Archive

Equine Business Confidence Rising

Date Published: 12/10/2015

Equine enterprises are seeing better returns and are more confident about the future. The improving sentiment is reported in the newly published 6th Edition of the Equine Business Guide, jointly produced by Agro Business Consultants Ltd. and Moreton Morrell College.
Almost 60% of livery enterprises have experienced better demand for services with over 70% of them expressing increased confidence for the future. Profitability has generally improved with around 50% of equestrian enterprises noting an increase in recent years. That said, some enterprises are struggling, with 30% reporting decreased profits and have continued to struggle since the financial crisis.
The Editor, Michael Haverty, states that ‘whilst gross margins may not yet have recovered to the levels experienced 10 years ago, there has certainly been a marked improvement since 2010 when the financial crisis was having a major impact’.
Enterprises reporting enhanced profitability have tended to add new facilities (e.g. indoor schools, competition centres) to boost business performance. It is also notable that businesses with a formal plan or a business strategy reported increased profits. Other positive profitability drivers include investment in staff training and a more diverse range of services. For some businesses, gaining access to capital to improve the business remains problematic. Increased direct costs such as feed concentrates but also indirect costs such as business rates and insurance were also cited as a significant challenge. Finding suitable staff is also difficult for many enterprises as long hours and relatively low wages were reported by some as making the sector unattractive.
Overall, these findings suggest that the outlook amongst equestrian enterprises is generally more upbeat than a few years back but success is dependent upon continually improving facilities and the customer experience whilst managing the enterprise in a professional manner. Mr. Haverty also states that ‘it is vital for equine enterprises to have an effective marketing strategy backed-up proficient implementation. This involves adopting a value pricing approach to maximise profitability as well as optimising all of the assets available to businesses’.
The Equine Business Guide aims to help the industry improve its business management by providing a valuable source of financial information on a wide range of topics that drive business performance. It includes;
Fully updated gross margins for all the main equine enterprises including liveries, riding schools, stud farms, equine tourism and more
Comprehensive information on costs covering feed and forage, bedding, equine equipment and tack, veterinary and medical, contract charges and buildings
Labour issues including wage rates, employment legislation, labour planning and qualifications
Explanation of support systems and grants across GB, including details of the Basic Payment Scheme
A vast array of other data including finance, taxation and law, renewable resources, equine enterprise marketing and a great amount of general reference information.

The guide will be vital for business owners, students, professionals advising the equine industry and those managing horse enterprises. The 6th Edition (October 2015) is now available from Agro Business Consultants for £35. For more details go to www.abcbooks.co.uk or call 01664 567676
.