ArcEquine polled 600 horse owners about hoof issues and their farriers. Anytime you poll horse owners on feet, farriers will be celebrated by most and vilified by some. This holds true in ArcEquine’s survey. About 96% of horse owners replied that they would recommend their farrier to others. Furthermore, about 93% said they trust their farrier’s knowledge.

However on the other side of the coin, 46% said they had difficulties in the past finding a farrier who they can trust. And likely not surprising is that the popular complaint of farriers is timeliness. This poll didn’t dig as deep to find out if timeliness means late or never showed up.

What are we talking about when we discuss timeliness? There are certainties. For example, if a farrier tells the client that the appointment is at 9, then the clients should reasonably expect the shoer to be there around that time. The same holds true if a range of hours is promised.

But why are you late? Did you have to spend an extra 10 minutes fetching the horse? What if the appointment before presents an unexpected emergency? Or traffic is bad? Even if you call, alerting the client that you’ll be late, you’re still late. What is the client’s understanding about what happens if you are late or prevented to come at all?

So the subject has little to do with timeliness as much as it has to do with communication. Specifically, how well have you communicated to the client about what they can expect?

As many farriers do, the clients must understand what they can expect from a practice. It is also important to establish what they can expect in timeliness, what will happen if you are late, care for their horse and so on. Put these expectations in writing.

Equally important is that you present the client with a list of what you expect. Do you want a clean work area? Do you charge extra for ill-behaved horses? Do you expect clean, dry feet from the horses at the start of the appointment? If so, this is the place to tell the clients.

You must introduce both sets of expectations at the beginning of the business relationship — before you ever pick up a foot. By doing so, nothing should come as a surprise to either party — even though a polite reminder to certain points may be required at times. By establishing the rules up front, you will find out thatyou and the clients should work together. So you’ll save that time for the clients who will grow your business.

How do you alert your clients as to what time you’ll arrive?  What expectations do you give to clients? Please post your comment below.