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What to charge for board?

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  • What to charge for board?

    ok so my husband and I decided to open a barn (yay!)!! I am in the process of designing and figuring out rules and the logistics such as prices of our barn. We live in Aiken SC and bought roughly 35 acres to build on. Our amenities will include (once the building is done):
    * 30, 12x12 stalls with swing out feeders and fans for those summer months.
    * 100x200 outdoor arena with lighting and jumps
    * 100x60 dressage arena
    * field with jumps (mock eventing schooling)
    * 100x150 indoor with heated viewing room
    * 10 paddocks for individual and group turnout

    Our pasture board include:
    * 24/7 turnout with run-in sheds
    * alfalfa hay 2x a day
    * grain 1x a day
    * fresh water
    * blankets on/off when needed
    * administration of meds (provided by owner)
    * access to amenities
    * price ?

    Full Board:
    *rotational turnout
    * 12x12 ventilated stall
    * access to all amenities
    * hay 2x a day
    * grain 1x a day
    * fresh water
    * blankets on/off when needed
    * administration of meds (provided by owner)
    * bi-monthly deworming (provided by owner)
    * price ?

    Training Board:
    * full board plus the following
    * 2 lessons and 3 training sessions or 4-5 training sessions (1hr)
    * Individualized training schedule and goals
    * price ?

    Can you guys help me come up with the prices please?
    Last edited by hannahwdel2101; Oct. 22, 2013, 09:01 PM.

  • #2
    Pasture board doesn't get access to amenities? Are you looking at just retirees / layup for your pasture board? More and more people are looking for 24/7 turnout with run-ins for the health of their horses, so offering this with amenities might be something you want to look at.
    At its finest, rider and horse are joined not by tack, but by trust. Each is totally reliant upon the other. Each is the selfless guardian of the other's very well-being.
    (Author Unknown)


    • #3
      Start looking at what other places in your area are charging. From what you find you can decide if your place is going to be a better facility or a lesser one and adjust your prices from there.

      Patience and Consistency are Your Friends


      • Original Poster

        Originally posted by NorthwoodsRider View Post
        Pasture board doesn't get access to amenities? Are you looking at just retirees / layup for your pasture board? More and more people are looking for 24/7 turnout with run-ins for the health of their horses, so offering this with amenities might be something you want to look at.
        oops just fixed that!


        • #5
          You need to figure out either what you need to make and the determine your starting point from there. Then you should look at barns within about an hour or so from yours, see what they offer and how much they charge.


          • #6
            That all sounds really nice. Congrats on your new barn! I would also see what others are charging in your area that have similar facilities. But with all that you are offering (especially the indoor,2 outdoors and field with course) you should be able to charge more than facilities without those things.


            • #7
              Ditto that in/out stalls with a decent paddock, in addition to large pasture turnout (or large dry-lot, for horses who can't be on grass) during the day, is attractive. But, I would also consider feeding hay more often. I won't look at a barn that doesn't feet hay for breakfast, at turn-in, and again at night check, and more often if the horse isn't on pasture during the day. JMHO as a boarder.

              Also, I could certainly be completely wrong, but my impression was that worming every other month "just in case" was going by the wayside, in favor of worming the horse based on actual need as defined by fecal counts.

              I also worry that 35 acres is not enough for 30 horses, but, I'm big on large turnout. I'm sure you will do something fantastic with the space you have. See what your competition offers and is charging, and then see if that is consistent with what you can offer and need to charge in order to stay in business and not stress about cash flow every month.


              • #8
                In Aiken, it depends where you board - you will get everything from 250$ to 1000$, depending on the farm and amenities. Full Gallop is right outside of Aiken, and when I was in Aiken I believe Lara was charging ~300$ for pasture board. Paradise Farm is not too far either, but I don't remember what Lellie charges. Narnia Farm, which is right in Aiken, charges 475$ IIRC, for full care board.

