Richard Christoforo (The God Father- TGF)called last night and he's experiencing the fate most of us have with a smart assed customer. The guy shows up with a McKenzie catalog. He's got the pose he wants, the earliners, the eyes all jotted down and he's DEMANDING to know why he's being charged so much for the work since he already knows how much the supplies cost.
This is the guy who gets thrown out of my shop. It's easy to blame suppliers, but lets be logical here. The suppliers are in business to do business. They advertise in all the outdoor magazines and half of what I know came out of those old Van Dykes catalogs of the 1950's.
BUT, the reason for this post is that it should be a wake up call to all of you. You may think you're being cute, or God forbid this one, "not ripping off my customers", by undercutting your peers or lowballing someone else's prices. IF you are, get ready for these guys with the catalogs.
Every one I get, I tell them to take that catalog, call that toll free number and go ahead and order their supplies. When they get them in, then MOUNT YOUR OWN DEER. I don't play. My time is worth something and I won't be cajoled into such stupidity. I tell a guy he can go to the auto parts store and buy set of brake pads for less than $50, but if he goes to the repair shop he'll have to pay their labor costs. Gasoline only COSTS about 65 cents, but we're all paying nearly $2 a gallon for it, and a pair of blue jeans uses about $8 worth of materials, but show me a pair less than $30 on the rack.
Many of us have warned others for years that taxidermy is, by and large, considered a cottage industry much like yard sales and craft work. Too many of us have never considered our time valuable and now we are going to have to deal with this type business practice. In America, only automobiles and taxidermy include price haggling. Those of you who play that game should consider selling cars instead.
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LMAO, glad to see you are getting your share of the "wannabe informed customers." "What is the best price you can give me?" I was beginning to think that we were the only people getting the kooks and price shoppers. Some "customers" (not clients), sure do bring out the disgust in us taxidermist. Don't they?
The bottom line is: People are paying for our professional services and artistic abilities. Plus, sad to say, we have to tolerate their BULL SH*T in many forms. I have stopped trying to explain WHY this or WHY that. If people want to know (customers) so much about taxidermy, I/we simply hand them our training brochure and pricelist. That kind of takes care of the problem. AND, that is why our contract and agreement covers almost every conceivable problem that we have experienced over the past thirty years.
Anyway, I do KNOW and agree with your feelings on this subject. I wonder if we can go into our local grocery store and fill a shopping cart with food and go thought the checkout line and tell the cashier that we need a fifty percent discount or ask them if we could have this cart of groceries for free this time?
I try to be good to almost everyone but, in reality, most people do not appreciate your (our) gestures of good will and many come to expect a full tummy and cash back on the work that we do for them! After all, they got a supply catalog and "it can't be that difficult." Why do we charge sooooooo much? LMAO!
Have a fine one!
Happens all the time
Just went thru kinda the same thing with a friend last night. He wants a mallard mounted, I quote him $175.....the same price for ANYBODY. He is like ho...hmmmmmm.....didnt know it was gonna be that much.....let me talk it over with my wife! LOL I tell him sorry, that is what i charge for MY time, i wont get upset if you take it elsewhere. That is the attitude ya have to have. Dont worry about haggling with ANYBODY over your prices. STICK TO THEM! I dont expect to see that duck, but i have enough now to keep me busy.
Have you ever tried to SELL something to Richard?LOLOL.This guy must be a long-lost relative of his. George...you fed him a few times so you know him, and I took him fishing before and paid for the bait...gasoline...launching fees, etc.,all he offered was a soggy sandwich reeking of garlic and olive oil. What the guy didn't realize is the price Richard gave him was for a competition class deer mount.It would take Richard 6 weeks to get that deer to the point that he was satisfied with it.Now Richard only works one hour a day (sometimes) and gets $10 per hour for labor( otherwise he has to pay too much in taxes).Six weeks...six hours at $10 per hour..$60.00...add profit and cost of coffee and supplies..$600.00 for the deer head. Cheap at twicwe the price. Attaboy Richard.....lololol.
