Sport Horse Spotlight

Carinjo Jumping 1

Real Estate Spotlight

105 DSCN0687

Sale Spotlight

  • Welcome to the Chronicle Forums.
    Please complete your profile. The forums and the rest of has single sign-in, so your log in information for one will automatically work for the other. Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are the views of the individual and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of The Chronicle of the Horse.



Forum rules and no-advertising policy

As a participant on this forum, it is your responsibility to know and follow our rules. Please read this message in its entirety.

Board Rules

1. You�re responsible for what you say.
As outlined in Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, The Chronicle of the Horse and its affiliates, as well Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd., the developers of vBulletin, are not legally responsible for statements made in the Forums.

This is a public forum viewed by a wide spectrum of people, so please be mindful of what you say and who might be reading it�details of personal disputes may be better handled privately. While posters are legally responsible for their statements, the moderators may in their discretion remove or edit posts, though are not legally obligated to do so, regardless of content.

Users have the ability to modify or delete their own messages after posting. Moderators generally will not delete posts, threads or accounts unless they have been alerted and have determined that a post, thread or user has violated the Forums� policies. Moderators do not regularly independently monitor the Forums for such violations.

Profanity, outright vulgarity, blatant personal insults or otherwise inappropriate statements will not be tolerated and will be dealt with at the discretion of the moderators.

Users may provide their positive or negative experiences with or opinions of companies, products, individuals, etc.; however, accounts involving allegations of criminal behavior against named individuals or companies MUST be first-hand accounts and may NOT be made anonymously.

If a situation has been reported upon by a reputable news source or addressed by law enforcement or the legal system it is open for discussion, but if an individual wants to make their own claims of criminal behavior against a named party in the course of that discussion, they too must identify themselves by first and last name and the account must be first-person.

Criminal allegations that do not satisfy these requirements, when brought to our attention, may be removed pending satisfaction of these criteria, and we reserve the right to err on the side of caution when making these determinations.

Credible threats of suicide will be reported to the police along with identifying user information at our disposal, in addition to referring the user to suicide helpline resources such as 1-800-SUICIDE or 1-800-273-TALK.

2. Conversations in horse-related forums should be horse-related.
The forums are a wonderful source of information and support for members of the horse community. While it�s understandably tempting to share information or search for input on other topics upon which members might have a similar level of knowledge, members must maintain the focus on horses.

3. Keep conversations productive, on topic and civil.
Discussion and disagreement are inevitable and encouraged; personal insults, diatribes and sniping comments are unproductive and unacceptable. Whether a subject is light-hearted or serious, keep posts focused on the current topic and of general interest to other participants of that thread. Utilize the private message feature or personal email where appropriate to address side topics or personal issues not related to the topic at large.

4. No advertising in the discussion forums.
Posts in the discussion forums directly or indirectly advertising horses, jobs, items or services for sale or wanted will be removed at the discretion of the moderators. Use of the private messaging feature or email addresses obtained through users� profiles for unsolicited advertising is not permitted.

Company representatives may participate in discussions and answer questions about their products or services, or suggest their products on recent threads if they fulfill the criteria of a query. False "testimonials" provided by company affiliates posing as general consumers are not appropriate, and self-promotion of sales, ad campaigns, etc. through the discussion forums is not allowed.

Paid advertising is available on our classifieds site and through the purchase of banner ads. The tightly monitored Giveaways forum permits free listings of genuinely free horses and items available or wanted (on a limited basis). Items offered for trade are not allowed.

Advertising Policy Specifics
When in doubt of whether something you want to post constitutes advertising, please contact a moderator privately in advance for further clarification. Refer to the following points for general guidelines:

Horses � Only general discussion about the buying, leasing, selling and pricing of horses is permitted. If the post contains, or links to, the type of specific information typically found in a sales or wanted ad, and it�s related to a horse for sale, regardless of who�s selling it, it doesn�t belong in the discussion forums.

Stallions � Board members may ask for suggestions on breeding stallion recommendations. Stallion owners may reply to such queries by suggesting their own stallions, only if their horse fits the specific criteria of the original poster. Excessive promotion of a stallion by its owner or related parties is not permitted and will be addressed at the discretion of the moderators.

Services � Members may use the forums to ask for general recommendations of trainers, barns, shippers, farriers, etc., and other members may answer those requests by suggesting themselves or their company, if their services fulfill the specific criteria of the original post. Members may not solicit other members for business if it is not in response to a direct, genuine query.

Products � While members may ask for general opinions and suggestions on equipment, trailers, trucks, etc., they may not list the specific attributes for which they are in the market, as such posts serve as wanted ads.

Event Announcements � Members may post one notification of an upcoming event that may be of interest to fellow members, if the original poster does not benefit financially from the event. Such threads may not be �bumped� excessively. Premium members may post their own notices in the Event Announcements forum.

Charities/Rescues � Announcements for charitable or fundraising events can only be made for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations. Special exceptions may be made, at the moderators� discretion and direction, for board-related events or fundraising activities in extraordinary circumstances.

