If you have a riding school, you may decide to use some of your stables as a business venture, charging people to board their horses there.
In fact, if you have a barn and have extra stables, this may be a viable business for you. But what goes into offering horse boarding as a business? Let’s take a look.
1. Good facilities
Your stables and barns may not be brand new, and if so, you’ll have to be sure they’re in good repair. You’ll have to go through an inspection upon starting the business. It’s important that the structure is sound and that there aren’t loose boards or protruding nails. You’ll also have to meet any of your local statutes.
2. Pasture and trails
Generally, in addition to the stables that provide a roof over the animals’ heads, you will want to provide pasture areas for the horses to graze and to walk around in. If you have riding trails radiating from your property, that is a good bonus. You have to make sure you have sufficient fencing in good repair.
3. Establish clear rules
To ensure the safety of both the horses and the boarders, you must be sure to establish rules of conduct for borders. These should be posted on stable walls. These rules serve as a sort of covenant between you and boarders, clarifying what you do and what they do (including feeding and veterinary services). They also keep the facility free of conflicts between various boarders who may be visiting at once. They also keep your facilities safe and limit possible damage or injury to the horses.
4. Legal and insurance
Not only should you have this unofficial contract set up, you should also have literal, legal contracts between you and your customers. This should account for who pays for which types of vet expenses, which things are included in the price for boarding and which will be billed extra, etc. Have a lawyer review this document.
Further, you should acquire the necessary insurance and be clear that you are covered. Get very real answers from your insurance company about the many accidents that could possibly happen.
5. Figure out pricing
One of the things you’ll need to do is figure out how much you’ll need to get for each horse to break even and then to make a minimal profit. Then, you’ll want to get a sense of how much it costs to board horses in your general area. You may have special features that draw people in and this may warrant a price that is slightly higher than others around you.
As with anything, starting this kind of business requires a lot of thought. It can lull you into a sense that as long as you already have stables, there’s nothing to it, but don’t be fooled—do your homework and your planning.