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Tack Cleaning...How Much Would You Pay?

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  • Tack Cleaning...How Much Would You Pay?

    To start this off, I found a thread from 2011 that discussed starting a tack-cleaning "business" and what prices would be appropriate to charge. Because that thread is a year old and hardly got any responses, I thought I'd post a new one in the H/J forum.

    Yesterday, while I was cleaning my trainer's schooling tack (just because I can't stand dirty, disgusting tack), some ladies noticed and one even told me she'd be willing to pay me to clean her tack. I'm a hunter rider, but the barn is a mixture of Western, pleasure, and English/eventing.

    Her comment got me thinking. Since I couldn't get a summer job...yet again...I made up a flyer listing prices for cleaning and conditioning various items of leather tack and eqipment. {The products I use on my own tack are Leather Therapy Wash and Condition & Restorer.}

    Please let me know if this sounds reasonable for English tack.
    - Bridle $13 {Completely disassembled for cleaning/conditioning}
    - Bridle w/ reins $15 {Completely disassembled for cleaning/conditioning}
    - Saddle w/ stirrup leathers $14
    - Martingale $7
    - Breastplate $9
    - Breastplate w/ running or standing attachment $10
    - Girth $4
    - Reins $4
    - Halters $3
    - Paddock boots $5
    - Half chaps $3
    - Tall boots $15 {Besides cleaning, would also include application of boot polish and buffing}

    Rates would be for tack in normal to moderate conditions. Prices would be subject to increase depending on hte condition of tack [i.e. if tack has been in storage, or is covered in extreme dust, dirt, and/or mold.]

    Thanks!
    Last edited by huntr_eq_blonde; Jun. 13, 2012, 03:10 PM.

  • #2
    Personally, I think $15 bucks for an English bridle with reins is crazy high. Even if it is filthy and you are using a toothbrush on laced reins it should only take 15 minutes. A decently clean bridle is like 3 minutes to wipe down and wrap up.

    And then $7 for the martingale? That is a circle and a straight line, with a little swoop swoop through the loops on the ends. Good lord, a standard hunter bridle that takes 3 minutes to wipe down would be over $20.


    If this is at your barn and you will be there anyway on a regular basis (so, not having to drive extra), I would do more like $3 a bridle and hope that people start asking you to do theirs on a regular basis once or twice a week. Then if you get a stack of 10 to clean you can set aside half an hour and bring in an easy $30.
    The Noodlehttp://tiny.cc/NGKmT&http://tiny.cc/gioSA
    Jinxyhttp://tiny.cc/PIC798&http://tiny.cc/jinx364
    Boy Wonderhttp://tiny.cc/G9290
    The Hana is nuts! NUTS!!http://tinyurl.com/SOCRAZY

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    • #3
      Those prices seem outrageous, IMO. I would pay $10 for someone to clean ALL of my tack. I guess I'm cheap. It also doesn't take that long to be honest.
      Originally posted by rustbreeches
      [George Morris] doesn't always drink beer, but when he does, he prefers Dos Equis

      Comment


      • #4
        I paid a trainer's kid (I think he was around 10 yrs old) $5 per week to clean my tack a few years back. He did my bridle weekly, plus my saddle and girth now and then. I supplied the tack cleaner, as everyone has their own "opinions" on what should be used for their tack.

        That was totally reasonable to me - and he was saving up $$ to buy a specific video game. I might consider a little higher, but $5 was a nice round number - $20/month (sometimes I'd "tip" him an extra $5 - he was a sweet kid). He had other "clients" at the barn too - think he probably did 5-6 bridles a week, which was about 1 hour of work. His mom even taught him how to remove the bits & soak them in warm water to get the "gunk" off while he was cleaning the leather.

        $15 is way too high for cleaning 1 bridle 1 time, IMO. At that rate, I would have just found the time to do it myself - which is what I do these days anyway.

        Comment


        • #5
          Maybe I'm cheap, but those are the prices I'd pay for tack that HAS been sitting in storage/covered in dust/whatever. It takes literally a minute or less to wipe down a martingale in normal to moderate condition. At that rate you're charging about $420 an hour to clean tack...

          Comment


          • #6
            No way. I might pay $20 for ALL my tack (3 saddles, 2 breastplates, 4 bridles) to be cleaned. Even nasty, filthy tack takes just a couple of minutes to clean.
            .

