Higher farrier service rates

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MindyLee

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Ive been our counties miniature equine/goat farrier since 2004. I never adjusted my pricing untill now. I always charge $15 per mini and a $10 house call fee for the county. But lately I realize that almost every customer has either the following...

*unhandled or hard to handle animals (wild)

*no halters/leads (I provide)

*not caught/ready by time I arrive (so I spend 1/2 hr+ to catch)

*foundered (most are slippers)

*only call me 1-3 times a yr so hooves are always super long/unbalanced badly

*owners not home or forget appointments

*and so on & so on.

I love doing this but feel that starting the new year, Im raising my price $5 more for equine trims from now on. Do you think Im out of line and asking to much? (I dont) Most local big horse farriers charge $40 per mini...

Also another question, do I keep my old prices for current clients or inform them of the price adjustment too? If I was your farrier, would you be mad because I up my price from $15 to $20 per mini?

Please give me your honest opinions. THANKS!

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Jenny

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I don't think you're out of line at all. I pay $50 for the farrier to trim Breaker's hooves every 8 weeks, so $20 seems like a very fair price. This also seems very fair if your clients have any of the situations listed. I always have Breaker haltered and I stay with him and the farrier the whole time as I like to watch and learn, and also if she needs any help with anything. Also, his hooves only ever need a bit of filing down every time as he's done frequently and his paddock is gravel. I say that raising the price $5 is very still very reasonable
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candycar

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I wouldn't be mad. In fact with the hard clients I would charge more! They seem to be taking advantage of you.
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My old farrier upped his prices years ago when gas was so high, and they never went down when gas did. I still paid him gladly.

But I recently had to get a new farrier because the old one wouldn't keep his appointment, or kept putting me off until it was ridiculous!

My girls are very well behaved and easy to trim, he had no excuse for not showing up except he was too busy with other things.

I was afraid to get a new ferrier because he said no one else in the area would work on minis for just the reasons you gave!
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I put an add on CL and got one right away! I love my new farrier, he does great work Is very patient and comes as soon as I call! He even gave CoCo Puff the wild mini mule a trim! 1st time since I got her! My new guy even charges $5 less, but I give him more because I want him to keep coming!
 

bevann

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I would print up a new price list for 2014 Some items would be base price of $15-20 per horse (whatever you decide)plus a few extra itemized things.

$5 per horse extra for lead&halter

$20 per hour extra for horses not caught and ready to be trimmed.

$15-20 per horse based on regular trimmings every 8 weeks or so

$50 extra for yearly only trims

$10-15 extra per horse for foundered horses

$25-50 extra for missed appointments or not home

Let them know you are serious about your business.In many areas it is difficult to find a farrier who will do Minis.Your time and talent are valuable.If my farrier increases his prices I will gladly pay and say nothing.I'm just so glad he is willing to come.My farrier is excellent and will come unscheduled if I have a lameness or foot problem and hopefully avoid a vet call.He has saved me money several times.
 

chandab

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Mindy Lee, as far as I'm concerned you are selling yourself short and should charge more. Not that I wouldn't love to pay just $15-20 per trim, my last farrier (he moved) was charging $45 regardless of size and charged extra for training, catching, etc (I was a good client, so he did give me a break on the chiropractic work a couple of my horses needed - he was here every 4 weeks, when he didn't miss an appointment, I never cancelled on him). Also, had a 4 horse minimum to come; you paid for 4 horses (minimum) whether he did 1 or 4. [i had 16 at the time, so easy to rotate at least 4 through the monthly appointment (laminitic mare needed 4 week schedule).] He moved 13 months ago, so I've been doing the minis myself; a young guy was doing the saddle horses for me (I can't get through their hooves), but then he moved too. Just talked to yet another farrier this past Tuesday, and if the weather holds, we'll hopefully have an appointment this up coming week, to catch up the saddle horses. [Come spring we may discuss the minis, I have a couple that need a little tweaking, so perhaps just his expert opinion and I'll do the work.]

I was in the middle of typing when Bevann posted, and I agree with everything she wrote. Write up a new price list you can live with, and stick to it, if you might lose a couple difficult clients, so be it. [if you fear for the horse's wellbeing (you know your clients), then perhaps let a few slide on the extra charges, but definitely increase your base rate, at least a little.]
 

