industry getting flooded with taxidermists

Submitted by dwl on 01/26/2004. ( )

does it seem like the market is getting flodded with taxidermists? there sure seems like there is a lot of schools out there just pumping them out left and right. in my area there are five new taxidermists and they all are price cutters, in this area thats all what most the people care about is the price not quality just about ready to get out of the business. when people call that is ussually the first words out of there mouth is "how much". anyone else seeing this problem?

Return to The Taxidermy Industry Category Menu


This response submitted by Wally on 01/26/2004. ( )

dam glad of it too...Like anything else things p[ass..I have a minimum of 8 taxis in my area in fact one had a article in the paper today stateing"he saw a need for quality taxidermy in the area" The truth is he does some of the worst work I have seen...Stand firm and hold tight..We did and found a market..We are by apointment only and if they are looking for a deal we referre them to the area's oldest and only say good things.It will come back...\
The bargan hunters will always ask hell I ask if I get a deal if I buy crap by the case its human nature...Let them cheap dont always mean good..

I'm sure there's...

This response submitted by marty on 01/26/2004. ( )

...peaks and valleys everywhere.

Actually by me, we've lost a couple in the last year - at least they're no longer in the phone book so I'm assuming they've had their 15 minutes of fame.

Don't worry about the price shoppers. They'll put each other out of business eventually. Do quality work and market to the folks who see the difference. And post your prices on your website if you have one to alleviate having to answer the phone for these people.

If somebody calls me and their first question is price, I know I've most likely already lost that customer. But not always. I tell them my price. And if they're still on the phone I start explaining why. I tell them that "I tailor to mostly avid fishermen and people who can see the difference. I put more time and detail into every mount. And I 100% guarantee my work"

Sometimes I don't say all that. But just letting them know that most of your customers are "discriminating customers" gives them the impression that you are better than the others. And, I think it also makes them feel like they need to be discriminating too. Sorta like a subtle car salesman technique of putting them on the Lexus vs. the Cavalier...

its good news

This response submitted by John on 01/26/2004. ( )

If you are worried about competition you shouldn't be.If you do quality work it will be long remembered and good work goes along way.These price choopers will only be in bussiness a short time.And if you are trully good at what you do you will be around long after these people.

I NEVER refer to anybody cheaper

This response submitted by marty on 01/26/2004. ( )

If I don't get the work and they're looking for a recommendation for somebody else, I tell them the truth. I tell them flat out that I simply cannot recommend anybody else because their quality isn't up to snuff with MY standards...


This response submitted by ManPower Inc on 01/26/2004. ( )

You may want to check out posting in Industry section dated 1-15-04, "Yellow book 2004-05".

I'm a price shopper

This response submitted by Chuck on 01/26/2004. ( )

A buddy and I have hunted together for several years. We have both taken about dozens of bucks in our home state of Pennsylvania and West Virginia over the years. We both have gotten several bucks mounted. I have one I paid $160 for. He has one he paid $400 for. To tell you the truth they each look as good as the other. I have seen poor quality deer mounts before, but the one I paid $160 for looks really good. I have a few I paid $200 for. We honestly don't see a difference between them and the $400 mounts. I'd have to say that the average sportsman would rather pay $200 than $400. I do understand that there are really top notch Taxidermist out there that deserve top dollar but the average sportsman doesn't want to pay it. Please don't take offense, I'm just trying to explain what the average hunter sees when he gets a deer mounted.

Quality Matters

This response submitted by Wildwood on 01/26/2004. ( )

What I've noticed is that 'price shoppers' by and large are not really the customers I want. The people I want are the ones that know quality and the time it takes to produce such a mount. These sportman and sportswomen are ones who will be your repeat customers and your best advertisment. So let the "other guy" do the cheap work.

I don't mount deer head

This response submitted by jon on 01/26/2004. ( )

But even I know that a shoulder mount for $200 isnt making that taxidermist any profit.... Heck I cant even mount a duck for $250 and make profit off it....

