Submitted by John G. on 11/6/1998.

( jgill@acronet.net )

Now, I am not going to quit my job to be a full time taxidermist. I'm still a nubile beginner! But I was wondering what a person could earn at this proffesion. I don't want ot be nosey, just wondering. Thanks, John

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I'll go first...

This response submitted by Bill on 11/6/1998.

( yoxtax@aol.com )

I pay my bills late, but I'm supporting a wife at home and four children in a new house. But I work my %$# off, too. It's not easy but it's there to be made if you work hard, and I'm not really that much of a hustler. A faster guy can almost double what I do, to be brutally honest.

and I guess your last!

This response submitted by John on 11/10/1998.

( )

Thanks for your response Bill. I guess the other guys out there are a little tight lipped. I don't blame them, I wouldn't want to disclose anything more than in the way you did. And your response actually answered my question perfectly. The funny thing is, it sounds like your describing me! Thanks again, John


This response submitted by Bill on 11/11/1998.

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John, I dont paint an accurate picture here, either. Theres guys who make good $ at this, enough to go to Africa, or go shoot a bighorn(my dream!) but they may have a very hard working wife who supports thier habits, too. I'd like to think that they work hard enough to 'do it all'. I DO know that the big outfits can generate $ but maybe its relative to size, who knows? Obviously theyre not taking the time to help you guys on this forum. No slam intended there, just being honest. I guess my "extra money" is in the form of feeling good about helping out here on the forum for now. All good things seem to go full circle, though. Keep your fulltime job and supplement yout income doing something you enjoy, taxidermy. And go get that sheep that I probably won't...

OK, I'll pitch in . . . .

This response submitted by Jerry on 11/12/1998.

( jds@vvm.com )

OK, John, I'll throw my two cents worth in too. (I've never really been one to keep my mouth shut - but you've probably noticed that if you keep up with the forums!) In a nutshell, a person can make what he (or she) wants to. I spent 21 years as a cop before I retired two years ago. Regardless if I wrote 1 ticket or 10 tickets today, or cleared 1 case or 20 cases this month, I was paid the same. I always hated the term "burned out" but that's exactly what I was. Once you learned that the justice system didn't work you tend to feel that your work was futile. I was a part time taxidermist (doing work for the public) for 6 years when I retired from the PD and have not been full time for 2 years. I have no problem matching my PD salary with my business but . . . 1) there are no such things as 8 hour days or 40 hours weeks, 2) I sometimes have to bite my tongue when I get I disagree with a client, and 3) occasionally you have to make yourself get motivated. On the other hand . . . 1) the freedom is worth more than the money - if I want to go fishing, I don't have to call my supervisor and request a day off, 2) unlike the PD, the more I work the more I make, and MOST IPORTANTLY, 3) I'm doing something I love! Buddy, life is much too short to do 1/3 of it doing something you hate. I was once told that "if your vocation is also your avocation, you will be successful". That means if what you do for a living is also what you like to do, you can't lose! Just a little more to think about . . . Jerry

I'm not rich

This response submitted by Bob C on 11/12/1998.

( bobswildlife@webtv.net )

John, You know thats one of the hardest questions I've tried to answer. I guess it depends on what you think wealth is.I think "To Hot Jerry" and Bill said it all. To me wealth is not ONLY money. I've made some GREAT friends in this industry.To me thats worth alot. I once did a parakeet for an elderly Amish women (I'll never forget her)Her great grand kids bought this bird for her and it died. I got a call asking about doing it. I told her I would.I even picked the bird up for her.They didn't have a car. When she gave me the bird to do she was in tears.When the bird was done I told them I'd deliver it for her. When I brought the bird in the house the women broke down and cried. I mean really cried.Her husband said she was so happy. When he tried to pay me I couldnt take his money.Like I said wealth can be discribed in different ways. That was the best paycheck I EVER GOT!!! To me theres more important things than money.I dont have much money but sometimes I think Im the richest guy in the world!!! Bob C

How much to charge?

This response submitted by Fred Davis on 11/13/1998.

