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Boarding Prices - Why so secretive?

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  • Boarding Prices - Why so secretive?

    I live in Maryland in a very active equine area, and belong to quite a few horsey facebook groups. I like to window shop and look at other people's barn/farm photos when they advertise for board online. Usually it includes the services they provide, but it almost NEVER includes board pricing. "Message for pricing/availability" is a good blanket term I usually find on the ads.

    Question for barn owners/anyone, really - why are barns so secretive about putting their pricing on public advertisements? You can call and find out and then the info is known, so why do barns not just always put their pricing out there? Just curious. TIA!

  • #2
    I have no idea, it drove me nuts too. Now that I have my own farm, my prices are very clear on my website.
    Custom tack racks!
    www.mmeqcenter.com/tacklove.html

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    • #3
      Not a barn owner but I can think of several reasons.

      Lots of people do not really want the world knowing what they spend on their hobby. A barn might not print their rate sheet online as a courtesy to their boarders. Sure, it is available if you ask, but that is totally different than someone being able to easily look it up online.

      It might not be a straight forward answer. There might be different rates for different stalls, their pricing might be very dependent on various services or amenities. Maybe board is $X but you are required to take Y number of lessons per month and they want to make sure that is clear, etc.

      And bonus it gives them a chance to feel out the caller a little to see if the caller is a fit for their barn while they answer the question of the board rate.

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      • #4
        Prices go put of date, images of facilities and contact details on their website don't?
        "Good young horses are bred, but good advanced horses are trained" Sam Griffiths

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        • #5
          If you don't want people knowing what you pay for board, don't tell them. If someone is so nosy as to look up the website of your barn just to figure out what you pay, they're probably someone you don't want to hang out with anyway, and hey, now you know.

          It isn't hard to post different rates online. I've seen multiple barn websites list three stall sizes and their corresponding board price. I've also seen multiple websites that simply state the board price is $xxx and "Boarder must also purchase minimum $xxx/month in additional services" or something of the like. If it is extremely subjective, like rehab that could include anything from just changing a bandage to hand walking multiple times per day, sure, put something like "Varies based on services, please contact." However standard board really shouldn't have a million possible prices. If it does, you're creating a way bigger headache for yourself outside of just providing information.

          There is no need to "feel out a boarder" in a phone call if the board price is way out of their budget. How does this 45 second conversation give you a feel for a person anyway?
          "Hi, I'm interested in Full Board, what's the price?"
          "Full board is $750 per month."
          "Oh I'm looking for something around $500, thanks anyways."
          Click.
          Saves (potentially) a lot of hassle on both ends for the information to be readily available without a phone call.

          It also really isn't hard to keep your website up-to-date. There's about a billion hosting websites now that are really affordable and extremely user-friendly.

          Sorry to say, there are many facets of the equine industry that refuse to catch up to modern times. Websites are one of them.
          Custom tack racks!
          www.mmeqcenter.com/tacklove.html

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          • #6
            In an advertisement, they may want to be able to easily re-use the same ad without changing anything, particularly if they advertise across multiple platforms and run ads continuously or regularly. Even on websites, some people find it easy to update, but others would rather not mess with it or don't get around to it and would rather not have to explain to people that they've changed rates and hadn't updated the site. You'd think Tseterleg's owners would have updated that he like, WON the Pan Am games, but they haven't; in their splash page he's still "Heading to Peru."

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            • #7
              pretty simple - some barns don't update their websites; some barns grandfather boarders in - so if I started boarding at a place and the board was $500 and the BO raised the board incrementally over 10 years - I might be paying $600 now but a new boarder may pay $650.

              Shoot I'm looking for horses now and see some great horses on some websites only to find out the horse was for sale in 2013!

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              • #8
                I hate it to- people are so freaking weird about money. If you don't list a price on something- board, horse, hay, anything. You've lost your sale to me right there.
                If history repeats itself, I'm getting a dinosaur

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by mmeqcenter View Post

                  It also really isn't hard to keep your website up-to-date. There's about a billion hosting websites now that are really affordable and extremely user-friendly.

                  Sorry to say, there are many facets of the equine industry that refuse to catch up to modern times. Websites are one of them.
                  Totally agree. I am reasonably happy with my current boarding place, but it is always a good idea to have a backup plan. The facility could sell, the BO's mood changed with the wind, or my horse's needs change etc etc etc.

                  Since I'm not actively shopping I don't want to waste anyone's time with a tour, and honestly, getting someone on the phone can take multiple calls/messages which takes away from my work time. It saves time for everyone involved if they just post their prices (even ballpark) on their website so I at least know if it is in the running for what I can afford. I know most places have tiers of boarding or price based on feed, stall size, or level of training package, which is fine and should be explained simply enough to put on a website.

                  Most people who can afford to board a horse are in front of a computer or smart phone for multiple hours a day - its how we do business and how we interact with our service providers. Its how I shop and compare prices. More and more, Its how we sign up for shows and buy horses - I don't think posting boarding rates is really that much of a stretch.

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                  • #10
                    Have to agree with the no updates idea.

                    My favourite is when they do not include a location, anywhere on their ad or website. Not even what state/province or a nearby city. I'm not sure what that achieves.

                    But maybe "if you have to ask how much, you can't afford it" ?
                    No matter where you go, there you are

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Beck View Post
                      Have to agree with the no updates idea.