Yes that price is out there and always will be.. There is nothing we can do about it. However, that taxidermist wont be. Either one of two things will happen... his price will go up, or he will figure out he isn't making any money and quite the industry.


Sorry Charlie

This response submitted by Arby on 01/26/2004. ( )

What's your definition of "average hunter"? An average hunter around here is shooting the latest and greatest bow rigged out to the max. Driving a late model 4x4 truck with all the extras. If you you really think you got as great deer head for 160 bucks, you really don't know much about quality work.(no offense)
I'll bet if you look on the back of your mount, your taxidermist, used one of those cheap 8 cent hangers, meant to hold bluegills, on your deer. There are many to cut corners in taxidermy, I suspect a few were used on yours.


This response submitted by Chuck on 01/26/2004. ( )

I always hear it on here, that taxidermists can't make a profit if they mount a deer for $250. I mounted my daughter's deer for about $80. I'm sure if I were a professional I'd get my supplies a lot cheaper by buying in bulk and I would tan the cape myself instead of paying $40. $250-$80=$170 that's not bad. I know a taxidermist that does taxidermy in his spare time and he says he makes a killing. He only charges $275. He works full time for $23/Hr at his regular job and he works lots of overtime. He said he will probably quit his job in the very near future. He has been in taxidermy about 5 years. He also said that his new Dodge pickup will be paid for when he gets all the deer mounts done. That sounds good to mee!

There are a few out there...

This response submitted by marty on 01/26/2004. ( )

...I'm sure that there are a few talented individuals that do it as a hobby and do not charge enough to make a lot of profit. Most are probably just starting out. Maybe you got lucky and found one of these individuals.

But more than likely though, that $400 a deer guy has got people "snowed" and his quality is not up to snuff with the REAL quality folks. I'll bet if you put one of Joe Meder's deer heads (Kodiak Taxidermy) or many others' at ~$400 for a shoulder mount, you would see many differences.

I know in the fish world, most avid fishermen do not see much diffences in taxidermy work, unless they see BOTH MOUNTS TOGETHER. This is because they really don't know the anatomy at all. They think they do, but they don't. And it's not until they have them side by side that they REALLY start to open their eyes...


This response submitted by John R on 01/26/2004. ( )

To those of you who moonlight and have a "job"..I suggest you keep your job if you have a family to feed. If you do a $250 head...minus supplys ($80 above)= $170...170 X lets say 100 heads a year+17000 before taxes..self employment tax alone is 15%..down to 14450..poverty level...and thats if your doing 100 heads...just my 2 cents

DID you all know that

This response submitted by jay on 01/26/2004. ( )

EARL IS an <><><>[Expletive Deleted]<><><>

We need a Union of Taxidermist. Set prices, etc....?

This response submitted by Mr. KIM on 01/26/2004. ( )

It seems that taxidermist always have to justify themselves one way or another. WHY? We charge $400.00 for a full shoulder deer head mount. What is wrong with that? The deer look like a deer and the anatomy, etc., is correct. It was not blessed by GOD or some religious person to make it any better. But some people think and promote that their "stuff" is sooooo much better! Bull$h*t!

There are too many "wannabe taxidermist! Period. If you can't run a business and charge a fair market value, you, in the long run will be the loser.--as well as everyone else. It may take several years but the entire industry will suffer because of the misfits of the HOBBYHACKSDERMIST.

What we REALLY need is a "taxidermy Union." We, the professionals that truly make a living at this endeavor, can than set a minimum price and then the customer can choose by quality as the set price will be a lot higher than the laughable $160.00 boys. The bad thing is that whenever there is a "union" or anything close to it, The FEDS will get involved to regulate it and then we got more problems than what we started out with. So we lose again. I guess a monopoly is not very good but in some respects it could be tolerable for a while!

I will donate the first $500.00 to help get this idea going. Yea I know, some of you think it sucks but, at least I am willing to put my money where my proverbial mouth is!

Like I said, we charge $400.00. Pay the price or take your cheap, Walmart shopping, third world freeloading, government sponsored attitude down the road to someone that will work for FREE because "they owe YOU something."

