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Have you regular fish gurus ran your numbers lately?

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

  1. Thanks Jim...that's a very nice gesture. I can do the chumming....I'm damn good at that, especially when there's 2 to fours or better out there. Man I'm gett'n' queasy just thinking about it.
    Can you say...transderm scope(scopolamine)???....LOL!
  2. jim tucker

    jim tucker Active Member

    What cliques?? What Angry posts? What the heck are you guys talking about.

    Marc your story about talking to another taxidermist and having a nice conversation is GREAT. I do it all the time. However in this situation (BB)we only have the ability to type our response to the comments that others post. It makes the conversations limited and NOT REALISTIC. Typing pretty much limits our ability to communicate. It makes everything seem BLACK or WHITE not GRAY.

    Josh, You think if Jeff, Marty, Pescado and I were all in a room together having this same conversation this would be JERRY SPRINGER. I doubt it very much. I suspect much of what has been posted would be followed with MUCH LAUGHTER. Much of this thread banter is all in good fun.

    Cliques....What cliques? That very popular clique of Fish Taxidermists. Yes I remember back in the day nailing all the babes after I told them I did taxidermy. The clothes just fell off their bodies. There are no cliques. Cliques are in peoples minds. They are YOUR imagination. Remember the guy who mistreated you in school...you know you do.....his face is burned into your memory. Guess what....he hasn't thought of you in 20 years. If there were any CLIQUE I certainly could not be a part of that....I am most certainly not on the guest list.

    BB's are always the same. You have those who can post back and forth and get it. Then you have those who take EVERTHING so serious and get hurt by something they would have taken as harmless in person.

    Pity any of you guys if you ever come to our show in Ohio. Win BIG and you WILL be in a clique....the clique of the guy getting the most grief from everybody for the next year. You know how it is.....one of your buddy's gets his picture posted in a hunting mag and he gets RODE for the next year as "Fred Bear Jr" or like one guy at our show who got called Captain Breakthrough for a year.

    Myself I don't fell any ill will or anger towards anyone....at least on this BB. If others feel different, well I can't help that.

    PS. RDA you are doing great to get that price and kudos to you......However does it take you 6 hours to paint a bass reproduction, tell the truth, you didn't bring that up at all. ;D

  3. RDA

    RDA Active Member

    ;Noticed that did ya!!! ;D Jim my honest opinion of the awesome fish work I see here is that it is deserving of FAR MORE than they get...I think its one of the Most under developed pricing departments we have... I don't do alot of fish here in the driest state in the union, But if I do I want it to be at a level that compensates and covers overhead....There are guys getting 30+ per inch around here-the fish specialists, and Im sure that will go up soon... But when I look at Unc Davis Steel head or any of you Guys creations all I can think is with that level of reality, I hope they are appreciated and compensated...
  4. I am seriously toying with going to a flat rate on skin mounts and custom replicas. (Related to the species)
    You deer guys dont charge by the inch. Why should we?

    I know when buying commercial replicas that may be an isssue, but then again who knows.
  5. jim tucker

    jim tucker Active Member

    Well thanks for answering the question(I get the answer though many will be saying WHAT!?!?)

    I couldn't agree with you more. We ALL need compensated more for our work.

    I look at it this way. I KNOW what kind of time and work goes into those competition style pieces and quite honestly I am NOT WILLING to do it. I CAN, but I choose not to.

    Reason being I can NEVER make enough money to make that profitable. At least not at a level to raise a family and keep a roof over our heads.

    Here in Ohio I have been fourtunate enough to hang around 4 MULTI time world champions. One of them was telling me he spent 150 hours on the MOUTH of the entry he was working on. there is NO WAY you could do that and make a living.

    You are looking at $7500 in shop time just for the MOUTH.

  6. I dont think anyone is suggesting that extreme time on a commercial fish (or should I say Comp-mercial)
    That would be crazy.
  7. jim tucker

    jim tucker Active Member

    I did FLAT rate for many years.

    BASS were $$$$

    Walleye were $$$$

    etc, etc

    I found customers were more receptive of my prices.