Marsha Cassada

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I pay $25 each for my well mannered horses. I do not keep him waiting, either. Farriers are very special horse folk! Sometimes I drive 20 miles to meet at another customer so he can save a trip to my house.

Do not know if you can afford it, but I would weed out the customers whose horses are wild/don't show. If you walked away from a wild horse a few times, would it make a difference to the customer? Could you suggest that a vet be present to give mild sedation? I find it hard to believe that you need to supply a halter and lead!

You could charge extra if you have to catch the horse, supply the lead/halter, or give a training lesson. Maybe you could print something up and hand it out to the customers.

I think they are taking advantage of you because you are not charging enough.
 

disneyhorse

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I've paid anywhere from $25 to $50 per trim. Currently paying $40.

My horses are haltered, held, clean, well mannered (if they aren't I tip the farrier!) and we've got a covered, concrete pad for them to work on rain or shine.

If I were you, I'd inform current clients of the price change and make it worth your while. I'd charge more for more difficult horses or clients.

Although I wouldn't charge extra for foundered feet ( my farriers never have).

I would consider making a fee schedule like suggested above, to account for time spent catching horses or possible injury from feral ones.
 

amysue

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People never cease to amaze me. You are a farrier, not a trainer or wrangler (not saying you cant do these things, but that is not your job) your time is valuable. I have never met a farrier who put up with what you are describing. I would notify your clients of the price increase and attribute it to the times and rising fuel cost. I would also implement a policy stating horses must be caught and ready to be serviced. My farrier friend says she can do a trim in 15 min. Its $2 a minute after that for unruly horses. She also gives a small discount for people who schedule appts. 8 weeks apart to offset the cost if having to put more work into neglected horses. Bless your heart for all your hard work and patience.
 

FurstPlaceMiniatures

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I know a lot of cattle foot trimmers are changing to hourly rates for the reasons you've stated above. You want me to chase your horse for half an hour or wrestle your cows in a grossly inefficient setup? Sure! But you're going to pay me for it. The current cattle rate is between $150 and $200 an hour - or $10 a trim with gross upcharges for lame cows that need to have a block glued on or a wrap. I have a very slow table and work alone and can get between 8 and 12 trimmed an hour because the setup is nice and very efficient.

I don't know why more farriers and equine vets aren't jumping on the bandwagon. I know for my herd vet it's a flat $180 an hour charge including everything he administers (antibiotics and other drugs he leaves cost extra though) - doesn't matter what he's doing, whether its a surgery, consulting, calving, whatever. My horse vet nickels and dimes the crap out of me, and it ends up at about that much too.

I agree $15 is WAY too low for a trim. Im an amateur in the show ring, so I do not trim horses for pay - i just do my own because i have all of the schooling needed. However, I have helped out some family friends with their miniature filly's feet. I accepted an apple turnover for pay, but that's a different story. I am paid hourly to trim cattle, however, its part of my full time job so it's not as much as a trimmer would get that comes once or twice a year (cattle are different).
 

lucky seven

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I don't know about your area, but here I pay $30 per horse. I have one mini and one full size so he doesn't charge by size. Mine have their halters on because one is hard to catch, and he is being held so our farrier isn't held up. I had another farrier who charged much more that we fired because he brought dogs with him that he allowed to run loose. We have leash laws and he was always stopping to find his dogs. My horses are done every 7 weeks, I wouldn't let my guys get as bad as the ones in those photos. I would question how well those owners take care of their horses. You need to charge more and expect respect from your clients.
 

mad for mini's

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I think it's about time that you charged a little more ! After all, it's been at least five years since I first started having you do mine and you charged that back then. After we moved, the girl I have doing them now charges $25.00 each (no farm call fee) which I am happy to pay. You know how good my horses usually are and always ready when she gets here so I don't know if she charges more for any extra hassle
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weerunner

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I charge 20$ a horse myself. And I charge for gas for anything over half an hours drive. It's far cheaper than the big horse farriers around here. I dont get any complaints about the price. But yes, I tolerate unruly horses on occasion. they usually come around after I've been there a few times and they realize I'm not going to kill them.
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BSharpRanch