There, I said it. And now I feel better.

Thank you and good night!


The taxidermist

This response submitted by Chuck on 01/26/2004. ( )

The taxidermist I was talking about, Does about 80 deer, plus about 8 full size black bear( one of which is mine), a few rugs, several strutting turkeys a few fox and coyotes, several squirrels and pheasants. He does this in his spare time. If he quit his job he could do alot more. He is always turning people away because of not having enough time. He usually takes a few hunting trips a year. He went to Alaska earlier this year and got a grizzly and a caribou. According to him, taxidermy is very profitable. He is pretty reasonable and does really good work.

80 deer "in his spare time"?

This response submitted by marty on 01/26/2004. ( )

'nuff said....

I have to

This response submitted by Wally on 01/26/2004. ( )

Ok see if this is true..People will change a dentist ,Dr or thier accountant BEFORE they will change taxidermist's..If you doo good quality work without makeing them wait forever they wont go away..

just wondering

This response submitted by John R on 01/26/2004. ( )

chuck..what does this friend do "job" wise..he must have a lot of spare time to do all that and take hunting trips to boot..he must work 80 hour weeks..I for one have a family that i would like to spend time with

you got to be kidding me!

This response submitted by migda's taxidermy on 01/26/2004. ( )

Why get worked up over other guys and there prices? If you do nice work and do this for a living you probably, or should have, enough to keep you busy anyway. Also i like the one about the eighty heads in his "spare-time" LOL

Afternoon Shift

This response submitted by Chuck on 01/26/2004. ( )

He works from 300pm till 200am. He works 4 days aweek. Works on animals until about 1 or 2 then goes to work. He gets 5 or 6 weeks of vacation. Takes voluntary lay-offs when they are offered. He calls off alot too. ( Union job) He usually does a deer a day on days he works and 3 0r 4 when he's off. He sends his capes out to be tanned, by the way. I really don't care if you believe it or not. If you think there is no money in taxidermy, why do you do it?

Other professions will take a hit too.

This response submitted by Jerry C on 01/26/2004. ( )

I had 2 favorite sporting goods shops in town that I used to frequent. I didn't mind paying the extra because I got good quality and good service. I could also spend time discussing past hunts, etc. with the owner and other customers. Then Walmart came to town and within 2 years the stores closed, due to lack of volume business. I'm a staunch Republican, but just wait till Bush brings in the wetbacks who will work 14 hours a day for peanuts. They will be like "The Pride of Chucky."


This response submitted by Aaron Honeycutt on 01/27/2004. ( )

Every time this comes up on this site it gets lots of response. Pricing is an issue we all have a take on. Like most everyone I used to work hard for very little money in taxidermy. I justified it as my "spare time" and something I enjoyed so it was ok that I didn't charge much for the work. When I went to full time I raised my prices a little and my business increased, and I wondered what happened to that spare time. Eventuially I came to see that I was paying my bills for the shop but not much more. I have increased my deer prices every year and finaly I think I am paid for my time. Some of my old customers no longer come in, having switched to those who charge like I used to and that's fine with me. I think there's a place for all levels of experience in this business so there can be a range of prices. The thing is not to put yourself into a lower price just because somebody down the road mounts a deer for $200. Let him mount for the folks that are happy with a $200 job and you work for those who appreciate a quality job. More and more hunters and fisherpeople are learning the difference between good work and a mess. Once a customer gets a good mount he's not likely to return to the "bargindermist" just to save a bit of cash. I don't worry much about the new folks setting up business, it takes most people several years to learn enough to be a threat and by then hopefully they will learn that you can't stay in business charging $200 for a deerhead. Best plan seems to be to do a quality job and set your price where you can live. If we can't make a decent income at taxidermy we would be better off working at a grocery store and getting in some hunting and fishing time. Just my thoughts, Aaron H.

