Wherever a passion for animals and their care exists there is usually a good dose of emotional involvement in the mix. Whether the planned purchase is a high profile center aisle barn for horse housing needs, or a 16 box kennel with adjacent runs for a commercial dog business, excellent equine and canine care both require the caregiver to keep a balance between practical daily deliberations and emotionally charged decision making.
Capital purchases of any nature require careful consideration on how money is spent and how the structure will address daily needs of the animals in a safe and secure manner while also making the sometimes arduous tasks of caring for the wee and gargantuan beasties as straightforward and easy to manage as possible.
The trouble is that when a horse owner or dog business owner takes the plunge and makes the decision to purchase a building, the emotional factor that must necessarily be involved cannot be allowed to drown out common sense. Emotion can be a powerful and positive force in decision-making, but it can also be harmful to the end result. A certain level of objectivity mixed with emotional intelligence, meaning being cognizant of what feelings or emotions are driving your thought process, will result in the best outcome when it comes to making the big and small decisions that come along with buying a building.
The Feeling Factor
Most horse owners would agree that when they walk into a clean, light and airy horse barn with horses contentedly munching on hay in their large stalls, a cool breeze flitting down the spacious matted aisleway, their mood lifts and they feel happy. Add the smell of fresh shavings, sweet hay and of course that delightful horsey aroma that we all wish we could bottle, perhaps with a hint of new leather included as an extra bonus, and the average common or garden-variety horse owner will be emotionally high on ‘horse power’.
On the other hand, take the same horse owners and walk them into a dark, damp windowless barn with a narrow aisle, horses stomping their feet or neighing in angst, the air foul with the smell of manure and errant chickens running to escape the human intrusion into the space, and most horse owners will have emotional anxiety to match that of the horses entrapped in the structure.
Dog owners have similar emotions when evaluating a dog kennel for a vacation board for their beloved canine companion. Their emotional response is based on their previous experiences. For example, if they enter a clean light and airy kennel with great passive airflow, and outside runs adjacent to each box with dogs happily dozing in the corner, the dog owner will be likely to envision their pet safe and secure in the space. On the other hand, a visit to a dark damp concrete boarding facility that is windowless will give them pause to run not walk as far away from the place as possible.
There is also the sincere opportunity to go palatial in horse barn and kennel designs. When a horse owner walks into a Kentucky horse barn with crystal chandeliers hanging from lofty and almost impossible to reach ceilings, or visits a noted culinary goddess’s estate that is dotted with aged grey weather worn board and batten sided barns that fill a picturesque and nostalgic landscape, it is easy to experience an overload of jaw-dropping emotion.
The feeling factor cannot be overlooked when it comes to all the big and small design decisions the horse barn buyer or kennel purchaser needs to make.
What is the best way to figure out what factors in the decision making process are driven from what quarter, emotion or objective reasoning, and how best to balance them?
Make A List and Check it Twice
For the prospective purchaser of a new horse barn or dog kennel, the best way to ensure smart decisions in the design and style selection is to make a list of pros and cons for each feature. A partial list for a horse barn might start like this:
|Untreated Board Batten Siding||Traditional look/inexpensive||Poor longevity|
|Cupola and Weathervane||Improves passive airflow/pretty||Added expense|
|Dutch doors||Access/better horse health||Security|
There are many features such as kickboards, windows, gable vents, and grilled partition walls that may be offered as standard within a price for a modular barn and there are others such as the addition of an overhang and Dutch doors that may be upgrades but worth the spend for the additional benefits they convey to the daily use of the barn. Of course, if you opt for a pole barn or stick built structure you may expect every feature to be an additional charge.
As each cost is identified or compared on the list, it can be helpful to mark items as either a want or need. Most horse owners would welcome extra stalls in their barn for bathing/tacking and grooming but does the cost justify the expense? Is the inclusion of gutters necessary to take water away from the building or can run-off be managed fine without their addition? The answer to the latter question is a hard no by the way.
Always consider cost versus benefit and think long term. For example, modern materials such as durable 15-year paints and stains applied in a factory setting in the optimal moisture and temperature environment recommended by the manufacturer, will do more than enhance the aesthetic appeal of the structure and individualize its appearance to complement existing buildings on the property. Use of these products can also save significant future costs on labor and material required for maintenance.
Choose the Right Partner
Just as when choosing your next equine partner, the temperament, talent and health of the horse are important, the selection of your barn builder requires careful consideration. The company should have expertise in barn building and be knowledgeable about horses and be willing to provide references.
Do your due diligence and ensure that the company is good to work with i.e. has good customer service; the company crew are experienced at building horse structures and have the prerequisite talent to complete a stellar job; and that the company is in good financial health and standing within the equestrian community. Reviews (unfiltered varieties) and a significant number of references from which you can select a direct contact to ask questions and find answers to how the company is to work with, what the purchasing process was like and ultimately what was the quality of workmanship/barn when completed is always worth a hard look.
This pocket guide, “ Rate Your Barn Builder,” offers a simple chart to keep track of your project development and includes tips on aspects you may want to consider.
A buyer should be excited about the new structure they are purchasing. Hopefully the new horse barn or dog kennel will provide many years of enjoyable use by their animals and their families and friends, or even clients, and add serious value to the quality of life for all.
However, don’t overlook the effect that emotion can have on the purchasing process of a new building. It is easy to lose focus on the important details such as taking time to check references for the company; reading all the paperwork and ensuring warranties are clearly written and understood; and that timeline for construction, materials to be used, labor costs and terms and conditions of the payment schedule are all clearly identified. Horizon Structures Builders’ Guarantee is a great example of what to look for when choosing a builder for your prefab structure.
A sincere advantage of working with an established and highly regarded prefab/modular building company is the provision of a ‘to the penny’ quote and transparent purchasing process. Don’t be shy to ask about financing options. Larger companies often have these available and utilizing this option can be a significant help to businesses seeking to make large capital purchases.
It is also important that the buyer not become so excited about the prospective new building during the design process that the build becomes out of sync with the original list of pros/cons, wants and needs that were first outlined.
As anyone that has experienced the completion/set up and arrival of their new horse barn or kennel will attest, it is a moment of incredible joy. There is no reason that the purchasing process can’t mirror that emotional high, just make sure to choose wisely who to collaborate with for the project.