I might not always have these boarders who are okay with the current facility. I have the option of doing it now, the funds are technically available, and in my mind, having a ring with great footing automatically secures a full barn. It would also be more feasible to teach lessons or train horses in the future if I choose to go down that path. But, as I don't see putting in the footing and not raising board an option, I know I'm going to lose boarders.

    So to end this long rant, COTHers...wwyd?
    51
    re-foot now and raise board
    39.22%
    20
    re-foot and keep board the same
    17.65%
    9
    don't re-foot now but save and start planning to re-foot in the next few years
    25.49%
    13
    don't bother!
    17.65%
    9
    Last edited by SAcres; Apr. 14, 2013, 02:20 PM.
    come what may

    Rest in peace great mare, 1987-2013

  • #2
    You probably already know this, but arenas don't really add much in the way of property value. So, it pretty much boils down to how badly you're willing to treat your current boarders for the sake of an uncertain future possibly populated with people whose only known character trait is that they're less cheap.
    Dreadful Acres: the chronicle of my extraordinary unsuitability to country life

    Comment


    • #3
      Do the re-foot, and set up a schedule to raise board by $25 every x months so that you're closer to market rates. You could also "grandfather in" your old boarders at the old rates and gradually raise them up to standard, but any new boarders who come along automatically start at the new $150 higher rate. IMO it's not fair to just all at once raise the board on your existing boarders, but if you turn up the heat slowly over time, they can decide when it's too expensive.

      Comment


      • #4
        If your boarders will use the re-footed ring, then do it, raise your board slowly, for existing boarders. New boarders get another rate.

        If your boarders are happy, they will grumble but dig in and pay, but there needs to be a reasonable explanation.
        Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

        Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.

        Comment


        • #5
          I agree with the slow raise. $150 is a huge jump. I think the most I've ever had board raised was $25, and even that made me wince (but I had three horses at the time). But, I loved the place, and was willing to pay it, because I understood why the BO was doing it.

          Maybe talk to the boarders beforehand to make sure they want the refooting done. I boarded at another place that "refooted" the indoor arena, and raised board to pay for it, and it was cheaply done by the BO to save money. I gave my notice the second it was done because it was done so poorly (I also wasn't entirely happy with other aspects of the place). Definitely not worth the raise in board.

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            Sorry, I didn't mean to say I would be raising it all at once. I was going to do one raise before the ring was put in, then several slow raises after.

            My boarders will use/benefit from the ring, but I know they won't stick around once the rate is fully raised. Just for perspective, my barn is $300 right now which includes full care, great hay/grain, green fields, small ring (doubles as a drylot turnout) and plenty of great trails. I would probably raise it to $400 (to keep things on the low end), a few other barns I know of are $425, $475, $500, and $550, no great trainers to speak of at these barns and (IMO) lesser quality care.

            I feel like even if my boarders do move I'll be able to get new boarders in easily, I'm constantly turning away people right now. But being in a new price bracket may change the clientele I'll have available to me and I'm just unable to be sure I can keep my barn filled. I will NEED to keep my barn filled if I re-foot the ring.

            I was planning on asking boarders what their opinions are on re-footing, but I have a feeling that they'll be pro re-foot, until they are actually faced with board increases.
            come what may

            Rest in peace great mare, 1987-2013

            Comment


            • #7
              Ask the boarders?

              If they truly don't care about the footing, why do it now?
              Click here before you buy.

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                Because I have the funds right now, and am in a place where I can spend them without worrying where I'm going to get my next meal from. I'd just like to do it now before I start dipping into that account for other things. If it doesn't get spent on a ring it will be slowly spent on other farm improvements.

                I'll be asking the boarders soon.
                come what may

                Rest in peace great mare, 1987-2013

                Comment


                • #9
                  raise it for new boarders. The boarders that have kept with you during the growing years have already confirmed their loyality to you.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Where do you live?

                    I love the barn where I am at except for the footing. The B.O. replaced the 30 y.o. footing in the indoor a couple of years ago.
                    I offered to kick in extra $$ every month to help if she would get good footing. She was sold some stuff she was told was arena sand w/pea gravel...it is actually small (1/2 inch) road mix.
                    Why she even accepted the stuff or made them come get it and give her decent sand I don't know. I would NOT have paid for that. Needless to say, I didn't help with the cost. It is so crappy. Dusty with little pieces of asphalt and we have found ground glass in it. It looks like the stuff the highway department sweeps up off the roads after winter sanding. Needless to say, I don't ride in the indoor.

                    Footing is very important to me and I would pay a higher monthly board bill in a heartbeat to get good footing.

                    Susan

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Good footing is tremendously important, but you are running a business. I'm not sure that investing in the footing would be a good business move for you. Right now, you are in a pretty good spot. You have reliable boarders that you like who pay their bills and are happy. New boarders that care a little more about the footing might also be more high maintenance in other respects. Plus, every time you get a group of new people in there is some uncertainty as to whether or not you will end up with a less desirable client or two. Lastly, when in the boarding business I think it is a good business move to keep your total financial picture in a place where you have plenty of cushion. You need to be able to say goodbye to a client or two--or three--without panicking. Or deal with some major unexpected repairs. Or deal with a serious illness/injury/family situation of your own.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Do you think you'll attract a different kind of boarder that you won't like so well?

