New Tax. in town cutting into my profits, help!!(Long Post)

Submitted by stumped on 11/18/99. ( ) 216.61.104.217

My studio is located in a small town(Pop 2700) smack dab in a prime hunting area. The majority of my clients come from out of town to hunt the area. Exotics are common in the area & I take in around 150-200 mounts a year. Problem. A local woman who has been working out of her house until a few months ago has opened a studio right next door to me & is taking a lot of business away. Her work is comparable to what I was doing ten years ago. Im charging $300 for a wt, she is getting $245. Im quoting 10-12 months(backlog), she is 6 months. All my capes are commercially tanned, hers are dry preserved. The problem as we all know is that most hunters dont know didly about good mounts & are price shopping. I know this goes against everyting I have learned, but I deceided it was the only way to run her out of business. I have lowered my price to $225. I would rather lose the $75 than the whole amount. Any comments would be greatly appreciated.

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Worst decision You could make!

This response submitted by George Roof on 11/18/99. ( georoof@aol.com ) 205.188.208.101

Stumped,
In my humble opinion, you have made a catastrophic decision. The lady obviously knew what her work was worth. Then you said, in effect, that her work was worth more than yours, so you lowered your price. Did I miss something Here?

As a group, we are about as dumb as chunks. We always want our freezer full instead of empty, we want more work than the guy next door, and we want to charge less. And we wonder why Bill Gates got rich? I don't think so.

First off, in this business, you have NO COMPETITORS. They are fellow business men and women. Your only competition is yourself. If your work doesn't improve at the rate of your peers, you lose. Had you kept your prices up, how long do you suppose she would have been able to meet a 6 months turnaround? (You did say she was taking your business.) Soon, she would have had a 2 year turnaround and you'd still be where you are now. Don't you suppose your customers may have made the same analogy you did and for $75 come to you for a quicker turnaround?

The best advertisement you can ever have is not in the yellow pages, billboards, radio/tv, or on your vehicle. It's that satisfied customer who sings your praises. One unhappy customer will cost you dozens. Forget the lady next door. Make the guy going out the door happy, and ultimately, he'll pay you back.


Raise your prices...

This response submitted by Charles Gossett on 11/18/99. ( Marl4570@aol.com ) 152.163.188.132

This may sound crazy but you will keep those who apreciate your work and youll get those others back later. It may be tough for a while but once she gets really backed up and starts pissing people off then they will start comming back.
Raise you prices to cmpensate for your losses, you will lose a few but your higher rates will even things out.
The worse thing you could have done was lower them.
I have only been doing taxidermy a couple years now but I take pride in my work.
I don't get no where near as many mounts as you but I turn a hell of a lot away. I get these guys saying I can get it done from so and so for x amount so I say go for it.I dont lower fro anyone and it is realy starting to pay off.
Next year I'm even raising my prices.
Hope this helps a little


Raise your prices

This response submitted by Mark on 11/18/99. ( fishspec30@centurytel.net ) 207.230.196.122

I'm with George on this one in this type of buisiness there are alot of well wishers. They think that by charging a lower price they will make more on volume but most that do undercharge so much they bury themselves so far they can't get out of it and end up having to quit or head out of town. You being in the trade for some time your reputation should speak for itself. For example I had a long time customer call me on a shoulder mount deer to ask the price. He told me he could get it cheaper somewhere else. I then asked him how much for the mount? He replied 275.00 I then told him our price of 365.00 and told him I was unable to match it and he should take it to the guy up north. My pint to this is that if you have been charging 300.00 for your deer why should you have to go down 75.00 just to get the work in? There question should be why is your deer better than the people next doors? My vadvice to you if its worth anything is stick to your guns and you will prevail. I guarantee the other guy will be gone sooner than later. What kind of a person sets up shop next door to another anyway but its a free country I guess. They should have laws against this kind of thing. My wife works at wal-mart and they are in the process of building a target store right next door. Guess there are the Target, K-mart And Wal-mart people now we are about to have all 3 but usually in the end Wal-mart will prevail being the largest! Oh well don't know if my babbling will help any but we all have our 2 cents. Good luck for prosperity, Mark


Hows this...

This response submitted by Bill on 11/19/99. ( yoxtax@aol.com ) 152.163.189.33

First of all I cant beleive anyone would really do this, I think this is purely hypothetical...But, hey, I want my $75 back, you over charged me last month before you lowered your price! Hows THAT sound? Oh yeah, you'll have plenty of that kind of stuff. Just your own self esteem should dictate that you do a better job and charge accordingly. As I see it, if this situation DID exist, you could work WITH her...she gets the second rate customer with her second rate work, you take the cream off the top.


Now is the time to up your quality even more.

This response submitted by John C on 11/19/99. ( ) 204.180.103.115

Thats right, can you do a better job than you were doing? If you can and know how now is the time to max everything out. We all know six months for the other tax. just will not work.

