What’s Up Wednesdays: Deals & Discounts
In today’s What’s Up Wednesday, a boarding barn owner asks about discounts on multiple horses, which raises other questions about allowing multiple horses in your barn. For some barn owners, this can be a great boost to their revenue, but it also comes with serious risks. Read on to find out why! And if you have a question of your own, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll be happy to help you figure it out!
What’s Up Linden Leaf!
I had a request from a potential boarder to offer discounts on multiple horses. I run a
mid-sized boarding operation for my area, and this person is considering bringing four horses to my barn. Do you offer discounts to multiple horses? And do you have a cut-off on the number or on the discount rate?
Deals & Discounts
Thank you for your letter! This is actually a more complex question than it seems and is an issue that a lot of barn owners wrestle with. Let’s unpack it and hopefully help you arrive at an answer that works for you and your facility.
Firstly, in terms of the number of horses this potential boarder is looking to bring to your facility, it might help to understand it in terms of percentage of revenue. You say that you are a mid-sized facility for your area, which is pretty variable depending on where you live. To use an example from our location, a mid-sized boarding barn would be maybe 15 stalls. Perhaps it’s a lot more for your area, but the math is still the same! How much percentage will that boarder take of your existing facility? If you have 15 stalls, for example, that is 27% of your capacity. That can be a great boost if you’re looking to fill stalls! But, it’s also a huge risk if that person decides to leave abruptly. As a result, some boarding barns will not even allow that number as the risk to their revenue is too great. Keep in mind as well that boarders’ circumstances can change, just like anyone else’s. If they stop paying board, that could leave you feeding 4 more horsey mouths on your own dime. Even if they pay late it can be crippling, depending on your cash flow.
That said, you can take some steps to mitigate this. You can background check your potential boarder to get a better picture on their financial stability and their behavior at previous barns. It doesn’t mean you need to hire a private investigator! You can certainly look at Facebook, other boarding barns, and the equine community in your area for some answers – just do so subtly and non-invasively, and keep in mind that there’s always gossip in the equine community, so not everything you hear may be true! Secondly, you could request a deposit that ensures you would be covered for at least a month or two should your boarder decide to pack up suddenly or not pay. No matter what you do, make sure to get a good quality contract in place so that you have some recourse in court should you need it.
As for whether to offer a discount, you can ask both yourself and your potential new boarder some questions that might help you arrive at a decision. For example, do any of the horses have stable vices, or habits like kicking that could cause damage? Will your boarder be riding and exercising all four horses, which causes wear and tear on your arena footing? Do they have any special needs which would require you to spend more time dedicated to their care? Would there be a split of pasture board and stable board? Just because there are more horses, doesn’t mean there are economies for you as a business owner. In all likelihood, they all will have roughly identical needs - grain, hay, shavings, arena time, and whatever else you offer in equal measure. Perhaps instead you can offer this person reduced board for time spent doing chores to help you out on a weekend or two a month. It might be enough for them to feel like they’re getting a deal, while you’re getting something out of the deal too.
I hope this gives you something to think about! If you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to ask! And let us know how it goes and what you decide.
All the best,
Linden Leaf Farm