If you could give just one piece of advice to new farriers, what would it be?
Learn public relation skills.
Serve a long apprenticeship. Be willing to work for nothing in order to gain knowledge that will be invaluable to your future.
Don't start your career by buying an expensive shoeing rig. You'll go broke trying to afford it while trying to obtain new clients.
With your first "paycheck" start a savings/retirement account. Always pay yourself first.
Learn to trim feet properly, that is where most beginners are deficient. That is the blueprint for the shoes.
Keep it simple, and start with the basics. The way I look at it, you do what you can to balance the foot. The real correction starts with the new growth at the top. It may take three to six months to see a change.
Don't ever assume that you know more than client.
You can learn from everyone. Don't criticize a job if you weren't there to see what they were dealing with firsthand.
Read Dale Carnegie's "How to Win Friends and Influence People."
Just answer the phone and return calls.!!!
Communication with your clients is everything. Answer your phone and return calls as soon as possible.
Go spend a lot of time with a few reputable farriers and find what you think will help you and your business. An apprenticeship with a successful farrier is very beneficial in my opinion.
In the course of a farriers career, they will probably go through dozens of nippers, knives, rasps, truck etc. My point is that you have one body. Take time to stretch, exercise and keep in shape.
When you begin a new carrier, you must become a good listener.
Things to consider when starting a new career in 2013:
1) Education - Attend a school to get those beginning miles under your belt and to turn yourself into a useful attribute for possible future apprenticeships.
2) Apprentice - As others have noted find people to continue learning from and find different people. You will learn something new from everyone you work with.
3) Professionalism - Designated Work Vehicle (Decals/clean), Business cards, Personal Appearance, Cohesive Message, Certifications
4) Price Points - It's better for you and the entire industry if you price your work appropriately for your area & expertise. Don't under value your work even though you are new.
5) Get the Word Out - The Mentor at my horseshoeing school told us anecdotally that when he started he just picked a direction and went.
DO THIS - get an atlas plan a new route everyday and just introduce yourself. Most people already have farriers so be polite; say your not looking to steal anyone's business and let them know your services are available if something changes or if they know someone else who is interested. You won't always get calls from your trips right away but 2-4-6-8 months later the calls WILL come.
6) Time Management - Have a planner and make sure you have given yourself adequate time for all your stops. Have a designated work voicemail. Return every single phone call you get in a timely manner. New clients may be calling multiple farriers, return that phone call as soon as you can, give yourself the best opportunity to showcase your work.
7) Website - If you don't do this you ARE losing money, every farrier NEEDS one. You can get a company to do all the technical work for under 90$ a year. I paid for my website on my first 3 trim phone call. (Example - www.squarespace.com) This DOES NOT INCLUDE FACEBOOK, you want a standalone business site that makes you stand out and that will pop up in a search engine for your area. Facebook is okay but only as an accessory to your main site. And as always your work is your best business card so do the best you can every day on every horse and the rest will come in time.
(In my first year myself).
Do not rush when on the job. Take your time and do quality work even if it means pulling a shoe back off to tweek it a little bit. Then do it. That in the long run will bring you work!
—Chris Roy, APF, CF
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