    Now I have my per inch price but I NEVER QUOTE a customer that price. I just compute it in my head and give them a price. I do have a rather HIGH minimum for my area though of $250.
  8. RDA

    RDA Active Member

    Ive heard those stories to Jim, but me thinks they are a wee exaggerated... Long ago it was started I think to help raise the mystique of competition fish and guys just went with it!! ;D Now, if they said they had fourty hours in the whole thing Id be believing that... m JUST BARELY a commercial quality fish head, and I always wanted to compete, but like you I had heard the countless hours going into a piece and thought,, nnnooooooo waaaaaaayyyyyyy... But Ive since learned the heavily guarded truth!! ;) ;D
  9. I agree although I wouls say 100 hours or so for the whole deal perhaps.
    but that is full on Gimmie the blue!!! competition work.
    I would starve if I did that. LOL

    I have spent that on a fish before but it was a gift for a family member.

    As far as the flat rate, by the inch makes NO sense sometimes.

    I am working on a bunch of smallmouth right now, one is 22" another is 16" I am getting payed less for the 16" but its the same exact amount of work.
    and the scales are smaller so it may be more work.

    I may bracket out my prices in sizes and then charge by the species.

    I normally dont tell customers the ppi they dont need to know.
    I also dont advertise my prices.
    Some people get deals and they dont know it. and some guys dont, and they dont know that either.

    I did a kids first fish for free last year. The dad brought a small bass in and was so excited, you could tell he hardly had enough money the way it is, but his kid was SO fired up. The dad didn't know how to fish and went out on our free fishing day in wisconsin.
    Well the time came for him to pick it up and he gave me the money.
    I sent it back to him the next day with a note saying, buy yourself and your son a good fishing pole and get a license and enjoy yourself.
    The guy emailed me a pic this fall of him and his son and their new poles fishing for gills.
    He sends me reports from time to time.
    Now the kid and dad are fired up and hooked on fishing.

    He caught me on a good day I think. lol
    Bad business move? probably but that was my decision to make.
  10. jim tucker

    jim tucker Active Member

    Well let's look at it. Gary(who is a GREAT taxidermist) says he spent 16 hours on his reproduction earlier in this post on a 24 inch reproduction. He says he got $21 an inch or $504. He says he spent $150 on blank and materials so he put $354 in his pocket either in profit or labor. At that speed he can do 2.5 bass per 40 hour week and make $885.

    I buy the same blank and charge my rate of $15 so a guy sees $360 instead of $504. I spend 5 hours on the fish so I can do 8 of the same fish a week. $360 x 8 is $2880 - $1200 for blanks $1600 a week in my pocket.

    Now Jeff wants me to post my 5 hour fish to compare to Gary's so he can prove a point, that Gary's Fish is far superior to mine....heck if Gary did a 5 HOUR fish it would most likely be better than mine but that is not the point. The point is that I make far more $$$ than Gary working the same amount of time. Understand I use Gary as the comparison because he was good enough to post his numbers, not because I think he is wrong or dumb.

    Of course many will say $$$ is not everything, and I agree. I live modestly, but if you were in any other line of work that IS the bottom line. If a guy spends 16 hours washing your car it certainly will look better than the guy taking an hour, but would you buy the $160 car wash over the $10...I think not

    The WORST part is that I would BET that Gary's customer would drool GAGA over his 5 hour fish. The only way they know the differences is for you to tell them and why bother.

    THE ENEMY OF GOOD IS BETTER this is especially true in our business.

    Neither approach is "right or wrong", just different. I just found that I can get a much more business if I keep my prices just slightly higher than the masses.

    Just like Deer you CAN price yourself out of business. A local guy charges $750 per deer head. MAN he kills me in PROFIT....however he gets 5 deer a year.

    Unfortunately for ME I started out as a "competitor" years befroe I actually did this as a BUSINESS..it screwed me up in some ways. It took YEARS for me to GET IT. However I still compete, go to the shows and donate my time as a board member. Exaggerated, maybe, but if you know THESE guys I doubt it.
  11. jim tucker

    jim tucker Active Member

    Not at all. Just like all the guys telling me that helping out local guys learn taxidermy cuts into my business.

