How does this wholesale fish thing work? I hate doing fish and over the years I have turned down alot of business. I just can't see how you can make any money if your paying someone else to mount your fish.
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If you are not doing fish (i.e. turning them away) you are not making anything. Get prices and check quality form a wholesaler, then frigure in your time, overhead and shipping, then set your prices to where you make a profit. The key is for YOU to set your prices to ensure you make a pofit. I have worked with a lot of folks all across the country who are amazed at the prices they can get.
The very worst thing you can do is turn away potential cusotmers that never make it in your shop. Most of these guys/gals also hunt. If you get them in your shop for a fish, and you produce good work and they can see it, you might pick up customers along the way.
The one thing you DON'T want to do is go with a wholesale shop that does not produce good work, that WILL cost you some customers. You can view our work at http://wildlifecreations.biz Feel free to call me if you have any questions as I would be glad to see if we can make you some extra cash and help draw new customers into your shop.
I thought the same thing when I started. What I found out was while I am mounting a deer you can also be making some money while someone is doing your fish just not as much if you were doing it yourself. I would recomend Dave Toms Wildlife Creations he is very profesional with quick turnaround service and beautiful work. Since using him the fish coming in to my shop has almost doubled.
As Dave said, first you've got have a quality wholesaler. But, what do you have to lose? Charge an extra $2 bucks an inch or whatever and make some money on them. Even if you take in only a handful of fish the first year at the high rate, you've still made SOME money off of them. And, it gets folks in your shop (also mentioned) that helps sell your other stuff.
Personally, I wholesale to one taxidermist right now that's close enough to me to make it worthwhile for both of us. I drive out and pick up a dozen or so fish while I deliver the previous batch. I don't like boxing up completed fish as it's not cost effective (my opinion). Shipping completed fish probably adds at least a buck an inch, maybe more (if you calculate your time and expenses). And I don't like doing it. It disrupts my workday and in effect I probably lose even more time than I'm figuring. My recommendation would be to talk to somebody local. Probably a bit out from you so that you're not competing in any way or form. But still within a couple hours driving distance. Just the way I do it...
Like everything, you pass the shipping cost along to your customer. There are not many wholesale fish shops that offer quality work, much less are they near every taxidermists. I have received fish from almost every state in the continential USA.
Bill I can show you some ways to save on shipping but the bottom line is you figure out what it will cost you to get a GOOD product and then mark it up to get you the profit you want. It really is not all that hard to talk a customer up a 100 bucks when you tell him you are sending the fish out to a top rate fish expert, especially if you have some examples on site. Whether you use us or someone else make sure it is a GOOD product that represents your business well. If you can find a local guy that will give you a good price and does good work by all means use him, if not shop around.
Don't let anyone tell you what you can or can not get as far as pricing... you can make a profit I assure you. The folks that want to haggle for a cheaper price are usually not worth the time/effort. Show them your work and then TELL them what you have to have to produce that work. As word of mouth gets around they will come, if not what have you lost? You aren't taking any in now.
...I agree - just add in the costs of the shipping and your time. Mailing mounts is simply just not for me. I don't do enough mail order stuff to be very efficient at it. It takes me probably close to an hour to get a decent sized fish packaged well. Because of the gloss I use, I can't put the fish in peanuts or anything like that. So I do the fender washer and/or outside support/inner frame method to keep the fish stationary in the box. Then add in the trip to the post office. Batching these tasks is usually not an option for me because of the low numbers and delivery dates. When it comes to wholesale work there's not a lot of wiggle room in the pricing. And I've found (for me) that it's simply not cost effective (with my low volume) on the wholesale level. It is much more efficient to take a few hours and drive out the fish vs. having to box and crate each fish separately. Plus at 47+ cents a mile, I actually make money on the drive as well.
I've got enough work both on the retail level and wholesale work where I can be picky about how things are set-up. I choose not to deal with mailing stuff as much as possible because I simply don't like it, nor am I efficient at it. I could see utilizing Dave for something like this if one needed the excess work/money. And you're obviously much more efficient with the mail order stuff than I. Dave is your man Bill. His work is certainly amongst the best and I'm sure your customer's will be ecstatic with the overall quality...
No problem, have over 450 species. Can do them several ways -- raw blanks (you have to work on these), ready to paint (literally and recommended) or finished products (customer ready). Prices allow you to make $2 to $7 per inch depending on what you wish to do. Crating and shipping are extra but as cheap as we can send them, they ain't sent FedEx overnight! Turn around in 60 days or less depending on blanks desired.