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WWYD - Different Cost / Different Client / Same Service

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  • WWYD - Different Cost / Different Client / Same Service

    I recently learned that I'm paying about $75 more a month than anyone else in the barn (confirmed). No special services or requirements for my horse and he's not hard to handle etc.

    I just bought him two weeks ago but have been part-boarding BO's horses for about 6+ months (so I'm a known entity), pay my bills always on time etc.

    I was looking at a rescue OTTB, talked to BO and did trial for 2 weeks with confirmation that it was $800 a month for board.

    OTTB didn't work out. I ended up with an expensive show horse - the day I was to trailer my new horse there - I learned it was going to be $875.
    When confronted, BO said 'sorry' I say $800 but it doesn't include xyx (when it did for OTTB) .

    I also learned that day that my trainer was called by BO to discuss 'charging me more'. Trainer just said not my business (but did confide in me)

    Of course, I was livid when I found out. I'm not a cash machine and every penny counts. And to confirm that I am paying the most by $75 a month is a bit harsh.

    The services there are less than nearby barns but I like the other boarders and location (all adults and proximity to my house). I feel the horse is safe and well cared for.

    So have you run into this before ? Is this common practice ? It seems HIGHLY unprofessional but I also understand A) costs go up B) she may have not increased it yet for other boarders C) I used to own my own barn with 2 boarders so I know
    I just can't help but feeling that I'm being swindled and seen as easy cash......

    While I can move my horse, I don't want to do anything immediately but am thinking of giving my 30 days at the first of the month however, I don't want to burn bridges.

  • #2
    Is it possible BO intends to raise board for everyone else, but for now it will only affect new incoming horses? This is the way it is where I live - new apartment rentals are at current higher price, but those of us who are already under a contract don't see the increase until the next time we renew, etc. In that case, someone has to be first to see the new price. Especially if most others have been long term clients and you are technically still fairly new (less than a year).

    If not, and you're just being picked out for the higher price with no good explanation, I would probably leave. (What else will you be nickel and dimed for?)
    Flickr

    Comment


    • #3
      Yes, I've seen other horse "professionals" do this. We used to have a vet that judged each customer as to how much they "could afford to pay and charged accordingly." Everyone at the barn knew she did it and laughed about it then quit using her.

      I've also used a farrier in the past that only wanted to take on dressage people as new customers as they willingly paid more than market price to treat their "extra speschul" fancy WB.

      I'd ask the BO to have a discussion on her new pricing and let her know that you're aware that other boarders are NOT paying the new price. She may not budge or she may back down.

      It is maddening to find out, but maybe she has decided all new boarders/horses will be charged a new price. It's really pretty common in boarding barns also. Good Luck!
      "There is no fundamental difference between man and animals in their ability to feel pleasure and pain, happiness, and misery." - Charles Darwin

      Comment


      • #4
        That's what I was thinking, too....maybe any new boarders coming in after a certain date will pay 875, but older boarders are grandfathered in to the old price.

        And props to your trainer for staying out of it and not nosing into your business!

        I don't think that there's anything wrong with just asking the BO why you're paying more. It would be a shame for you to have to leave a place you like just based off the assumption that BO is trying to swindle you.

        Comment


        • #5
          It's not unusual for new boarders to pay "updated" prices while existing boarders pay the old ones (grandfathered in). If they charge you more just because they think you can afford it, that's not cool; otherwise, except for them not informing you the "increase" before you pulled in (which is not cool), I don't see a problem with it. Just ask BO for the reason.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by talkofthetown View Post
            That's what I was thinking, too....maybe any new boarders coming in after a certain date will pay 875, but older boarders are grandfathered in to the old price.

            And props to your trainer for staying out of it and not nosing into your business!

            I don't think that there's anything wrong with just asking the BO why you're paying more. It would be a shame for you to have to leave a place you like just based off the assumption that BO is trying to swindle you.
            I totally agree with this.

            It is not unheard of for existing clients to pay a different rate than new clients.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Gloria View Post
              It's not unusual for new boarders to pay "updated" prices while existing boarders pay the old ones (grandfathered in). If they charge you more just because they think you can afford it, that's not cool; otherwise, except for them not informing you the "increase" before you pulled in (which is not cool), I don't see a problem with it. Just ask BO for the reason.
              But BO originally told her $800 and then changed it after she decided to move a horse there. It does sound like BO decided well she can afford expensive show horse so she can afford higher board.
              Oh, well, clearly you're not thoroughly indoctrinated to COTH yet, because finger pointing and drawing conclusions are the cornerstones of this great online community. (Tidy Rabbit)

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Gloria View Post
                It's not unusual for new boarders to pay "updated" prices while existing boarders pay the old ones (grandfathered in). If they charge you more just because they think you can afford it, that's not cool; otherwise, except for them not informing you the "increase" before you pulled in (which is not cool), I don't see a problem with it. Just ask BO for the reason.
                Exactly. This is how MANY barns raise rates when they don't want to lose the old boarders just due to the rate. The question I would ask the barn owner "So is this the new rate for all new boarders?"

