What Do I Do?
2016 UPDATE: I am now FULLY BOOKED from March to December with all my regular customers.
If you are a new customer then look at the links above for the 'Other Sheep Shearers' page and look on there for other shearers I know of.
I have also found some cheaky shearers are now advertising on eBay, so, if you go to eBay and search for 'sheep shearing' you will come across shearers advertising their services.
Another place to look is to go to the George Mudge website and look for their link to shearers looking for work.........here
Another option is to look round your local area, looking for other sheep, then try and track down who owns them, ask them who shears them and then ask that shearer if they will come to do yours. If you only have a few pet sheep they might say no, until you offer them a heap of cash, then they might change their mind!! Most shearers charge about £1.50/sheep so if you only have 3 pets they think it won't be worth coming round, so, offer them something like £50 and they will more than likely say yes!!
Most of my time is spent shearing pet sheep, for the people that have just a few grazing a padock, maybe with horses, but very few big jobs now, but when my regular customers thin out a little more I might take on another larger job, but not for some years yet.
I mainly shear sheep but I also shear Angora Goats, and a few well behaved Alpacas (but I do not want any more, see the 'Alpaca' page on the link above).
I also trim sheep's and goat's feet
I could bring a mate or two to help me on the larger flocks, and could bring extra workers to help wrap fleeces or pen sheep.
I could set up in a shed or in a field and bring a trailer that turns into a ground level pen which can hold about eight sheep which I (or a mate) could catch sheep out of.
It helps if you can provide a standard 13 amp three pin socket to plug my machine into, but I could bring a generator if there in no power, for an extra charge (blame the price of fuel), or, for small lots I can power my shears from my car battery.
Where Am I?
Where Do I Go?
What Do I Charge?
Minimum charge of £40 for the first hour or so and an extra amount will be charged for travel costs if travelling over 10 miles or so (at 50p/mile), or £3.00/sheep if you have a lot (over 20)
I did not want to charge for travel as it puts up the price so much, but as some of my clients are over 200 miles away I can end up been out the house all day, with most of it driving, and only earning £40, so, at 50p/mile it gives me 30p/mile towards running costs and about £10/hr when traveling. I think that sounds fair.
If you are badly organised or the sheep are very hard to do (if they are dirty or in poor condition, or just a tricky breed of sheep like Merino) or things are generally not going well (such as I spend 2hrs getting them into a pen!!) I might have to charge a minimum of £20/hr, but as I usually do between 10 and 20 sheep/hr that does not happen very often (with very wooly sheep I might only be able to do 3 or 4 an hour). If I am with you for a day or two I might well give you a discount.
Very woolly sheep such as Lincoln or Liecester Longwool, Hampshire and Rylands and crazy sheep like Hebradians do take a lot longer to shear, and my average is about 4 sheep/hour, so I am now charging £4.00/sheep on those sorts of breeds, if you have more than 20.
If I bring someone to wrap fleeces and pen sheep they usually charge £10 /hr and will need paying separately.
If I bring a generator I may charge a little towards the petrol costs, about £10 a day.
What Have I Done?
My current records are 28/hr on one hot afternoon in June, and a total of 186 in a day.
I shear between 1000 and 2000 sheep in a year (and a few goats and Alpacas).
I mostly shear little lots of pet sheep often two or three sheep at each stop, and on some days go to six or seven households.
On other jobs I can set up and shear for three days with two other shearers, and the sheep keep on coming, doing five hundred or so.
I like the social chit chat with so many different types of people I meet, preferring to shear steadily and accurately to turn the sheep away looking clean and tidy.
However, it is also nice to have a few days where you can fly and see how many you can do in a day. And of course, still turning them away looking quite tidy.
In 2013 I had so many small lots of pet sheep to do, I do not really have the time (or the energy (maybe I am getting old!)) to do too many larger lots any more, I am going to concentrate on the pets and not the commercial flocks.
I shear the sheep and goats at The White Post Farm, between Mansfield and Newark where the A617 crosses the A614. It is a great place to watch and feed the different farm animals, with other creatures not so farm related, such as snakes and spiders.