If you own your own property and have extra space you may have considered taking in a few boarders to help pay the mortgage or cover your horse expenses. Boarding other people’s horses can be a fun experience and bring in extra income, however before taking on such a business venture, it’s a good idea to consider all the details that go with opening a boarding facility.
The first step in the planning process is to contact your mortgage holder and your insurance company. Verify that neither of these entities have rules stipulating that you cannot keep livestock belonging to outside parties. You will also want to verify your liability coverage. Your agent may even suggest that you obtain a separate liability policy just for boarding activities on your property.
The next step is to verify the zoning laws in your area. Depending on where your property is located, some areas have zoning regulations that limit the amount of livestock allowed per acre. There may also be some restrictions as to the types of businesses that are allowed.
After determining whether or not you can open a boarding facility, the next step is to decide what level and type of services you want to offer. Do you want to offer full board where you provide the feed, hay, and take care of all the feeding and stall cleaning? Do you want to offer partial board where the owner supplies the feed but you are responsible for the feeding and turnout as well as stall cleaning? Perhaps after considering these two options, you may decide to just rent the stall out and let the owners be responsible for all care and upkeep of the horse.
Look at your turnout and riding areas. Are they safe and adequate for the amount of horses and the type of clientele you want to bring in?
The next step is to set your pricing. Review the services you will offer versus your expenses involved when setting a price for board. It’s a good idea to ask around to compare pricing to verify your rates are adequately priced for your area.
Signing a contract is a necessary evil of boarding horses for the public and even for friends. Your insurance company or mortgage holder may require this step as due to the liability involved. They should also be able to help you with the wording of your contract in regards to legal responsibilities.
In addition to the legalities of the contract, also include what you expect of your boarders and what your boarders can expect from you. Including details of feeding, turnout and who is responsible for each responsibility. If there are extra charges for things such as holding horses for the vet or blanketing, be sure to include those details as well. If you require a deposit or advance notice before leaving that needs to be detailed in the contract. Your contract should literally leave no question unanswered.
Any profitable business venture requires forethought and planning. Do the legwork to thoroughly plan your new boarding business and the homework will pay off.