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competitors are KILLING me

Discussion in 'The Taxidermy Industry' started by Tricia, Nov 11, 2009.

  1. Tricia

    Tricia New Member

    I was raising my rates this year only to find out that my competition in the area has gone DOWN $10. So I have two guys that are directly competing with my business that would be $50 less than I am. I found out today that we have a new guy that popped up outa nowhere that'll be charging $300 for a shoulder mount. :-\ There's another guy that's been around here forever that's at $320...not so worried about him, or the newbie...but these others are making me stop and think when I don't WANT to stop and rethink what I've been thinking about for months. Everything goes up, year after year. Why are they going down? And what's this gonna do to me?

    Their work environment is such that they have very little overhead. My overhead is much more. I can't afford to to make less than I did last year. I'm half afraid that the undercutting is gonna really hurt me this year. We're going from them being $15 less than me to $50...not sure that's a smart move on my part. Any thoughts?

    It's been a long, long day...I'm going home to get a hug from my hubby. Time for some down time. Rifle season starts Saturday.
  2. Kittrell Hill

    Kittrell Hill 9 Beard Merriam 2008 Meade Co SD

    I had the same fear this year but I still went up $25 on my deer and I have taken in more the first 3 weeks than I did last year. I even have a guy charging $125 less than me 10 miles down the road. I wouldn't go down on price Good Luck

  3. tazzymoto

    tazzymoto Well-Known Member

    That depends on where you live, I have'nt raised my prices' in 3 years and for the last three year iv'e taken in less and less, But i live in MIchigan and the economy is realy bad here, I thought about lowering my prices' but decided to hold fast and hope for the best, I'll let you know how it goe's in a couple months?
  4. antlerman

    antlerman NTA Life Member #0118

    Service, Quality, Price, Pick One! That is no longer true in any market. In today's market, you better offer at least two of these. However, wouldn't all three of these be a smarter decision. I have never been ashamed of my quality. I've never apologized for my price. I do however realize that my service has not always been what I want it to be.

    Here's my point. What can YOU do that your competitors can not do?? Or what can you do better than you have done in the past?

    For me personally it's turn around time. Gotta get better at that one for sure.

    I think you are just second guessing yourself Trish.
    Ask yourself WHY are they lowering their prices??
    Is it because you are kicking their ass??
    Don't sell yourself short. Be a SMART business woman and make the money.
    If they want to cut their own throats doesn't mean you have to.
    You run a Professional operation. Be Proud of yourself, what you do, and what you have.
    I think most customers would prefer to do business with a professional verses someone working out of their shed.
    Don't worry about the broke guy who can't pay you to start with.
    Concentrate on the guy who 25.00 makes no difference to.
    I say the reason why they are cutting prices IS directly because of you. Peace
  5. RDA

    RDA Well-Known Member

    lowering prices will not help.. The most expensive dermist in our area has taken a lions share at 895.00, for deer and antelope. How? A mass tag holder mailout with a classy post card has sent him the business...We have fourteen pages of registered dermists in Nevada now and most in my area...The price range for deer shoulder mounts is 895.00 to four hundred which completely wrecks the market and makes it totally unpredictable.....Meanwhile cost of mannikins supplies and shipping have done nothing but go up.........
  6. Bobbi Meyer

    Bobbi Meyer I luv to ride my tricycle, I luv to ride my trike

    went up another $25 this year....now my competition is advertising and i haven't .....may have been a mistake on my part...we'll see.
  7. tazzymoto

    tazzymoto Well-Known Member

    I did put 2 half page adds in the 2 local papers, we'll see how that works out, I'm at just about half of what i was last year so not looking good so far!By the way It will take 3 mounts just to pay for those adds
  8. jasonb

    jasonb I think I'll keep her

    Never go down. There are still people out there with money and most of those people believe they get what they pay for, and those are the clients you want.
  9. RoyalOaksRanch

    RoyalOaksRanch Royal Oaks Taxidermy- When Quality Counts...

    I dont think Id worry to much about it.. IM at 600... there is a taxidermist near me that is 100.00 cheaper.. I still get the work. Ive been higher than her since I opened my doors .. My clients expect quality and that is what they are paying for.. If they wanted cheap theyd go to the guy 45 mins from me that only charges 250.00 Some people will go to the cheap place, and when they get a crappy mount they end up back here at my normal price PLUS the cost of a new cape..

    IM not saying jack your price so high noone can afford you, but serious someone 50 bucks cheaper isnt that big a deal as long as your quality is up there. Be the best in the area and they will come...
  10. Matt

    Matt Active Member

    I have a guy that hangs his work right next to mine at a place and I am 100.00 higher than him. It hasn't hurt me a bit this year, in fact numbers are up so far. Don't worry about their price, continue to do quality work and raise your prices. In the end, you will get the clients you deserve.
  11. Riverland

    Riverland New Member

    Must be nice to only have one competitor 100.00 cheaper try 15-20 as much as 240.00 cheaper and I am at 495.00 for the last 5 years.
  12. michael p.

    michael p. Getting better with age :)

    Most around here are $175-$225 cheaper than I am.....right now I am swamped with work.
  13. RoyalOaksRanch

    RoyalOaksRanch Royal Oaks Taxidermy- When Quality Counts...

    One was just an example... Fact is QUALITY gets you customers... You want the high end people or the cheap ones that dont care about quality?
  14. LordRusty

    LordRusty If I agreed with you, we'd both be wrong.