                If it's a worry, I might even ask directly if I was being singled out for any reason. But if the BO doesn't have a reason to pick on you, you probably aren't being picked on. If you are, then yes you need to board elsewhere.

                It is much better if the BO tells the new boarder up front they are paying the new rate. The BO should assume the new boarder WILL find out what others are paying. And think badly about it if they don't already have an explanation. Just a communications issue, if so.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I've boarded at barns that raised their prices. Price increase generally came with a heads-up and a date, and the reason for the increase wasn't secret. I have also been a boarder that benefited from a reduced board rate due to something I was a providing that lowered costs and labor for the BO.

                  What bothers me in your post is the lack of transparency. To say the $75 is for X, which was included in the previously quoted price, doesn't make sense. I would imagine also that if board was increasing only for new clients, your BO would have been up front about that rather than citing the expense of X. Also, what does your trainer have to do with this? Does she benefit somehow from the barn's boarding rate? I don't understand why your BO would call your trainer to discuss "charging you more".

                  I would look for a new barn. When you give your 30-day notice, you can be somewhat up front without burning bridges. "I need to cut some expenses, and $875 per month doesn't fit into my budget anymore." Whether that's true or not is your business, but increasing prices based on a perceived ability of an individual client to pay more is a stupid move.
                  "I did know once, only I've sort of forgotten." - Winnie the Pooh

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Unless I'm reading this wrong, OP is not a new boarder, she was part-leasing one of the BO's horses for 6 months and had an OTTB for a couple weeks at the originally quoted rate of $800/mo. If the price went up when she got a different horse...that seems like discrimination to me.

                    In my barn boarders are charged different rates because of the pasture situation they're in, not because Suzy has a more expensive horse and drives a bigger/newer/fancier car.

                    I would definitely ask the BO why you're being charged more and make a decision after that conversation to either pay or move.

                    On another note...$875/mo?!? Good Grief! (Although if you drive a 2009 Bentley... )

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Hmmm... I suppose the correct response is to ask BO about it professionally and honestly, and if the answer is not to your satisfaction, give your notice.

                      However... I would just start asking other boarders if they had heard that the board was going up to $875. Then act all innocent about it and just say you assumed that the board was going up for everyone since it went up for you! Especially if you are thinking about leaving due to this, erm, conflict, it may give the BO an opportunity to explain herself or make right on the situation.

                      What were x, y, and z? If they were special grain, special hay, special something, it might be justified. If it were explained that way, I would make DAMN sure I am getting those services.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I would just have a clear discussion with the BO to get to the bottom of it, then make a decision to stay or go. I would not go stirring the pot in the barn, as that might result in your being asked to leave on their timetable, and not yours.
                        "The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits." Albert Einstein

                        http://s1098.photobucket.com/albums/...2011%20Photos/

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                        • #13
                          I also agree w/ asking the BO why it went up $75 from one horse to the next - that's a pretty big jump, and I would question her explanation for it - unless the horse is stable in a different section of the barn or is on some special feed or supplement then they need to explain the difference. I would not accept some random decision that it's because boarder A can afford more than other boarders or whatever..

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by talkofthetown View Post
                            That's what I was thinking, too....maybe any new boarders coming in after a certain date will pay 875, but older boarders are grandfathered in to the old price.

                            And props to your trainer for staying out of it and not nosing into your business!
                            Uh huh. But just after trainer told BO "What you charge my clients for board is not my business" and then told the client that the BO had asked for her permission (or told the trainer), AND the trainer told the client.... she made it her business.

                            IMO, both are being unprofessional.

                            OP, if the $875 price is just for you and no one else, I think you need to let your trainer know that you'll walk before your pay. If she wants to keep you as a client she can come teach you at your new place or help the BO see the error of her ways.
                            The armchair saddler
                            Politically Pro-Cat

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Several of my old barns raised rates for new boarders only, so if that is the BOs reasoning I would not mind so much. However, if that is the case, I find it odd that she considers you a new boarder when you have been part leasing there for a while. I am fairly blunt and filter-free so I would ask what the deal is.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Even though OP has been a boarder for six months, which isn't long by any stretch, the horse is new so is considered "new" board; besides, those six months she was part-boarding BO's horses so the BO might have given her a discount.

