A farrier enjoying their career with horses

How to Get Quality Clients for your Farrier Practice

We teach our students to grade their clients and horses to help them decide if the pair is helping their practice or hurting it. This system helps our farriers build a career with horses that they love. The grading system is subjective. We're going to share Bob's as an example. You can use whatever criteria you want to grade your clients.

Bob's Grading Criteria for a Fun Career With Horses:

Successful farriers have a vision of their life, and they work on that vision every day. They actively create their lives, while unsuccessful people just wait to see where their life takes them. Successful people's lives are intentional, unsuccessful people's lives are by accident.

Don’t be this Farrier

A Horses

  • Stand quietly and allow you to work without giving you trouble.
  • Have good hoof shape, strong hoof walls, and are sound.
  • Are efficient, you zip in and zip out and get your work done.

B Horses

  • Stand well but are not perfect, they're kind of heavy.
  • Don't have great feet, and maybe they need a lot of shoes because their feet are prone to chipping.
  • Have thin souls and hoof walls.

C Horses

  • Are uncooperative, you don't get excited about getting under them.
  • Have such poor confirmation that they're constantly pulling shoes, and you have to go out a couple of times every cycle to replace them.

D Horses

  • Are dangerous and ill-mannered.
  • They like to kick at you.
  • They've not been trained to stand quietly for the farrier.

Lots of us worked on D horses when we started our careers, but you certainly want to leave those as quickly as you possibly can.

Once we rate the horses, we evaluate the clients. This is not a personality rating. It has nothing to do with how much you like them as a person.

A Clients

  • Care about your safety and comfort.
  • Pay immediately.
  • Allow you to put their horse on whatever schedule it needs.

These are great clients to work for. This is where the money comes from, and you'll have fun working with your A clients.

B Clients

  • Provide a good quality horse.
  • Care about your comfort and safety.
  • Can't provide an indoor area to shoe in that's out of the wind, rain, and sun, but they give us the best they've got.
  • Are good people, they care about us, but they're a little horse poor.
  • Struggle with your yearly price increase, or when the veterinarian recommends pads, or you see something in the feet that you think needs a specialty shoe.
  • Allow you to put them on the schedule that their horse needs.

When you first come out of school, you get a lot of C clients.

C Clients

When you first come out of school, you get a lot of C clients.

  • Care about the horse first, you and second. You'll be surprised at how many people do this. It may even be your spouse or family members.
  • Want the horse shod, and they don't care how you do it, meaning they don't care what happens to you. Someone with this attitude can never go above a C no matter how great the rest of your experience is.
  • Provide a poor environment. You're shoeing on gravel or in the blazing sun.
  • Make you bill them instead of paying right away.
  • Don’t stay on a regular schedule. They call you on a Thursday night because they're going to an event on Saturday morning and their horse needs to be shod before they go.

D Clients

  • Don't care if you get kicked or injured. That's just part of your job.
  • Provide awful shoeing conditions. You feel unsafe, or you're forced to carry your equipment to the horse instead of the horse coming to your truck.
  • Make you track them down for payment. They call you for an appointment, and half the time they haven't paid for the last one.
  • Never plan their appointments but turn it into an emergency when your schedule is full when they call. They refuse to pay for emergency services.

Whenever you get a new client, annotate the rating for the horse and the client on your schedule. This way, you can systematically get rid of the Ds and Cs. We all have some Bs, but you're looking for nothing but A clients and horses. This is how you know your business is growing in the direction you want. It's how you make sure you're working with great people and great horses.

Are you interested in building a career with horses that will create a life that you love? Apply Now