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How many hours in WT shoulder mount

Discussion in 'Deer and Gameheads' started by Dave H, Jun 3, 2011.

  1. 3-5 hrs

  2. 5-7 hrs

  3. 7-9 hrs

  4. 9-12 hrs

  5. 13-15hrs

  1. Old Fart

    Old Fart Active Member

    Cole has a point, the mechanics and plumbers are in "business" most taxidermists have no clue what that is. Their PER HOUR charges include things like taxes, insurance, maintenance and clean up time, out of shop errands, vehicle and maintainace costs related to business and miscellaneous non productive time. The kind of thing that an employee would be getting paid to do. There are time and expenses related to the mounting of that deer head that MANY taxidermists NEVER figure in to the true cost and TIME of producing that deer head.

    FIELD2FOREVER The more I learn, The more I don't Know!!

    9-12, Heavy on the 12 side lol. Being new sucks, and I think 6 hrs of that is sewing. Seriously I bet it takes me 2hrs to sew a long "Y' incision.

  3. Dave H

    Dave H New Member

    Ron and Micheal p what do you think a reasonable hourly rate should be for taxidermy, and how would you justify your answer?
  4. michael p.

    michael p. Getting better with age :)

    I have to make $25 an hour to make minimum wage.
  5. gab

    gab Active Member

    experience counts.an experienced mechanic makes twice as much as a novice because he gets done in 1/2 the time and has moved on to the next billable job.same thing with taxidermy.i pay all my taxidermists the same percentage,but the guy who's been doing it over 20 yrs is 60% faster,so he either makes 60% more or gets to spend 60% more time away from work.his choice.
  6. Cole

    Cole Amateur Taxidermist

    If you are asking about an hourly shop rate, then that question is impossible to answer. It will be different for every person, and in some cases VASTLY different. Old Fart is dead on, there is way more to pricing than how fast you are and what you think a good hourly wage is.
  7. Old Fart

    Old Fart Active Member

    Even if you work out of your home or garage, your TRUE cost of business could be as high as $20 an hour. That's why a GOOD accountant and meticulous records on your part are VERY important. I remember that the first time my accountant had me keep track of EVERYTHING, my cost per hour was over $6 an hour. That was 25 years ago!
    You have to keep track of ALL of your "taxidermy related" time, and you should separate the productive and non productive time.
  8. dugart

    dugart Doug Smith / D-Sign,LLC. 616-392-3841

    Okay, here it is again (I've posted these time tested / successfully business tested formulas before). I've run a successful sign business for over 33 years now so I know how the self employment thing works...really, trust me on this! 8)

    In an average work year, you have 2,000 hours to work. If you're running your own show, every expense has to come from your hours worked (and a silly little concept called a "mark up" on materials). Let's start with the "Mark up"...Every dollar you have to spend in business, should come back to you with AT LEAST a quarter stuck to it!!!! ideally more like 40 cents!!!!!!! If a deer manikin costs you $50.00 and shipping costs $20.00 the selling price should be ideally: $70.00 divided by .60 (that results in a true 40 percent profit) Selling price: $116.66.....But what most business people figure is $70.00 X 1.4 = $98.00 (that's more like a true 28% profit margin) Anyway, that's before you lift a talented finger to produce the amazingly life like end product. ;)

    Now lets look at your shop rate; if you work alone, take every last dime it costs to call yourself a self employed business person and divide that into 2,000 hours. And I mean EVERY LAST DIME!!!
    > Insurance, health, property, liability, auto, you get it... the works!
    > Advertising, phone costs, competitions, schooling, etc.
    > Utilities, heat, electrical.
    > Rent (or if you own the place, how much would it cost to rent the equivalent?)
    > Automobile expense, vehicle payments, depreciation, mileage.
    > Your hourly wage, (how much would it cost you to hire someone who can do what you need done?)
    > BAD DEBTS, estimate how many times you'll run into a dead beat each year!
    > Unexpected delays, non productive hours. (If you're lucky, you'll be 75% efficient with your work day).
    So, you may as well figure 1,500 billable hours in one year!!!!!!!!!!!
    Most anyone who actually performs this calculation will come up with $35 - $50 cost, yes cost!! per hour. You still need to add profit

    So the good news is: IF your asking price for a shoulder mount is (based on an average completion time of 10 hours $60 per hour shop rate) is about $700.00, you might be making a meager profit. ???

    The bad news is, as far as I can see in my area, NO ONE is asking enough to make even a meager profit!!!! :'( :'(

    Which begs the question, what the heck is wrong with most of our heads?????? Is there something that makes numbskulled taxidermists feel that they're second class citizens who don't deserve to make a living? Something that tells them that their wifes or husbands should be the ones to bring home the bacon while they play the starving artist game? WHY CAN"T EVERYONE REALIZE THAT THEIR TIME AND SKILL IS WORTH ENOUGH TO LIVE ON?

    I'm certain that this will stir up a friggin hornets nest and many will say I'm a.....what ever...fill in the blank. But the reality is that the ONLY reason that this business is underpaid is because many, many of the people engaged in the business are ignorant of the actual costs of doing business.