                I kept my horse right outside of Aiken, in Williston - and board around there is cheap, about 200-400$. The average when I was looking to board before I found my boarding situation, it ran about 300$+.
                AETERNUM VALE, INVICTUS - 7/10/2012


                • #9
                  I agree with the other poster who says hay 3x a day. I'd also up the grain to 2x/day. A lot of people don't want their horses getting all their grain at once.
                  You didn't include farrier. Will you let people use their own? Will you hold the horse if the owner isn't there? That's a standard part of full-service. What about vets? Will you provide an on-call vet at all times that the barn manager can get out in an emergency? Will you have a specific veterinary practice? Will you provide standardized vaccines at specified intervals? For thirty boarders, do you really want thirty vets/farriers in and out at all hours?

                  No idea what to charge. In my area (ultra-$$$$ Boston), what you are describing would be around $1500-$2000 assuming that you are providing all vet and farrier services.

                  Sounds like a really nice facility!
                  I realize that I'm generalizing here, but as is often the case when I generalize, I don't care. ~ Dave Barry


                  • #10
                    I would suggest you rethink the size of the dressage arena.
                    A standard small arena is 20x40m or 66x132 ft. Riders often
                    like to practice in the size they will compete in. If you made
                    your arena 70x140 rather than 60x100, you would be closer
                    to competition size.
                    Robin from Dancing Horse Hill
                    Elmwood, Wisconsin


                    • #11
                      I think the once-daily feeding would cause me not to even consider boarding there. As a potential boarder, it would make me suspicious that the owner is trying to get by with as little work as possible, which would make me question the level of care. As nice as amenities are, quality care would be my main concern. Sounds like the facilities will be nice, though! Enjoy your new farm!
                      "We need a pinned ears icon." -MysticOakRanch


                      • #12
                        30 stalls on 35 acres

                        With all the other spaces and buildings doen't leave much room for turn out frankly.

                        I think it is an extremely ambitious plan, and here's what I'd do before I spent $$$$$$$$$$ on building it.

                        I'd go to every facility within about 30 miles that is like what you intend to build. See what they charge. Put pencil to paper and figure out that unless you are rolling in money, unless your stalls are full and have no catastrophic event, and if you do all the barn work yourself (yeah right) that hey.... it doesn't make a profit. It might not even break even. Do these people have an extensive waiting list or have they dropped their rates to keep boarders?

                        If all it took was building a nice facility and charging a fair rate to get boarders, every big name trainer/rider and person that could get a loan to build one would have one.

                        And repeat after me. You will not make a profit boarding. You will have to either have too many horses for the property, skimp on hay or bedding or both, do all the work yourself or (d): all of the above.

                        DH and I started from scratch and built a facility that anyone would be proud to board or train in. What I found out is that if you keep the horses, the stalls and the property as you intend to do, by the time you pay for everything, mortgage, taxes, insurance workers comp, etc, ad naseum, it is simply not a profitable business. I mean, from what you are describing, you are going to have a half million in it easy before you put the first paying horse on the property. And while the IRS will look at "income" for the first 5 or so years, and an effort to make a profit, unless you truly have a breeding/training or sales business that is a consistent income source, if all you are hoping to do is supplement and defer your "little horse habit" the IRS will quickly determine you have a very expensive hobby and start disallowing deductions.

                        We have 40 rideable acres. 4 board fencing with run ins. Gorgeous barn, fabulous huge, lighted indoor. Lighted outdoor field. Huge 14x14 stalls. After trying lessons, sales and boarding, after 5 years, it simply wasn't going to be worth the expense. Still have the place, it's our home. My one little horse is quite happy to be the only one munching grass and drinking from his heated water trough and hanging out in his lovely run in shed. When we started out, my DH and I decided that we would make sure that no matter what we did or how many boarders we had or didn't have, we could still easily handle the mortgage payment. After a couple of years, here's what I figured out. Based on my horse keeping practices (exemplary) empty stalls are cheaper.


                        • #13
                          I think the general consensus on COTH is that running a boarding business to attempt to turn a profit is a losing proposition, or rather that running the business to make money to offset the cost and counting on said money is not wise.

