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How much do you pay your barn help?

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  • #21
    No housing included with staff salary in my barn. No free board for horse either. BM got a dry stall rate but didn’t have time.

    Show grooms is a whole other ball game. $45 per head per day, shared apartment or house at WEF, hotel room or trailer, per diem for meals and an appropriate tip was expected from clients. They had 4 or 5 head each, no mucking and they did help each other out when one had 3 in 2 different rings and another had nothing.
    When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

    The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

    Comment


    • #22
      Originally posted by Lucassb View Post
      Wow, these rates seem low to me. I am in the southeast and have a small private barn - just 4 horses. I have a person come for morning chores (feed, muck, light grooming and turnout) which takes less than 2 hours. I pay $300/week and offer two weeks paid vacation.
      Good for you, that sounds very fair and equitable.

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      • #23
        Originally posted by BAC View Post

        Am I reading this correctly? You worked 4 Sundays per month, a full day with 20 horses and received a credit of $100 towards your board bill? This is $25 for a full day's work?
        I made the same back in 2006. 4 Sundays/month. I was just paid cash at random intervals. I was a teenager and just desperate for all the horse time I could get. I typically managed to squeeze in a ride each Sunday.

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        • #24
          Wow these rates seem extremely low! I’ve been a professional groom forever. Never worked for less than $700/week (5.5days) plus paid holidays plus housing. Key word being professional...and I have mucked about a million stalls and scrubbed 2million buckets...I can medicate. I Can show groom. Can deal with old retired horses, can do rehabilitation and so on and so on. You want skilled people not labourers on any horse farm that can recognize a colic or abscess or just NQR. A good groom wears many hats besides cleaning stalls. Checking feed pans while mucking. When throwing hay making sure it’s not moldy or strings in it. Is the poop hard and dry or raging diarrhea. Are all shoes still on. When blanketing are all the leg straps right. Is that a new splint/bump/scab on the legs? That left front is fat..is it a sprain or lymphengitus? That set of reins is sketchy let’s change them out. Those boots need a good scrub to get the crud off. Clean the bits so they’re not gross. Launder the saddle pads/blankets/leg wraps...Etc etc etc. That’s what I do every day plus plus. And I’m very well paid because I’m very good at my job.
          Last edited by willowoodstables; Aug. 9, 2019, 03:11 PM.
          Your village is calling. Apparently their idiot is missing!

          Comment


          • #25
            I pay p/t help $13/hr

            Comment


            • #26
              Originally posted by willowoodstables View Post
              Wow these rates seem extremely low! I’ve been a professional groom forever. Never worked for less than $700/week (5.5days) plus paid holidays plus housing. Key word being professional...and I have mucked about a million stalls and scrubbed 2million buckets...I can medicate. I Can show groom. Can deal with old retired horses, can do rehabilitation and so on and so on. You want skilled people not labourers on any horse farm that can recognize a colic or abscess or just NQR. A good groom wears many hats besides cleaning stalls. Checking feed pans while mucking. When throwing hay making sure it’s not moldy or strings in it. Is the poop hard and dry or raging diarrhea. Are all shoes still on. When blanketing are all the leg straps right. Is that a new splint/bump/scab on the legs? That left front is fat..is it a sprain or lymphengitus? That set of reins is sketchy let’s change them out. Those boots need a good scrub to get the crud off. Clean the bits so they’re not gross. Launder the saddle pads/blankets/leg wraps...Etc etc etc. That’s what I do every day plus plus. And I’m very well paid because I’m very good at my job.
              <3

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              • #27
                I worked for the previous trainer at my current barn while I was in grad school. I was paid $10/hr, 8 hours a day, eligible for overtime when offered. Full-time employees had vacation and insurance. Turn-in and turn-out, feeding, barn chores, fixing fence, giving meds, wrapping, hand-walking lunatics on stall rest. We had about 40 horses and ponies on the property and the barn staff didn't generally do stalls. I was an independent contractor for my other job and it was a good fit for my hours and let me get good exercise and spend quality time with my horse, but it's well below appropriate rate for this horsey and high cost of living area, and that was very clear by the type of staff we could generally attract and retain at that time.

                As a boarder, I will cheerfully pay more any day of the week if it means the barn staff are paid well. I want to know that my horse is being cared for by people who know what normal looks like for each horse and can recognize a situation that needs watching or an emergent response.
                "I'm not always sarcastic. Sometimes I'm asleep." - Harry Dresden

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                • #28
                  I asked a friend in my area what the going rate is for barn chores and she said $12/hr. She qualified that by saying that she pays $15/hr because that's what she found she had to do to get someone to stick around.

                  I know several other barns in my area that pay $12/hr for basic labor and $15/hr for more experienced help where they might need to do more with horse handling.