                        People still tend to look for good deals in boarding but for the higher price, they might want other things as well. Maybe try to get a feel for the boarders that did choose higher-priced facilities and see if you could imagine doing the kind of care that they want.
                        The armchair saddler
                        Politically Pro-Cat

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          "having a ring with good footing automatically secures a full barn"
                          I don't agree. In the mid-Atlantic region, an Indoor ring will get you a full barn, and that's only during the winter.
                          I'll let other BOs advise you on the best way to invest your money to attract boarders, but outdoor ring footing isn't on my list when trails are available.
                          Large, clean, well aerated stalls..that's attractive to me when barn shopping, safe turnout, auto waterers...

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            [QUOTE=Chall;6939636]"having a ring with good footing automatically secures a full barn"
                            I don't agree. In the mid-Atlantic region, an Indoor ring will get you a full barn, and that's only during the winter.
                            I'll let other BOs advise you on the best way to invest your money to attract boarders, but outdoor ring footing isn't on my list when trails are available.
                            QUOTE]

                            Agree. I have an outdoor ring with good footing, lights and jumps. Boarders are all retirees - I'm the only one who rides in the ring It's my personal experience of late that everyone who wants a ring, also wants a trainer on-site. I am perpetually perplexed why there aren't more people (like me!) who can't afford the board with a trainer, but who could afford a modestly priced private farm and shipping in for lessons/meeting at shows.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Do the current boarders complain about the footing or are they generally fine with it?
                              "When life gives you scurvy, make lemonade."

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I can see a small increase in board, but why do your boarders have to pay for your new footing?

                                Comment

                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  Why shouldn't they pay for it? It is an improvement that will benefit them, should they not pay for this new benefit? Why should I not increase board to the going rate for barns with a nice outdoor...how is that a good business move for me? It's a business, not a charity. I'm not expecting to get rich, but it would be nice to re-coup some costs.

                                  There is no point of keeping board the same for current boarders and raising it for new boarders. My barn is too small for that to work, and is full.

                                  The boarders occasionally complain about the footing, and I don't blame them, its not great. But it is what it is, they moved to my barn knowing the situation and knowing there were no promises of a new ring.

                                  In my area, having a good outdoor pretty much guarantees a full barn. The prices for barns I listed above all have waiting lists, even the $550 a month one. I'm lucky to be in an area where board is in high demand and there are a lot of barns with crappy care around me.

                                  Good footing is tremendously important, but you are running a business. I'm not sure that investing in the footing would be a good business move for you. Right now, you are in a pretty good spot. You have reliable boarders that you like who pay their bills and are happy. New boarders that care a little more about the footing might also be more high maintenance in other respects. Plus, every time you get a group of new people in there is some uncertainty as to whether or not you will end up with a less desirable client or two. Lastly, when in the boarding business I think it is a good business move to keep your total financial picture in a place where you have plenty of cushion. You need to be able to say goodbye to a client or two--or three--without panicking. Or deal with some major unexpected repairs. Or deal with a serious illness/injury/family situation of your own.
                                  This is basically why I'm hesitant to do it. I'm in a good place right now, I have a financial cushion should anything (god forbid) happen. I have good boarders, I'm "safe" right now. We all know how important that is in this economy, especially when you're dealing with horses. If I re-foot, I'm essentially losing that cushion. While I won't be broke if I do the re-foot, I'm going to need that extra money the ring "can" bring in, in order to rebuild this cushion.
                                  come what may

                                  Rest in peace great mare, 1987-2013

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by SAcres View Post
                                    I feel like even if my boarders do move I'll be able to get new boarders in easily, I'm constantly turning away people right now.
                                    At your current rates, you may have. At an increased board rate,...?
                                    "Oh, sure, you may be able to take down one smurf, but mark my words: You bonk one smurf, you better be ready for a blue wave."---Bucky Katt

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Talk to your boarders. Ask for input on whether they want and would use the refooted ring, and it their enthusiasm would support a higher board bill. Give them firm numbers. That's the best research to help you decide.
                                      Hindsight bad, foresight good.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Phew....bad attitude: "Why shouldn't they pay for it? It is an improvement that will benefit them, should they not pay for this new benefit? Why should I not increase board to the going rate for barns with a nice outdoor...how is that a good business move for me? It's a business, not a charity. I'm not expecting to get rich, but it would be nice to re-coup some costs."

                                        Is it really a "benefit"? An improvement they want and need? I sure don't give a flip about a ring. Where I board they've got a huge indoor....so what? I'm not interested in bumping heads with the trainer or the owner riding a "sensitive" youngster.

                                        If you want it, put it in and lose old boarders and get new boarders. I sure wouldn't pay an additional $5/day for a ring. Have the barn you want, charge the board you want and enjoy the boarders you get. If you don't have a bathroom, I'd bet the boarders would prefer that.

                                        I used to board at a barn where the barn owner kept adding crap to the facility. If she saw something that to her said, "wow, fancy barn", she added it. Odd seats at odd places, peices of cast chinese crap, funny trim in even odder places...none of which was requested or liked by the boarders...but she loved it and raised the board for the "improvements"....boarders voted with their feet and wallets.

                                        Good luck.
                                        "Sic Gorgiamus Allos Subjectatos Nunc"

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