While it’s important to keep a horse on a regular schedule to avoid foot problems, it’s also important for the farrier to avoid financial problems. 

“When you keep your customers on a schedule,” explains Chris Gregory, “you’ll make a lot more money.”

It’s a matter of simple math, says the Lamar, Mo., farrier.

“Every horse on your books has a weekly dollar value,” Gregory says. “If you get $120 to shoe horses, and you’re on a 6-week schedule, that horse is worth $20 a week to you. If you shoe that horse every 10 weeks, now it’s worth only $12 a week to you. That’s a huge difference.”

To make up the deficit, a farrier has two choices — shoe more horses or charge more money.

“Both work,” says the owner of Heartland Horseshoeing School, “but charging more is the best way to go.”

When increasing prices, you’ll find that some clients won’t bat an eye. They’ll accept the increase as part of doing business. Others will decide that another farrier can meet their needs at a lower price. Yet, if you keep the increase manageable for most of your clients, you’ll end up ahead in the long run.

“If I charge 10% more,” Gregory says, “and I lose 10% of my customers, I’m actually making more money because I have 10% less costs.”

On top of that, you’ll be doing 10% less work. Not a bad trade off.