I have yet to take a deer in this year! This is only my second year in business, so my name has not been out there long, but damn I have put out about a thousand cards and price lists at all the check stations and butcher shops around the area. I thought I would have taken in at least a couple heads by now. Our firearms season doesn't start for another couple weeks yet. Right now all that is open is bow season. I have a big pain in the ass down the road. His prices are low and his work is crap. It seems like people around here do not care about what kind of work someone does, just what they charge! I do not know what else to do.
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I did not get a single head in during archery season. This week muzzleloader is in and I got ONE head, and that was from a close friend. Gun season comes in this weekend, and I sure hope things pick up from there. But all my deer were rifle kills last year (and I got in around a dozen). I've had three people call in the last few days asking for my price, and just say thanks when I tell them. Maybe they're just calling for a price and dont have a deer yet, not sure. My price is $350 which is completely average for this area. I want to see some deer come in!
Our gun season opens tomorrow and with a whole lot of luck, I hope not to get over 10 or 12. I already have enough to keep me busy for the next year anyway and I'm in terminal burnout. Don't wish for things that speed up that process.
I'm not in the burnout stage, but when I wake up in the mornings, my wallet yell's GO! And my body says, no!
I want to get my business established! I know you need to do good work and so on, but if you do not get anything to work on how the hell do you do good work?
i am glad to hear i aint the only one that deals with that. Luckily though i have one bow kill, one youth season kill, an early muzzleloader and a mount to refurbish, but before they came in i was worrying to death i wouldn't get one! As it is now i would be satisfied with no more, but like you guys say, gun season is when it gets started. And that dont start around here til december, and most of the time they don't even think of the taxidermists til they are done hunting, cause they party hunt around here, and go until everyones tag if filled.
i have only 3 jobs so far, 2 of them are 160" class racks, but I know that I have a dozen of my own in the freezer to mount up for the show room. Monday next is when the phone will ring in our state. I want my business to fly also, but I know that I need to upgrade my show room constantly, I am still in the continuious improvement stage. So if I get some jobs in , good! I still work for the man to pay the real bills so when I get ready, I will promote heavy. This is still part time for me. Not worried.
George on this, I hope I don't get more than 10 a day during our season. It takes time to build it up but if you stuff'em good, they will come.
It takes time. You've got to get your name out there on more than a card. Building a rep. is something only your work can do for you. And do be careful of the rep. you establish for yourself. Your past work can really haunt you in a trade like this. We only get one buck a year(all seasons) here in Indiana and gun season doesn't start till Saturday. As a result, I've only taken in a few deer so far but I'm enjoying the calm before the storm! Take time to do some extra hunting while you can. It's a luxury you won't see much of in the future. Peace- Jeff F.
Since I opened last year. I take in an animal a week it seams. I have so much work now I am to busy. Bow season brought a bear two deer and a coyote the first week of the season. I charge quite a bit more then anyone in my area with in 30 miles of me. There are people that want quality mounts. When they figure out that thats what your offering they will come. Oh yeah I took in two squirels and today I am waiting for a coon thats on its way in. I do top quality work or it don't leave my shop. Be stern on your pricing don't drop your prices to get work. I got a deer the other day from a guy who was brought in by another customer of mine. We were talking and the guy said you know I would have went somewere else if it weren't for my buddy. He says how come you charge so much for a deer mount 400$. I was working on a deer that came in prior to his and I went over the entire mount with him explaining every detail when I was done he said you don't charge enough lol. These are the things you should do with some of your customers let them look at your work even at a mount that your working on once the word gets out you will be busy. Good luck to you.
Depending on where you're at and how many different "Yellow Pages" are out there in your area, it's tough to beat the advertisement bang for the buck with Yellow Pages. At least when you're first establishing your business. And if you're starting out with very little backlog, you should be able to offer a quicker turnaround time than your competition. (Perhaps you can emphasize this in your advertisements?)
All i can say is dont worry to the part-timers. This will be my third season part-time and have only taken in 5 shoulder mounts so far. Bow and muzzle kills. Tomorrow opens gun season and thats when the biz will really pick up. I have close to 20 part-time/full time guys within a 40 minute radius of me. Do QUALITY work and get them out in a timely fashion. Go up on prices as your quality improves. I know the importance of that even at part-time. My second season last year took in 25 shoulder mounts. Trust in the rifle season, they will come. LOL
If you are doing good work and advertising word of mouth will eventually find you busy. If it makes Amy or Tom feel better back when I was doing deer (I specialize in fish now) bow season was jut a tricle with hardly a real trophy brought in. However when gun season came in all hell broke loose.