Occasional posts regarding horses available for adoption through IRS-registered horse rescue or placement programs are permitted in the appropriate forums, but these threads may be limited at the discretion of the moderators. Individuals may not advertise or make announcements for horses in need of rescue, placement or adoption unless the horse is available through a recognized rescue or placement agency or government-run entity or the thread fits the criteria for and is located in the Giveaways forum.

5. Do not post copyrighted photographs unless you have purchased that photo and have permission to do so.

6. Respect other members.
As members are often passionate about their beliefs and intentions can easily be misinterpreted in this type of environment, try to explore or resolve the inevitable disagreements that arise in the course of threads calmly and rationally.

If you see a post that you feel violates the rules of the board, please click the �alert� button (exclamation point inside of a triangle) in the bottom left corner of the post, which will alert ONLY the moderators to the post in question. They will then take whatever action, or no action, as deemed appropriate for the situation at their discretion. Do not air grievances regarding other posters or the moderators in the discussion forums.

Please be advised that adding another user to your �Ignore� list via your User Control Panel can be a useful tactic, which blocks posts and private messages by members whose commentary you�d rather avoid reading.

7. We have the right to reproduce statements made in the forums.
The Chronicle of the Horse may copy, quote, link to or otherwise reproduce posts, or portions of posts, in print or online for advertising or editorial purposes, if attributed to their original authors, and by posting in this forum, you hereby grant to The Chronicle of the Horse a perpetual, non-exclusive license under copyright and other rights, to do so.

8. We reserve the right to enforce and amend the rules.
The moderators may delete, edit, move or close any post or thread at any time, or refrain from doing any of the foregoing, in their discretion, and may suspend or revoke a user�s membership privileges at any time to maintain adherence to the rules and the general spirit of the forum. These rules may be amended at any time to address the current needs of the board.

Please see our full Terms of Service and Privacy Policy for more information.

Thanks for being a part of the COTH forums!

(Revised 5/9/18)
See more
See less

For those of you who take in boarders...

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • For those of you who take in boarders...

    Is there a formula that you use to calculate what you charge for board?

    I.e. Restaurants use 3x the cost of the item.
    1/3 for food
    1/3 for labor
    1/3 for overhead

    Is there such a formula for a boarding stable?

    I've read it many times boarding alone is not profitable.

    Can you charge someone enough for board that you make a profit, and still keep them as a client? Or do you lower the price even though you'll lose money to get them to stay?
    Certified Guacophobe

  • #2
    I think a good basis is look at what the other barns that have similar facilities and services near you are charging. Barns that charge way more than the average but don't provide anything extra to what you can get from other places tend to struggle to be competitively better. The profit really comes from training and lessons though.


    • Original Poster

      Thank you. That is what I've understood.

      I know enough about boarding to know I never want my own place or to try and own a boarding stable.

      I salute those who've been successful.

      Certified Guacophobe


      • #4
        So many restaurants go belly up because of inexperience. No matter what you charge if you don't have the experience to back it up I think you are doomed to fail, unless you are one with unlimited funds to start with.

        My BO had an extensive horse background as well as a past career in finance. He did extremely well for decades in owning/ running the business. It was affordable for us boarders and the care was top notch.


        • #5
          Restaurants (of all levels) have very thin profit margins.

          Boarding barns typically have no profit, but benefit from other services or tax breaks for unrelated activities (for farm owners).


          • #6
            Originally posted by AnastasiaBeaverhousen View Post
            Is there a formula that you use to calculate what you charge for board?

            I.e. Restaurants use 3x the cost of the item.
            1/3 for food
            1/3 for labor
            1/3 for overhead

            Is there such a formula for a boarding stable?

            I've read it many times boarding alone is not profitable.

            Can you charge someone enough for board that you make a profit, and still keep them as a client? Or do you lower the price even though you'll lose money to get them to stay?
            You start by calculating your costs for the service level(s) you will offer. Then do a market survey to see what the market will bear in your area for the level(s) of service being considered. If the market will bear the costs plus a profit then you are good to go. If not then you have to do something to either reduce costs or make your service so desirable that people will pay above market for it or add additional services that are associated with the base product that can be provided at a profit.

            In the case of barns, most run at break even for boarding and make money with lessons, training, show support, hauling, etc. My tenant has a strong youth program including competitive equestrian teams and an array of both day and overnight summer camps.

            This has to be a very practical and brutally honest calculation for the potential provider as they will be gambling "real money" if they decide to do this. There's another tread by an inexperienced person thinking about using a family owned place set up as a horse facility but currently empty. There are some very good discussions of issue in that thread. There are also several others that have been had over the years on the realities of equine boarding.

            The reality in most area is that boarding is more a "labor of love" than a way to an early and comfortable retirement.

            Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raa, Uma Paixo


            • #7
              There really isn't a good formula. But, a good place to start is by making a thorough spreadsheet of all of expenses. It's important to be very thorough as to what you include. It's easy to figure out the monthly calculation per horse for feed, hay, and bedding. More difficult are yearly or seasonal things like maintaining facilities, fencing, pastures, and landscaping (gravel, fertilizer, herbicides, seed, decorative plants).

