Red Renchin finds that the farrier industry, as with many other industries, has a pecking order. The retired horseshoer says where you fit in it partly depends on your own actions. And how effective you are at promoting yourself helps you move up in that order.
"The most important is the quality of the work that you produce," he says. "It must stand on its own when there is no one to defend it.
"First, the horses have to remain sound and your shoes have to stay on. The feet have to be smooth with tight, neat clinches and the shoes must be correctly fitted and highly finished."
Other observations he has regarding some "must-have" for your practice:
- You won't succeed unless your demeanor with the client, the horse, the vet and staff is courteous and respectful. Your knowledge of your work must be complete and current.
- Your personal presentation and your turnout are tremendously important. You can't expect to charge more and get away with it if you leave home looking like Jeb Clampett and you want to charge like Bruce Springsteen.
- Your rig must be presentable, clean and organized.
The final item is how much you charge. "If you do not think that your time is very valuable, your clients will probably agree," he says. By charging more than your competitors, you are promoting the idea that you are more competent and consequently deserve to be compensated better. If you charge more than your competitors though, you must produce. These things are all noticed by the clients and discussed by them. They are the ones that will place you in the pecking order."
Renchin delivers this advice in the upcoming career guide for new farriers.
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