Tom and Amy if your work is good and you treat your customers right your work load will snowball in time. Be patient. I've heard it can take at least 5 years to build a good customer base.
Regardiing Yellow Pages it make work for some, but it's been a waste of money for me. The charges are outrageous in my area, and we have five phone books! Can't say I've picked up more than a half a dozen customers via yellow pages but tons by word of mouth.
The Yellow Pages is the biggest total waste of money I've ever spent, and trust me, I waste a lot of money. The ONLY thing the Yellow Pages ever gets me is drunks at 3 a.m. looking for TAXIcabs. I've asked for my phone number to be eliminated form them completely, but unless I catch them early, their stupid computer prints my name out automatically since I have a business phone which includes a single line ad.
... on your location, years in the business and how many books are in your area. Being relatively new to the business myself, I would say at least 80% of my business comes from Yellow Pages. And my business has doubled this year due to increasing my advertising areas. Ain't gonna get much busier than that with ANY other form of advertising around here in my opinion.
In my area I have a LOT of people within 30 miles of my place. Probably 5-6 million people. A LOT of people simply call me because I am close - many do not even check others for prices.
So as I said, a lot depends on your situation. Starting out though, I'd have to say what other form of advertising is going to give as much exposure as the Yellow Pages? Giving out business cards may help but it ain't gonna come anywhwere close to the exposure you will get in the Yellow Pages.
George - how long you been in business?
Cecil, we all know you've been in the business forever.
As George mentioned, it doesn't cost anything for a basic ad! If you set up a business phone thru your phone company I believe you automatically get into the Yellow Pages.
George - working til 3 am huh? You MUST be busy - LOL!
Sorry guys - for somebody starting out the Yellow Pages should be a no-brainer. I'd have to disagree 100% with you guys on this one. Perhaps you older guys have forgotten what it's like starting out? There ain't no other advertising out there that'll get you the exposure to so many people so quickly - NO MATTER WHAT AREA...
Different strokes for different folks. Markets are different as are locations.
You hit one of my pet peeves! Here goes! The increased rate called "a business line" just because I am a business burns me up! It's a bunch of caca! Ever notice how the gravy wagon pulls up when they know you're a business? Why should they charge you more because you're a business? "Oh, I was told, "because you are using the phone more." Come again? If I am using the phone more aren't they making more money anyway? Give me a break! Fortunately at my present location my phone company is so local it does not go out of my home town, and I don't have to worry about being FORCED to pay the business rate. Their phone book is only for the small town so it would also be silly to pay the business rate just to have one line in their phone book.
George, I still remember the first two calls I got when I advertised in the yellow pages for the first time at a different location:
"Do you do bats?" and "What do you charge to mount a carp?" It also seemed the yellow pager skimmers were price shoppers, but those that did not use the yellow pages only called to want to know if I was going to be at the shop at a certin time -- not "how much do you charge?" When I would say,"don't you want to know what I charge?" they would say that didn't matter. They had seen my work and they wanted me to do the fish.
I do have an ace my sleeve that is much more effective than the yellow pages. I have fish mounts hanging in just about every bait stored within 50 miles, and do fish for two other taxidermists at my full price. NO WHOLESALE! Also, some of those bait stores take in fish for me for a 10 percent commission. Needless to say I fantasize about getting caught up and taking some time off, but it never happens although I did sub school last year because I didn't know what was going to happen with the economy. Turns out I should have stayed home and got the taxidermy work done.
Don't forget a large professional sign in front of your place is some of the best advertisement you can get. I live on a busy state highway, and at first I was suprised that not many seemed to have come to me because of the sign. Most were repeat customers and from word of mouth. But now it has snowballed. The sign has brought in lots of new folks, although I was so busy in the past, I hestitated on putting it up. In fact, the real reason I put it up in the first place was to make it easier to find my place for those who has never been here before. LOL
Be patient Tom and Amy. But be careful what you ask for. Hopefully taxidermy won't get to be "golden handcuffs" for you. (Thanks for that term Todd B.) That is, it pays the bills well and you're busy, but it seems you're stuck in it even if you're burned out. Looks like George can relate.
