New tax in town cutting into profits(UPDATE)

Submitted by Stumped on 1/6/00. ( )

Just wanted to let you all know how things worked out with the
competition. I took everyones advice & kept my prices as they
were. Im sorry to say but the advice was WRONG! I only took
in about 50 mounts & the competition took in about 150! What
you all must realize is that the average hunter knows very
little, if anything, about good taxidermy. Bottom line is that
they are going to price shop. I didnt even have the people
coming in and out like in the past, they went straight to the
competition. While I agree that we should have some kind of
price guide we all go by, get real, it aint gonna happen &
Ive got a family to feed. Im sure in several years my competition
will fade away, but can I wait that long?

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It will not happen over night.

This response submitted by John C on 1/6/00. ( )

Wake up, it will not happen today or even tomorrow. Fifty good mounts bets 100 piss poor mounts.

A fellow about a hour away from me, has a guy just down the road 1/4 mile. These two are having a price war. One is payin $40 commision and only chargong $210.00 with panel the other is paying $35 commision and chargeing $175. The higher guy has taken in over 500 deer at this lower price. He has not finished deer from 98-99 season yet. He has quite taking in birds as he dont have the time. Well now he is forced to work 7 days a week 12 hours per day.

Whats going to happen to him and his family? Even the cheaper guy is still working out heads from 98-99. He is going through a divorce (FACT IT WAS POSTED IN THE PAPER) lets see 4 kids to pay child support on plus 18 years of marriage, Equals about $1000 to $1400 per month for her and the kids. Shes not the kind to be able to find a new husband either. It sounds to me like a lot of deer every month just to make the bills and rental of a shop building on the main highway too.

If worse comes to worse get a job!

I know its not what you want to hear, but hell its only the first year for your customers to have a choice. Now get out and show them the difference in your quality and theirs.

Whats the niche? Find it and fill it.

Noones stopping you, your limits are in your mind only.

We have made some suggestions to you, give them time to work. THEY WILL WORK.

We have seen this happen many times. You can lower YOUR STANDARDS and do cutrate work. OR GET THE CREAM OF THE CROP.

You said it yopur self she has 150 heads and you ONLY have 50.

DO them good get them back to the clients and watch what happens next year.

TCB in a flash. Taking Care of Business and it wil take care of you.

You should already be starting the mounting of some of yours.

When I worked for another taxidermist, I did ninty (90) mounts in eighty days, yes they were long, long days but fiqure the money made before expenses at a higher prices verse the lower price.


The advice was RIGHT, the reasoning is still WRONG

This response submitted by George Roof on 1/6/00. ( )

If you're looking for a reason to lower your prices and soothe your ego, you don't need our advice and we don't need the blame. You call your own shots. All we said is that if you drop your price now, how can you justify what you charges LAST YEARS CUSTOMERS. Are you planning on refunding them since your prices must have been a hoax?
If keeping your freezer full is more important that keeping them empty, by all means, lower your prices. But before you do, remember that nothing in your freezer pays one cent of overhead. If it's empty, you can save money by turning it off, in fact. That will give you even more time to make your mounts look even better. Archie Phillips at a business seminar in Richmond some years ago noted how if taxidermists were half smart, they'd want their freezers empty instead of wanting them full.

Last of all, I get sick and tired of the "dumb hunters" routine. Taxidermist are hardly rocket scientist themselves. That might be part of your problem. Treat your customers with respect. My customers are my friends. My enemies use someone else. And NO TAXIDERMIST HAS ANY COMPETITION OTHER THAN HIMSELF OR HERSELF. Stop blaming the "guy across town". Never speak unkindly of someone you don't walk in their shoes for. Worry only about how your next mount must look better than your last mount.

I'll Stick by the Advise..

This response submitted by Perry on 1/7/00. ( )

There is no way in hell she is going to turn out 150 decent mounts in
6 months. Take a look in the post in deer Titled "my deer head smells"
Don't be suprised if you start getting calls this summer asking what
can be done about stinky heads. If she expects to get those heads out
in 6 months as well as other game she took in, well lets just say I'd
like to have a before and after photo....