                                In this scenario, it is not unfair if BO raised the rate.

                                The only thing in the post that bothers me is the sudden increase in two weeks period from the rescue horse to the show horse, and OP was not informed until she pulled in with the horse. For this, I will have a serious talk with BO.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  It may be a loyalty discount for the long time boarders.

                                  In some cases hard to deal with people are charged more.
                                  A pussycat of a horse with a chewed off tail won the triple crown, The Cubs won the world series and Trump won the Presidency.
                                  Don't tell me 'It can't be done.'

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    I would talk tot he BO and see what the extra cost is for. Then I would let her know that you have not budgeted for the extra $75.00 a month and you are going to have to find a new place to board. This gives her the chance to change it or at lest adjust it to keep you.

                                    I have something like this going on where I board. I pay X amount each month. There are opening at our barn and have been informed that the new boarders will pay Y a month and my board will go up to Y 30 days later.
                                    The reason for this is that right now that BO only has to feed the horses in their own pens, but with more horses she will have to handle them more and have more work. I know it is not the same as your problem as I totally understand way my board will be going up 30 days after new horses come in. You have no idea why you are paying more.
                                    My life motto now is "You can't fix stupid!"

                                    Are you going to cowboy up, or lie there and bleed

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Perhaps when part boarding, certain fees were being absorbed by the BO?

                                      I generally think that a BO can ask for whatever he/she wishes. It's up to the owner to decide if they feel they want to pay it or not.

                                      Sometimes, there are extenuating circumstances that not everyone is privy to.

                                      I know that when I've boarded in the past, I've paid different amounts than others. In some cases more, in some cases less. That was between me and the BO and was no one elses' business. I didn't share that info with others. Much like salary or wage, it's not the kind of thing that I would bring up though others did which is why I knew.

                                      In some cases when I've paid more it's been because the BO was doing more for me. Or because I was new to the barn and prices were going to be going up but others hadn't been increased yet.

                                      In cases where I've paid less, it's been because BO liked my horse(s), or I was a good boarder, and he/she knew that I couldn't afford more. Or maybe they were using my horse(s) as well. Or I was helping out and not being paid per se.

                                      If it's a problem, but all means, talk to the BO. But realize a couple of things:
                                      1) your info may or may not be accurate
                                      2) your BO may have his/her reasons and not be hip to having the convo thus you may find yourself excused
                                      3) you do always have the option to go elsewhere.
                                      A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

                                      Might be a reason, never an excuse...

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by gottagrey View Post
                                        I also agree w/ asking the BO why it went up $75 from one horse to the next - that's a pretty big jump, and I would question her explanation for it - ..
                                        No, that isn't a big jump at all. More than one board barn I know of have had increases of far more than that, from $100 to $200 per month and all values in between. If a board rate went up *only* by $75/month a lot of boarders would be very happy!

                                        These days increases of even $125 or $150 per month aren't unusual. But that should only happen once every several years, in a well-run business.

                                        Hay prices have skyrocketed in the last 2 years, and it now looks like they will indefinitely stay significantly higher than they were a few years ago. It's common for insurance rates on the barn to go up, sometimes by quite a bit. In some areas even taxes have increased.

                                        All these increases have been *large* added costs for many barns - not a little bit, but a lot. Many BO's don't increase rates right away because they don't want to disturb or lose boarders. That means they are paying for these increased costs of other people's horses out of their own pocket.

                                        When board barns increase rates, they risk losing boarders, even a lot of boarders. So a less painful way to raise rates is to do it through natural turnover. Particularly if a barn does experience turnover and isn't stocked with lifers.

                                        If a board barn has to increase rates on all the boarders including the incumbents, savvy business advice is DON'T trickle it out with constant increases of $25 or more per month - do the whole thing one time and put it behind. A rep for constantly increasing rates does far more damage to keeping new boarders coming on board. A big increase is going to mean turnover, but that may have to happen when a barn can't continue to underwrite the costs for the owners.

                                        People who come in on a particular rate are agreeing that the services are worth it. They don't have to decide about the increase.

                                        The lesson learned from the op's case is "communication." BO's must always assume that everyone is going to know what everyone else paying (even if that isn't always true.) Tell new boarders at the beginning, before they sign the contract, that their rate is the "new" increased rate and will be the rate for all new boarders. The newbie is then agreeing when they sign.

                                        Not to do so is to implant a possible explosion in the barn, just as is happening here. The fallout can be damaging to the barn, especially when the story goes around the local horse community. And it's unnecessary, this can be handled up front.

                                        In this case the BO really put their foot in it ... they not only didn't give this information, they stumbled in the first place when telling her the rate.

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