I "friend" of mine who had hunted for years and never cared to have anything mounted, suddenly wanted to have everything mounted once we became friends. I didn't catch on at first. It kind of crept up on me. Since I considered him a "good friend" I cut him a lot of slack on the $$$ and would get his stuff back to him quite quickly. Soon I found him questioning why I was taking so long, after I would have his trophy in my freezer for only 3 months. Then he started questioning why he was being charged X amount since a mannikin only cost $35.00! He did help me a couple of times fixing my boat, but nothing in comparison to all the mounts I have done for him so far. The work he put in would not even equal the work I put in on just one of his mounts. Just the other day He wanted to bring me yet another critter to mount. A pronghorn. When I told him that he would have to hang on for a while because I had a customer's lifesize deer and a buffalo head to do first, he seemed a bit displeased! It's a very uncomfortable feeling and I know I need to put a stop to it for sure. I hate having to tell someone how they have been privelaged with what they recieved, but people just ought to know that for themselves. Call me sucker. I should have never started with the big discounts to begin with. No more!
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I mounted a deer for a friend and gave him a cut rate deal, because he was a friend and I thought he would put out some good words about me at some of the bow shoots,
but it backfired, his brother killed a deer in muzzleloader season and the mount went to the compititon.
Even thow this friend complaned repeatedly about how long this taxidermist took to do a hog mount (3yrs) and sweared he would never take anything back to this guy again.
It dont pay to give anyone a deal on mounts.
They dont really appreciate it and they will cut your throat whenever they get the chance. This "friend" even had the gall to whine to me , after he learned that I was sending out mounts on a regular basis. that it would be at least a couple of years before his brother would get his mount back.
DID THE LIGHT COME ON? You have started a good post, I hope you read it yourself. This is why so many people say they can't make it in taxidermy. To many people, such as you two above, approach it as a novelty, and just want to be patted on the back, and placed upon the stump.
Soon reality sets in, and you realize, that this is work, it is a job, and you did not approach it as such. A true friend, would want you to be successful, he would be willing to pay a fair and just price, because he would have to pay it to some other taxidermist,and would understand the time involved.
You need to learn, to practice taxidermy from the business stand point, not the heart. You are taking time away from your life, your families life, and from your job. You should look at it as if you were working overtime from you real job, and charge accordingly. If your friends do not want to pay that, then do not do it for them.
Find people who are willing to pay , or spend that time with your family, and keep the quality of your life where it should be, not posting on here how you are now getting the shaft.
This is a good topic, and you need to help other beginners in here, see the light.
Thank you for sharing your examples, you are not alone, but some are to embarrassed to put it in print.
Its amazing how many friends you accumilate in this business, we are friends, give me a deal. Show me how to do this, we are friends.
When I started up my taxidermy business I suddenly had friends coming out of the woodwork and of course they all wanted discounts but I am so glad that they man I learned taxidermy from had the good sense to warn me about this problem. it even got to the point where people that my husband works with started telling him to make me give them a discount. He would tell them a saying that he has heard me say at least a million times, Sorry but when it comes to my taxidermy business I have no friends. This stands true for my family also I have 3 nephews and 1 niece that all hunt so after some thought about how I would handle their mounts I came up with this idea and so far I have stuck with it and they know I will not change my mind. I told them that the first thing I mounted for them they would have to pay for all the supplies that I used and my labor would be free but after that they all become regular paying customers...Lisa
Well sorry to hear that..I too know the feeling but it was in waterfowl hunting..I would have cars in the yard everyday of the season,BUT once the season ended ya never got a invite or a offer to go fishing ...SO my final year of guide'n I told them all just days before the early goose season its $75 a day..They all whinned and snivled but they paid it..considering I would turn down clients at $265 per gun to take my friends..So dont feel bad I was a bigger fool.
Now I have learned there is a huge difference in friends and aquaintence's ..Once ya learn that you 'll be better off,,,
I totally understand the reasons for charging full price to all. It just makes good business sense.
However, if someone is just getting started, would you suggest giving a break to folks the first year? Then charge full price the next year?
Since I am new, I doubt my work will be up to par with the folks that have been doing it for years....until I get more experience.
Is this a stupid idea? If so, what would you suggest a good way to handle this?
I figure actually getting the work to learn on, (even at a discounted price)is better than charging full price and not getting anything. Am I wrong? Thanks
First this for Hughes...you dont know me from Adam, yet you just told me, through the forums, in your own words, how you felt about this situation. Why dont you tell this friend the same way you told me, and the rest of us reading this in these forums? Between you not telling him, and his taking advantage of your kindness, maybe its time to reassess that "good friend" status! Youre on the right track, so just tell him! Youll gain your dignity even if you loose a friend.
To MCP...I chuckle at the low price for beginners angle. Yes, we all have done the discounted beginner work, I know. BUT, the difference is this. Doing stuff at cost for people who would otherwise not have mounted it at all. If they come to you wanting it mounted, charge them what its worth. Look at it this way. From a business point of view, you actually have MORE time into that mount, you ought to charge MORE! See what I mean? If you want to encourage an otherwise non-sale go ahead and make it more attractive. If they want it mounted, and by you, charge them the going rate so you can perform the going job.
Hughes, what has changed since that first mount you did for him? Has he changed or have you changed? Sounds like you have. Why not tell him that? Explain to him that you 'gave him a break' early on but things have changed (only you know hwat has changed and can fill in the blank - just be straight with him, even if it is that you were learning when you mounted his 1st piece - obviously he liked your work as he keeps coming back).
Once you explain it to him if he has an issue then it is truly his problem, at least you'll be able to sleep better. Good luck and hopefully you can save your friendship but not have to 'work so hard' to maintain it.
