When we asked 2,100 horse owners 2 years ago about their relationship with farriers, 20.5 percent told us their biggest gripe was that their shoers showed up late or missed appointments altogether.

Some 24.4 percent said farriers are hard to reach, don’t return phone calls and make it difficult to schedule horses for shoeing. And 13.6 percent of horse owners indicated that farriers don’t bother to call when they’re going to be late for a shoeing appointment.

Even more bizarre things can happen, such as with the horse owner who wrote to us recently about her farrier. Some 20 clients in the area had appointments to have horses shod over a 2 or 3 week span with a farrier who apparently left town and never told anyone. As a result, they had to scramble to find a qualified shoer who lived nearly 2 hours away.

As you might guess, they certainly weren’t happy with this inconsiderate treatment of shoeing clients.

Yet farriers aren’t alone when it comes to making customers wait. Having to wait for service is by far the biggest complaint that banks, supermarkets and airlines get from customers. Unfortunately, it sends a message to customers that their time doesn’t matter and indicates the people really don’t care.

As a farrier, you know how aggravating it can be to wait in line when only two of five bank teller stations are open and there are 15 people waiting to cash checks. Even more aggravating is to see two tellers at closed stations doing something else besides waiting on customers.

Know Clients Dollar Loss

A good way to look at being late is to calculate the economics. If you have three owners waiting for 60 minutes for you to show up to shoe their horses, you’ve wasted 3 hours of their time.

“You have to look at the cost to others,” says James Prochaska who is a noted health behavior researcher at the University of Rhode Island. “In fact, the cost to others is more than any clock can measure.”

Cheryl Richardson, the author of Life Makeovers, says most of your shoeing clients will never fully share their frustration and resentment if you are always late.

“But people will certainly draw conclusions about the type of person you are based on chronic lateness,” she says. “The result is that you lose credibility.”

Being Late Vs. Your Health

She also makes an important point as to how personal heath concerns can be significant if you are routinely late. This leads to adrenal burnout, which is caused by overtaxing the adrenal glands by getting stressed out about being late. As a result, increased stress hormone levels can lead to insomnia, depression, chronic fatigue, a heightened tendency to get colds or the flu and even heart disease.

Richardson says people who are chronically late will often go into a loop of negative self-talk, which definitely won’t help your shoeing business.

As Bob Smith, who runs the Pacific Coast Horseshoeing School in Sacramento, Calif., once told me, “a capable shoer who shows up on time and returns phone calls will make more dollars per year than the super talented shoer who doesn’t bother to return phone calls or show up on time.”