this is a warning to every taxidermist. Two years ago a client brings me two whitetails for shoulder mounts. I had to hound him to give me a deposit $100.00 is all i got from him. I mounted the first one in four months. It sat in my shop for eight months. I tryed to get him to pay for it a dozen times but he always had a excuse to why he couldnt pay for it. he then said he would pay me for booth of them when the second one was finished.So like a "jackass "to make some room i let him have the first deer without paying the balance,.I got the second one done and guess what? He did not pay me for either deer so after four months i called him to ask him if he was ever going to pay me .and he said no and hung up the phone on me.So the deer sat in my shop for another four months. So after 8 months I sold the second deer to try to recoup some of the money owed. But I took a big loss on it.He then shows up ten months latter wanting the second deer I told him I sold it because he did not pay me for it and asked him to pay me for the first one. he then said he would come back and pay me.But then he takes me to court and trys to sue me for $3000.00 He tells the judge the second deer was his ten year olds sons first deer and i never called him to let him know it was done. He laid out this huge sob story and lied so bad all I could do was look at him in shock. I didn't think anybody could lie under oath so badly. He maid me look like this evil monster that sold his sons deer. I told the judge i let him take the first deer home and never got paid for it. and that i had called him when the second deer was done and gave him 8 months to pick it up. I even pointed it out that i normally only give 30 days or the mount is sold. I normally would send a certified letter. But when I talked to him on the phone and he said he would never pick up the deer and then hung up on me I thought it was a lesson learned and I got burned. Boy was I .I thought the phone call that I had made to him was enough but since i did'nt send him a certified letter and the huge sob story that he laid on the judge and all lying he did. The court then tells me that they will send me there verdict in the mail and I get the verdict a week later and im orderd to pay him yes him $1000.00 and I get nothing for the first deer that I let him take without paying. theres another $275.00 im out . I know im the dumbass who shouldnt have let him have it. So whatever you do make everybody sighn contracts if they dont want to sighn one that should be a red flag and you might not want to deal with those people. get everything in writing .log down every phone call and if you are going to sell their mount due to it not getting picked up make sure you cover your ass and send them a certifed letter! Don't think your custamers are your freinds and let them get away with not sighning a contract dont trust anybody and cover your ass. I wish i did.
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I hope there's a 'Special Place In He!' for people like this...
Your story should go a long way toward making others see the necessity of a contract.
I have a Canada goose in the shop that has been here for 4 years. Being a Migratory game bird, I cannot sell it. The guy paid a 50% deposit. So I am not out a great deal. In the course of conversation with other taxidermists and Hunters that have come in the shop. I have discovered that he has other mounts at other shops he has not picked up. he even took deer to the meat processor and never claimed that.
Last October My Son-in-law left to open his own studio. Sure enough the guy brought him a deer to mount. new in his own shop, he accepted it with only a small deposit. When it was done. the guy came and picked it up. Then stopped payment on the check that he used to pay for it. When My Son-in-law called him. The guy said the job was pure crap. And he would have to sue him if he wanted the money. My son-in law thinks it would be too much hassle for the $225.00 and has written it off as a lesson learned.
But your post got me to thinking. I Have a contract. In it states that storage of $1.50 per day will be charged on any unclaimed mounts. lets see 1519 days storage At $1.50 =$2278.50 plus $130.00 balance due. $2408.50 Maybe I should sue! What ya think?
On my workorder I have a big space available with the heading: Call Record. In there I record every telephone call I make to the client, when it was made, on which phone it was made(the clients cell, home, or work phone), whether I had to leave a message or talk to someone (write down their name). This way you have proof. You can then always later go back look up your telephone bill for that period and voila there it is on an official bill that you did make those phone call. There will be no more dispute after such strong evidence and would expose the customer for what he is: a big fat liar.
NOTHING IS GUARANTEED but..............and to think some people critized me for my earlier posts on WHAT to put on a contract!
This subject has been covered recently. Please remember that business is business! Make those contracts and at least you have a starting point BEFORE you end up in court.
Live and learn.
CONDITION OF ACCEPTANCE***AGREEMENT***TERMS***DEPOSIT
FEES***RUSH & PRIORITY WORK
At least a 50% deposit or more is required on all work. Some work may require the complete cost paid in advance before work will begin. Deposit is Non-refundable. All money in US funds. Balance due in "cash" on completion. --This means NO CHECKS or credit cards. Work left without at least a 50% deposit over five days is forfeited and will be disposed of. After notification of work completion, work not picked up within five days after completion along with monies paid, is forfeited. A $25.00 per day- per mount, storage fee will be charged after the five day grace period until the mount is disposed of and/or sold.