                  Everyone is having trouble finding barn help, even when many perks are tossed in like housing, board for one horse, etc.



                  Comment


                  • #29
                    I'm so fascinated that not one person in this thread has been paid per task, which is very much the standard around here.
                    When I worked in a 32 horse full boarding barn ten years ago we paid (approximately, if I recall correctly):
                    $4-6 a stall (almost all in and outs)
                    $20 for breakfast
                    $15 for lunch
                    $25 for dinner
                    $15 for night check

                    Looking back now this system worked in a few ways - you encouraged efficiency, and barn rat kids could pick up a few stalls in addition to working at other barns (there's many in a 8 block radius). It also meant there was enough other staff to cover things for the most part, no one was ever doing the whole day, typically someone did about half the stalls, breakfast, and lunch, and the rest was divided between a half dozen people.

                    Downsides were that it encouraged no stability or loyalty, with no sick days or vacation. And it encouraged efficiency, which was sometimes great and sometimes just meant a shitty job was being done. We also had a problem of just having to pay someone enough to show up - this was especially true of lunch and night check, neither took more than 30 minutes, but you had to pay $15 to get anyone to show up (especially at 9 pm in the dead of winter, or middle of the day when half your workers are students).

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                    • #30
                      I pay per job. I do this because whole I know people won't work as fast as me it is unreasonable to pay people for four let the time it takes another person. I can thoroughly clean 10 stalls in about an hour. I pay $2 a stall (just cleaning, not dumping buckets, not re haying etc etc) so if the move like I do they will make $20 in an hour.... If not they make less. Same with feeding. It takes me 1.5 hours to feed my 20 horses. I account for people to take longer, figure $10 an hour to throw hay, grain, fill waters and bring in. I pay $20 a feeding. So again if they move they are coming out on top,if it takes them 4 hours that's on them

                      To be fair I am just looking for labor. Not a manager, not a groom etc. Someone to do the physical work.

                      Comment


                      • #31
                        I pay around $500 per week, free housing + utilities included. Weekends (3 per month) off, plus most holidays off. It is salaried (monthly paycheck is always the same). I do not like to pay per job because 1) who has time to micromanage and keep track 2) I want my staff to always feel like they have a decent paycheck coming so they can count on how much money they make. Some months (like foaling season) are very busy and a full 8 or 9 hour day will normal, but in the summer and winter it is pretty much just part time as not much is happening. Hourly pay can be crappy for staff when it isnt a busy season, and frankly I dont give two poops if it takes you 5 minutes or 5 hours as long as the job is done properly.

                        We have a 50 acre Equestrian facility outside of Houston TX with anywhere from 10 - 20 horses and foals. Usually only 5 in the barn, the rest on pasture. Duties are horse care, hauling mares to vet, being around for farrier, mowing lawn, cleaning stalls, ect.

                        Comment


                        • #32
                          Originally posted by willowoodstables View Post
                          Wow these rates seem extremely low! I’ve been a professional groom forever. Never worked for less than $700/week (5.5days) plus paid holidays plus housing. Key word being professional...and I have mucked about a million stalls and scrubbed 2million buckets...I can medicate. I Can show groom. Can deal with old retired horses, can do rehabilitation and so on and so on. You want skilled people not labourers on any horse farm that can recognize a colic or abscess or just NQR. A good groom wears many hats besides cleaning stalls. Checking feed pans while mucking. When throwing hay making sure it’s not moldy or strings in it. Is the poop hard and dry or raging diarrhea. Are all shoes still on. When blanketing are all the leg straps right. Is that a new splint/bump/scab on the legs? That left front is fat..is it a sprain or lymphengitus? That set of reins is sketchy let’s change them out. Those boots need a good scrub to get the crud off. Clean the bits so they’re not gross. Launder the saddle pads/blankets/leg wraps...Etc etc etc. That’s what I do every day plus plus. And I’m very well paid because I’m very good at my job.
                          Well, in my example of the show grooms making $45 per head per day for 4-5 head was every day the horse was on the show grounds. That’s 180 to 225 a day, plus housing and per diem guaranteed. They didn’t price by each individual job but doing whatever needed to be done besides caring for their primary horses . Except mucking. NO mucking.

                          Barn typically had at least 20 horses stabled at the shows, keeping track of each individual job by each groom would have been cumbersome and not encourage mutual co operation on weekends with primary horses in multiple rings at the same time plus possibly prepping for sales demo. Owners tipped their primary groom on the last day but often also took care of any who helped their horse into the ring for class, lesson or sales demo if the primary was needed at another ring.

