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Boarding Stables

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The stable that I worked at as a teenage has come up for sale. My husband and I were thinking of buying it, which led me here to ask for some input.

For those that own or operate their own boarding facility, here is my main question. How profitable is it? As of now, it would be boarding only, no training, lessons, etc. With the area that it is located in we should be able to keep it full most of the year, but would boarding alone make a profit?

The facility is 14 indoor stalls, 2 outdoor stalls, an indoor arena, outdoor roundpen and located on 18 acres (which would be made into larger pastures and trails.

Anyways, I've thrown some figures around on paper but it's all an estimate. So, any ideas, opinions, thoughts, stories or experiences are welcome! Lets hear them!

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A "board only" facility is, at best, a break even business. It provides the economic basis for the real "profit centers" like training, lessons, show coaching, etc. A huge percentage of barns actually use boarding as a "loss leader" to get these more profitable opportunities.

Do the math and figure out the costs for boarding a horse in your area. Then do a quick survey and find out what barns are charging. If you are lucky you'll be in an area where demand is good but supply tight. More likely you'll find that supply is plentiful and demand anemic.

In any event be very wary of buying a "business." To buy the land and facilites is one thing, but purchasing a going enterprise is quite different.

Do a LOT of research before you make any decision.

G.

Edited by Guilherme

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I agree,do lots of homework, I had my own place,once and have work'd for 4 other family places and its a tuff life! getting good consistent help, is a biggy!! the where and tair on the place is a constant,if you don't have an outside income coming to fix things the place can get away from you in a hurry! and its just like any job, there is work to do ALL the time no vacations! So think'n of just running off for the weekend is out! fences bust,pipes freeze& break,pumps go out, horses colic in the middle of the night. You find that you never get to ride your horses either cause there is always something waiting to be done. I hated it!! and have'n my horse boarded for me is the only way. But not to "rain on your parade" just ask a LOT of questions of the owners and other owners too. 1st! and good luck! either way!!

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Running a board facility can be profitable. Running any business can.

I have been running boarding here for over a couple years, but really made it a business about a year and a half ago after I lost my real job. I live in a very rural area so the average price for boarding is pretty inexpensive, to be competitive I cannot charge near what I used to pay where we last lived.

Running numbers will give you a better idea. You have a nice amount to begin to work with though, more than twice what we have here.

If you research what other facilities provide and charge you will get a better idea of how profitable you can make yours. In these economic times some boarders may be willing to trade work for board fees, this can save you in expenses each month.

As I said my facility is profitable, not vastly, but still covers our household expenses with plus at the end of the month. I only have 6 stalls, a small pasture and a large pasture. I am full with a waiting list. - always This is also a college town and I decided to make our fees low enough that students would be able to afford it. We're a full service facility and charge the lowest rate around here. I will trade work around here for board fees because it saves me in having to pay people to work around here. My husband does all the repair and upkeep. I found a local farmer where i get all my hay, it's top quality and extremely reasonable.

Another option to consider may be to run a retirement facility in the pasture you have, once it's sectioned a bit. In many areas people want a nice facility that will baby their older horse for them, but allow them to just be a horse. This can be hugely profitable. If you would like more info on this idea, email me privately.

Figure out your sources for supplies, decide what services you will include or what additional charges will be, and then get an idea of the expenses you may incur. Either way best of luck!!

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Thanks to everyone for the replies.

Guilherme This was my main concern starting out. That's why I was looking for some more input on the situation. Finding a good trainer in the area will be hard and to start out with I would be without one.

BlkHrsRdr I know that the facility was charging around $350/month around 5 years ago, however, there was also a trainer/instructor at the facility and it was also owned by a veterinarian. So keeping it full at that price was not a problem. I'm starting to like the idea of a retirement facility and am doing some research on that now. Thanks for the advice and I might be looking to you for some more input :)

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Everyone has given you great advice about the actual boarding.

I'm wondering about the actual facility as a business.

When you plan to purchase a business there is more information that the seller needs to provide and you need to know prior to purchase. You need to know the annual income generated by the business and the annual bills/costs too. You need access to the owner's books.

How much insurance does the facility carry and what is the annual cost?

How many claims have been made to the insurance company and what were those claims? If they have had flooding, electrical fires or other catastrophes you need to know.