Praise the LORD! There are other taxidermists that feel as I do! Oh, thank you! I thought that I was always the "softie" that gives people a break depending on the circumstance. I'm not as mean as I talk unless I am forced into a corner and then the demons shall be released!
This is why I have always said that the customer needs to "mind their own respective business" and allow the professional to do the work and call him/her WHEN the mount is done. Anything else, I always tell them WE offer instruction and classes and hand them a brochure.
Gimmie gimmie GIMMIE! FREE FREE FREE. HURRY RUSH HURRY. DISCOUNT DISCOUNT DONATE ARE WE FRIENDS? FRIENDS?
I don't have any friends when it comes to MOST things.
I think it was George Roof (Although it could have been JOhn C. or Bill Yox) that said it best..."I make a living off of my friends. My enemys take thier stuff to my competition"
I don't do it. Everyone pays the same. If they can find it cheaper down the road, then, SEE YAA..
I have a group of my ten Best friends. One is a Mechanic, one is a carpenter, owns a sporting goods store, One sells Insurance And so on. My mechanic friend does all may mechanical work, May carpenter friend does all the building I require. Same with the others. I bring my work to them because they are my friends. I feel that if I need to have it done, I may as well pay a friend as opposed to a stranger. Oh sure I realize I could buy that API tree stand a few bucks cheeper by going to a national chain, than from my friends store. But at least I know who is making the profit of my money. I never ask them for a discount. I figure that's what friends are for. I try to be a good one. When My friends need taxidermy work done They bring it to me. They do not try to chisel me. They know my feelings on the matter. Friendship runs both ways. It is not my responsibility to be the good friend on both ends. The money you pay me. is the same money I will spend in your establishment. I am in business to make a living. I will however do my level best to pay extra attention to detail for my friends. The beauty of it is when the refer me to others. They tell them. I will not give a discount. But they will find no better work. No One that has been refered by my friends has ever asked for a discount.
I have friends as well and I charge them the same price as everyone else. They put down a deposit like everyone else. They go the back of the line like everyone else too. If they want something special I might consider a little extra work. If they want it done yeasterday or they have to keep calling me. I tell them that they can pick up there stuff and take it elsewhere or I am gonna charge them more for taking up my time.
They know that because they are my friend that I will take careful consideration of their trophy. Not that other taxidermists wouldn't do the same.
They just feel more comfortable.
ive had the same experiences as everyone else then the proverbial light came on why are you feeling sorry for these guys who are out hunting fishing enjoying the great outdoors, then they harvest all of these trophies come to your shop where you have LIVED for the past several months and want you to help them out with a discount i have NEVER met anyone who had to have a deer or fish mounted it is a luxury item charge for it if you dont look out for yourself no one is going to do it for you
Thats a good saying, but I didnt say it. Probably George, he has all the good ones!
I probably should not even respond to this one , but I am. And hopefully my husband will read it. I have the friction of my own damn husband in the shop. "I" was the original taxidermist, I taught Jeff the basics and he now even shows me a thing or two that I could improve on. I can accept that and do so open mindedly, although sometimes it hurts...lol. But to get back to point A, Jeff thinks certain people should get discounts and I don't. So what happens? My own husband mounts them for a discount, and I don't "get" the work. Think about that one. It works yet it doesn't work does it? Now this is only for his brother and cousin, oh yeah and dad, but it still pee's me off royally. Because you know what? If I worked at Target, I sure as hell ain't going to say I'll give them 8-24 hours of free labor because of some family connection. I cannot make him understand this. He turns around and makes it sound like I am being selfish. This is my job, my time, my time away from family, my income FOR the family. I don't have a time clock to punch into, but if I did, it'd cost more than what my price list quotes. Savvy? How do I knock some sense into him? He is acutally going against me, in my own business. Jeff, I hope you read this, then consider ways on how to kill me kindly yet beneficially to OUR buisness!
Other than that? Damn, we rock as a couple!
But, at least when he is mounting animals in "YOUR" shop, he is spending time with you. Your children are reasonably grown up if I remember, so they probably don't want to hang around with mom anyway. Isn't quality time spent mounting with your husband good fun - and doing taxidermy is probably almost as fun.
When you say something about the 'freebie' work (i.e.: discounts), does he give you the line, "Ok. Fine. If you don't like the way I do it, you can just do it yourself." ? Sounds like your situation is very similar to mine. Even about the rocks part. Except I don't think you meant as in throwing them at each other....
I am glad that my famialy bring the work to me.They are a primo source of advertisment and I would always take the time to do anything for famialy..I dont look to make a dime of any memeber of my wifes side..BUT then again I surely apreciate the 8 truck loads of caramel apples they took the time out to pick up and delievery to my bait sites for me...The new 4 wheeler they brought up to the lake for me to use all season to hunt and trap with..The smiles and gestures of kindness the whole year are nice also..As for kin "do unto others" ..I am almost right with ya on discounts to cetain people We offerd a guide's discount,,they send us 10 payed client's we do a free mount for em..Sure is nice this fall ..MR UPS brought us many properly maked and tagged waterfowl..4 geese and 15 ducks from 1 Guide..We have 15 reps getting us work before it even leaves the feild!
Leanna I am in the same situation as you are.Ive found that if I make the time to go the extra mile its worth the peace and quiet.It might be me but I hate friction....
Bill, thank you for the advice. I am brand new and just getting started, actually haven't mounted anything yet. Just looking towards the future, and wondering how to approach what I know will come. Maybe I'll just jack my price up $50, then give them a $50 discount, lol ;)
Yes I guess the people we give the discounts to in turn do us wonders of help. Thanks for making me think of that part of it. PA, thanks. And Vicki, check your email!
My eyes are open.