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BO charging haul-in fee for clinics--even though I BOARD THERE. Is this a thing?

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  • BO charging haul-in fee for clinics--even though I BOARD THERE. Is this a thing?

    The title pretty much tells it--my barn owner charges a haul-in fee for anyone who rides in a clinic there, even those who board there (i.e., me). It came as an unpleasant surprise. Supposedly it is a fee for the "private use of the indoor arena," but I expressly allowed another boarder ride during my lesson, so this fee is really irking me. It's only $10 but it's the principle of the thing. I hate being nickel-and-dimed.
    Do all barns do this, and I am just ignorant? Obviously it's not worth an argument and I'm going to pay it anyway, but i thought I'd ask people from other parts of the country if this is common practice.
    I'm also a little curious as to why she doesn't charge this same "haul-in" fee to those of us who board there and take a weekly jumping lesson with a local trainer. The indoor arena is closed to general riding during the jumping lesson times so i am a little curious as to the possible rationale behind the double standard.
    Thanks for any insights!
    Click here for the Roxie blog!

  • #2
    Uh... no. That's ridiculous.
    Proudly blogging for The Chronicle of the Horse!


    • #3
      She might be charging the in house trainer a commission fee for those lessons and your trainer is the one covering.

      No, I don't think a haul in fee for anything when you board there is a smart fee to charge.
      "Aye God, Woodrow..."


      • #4
        I guess it depends. If the BO organized the clinic then no, I don't think they should charge the fee to boarders. If someone else organized it then I don't have a problem with it because you are tying up her ring with something she is not making money on (except through the fee)


        • #5
          A "haul in fee" is for non boarders who....haul in for something. At least in English.

          What does your written boarding contract say? Better review it. BO can charge whatever additional fees they want IF the written contract allows them to do so.
          When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

          The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


          • #6
            Well, there's certainly nothing wrong with a BO collecting a fee when a clinic is held on their property. In fact, they probably should receive a fee. Perhaps this fee is just mislabeled?

            I remember leaving a barn years ago when the board went up $20. (This was long before I ran my own barn!) When I questioned the proprietor about the increase, she got a little irate, said that the fee increase was to pay for things like "salt bricks", and told me that if I didn't like it, I could leave. I was a good client, but I did leave. What I learned from that experience was that you just needed to be professional about things. A business owner should make money. If overhead has increased and a fee increase is needed, notification needs to be given in a professional manner and clients' questions need to be addressed.

            What your BO does with the money isn't your business. I bet the "haul in fee" label was just a knee jerk name- much like the "salt brick" label. It would probably go over better with you if there was just a "clinic fee". Clinician was paid, BO was paid, refreshments paid, etc. That way, client could just decide if the clinic was "worth it".


            • #7
              Boarders never pay haul-in fees at my barn for lessons (or clinics which are when outside trainer is brought in special). Even when there are audit fees for clinicians, boarders are also always exempt. And the only haul in fees are paid by those who literally haul in.

              Lesson space is always yielded to the lessoner for our indoor arena which is hair smaller then a small court dressage, but never exclusive (except for clinics which are announced ahead of time and are only like 2-4 times a year) and we have lessons going 4 days a week in the indoor and 35 boarded horses. Only actual haul-ins pay the haul in fee which is for the extra wear and tear their horses create - because the number of extra horses to use footing can't be calculated in our board that would cover footing adjustments because it's unknown.

              We have 3 trainers and 2 usable arenas for lessons. None of them pay an extra fee to the BO for being there. I think it's considered an amenity provided to the boarders to have the ability to take lessons or have the pro rides. So many barns around me don't have in-house trainers.


              • #8
                What does your contract say about bringing in outside trainers? Sounds more like a fee that should be between the outside trainer and your barn...that outside trainer is making money using the facility, many barns expect a cut or percentage of lesssons given on their property and it is spelled out in the boarding contract and any paperwork between BO and the free lance trainer.

                And remember the barn grapevine can be unreliable and you really don't know exactly who paid what for what service, only what they choose to share (and sometimes that's not true anyway).

                Whats in your contract? If adding additional fees with no notice is not spelled out in writing? You may not have to pay. BOs can ammend the contract but have to give advance written notice to boarders so they can leave if they do not want to pay. They cannot just stick extra charges on there and demand payment capriciously-like charging a "haul in" fee to those who do not haul in.