A few years back when I had a part-time shop in a remote area. I did the right advertising, and was covered up in just a few weeks. I went from $275 to $340 on day three of deer (modern fire arm season) I was covered totally up, knew it would take a lot of midnite oil to get the work done. I even went to $225 on birds, I knew I would not have time for, I wholesaled them out. Used a tannery for the deer.

Now get this I had a HAck that lived two doors down. the hack. only charged $225 know why, poor quality, slow turn. The hack is still there, still working on last years deer, I sent everyone to them.

I did close the shop, but not for the lack of clients or work. Even took in some high dollar deerheads ($650.) last season there. These were show quality deer. Whats really funny is I moved back to my home state and I still get calls to do some high dollar deer from there.

RAISE your prices up, Raise your quality way up.

Now is the time if your maxed on your knowledge to get a few advanced lessons (see YOXMAN) Look close before dropping price, i.e. quality.


She didn't cut your profit YOU DID....

This response submitted by Perry on 11/19/99. ( pgk@ncentral.com ) 128.118.19.152

She didn't cut your profit, you did when you knocked $75.00 off your
price. She did however cut into your volume. Volume is something that
fluxuates with the economy, hunters success, and yes, quantity of taxidermists.
Profit per mount is something you control, and you should be a maximum,
not a minimum. There are 12 taxidermist within a 20 mile radius of me. I
don't know how many unlicensed and do it yourselfers there are. But the
full timers with the lower prices are putting in 10 to 14 hr days with
a back log of work, those with the higher prices are working less and
making more money per piece. what everyone above has said holds true.
if you notice, no one said it was a good idea to cut your price. Everyone
who responded has dealt with, is dealing with, or will deal with again,
cutthroat pricing. keep your price up, and hold steady, within six
months, you'll start hearing complaints about late work and poor quality. you
will probably pick up some work from people who want their heads remounted the
right way.

good luck
Perry


The Best and Cheapest Both??????

This response submitted by Steve Steinbring on 11/19/99. ( nsc@netrus.net ) 206.251.198.144

Stumped,

You have stated that the other taxidermist in question is not doing work of your quality and caliber. Why would you ever want to be the best in your area and the cheapest both? I agree with the other taxi. here about not cutting prices and maybe even raising them. If you were to cut your prices $75.00 per mount which is a 25% decrease in price can your business stand that? Thats a $15,000 loss of revenue for the same work! Your costs are increasing every year, why not prices? How about this? If you were to raise your prices 20% would you loose 20% of your customers? I doubt it! A true 20% increase would be now a mounting price of $375.00. If you were to mount 200 deer at $300.00 its $60,000.00 gross. At $375.00 you would have to mount 160 deer to gross the same 60K. You now can either take in more work, take more time to improve your work, or have sometime for yourself and family grossing the same bucks. Besides as this ladies backlog builds she will be pressured to either raise her prices, spend less time with each with mount( doing even poorer work), or start turning away work. Give her enough rope and she will either hang herself or wakeup. If you had all the work you couldn't so it all anyway. We can only do so much with our hands in a given day. Its only by working smarter, having good tools, materials and supplies that save you time to allow you to increase production and quality. If your good charge for it and let the customers know what they are getting for their money. Just my opinion for what its worth.

Steve Steinbring/Epo-Grip Adhesives


$13,125.00 a year you loose

This response submitted by Jeff M. on 11/19/99. ( fourriverstaxidermy@hotmail.com ) 208.18.228.116

Stumped, if you cut your prices $75.00 per mount and take in say 175 mounts ( you stated between 150 and 200 ) you will LOOSE $13,125.00 or if that didnt grab ya its the same as every 5th deer free! doesnt sound good to me, like the other guys said, RAISE your prices......good luck.....Jeff M.


go fishing

This response submitted by dak on 11/19/99. ( ) 209.214.170.228

If you can't get your price .. go fishing...


Stumped Replies

This response submitted by stumped on 11/19/99. ( ) 216.61.104.201

It was with great regret that I lowered my prices. All the
hunters are price shopping & not quality shopping. This individual has taken in triple what I have.
If I lose 50 mounts to her at $300 apiece thats $15000. If I can get
those mounts & lose $75 per head that comes to $11250. I cant
afford to lose that kind of money. I feel like taking the cut
is better than losing everything to her. Sure I thought about
her running behind & people complaining. But how long will it
take for that to happen?? 6 months? A year? Can I afford
to lose that much business, No. Thanks for the comments.


What do you do next time?

