What We’ve Learned About Part-Time Farriers
By Frank Lessiter, Editor/Publisher
Every 2 years, we conduct the exclusive American Farriers Journal Farrier Business Practices Survey, which reveals the latest trends and statistics on how hoof-care professionals operate their businesses. In the latest survey published a year ago, part-time farriers represented 26% of the farriers that took the time to answer our 4-page, 70-question survey.
Just like full-time farriers, these part-timers play an important role in the health and care of America’s horses.
The results indicated that part-time farriers had an average gross income of $24,683. That compares with full-time farriers who averaged $92,726 in yearly income. Nearly two-thirds part-time farriers find less than 30% of their total yearly income comes from trimming and shoeing.
The typical full-time farrier worked with 40 horses a week while the average part-time farrier dealt with a dozen horses a week.
Earlier this fall, we surveyed part-time farriers to get a better feel for how they operate their hoof-care businesses. The results appear on Pages 26 to 28 of the November 2013 AFJ issue.
Some 60% of part-time farriers work 35 to 40 hours a week a full-time job. Almost two-thirds are putting in more than a total of 50 hours a week while combining a full-time job with hoof-care work.
Some 44% of these part-time farriers rely on full-time employment to obtain reasonably priced health insurance. With government-mandated health insurance coverage on the horizon, it will be interesting to see if this philosophy changes over the next few years.
Most part-timers are happy with their existing situation, with only 15% indicating that they might be interested in moving to full-time hoof-care work.
Some 10% of the part-timers charge more than the average price for full-time farriers in their area while 40% charge the same. It’s been my contention for a number of years that highly qualified part-time farriers can charge more than most area farriers since much of their total income does not depend on providing full-time hoof-care.
This reasoning would enable highly qualified part-time farriers to carefully pick and choose the horse owners they prefer to work with.
Many more details from this part-time farrier survey, including data on how they deal with emergency hoof-care situations while sitting behind a desk, are found in the November 2013 issue of AFJ. In addition, there’s an article on Pages 30 to 35 in this issue that features an island farrier in Massachusetts who juggles a half dozen jobs while burning the candle at both ends on long summer days.