Freeville, N.Y., farrier Kirk Smith concentrates most of his clients within a 25-mile radius of his hometown.

It’s easy to get caught up in increasing the number of horses you shoe. Yet, more horses don’t necessarily mean more net income for you or better service for your clients.

Although it’s not always possible for every farrier, shoeing horses closer to home often means fewer expenses, which results in more money in your pocket. It’s a philosophy that Freeville, N.Y., farrier Kirk Smith has found works for him.

“There are a couple of outliers who are a little farther out, but the vast majority of my clients are within a half-hour — 25 miles maybe — of my house,” he says. “I have two relatively large barns that are within 2 miles of my house. I literally spend almost an entire day, every week at a barn that’s 1½ miles from my house. It’s hard to knock that.”

The close proximity to his clients ensures that he can quickly respond to their needs, but also minimizes travel costs and wear and tear on his truck — not to mention other incredibly important benefits.

“If I spend an hour driving, that’s an hour that I can’t be doing something else, whether it’s working, driving my horses or being home with my family,” Smith says. “Having a lot of horses close by is handy in spring and fall when it’s muddy and you have problems. It would be fine to drive 2 hours and work all day if you can guarantee that you didn’t have to go back at the end of the week because a horse pulled a shoe.”

Before taking on new clients farther away from home, be sure to weigh your expenses against the money you pull in. The extra horses might not be worth it to your bottom line.

How far from home are most of your clients? Does your area enable you to keep clients close? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.


Read this and more tips from Freeville, N.Y., farrier Kirk Smith in the March issue of American Farriers Journal.