I have to laugh at these posts

This response submitted by Bill Yox on 01/27/2004. ( )

Go compare them apples to oranges. Its always the same old stuff. Number one, Chuck didnt say hunters, like he and his friend for example, cant AFFORD the price. Hes saying they cant see a difference in the mount, and therefore, cant JUSTIFY the cost. Theres a big difference there, guys. Hes typical of most hunters in any area, really. They dont care about earbutts, location, details like that. So why pay for it? Theres plenty of taxidermists around me who do decent commercial work, and they all jockey for that client, and keep their prices competitive to egt the work. Thats ok. Thats the majority. Theyre there because theres a supporting clientele for it.

Then theres clientele for all the levels above and below that. We all stay busy. I dont get pissed because a guy drives a nice truck but "cheaps out" on a deer head. I get mad if he comes to me and tries to chew my price down, thats different. He knows where his bargain is, thats all thats fair in business. Im ok with that. Im also very busy. It works!

The other thing I have to laugh at? How guys claim their taxidermist makes so much money. I know many do. But some of the examples, like above...he goes on those hunts because taxidermy is still profitable even though hes real reasonable. Then they mention his other full time job. HELLO! Its bankrolling taxidermy. Taxidermy can support many people in many areas, if they do it right. Thats second income and working wife doesnt hurt!

Easlily misinterpreted

This response submitted by justin on 01/27/2004. ( post )

I,ve been reading along hear enjoying everything that's said, and at the same time trying to figure were I fit in. I have wanted to do taxidermy since I was a kid. Never had time or money to get started. Last year my buddy and me each got nice bucks and decided to have them mounted. As far as the industry being flooded, I drove ninty-three miles to drop my deer off. I paid $350. and got back a nice deer.(Good nose work, Great eyes, ears are scary real). My buddy went the local route(25 miles), paid $325, and got back the biggest piece of crap I've ever seen. When I confronted this guy he tried to tell me about hair slippage, shrinking, ect. I have only mounted two deer so far and my very first one looked ten times better than this guys. I guys what I'm saying is that whith all the talk about getting a good price for quality work, someone made this guy belive he was worth it. I don't believe a full time artist should spend a lot lot of his valuble time doing show mounts, but I do think every one needs to be critiqued by other txidermist. If not, we run the risk of joe public thinking becouse this guy charges more, he MUST be good.
Now I don't no what to charge.

I don't worry about my competition...

This response submitted by Bill K. on 01/27/2004. ( )

... but they seem to worry about me a lot. One in particular is obsessed with it. How many deer did you get in this year? How much are you charging now?

I have only recently discovered the I have NO competition at all. Apparently, I'm the competition!

Charge what you want to make what you need and if that doesn't work.... charge what need to make what you want.

There really isn't much point about worrying about the guy down the street. If you feel he is taking away that much of your business that you cant survive then it's probably because he's better, cheaper or faster than you. Or it could just be that he is in a better location. Most people have a much better business location than me but on the other hand most of them don't get to hunt from their back porch while eating dinner (life's little trade offs).

If your goal is to make lots and lots of money.... it can be done, but there are many other lines of business that offer a better profit potential.

I have a moderate sized business and I like it that way. I don't see the point of competing for every bit of business that's within driving range. I don't like to look over my shoulder and wonder was that my life that just went by.

Bill K.

A required course in BUSINESS? Might be nice!

This response submitted by Mr. KIM on 01/27/2004. ( )

Like I have stated before, there should be a required college level business course of at least 4 semester credit hours before anyone could open a business and then most BUSINESS QUESTIONS, such as how much, how and why would be figured out by the newbee.

And a good dose of reality would set in BEFORE all the fuss and muss given to everyone else that have been there and done that!

But then, no matter what is said, someone will gripe about it and poo-poo the benifits.....

Mr. Kim.

I LOVE your comment Chuck....

This response submitted by marty on 01/27/2004. ( )

...about UNIONS! That's funny (and SO appropriate)!

Business coarse is a good idea...

