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OPERATING A MULTI-FARRIER business with four full-time salaried farriers, Tom Parris makes it work by providing excellent service, year-round hoof care for 700 horses, being extremely efficient and computerizing the business while keeping a close eye on expenses.
In fact, the operator of Alpha/ Omega Equine Service holds expenses in this four-man multi-farrier business to an astounding 16 percent of total income. That’s less than half the expense rate of most shoers.
But wait, there are many more valuable lessons that can be learned from the Woodbine, Md., farrier. Each farrier shoes only 5 days a week from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. and receives 10 weeks annual vacation. And they get full insurance benefits while working only on horses that are in barns that are located less than 18 miles from the Parris home.
Along with working full-time as a farrier, Parris is an ordained minister and has had his own church for 18 years. Besides holding a Sunday morning service, he counsels church members and teaches Bible study and Sunday school classes each week. Shoeing for 39 years, he learned the business from his grandfather while growing up with his family on a farm.
Last winter, Parris decided to take 16 weeks paid vacation and time off during 2002 — unheard of for a full-time shoer. As an example last winter, he spent a week at a funeral in Tennessee, another week attending the American Farrier’s Association (AFA) annual convention and enjoyed 3 weeks with…