Somethings going to give, either she cuts corners, makes the 6 month
deadline and puts out some poor heads, or she puts out a decent head and
has her customers mad because it took 9 to 12 months to get the head back.
either way, your customers are happy, and saying nice things about you.

Hang in there...

Stumped.. Believe it or not, you still made out....

This response submitted by Perry on 1/7/00. ( )

I did some math not only for myself, but for others who find themselves
in this situation.

You and others can plug in their own numbers, but don't fudge things as
you will only be lying to yourself...

Materials for a whitetail mount $150.00 ( thats what I spend ).
Overhead rate for a shop $5.00 per hour - this is what you should
charge to cover electric, vacation, sick time,heat, retirement,
office supplies, phone, advertising, etc....
average time for whitetail mount from time in the door to out the door
10 hrs.

Your prior years --

150 whitetails at $300.00 = $45,000 gross
sub tract materials 150x$150 = $22,500

sub total of money left $22,500
10 hrs * 150 = 1500 hrs

$22,500/1500 = $15.00 per hour

subtract $5/hr for overhead and that leaves $10/hr as your wage.

$10.00 * 1500 = $15,000 as what you made on deer last year.

if you reduce the number of heads to 50 @ $300, you clear about $6750
That is a big cut, but....

125 heads at $245 only lets you clear $5625.00 you made more money
this year by leaving your prices high than had you lowered them. Remember,
Materials cost/head and overhead rates/hr do NOT change.... and it was
likey that you would loose at least 25 heads even if you cut your rate.

125 @ $245 = $30,625 Gross
125 x $150 = $18,750 Materials
$11,875 left over for overhead and wages
125x10 = 1250 hrs
$11,875/1250 = $9.50/hr
minus $5.00/hr overhead
$4.50/hr as your wages

1250hrs*$4.50 = $5625.00

You would have lost more money by lowering your price to $245.00


This response submitted by Jeff on 1/7/00. ( )

I think i have a solution. You should move your shop and family to Reno , Nevada. Animal Artistry charges 725.00 for deer heads , i know you can't get that price in your area, but if you moved to Reno you could cut Animal Artistrys price by a lot and those deer customers would be linning up at your door . If you finish up your work you could probably do wholesale work for the taxidermists in Reno to help them catch up at a higher price wholesale than you can get in your area retail. It's a win win situtation .

Don't blame your local sportsmen for being uneducated...

This response submitted by Craig Rusin on 1/7/00. ( )

Everyone today tries to get something for nothing. If it's not a deal some people don't want it. This includes all aspects of an item. Price, quality, longevity. How many times, after purchasing one particular brand of something, do you yourself switch to something else because it is better or the company has a better reputation? The sportsmen in your area need time to realize that your quality and reputation stand for something.

This is the time to promote "yourself" by doing the best mounts you can for the customers you do have. Educate those 50 and they will spread the word. If you place in the upcoming years competitions, call your local papers. They will promote you for free. See if they will let you submit various article so that you can start informing sportsmen of the in and outs of good taxidermy vs. bad.

Whatever you do never put down your competition! Try to compliment yourself with your techniques and abilities. (tanning vs. DP, Awards vs. the guy down the streets nothing)

You might think you have a rough year but it is just a growing pain. Stop the complaining and do what you have to do to stay on track. Your peers in this forum gave you some good sound advise. Remember most of them have been there, done that!

Try to remain positive. Take all of your negative energy and free time and decide how you want to approach next year's season to make it a successful one. Good Luck.

Craig and Perry nailed it.