            Comment


            • #7
              To me the reins should be the expensive part of the bridle cleaning since that's where the hard labor is! For someone to be charging $10 plus to clean a bridle, I would be expecting them to take it apart, really clean off any and all dirt/sweat/etc, polish the metal ware, toothpaste scrub the bit, and then put it back together with a final application of oil or glycerin. I'm thinking this would take 30 minutes even for a bridle that had been sitting for a long time or a really dirty one. That would be $20/hour - not to shabby.

              Same thing on the saddle front - the stitching would have to be made impeccably clean and all metals polished.

              Why the big difference between halters and bridles? If anything, halters tend to be a lot dirtier and rarely cared for as well.

              If your barn doesn't already have one and it is ok with your parents, you could also offer a laundry service. I know a lot of people don't like traveling with sweaty saddle pads and dealing with rolling wraps (although I happen to love the smell of horse sweat!).

              Comment


              • #8
                At those prices, I'd be cleaning my own.

                One of the kids cleaned maybe a bridle and very dirty halter and I gave him $10, maybe $15 and considered the tip already in there.

                I would revise the prices based on how much you would get done in an hour if you're pretty efficient.

                Edit: bridle included reins
                Born under a rock and owned by beasts!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Your prices are too high

                  - Bridle w/ reins $7
                  - Saddle w/ stirrup leathers $10
                  - Martingale $3
                  - Breastplate $3
                  - Breastplate w/ running or standing attachment $4
                  - Girth $5
                  - Halters $3
                  - Paddock boots $3
                  - Half chaps $3
                  - Show-worthy tall boots $10 {Would include application of boot polish and buffing}

                  Or Saddle/leathers/bridle/reins/martingale/girth for $20. Even though I like cleaning my own tack, I would pay $20 for the above.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I pay for so much ridiculous horse related stuff already. No way am I paying someone anything (much less that much) to clean my tack. It takes me all of three minutes to do.

                    It's a great *idea* but I don't think it'd take off.
                    Trying a life outside of FEI tents and hotel rooms.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by maigenesis View Post
                      Your prices are too high

                      - Bridle w/ reins $7
                      - Saddle w/ stirrup leathers $10
                      - Martingale $3
                      - Breastplate $3
                      - Breastplate w/ running or standing attachment $4
                      - Girth $5
                      - Halters $3
                      - Paddock boots $3
                      - Half chaps $3
                      - Show-worthy tall boots $10 {Would include application of boot polish and buffing}

                      Or Saddle/leathers/bridle/reins/martingale/girth for $20. Even though I like cleaning my own tack, I would pay $20 for the above.
                      This is more like it for a one-time cleaning, but I would be inclined to offer two price plans:

                      one time cleaning ala carte as above
                      OR
                      $7 a week for a "set" of tack done regularly as MR described
                      The Noodlehttp://tiny.cc/NGKmT&http://tiny.cc/gioSA
                      Jinxyhttp://tiny.cc/PIC798&http://tiny.cc/jinx364
                      Boy Wonderhttp://tiny.cc/G9290
                      The Hana is nuts! NUTS!!http://tinyurl.com/SOCRAZY

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Hmm, I used to run a similar 'business' as a teen in the early 90's at a small, moderately upscale H/J barn in the northeast, and the prices I charged back then were similar to what maigenesis proposed. It came out to about $20 for a full set of tack--saddle, girth, bridle, martingale--usually done every couple weeks. This was a full cleaning with conditioning, taking apart bridles, polishing metal etc (which takes way more than the 3 minutes that some people are saying) and not just a quick wipe down. I had 3 or 4 regular clients and it made me about $80 bucks a month for 6 to 8 hours work.
                        I guess I was just lucky that people were willing to pay me that, even 20 years ago. Of course the value of labor seems to be constantly plummeting anyway, as prices of goods skyrocket.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I think $20 for bridle + reins, saddle + stirrup leathers IS fair and attractive. I wouldn't have an issue paying that at all.

                          The original quote was $29 for the above. I think the bridle price by the OP is particularly high. The a la carte prices start to add up. I think an attractive package price will get more clients.