                Can't tell you what to do without knowing what is in the contract you signed.
                When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


                • #9
                  Does she have an agreement with the local jumping trainer? If for some reason she and that trainer have a special agreement, then she may charge this fee ('haul-in' might just be a case of bad wording, usually farms charge ring fees for the use of the ring by trainers who don't have a prior arrangement or aren't well-known to the farm) to protect the trainer she has an agreement with, even if she doesn't employ said trainer. Was the farm hosting a clinic or was this something you arranged on your own with an outside trainer? If the farm organized the clinic, that is outrageous.
                  “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” -Howard Thurman


                  • Original Poster

                    The farm is one of 3-4 that the (dressage) clinician attends when she comes to the area, five or 6 times a year. I am not the only boarder at the facility who rides with this clinician when she comes.

                    I am not sure if there is a separate arrangement with the jumping trainer. Maybe there is a pre-existing relationship, or he is doing some training rides for the BO or something else I do not know about. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt.

                    My contract does not address any fees beyond boarding and training costs. "Training costs" in the contract refer only to training/lessons given by barn employees, not outside trainers or clinicians.

                    The need for me to pay a haul-in fee was not disclosed to me until the day of the clinic, verbally, by a quasi-barn manager. She called it a "haul-in" fee, although it showed up on my December invoice as a "clinic" fee. Either way, i have never been charged additional fees for any event like this. It is usually considered a perk of boarding at a nice (and pricey) facility that can host such clinics and events.

                    Islgirl's statement about the BO needing to make money through the fee makes sense to me, although I still think it is ridiculous.
                    Click here for the Roxie blog!


                    • #11
                      If it was not disclosed until the day of the clinic and appeared on your bill as a previously undisclosed in writing? I wouldn't pay it.

                      I would, however avoid the "quasi barn manger" and speak or write to the real barn manager about it. Don't just not pay it, tell them why in a productive way.

                      I suspect there are other barns between Couer d'Alene and Spokane so...plan B is always a good idea. It can be a bad sign there is a looming financial problem and better get that plan B up sooner then later, just in case. Lots of barns closing these days and the first sign is surprise fees and a reduction in things like shavings and feed. Keep eyes and ears open and mouth shut except to actual barn manager.
                      Last edited by findeight; Jan. 1, 2013, 10:37 AM.
                      When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                      The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


                      • #12
                        When we have clinics at the barn where I board, I do pay a $10 fee on top of the fee to the clinician. It's not called a "haul in" fee, but I believe it is really more of an "outside trainer" fee or something. Like the $10 is the portion of the clinic fees that goes to the barn owner. During the clinics, the indoor is closed to non-clinic participants for the period of time the clinic is taking place (or, if it is outside, half of the outdoor arena is closed for the clinic). I don't have a problem with it, and just consider it part of the cost of the clinic. It is kind of a lot of work to set up a barn for the clinic, too...so I feel like it is more than appropriate that the barn owner get some benefit from hosting the clinics (which I really like because it saves me the annoyance of having to travel). I suppose they could be "sneaky" about it and build it into the clincian's fees, and then have the clinician pay the barn owner...but the end result would be the same and this is more transparent.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by FineAlready View Post
                          When we have clinics at the barn where I board, I do pay a $10 fee on top of the fee to the clinician. It's not called a "haul in" fee, but I believe it is really more of an "outside trainer" fee or something. Like the $10 is the portion of the clinic fees that goes to the barn owner. During the clinics, the indoor is closed to non-clinic participants for the period of time the clinic is taking place (or, if it is outside, half of the outdoor arena is closed for the clinic). I don't have a problem with it, and just consider it part of the cost of the clinic. It is kind of a lot of work to set up a barn for the clinic, too...so I feel like it is more than appropriate that the barn owner get some benefit from hosting the clinics (which I really like because it saves me the annoyance of having to travel). I suppose they could be "sneaky" about it and build it into the clincian's fees, and then have the clinician pay the barn owner...but the end result would be the same and this is more transparent.
                          I suspect there's already a fee to the BO built in in the form of a free spot in the clinic.


                          • #14
                            I've cliniced before, paid a haul in fee to the barn with one check, then a seperate check to the barn for the clinic. What happened was in addition to the amount the barn got for my haul in fee they also took a cut off the lesson fee before they cut the clinician a single check. Nice.


                            • #15
                              For $10, I wouldn't get my panties twisted. It's probably a fee for an outside trainer coming in.
                              Where I live, it's much higher then $10 for an outside trianer.


                              • #16
                                To be fair, putting on a clinic does entail some work and expense for the barn hosting it.