This response submitted by John C on 1/7/00. ( )

I think I e-mailed you a attachment when you first posted this in the fall. The facts are very close to Perry's. Craig is correct in what did YOU DO? to promote your business. This is a P.R. business. Next what was or is your attitude on the phone? MAybe this is your down fall. After 44 years of life its not what you know, it who you know! Don't mater what business your in knowledge is everything. JOhn C

look at your quality

This response submitted by bill-b on 1/7/00. ( )

look at the quality of your work and be honest to your self it may not be just the prices the reasonhe is getting your work .in my area i;am 100.oohigher than anyone and there are a taxidermy shop around every corner and every year i get in more than we can do i turn away work every year.treat your customer like they want to be treated and do quality work and the rest will take care of its self

Perry is my idol...

This response submitted by Bill on 1/7/00. ( )

Stump, Perry gave you such a good answer, I hope you are willing to be honest with yourself to listen to him. I would have just said, what the hell, PRIDE wouldnt let me lower my price! I ALWAYS send the low price shopper who calls me to the lowest priced guys in my area. Go ahead and load up thier freezers, so they can work themselves out of business. My customers are divided, some know the difference and some dont. But they all can learn so I dont waste too much energy trying to over-see my fellow taxidermists business. And I would NEVER support a price index or minimums. Thats just crazy! We can all ask what we want to, the client will choose. Keep that PRIDE, stump!

Stumped Replies

This response submitted by Stumped on 1/7/00. ( )

I really never wanted to lower my prices. It was heat from
others that forced me to consider this issue. Everything I read
in Tax. Today & Breakthrough has taught me what everyone of you
is also saying. While I totally agree with you, I still havent
gotten my point across. It seems to me that each & everyone
of you is independently wealthy & can afford to turn down work.
I on the other hand have bills up to my neck & cant afford to
turn away clients. Say I charge $300 for a wt & get in 50 mounts,
that comes to $15,000. Ok, now lets say I drop my price to $200
to beat the competition & take in 150 heads. That comes to
$30,000. Gee wiz, thats double the money! Now lets say that
because Im taking in so many mounts & I know my turnaround
time will be longer I inform each client of my work load & time
table. Each client agrees & understands. I keep plugging away
doing the same quality work(Not cutting corners to speed up
turnaround) Ive come out ahead. Sure Ill be working harder,
but the goal has been reached, MORE MONEY. Why cant we take in
more work & keep our quality the same & even improve as long
as our clients understand & accept it. Im fully aware of the
fact that this person will probably not last, but like I said
how long will that take & can I hold out till then? The only
thing that is going to keep me going is the fact that I went
into the season with 120 mounts.

Stump you have failed to be paid for your work.

This response submitted by JOhn C on 1/7/00. ( )

You will triple your hours and yet get paid less per hour. When you should be paid more for your overtime.

You truly are a STUMP. WHat you will do is out more work in your competitors freezers. You have lowered your standards. Your customers that you had will leave you. THey will think you screwed them.

Please lower your prices, it will fill your freezers. Your bills will get higher, your wife willleave you because you are at the shop all the time.

You will say WE told you so. JOhn C

I must respectfully disagree with some of you.

This response submitted by Rob Patton on 1/7/00. ( )

Here is what I do.

I live in an area that has 50, that's right 50, licensed taxidermist. Most of them I would let skin my banannas. This does not include the illegal guys, either. But that is a differant story. Not only do I live near 50 taxidermists but all of the really good ones only live within 10 minutes of me (Kent Stryker, Rob Wise, Dennis James namely). These guys charge premium prices for thier work and rightly so. But guess what they are not full time and they don't for the most part openly offer thier work to the general public except for Dennis.

Why is that do you think? They do excellent work, some of the best in the country. Must be because thier is always a new taxidermist that is gonna try and make a name for himself and do the $200 mount and in a lot of case less than $200. And most hunters don't know jack about a good mount but they sure know a good price. And yes those mounts do look like $200 mounts. And yes I get calls to fix those $200 mounts which I turn down. Thing is when the $200 mount guy closes up another takes his place. An endless cycle.