                      My favourite is when they do not include a location, anywhere on their ad or website. Not even what state/province or a nearby city. I'm not sure what that achieves.

                      But maybe "if you have to ask how much, you can't afford it" ?
                      I'm moving a horse for a friend tonight- the barn she is going to only has a PO and the county it's in listed and then "call for location". I find that really weird for a large boarding facility in a very horse-centric area
                      If history repeats itself, I'm getting a dinosaur

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                      • #12
                        The owner at my barn asked me not to tell a new boarder what I pay because he's charging her more. I have no problem with that, although to be honest, I think it is silly. At the time, I boarded four horses with him and had been there for almost ten years. He gave me a really generous discount, basically charging nothing for the fourth horse. But I can't imagine any adult would expect to get the same discount for boarding one horse, AND I can't imagine anyone would have a problem paying today's rate or understanding why our rates would be different, especially if the boarding fee is fair and at the current market price.

                        Similarly, if he were lying to me and actually charging her less, I really wouldn't care because I'm getting such a good deal that I thank my lucky stars all the time that I board at this place.

                        Each pair of horses is in their own 3/4-acre lot with super great, safe fencing, auto-waterers, shade structure, an additional water trough which I provide and a location which is a 2-minute drive (a walkable distance) from my house. This may not sound that special to those of you back East, but believe me, in Southern California, it is rare to get that kind of housing for your horse, even if you own your own property.
                        "Random capitAlization really Makes my day." -- AndNirina

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                        • #13
                          Fan of barns that keep their online sites up to date. What does that take? An hour a month or something? I like the posted rates but want all charges listed, it helps me comparison shop and not waste anybody’s time, including my own.

                          I hate the call or e mail for rates because, as we all know, barns are busy and don’t always return calls or send rate sheets in a timely fashion. And if some boarders are grandfathered in or paying a lower rate fior some reason? Don’t care, none of my business.
                          When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                          The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Beck View Post
                            Have to agree with the no updates idea.

                            My favourite is when they do not include a location, anywhere on their ad or website. Not even what state/province or a nearby city. I'm not sure what that achieves.

                            But maybe "if you have to ask how much, you can't afford it" ?
                            This drives me nuts! Why don't they post where they are? Is it because they are so wonderful that everyone should know where Joe Blow's Very Exclusive and Most Extra Special barn is located and if you have to ask you don't belong there?

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by PeteyPie View Post

                              Each pair of horses is in their own 3/4-acre lot with super great, safe fencing, auto-waterers, shade structure, an additional water trough which I provide and a location which is a 2-minute drive (a walkable distance) from my house. This may not sound that special to those of you back East, but believe me, in Southern California, it is rare to get that kind of housing for your horse, even if you own your own property.
                              Can you PM me your location and if there are any openings? LOL! That does sound like heaven in SoCal.

                              I find it annoying as well when they don't list prices. Like someone said, even a range would be helpful. I don't necessarily need every potential charge delineated on the website - more than enough to say "Optional services (blanketing, fly spray, holding for farrier/vet and trailer parking available at additional charge).
                              "So relax! Let's have some fun out here! This game's fun, OK? Fun goddamnit." Crash Davis; Bull Durham

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                              • #16
                                I just wanted to chime in that this is similar for lessons as well. I was really confused by the need to e-mail/call in order to get your lesson or program price?

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                                • #17
                                  I'm currently trainer/barn shopping and the whole process is infuriating!

                                  I am not well off, especially not by horse people standards. I'm in a position to spend a few months in a quality H/J program with my horse, but not indefinitely. I generally assume if the price isn't posted, I can't afford it. I've had to bother so many barn owners/trainers for pricing, many of which *are* out of my price point. Can't we just all save the time and you post your base pricing publicly!?

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    For the record, I am VERY happy with my barn. If I wanted to explore options, I sure wouldn't want to have to call for pricing for fear that my inquiry would get back to my current person and create hard feelings. It's a small horse world in many areas.
                                    Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Goethe

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                                    • #19
                                      An out of date/uninformative website is a huge pet peeve. We're in the modern age where everyone is online for some extent. Even if there's just a facility FB page, put actually relevant info there. Just give pricing so that I don't waste my time and yours.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by 16 Hands View Post

                                        This drives me nuts! Why don't they post where they are? Is it because they are so wonderful that everyone should know where Joe Blow's Very Exclusive and Most Extra Special barn is located and if you have to ask you don't belong there?
                                        Friend of mine had an ad for half renting her horse.
                                        She posted the barn address. It’s a private low key place.

                                        You would not believe it, but people showed up unannounced to check on the horse.
                                        Like trying to pet it and one got in the stall...
                                        BO wasn’t always there to check and kick out the idiots and missed that one lady.

                                        Friend learned about the one who got in the stall because the lady emailed her saying she was very interested after « playing with your horse in its stall » and it reacted nicely.

                                        Friend was like WTF and removed her ad for a while. She emailed back saying to lady to never ever come back near her horse or she’d call the police.
                                        BO was utterly pissed.
                                        ~ Enjoying some guac and boxed wine at the Blue Saddle inn. ~

                                        Originally posted by LauraKY
                                        I'm sorry, but this has "eau de hoarder" smell all over it.
                                        HORSING mobile training app

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