( fdavis@chickasaw.com )

Hello everyone,I've been reading the forum for about a month now and really enjoy it all and I mean all. I read each heading nightly to see what's new.Boy,i am really glad I bought this computer for my wife for xmas.I had better get to my question. I have been into taxidermy for about a year and ahalf now and getting more work all the time but I really don't know what to charge,especially for smaller projects like mounting a set of antlers or skinning out a coyote for a rug.Could anyone give me a target to aim at on charges,please.Thanks


This response submitted by Bill on 11/13/1998.

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theres a couple of ways to do this. Do you wanna grab the tail of the elephant in front of you and 'fall in line' ,by pricing according to the other guy? Or do you wanna figure out how much you need to be payed to make it worth your effort to do? Try to figure out how long it'll take you, add your material and overhead, and figure what you are worth per hour and see what you come up with. Then go alittle more if you dont care for the job.Example: clean off the antlers, 20 minutes, cut out scrap wood and trim skull to shape the mount,20 minutes, sculpt mache around the wood and skull, including mixing mache, half an hour. Rasping it to shape and adding to it if needed, 20 minutes. Trimming, soaking, stretching and re-trimming the buckskin covering, including stapling it,another half hour. Pop it onto a plaque(8.00) and let dry. Call the customer and take about 20 minutes with him. 2 hours and 20 minutes and 8.00 plus some misc. cost. The lights were on, too. 75.00 sound OK to you? We should be able to work for 25 an hour anyway. Or price it low so he'll bring you a head next time because you treated him right. Yeah, and he expects that price to be "right", too. So...thimk it through,for your situation.

Something to consider, though . . .

This response submitted by Jerry on 11/14/1998.

( jds@vvm.com )

Fred, Bill was correct on the way to determine the price on a project. If I may add to it, one area of difficulty that you may have is that when you start determining the amount of time you tink you are going to spend on a project, the problem is that if you are new to that project, it is going to take you longer to do it than after you have done several. For example, to completely flesh a deer cape (turn lips-eyes-ears, etc) was a major ordeal that took a complete afternoon when I first started in taxidermy. Most of us who have been at if for awhile can do the same job (and probably better!) in only a couple of hours. If you price your time based on never having done it before, the cost to the customer may be inflated to much higher than what he will pay. If you anticipate doing several of that type of project, you should probably take into account that the first few (while you're learning) will take much longer. Just something to think about. Jerry

Thanks for the responses

This response submitted by John on 11/14/1998.

( jgill@acronet.net )

Thanks for all your responses! I can identify with all the points given - once again, it sounds alot like my job, even though I'm in an entirely different business - electronics. (NO, I'M NOT A GEEK!) On a slightly different note - When I was getting started in electronics I had it as a hobby too, and would enjoy building home projects. Now, after nearly 20 years I no longer enjoy it as a hobby. Kind of like the shoemaker who has holes in his shoes. Has this happened to any of you folks who have been earning a living at this for a long time?

Thanks for the tips

This response submitted by Fred Davis on 11/14/1998.

( fdavis@chickasaw.com )

Hey guys I really appreciate the info.I know that I have been charging to low for my work,but not so low I am making any other in area p##$%#. The guy that taught me gave me some guide lines but I hate to call him on every little detail,even though he says he doesn't mind.Well I couldn't call him right now anyway because he is in either Colorado or Montana hunting.Lucky or just makes the money or both maybe.You may know him;He's from Shawnee,Ok name Jim Pitts,a really great guy,taxidermist,and a super instructor.Anyway thanks again for the help and I'll keep reading the forum and now since my shyness is wearing off I may jump in on some chat.

the new shop

This response submitted by Bill on 11/14/1998.

( yoxtax@aol.com )

Fred, how do you like Jim's new shop? When I was there, it was about 110 degrees outside. Jim is a great guy and a talented artist as well.


This response submitted by Fred on 11/15/1998.

( fdavis@chickasaw.com )

Well Bill the weather is a lot cooler now. You must have been here sometime during the first 8 months of summer(ha)at least it seemed that long this year.It has finally got around normal 60 degrees.It was a real bummer during black powder season as well because of 75 and 80 degree heat all week then 5 inches of rain the last weekend. As for Jim's new shop it is really nice. Plenty of working room with room to grow, also in a good location.

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