My only recourse is to be competative. And I do that by offering a $200 mount. I also do a $475 and a $275 mount. Yes the $200 is of lesser quality and I make no bones about. I'm totally up front with my customers and tell them exactly what they will get. Then I tell them to check out the other guys doing the $200 mount. Then when Joe Customer gets to my place I have them. Why? Because my $200 mount out shines the other guy's. Then they see the higher priced mounts. I show them what it takes for a good mount. And they go for one or the other higher priced mounts usually.

It's a love hate kinda thing for those $200 mounts. I love the money I make on them. But I hate they way they look as compared to the $475 mount. Yes I do make big bucks on the $200. About 4 hours working time. From skinning to tanning to finishing. SLAMMED OUT. Bondo ears and all. Perry, I would love to have the $5 per hour overhead you do. My over head is about $12 an hour. The name of the game is to hussle and not sitting around drinking coffee. Educating the customer is also a high priority.

I say offer 2 differant prices for your work, Stump.

Do You Really Want to Triple Your Work to Double Your Money

This response submitted by Bob B on 1/8/00. ( )

You are telling us you want to go from 50 mts @ 15K, to 150 mts
@ 30K. That's 3 times the work for only twice the money. Does that
really make sense to you?

Maybe a better choice, if you are only concerned with the money,
is to take a part-time job, outside of taxidermy. Hear me out, this
will give you added income, without any extra overhead. This will
get you out of the shop, you may find this relaxing. You may also
gain some other benefits (ie employee discounts, holiday pay, etc).

Those of us answering your post, are not you, and only you know
the status of your finances. Those that suggest, not lowering your
price, certainly will not help pay your bills. That's still your
responsibility. Is a $100.00 price drop the answer? Why not $50?

Two other points come to mind, reading replys to your post. The 1st
is the amount of money, Perry spends on his supplies. Twice this
week I saw him tell us, he spends $150 on materials per mount. Well
that must include $14 earliners, $32 panel, $31 form, $5 hanger,
$33 for tan and shipping, $15 competition eyes, and a $15 comp
replacement nose pc. That still leaves Perry $10-$12 for a couple
of screws, some clay, paint, expoxy, hide paste and shipping. Not
making fun of Perry, but we all know that we don't have to spend
that much on a commercial shldr mt. In fact $90 buys a nice line
of products and still includes that $33 for tan and shipping.

Now you can get by for even less - no earliners, solid eyes, a
basic hanger, and home wet tan (even DP), etc. The point is you
need to set your price based on your overhead, not on someone
else's overhead. Again I'm not starting anything here, Perry.

The 2nd point, was the suggestion of more than one price. I too
offer two whitetail shldr mount prices. My basic price is $100
lower than my standard price. Neither include a panel. Options
are only available (ie pedestal, om) on the higher priced mt.

I havn't done one of the lower priced mounts for 2 seasons now.
But I offer it, I explain the difference to the customer and if
they choose to have me do their mount, they go with the higher
price. Besides the differences in the two mts offered, I also
explain that I do all of the seasons higher priced mounts first
and then do the lower priced ones. This tactic doesn't hurt.

Well enough rambling from me, hope things work out for you next
season, give your prices some thought this summer while relaxing
at your favorite fishing hole.

Bob B.. You are correct, but stump missed the point...

This response submitted by Perry on 1/8/00. ( )

Bob B.

I do use comp eyes and the works on my commercial whitetails.
I used some of my numbers in my example, but did tell others
to use their own. I spend aprox 12 hrs on a whitetail....
The point I was trying to make was that Stumped's overhead
is not going to change regardless of whether he charges
245 or 445. His current materials costs/head are not going
to change either. Cutting his price will cut his hourly wage
unless he finds a way to reduce overhead or materials cost.
He can cut where necessary, but a reduction in quality due
to materials quality or "rush jobs" will find his remaining
customers "bailing out".

