For The Record: Keeping Track Of Your Business

A love for paperwork is pretty rare among farriers, but recognizing its importance in keeping a hoof-care business profitable isn’t.

You’re probably already familiar with the phrase, “No hoof, no horse.” Well, here’s another one for you: “No records, no profit.”

Buck O’Neil, a farrier from Horse Shoe, N.C. (near Asheville), holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting and a master’s degree in tax preparation. He has worked as a certified public accountant. He gets frustrated with farriers who don’t understand that they are not just farriers, but also business owners.

“This isn’t just guys starting out,” he says. “I’ve talked with very experienced shoers about the importance of keeping good records and understanding costs and expenses and they say they’re just too busy to worry about it. Too busy to spend 15 minutes doing something they would really benefit from.”

As someone just starting as a farrier, you may think it’s not vital for you to keep accurate records right away. Don’t fall into that trap. Now is the time to establish a good record-keeping foundation. You can start with a relatively simple method and improve it as your business grows.

Start Right

O’Neil says many farriers set up their pricing and bookkeeping backward. They decide what to charge to shoe or trim a horse based on what other farriers are charging and what they think the market will bear.

While these factors need to be considered, O’Neil says the first step should be to draw up a business plan…

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