Know the Warning Signs

Whether it’s a particular client or horse, learn to spot the critical signs that may spell trouble in the future

At last winter’s fifth annual International Hoof-Care Summit in Cincinnati, two veteran farriers tackled a number of frequently asked questions about the footcare industry. For the second straight year, this “Point/Counterpoint” discussion proved to be among the highlights of this annual event.

This unrehearsed, fast-paced session sparked a number of differing viewpoints for Summit attendees. In this article, Rick Burten of Champaign, Ill., and Chris Gregory of Lamar, Mo., share critical views on managing both horses and their owners.

Q: What are some of the warning signs you often see that might indicate a bad client?

Burten: When a prospective client calls and the first thing he or she asks is what do you charge, I’m already done with them. No matter what you tell them, they’ll eventually find someone who will do these horses for $2 less than you.

Bad clients are people who when its been raining for four days, say, “Hang on while I bring the horses in out of the mud.” They have no electricity, no lights and cobwebs full of dust hanging over your head in the barn aisle.

I don’t work under those conditions and I take care of all of that in the first telephone interview. I do this by interviewing the horse owners rather than letting them interview me.

Gregory: If a prospective client says they don’t know anything about horseshoeing but soon start telling me how to shoe the horse, I don’t take to that very well. Another thing…

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