Every friend I have seems to want a discount on everything, and I used to be just like the next guy and the better the friend the better the discount, and finally I said no more.As soon as you give your buddy Joe down the street a discount, all his buddies want a discount and their buddies and the whole snowball effect takes place. It's not worth the hassle. There's to much involved, what with the constant learning , the cost of supplies, permits, paperwork, not to mention my accountant wont give me a break (I think I just put his 5 children, wife, grandmother and dog thru collage for the next 4 years) but anyway it took awhile, because of trying to be a nice guy, LOL, to learn to say "sorry but no discount" I have bills just like the next guy, and friends or not my prices are set. I know im more than Joe Blow down the street and for the most part if I could do it cheaper and still be able to survive I probably would. My BUDDIES as they call themselves can't understand why I won't give a break to undercut the next taxidermist on their list and as far as im concerned its principles and values that keep me from doing it not to mention ive learned to much and become to good over the years to ever go back to the preverbal $200.00 shoulder mount.
So what do I tell those people and BUDDIES that threaten to take their mount to the guy down the street because he is cheaper,
"Would you like their address and phone number"
And ya know to this day I haven't lost what I would call call friend over it yet, heck I charge my own family the same I charge everyone else,
and they always seem to come back, especially after they get that Great Discount Mount back from the other guy.
So I agree, Get paid for your work, Stick to your prices, and if you want to give a discount give it to everyone, maybe 10% to the first 25 shoulder mounts brought in during hunting season, or something like that, but MAKE SURE you charge enough to begin with before you do it.
Just my 2 cents worth.
I had a guy call and ask for price on a shoulder, I told him $215, he said that's to high, I know a guy that will do it for $100, I told him that's fine but that's probably what you'll get ($100 worth). Quality Work comes with a Quality Price!
How long it took to do a painting, I tell them 62 years and four days.........Material cost - $35, selling price, $5,000. Screw 'em. They pay your price, or they don't get your work, simple as that. Component cost is irrelevant when hand labor, years of experience and hours of study and sacrifice are concerned.
I don't fool around with that kind of crap. Never did, never will. Let them find the catalogs, browse away for hours, that only tells me that I am dealing with an idiot. Life is too short and precious to waste time on the character described. There would be skid marks on the floor in the studio if ever that happened here.
I don't hide my supply catalogs. They are right out where every customer i have can pick them up and see the costs of materials. They know there paying for my work. Chris you don't charge enough if your only getting 215$ for a shoulder mount. Jack F
It comes very naturally to me! Seriously, I hold back the smirk and ask where the installation charge is. They usually reply that other guys dont charge as much. Thats usually while Im rounding the far side of my counter and heading for the door. I very politely suggest they check around a bit further, Id be happy to suggest a few less expensive taxidermist friends of mine. They argue that Im who they want, but I firmly disagree and start giving directions to the studios. I do it tactfully, but I do it. Thats nothing but trouble in the long run. Theres a customer for every level, every price, and every time frame. I need to be honest to them and to me and steer them that way.
Originally when I mentioned this to George in conversation ,I was refering to 4 taxidermists that had this happen to them in the past deer season. Two were from Mass , one from both Idaho and Oregon.
One client for the Ma guy came in with a page out of the McK catalog adamantly wanting his Mt Lion on "this" mannikin. The only problem being the mannikin he picked is WAY too big. The second Ma guy had a guy come in with the McK catalog had the mannikin ,eyes , and ears circled and didn't want to get raped on the cost as he "knows" what the supplies cost. That taxidermist has been around a long time and told the guy "I'm not interested in doing your deer". The other two stories are the same except the wording,"I don't want to get ripped off on the price" as I know what the supplies cost.
And JL thanks buddy. For those interested I didn't catch any fish with JL as my guide. I did catch fish when Voyer took the wife and I fishing.
Wake up boneheads. They are paying for our SKILL not our TIME. Except for the godfather. He's got 4 years in every mount. Calculate that.
Because he broke his hump to get two moose mounted last week and carved up a lion mannikin to the point where he scraped it , and all the stuff fhe has ready to go out , nobody came in to pick up so he is broke too. He told me he is tired of this excrement but I don't belive him, he loves it .
I gave you a day of excitement while Tom was just hoping no-one caught you guys in that hatchery pond.Besides Tom was trying to get you to do free work for him on the free foam he got from me....lol