Why do I use the "good Stuff" on my commercial heads? I live
in one of those "taxidermist on every corner and haxidermist
in every third basement areas". I one taxidermist near me is
actually a Master Whitetail taxidermist. Do people know the
difference between $15.00 eyes and $6.00 eyes? Suprisingly
yes. I had a display at a show recently and displayed two
whitetails, both had identical poses and were similar body
size and antler size. The only difference between the two
was that I tried a new style of eye( which was more economical)
While I received complements on both heads, I had far more
complements on the head with the $15.00 eyes. Most people
didn't know what was different, but something sucked in their
attention. Others specifically commented on the eyes.

So Bob, I type this to only add credibility to your answer
and redirect stumped to a missed point.



This response submitted by Perry on 1/8/00. ( )


Thanks for the complement, but I don't have any locked
whitetail antlers, and you can't have my "BUD"( SODA)

Perry, You are truly correct

This response submitted by Bob B on 1/8/00. ( )

I totally agree with your method, of only the best. I think that's why cars
today come standard with all the options of old (ie - auto, air, power everything).

I started doing taxidermy, after receiving back a cheap ($175) mount (that took
him only 3 months to finish). This guy was/is a full-time taxidermist. That was
six years ago, that mount just keeps getting uglier. I would love to remount it,
but it is so much more valuable hanging in my showroom, next to my work.

I use it to point out to customers, the perils of a cheap, quick mount. By the way
I didn't choose the taxidermist for his price, I choose him for his 3 month turn
around promise. I looked at others in the $300 -$400 range with excellent work,
but those guys told me 2-3 years for "my trophy" to be finished. I didn't want to
wait, wished I had.

Back to your point Perry, I think offering only the best forms, eyes, liners, etc
is the only way to go and result is a very fair higher price, than what the corner
cutters spit out. I also agree that customers are always looking to save money,
sometimes it's not such a bad thing to lose those customers to the guy down the
street, they'll come back and appreciate your work, more than ever before.


This response submitted by Bill on 1/8/00. ( )

If you drop your price, even though you dont want to, you arent going to get 150 heads, you both will SHARE the difference, because the other guy is still there. I know Im right, but let me help you out some more. I am definitely not wealthy! Try this on for size. I have 4 kids, so far 1 set of braces on the oldest, 2 vehicles, $1200 mortgage, $300 of loans monthly, $1000 for health insurance each quarter, all those utilities, plus stuff I dont wish to post here. See where Im going? No, my wife doesnt work, she is raising the kiddies. Wanna figure in my deer herd or the fact that theres no retirement? I CANT afford NOT to RAISE my PRICES! I will offer you this, and I dont do this often. Call me in the evening at 1-716-637-2450, and I will explain in details I cant print here, OK? I can tell you that living in NY state, with 42 taxidermists within 1 hour of me isnt easy, but...

Any indication of retreat is bad.. very bad

This response submitted by CHUCK on 1/9/00. ( )

I am not a full time taxidermist,but work in the labor trades. I see your situation in this way(this is only an opinion)I work as a SKILLED tradesman(carpenter)and get paid a total package of approximately $37.00 /hr this includes hrly wage ,health and welfare,and a pension at age 56(51 early) Joe off the street "scab carpenter" is unskilled,uneducated,and least of all unprotected.however he works all year long,lots of times overtime(for straight pay) and on weekends(straight pay again) I work 40 hrs a week for about $800.00 Joe gets 60 -65 hrs a week no benefits for a measly $600.00 I get to spend time with my family .He probably works his butt off only to get a glimpse of his family on sundays.
My point is this ,sorry to be long winded,your time is valuable,your knowledge of your work is valuable,your QUALITY of your work is extremely valuable.Don't work twice the hrs at 75% of your worth there are too many hacks out there doing exactly that thats what we're all trying to avoid - bad competition. If the economy across the nation were equal, we could all charge the same rate and let our talents bring the customers in to us.Keep your prices where YOU and your family need them to be not where your competion has theirs .Leave the price wars to the corner gas stations-ever wonder how they make money cutting their prices? Sure they're busy but that just makes them work harder for the same $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
Now,do you get the point of what everyone is telling you?