This response submitted by John M. on 11/19/99. ( johnnie@cableone.net ) 24.116.13.187

What do you do when the next guy comes along . and they will. Sounds like you are in a prime location. How long can you live on 10 years ago's wages. Quality will always win out in the end. I have gone through this in my area. Seems every year someone comes out of the wood work offering work for less. I used to charge $7.50 an inch for fish (that is all I do here) Some guy moved in up the street and started doing fish for $6.50 so I raised my price to $8.00. I offer a satisfaction guarantee and a lifetime guarantee on my mounts. Quality wins out in the end. Bite the bullet and have confidence in your work. After all, it is how you built your business!!!


what about next time

This response submitted by Carl on 11/19/99. ( spinneyc@klis.com ) 209.47.43.71

It is sad to read that you chose to give in and drop your prices as now it will be nearly impossible to go back up to your previous prices ,even if she goes out of business. There will always be someone new popping up with low prices. I hope you survive through all this....


Raise Prices

This response submitted by John M. on 11/19/99. ( maddenj@lafarge.k12.wi.us ) 156.46.77.18

I'm not an expert by any means,but I've been in business
going on 5yr now.My first year was just practice on my own deer.

And when I started I charged $200 for
a wt shoulder mt.,just to help pay for supplies.(helps
to have a better paying job with benifits) I got 5 deer
the second year. I was $50 less then the guy in the next town
who has been doing it for a lot longer then me. The next year
I raised my price and got 10 deer. The next raised my price
and got 20. This year I'm at $325 and deer season opens tomorrow.
Wish me luck!!
John M.


When will we ever learn?

This response submitted by Ron Kelly on 11/21/99. ( ) 208.152.106.2

You don't EVER lower your prices, you raise them. I am in
the same exact situation, exept I have 5 taxidermists within
miles of me . They all did the same thing, but you know what?
I don't care! I show all of my customers the difference in our
work and I also don't care if I loose some price shoppers. I
beleive in my ability and if they are not willing to pay my
prices I send them down the road. I now have time to fish and
hunt and still make plenty of money. The only real problem
I face is I still get too much work because people are convinced
I must be the best because of the prices I charge. I get a
kick out of reading about taxidermists still charging $4.00-
$7.50 per inch for fish. I charge $12.00 - $18.00 per inch
and have only lost about two to three customers a year. I can
afford to loose a lot more than this! Even the guys down the
road,(I don't have any competition) get $10.00 per inch and
have done so for years because of me and my high prices. If
that lady wants to work for nothing, let her. Raise the prices
and push the quality. If you feel the need to advertise to make
up the slack, do it. Pretty soon you might find that you can
deliver quicker yourself. You need to quit counting money you
haven't made and concentrate on finishing what you do have.


When will we ever learn?

This response submitted by Ron Kelly on 11/21/99. ( ) 208.152.106.2

You don't EVER lower your prices, you raise them. I am in
the same exact situation, exept I have 5 taxidermists within
miles of me . They all did the same thing, but you know what?
I don't care! I show all of my customers the difference in our
work and I also don't care if I loose some price shoppers. I
beleive in my ability and if they are not willing to pay my
prices I send them down the road. I now have time to fish and
hunt and still make plenty of money. The only real problem
I face is I still get too much work because people are convinced
I must be the best because of the prices I charge. I get a
kick out of reading about taxidermists still charging $4.00-
$7.50 per inch for fish. I charge $12.00 - $18.00 per inch
and have only lost about two to three customers a year. I can
afford to loose a lot more than this! Even the guys down the
road,(I don't have any competition) get $10.00 per inch and
have done so for years because of me and my high prices. If
that lady wants to work for nothing, let her. Raise the prices
and push the quality. If you feel the need to advertise to make
up the slack, do it. Pretty soon you might find that you can
deliver quicker yourself. You need to quit counting money you
haven't made and concentrate on finishing what you do have.


There you have it.

This response submitted by John C on 11/22/99. ( ) 204.180.103.183

That pretty much somes it up. Yes I have been to Ron's place and yes there are plenty around him, yes he gets what he needs, in a very competitive market. As we all can!

Was it Coleman Jonas whom said "There is no competition at the top."

Now you have heard from some of the best in the country. Could all be wrong? I think not. You have not lost that business or the GROSS amount of revenues. You will come out in the long run.JC


Check your math again stumped...

This response submitted by Perry on 11/23/99. ( pgk@ncentral.com ) 128.118.19.152

Your not loosing $15,000. Those 50 deer heads bring in a gross of
15,000. materials, overhead and such are going to eat about $7500 of
that off the bat. you have $7500 in profit. By lowering your price,
you still have the $7500 in materials and overhead, but you will only
profit $3,750. you are loosing $3,750( 7500-3750), not $15,000. While
3750 is not chump change, it is not as bad and your initial figures. A
little elbow grease in the advertising/promotion department could
cut the loss of the 50 heads and allow you to keep your price. you may
still loose 3 or 4K, but you may be able to keep or increase your profit
as well. remember sell your talent and quality, not your price.


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