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Would you rather...?

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  • Would you rather...?

    I'm moving my business (a decision that all my clients agreed on and benefits them all ) With this move I anticipate an influx of clients.

    I require all my clients to have a minimum of one lesson a week or their horse in training. Since I operate a full scale business that includes the boarding of said horses this is really where I make my money. While 90% of my clients are great about this (And I in return understand family vacations or if someone is sick etc with out demanding they make that up) some are a little less reliable. I was thinking of putting my lessons into board. I know some barns do this but I have nor have I ever been in one that does.

    So the question is;

    would you rather it be included in board?
    or
    would you rather it be due on the 15 of every month? (with additional lessons being paid individually.)
    or
    Would you rather have the option that you pay as you go?

    I offer a discount for those who take more then one lesson a month too so I would have to adjust accordingly.

    If you have the option to pay as you go how am I to go about those that take a liberty with this program?

    I would also like to add that my clients that are current and keep up with this are going to remain with how they do things now. I am looking for solutions with future clients.

    TIA

  • #2
    I would add the required lesson into the board, and then bill at the end of the month for extra lessons/rides/meds/etc. If they know they have a vacation or event the third week, then it can be deducted from the board. You have to decide on your cancellation policy. If they cancel according to your scedule, you'll credit their bill at the end of the month, if they don't they lose it.

    Comment


    • #3
      I think where you're most apt to run into problems is when some boarders get to do it x way, and some riders have to do it y way. You'll always have someone who, warranted or not, would rather the opportunity to do it x way.

      Even with a group of drama free, low stress adults, I don't think you'd want to deal with the possible perception of favoritism in your barn.

      Comment


      • #4
        Since billing can get to be such a huge time suck... I would suggest that you have a full training and a 1/2 training option. Bill board and training together at the beginning of the month, offer a % discount for bills paid by the first.

        Or... do a lesson package for each month and they either use them or lose them.

        Good luck with your new location and program. : )
        Stoneybrook Farm Afton TN

        Comment


        • #5
          I would WAY rather pay a higher flat rate that includes training (lessons & rides) than pay board and a la carte training separately. Every situation I've been in where it was billed separately turned into a crazy nickle and dime scenario that was painful to deal with. At a flat rate, I know my horse is always getting ridden, I can have a lesson when I want, and I don't have to try and keep track of either (and neither does my trainer). Sure, some months she there are more or less rides & lessons, but I figure it all evens out in the end. The flat rate makes it much easier for me to budget as well.
          "A canter is the cure for every evil."

          Comment


          • #6
            I would rather pay a flat rate that included any "required" lessons.

            I would hope there would be some flexibility so that, if I missed my lesson on week 1 because I was sick, I could take 2 lessons in week 2. Or switch a lesson to a training ride. But that would be on a case by case basis to avoid abuse.
            Janet

            chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).

            Comment


            • #7
              As a junior riding all the time, I would have agreed with BabyGreenTB: rather have a flat rate that covers everything, so I could lesson when I wanted, my parents didn't have to send me with a check when I wanted to lesson, etc. As an adult with a much busier schedule, the pay-as-you-go option might work better.
              Cowboy up.

              Comment


              • #8
                I would rather be told it costs ____ to board here & that includes 1 lesson or training ride per week rather then board costs ____ plus 1 lesson a week costing ____ so times 4 equals ____ plus the _____ board....here is what it really costs to board here.

                All the barns I know that require a lesson program to board there have it worked into their "base" board fee. Extra lessons are billed seperately.

                Plus if people pay as they go, it's harder for you to enforce the lesson policy. Which I think you are discovering isn't working cause it sounds like that is what you are doing now?
                "I'm not crazy...my mother had me tested"

                Comment


                • #9
                  Definitely include the lessons with your board payment. Then the onus is on your client to be sure to have their lesson. Otherwise it can be a record keeping nightmare with who skipped a lesson this week, etc. Then some clients end up taking several weeks off and before you know they are simply boarding. Put the ball in this court. They are much more likely to take their lessons or be sure to reschedule if it's already pairs for.
                  “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
                  ¯ Oscar Wilde

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Janet View Post
                    I would rather pay a flat rate that included any "required" lessons.

                    I would hope there would be some flexibility so that, if I missed my lesson on week 1 because I was sick, I could take 2 lessons in week 2. Or switch a lesson to a training ride. But that would be on a case by case basis to avoid abuse.
                    This!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Giddy-up View Post
                      I would rather be told it costs ____ to board here & that includes 1 lesson or training ride per week rather then board costs ____ plus 1 lesson a week costing ____ so times 4 equals ____ plus the _____ board....here is what it really costs to board here.

                      All the barns I know that require a lesson program to board there have it worked into their "base" board fee. Extra lessons are billed seperately.

