While I was on the taxi-chat last night, my shop was burning. Because I had my home phone line tied up nobody was able to call. I received a call at 1:30 this morning and couldn't believe what I saw when I got there. (or what wasn't there) It's pretty much a total loss. (might be a few things salvaged,but not much) I'm still in disbelief. I know calling my insurance agent is on the top of my list this morning, but just wondering if anyone else has gone through this. What to do next.
How do you estimate costs for all the customers things that are lost.(finished mounts and items to be mounted) Do I start calling customers to tell them, or wait to see what my insurance agent has to say. Needless to say, its going to be a big mess for awhile I'm thinking. I sit here thinking of all the time I spent there,not believing it can all be gone in just a couple of hours.
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Please accept my sympathies for the loss of your shop. I know the road ahead is gonna be rough.
There is a way for people to reach you while you are online. Go to www.callwave.com and download and install its internet answering machine. They will instruct you as how to set it up. Basically, when someone calls your number while you are online,it fowards the call to a 1-800 number,which records the message, and then plays it back on your screen. you will have to set up call fowarding busy with your phone co.. Costs about a buck a month for that. I have been using this service for months and it works great. And........... Its Free.
Wow, I am so sorry to hear about your shop. I wish you the best. My family will say a prayer for yours tonight. One day at a time. Good Luck
Don't know how I can help. If I can please let me know. John C
Kent sorry to hear about the bad news,It is something we all think about everyday and hope it never happens to us.As a Fireman I see people get burned out of their homes and busniess evey month,and think about It could have been me.As for the phone it would have been harder for you to sit and watch it burn and feel help less,dont blame your self.
Your in my prayers!
Your Friend Rob
Kent sorry to hear the bad news. Sometimes bad things happen to good people. I have learned that god takes care of good people like you. I know from personal experince that you are a giving person, so I will add my prayers on your behalf. If I can do any more let me know. Your Friend Terry
Having gone through a "moderate" fire, I certainly sympathize with you, and maybe I can offer some suggestions.
First thing I earnestly suggest to everyone is to get a second phone line put in just for the computer. Think about it. Not only can you be reached in a situation like this, but any home-related, or health-related reason for having the phone line free, is good enough reason for having that second line for the computer. In our own situation, often times I can get online to help one of our customers while they are on the phone with me.
Now, about the fire and the aftermath:
My fire was begun by a faulty air pump for the fish tank I had in the office area of my building. I only even had a fish tank because I was keeping a small Largemouth Bass. He was a great conversation piece! The fire was enough that it burned the masonite board along the bottom of the fish stand where the pump sat, then it burned the air lines to the tank. I guess it also started to heat the water.
As the water in the tank got warmer, and the air was no longer being delivered, my poor little bass freaked out enough that as he splashed about, he spread enough water around to douse the flames. Unfortunately, he also managed to leap out of the tank, which ultimately cost him his life! But he alone is responsible for the flames being doused and eliminated! This is no joke! I am totally serious!
However, the smoke that was generated by the flames while they lived, was pushed through the entire building by a system of fans I used to circulate the air, including an oscillating fan that was used to aid in drying some mounts. Needless to say, when I did my regular Sunday morning check on my building, it was like walking into the bowels of Hell! Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING was covered in a nice thick layer of soot! And on top of everything else, the air was humid, causing moisture to cling to the layer of soot, making it the nastiest thing I've ever encountered!
The first thing I discovered, was to not wipe the soot off any of the mounts that "survived" the blaze. This will press the soot deeper into the coat of the mount. Instead, I put on a pair of rubber gloves, and one by one brought all the blackened mounts outside, and blew off the soot with compressed air! You want to blow the air with the direction of the hair. You don't want the air to drive the soot further into the coat of the mount.
Do this as many times as needed, until no more soot comes off the mount.
The next cleaning regimen was using Windex glass cleaner. I lightly sprayed some on the mount, and carefully wiped it off with paper towel. It took a lot of Windex, lots of paper toweling, and lots of time to clean the mounts, but in the end I salvaged all mounts in the shop. Some things like a snow base for a customer's coyote had to be redone, but for the most part, the mount was cleaned. Using this method, I was able to clean all Deer heads, an Elk head mount, an Iguana, all small game, fish, and bird mounts. For cleaning my many reference books I had on a set of shelves, I used compressed air only, and that did the trick. Remember, the first instinct is to start wiping everything down! Do not do that! Blow the soot off first!
