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Have you regular fish gurus ran your numbers lately?

Discussion in 'Fish Taxidermy' started by hampshire, Feb 18, 2009.

  1. jim tucker

    jim tucker Active Member

    C'mon Jeff.....Are you telling me it takes you SIX HOURS to paint a fish repro that practically snaps together?

    I cannot believe that...all the years you've been doing taxidermy. How long does it take you to mount a DEER?
  2. jim tucker

    jim tucker Active Member

    Fair enough. I just could not believe that with all the time you've been doing this that 6 hours was realistic.

    All my fish get detailed and tipped so I would think time wise we should not be that far apart.

    For example how long would it take for you to do that Steelhead you posted for the Liquid Scales Tutorial?

    After your post it took me LESS time to do a good one, so I would think we are not that far apart in the amount of detail we use. I will say I might paint ten at a time so that really helps the time schedule.

    Maybe my years working in a big commercial studio have just made me fast. I thought I was DOGGING it after opening my own shop ha ha.


    GBRUCH "I am nothing without christ".....John 15:5

    Here is a largemouth with about a 9 hour paint job and something like 6-7 hours of grinding installiing eyes fins and mouth and apoxie.


    16 hours of labor @ $20 = $320
    !6 hours of overhead @ $4.00= $64
    Blank cost plus materials = $150
    Job cost is $534

    Profit of 15% = $80.10
    $614.10 is the total cost of the fish only. Simply divide this by the blank length of 25" and the price per inch is $24.56.

    I guess I need to work quicker or accept less labor fees cause my $ 21 per inch aint cutting it.---lol. I made $15.31 per hour in this instance using my price of $21 per inch.

    Darrell your right the numbers don't lie.
  4. OMG Gary that bass is unfreakin beilevable. I'd pay 26 for that fish
  5. And yes the numbers do not lie thats why I started this thread.
  6. Jeff Lumsden

    Jeff Lumsden Well-Known Member

    Beautiful Large Mouth Gary! "I guess I need to work quicker or accept less labor fees cause my $ 21 per inch aint cutting it." But this is sad!


    GBRUCH "I am nothing without christ".....John 15:5

    Thanks for the compliments and I agree Jeff it is very sad.

    Here in my area of PA $21 per inch for the fish only is very high and like previously mentioned I too had relied on fish shipped in/out.
    I always got a kick outa those knuckleheads that thought I was robbing them with my prices.

    Christie Czarnecki had a post about marketing and I encourage everyone to read it and perhaps take a workshop with her. I would check iinto it myself if I hadn't already started down the road that leads to the Ice shanty or vegie garden or in my case walkin the dog---lol.
  8. jim tucker

    jim tucker Active Member

    I don't understand why this needs to be an either or argument. That is the beauty of taxidermy as long as YOU (and your customers) are happy that is all that matters. I guess the phrasing I used is where I fail...LOL

    Certainly if I were to take 6 hours to paint a fish I would have to charge $20+, however were I to charge that I would get very few fish. The category of taxidermy I prefer over any other to mount.

    I started out like most of you "dabbling". I looked at all the "famous" taxidermists and thought if I could emulate their work I would be able to have SUCCESS in this business. I won all the awards etc etc.

    I found out otherwise. Customers didn't care about my "winnings". They only cared How Fast and How Much, in that order. All the guys that I knew that were making a REAL GOOD living were not doing a high level of work....in fact it was average(or worse). They NEVER went to a competition or show. Couldn't customers see my stuff was superior?

    I spent years trying to get out of my "real job" but could never get over the hump. I had the opportunity to go to a big studio and work...so I took it. I went into that job with the same attitude some here have displayed about "time". I soon learned I'd better manage it better. In that studio I myself did 500 gameheads and large lifesize mammals a year working 36 hours a week. That repetition made me better.

    When I quit and went into my own shop again I found I was so much faster from the experience and I could use those skills doing things my way.

    I have found from spending time in others studios that their day goes something like this:

    Go in open up, sit there and read the paper.
    Go to the bathroom
    Open up cape and stare at it..assess holes etc.
    Make some phone calls
    Start working up cape
    Go to the bathroom
    Do ears
    Put form on Stand..stare at it for awhile
    prep form
    Open eyes and stare at them..set eyes.
    Go to the bathroom
    Go to Lunch
    Got to the bathroom
    Test fit hide and stare at it awhile
    Apply paste and start sewing
    Staple up back
    Go to the bathroom
    Stare at the mount awhile
    Put a bag on the head
    Go home and finish the next day

    I just WORK when I am in the shop. IME Fish are the FASTEST turn around you can have. If you do things in batches you can get a LOT of fish done in a short time. It takes about the same amount of time to paint 5 bass then it does 1. I work 40 or less hours a week and I do fish for many other taxidermists. If ANYONE was going to complain about my work THEY would ha ha.

    The amazing thing to me is how heated this argument can get. It is always a major topic in the hotel at any taxidermy show. All I know is there are a LOT of "World Champions" that can't make it doing taxidermy for a living. At $25 an inch I couldn't do it here.

    Hunters and fisherman want aTROPHY...we think we are providing art. Remember most artists don't make any money until they are DEAD :D

    Post all the numbers you want...what people will PAY is the only number that matters....if you cannot meet that number, then you fail.
  9. jim tucker

    jim tucker Active Member

    I don't know if you are funny or a ass...but I like it.