                      Plus if people pay as they go, it's harder for you to enforce the lesson policy. Which I think you are discovering isn't working cause it sounds like that is what you are doing now?
                      Exactly this, and this is how the barn I ride at works. Farrier, vet, show fees etc are all extras too (we get invoices when anything on top of board w/lessons is charged).
                      Go Ahead: This is a dare, not permission. Don't Do It!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I will start by saying that I totally get the logic, but it's definitely frustrating to me to be billed once a month for board in advance, but then have everything else (lessons, training rides, shoes, vet) for the month prior.

                        I get the logic in fixed expenses (board) vs. variable ones (lessons etc.) but it makes it a nightmare for me to sit there and remember that I am looking at 2 different months in one bill. Particularly when the board varies according to what our trainer deems part of board for that month (supplements, etc.)

                        I've never (so far) felt as if I were being taken advantage of, but I do know that I had some pause when a few months ago the trainer took me aside and basically told me they'd made some errors in their accounting and I was actually $2K behind on my bills with them. I'm not an accountant and they did say it was their fault, I paid the bill ... but God I wish my barn made their bills as easy to read as Amex does theirs.
                        Still Learning Something New Every Day !!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I board where two lessons per week are included. If I don't use the lessons, and there are times I don't, then I can either roll those into having the pro hop on and tool around on the horse (who doesn't really need it that much, but it's still nice every now and then) or make up lessons somewhere down the road. Lessons are never refunded if you miss them, but you always have that option of making them up or having the pro ride.

                          I might think about making "packages" - if you require one lesson per week, that is your base package. If someone would like to do two lessons per week, that is another package. If someone wants two lessons and one pro ride a week, another price level. That way everyone always knows what they are paying and you always know what you're going to make. Easy. Plus, then you avoid those crrrazy billing snafus like BarnMom mentioned... EEK! If someone told me I were 2k behind due to their accounting error, I'd be having kittens.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I pay X for board and X for lessons (training/lessons package), in advance. I would hate to pay a la carte--tracking all that would be such a hassle. If I miss a lesson, my issue, I paid for it and there are many opportunities to make it up each month, but I and my trainer don't have to keep track and add or subtract.
                            Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              When I was at a training barn, you had the option of paying for full training or half training or what they called smooth board (when horse was injured or not in work). Basically in full training your horse got out every day with turn out and then either you got a lesson or the trainer rode the horse. With half training you only got two lessons and one trainer rider per week.
                              There was a white board where lessons where scheduled in time slots and basically you were in the same slot week to week. If something came up you and the trainer worked out another slot or not. There was a second white board for the horses where it indicated who was riding the horse that day or whatever.
                              Worked very well and easy to see.
                              Other you paid the trainer monthly separate from the board as trainer did not own the property. The trainer had a rate sheet that included all the options and what you/horse got under each option and if there were any add ons they were detailed on the rate sheet - full clipping, show clipping for non training horses, etc.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Janet View Post
                                I would rather pay a flat rate that included any "required" lessons.

                                I would hope there would be some flexibility so that, if I missed my lesson on week 1 because I was sick, I could take 2 lessons in week 2. Or switch a lesson to a training ride. But that would be on a case by case basis to avoid abuse.
                                Agreed completely. I think their needs to be something built in so people don't 'lose' lessons due to bad weather or sickness -- but there also needs to be a rule as to how/when/where they can make it up. I would think 30 days would be sufficient time for someone to make up a missed (bad weather, sickness) lesson. And I do really like the switching a lesson for a training ride suggestion.
                                The dude abides ...

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  If they are required, I would have it combined in the board cost. But for anything else I HATE having to pay a flat training rate. In fact I really never have done that cause I couldn't afford it!

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    I think the billing needs to be consistent with all your clients - even in the most drama free barn people get to talking and things can come out unintentionally. Unless you have some long time clients that you can 'grandfather" in I would still to one billing policy. Agree w/ what Janet said above. Things happen and in todays economy everyone needs to be fairly flexible

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      I used to board at a barn where a certain number of lessons (I believe it was 4) were included in the monthly Board rate. Worked great for me for years, until my mare was unrideable due to an injury and the BO refused to reduce my monthly Board bill or supply a horse I could lesson on (and yes, she had lesson horses).

                                      Basically, I was paying for a service that I couldn't use so I finally left.

                                      If you do decide to go with a package deal, be sure to allow some flexibility for boardres who can't take lessons for legitimate reasons, such as a lame horse.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by BABYGREENTB View Post
                                        I would WAY rather pay a higher flat rate that includes training (lessons & rides) than pay board and a la carte training separately. Every situation I've been in where it was billed separately turned into a crazy nickle and dime scenario that was painful to deal with. At a flat rate, I know my horse is always getting ridden, I can have a lesson when I want, and I don't have to try and keep track of either (and neither does my trainer). Sure, some months she there are more or less rides & lessons, but I figure it all evens out in the end. The flat rate makes it much easier for me to budget as well.
                                        My coach does this and I love it. It's so much easier. I've dealt with the "a la carte" type of billing and found I paid more than I should've.

                                        Comment

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