                                There might be advertising, printing out sign up forms, answering questions about the clinician, making the schedule and doing last minute shuffling for cancellations/changes, collecting checks from participants, cleaning, setting out equipment/jumps, seating for spectators, making hotel/travel arrangements for the clinician, perhaps the BO even hosts the clinician at his/her house or drives them to/from the hotel, the host facility will probably provide some food and drink for the clinician and possibly some refreshments for participants, the arena is probably going to be groomed a couple of extra times, the bathroom will need extra TP and cleaning because participants and guests might be hanging out all day to watch, there may need to be an accommodation for extra parking for guests who come to watch their friend/spouse/child ride in the clinic, cleaning up trash afterwards...etc. Don't forget, the host barn is most likely also paying for extra insurance to host a clinic. It seems fair to me that these costs should be divided up among all participants in the form of a clinic fee.

                                In the OP's case, it seems to me that the BO was silly to call the fee for this extra stuff a "ship in" fee. It's a clinic fee, not a ship in fee.

                                Of course, any participants that ship in would most likely have to pay an extra fee for stabling for the clinic. Personally I think that charging an extra ship in fee to those who ship in for the day but don't stable on site is reasonable as well. Having a bunch of people coming in for the day with trailers is either a lot of wear and tear on grass parking areas or requires costly large gravel parking lots. There's also manure and trash disposal for those folks, and some of them won't clean up well after themselves.


                                • #17
                                  Right, there are real costs involved for the BO. Also, please don't forget: This is a business and the BO is entitled to a "profit". Really, a business owner should factor in a profit for any and every service that is offered.

                                  It seems to go both ways. The BO doesn't really think it through like a business owner. They call it a "haul in" fee, which it really isn't and raises hackles. On the other hand, clients are so offended when BOs charge for things. "I hate being nickle and dimed!". "That's ridiculous!".


                                  • #18
                                    There are better ways to get the money than by adding this or that fee though - unless the organizers are afraid that if someone is confronted with a higher gross cost of say 225 rather than 190 for the clinic and then 10 for this and then 10 more and 15 for that too - the math adds up the same but the mental processes behind accepting it are different.

                                    I read an article on marketing via yahoo this AM, about how people view pricing and pricing structures, boy was it interesting.
                                    Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
                                    Incredible Invisible


                                    • #19
                                      Who is putting on this clinic? Is it an outside organization or does the BO host them? If it's an outside group, then I could understand this fee, if it's the BO hosting this then I think the fee is ridiculous. And if the BO is hosting, thus would hopefully profit from said clinic, then the BO needs to factor in those details/expenses into the fee to attend. The idea of hosting a clinic is to have attendance right? Then why discourage it by charging dumb fees like a haul in fee to one of the boarder's. Did the BO offer $10 t to those boarders who didn't want to attend and were prevented from riding in the indoor that day? NOPE. My comments are based on the premise that the BO was hosting, thus benefitting from the clinic.


                                      • Original Poster

                                        Not sure, gottagrey. There is a woman who plans/facilitates the clinic for the clinician but I am not sure where she (facilitator) rides. She basically sends an e-mail out, compiles responses from people who want to ride, and then tells the clinician "you have x number of lessons at Farm A, x number of lessons at Farm B," etc. The clinician drives herself from place to place.

                                        Barn Owner doesn't ride with this clinician, at least not that I have seen.

                                        I'm not sure what "hosting" entails but the level of work involved is nothing like what BeeHoney listed. The clinician brings her own PA system. There is no arena set-up, no marketing beyond the facilitator's e-mail request, few to no spectators and, since the barn got a Keurig for Christmas from a boarder, no refreshment/beverage service set-up.

                                        I agree with gottagrey's comment that it's sort of lame to prevent other boarders from riding during the clinic, particularly at this time of year where, in my region at least, the indoor is your only option. I allowed another boarder to ride during mine, because I know this other boarder travels a lot for her job and her riding time is limited. Also, quasi-barn manager's tone in speaking with this other boarder just rubbed me the wrong way (i.e., "well, you KNOW there is a clinic today. And you KNOW the arena is closed.").

                                        Yes, i know the fee is only $10. And I am going to pay it, as i stated in my original post. But ReSomething is right--it's bothering me, and it's because of how I am perceiving the fee.
                                        Last edited by sirensong4; Jan. 2, 2013, 04:51 PM. Reason: forgot to mention that the ground is frozen here :)
                                        Click here for the Roxie blog!