    I am sure you would appreciate your fish more than mine...then again if I spent 6 hours painting one it BETTER look damn good.

    If you want to see one of my fish so bad I you can always send some wholesale work my way. ;D
  10. Pescado

    Pescado Biggest in 2011

    Main Entry: blo·vi·ate
    Pronunciation: \ˈblō-vē-ˌāt\
    Function: intransitive verb
    Inflected Form(s): blo·vi·at·ed; blo·vi·at·ing
    Etymology: perhaps irregular from 1blow
    Date: circa 1879
    : to speak or write verbosely and windily
  11. A- Fish

    A- Fish Stehling's Taxidermy

    Jeff, your right on the exposure thing. If your going to charge high prices, you have get your stuff out there and explain to people why it costs more.

    I think your numbers are pretty close to correct Darrell. If we were all smart, we would paint a fish in an hour and charge $20.00 per in. for it, and be paid like a professional.
  12. Perca

    Perca Well-Known Member

    This thread is getting very entertaining. ;D
    1) Jim, I occassionally have wholesale work done, but I ALWAYS want to see what kind of quality I'm paying for. Jeff has a legit request. Do you have a website we could visit? ;)
    2) Hey Paul, that definition applies to a lot of us....more towards a few though. ;D
    3) "If we were all smart, we would paint a fish in an hour and charge $20.00 per in. for it, and be paid like a professional."

    Why was the first guy who popped into my mind when I read that M.T. ? ;D
  13. jim tucker

    jim tucker Active Member

    You can talk about doing those "Best of Show" type mounts all you want but the ONLY guy in that category here that doesn't seem to be complaining about their situation is Jeff. Seems like the rest knocking out "top flight" are all moaning about not being able to make it in taxidermy.

    "Skimming" is a great idea....unless the client base being skimmed is tiny in the first place. 10% of the people in this nation hunt and fish. About 10% ever get anything mounted. Not much to skim from. I am not suggesting people need to provide trash to their customers BUT you have to be able to find a balance between Best of Category Masters Division and Third Place Professional Division. Otherwise you will find it very difficult make it in this business.
  14. jim tucker

    jim tucker Active Member

    I was looking for the Digital camera but can't find it. Maybe when the wife gets home. I doubt anything I could post for you to ridicule would be good enough...it would have a Flex Eye in it. Besides we aren't allowed to say anything but Good Job here ;D

    Perca I don't have a website. Coming soon though. I won't be having any "wholesale" stuff on it anyhow. I keep my wholesale work "private". I mainly do fish for taxidermists I KNOW personally from around my state. I don't want people to know I did others fish and they don't want their customers knowing the same.
  15. GBRUCH

    GBRUCH "I am nothing without christ".....John 15:5

    Jim I would like to be clear on my situation. I am certainly not moaning about not being able to make it in Taxidermy. I already made it both in awards and I have supported my family for several years in this industry. Making money involves different numbers for different folks and I was ok with my numbers.
    It is my choice to walk away not because I couldn't make it but because the challenge of making it in others ways is now more appealing.

    Thanks Jeff for the info and I do understand it to be so. We just had a Sportsman show here and I am very confident I could have sold lots of future jobs with a booth but in my instance I have found happiness elsewhere. I do think the average Joe reading this post should take note of what you wrote cause it is the honest truth and if one chooses to market to that knowledgeable client they can certainly attain a larger price tag for more realistic work.

    There are Markets for all of us out there. We just have to find the right one for each of us.
    Now back to work and play nice. lol.

    Wow. I am really getting into this colored text thingy--lol.
  16. jim tucker

    jim tucker Active Member

    I understand, and what you are doing sounds VERY interesting and fulfilling. Seems taxidermists are always looking towards the next GOOD thing.

    I have some of the same feelings myself. My desire to compete is nearly zero as I have climbed that hill. My income isn't based soley in taxidermy and if I had my druthers I'd be doing music full time. Either way taxidermy and music will NOT be my LAST occupations. Freedom is the reason I started doing taxidermy in the first place. I agree with you money is in the HEART not the Bank Account. I have been married 25 years and put 2 kids through college with taxidermy....but to most people I would be "poor", but I am RICH because of the time I was able to give my family and the friendships I have made.

    Good luck on your current path.
  17. FishArt

    FishArt Well-Known Member

    All I can say is you mega-hour guys BETTER have a booth RIGHT NEXT to the under 6 hour guy because once that potential customer walks more than 50 feet away from your piece of Art, MOST will not be able to see the differences unless those fish were right next to each other. And the significant price drop will most assuredly make most of them forget any differences REAL soon - lol! Most fishermen are not as discerning as you say Jeff. You give them far too much credit that's for certain. It truly does all come down to what 's important to each individual and how much time they want to put into each mount and what niche of the market they're targeting. And, how much they want to make...
  18. jim tucker

    jim tucker Active Member

    You nailed it

    Funnily two excerpts from the current Industry Category apply in this one:

  19. jim tucker

    jim tucker Active Member

    Holy crap. Forget all the other BS and Tell us about THIS. I would hang myself if I lost my fish and had to do more of those haired beasts. I love FISH but I just tolerate the others because I have to ....to make ends meet. Marty was talking about this some time earlier....he's a lot closer to me than you. Haven't seen it here......YET!?

    Was it C&R laws or just the mindset??
  20. Pescado

    Pescado Biggest in 2011

    Hey Jeff, are you putting a cat ahead of a dog?