If worse comes to worse you could always go work for her ,watch her head spin while you count your $ and go home to spend quality time with your family.


Any indication of retreat is bad.. very bad

This response submitted by CHUCK on 1/9/00. ( )

I am not a full time taxidermist,but work in the labor trades. I see your situation in this way(this is only an opinion)I work as a SKILLED tradesman(carpenter)and get paid a total package of approximately $37.00 /hr this includes hrly wage ,health and welfare,and a pension at age 56(51 early) Joe off the street "scab carpenter" is unskilled,uneducated,and least of all unprotected.however he works all year long,lots of times overtime(for straight pay) and on weekends(straight pay again) I work 40 hrs a week for about $800.00 Joe gets 60 -65 hrs a week no benefits for a measly $600.00 I get to spend time with my family .He probably works his butt off only to get a glimpse of his family on sundays.
My point is this ,sorry to be long winded,your time is valuable,your knowledge of your work is valuable,your QUALITY of your work is extremely valuable.Don't work twice the hrs at 75% of your worth there are too many hacks out there doing exactly that thats what we're all trying to avoid - bad competition. If the economy across the nation were equal, we could all charge the same rate and let our talents bring the customers in to us.Keep your prices where YOU and your family need them to be not where your competion has theirs .Leave the price wars to the corner gas stations-ever wonder how they make money cutting their prices? Sure they're busy but that just makes them work harder for the same $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
Now,do you get the point of what everyone is telling you?

If worse comes to worse you could always go work for her ,watch her head spin while you count your $ and go home to spend quality time with your family.


Yall still dont get it

This response submitted by Stumped on 1/9/00. ( )

Who said anything about skimping? Im still doing the same
quality work as always. As far as getting a parttime job,
forget it. I live in a small town(pop. 2700) & jobs are non-
existent, plus I would never get any mounts done then. Been
there done that(Was two years behind). Also forger about
two prices. I do have my standards & would NEVER do a piss poor
mount regardless of the price. If I were to follow everyones
advice & raise my prices, I would be out of business. Why, because
they would go to the comp. I do have my usual clients who use
me year after year & laugh at the comp., but the bulk of my
clients are one timers. The clients who absolutely know nothing about
taxidermy & I would gather my comp. major clients as well.
In my previous post I stated that if I did 50 mounts at $300
that was $15,000 & 150 mounts(at $200) was $30,000. The object is more
money, okay! If I followed your advice, I would have to charge
$600 a mount to make $30,000(50 mounts x $600). Who in there
right mind is going to pay that! Not me! Just because this
has worked in your town does not mean that it will work in mine.
As far as the wife leaving, she is one of the ones pushing me
to make more money & drop prices. She understands by doing
this I will be working more hours. I currently have about 200
mounts with a one year turnaround. All capes are commercially
tanned, septums installed(Milk carton for you who will say
watch the costs), bondo ears, noose hanger, OpTech eyes in every
mount, etc. Time wise Ive broken it down, cape 10 min, flesh
(zero, my tanner fleshes for me at $15 a cape), prep form 30 min,
prep cape 30 min, mount 2-3 hours, finish 20 min. Just because
something works for you, does not mean it will work for me.
I thank each & everyone of you for your comments.

I guess Im not for you

This response submitted by Bill on 1/10/00. ( )

I can usually get thru, but you see more than I do. Looks like you ARE out of biz, by what you say. Hope we can help you in the future...Eppley Eyes are $5.85 a pair, if that helps...and they are the best on the market.

Darn, I got cut off...

This response submitted by Bill on 1/10/00. ( )

I wish you the best of luck, its hard to tell a guy his biz when it comes to $. Maybe taxidermy isnt it for you in that town. Honestly, though, best of luck to ya.

DON'T DO IT !!!!!!!!!!

