I have taught horseshoeing for more than 40 years to more students than anybody else ever has. Most of my graduates have gone on to shoe horses professionally and made a living for themselves and their families.
Congratulations on your choice of industries. If it becomes for you half of what it has been for me, you are in for a great life. There are few jobs or industries that I know of that will give back like this one, so enjoy the ride.
So, you’ve graduated farrier school or finished an apprenticeship and are ready to launch your own farrier business. You might be thinking, “What are my next steps? How can I stand out from other farriers? What does it take to run my own business?”
Horse owners have many expectations of a farrier. Recognizing and positively acting upon horse owner expectations are critical aspects of building a successful farrier business. Ignoring those expectations will negatively affect a farrier’s ability to build a successful business.
Are you as good a farrier today as you will ever be? Do your current abilities guarantee you will have a successful career?
Graduating from farrier school won’t be enough. Industry leaders point to an increasing emphasis on continuing education and professionalism in the farrier world — the ongoing need to add to your knowledge and skills.
Hi, you’re a farrier, right? Can you come out here and shoe my horses?”
Every farrier takes a phone call like this. In an ideal and unrealistic world, clients come prescreened. Instead, it’s necessary to ask questions and gain some knowledge about that horse and client before you say “yes.” Every farrier has certain questions to ask potential clients.
As your shoeing career progresses, you are going to have clients who raise your blood pressure as soon as you see their name on your schedule. After working hard to build a solid business, getting rid of clients seems to fly in the face of your desire to increase your client base and income. But firing clients just might be what your business and your mental health need.
There are differences in how every farrier approaches his or her business. Still, the most common and effective way to manage the finances of a farrier business remains knowing what it costs to shoe a horse.
As a self-employed farrier, enrolling in an employer-sponsored retirement plan isn’t an option. You’re on your own and you want to get serious about saving for retirement by opening a dedicated account, but where do you start? How do you maximize your investment? Is there something better than a standard savings account that offers minimal interest payments? And if you get a late start on retirement savings, can you make up ground somehow?
Farriery is a centuries old profession that hasn’t changed much at its core. However, in this day and age, technology can help take your hoof-care business to the next level.
Technology is underutilized in farriery, though. While 67% of farriers carry a smartphone, only 51% use computers in their footcare business, according to the most recent American Farriers Journal Farrier Business Practices Survey.
What equipment do you really need to start earning a living as a farrier? Three highly successful farriers with insight into the tool industry offer their thoughts.
If you’ve learned fundamental hoof-care techniques, you’ve already made the most important acquisition, according to Dan Bradley.
On day 1 of your footcare business — as an apprentice or out on your own — you will face tough challenge that you must resolve using your code of ethics. Some of these challenges will be simple to overcome, while others will present potential outcomes that will be difficult for you to answer without negative consequences for one party.
Completing farrier school is an event that sparks transformation: a former student suddenly becomes a professional farrier, and from there, often progresses to being a small business owner. The first few years can bring many challenges, but also insight gained through experience. Stanley Mullen of Selwyn, New Zealand, is familiar with this, having graduated in 2015 from the Kentucky Horseshoeing School in Richmond, Ky.
This slide shoe shows the process Cornell University farrier Steve Kraus uses to make calipers for applying the golden ratio to his work evaluation. You can read more about this at AmericanFarriers.com/goldenratio.
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