There are many ways to buy a new barn for your equine facility. There are complex methods that make the project your life’s work for a bit, such as a fancy on site build with land clearing and extensive site prep and noisy construction running for months on end, to the easy modular barn purchase option where a new barn literally just ‘shows up’ and is ready to go almost immediately.
For horse owners the equine facility is a haven, a place of harmony and sometimes retreat, and a space that they can enjoy at all times of day. From their early morning visits to throw hay to hungry equines, dressed in barn boots and pajamas, to peaceful late-night bedtime checks of their beloved horses all tucked up in their roomy, deeply bedded stalls, safe and secure from wind and rain, to all those tacking up/grooming and riding hours together in-between. The horse barn is a sanctuary for both horse and human.
So, it is little wonder that most horse owners want to own their own equine facility. The dream barn is often one neatly sited close to their home with a short commute across the yard where they can spend plenty of time with their Equus favorites. From minis to mules, and donkeys to prestige performance horses, these critters all win out with the tender loving care they’ll receive at their ‘home at home.’
There are many delights to be enjoyed from keeping your horses the way you wish and not being subject to the vagaries and expenses of other horse folks’ management techniques. Though horse-keeping at home is not without a sincere amount of work so be prepared to get busy.
Whether you are building a fabulous equine facility for boarding/training or a simple horse structure in your own backyard, the same mantra applies. We all want to strike a good deal and get the best barn we can for the amount we spend.
Driving home your best new horse barn deal comes down to a few savvy shopping techniques. There are many ways to afford a new barn for your equine facility and not pay too much for it. We all feel good when we know we have not overpaid for something, and a barn buy is likely one of the more expensive items you’ll invest your capital in during your lifetime.
Whether the purchase is financed or not (many larger construction companies offer some neat financing options through their linked third parties), at the end of the day, what you pay is what you pay. It makes good horse sense to play it smart by utilizing what’s available in the marketplace and leverage your buying power and stretch the spend.
The Exhibition Route
Companies that showcase their ‘wares,’ be they saddles, bridles or modular equine barns at a horse event likely have on offer some stellar deals. Show discounts can include free freight/delivery and set up of a center aisle or shed row barn, run-in shed within a certain radius of the show as well as pre-show purchase discounts off the regular price.
Events such as the popular Equine Affaire, held each November in W. Springfield, MA, and the Horse World Expo, held each March in Pennsylvania, all offer spectacular
savings. And just because you pre-buy a show model doesn’t mean you can’t pick and choose the colors and individualize the design a bit. As long as you get in early enough. Which brings us to the second resource.
Get On the Right List
There’s little question that everyone gets overwhelmed with spam and inbox litter from companies they’ve advertently or inadvertently signed up for, who constantly tout their special offers, discounts, and deals.
But if you get on the right list, and actually open and click through the messages the company sends out then you will likely become better informed about what products are on offer. Thus, it will enable you to choose the barn that suits you best. Most importantly you’ll also be in the know and the first to know when a special discount is available so you can snap it up.
Children’s author, Angelina Natale, who is developing a farm on a mountainside in New Hampshire with her daughter and her future son-in-law to harbor a bunch of pony stars from her book collection, explained well how she and her family saved money by finding the right deal and jumping on it. She loves having a barn after previously keeping her ponies in her garage!
Cut Costs Not Corners
One of the consummate rules of buying anything, especially any item that requires a significant financial investment, is to ask lots of questions.
A construction company that trains and employs a staff of knowledgeable fellow horse people, with a mix of construction savvy and building design experience, is a fantastic resource to utilize during the barn buying process. Don’t be shy to ask about not just the pricing (a detailed ‘to the penny’ quote is a must i.e., nailed down price) of the equine facility you desire, but if the expense is out of your comfort range, ask about areas where you could save on costs.
Every roofing product, siding product, paint or stain and hardware feature is going to affect the final cost. For example, you might love the idea of a metal roof and Smart Siding but perhaps working with shingle and wood siding products may be a more viable option from a financial standpoint.
A center aisle barn is a popular design choice but remember it doesn’t have to be a high-profile design. A low- profile barn will do the same job at much less expense, especially if you don’t need a loft space. Or a doublewide design may suffice for your horse housing needs and is especially fitting for narrow spaces.
It is important to buy what you need and a bit of what you want. Don’t buy big to impress other people. Buy what works for you and your horses. Horses are not impressed by ‘bling,’ they are simple critters with simple needs.
Also consider breaking the construction project down into major parts such as the exterior shell of the structure versus the interior build. There may be areas of the construction that you could complete yourself to save money or push the expense to a later date and add when necessary.
For example, a shed row barn with some front sides left open, could be closed in later as funds allow, but could be used for storage purposes for hay and bedding supplies meantime. If you are handy perhaps there’s an option to finish the interior of the barn at your equine facility and add front stall walls, doors, and partitions.
Wherever you compromise, and you should compromise to keep your new equine facility purchase on a budget track, just make certain it is not a false economy. For example, if you decide to go it alone on interior finishing but your local lumber yard pricing or stall gates/grill prices are retail then buying them built in may ultimately save you money. It is essential to compare the ‘apples to apples’ practice and validate the final price to be paid is accurate.
Also never buy a barn for your equine facility that limits your potential use past a comfortable point. You may regret buying a two stall-barn when you know full well that later your mare will be bred and foaled out or your next kid in the line-up decides they want to join their sibling and have a pony requiring a third stable.
To help achieve the ultimate barn ownership dream in terms of number of stalls and storage, it may be prudent to plan to purchase more than one structure and set a timeline for managing the financial aspects of the project. You could consider having the site prepped and ready to accommodate all the structures planned but have the second/third structure set to arrive at a later time. Which brings us to another way to save money.
Buy More Than One
Modular construction companies often build more than one type of structure. Perhaps they offer horse barns and kennels and chicken coops or horse barns and sheds. If you are in the market for more than one product, ask about quantity discounts for a multiple purchase.
Larger companies may even agree to ‘hold’ a secondary or even primary structure on a deposit pending your site prep or site acquisition timeline so that you can cash in on a special deal (see Angelina’s article link above for more on that!)
Once you’ve decided to buy something as exciting to own as a new barn for your equine facility it is very difficult to be patient. But rushing into a purchasing decision can cost you money. Do your due diligence, ask about discount sales, and watch the marketplace to learn when they are likely to occur. For example, many modular companies like to clear their factory lot before winter to minimize the efforts needed not just snow maintenance and/or buildings sitting through winter, but also to finish out their tax year with a sales boost. It’s a good time to strike a good deal. It always pays to ask.