This response submitted by Selling Tires instead of taxidermy on 1/10/00. ( )

Stumped, Your not listening to what your being told, I live in an area that has the price hackers, just like you do, Ive been doing taxidermy for 7 years, trained by Northwest Iowa School of Taxidermy, started out with prices in the middle of the pack, got a few heads in the first year, raised my prices the next year, recieved more than the first, you get the picture, my 5th year I recieved over 400 items, then I started to worry about the cheaper guys in town, the 6th year I droped my prices, recieved 200 items, I blamed the competion, BUT guess what the 7th year I raised my prices up just slightly than the 6th year, I received very few items.....not enough to make it in the business that I trained for and paid good money to learn. What did I learn from my experience???? ( I'm now selling tires for a living) But I am putting heads togather as we sit and read this forum, these will be for competition, and I'm going to go back after taking a couple of years off and my prices WILL be the highest in the area, I still have some very loyal customers and the word of mouth about the quality will get out, THAT means more MONEY and less time to sell tires, (darn) Just take a minute and think what everyone here has been telling you, we have all been there, maybe the reason that you only got 50 heads is you are worrying about the competition, and your quality is going down hill. So put some heads togather for competition and show those 50 customers that the hackers can't come close to your QUALITY. Next year 50 will turn into 100, now do your math.

It's Hard

This response submitted by Jeff M on 1/10/00. ( )

Yes Stumped, it's hard. Its hard to buy the kids the gi-joe with the kung fu grip at Christmas time if you have no money. Its hard to take your wife to the movies and dinner with no money. Its hard to pay the bills and keep food in the fridge. Its hard to keep a vehicle up and running with no money. Its hard to start a taxidermy business with no money. How do I know? I do it every day. I have a fairly low paying job(full time) then I go home and do taxidermy at nights. We all know what it takes to do taxidermy the right way,Money. trade publications, taxidermy associations costs, refernce photos, tools, supplies, phone, elect. well any way you get the picture. I usally work 40 to 50 hours a week in the shop and that dosent leave a lot of time for anything else, or money. I am very fortunate that my wife understands what taxidermy means to me, and that she supports me all the way. I would love to do taxidermy full time, and some day I will.
taxidermy for me is a passion! I do the verybest I can on every mount even if it means a longer time on a mount. I feel that that will make the difference in the sucess of my business. I also charge the higher rate for my area ($300.00) and last year let more deer go on to the cheap guys than I took in. thats the way it goes. This year I took in more than went down the road. Whatever the case I deal with it and its hard. BUT I Never lower my prices,Ever!In fact I will raise them this year again. I too have a hack down the road, come to think of it, two. One advertises he's a master and he's been doing taxidermy for all of 2 years! the eyes on his deer stick out a good 3 inches, but he advertises Museaum quality work for $250.00......go figure. He's always busy but it will bite him in the a$$ some day. Ya stumped, Its hard. But I have some great mounts out there in peoples homes, that I took the time to show them the difference. That my friend is the best advertisement you can have. No one will ever bring back a pronghorn that has soured because the oil glands are still intact and it was DP'd. I sleep better. The bottom line is that while I want to be full time in the worst way, I have to work a full time job because its hard! dont sell out your passion to drive the neighbor out of bus. they will do that by themselvs. GOOD LUCK and keep looking up. Also I would like to thank EVERY ONE that keeps this fourm going,it works. Thanks Jeff M

Stump read and learn

This response submitted by John C on 1/10/00. ( )

I was in the army for many years. At each and every duty station (know as a Fort) I opened a shop/studio. Each and everytime I made very good money doing taxidermy, yes there was always competition!! Theres a bucket truck load of G.I's out there mounting some good some bad. I had always been in the same prices area as the competition.

I never let the taxidermist around the corner set my prices.

