Pilot Point, Texas, farrier Chad Chance says any successful business is built on a plan. In hoof care, if you don’t build a plan and follow it, you will live day-to-day. This prevents you from growing a practice according to design. When planning, Chance finds it hard to pinpoint one-size-fits-all advice. If he’s addressing a general group, he first asks, “What do you want?”
“I ask guys do you want to earn $50 a day? Or $500 a day? Or more?” he says. “And when do you want it? This is a good way to start to identify what they want from the industry.”
The business plan must address the fundamentals for reaching goals. In turn, that plan must recognize reality. For example, Chance compares the occupation of farrier to that of a professional athlete.
“You only have so many good years for your body,” he says. “Myself, I’m at the peak of my income earning at 45. If I had my 25 to 28 year-old body to produce money at age 45 prices, then I’d hit a financial home run. But I can’t do 10 horses a day any longer.
“If I can’t perform my horseshoeing duties on a daily basis, I won’t get paid. My customers want to see my face and my body working on their horses. It gives them comfort. But that limits what I can allow my help to do, and I’m limited in what I can do.
“Your business model has to address decreased productivity as you get older. Unfortunately, how much you can charge to shoe a horse doesn’t make up for those four or five you could shoe when you were younger.”
Part of your plan calls for awareness to the financial reality of your area. When Chance discusses earning more as the ability to shoe several horses in a day diminishes, he warns that a particular area may not be able to support increased prices for your labor.
“Sometimes it depends on where you live in the United States,” he says. “How good you are may not be as important as where you live. You may be the best farrier among your national peers, but you are still going to get paid what your area can support.”
Read more from Chad Chance in the November 2013 edition of American Farriers Journal.