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The only time farriers admit how far they drive is when it is tax time and they want to take the “standard mileage rate” as a deduction. Usually they assume that their customers are “pretty close” and don’t want to admit just how much driving each day actually costs them.
But if you don’t figure out those costs, you can’t set realistic shoeing prices that will enable you to have a viable business.
Farriers theoretically have higher vehicle expenses than the standard mileage rate allowed on federal tax forms due to the size of truck required to carry all the equipment needed for the job. I say “theoretically” because some farriers drive older trucks and for them, it is probably best to take the standard mileage rate.
It’s important that what you charge to shoe a horse also includes your transportation costs. You must figure out these costs and add them to your basic shoeing charges.
You should base your calculations for the travel-cost charge on what it would cost you to purchase a new 1-ton truck, even if you must drive an old half-ton truck for now. You’ll never be able to afford that new truck if you keep charging old-truck prices.
I’ve broken down the transportation costs as follows (See “Figuring a shoeing rig’s cost per day” to see how I arrived at the figures).
A farrier who does one big barn per day has a vehicle expense of $70 for that day…