Any balance due and all applicable fees must be paid in full in cash money before finished work is released to customer. The customer agrees to pay any and all attorney fees, and/or civil or criminal litigation costs, other legal costs, fees, fines, collections and/or any other cost or expense associated with customer's work/specimen. Taxidermist and/or company will not be held responsible for theft, fire, flood, vandalism, tanning, hair slippage or any other loss or damage. Since the true condition of customer's goods is not known until all taxidermy services/work is completed, all taxidermy services/work is at the customer's own risk. We will work as fast as we can to process & finish your mount. Customer will be notified when the work is completed. The average completion time is from eight to twelve months. In rare situations up to eighteen months. Extra charge for rush, priority or specific date or time work! 100% extra charge or $500.00 fee (whichever is greater) to accommodate customer request, argument, excessive inquiry, any leading or misleading statement or disinformation, any attempted verbal coercion or manipulation on completion time, any complaint, threat or harassment concerning the completion of, or time required for any mount. A $500.00 fee will be charged for any third party involvement plus other fees and costs as stated above. If this is a "Trade Out", taxidermist and/or company reserves the right to cancel any trade for merchandise and request the equivalent value in CASH money. The decision and discretion of the taxidermist is binding and absolute and shall apply in any situation, in any disagreements or conflicts and for any fee assessment. Prices subject to change or adjustment without notice. Crating, shipping, repair, form modification to fit short capes, and the replacement of skins & capes are extra. No Cash refunds for any reason. Unsatisfactory customer performance may be reported & listed with all credit bureaus, data banks, and collection agencies and additional action (s) may be taken.
I have a list of things and at the end of each sentence the customer must initial that he has read and understands it.
I also have had a lot of customers walk out the door with thier animal and take it to other taxidermist, but since doing so have not been stuck with any mount.
In the future I too will be making up a new contract, including the phone call record.
I know I have learned a lot from this post. and will be changing things!
Since I can not spend the long hard hours bent over a fleshing machine, nor burn the midnight oil working daylight and dark.
I just cannot believe my comtract has missed some very important data!
Note: This form does NOT format correctly on this site. however it is on standard 8.5 X 11. 3 part NCR. Of Course, Our name is on it, etc. And headings are all approiate not the same size, etc......
TAXIDERMY WORK ORDER and Agreement
Permission To Possess and Transport Wildlife
Does this work have a specific or guaranteed finish date or time? Print yes or no________________
Shop ID NO:___________________________
License/Game Tag NO_______________
Number of Antler Points________________________________________
How received? Skinned Not Skinned Not Fleshed or Turned Not Salted Cut Wrong/Short Cape Day or more Old Frozen Freezer Burn Road Kill Damaged Broken/missing parts Rub/Drag Marks Cuts/Nicks/Holes Air Dried/Spots Blood Soaked/Wet/Stained Hair Slip & loose M O C Questionable Skin or Cape See Taxidermist Inspection Report ______________________________________________________________________
Mounting Charge _______________________
BALANCE DUE** _______________________
** Crating & Shipping - other costs & fees are extra--if applicable.
I certify and guarantee that the specimen (s) listed above, were obtained or harvested in a legal and lawful manner and I am authorized by law,license, permit, etc.to bring such specimen(s) to the Taxidermist for mounting and other services. I have read the front and the back of this form and the condition of acceptance. I fully understand and agree with the condition of acceptance .
if you'd like I can send you a copy of my contract/phone record. Email me.
I was able to retreave the deer mount back by going to the guy I sold the second head to by trading him a bigger deer for it .I then had a freind go talk to this idiot and tell him that there is no way im going to pay him $1000.00 when everybody knows he was in the wrong.I was prepared to let him have his sons deer back plus the first one back at no charge if he dropped his case' I get $375.00 for deer mounts so thats $750.00 minus the $100.00 deposit. if this really was about his sons first deer he should jump at this chance.but of course he is way to big of a a------ and he went to the sheriffs and filed a theft report with them saying i have stollen property ''his deer head''so they call the game warden and he comes over but I wasn't home at the time. i will let everybody know what happens when I talk to him. So this idiot thinks I should pay him $1000.00 plus give him the two deer free. I don't think this is about getting his sons deer back but more about trying to get as much as possible free. Ihave been told by several people that he sues everybody he can. If you have pain in the ass custamers do what you can to finish their mounts and do not take more work from them ever again. This job is tough enough and you do not need the headakes . get rid of all the pain in the ass people and you will be much happier in the long run. do work for people who apreciate what you do. Don't be afraid to loose those custamers no money is worth the stress they bring. contracts-contracts -contracts I cant say it enough. I will update this post when I find out how far this A------ wants to take this. Goodluck to everybody out their . Rino Turcoliveri
Lessons in life and BUSINESS can be very strong at times....
Can't guarantee you won't get into court over something, but at least you got one very good chance with a whole lot of protection and understanding with a contract.....Never work without one again!