                          Edit: I board near NYC, so labor rates here are high. In a cheaper area, $20 might be a lot for that. You may need to throw in the girth and/or martingale to get clients. Also I wouldn't be willing to pay $20 every week, but 2x a month might work.
                          Born under a rock and owned by beasts!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by maigenesis View Post
                            Your prices are too high

                            - Bridle w/ reins $7
                            - Saddle w/ stirrup leathers $10
                            - Martingale $3
                            - Breastplate $3
                            - Breastplate w/ running or standing attachment $4
                            - Girth $5
                            - Halters $3
                            - Paddock boots $3
                            - Half chaps $3
                            - Show-worthy tall boots $10 {Would include application of boot polish and buffing}

                            Or Saddle/leathers/bridle/reins/martingale/girth for $20. Even though I like cleaning my own tack, I would pay $20 for the above.
                            Yes. The above is what I've paid in the past, and what I would pay now if someone would show up with examples of excellent work.

                            The bundle price is most appreciated as well.

                            Do define what you are going to do. The above prices are more for the soap & wipe. If you are offering a different level of service with leather conditioning, perhaps a polish, with good quality products provided by yourself, that might be a greater price. I would do the basic price on a weekly basis, and the special before a recognized show.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              OP, how about two sets of prices: what in Pony Club we used to call "clean E" (clean enough) and "clean I" (clean for inspection). Ask any Pony Clubber what clean for inspection means. It takes a lot of intense labor and time.

                              For inspection, we not only cleaned every crevice with a toothbrush (or toothpick if necessary) and totally conditioned the leather, we polished every tiny bridle buckle and saddle nailhead with Simichrome. If you're willing to do that--or if someone is expecting you to recondition extremely filthy or moldy tack, your prices might be reasonable.

                              "Clean E" is what most people would do for routine maintenance of tack in regular use. It doesn't take long and shouldn't be so expensive.
                              I heard a neigh. Oh, such a brisk and melodious neigh as that was! My very heart leaped with delight at the sound. --Nathaniel Hawthorne

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I think I spent an hour once on two full bridles (one moldy), the leather bits on a surcingle that had been much abused and already sent through the washing machine, a halter, a martingale that needed multiple dippings and something else I'm forgetting that was minor. At those prices, it seems fair, but I can't believe anyone would be that lazy to not clean their own tack?

                                Maybe I'm deluding myself though...
                                COTH's official mini-donk enabler

                                "I am all for reaching out, but in some situations it needs to be done with a rolled up news paper." Alagirl

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Nice to see enterprising young tack fiends stepping up. I believe I was part of that old thread. I have yet to build my Tack Care Empire.

                                  I have looked at the prices y'all suggest and your estimates at how long it takes to clean a bridle.

                                  At the risk of offending potential customers, may I just say that you "In-n-out, $7 because it just takes a couple of minutes" types are exactly the people who need dedicated Tack Care Specialists.

                                  Also, you might as well bring a really abused or neglected thing to your Tack Care Specialist. More bang for your buck. You need to think of this as how 19th-century housework was done. The female head of household might do some stuff, but she hired Char Women for the tough work-- moving coal around, scrubbing floors, beating out carpets in the pre-vacuum era. Y'all need char women for your tack.
                                  Last edited by mvp; Jun. 13, 2012, 02:27 PM.
                                  The armchair saddler
                                  Politically Pro-Cat

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    I told the ammy in my barn I'd do it for free, and she paid me $50. I guess that's not the norm though. I'd still do it for free because it relaxes me

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by BostonHJ View Post
                                      If your barn doesn't already have one, you could also offer a laundry service.
                                      Good idea. And along the same lines, a tack up/cool down service. I'm always pressed for time, and I'd love it if besides dealing with my tack and sweaty saddle pads, someone was available put my horse back in order for me when I've got to run or I accidentally got him more sweaty than I'd allowed time for.

                                      And I agree with two pricing schedules. One for "spring cleaning" and one for regular weekly maintenance.
                                      ::I do not understand your specific kind of crazy, but I do admire your total commitment to it::

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by meupatdoes View Post
                                        And then $7 for the martingale? That is a circle and a straight line, with a little swoop swoop through the loops on the ends.
                                        Have you looked at a Western martingale or breastplate recently!
                                        If it was clean already & ony needed a touch up, sure $3 but if it actually needs cleaning & conditioning, OP's queried prices are very fair.

                                        I rather assumed that bridle cleaning meant taking it completely apart & doing a proper clean - not really a 3 minute if you need to clean, then condition with a drying step in between.

                                        Definitely offer a package price: I'd consider $25 pretty fair if I'm not supplying cleaner & conditioner; also offer discounts to repeat cutomers, eg, buy 9 or 10 get one free

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