To find out the amount of money that has been spent on maintaining or rebuilding the barn, out buildings and other structures with-in the past few years.

If they have a well...when was the water tested, what is the gallons per minute (GPM) when was the pump & other equipment replaced and serviced?

If they have metered water...what does the monthly/annual bill amount cost?

How is the manure and other waste disposed of? Is there a plan in place to keep barn wastes from contaminating near by wells/water systems? What are your state's laws about animal waste. In some states the rules that apply to a pig farmer also apply to stables when it comes to waste management. This can be expensive, so knowing a few things in advance can save you money and headaches.

Look for an inspector that specializes in farms to do your over view. A regular house inspector may not know that fence posts and rails need to be wiggled to see if there is rot that requires replacement. All electrical systems in the barn & out building need to be thoroughly checked. Even if the inspector has to bring a 30 foot ladder to check them.

Have your termite inspector check every building inside and out prior to the sale. That nice pretty barn with the brand new paint might need extensive repairs or even be razed to the ground due to rot or termite damage to the structure. A friend of mine found this out the hard way. The support beams looked good, but a termite guy called out to fix what they thought was a new infestation. Pushed a 6 inch screwdriver into each and every one. The whole barn had to be rebuilt. Thirty thousand dollars that they didn't expect.

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I had a boarder when I was a young girl in highschool, she was a good horse, didnt cause much damage, was a handful at times but that was all. We were getting 150 a month, it covered our shavings cost for the 3 horses I had at the time but that was all. Im thinking of getting another boarder, ive learned not to count on making a profit out of boarding, too many repairs, all out wood fencing needs to be repaired, hay and shavings have sky rocketed, and another bad hay year is just all we need to put all the horses in our state in the neglect catagory as far as not getting enough food. Its just more a pain then its worth for the little money that has to be dished back out into the property, feed, bedding, repairs, fencing and insurance. The only reason im thinking of getting another boarder is because our farm is so quiet, id like to have someone to ride with and would love to see the farm get used more after all we did to make it better for the boarder lol. Good luck with your decision. My thought is if your doing for the fun of it then go for it, but if your doing it for the profit stay away from it lol

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dondie you had some excellent, well thought out points to consider and ask about!

If you can find a reliable boarder willing to trade labor for some board money, that will be a Godsend. Having someone to take care of things while you are gone for a weekend trip or whatnot is crucial, or else you can never ever go anywhere.

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My BF and I are looking at farms and he always wants me to open up a boarding facility but I'm a little more cautious then him. I have no experience at all with boarding.

The only reason I was posting is because I see your in West Alexander and that makes me excited. I bought my 1st house and moved to Charleroi, PA but I'm from Washington, PA(Sth Franklin Twp) and went to McGuffey.

Edited by hrsluvr

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I'm wondering about the actual facility as a business.

When you plan to purchase a business there is more information that the seller needs to provide and you need to know prior to purchase. You need to know the annual income generated by the business and the annual bills/costs too. You need access to the owner's books.

Big humungous ginormous large poufy the size of a mountain DITTO.

Otherwise............the price of the acreage is just that............you're buying real estate.

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Sadly not every business can be profitable. The bankruptcy courts are full of proof of that.

Begin with your capital requirements. Add up the cost of land and structures; tools and equipment; machinery (tractor, FEL, mower, manure spreader, etc.); fencing; any "dirt work" needed; etc.

Set up a spreadsheet and run some numbers. How many stalls do you have to rent? How much pasture? How many horses can you put on that pasture? This will set your base income from board. Now reduce that number by 20% to cover vacancy, bad debts, etc.

Figure your cash expenses, next. What will you pay for forage, fodder, bedding, etc.? What will your fence maintenance costs be? What kind of labor will you have to hire? (Remember that you have to cover your time off for vacation, family emergencies, etc.; you also should have a "reserve" in case you get hurt.) Don't forget utilities, phone, advertising, etc. And taxes and license fees. And interest on loans. Etc., etc., etc.

Next add in your non-cash costs such as the business portion of real estate taxes, depreciation of farm buildings, machinery depreciation, etc. Add in here the value of your labor (at at least 120% of minimum wage).

What does your bottom line look like?

G.

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