              Then you also have to figure out how to work in the enormous capital expenditures like fencing, barns, tractors, mowers, and all the other equipment that is required. As a rule of thumb, you can spread the cost of various big ticket items out over about 15 years. Obviously if there is rent or a mortgage on the land and barn, include that cost (or what the rate should be for usage of the land and facilities). Remember, investing $$ in a horse facility is a lot less lucrative than investing in just about anything else, so there is a cost in terms of lost opportunity to make money elsewhere with that investment.

              There's a lot of basic stuff like commercial insurance, care custody and control insurance, and insurance of any vehicles related to the farm, and probably an umbrella policy for yourself just to be cautious. The cost of bookkeeping, billing, etc. There are legal fees for the drawing up of contracts and releases, and legal fees related to tracking down money owed and arranging for the disposition of horses that are abandoned with you. There's electric, water, trash service, manure disposal, etc.

              Labor is trickier to calculate than what you would think. For each worker, you have consider the cost of payroll taxes, workmen's comp, and accounting fees (or something for your own time if you do your own payroll and accounting). But you also have to consider the cost of hiring new employees, training them, supervising them, and in some cases disciplining or firing them. There also is the cost of employee theft and the cost of damages incurred by careless employees. There's the cost of filling in for employees who don't show up, and extra pay for employees who work holidays or after hours.

              You also need to plan for accidents and disasters (aside from minor things like a careless employee smacking the tractor bucket against the side of the barn to the tune of a $1000 repair--I'm gonna tell you right now that I don't even get upset when crap like that happens because in the scheme of a farm, you are lucky when horses and people aren't injured.) Sometimes insurance pays, but if you turn to your insurance company for $500 here and there you will lose your coverage. A bad hay year can cost a boarding barn $10K in extra expense (ask me how I know). An extra rainy year can cost a barn $10K in terms of fixing drainage, fixing washed out or flooded areas, amending fields, and dealing with sinkholes or erosion.

              You need to plan how much you are going to pay yourself for all of your own labor--not just farm work, but all of the time consuming things that go into the 24/7 supervision and maintenance of a business involving livestock.

              Personally, I keep a running spreadsheet and add to it and adjust it constantly.

              If you do this, and add up all the numbers and come up with a number that is greater than what the going rate is for similar board in your area, it doesn't make sense to do boarding. Pretty much the only scenario where boarding is a money maker is when it is combined with expensive services like lessons, training, layups, broodmare boarding, etc. Boarding is not generally in and of itself a money maker, and it's a huge hassle to do, as well as a huge liability for anyone who has enough resources to own land or a facility.


              • Original Poster

                What an informative post. BeeHoney.
                Quite eye opening.
                Believe me. I had never seriously considered running a boarding facility or owning one, but this definitely cements it.

                I just wanted to get an idea of what I should be paying.

                But this has made me very mindful of some things that had not occurred to me.

                Especially the legal aspects of it.

                Thanks to you too, Big G.

                Certified Guacophobe


                • #9
                  BeeHoney's right in all that they wrote.

                  Actually, there is a formula: add up all (ALL) your expenses, and charge more than that.

                  As is so often written here, boarding is, at very best, a break-even business. Boarders know the price of a bale of hay or a bag of shavings, but they have no clue about all the rest of it. Things like 285 of wages as worker's comp just don't figure when boarders think I'm 'making a killing.'

                  Other services bring the profit: lessons, training, sales, shows etc. If you only own the property and try to break even just boarding, you will likely not be able to do it unless you have some unusual circumstances including no mortgage, low property taxes, and ample labor.

                  And when you add in the cost of facilities: land, barns, fencing, tractors, etc. boarding is generally a terrible financial idea.

                  I prove this to myself every year that I keep my barn open.


                  • #10
                    I only have one retired horse here on my wee farmette along with my own retired horse. What I charge offsets the cost of my own beastie. That's it. I know how much it costs to feed and house one, I charge that plus X for my labor and Y for materials (upkeep). I'm not a boarding facility, I'd live here with my retired horses regardless, so I never figure in my mortgage or tractor or major upgrades like new perimeter fencing. That's my two cents.
                    Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by lovezehorses View Post
                      I think a good basis is look at what the other barns that have similar facilities and services near you are charging. Barns that charge way more than the average but don't provide anything extra to what you can get from other places tend to struggle to be competitively better. The profit really comes from training and lessons though.
                      I don't think that's a good way to do it. That might tell you what you can charge. It does not tell you whether or not you can make a profit.

                      I don't think you can extrapolate a formula from one industry to another. I think folks need to get out their yellow pad and actually do some costing.
                      The armchair saddler
                      Politically Pro-Cat


                      • #12
                        Problem with pricing to break even or even operate at a small loss on board and depend on lessons, training ,shows and buy sell activity is what happens in a downturn when clients reduce their non essential horse expenses or leave the barn completely.. Then what? Hay guy still wants the check.

                        Thats exactly the situation many barns will be dealing with, especially in hot spot states. Fear Florida is not far behind.
                        When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                        The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.