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Trailering for shows

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  • Trailering for shows

    I need help for what to charge for trailering to shows. What do other barns charge? Do you charge by the mile, by the horse or a flat rate. Do you charge both ways? A few of my boarders are at a show this weekend. I trailered 3 horses 25 miles one way, dropped the trailer and came home. I will go back the next day to pick them up. It takes a lot of time out of my day not to mention the cost of gas. I want to be fair but I also don't want to give it away. Thanks in advance for your replies. I am located in NW Ohio.
  • Original Poster

    Can anyone give me some suggestions?


    • #3
      Most people I know charge by the mile, but keep in mind that charging more than just your expenses will put you into the commercial haulers category under most insurance situations. For local shows around here, (CT) you would expect a flat rate to reflect the cost of the time/effort in addition to the mileage - maybe around $75 or so each way. For longer trips of say up to a few hours, it would just be a $/mi arrangement and could be anywhere from $1 - $2 per mile. Long distance (CT - FL) you would pay a flat rate that would be less per mile with a commercial shipper; I've been quoted in the $900-1200 range.

      If you have already shipped your boarders, I think you may be in a little bit of a pickle if you didn't tell them upfront what the charge would be; perhaps the trainer can convey what the expectation is and give you some help with the pricing that is typical in your area.
      We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.


      • #4
        In Georgia, with a commercial shipper or a shipper who is not already bringing a horse to that event, the trip you described would cost $2 per mile, per horse, round-trip, with no charge for unloaded miles if you're lucky. That'd be a total of $100 per horse plus any unloaded mileage charges. It could be as high as $175 per horse for a minimum of two horses for the trip you're describing.

        Shipping a horse alone costs more, too, since many shippers have a minimum charge between $200 and $350 for a trailer load, even if it's just one horse. That means even if your mileage is less than $200 worth, $200 is what you pay. If your mileage is more, of course, then you pay the total mileage times $2 plus unloaded and other charges.

        Basically, you would not be out of line to charge at least $300 total for this trip.

        If you were "on call" to pick them up (as in, you had to leave when they called or otherwise wait around for them to be ready), tack on an extra $50 each next time, or $15 an hour (not each, total) for every hour you have to be hitched up and ready but with no horses on the trailer, even if you are at home waiting for a phone call. That will either encourage people to plan well OR make you more money, and either way it's more fair to you and to them since they only pay the fee if they make you wait.

        Good luck!
        Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight, / And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way, / Do not go gentle into that good night. -- Dylan Thomas


        • #5
          I should mention that I based this on "commercial shipper" rates since you were not attending the show yourself. If you were a trainer or a friend who is going anyway, you would reflect the lack of inconvenience / no-lost-time by reducing your rate.

          But in this case, it sounds like you are effectively just a shipper: you have been asked to ship horses somewhere you were not going on your own and the owners of the horses have offered to compensate you for your time and expenses.

          Unfortunately, you do usually need special insurance. Mine won't let me accept ANYTHING, even gas money reimbursement. I can, however, let someone else pay for my gas upfront - just not after the fact. (My understanding is that Suzie Jones can swipe her credit card at the pump and put gas in my car without breaking rules, but she cannot write me a check to pay me back for my gas. Weird, I know.)
          Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight, / And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way, / Do not go gentle into that good night. -- Dylan Thomas


          • #6
            My trainer charges $1/mile for any hauling as he's usually going to the show. I just ask them to split the gas if they go with my horse.
            pace, path, balance, impulsion and ??

            Don't panic! Ralph Leroy Hill


            • Original Poster

              I am the barn owner and my boarders are going to the shows. This is what I'm trying to figure out..
              1. What is the average charge per mile?

              2. Do you charge both ways, ie, I took them to the show yesterday, dropped the trailer and came home. The trip was 25 miles each way. I will be picking them up today sometime but don't know what time. They will call me.

              3. Do you have a minimum charge, for one horse on the trailer?

              I want to be fair, but I also don't want to give it away either. It takes alot of time out of my day.


              • #8
                Originally posted by lovecritters View Post
                I am the barn owner and my boarders are going to the shows. This is what I'm trying to figure out..
                1. What is the average charge per mile?

                The charge varies tremendously based on geography. Around here, you would expect to pay between $1-$2 per (loaded) mile.

                2. Do you charge both ways, ie, I took them to the show yesterday, dropped the trailer and came home. The trip was 25 miles each way. I will be picking them up today sometime but don't know what time. They will call me.

                Typically you charge for the time the horse is in the trailer. It is presumed that the rate covers the "backhaul" time (ie, your time going home without horses on the truck - so if you charge per mile, it is loaded miles, not total miles there and back.) Most shippers arrange drop off and pick up times in advance; they aren't "on call" for the clients at their whim.

                3. Do you have a minimum charge, for one horse on the trailer?

                Most shippers DO have a minimum charged (often called a hook up fee.) For local shows around here, the minimum charge is around $75.

                I want to be fair, but I also don't want to give it away either. It takes alot of time out of my day.
                Probably should have worked this all out in advance?? Your clients may also want to be fair... but their definition may vary significantly from yours. If you are a pro... put together a rate sheet, and publish it.
                We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.


                • #9
                  Not to butt in on this thread but I had a shipping cost question as well. I just was wondering if I was totally unfair for charging someone $400 to ship their horse from VA to PA. It was approximately 185 miles down and a little more coming home. I went down empty and came up full and drove through the early morning hours during a storm. I ship for my boss at work and some 'friends' just for some extra money. I base my prices off of my trainer but am cheaper from what I can tell. My rates break down like this $50 for the first 20 miles and $2 a mile after that. I was suggested to do this by some local pros and BNTs, since I'm usually shipping a friend into a show so I need to be reimbursed for my time of sitting around there. I am about to pick a horse up in NY and bring it back down to PA as well and I charge them $300 for an approximate 150 mile trip one way. Am I fair with my charges?? I have a diesel truck if that makes any difference and its going for about $2.75 a gal right now.