Running a profitable horse-riding business is a dream come true for many people, but it’s by no means a simple task. It helps to begin with a passion for all things equestrian and a desire to help people of all ages to develop their talent, skills and establish a lifelong hobby; you need to have a business head on your shoulders. To build a horse-riding business which is stable and profitable can take time, but it’s absolutely achievable if you put the planning and hard work in. To get you started, here are the key factors you’ll need to consider before starting your horse-riding business.
Find Experienced Staff
The best riding stables are built on experience and equestrian expertise. That doesn’t mean all of this has to come from you; in fact, the more people you can call on for their unique skill set, the stronger your business will be. You’ll need qualified instructors as well as people to manage the practical upkeep of the site, care of the horses, finances, and administration.
Premises & Equipment
The simplest way to start a horse-riding business is to rent or purchase an existing stable facility, but if you have the funding and motivation, you may want to buy land and build premises from scratch. You’ll need indoor and outdoor arenas with lighting and level grounds so riders can learn and train safely at all hours. The site will need stables, a feed room, a tack room, and toilets and you may want to add facilities for refreshments. Fenced paddocks and fields with water troughs, storage for hay and bedding and other maintenance equipment are essential for the care of the horses themselves. You’ll need high-quality riding tack and be sure to get the correct levels of public liability and business insurance.
Work Out What Services You’ll Offer
The horses you choose to use for lessons should be reliable and, ideally, have been used in lessons before. You can either purchase horses or use horses owned by clients. Some facilities provide discounted boarding rates for privately owned horses which the owner allows to be used in lessons. Will you offer group and private lessons, and will they be in half-hourly or hourly sessions?
Get the Right Service Providers
Your business will need to be supported by veterinary care and farriers as well as suppliers of bedding, hay, and feed. Don’t forget the day to day running of your business in terms of the administration and utilities. Your office will need equipment and stationery as well as a phone line, internet connection and utilities like electricity, gas, and water. You can use a business utilities comparison service to find and compare the best tariffs and suppliers.
Work Out Your Pricing Structure
The prices you charge need to be competitive to encourage new clients to try your service. Do some research about what other companies are offering for their services and consider special offers and discounts for new starters until you’re more established. This is another area where it helps to employ experienced instructors as they may bring existing clients and you can charge higher rates for their lessons.
Advertise in the Right Places
Marketing is essential to get your horse-riding business noticed by the right people; it’s crucial that you also reach your local target audience by placing adverts in tack shops, equestrian magazines, local schools, and showgrounds. Your business will probably rely heavily on word of mouth and referrals in the early days, but an online presence is key. You should have a website and start building an online presence through social media accounts like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.