I was recently asked by a potential client if my initial trim fee was negotiable. In an email message, she asked, “Is that consultation fee negotiable at all? I have 4 horses, and they’ve been getting barefoot trims — they wouldn’t be transitioning from shoes or anything.” I suggested she call me; I didn’t hear from her. Her question brings up a good point and one from which I would like all my clients to benefit.
My rates are average. The word “assessment” is more true to what my initial trim is all about. The question was, “is that … fee negotiable?” I’ll answer that with an explanation of what constitutes the initial trim and assessment, so everybody understands what they’re getting for their money. Let me say right off the bat, that it is critical for me to make my own educated, experienced evaluation of each horse, even though there is no doubt that horse owners can provide me with accurate information to the extent of their knowledge and observations. I won’t waltz in to see your horse for the first time and ignore his overall appearance and living conditions, going straight for his feet. I’ll ask, for example, for his history of worming or if he has any medical conditions requiring medication or if he’s had any injuries in the past 12 months that required medication. I’ll ask how he’s managed. I’ll ask how he’s worked or exercised. And, I’ll ask how and what he’s fed. If he’s wearing shoes, removing the shoes is included in the fee. Along the way, I am happy to explain to horse owners exactly what I’m doing throughout the trim process; it helps them understand why the authentic, natural trim is the best possible hoof care option for ALL domesticated horses. Mules and donkeys, too! As a passionate advocate for your horse’s hoof health, I can’t overlook ALL the factors that make up his life. Everything your horse experiences, EVERYTHING, affects his hoof health. I can assist every horse owner by making suggestions, if needed, for healthy changes to a horse’s lifestyle, so he’ll be sound and happy. The natural trim based on the model of the wild horse hoof is the BEST way to provide proper, direct care of his feet, but it’s only part of the whole picture. (And, by the way, the horse’s hooves tell me everything I need to know about his health and maintenance, including how he’s fed; but, I also like to hear it from the owner!) Maintenance trims—regularly scheduled ongoing trims—cost less, now that we already have an assessment on which to base our trimming journey.
To finally answer the question of whether or not my intial fee is negotiable, the answer is no. After the initial assessment and trim, I give discounts for four or more horses to trim at one location at one time; and, if any client refers a new client—who subsequently books a trim—there is a one-time, future discount for a maintenance trim. I feel this fee arrangement is fair for everyone involved; particularly for the horse.
Authentic, natural hoof care isn’t a lowest bid wins the contract scenario, and it never should be. A competent, well-educated, properly-trained natural hoof care provider is indispensable to your horse’s sound and happy life; when you find such a provider, count yourself among the fortunate, and remember that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Consider it a small investment in your horse’s sound and happy future!
“Dare to Barefoot” blog by Kim Truitt is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.