    Are these guys doing Taxidermy part-time? Bet they have a primary job, and the Taxidermy is what they're doing for extra income. If they are looking to go full time and quit their day job, at the cut throat price they are "giving" customers, they won't be able to maintain those bargain prices. Quality work always holds the test of time. Something is gonna break, just don't let it be you ... hang in there. Let your clients know that you produce quality work, and that Taxidermy is your primary source of income. I don't really know your entire situation, but I'm sure you can sell your work. Don't give up. ;)

  15. timberlandtaxidermy

    timberlandtaxidermy Taxidermy Instructor NTA Certified Judge

    I get calls all the time asking what I charge. I'm at $595 for a deer head.
    They ask, " Is that the going rate?"
    I tell them, "that's my going rate!"
    I have a pretty good idea what the competitors are charging. But I don't base my prices on that.
    You need to charge what you have to in order to cover bills plus make a profit. Who cares what the competition is charging!
    I'm seriously considering going to $695 on my deer heads!
  16. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    Alicia, lets get down to the nuts and bolts of it.

    Do you need the taxidermy income to stay solvent? If the answer is "yes", then you have to ask yourself if doing the same amount of work yet getting paid less to do it will make your solvency better or worse. I suspect the latter from your comments, so why would you ever consider lowering prices to put yourself even farther into a hole?

    If the answer is "no", then it would seem prudent to find another job that paid realistic wages for efforts. When I hear people tell me, "I'd NEVER work at WalMart", I know they're lying. They just have never been hungry enough yet. I'd pick sh1t with a wooden beak if my solvency depended on it, so why wouldn't I work someplace that paid a WAGE and I got paid every week. (That's better than my taxidermy shop does for me sometimes.)

    Next, they aren't "your competition". In an artistic vocation, you are your only competition. You have people who will buy the velvet paintings of Elvis regardless of how well you paint. Do you want people with Elvis murals hanging in their trailer as your prime customer? Or would you rather have a guy with a Norman Rockwell or Leon Pray sketch in his game room? Target your customer base and then stay on target. There are price shoppers everywhere and dwelling on them and the people who cater to them is counterproductive to your skills and your future. Don't look back. NEVER LOOK BACK!!!
  17. Tricia

    Tricia New Member

    Tim (antlerman) was in my studio for a couple of days last week. We made a quick trip to one of those competitors I'm talking about. There's a major difference in my business image and that particular competitor, the others are about the same as that guy's. We're all full time, but I put more pride in myself than they do. I'm running about the same in quantity of work as last year at the moment, but rifle season is what is going to make or break my deer season. Rifle season starts Saturday. Time will tell.

    I've saturated the air waves on the local radio station for this week, Wednesday to Wednesday. So that leaves me until after opening weekend to renew that and get another set of ads to flood the air waves from next Wednesday to Wednesday.

    I've decided to drop my price. A $5 decrease. I was at $400 last year with plans to go up to $425 this year...but I think that $395 mentality will work on the price shoppers, the psychology of being less than $400 may work in my favor instead of being considered overpriced compared to my competitors. I just don't feel that any more of a decrease is acceptable and truly I'm frightened about raising right now.

    And John, that is the best thing you've said on here in a LONG time, and I certainly never thought it would be aimed at me. Despite our differences, I appreciate your words. Thanks for the vote of confidence.

    George, I appreciate everything you said. Yes, I paid attention to every word, it's nothing I haven't said to myself or heard from others before. Except I've never called myself Alicia. LMAO ;) I've been in business for 5 1/2 years. I grew too fast and I'm afraid of falling even faster than that. My business is what's kept us afloat in a very hard economic time. My husband is a contractor...that's tells a lot right there. I'm in a catch-22. I can't afford to work for less, and I can't afford to take in less work. This was one TOUGH decision.
  18. PA

    PA Well-Known Member

    Good luck in a hard market. From an "outsiders view" (I do taxidermy very occasionally at my workplace and don't bother with commercial taxidermy at all), what I find interesting in a discussion such as this is all the stories about how raising prices help. The successful people who have thrived, always post how it has been good to raise prices, but my guess is that others who have raised prices and end up in failed business ventures never contribute their stories. I also find it interesting that people post uplifting ideas but that some have been close to bankruptcy or had difficulty meeting the monetary requirements of making a living. I'm surprised that someone didn't say "raise your prices $100.00 to $200.00 so you get a better separation between the other taxidermists in the area and yourself" or something like "I wouldn't do a deer head for less than $600.00 because a dodge pickup costs the same in Missouri and it does in ____"

    Being a commercial taxidermist in a down economy is a difficult business and I wish you luck.
  19. mk

    mk -30 below

    i`m feeling it last year i had 30 heads before our shotgun season even started this year i`m at 6 and shotgun starts in 6 days. who knows. and its like all my customers i`ve talked to seems like 1/2 or more of them have had their hours cut at work or been laid off cause construction is dead. but bottom line charge what you have to charge to make it, if you want to charge wholesale prices advertise to taxidermists in your area or online or in the magazines that come out. good luck as most of us will need it. he`ll look on the bright side i`ve got more time to hunt this year, its awesome. ;D
  20. antlerman

    antlerman NTA Life Member #0118

    Trish, I think you made the right decision. Another thing to consider as we have talked about, is to cut cost anywhere applicable. Even though your setup is first class, it is a pretty tight and efficient setup. I don't know off hand where you could trim, but look around and think about it. As I told you, us getting Speedy Delivery here has cut my overhead just in shipping alone by a couple of thousand dollars a year. See if you can't find a way to escape UPS. They are killing us. As we discussed, manikin selection can also make a huge difference. Jody Green mannikin's are getting more and more of my business. They are a good manikin for less money. There are others out there as well. As much as I hate running a fleshing machine, I found a way that works for me so that I can keep more of my dollars verses paying them out. Every dollar saved is a dollar earned. Again, I think you made the right decision.