How Can You Differentiate Your Horse Boarding Business – 7 Tips
How Can You Differentiate Your Horse Boarding Business – 7 Tips
As a [future or current] owner of a horse boarding business, you are an important member of the equestrian community. One of the most recognized traits we see in equestrians is a personal affinity for animals. The bond is strong and as such, it would take an empathetic sort of person to want to take care of one of these magical creatures.
Horse boarding is a simple undertaking, although fluctuations may occur in terms of caring for the horse’s needs. If you want to run your own horse boarding business, this article will touch on several contributing factors that can differentiate your business from another.
We will start with a simple description of the boarding types, then delve into more personalized topics, exploring one unique option for a boarding business. Finally, we’ll examine the marketing aspect. As we all know, marketing is crucial to succeeding in any industry. Let’s get started!
There are three main types of boarding options – self-care, partial and full-boarding. As you can imagine, self-care involves most of the job being looked after by the boarder himself. The horse’s space is provided; however, the boarder is responsible for providing bedding, feed and tending to daily care routines.
Some examples of daily care routines are mucking out, which is cleaning the stall of manure twice a day, and checking and picking out hooves which ensure the horse avoids any infections or unwanted disease.
Partial boarding is much the same as self-care, however bedding, feed and hay are provided, and the boarder is responsible for the horse’s daily care routine. It’s important to note that typically borders would look after any appointments, yet sometimes agreements can be made to trade duties based on the barn owner’s discretion.
Full boarding includes everything, so as one can imagine, the extra staff is needed to assist as duties would require more work and attention. Overall, the cost range starts as low as $50 per month and can quickly climb to $1000 per month or more. Essentially, the more daily work required and the more beautiful the facility, the more boarding will cost.
Having an experienced barn manager or staff is vital for most boarding operations. The tips below will help you begin to develop a solid business plan so that you can integrate horse boarding services into your stable or farm –
#1 Choose the Right Location for Your Horse Boarding Business
When you are starting a horse boarding business, it is crucial to do a bit of research on location. As you may already have a stable in place, consider the viability of your customer reach. Is there a high demand in your area for horse boarding? Is there another stable in the area already doing the same thing? “You should have the proper facilities and equipment on site. You will require at least one barn with stalls, safely fenced paddocks and fields, mowing equipment, a tractor, water troughs, a riding arena or trails, tack rooms and areas to store feed and bedding.”, says Sue Weaver of hobbyfarms.com.
#2 Sell Solutions to Your Customers
Solution selling is the idea that you want to present a problem to your customer to build a need, then you offer some solutions or answers to the question which will entice your customer to buy or invest. This same type of sales model can be applied when determining the kind of boarding service you will want to offer. Again, consider your client base and what they need. The more options you give them the more revenue you can generate as they may suggest new customers and bring in another horse to be boarded in your facility. Choose something that you will love to do and that you and your team can handle.
#3 Hire the Right Staff
The next step is to hire staff if needed. In particular, if you decide to start a full-boarding business you will definitely need to hire additional people to help you with your operation. At this time, it’s also a good thing to consider hiring specialized staff that can help with specific care routines or that can quickly recognize a horse that is sick or in distress. Specialization is key to a successful business in that it separates you from the competition, and eventually, your customers will recognize you for that. For more helpful details to help you through your hiring process, read this insightful article on “Hiring Staffs for your Horse Stable“.
These are 3 crucial steps to follow that can be very helpful with your horse boarding business. However, let us explore some unique boarding ideas that can differentiate you from your competitors.
#4 Try An Unconventional Boarding Option
Reading Sue Weaver’s blog (Boarding Horses on Your Hobby Farm (https://www.hobbyfarms.com/boarding-horses-on-your-hobby-farm-3/), it was so impressive that she mentioned a horse B&B as a potential business idea! In my mind, this is a perfect opportunity to showcase your stable, and it also provides additional income with the bed & breakfast aspect.
Try this exercise – Imagine you are a weary traveller looking for a place to stay. Night has set, and it’s so dark outside you can barely see your brown horse, save the white parts of his big round eyes. You will need to find a place for Charles (your horse) and then, what about yourself? Are you going to drive around trying to look for a motel? Everyone is in town for the race and the last thing you want is to be surrounded by horse people talking horse stuff so late in the day.
With a quick plug into Google, you notice one particular boarding facility that is also advertising as a bed & breakfast. How odd, yet how convenient. And so, you make your way a bit out in the country and the staff help to set you up. They seem knowledgeable and you can instantly see their bond with your steed. The barn owner takes over and leads you to a quaint cottage just up from the barn’s location. And that’s it – a good night’s sleep, a delightful breakfast and you’re ready for the race.
We should explore ideas like this more often. People are always looking for unique services that also provide value-add. Now we are going to quickly look at some marketing tips that could help you further with your business.
#5 Advertise So Customers Know Your Business Exists
Advertising is ultra important. It would help if you put yourself out there; otherwise, you are pretty much going by word of mouth referrals. Why not consider advertising online via Google Ads or Facebook Ads? This way you can systematically create the creative (imagery) and copy (text) you want and split test to see which ad performs better than the other.
Our popular article, “How to Market Your Equestrian Stable – 4 Effective Tactics“, is a good source for information. Try learning from YouTube videos, as you can find a lot of passive income makers showing you the steps to using Google Ads or Facebook Ads. You also want to ensure you have a Facebook and Google business page set up. Lastly, integrate visual communication; build a website, start a blog, post unique photographs, create quick videos – this can all have a viral effect! Get people talking about your business, this can lead to more word of mouth referrals and overall, increased brand awareness.
#6 Project a Positive Self-Image
This day in age, image is everything. Visually, you might associate equine related business around a jockey’s outfit or ethereal horse imagery, but there’s a lot more to it. Have you ever visited an establishment out in the country and thought, this is a little too rough for me? Did things seem dirty, dusty and not well maintained? Well, these are the exact things you must consider. Is your stable presentable. Are you stalls clean, are your horses well-kept?
Your communications are also involved in your image. When it comes to communicating with clients remember this golden rule – reply within two business days for an email and one business day for a call, either way, it is still best to respond as soon as possible.
#7 Keep Clientele Happy
Excellent customer service is crucial to keep clients happy. First, ensure that their questions or concerns are routinely answered and two, ensure that you respond to them promptly and in person. Periodically request your client’s feedback – social media is an excellent tool for this; and whenever possible, adjust policies to meet reasonable demands.
Your procedures will fluctuate over time; it’s always a great idea to involve your staff and customers during this process! You can learn more about the best customer service practices for equestrian businesses here.
If you feel aligned with this article, it might be time for you to consider running your own horse-boarding business. We’d like to hear from you! If you have any article suggestions or tips coming from your personal experience, reach out to us anytime!