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It seems like a simple question, but when Walter and Lee Fuermann put it to an audience of farriers at the International Hoof-Care Summit, it clearly caught more than a few of them by surprise.
“Have you ever had a horse, donkey or mule write you a check for farrier services?” asked Walter.
The husband-wife shoeing team from Hearne, Texas, have been asking that question of farrier audiences for a while now, and they’ve yet to hear from anyone who’s familiar with that elusive equine who’s not only able to write, but also has a checking account.
That’s one of the reasons that they maintain that your ability to deal with people — the one’s who actually pay for your services — may be as important as your ability to deal with horses in making your shoeing business a success.
They call their approach “Tackling the Human Side of Horseshoeing,” and it has evolved from what they’ve learned while developing their horseshoeing business in central Texas, where they serve 78 accounts.
“One of the things we’re constantly asking ourselves is, would we hire us?” Lee says. “Are we the type of people we’d want to come out to our place and shoe and trim our animals?”
Not all farriers are adept at interacting with clients. Walter says that’s not surprising.
“A lot of us go into this business because we want to work with animals, but the reality is that we have to deal with people…