We are sadly discovering more and more riding schools that are now on the brink due to the 3rd lockdown.
Those centres with livery yards or other income streams may be able ride out the storm, but riding schools that depend on one source of revenue have had to stop taking customers and are in real danger of permanent closure. We have been assisting yards that know about us and contact us, but many more are falling through the gaps.
So we have published a selection of our top tips below which could help. If you own or manage a riding school, or you know any struggling riding schools, please contact us. – we are ready to assist. Fingers crossed this ends soon.
RIDING SCHOOL TIPS DURING LOCK DOWN
Top cost reduction schemes for riding schools
- Furlough any staff who are on payroll. Part furlough has been available for a while, so you only employ the staff for the hours you need.
- Reduce staff hours for freelance/casual labour and ask them to volunteer. Or offer riding for pay so horses are exercised and your wages are reduced. This will still be classed as salary for payroll if your staff pay tax and NI.
- Ask for local volunteers to help – maybe in return for future lessons. Remember these are technically employed so normal employment processes must be followed.
- Analyse shoeing frequency, where welfare permits.
- Reduce hard feed in favour of fibre due to decreased workloads. Where welfare permits.
- Pony sponsorship. Customers donate say, £10 per week per horse, to assist with feed and upkeep. Publish a newsletter about their favourite horses.
- Sharers can still care for their horse. Coaches and trainers can still travel.
- Existing sharers can be offered additional share days. This will reduce staff costs and increase income.
- If lessons had been booked in advance, resist refunding the monies and carry forward the lesson. Or better still, ask these customers to donate their paid lessons for welfare.
- Offer post lockdown deals to generate upcoming income. Keep your customers engaged with your activities and future.
Grants and loans – as of January 2021
- Register with your local council for Local Restrictions Support Grant. Possible monthly payment of £2000 or £1334 depending on rateable value of your premises
- Businesses forced to close can get between £4000-£6000 for closures. This would apply to riding schools depending on your rateable value.
- BBLS = talk to your bank about a Bounce Back business interruption loan scheme. This is potentially payable over 10 years with a minimal interest rate which is interest free for 12 months. This scheme closes on 31st March 2021 but is quick and easy to apply for with between £2000 and £50000 available.
- The third taxable grant under the Self-employment Income Support Scheme is worth 80% of your average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering 3 months’ worth of profits, and capped at £7,500 in total.
- Look for outside investors.