After the mounts are thoroughly dry, they can be brushed out. If any soot comes to the surface, blow it off, and repeat the cleaning process. Do this as many time as needed until the mount is thoroughly clean.
The building was cleaned by hiring a professional cleaning service. We used Service Master, and they did an excellent job! I handled the mounts because I felt they were what I knew about, and the method I created for cleaning the mounts, has now been adopted by their cleaning service! The mounts I had hanging in the office were the worst hit. They not only received soot, but some of the deer were actually scorched. Believe it or not, I was able to clean them too. upon brushing them out after they dried, the scorched hair tips were brushed away, and no one ever knew what had happened.
I had no mounts lost to the fire, but I was able to recoup the time it would take me to restore everything. I calculated this by figuring my shop-rate into the estimated time it would take me to restore the mounts, as well as the time lost in the cleaning, plus the cost of the Service Master bill. It was quite a settlement, and went a long way to keeping the rent paid.
As for figuring the cost of a lost mount ... take what you charge the customer to mount the animal, add in the cost of a replacement hide (cape), and the time lost to you in the cleanup. Have these figures written down, and be able to back them up with a price list, etc.
Lastly ... make sure you ARE insured. Too many taxidermists take it for granted that they don't need total coverage, and when something like a fire or other catastrophe hits, they're screwed!
I hope this information is of service to you. Again, my regards to you and your family. Keep a positive attitude and you can get through this.
Kent: Sorry to hear about the fire. Please advise if there is anything that we can do to help locate specimens or any other items you may need in order to get back in business.
Last night was my very first time using the chat. It was fun as I went in as "Pineapple" but wouldn't you know it, Mr.Yox knew who I was immediately and said "are you luna?" I replied yeah that's me! well, with a name like Pineapple who wouldn't know it was me. It was a great experience as I got those guys paranoid by not typing enough and being quiet! You guys are good people who I see benifit this industry and not what some on the forums portray you to be! LOL!
I was shocked to read this morning that Kent's shop had burned after being on the chat last night.I would like to offer my sympathy and if in anyway a humbled fish guy from Hawaii can help,please let me know.
Maybe someone out there could e-mail or print out Kent's address so we could send him something to help with his lost.Every little thing helps..
Aloha from Hawaii, Layne Luna
I never had to deal with what you're going thru. I can't imagine. My suggestion to you would be to first see if you have access to a cable internet connection or DSL. It will solve your (above) problem AND accessing or sending anything may be up to 100 times faster! Once you get it you'll wonder why you didn't do it sooner. The monthly cost is well worth your time saved and your phone bill will go down - may even make up the difference if you access things often. And, once you go cable or DSL you will use the internet more often because you don't have to wait. When I access Taxidermy.net it takes about two seconds and I'm on (no exaggeration)....
and your monthly fee can be tax deductible. You're accessing Taxidermy.net for business use correct?
Here's hoping everything works out smoothly for you Kent - Thank God you've got insurance! I think you'll find that most of your clients will be sympathetic and understanding...
Sure was sorry to hear about your shop fire. Thank goodness you were insured and here's hoping the Insurance company will work with you in a fast and eficient manner. I've been fortunate and have never had a fire and wish I could be of more help. My family and I will be praying for you and your family in your time of need. If there is anything I can do for you such as obtaining some specimens or anything else that I can do please let me know. Best wishes in the coming days and hang in there.
Wish I had anything to add to JohnB and others, I have the second phone line as well. It always worries me, the risk of fire, as I have a good electric service box, updated, but I always wonder why the breakers cant protect us from this. I wish you well, and will help you if you need any, just ask.
Kent, we chatted in the chat room a few nights ago. I am VERY sorry to hear of your loss! I am thankful however, that you and your loved ones are safe and sound, and that you DIDN'T lose your home (I hope)! :-)
Kent, Sorry to hear about your loss. If their is anything I can help you with feel free to ask. Im the Guy from Osceola, Wis. you chayyed to the other night. Man that has got to be a bad feeling going to your shop and seing what had happened. Im sure its going to be a long road ahead to get it together but keep the faith and things will work out eventually. We had flooding in our shop one time but it cant compare to your loss. Good luck to you and keep us informed of your progress. Like I said if I can help you with something let me know. Sincerely,Mark Vruno