If becoming a farrier is on your list of careers you are considering, you may be interested in knowing how much do farriers make. You may be thrilled to know, you can make an awesome living as a farrier if you work hard and create a smart career plan! Finding the right farrier school is the first step, a proper horseshoeing education can really make a huge impact on your earning potential.
Every 2 years, the American Farriers Journal sends out a survey to farriers across the United States. The survey features questions about location, age, businesses strategies, income/salary, and other important attributes about being a farrier.
Below is some of the data surrounding how much farriers make and some other related survey results.
2019 Farrier Business Practice Survey Results
The amazing news from the 2019 business practices survey is that the annual gross income for farriers increased 11% from the 2017 survey.
This is incredible growth!
In 2017, farriers reported an average salary of $102,203 for the first time ever. In 2019, that average salary for a full-time self-employed farrier was $116,486.
Part-time farriers though did not see the same increase. A part-time farrier in 2019 earned an average salary of $24,998. This is actually down from $26,148 in 2017.
What Affects A Farriers Salary
How much you can make as a farrier depends on many factors. Below are some things you should definitely consider as it relates to how much you can potentially earn working as a farrier.
Where you plan on living will play a big part in your salary. If you live in Michigan for example, you may not work all year round which will of course limit your income potential. But in Florida or California where horses can be ridden all year round, you have ore opportunity.
While the salary potential is high, as an apprentice you will not make much at all, so you need to know that before getting started. It may take years before you have the experience and client base to achieve the salaries noted above.
You might not realize it, but there are actually different types of shoeing that can be done on a horse. Which you decided to do can affect rates you can charge. Some farriers create a niche for themselves in different types of shoeing. For example doing horseshoes for a jousting horse may be very different than shoeing a racehorse.
Will you be working on horses owned by families or horses that are used for racing? Working on horses that race will be much more lucrative than little Jenny’s pet horse.
Employee or Independent
Farriers can choose to work independently, which means they control their salary, but are also responsible for their own costs and taxes. You can also choose to be an employee where you get a standard set salary.
As an employee you might work for a stable, horse racing organizations, or horse breeders. Both options offer pros and cons – but as a new farrier, working as an employee would be recommended if you can secure a position.
Farrier Salary Data
Unfortunately, there is no official resource to help us understand how much a farrier makes. In doing some digging, we did find a few resources that can help you understand the earning potential.
How much you earn will be dependent on whether you work as a self-employed farrier or an employed farrier.
As noted above the average salary for a self-employed farrier in 2019 was $116,486. But, because most farriers are self-employed, we wanted to be sure we addressed that fact that there are a lot of expenses when working as a self-employed farrier.
The average annual salary of a self-employed farrier is $116,486.
Let’s say you charge $150 for a shoeing. You can do 3 horses a day.
3 x $150 = $450 a day
$450 x 5 days = $2,250 per week
52 weeks x $2,250 = $117,000 per year (pretty close to the current average)
You get all excited thinking you are making $117,000 per year. In most cases that is a lot of money that you can live well off of.
But, there are so many things you need to think about. Below are some costs you need to consider that will take a portion of that $117.000.
- Insurance. This is critical if you are working as am independent farrier and many customers will want to see proof.
- Tools. There is a lot of specific tools you will need to be successful like nippers, files, gloves, and so much more.
- Supplies. To shoe a horse you need supplies like the shoes, nails, pads, etc.
- Truck/Trailer. You might be traveling down lots of rugged roads and need to have that space to carry your tools and supplies.
- Taxes. Don’t forget the government wants their fair share, 20-30% of your pay may have to go to paying taxes.
- Gas. Traveling is a normal part of the job, so gas and repairs on your vehicle should be budgeted as well.
This is just a short list. You might need funds for marketing, a website, or maybe you want to sponsor an event?
Now, that $117,000 in the blink of an eye may be just $65,000. Still a great wage, but not as exciting as that 6-figure salary.
The great news is that when you work as a farrier, you can command a rate that you think you are worth. Maybe you charge $200 per shoeing instead of $150, increasing your income. Maybe you can do 5 horses a day instead of 3.
Maybe you will specialize working on race or show horses which will be much more lucrative, but also bring more stress as expectations from clients can be really high. Most clients will want a very experienced farrier working on their horses too, so newbies may be limited in these opportunities. Some farriers working on these horses have been known to exceed $200,000 a year.
Working on horses that are owned by families are easier to find, and may be a bit less stressful – but you will also make a bit less.
Essentially, you are in control of how much you make and what kind of “stress” you want to have.
As an employed farrier, your expenses and costs will be much less – if you have any at all. Many employers will provide you with the tools you need to do the job. You will get a paycheck from your employer for an agreed amount and they will pay taxes on your behalf.
You might also get paid days off or vacations as well as benefits.
Most commonly farriers are employed by horse breeders, stables, or horse racing companies.
There are a few different resources out there reporting salaries for farriers, with ZipRecruiter probably being one of the most accurate since their data is pulled directly from ADP. ADP is a payroll company, so the salaries for farriers would be pretty accurately reported to ZipRecruiter.
The average annual salary of an employed farrier is $51,826.
The top 10 highest paying states include:
- Massachusetts – $57,675 annually
- Hawaii – $57,508 annually
- Rhode Island – $55,480 annually
- North Dakota – $54,471 annually
- Alaska – $54,225 annually
- Nevada – $53,797 annually
- Washington – $53,751 annually
- South Dakota – $52,880 annually
- New York – $52,652 annually
- Oregon – $52,283 annually
Rounding out the bottom of the list with salaries in the low $40,000 range include Florida, New Mexico, North Carolina, Alabama, and Iowa. You can view more detailed information on Farrier salaries on ZipRecruiter.
So, where you live – or decide to move to can have a big affect on opportunities and better wages. You definitely want to consider where you will live if you want to entertain a farrier carrier.
If you work as a farrier, we would love to hear your thoughts on salaries and job opportunities! Please share your comments below.