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I am up to $30.00 for new clients. I usually try not to raise my fees on good clients. I put up with a lot too, comes with the job if you want to make a living. I finally have told a couple clients with bad horses what the deal was going to be and the worst client (great little horse, careless owner) I told I couldn't do the horse anymore if we couldn't keep it on a schedual to keep his hooves nice. The owner is a little easier to schedual now, so we will see. We work really hard for our nickels as it is and there are a few owners who just take us for granted, and there are a few who really appreaciate us and there are those in the middle. I must say that 90% of mine fall into the "really care" category. And I love all my little clients, even the ones who are poops.
 

wingnut

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I think you're more than justified to charge those prices. How unfortunate that your clients treat you so poorly! Makes me crazy!

I have a fantastic farrier and am so thankful for him! He charges $25 per horse up to 4 horses. At 5 horses, he drops it to $20 a horse. He doesn't charge me a farm fee but at least a couple times a year, I insist he takes a "tip". He does the farrier work in addition to his full time job. He is really good at working with my schedule and I try to do the same.

And last but surely not least he's amazing with my girls. He is worth every penny I pay him and more.
 

MindyLee

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Yep debbie!

I always loved your minis and still brag about them to this day as they where all lil perfect helpers. Your farm was far from what I deal with as you've heared the stories of some farms I trim for lol.

I think what ill do is make up a new add and print it and send it to all my current clients as im sure they will understand. And start advertising a new one on cl for 2014.

Im definitely gonna keep my house call fee as a lot of clients have 1 mini or a couple goats on the county lines or just outside them. And with me smack dab in the middle of our county... so no matter what direction I go, country lines are 20-30 min away. And with a lot of goat clients at $5 per goat, I need the house call fee to justify my travels.

I do take tons of pride in my farrier job and love all the critters I trim but do realize I need to start making a lil more as there's way more harder farms then good ones.

I do have a couple farms that have awesome animals and owners however not more then I can count on both hands.

I do understand that my job can and is difficult and it comes with the job... however I wish more owners understood what I go through and realize its not easy when I have to deal with what I said above.
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mad for mini's

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Lol ! They did love to "help" you and you were so good with them
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I'm sure the clients that appreciate you would have no problem with paying a little more
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Watcheye

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I pay $20 per trim and a $5 call fee. I am there when he gets there. My horses are haltered and I stay there through the trim. Those who do not bother to catch or halter their horses and work with them on manners need to rethink wasting your time.
 

Maple Hollow Farm

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As someone with close to 50 head of horses I would probably not appreciate an up in price but I also have ALL of my horses haltered and tied and ready for my farrier when he gets here. He charges us an hourly rate that generally averages around $15 but sometimes a little less. That said, with all that you listed that you have to deal with, it sounds like you need to do something to make your life easier and it more worth it. I agree with the person that posted to charge extra for those inconvenient visits. I would keep your base trim fee the same and have "penalty" charges for those with extremely long feet, uncaught horses, no halters or leads, ect. JMO
 

Rhondaalaska

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I pay $35 if I take my mare to the farrier, or up to $60 if the farrier comes out to my place.

And I gladly pay it. She works with me so I can do maintenance trims myself and she does the main

Trimming every 12 weeks or so. Not many people will do just one mini. So I value her greatly.
 

JanBKS

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Mindy, my Farrier charges $15.00, I have had her since I moved up here 8 years ago, she has 60 + of her own big horses, and supplies the camps in the area in summer, she don't make appt's and I keep forgetting to call her especially when I am sick, but all my horses are good for her and I have them rounded up or in stalls when she comes. I have an elder stallion mini who was just kept in the field for 16 years til I got him and even though he was a pistol to begin with even bit her once she just showed him who was boss and he was good after that, she is a gem and I hope to never lose her, I also had a gem where I moved from he was fantastic and only charged 15 also.

I always try to get her something nice for Christmas too.

Bad clients I see no reason why they don't pay more you will be justified in raising the price to them.

Good Luck Good Farrier's are hard to come by we must all try to treasure the ones we have.
 

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