                          It worked, not a huge turnover in grooms at the shows or at home. Very little drama. Much eagerness to step in and help.
                          When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                          The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

                          Comment


                          • #33
                            Originally posted by findeight View Post

                            Of course many barns can’t afford regular employees as their boarding clientele can not afford to pay for it.
                            Or don’t want to pay for it. I‘m not very sympathetic in that regard; I believe if you want to own horses and you can’t/won’t care for them yourself, you need to be prepared to pay a fair wage for someone else to do it. A boarder who can’t afford it or a BO who doesn’t budget for it is a problem that shouldn’t be passed on to the worker.

                            I used to to manage a farm where I was paid $250 per week, plus housing (small apartment), two stalls, and some lessons. I supplemented that by teaching, training, and reselling young horses (kept one competition horse and one sale horse). From the employers POV, it seems generous given the stalls, but it was barely enough to live on. $1k per month, minus taxes, minus health insurance, car insurance, cell phone (it was expected that I had a smart phone with data in order to do my job, and used my personal phone for work), groceries, car maintenance, plus whatever my horses needed (farrier, vet, maintenance, etc). Thank god my car was paid off or I would’ve been underwater. A lot of added “perks” don’t really translate to savings for the employee because the employer tends to value them higher than what the employee would choose for themselves. For example, you might value the living accommodations at $1500/mo (600sq ft apartment with utilities) but your employee might otherwise choose a shared apartment for $800/mo. You might give them a stall in your barn where full board is $900/mo, but they might otherwise be keeping their horse at a self-care place for $150/mo plus their hay/grain. The more you add in perks and cut take home pay, the more you limit their ability to budget as needed. I once turned down what could have been a great part time gig, because they required me to live onsite and what they appraised rent would have been basically all of my pay. Super nice housing, but a nice house doesn’t put food on the table.

                            Comment


                            • #34
                              Whatever you decide to pay, make sure to keep track of actual hours worked, pay by the hour (and OT depending on state law), and know these people are employees. Even states with lax wage and hour laws are covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act, and violating the FLSA can be very expensive in terms of penalties.

                              Comment


                              • #35
                                Bumping this up to ask if anyone is paying a per stall rate for mucking these days?
                                Joan Davis
                                http://www.flatlandsfoto.com/
                                http://flatlands-equestrian.com/

                                Comment


                                • #36
                                  I pay my full time guy $100/day...he generally works 6 days/week =$600/week ...he feeds, turns in/out, hay, waters, mucks stalls,grooms, mows,weed whacks, General farm chores/ maintenance ...8 stalls ...plus also feeding & caring for outside crew of mini/donkey/pony/goats/pigs & cows on our private farm in zone 2(northeast pa) this includes housing
                                  R.I.P. "Henry" 4/22/05 - 3/26/2010 We loved you so much....gone but NEVER FORGOTTEN...i hope we meet again

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                                  • #37
                                    The best way to set a fair wage is to sit down and figure out how much YOU would find it fair to be paid for the work you are asking someone else to do. If you want it done up to your standards of course.

                                    Comment


                                    • #38
                                      This might be the wrong place to ask, but maybe someone more knowledgeable about taxes can chime in.

                                      In speaking with a barn owner about a full time groom position they had available recently, it came out that they file their grooms as independent contractors and 1099 them every year, rather than being regular employees with tax deductions from their paycheck. Is that the correct way to go about things? And is it legal?

                                      I've been 1099'ed for grooming at shows and sales (which I believe does fall under "contract" work as you're working for a set amount of time), but for "regular" 9-5 jobs I was always filed as a regular employee. I haven't held a full time groom position before though, so maybe this is industry standard?? Just made me wonder.

                                      Comment


                                      • #39
                                        Originally posted by PonyLove222 View Post
                                        This might be the wrong place to ask, but maybe someone more knowledgeable about taxes can chime in.

                                        In speaking with a barn owner about a full time groom position they had available recently, it came out that they file their grooms as independent contractors and 1099 them every year, rather than being regular employees with tax deductions from their paycheck. Is that the correct way to go about things? And is it legal?

                                        I've been 1099'ed for grooming at shows and sales (which I believe does fall under "contract" work as you're working for a set amount of time), but for "regular" 9-5 jobs I was always filed as a regular employee. I haven't held a full time groom position before though, so maybe this is industry standard?? Just made me wonder.
                                        I believe this discussion will tell you more than you ever wanted to know about the topic of 1099s and grooms

                                        https://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/f...vel-groom-make

                                        Short answer: probably not legal. Read discussion for details!

                                        Comment


                                        • #40
                                          I get paid per day. I only work on the weekends. I get $40/day, which if I am efficient, takes me about 2.5 hours between turnout, bringing them in, feeding, checking waters, and doing stalls. Of course, I live in a very rural area where most people are hobby owners.

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