This response submitted by Bill K. on 01/27/2004. ( )

But NOT requiring it is what AMERICA is all about. That Dave guy from Wendy's never even finished high school. Not exactly the best advice that I would offer to someone but it worked for him. He's worth a fortune! But he's dead now, so I guess it doesn't matter much any more.

Even though I have 7 years of college under my belt (including business), I learned the most important things in kindergarten.... right from wrong and knowing when to be satisfied.

Maximizing my profits is a never-ending road that tends to interfere with my life. I choose to be content with my profits and that way I can afford more time to do what I enjoy like playing on the Internet on a Tuesday afternoon without worrying about how much more money I could be making.

To each his own. Ain't America cool.......

Bill K.

Good Post Bill

This response submitted by Mr. KIM on 01/27/2004. ( )

Bill K,

You have learned the "good lesson." That is, the "important" things in life. This is one lesson that comes from Wisdom. And wisdom in it's self, says a lot.

Yes, America IS cool! At least right now, before it gets worse by the future events fortold long ago.............


<><>HEY CHUCK<><>

This response submitted by EARL on 01/27/2004. ( ANT / TAX )

Can we see some pictures of that 160.00 deer head ?

Bill, you were working towards....

This response submitted by marty on 01/27/2004. ( )

...your Masters right? Or did you "redshirt" your first three years? (lol!)

If you must know Marty

This response submitted by Bill K. on 01/28/2004. ( )

Business, Physiology, Mechanical drafting, and Biology. And I still couldn't figure out what I want to do with my life! It was a toss up between Pharmaceuticals or Thermodynamic Engineering. So I decided on Taxidermy. It was the obvious choice.

Life happened.

Bill K.

Like me Bill....

This response submitted by marty on 01/28/2004. ( )

...still trying to figure out what WE want to be WHEN WE GROW UP!

$160 Deer head

This response submitted by Chuck on 01/28/2004. ( )

I don't know enough about computers or how to put a picture on here. I still type with one finger. LOL I'm from Pennsylvania, so is my taxidermist. Pennsylvania isn't the easiest place to get your taxidermy license. Here you have to have your work judged before you get licensed. I know you think that deer must look like crap but it actually looks really good. I have 8 deer heads here on my walls. My buddy has 7. They were done by 4 different taxidermist over the years. The $160 looks just as good as the $400 mounts. If I could show a picture of that deer it would suprise you. By the way, my taxidermist charges $265 this year. If I were him I'd charge $400, like the rest of you guys. I hope he doesn't do that. I'm pleased with his work and that's really what matters anyway.

Do it for the pleasure

This response submitted by Dean M on 01/31/2004. ( )

I have been doing taxidermy for some time now as a hobby and i don't charge the high prices. This year I charged $200.00 for a shoulder mount. For me it's not about the money and i'm not in it for the money. i'm in it to please my customers and myself. I get the enjoyment out of seeing a good quality mount come together and seeing a very happy customer. Quality does matter but it doesn't have to cost $400.00 I know that I don't do nearly the business that most of you do. But to me it's not a business it's just a hobby and i feel that my mounts are just as good of quality as some of these other $400.00 mounts. I am a full time paramedic for a ems service and find the time to do this on the side as a hobby. the bottom line is that not all the cheaper mounts have to be crap it's just who takes pride in the work that they do.

Bill, I'm beginning to like you

This response submitted by George on 01/31/2004. ( )

Those were great postings. But Mr. Kim, do you know what you'd get if you required college level courses for taxidermists? SCHOOL TEACHERS! P.T. Barnum had a slogan that worked wonders in business, but they wouldn't teach that there. And borrowing from W.C. Fields, if they made a college course mandatory for taxidermists, "I'd rather be in Philadelphia."

Your right George! TOO much to ask..............

This response submitted by Mr. KIM on 02/01/2004. ( )

Asking "professionals" to be a "cut above" from the rest of the crowd is asking too much, I guess! As with everything, we can take it or leave it.

It depends if a person wants to better themself or not, huh? You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him/her drink.

Sort of like "casting our pearls before swine"...........

Return to The Taxidermy Industry Category Menu