...you're NOT deducting your home phone as a business expense then eh? (lol).
Dude, you have got to be kidding! My business phone base hook up is about $19 bucks a month. I do not call out on the phone, I just use it for incoming calls. It originally was a second line hook up in my home. And that ran about $16 a month for the base hook-up. Wow, $3 bucks a month extra!
In the words of Joe Willy Namath, I GUARANTEE I've takin in plenty of extra work from having that business number listed in the Yellow Pages (free ad when first starting out) that EASILY paid that extra $36 bucks a year MORE I was paying for the "business line". Easily.
Let me quantify my original statement. If you are new to the business AND you have a fairly significant amount of people in your general area (eg. you don't live in the middle of bumbly fudge North Dakota) then 90% of the time the Yellow Pages are going to reach far more potential customers than any other advertising. Far more. (What other form of advertising even comes close to the numbers the Yellow Pages offer? None...) If the response is poor, then you're doing something else wrong (quality, prices, etc., etc., etc.)
I don't get very many price shoppers or non-fish Q's at all. I believe having my website also listed in the Yellow Pages alleviates this as the people can go there and eliminate me for "bats" and cheapo prices.
I'll drop this issue as we obviously are on opposite ends of the spectrum with this one. But I will toss in one more question! What other form of advertisement is going to come close to the exposure you can get from the Yellow Pages?
before I built my present home it was at least $30.00 per month extra and I had to have a separate line which was an additional cost. And although you get good deals on first time ads in the yellow pages, we're talking close to a grand for an average size ad last I checked. On top of that I have 5 phone books in the area remember? That can ad up. Since I have all the business I want why should I spend the money?
What other form of adverstisement is coming close to the yellow pages? How about my actual work hanging in four counties? I think that beats the yellow pages hands down.
BTW my website is free and my web does the posting work, but I wouldn't even think of posting prices.
...you've taken the time to build the business for how many years? Remember, we're talking beginners here.
Also, I increased my measly little three line ad to a 1" deal this year in my immediate area/Yellow Pages and I honestly have not seen a difference. I'm not real sure spending a lot of money on a BIG, colorful ad is worth it in this business. On the otherhand, by expanding small ads to surrounding areas' phonebooks I increased my numbers considerably this year.
5 phonebooks - yeah that's not worth it. We have two main ones around me and the original - SBC Yellow Pages are used by far more people than the other one.
You're very lucky to be able to have your stuff in that many shops. I don't know anybody else that has that luxury. I suspect this too took several years to get in all 4 shops?
Think about what a newbie is trying to attract. Newbies are looking mostly for 1st time customers. Because they're going to have a tough time pulling previous customers from their competition. And they're going to have a tough time getting in a tackle shop (trust me, I've tried). Also think about the fact that 52% of ALL Americans fish or have fished (America's most popular sport btw) So you've got ~ 1/2 of the population as potential customers. For me, in my advertising ring (that costs me $40 bucks a month) I have the potential to reach about 175,000 potential customers.
It's a moot point in your scenario Cecil because you're not a beginner and you have all the business you need. But playing the devils advocate here, I'd still argue with that last statement you made. Between those 4 shops you've probably got MAYBE 10-15 thousand potential customers annually. And then maybe another 5-10 thousand referrals from the folks that frequent those shops to their friends. So, if you have less than 30 or 40 thousand people in those 4 counties then I'd say you are correct - you would get more exposure from those shops than you would the Yellow Pages.
Fyi, I did forget - it did initially run me $160 to have the additional line put in. But now I'm wondering - do you have all your business calls coming into your one and only home phone? Or do you have a second "home phone" for business usage?
My website is free too. And I DO have my prices on my site. Curious, why "wouldn't you think of posting your prices"? Your regulars already know them. And the bulk of the newcomers are going to get sticker shock and they'll be wasting your time. Why not post your prices?
Alright, I apologize - I guess I couldn't "deop it" lol!
I hesitated about getting my business line hooked up but an operator told me it was an FCC violation to perform business on a residential line. Having a business line is the only way you hit the list for all local phone books around here also. It also sets you up for the BS telemarket calls too since you can't block a business line! Being reletively new to the biz, I'll take the pros over the cons for my $37 a month. Peace- Jeff F.
I blocked my business phone via the Do not call registry and I have had very, very few telemarketers since then...