I also hate birds with a passion, oh I can do a fair bird, but I still hate them. What did I do well the great bird guy in the state was at $165.00, I thought let him do them. I priced my birds at $225.00. What happened was astounding. I got several calls that said, You are to high. "GREAT I DONT WANT THEM I THOUGHT TO MYSELF!" Well people started showing up with ducks and pheasents. Again to myself "I THOUGHT WELL AT LEST I CAN MAKE A FEW DOLLARS THIS WAY." That great bird guy was only 30 miles away and I told everyone how great he was and is.

The Birds just kept coming. With the bird came fish and deer.Fish are my best point I think, but I am in no way a great taxidermist in any respect, ok but not great and maybe not even good.

The second full year in business saw 75 deer come in, why? I ask There was one just two doors down from me that had been there his whole life, he still had his customers @$165.00 for a head. Well I had mine at $325.00. everyone was slowly coming my way. I was at $425 min. on small game they to kept coming in. I was working till 2 and 3 in the morning.

I did the same quality for shows that I did for the customers, and yes if you put up a few serious competition heads a few clients will see they difference.

I had these set away from the other mount, but had not entered them, yes I was experimenting with nose capsules and some extra details.

I had done everything the best I could on everything but times change.

One client ask why the difference in quality, I said its the same, he replied no its not, took the one of the deerheads out to the show room and said "LOOOK HERE, THESE ARE NOT THE SAME!" I want this one. "I as a joke said "That one is $650.00 cash up front."

What happend over the next few days was alot of people looking at the better head and paying for it.

It will not be everyhead, but the overall price will go up.

Last year I closed the shop for a better job. I am not in the military any longer either.

Mr. Lowballer (lives in a rural area with a town of 3,000 20 miles away and another town of 18,000 30 miles north the population close by is only about 800 people)is now out of business, he is living with mommy and daddy, cause I ruined his business. I talk to people in that town quite often. I was even up there a while back to visit. What the tax. next door did not know was most of my business was not within 25 miles) I ruined his business! WHY? How? better quality,Plain and simple, hard work.

I tried to say away from the local area out of respect for him, he lived less than 150 feet from my back door.

something is wrong with your set up. Stop and ask the clients you have left, get to some show and enter a few to improve your work.

There is something wrong other than the Taxidermist down the street.

I detect some bitterness and not being able to accept a critique in your letters.

What did you do for advertizing this past year?

Did you rideout with little or no ads?

You are not the only one to have problems.

I know another that simply would not take care of business. That one too has retreated to the house. That one never handed out any business cards, would not get out and meet the public, was always b.s. the customers. Simply would not go the extra mile. Tried to cut corners at every chance. The former employe put more into the buisness than the owner, to include handing out over 3,000 buisness cards and paying for them out of the employees own pocket, employee even at his own expense delivered items that the owner put on the back burner.

Why did the employe do this , they wanted a job, job security. What happend, the employee was let go. The business retreated to the house and few mounts are taken in now.

You have to care about the work you do! The people you deal with! AND TACE CARE of BUSINESS.

You have been given advice from all over the country, you are the player, they are the coach, what you do woth your coaching is up to you! Resize your business approach. Good Luck John C


This response submitted by Chris on 1/11/00. ( )

Not everyone is on top all the time. You must stick to your game plan and what makes you the taxidermist your customers will come back to. If you drop your margins of profit then you might as well work for your competion. Every business goes through ups and downs, it could be GM or you. It is up to you to lower prices, but low margins mean more work and less money, slower turn-around. Try to attract the customers in different ways into your shop and don't worry about the other guys prices. Their will always be someone cheaper or someone faster in every business. Get the customer in front of you and sell them on your quality. I'm a part time taxidermist that manages several sales people a day and they complain about the other guy and how cheap they are when they don't make a sale. They want to blame other peoples policies,prices,products and even hours why their customer didn't buy. But the good salesperson, the one who sales the most each month never seems to complain....the price is just another obsticle in their way to making a sale. Taxidermy is know differant. You must sell the customer on yourself and secondly your service.

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