                          Many years ago my landlady and I talked about this kind of stuff. Having my own place was the teenage dream of mine, and she'd been a very successful jumper rider with an airline pilot dad who had financed her dream. And gone bankrupt in three years. Their facility was very nice, but it was a little too far, didn't have a BNT or even a SNT and it had cost a bit too much. They couldn't break even.

                          Same as other posters have said, you need to go out to your market area and investigate your competition. Pricing, amenities, is there a niche market you can appeal to, what is the demand in the area.

                          Good luck. If I ever win the Lotto and breaking even doesn't matter I'd love to have a place like yours.
                          Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
                          Incredible Invisible


                          • #14
                            The hay only twice a day and grain once a day for full board would be a no go for me.
                            I would also prefer grass hay or timothy to alfalfa.

                            Sonny couldn't have alfalfa due to HYPP and he would have been a blimp on it anyway. Finn would look like a broodmare on alfalfa or he would bee out of hay for most of the time he was in since he would have to get so little to not get too fat.
                            Oh, well, clearly you're not thoroughly indoctrinated to COTH yet, because finger pointing and drawing conclusions are the cornerstones of this great online community. (Tidy Rabbit)


                            • #15
                              The price is what the market will bear.

                              Echoing the others about grain 1x/day. That would be a dealbreaker for me.

                              In a brand new facility you will either have to have a "hook" (IE: attract a BNT by offering them dry stalls at $100-150 per just to get people in the door) or expect to lose money for at least the first year or two.

                              For training board - i assume you already have a clientele? This part seems a little strange to me because, if you did (have a clientele), then you would not be asking all of these questions of strangers. They are pretty basic things that any trainer who has been in the business for any length of time would already know. Anyway. This is also what the market will bear. When you are a fledgling trainer and looking to build a clientele you work for darn near nothing. Once you have established yourself in a given area, have paying clients and finished horses and show records to prove your results, your rates can go up. How much do you charge for a lesson right now and how many of them do you give in a week?


                              • #16
                                I knew this poster sounded familiar....Guys, stop wasting your time.


                                Past threads include:

                                April, 2013
                                "So, my husband finally agreed to let me keep our horses on our property. We have roughly 20 acres in Aiken SC. I have a $100,000 budget and that must include barn, labor, stalls, fencing, electrical,"............

                                Then in June, 2013, she has a different, larger property...
                                "Ok so my husband and I purchased 27 acres of land about two years ago. We built our house when we bought it on about 1 acre. Anyway, we are building our dream eventing barn!!"

                                Then 4 days later, she (or a houseguest) and her boyfriend are moving and looking for a different barn. I hope the husband knows about the boyfriend.
                                "Lost hunter princess here! I am looking for an eventing barn somewhere around New England. It can be in New England, VA, NC, SC, TN, OH, GA, FL, you get my point, most places in eastern USA.".......
                                "Lol because my boyfriend and I are moving to one of the states I listed, so if I could find a barn in one of those states it would be nice. "

                                So I guess she is currently not moving with the boyfriend after all and is staying with the poor husband who has purchased for her a THIRD property, this time 35 acres. What a lucky girl!


                                • #17
                                  apparently, she has a good "skill set"

                                  She needs to share with the group


                                  • #18
                                    Sounds like you are going to have a nice place. Since you are starting from scratch and building your own barns I might suggest adding pens to the back of the stalls ( 12x 24) so boarders have the option( if they desire) of letting their horses out even when not on turnout. Hay 2x daily is no problem because unless it is zero out that is what I feed here at home. If a good amount is fed it takes several hours to clean it all up. Check to see what similar barns in your area charge and go from there.


                                    • #19
                                      I thought it sounded quite fishy from the start?

                                      OP - I imagine you must be investing no less than half a million into the property (maybe more? In most of California the above could not be obtained for less than a couple MILLION). I would recommend a land use consultant / equestrian property consultant.
                                      APPSOLUTE CHOCKLATE - Photo by Kathy Colman


                                      • #20
                                        Alfalfa hay???? HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!