Esco Buff, CF, PH.D., says a flat or variable service- or barn-call fee can cover vehicle costs from fuel to registration to replacement.
Tracking vehicle expenses allows you to more accurately separate these expenses from other shoeing expenses. It makes it easier to determine if you need to increase your service fee when costs begin to rise. By charging a call fee, you do not have to consolidate clients to specific areas on certain days.
Another reason to charge a service-call fee is as part of a contingency plan for a new vehicle. Too often, when a farrier’s vehicle dies, there is no cash on hand to purchase a new or used vehicle and it’s necessary to seek a loan. Charging a service-call fee will help you set money aside for this situation.
To determine what to charge, consider the cost of your vehicle, how often you replace vehicles, the cost of yearly maintenance, insurance and registration.
It does not matter how you charge the fee, as long as it covers all of your vehicle expenses. You may decide to charge from the last client stop, from your home, by regions or a simple flat fee. Determine what works best for you.
Read more about how service-call fees in "The Hoof-Care Bottom Line" in the November 2009 issue.