|Profitable Horseman Newsletter ||
July 23, 2010
Look a Gift Horse In The Mouth |
I was thinking about project
horses the other day. You know what project horses are; they are the horses that are offered to you for no
or very little money.
While your cash investment is low, the trade-off is usually
an expensive problem attached like: chronic lameness, behavior problems, aged
and under trained, underweight and assorted health problems.
But the solution to the problem is someone like you who knows what to do to fix-em up.
Thinking about projects, a flashback to my teen years whirled as a vision in my mind's eye...
My friend Keith's
dad, Bill, grimaced as he bore down on the power sander on the rusty Packard
door. Rust dust flew in all directions as he completed the next step in his
project car restoration. I marveled at
the transformations from rust bucket to showroom-new shine accomplished by his
father. He labored long hours on his projects, but he loved the process just as much as the finished car. It
was his winter hobby.
You're wondering what do project cars have to do with project
They're a lot alike:
- Low dollar investment
- High labor investment
- Long wait for return on investment
- Preferred brands or types bring the greatest
value after restoration
- You can fill a building with them waiting for the fix-it time to be available
But, they differ in one important way. Bill's projects weren't his business, they
were his fun. In the case of the professional
horseman, acquiring too many project horses costs monetarily and emotionally. Here's why:
The required fix-it time is generally greatly
The value of the finished horse is often less than the sum of the value of the labor, feed, bedding, veterinary and farrier costs
The time requirement can be overwhelming
You fail at solving the problem that needed to
You lose boarding, instruction and training
income that could have been collected from a customer whose horse occupied the
space of the project horse.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying all project horses are losing
deals. Many turn out to be great value. I am saying that project horse rules are similar to project
* Don't fill up the garage with more than you have
* Fix up a Packard, not a Gremlin
* Double the amount of time you expect the project
* Don't ignore your day job
* If you don't enjoy the process and the challenge
of the work, don't do it