We have been raising alpacas for the last 8 years. In the past 4 years we have had a steady stream of boarders (agistors) on our farm who are in transition to setting up their own farm or who are in a long term boarding situation because they are "hands-off" investors. Well, in the last 6 months or so, let me tell you that I have had "boarders from hell"!!!! So much in fact, that I am no longer offering any long-term boarding on my farm.
I am not sure why this has only occurred in the last 6 months or so. In speaking with other long term alpaca breeders, we can only liken it to the economy. People seem to be more demanding, less trusting, and just overall more uptight. I believe that people need to start cooperating in the alpaca community or this backstabbing BS will hurt us all long term. It seems a day doesn't go by that I don't get a phone call or an email from someone telling me gossip about another alpaca breeder. It is quite sad and something I did not face in my other past and current businesses.
I have asked a variety of host farms what their issues were with their boarders and I have compiled the top 10 here in no particular order and paraphrased quite a bit on many:
1 - Boarding is a privilege not a right
2 - If you use something, put it back where you found it when you are done. Put your 'stuff' away before you leave.
3 - Remember that the host farm is a business (and often times their home) - do not monopolize their time with unnecessary chit chat or tirades about your personal problems. Be considerate of their time spent with you.
4 - Let the farm know if/when you are coming to visit. Don't expect the host farm to necessarily be there or be available each and every time for you.
5 - Do not take advantage of my time. A million and one questions can and will be answered, but need to be at a mutually convenient time. NOT at 9:30pm at night, when it is good for you but I am exhausted and want to relax a bit.
6 - Do not speak about me or my operation to others - it is none of their business. If someone wants to know about me - they should ask me personally. Gossip is never good.
7 - You are not the only boarder/client on my farm. My farm protocol is what it is and was discussed when you first came here. If you want a different level of care - then I suggest you go elsewhere or have your own farm.
8 - I am here to make money, this is a business. While I may do things from time to time for free, EXPECTING it will only strain the relationship.
9 - Treats such as apples, grapes or whatever ARE forbidden on my farm (EVEN for your animals). . . they are not to be given period. If you want to feed them to your animals, then I suggest you get your own farm. If you want to give handfulls of grain - that is fine. Please also do not spill grain all over the floor. It is expensive and flies multiple in the summer months because of this.
10 - Board is due the 1st of the month for that month. It is a set fee (like rent for an apartment/home). There is no reason to wait for a bill. If there are additional charges, they will be billed separately. If you don't, can't or wont pay on time, why would you expect me to return your phone calls 5 minutes after receiving them?
I believe people get too comfortable and then they treat ME as THEIR employee. Well I am not, I have my own farm and my own animals and you are simply a guest here.
Anything I left out?
I will be posting new board prices effective December 1, 2010 for short term boarders (3 months at a time). . . and have to say, the few ruined it for the future boarders that may come here to live.