    I have found that it HELPS, but that's not why I do it anyhow....just like you didn't give that fish to the customer so you could be thought of as a "good guy".
  12. That's not a bad business move at all. That is a BRILLIANT business move....IF you can afford it.
    Jim, you are right....much is lost in the electronics of the PC world and things said with a laugh or wry sense of humor DO NOT come across very well on here. Trust me on this one...I know...LOL!
    I will say this though....anyone who bases their pricing structure or way they do business from info shared here is a FOOL. Like RDA said....there's a lot of blow hards bragging about crap that may not even be accurate.. Infact...like Buck..you all may just be a figment of my imagination...LOL.
    Was there REALLY ever a Buck from Germany?
  13. RDA

    RDA Active Member

    Josh yur just a class act :) And Jim,, actually I do know lot of 'Those Guys" ;) :D and I will stand by the exageration comment... ;) ;D I compete alot in birds and small mammals, and have constantly been asked "how much time do you have in that?" and always, they completely over estimate what it actually took.....Now,, IF you count ALL the time you have setting,, staring and fussing over how a blade of grass isnt turned just ssooo, even then exageration tends to come into play.... :D

    Marc good point IS THERE REALLY A BUCK or is he a duck????? hey, that rhymes too!! :D
  14. jim tucker

    jim tucker Active Member

    Well after I saw a guy 8 hours on one side of a deer nostril I knew I didn't have what it takes haha

    I think BUCK is actually Michael P playing the ultimate JOKE on us all.
  15. RDA

    RDA Active Member

    ooooohhhhwwww wouldnt that be the prank o the century!!!!! ;D ;D And Yes there are those that spend a ludicrous amount of time on things, then,,,I can also name off best of show mounts that had maybe an extra two hours put into it beyond normal commercial work many many many.... ;D And Ive heard it from the Finland Gurus themselves..... That its bullsheeeeet ! :eek: :D But ya really do got me wondering about Buck/MP he is a very cunning jokester!!! :D
  16. A- Fish

    A- Fish Stehling's Taxidermy

    LOL Marc. You are always right !

    There is a "Buck" ..I have talked to him on the phone, and I have talked to MP...not the same dude lol

    I have donated mounts from time to time like you Josh. I have a turkey I'm finishing up for a guy who has terminal cancer-he's a young guy with kids...I didn't charge him the balance on it. Really how can you in a situation like that ?
    Maybe I'll email you a pic of it RDA, and get you to critque it for me. For you fish heads on here, RDA is a top notch bird guy.
  17. RDA

    RDA Active Member

    wow thanks Aaron One of these days Ill have a fish biz like yours IF I move out of nevada!!! ::) ::) ;D I do admire this section with all you guys I guess its why I jump in on certain topics the work you guys do is phenomenal and I always think its under priced!! ;) :D
  18. My sintiments excatly
  19. FishArt

    FishArt Well-Known Member

    Holy cow! Can't believe my pot-stirrin caused such an uproar! Actually, I CAN believe it - some of you guys are WAY too easy - lol! I've been out with the stomach flu for two+ days. My punishment I guess for stirring things - lol!
  20. Christie

    Christie Instructor, Consultant & Speaker

    I think Jim Tucker hit the nail on the head with his profit calculating. If we assume that all of the variables are remaining fairly constant (yes, I know they don't, but bear with me), if both your fish prices and your time to completion are higher than a colleague (I like this term better than competitor), and you're making less profit, you are off on something. Which means you either need to adjust your prices or adjust your completion time. For some, this means adjusting their prices because sacrificing quality would hurt their business plan. For others, it means you have to be more efficient with your time and quit watching Jerry Springer reruns while you're working, because you're not improving your quality with the additional time. This isn't a taxidermy competition, it's business.

    Your business needs to be run so that you are maximizing your profit. This sounds cold, but it isn't. Think about it - how many of you would love to be able to do what Josh Knuth did with the father and son? How many of you commented (or thought along with the commentor) that you would love to if you could afford it? How many of you would love to be able to donate more time to Catch a Dream/ Hunt of a Lifetime/ or any other charitable organization, but you can't because if you don't crank out X amount of work, you can't afford to live?

    Whether you are full time or part time, you started a business. This is a business, not a hobby as some people think. You are a hobbyist if you are only doing this for yourself and nobody else (in which case you wouldn't be reading a post about pricing, because you certainly aren't charging yourself). The second that you start doing work for someone else, it quits being a hobby. They hired you to do a job, and you are now accountable to them. You are now "in business". So let that business be profitable!

    By the way, don't tell me that you don't have the market for higher prices. Just because you weren't successful marketing yourself does NOT mean that the market does not exist. Think about it, just because I didn't catch anything today doesn't mean that there aren't any fish in the pond. Especially since I can see others catching fish in the same waters.

    You work hard to improve your taxidermy skills, and improve the work you are putting out there. Take 10 percent of that energy and work toward improving your business skills. You'll be amazed at how changing the way you think about yourselves and this industry will help your business (and your profit line).