I’ve blogged before about the importance of farriers maintaining (and raising) the standard of work when things are financially tight. It doesn’t always seem the most obvious approach but increasing the overall quality rather than cutting corners and defaulting to inferior shoes and tools will often pay dividends in the long run.
But there are usually some expenses being incurred that can be looked at and reduced without affecting the quality of the service. In fact, cutting unnecessary costs can free up some money to re-invest in better gear, adding value to your service or surviving the current tough times at the very least.
Here’s a list of my top three points for farriers to think about and potentially act on:
- Fuel – this is usually a huge part of a mobile farrier business. Having a well maintained truck, carrying only the gear you’ll need for the day (to reduce weight) and spending a little extra time carefully scheduling appointments can have a significant impact on fuel consumption. And the juice ain’t cheap any more! I doubt there’s a farrier in the country who couldn’t look at and improve on fuel consumption for their truck to some extent
- Efficiency – time is money and too many farriers I’ve spoken to don’t even count the time they’re driving, on the phone, stocking up at the farrier suppliers or doing the paperwork. I’ve found using technology to be a great way to improve efficiency. There’s plenty of gadgets (smart phones for starters). Being more organised is the best way to improve efficiency and better efficiency should also mean lower costs
- Wastage – this covers quite a few things. Leaving the forge burning too long or too high can use up quite a bit of extra gas if you add it all up over the year This is something that farriers usually don’t even notice they’re doing (we’re all thinking about the foot, how to best fit that shoe etc). Throwing away too many bent nails per horse for some farriers can be a problem. My advice is to store up the bent nails and after a while, count them up and potentially give yourself a shock. Not looking after tools and gear is possibly the most widespread farrier wastage problem. Nails and rasps that get wet, and tools that aren’t maintained then needing replacing are costs no farrier needs.
If you’re a farrier, have read this post and intend to act on any of the things in this post, please feel free to send me a small percentage of the money you save as a result 🙂