    So if you can post a picture of your latest deer mount, and graciously accept the critique of an experienced brother, then use the same mindset when accepting the advice of an experienced self employed person! ;D

    Just imagine if everyone suddenly got "real" with taxidermy pricing and you could ask a price that could actually earn you a good living. I'm sure that after this is read, I'll hear all the deer hunters saying "man I couldn't find anyone under $700 to mount my deer this year, I guess those guys finally caught on." :D ;D ;D

    Oh by the way, I'm part of the problem too, I ask $500 for a shoulder mount and it takes me about 12-14 hours. But, there's no one within 100 miles of me who charges over over $475 so my hands are sort of tied until I decide to make the first move. :eek:
  9. 1984 was the year I started doing taxidermy. A mustang GT listed for 9,562 dollars. The average deerhead was 295 dollars. A 2011 mustang GT lists for 32,000 dollars that is an increase of 334%. That deer head price should be 985 dollars. Taxidermy done today is so much better than in 1984, but we get paid so much less. I charge 650 dollars for one and will be going up this fall.
  10. Trail cam-295.00, treestand-150, doe pee-28.00, grunt tube-30.00 camo boots, 125.00, camo clothes 400.00, quad-10,000.00, Truck 40,000.00, 20 bags of corn-120.00, bow-800.00, rifle/scope1,200.00, gas back and forth to the woods -500.00 foodplots -1,200.00 arrows-120.00, bullets-75.00 now if your maried double that because she gets to spend that much on clothes and shoes. 985 TO PROTECT YOUR INVESTMENT> PRICELESS
  11. Dugart, I've tried to explain the same thing before to no end. Actually had someone tell me it only cost them $500 a year to run their business! I haven't been in taxidermy very long, but numbers have always been my thing and I was taught business by a very knowledgeable person on the subject. When I crunch the numbers I can't figure how some of the people in my area are making anything. The ones that are close to what I figure to be the bare minimum I think are just looking at what they have made at the end of the year (which is not a well figured number), and don't consider the amount of hours that they had to put in to make that.
  12. josh s.

    josh s. Active Member

    why not cut your sewing time to 15 min max by doing a short "Y" or a "T"?
  13. dugart

    dugart Doug Smith / D-Sign,LLC. 616-392-3841

    Yep I know what what you're saying, in your case I'm preaching to the choir! I'd bet there aren't too many accountants in the taxidermy biz!
    Many taxidermists must just think "I really enjoy doing taxidermy and my wife's job has good insurance", or "my pension covers my expenses so therefore, I don't need to make anything." It's a matter of being selfish in those cases. "Screw the guy who actually needs to make a living off this taxidermy thing, it's not my problem."

    I just had a conversation this past weekend, with a young businessman who's made a very good living and a ton of extra money. He was boasting about going out of state to harvest some really big deer and about an upcoming moose hunt. When I asked him about who's doing his mounts, he kept on boasting about how cheap he got his deer mounted and pheasants, etc. He didn't know me from my taxidermy work, I was fellow business owner to him and he was proud of the great deals he made off taxidermists. Then I found out he was using a guy in my area who charges $225. for a deer mount.

    Now here's a guy that has plenty of money to afford the extras in life, spends thousands pursuing the game. But when he's successful in that, the actual trophy, the reason he did all that, was the cheapest thing of all!! Now where's the sense in that?? He didn't brag about the cheap outfitter, the cheap airfare, the cheap lodging, the cheap scent free suit. Just about how cheap the taxidermist worked!! What does that tell you??
  14. Doug I wish all of those lowball jokers would just go away. That would just make it easier for the rest of us to make a honest living. They can charge 300 for a deer and 450.00 for a turkey, and set back and laugh at the rest of us trying to dig a profit out of our ass.
    The reality of it is, this will never happen until quality comes into play. Customers need to know what they are getting for their money. I've explain to most of my customers through the years what they should look for in a good mount. Most of them have called me back or stopped by and mentioned how there other mounts don't compare to what they get from someone who really cares ME. I don't make $50.00 an hour, but I really love what I do. Is that business sense, no, but it's the Norm of the taxidermy industry.
    The hacks are trying to kill us all. They have a full time job, so it doesn't matter to them how much they make per mount. Their full time job pays the bills.
    OK I'm done ranting. I could keep on going, but it doesn't really matter. This pricing crap is up to the individual, how much can you make in your area for what you do.
  15. *

    * Liberalism IS A MENTAL ILLNESS !

  16. josh s.

    josh s. Active Member

    In response to charging less....and I am not justifying it.....but me personally,i am charging 400.00 this year.the last two seasons I only charged 325.00 and felt my work wasn't quite up to par. Dennis and jim....i hope to put out work like yours very soon but I am still learning....now I also have a well paying full time job that I support my wife and 4 kids on so its not as essential for me. Trust me.....i will be in the 450-500 range soon enough. In my area though....it is worth the two or three years to build a good base. The last guy that picked his deer up gave me 50.00 extra and his words were..."i am getting the better deal". As far as time spent....varies as most stated. In the last two years I have done a total of about 90 shoulder mounts....so I would say practice phase is done and I can start charging a little bit more.
  17. Old Fart

    Old Fart Active Member

    Dennis is RIGHT, unfortunately. They would rather work 10-14 hours a day AND weekends, before they ever raise their prices to make a living with normal hours. It's almost like being the "cheapest" is a badge of honor for some. I've been doing this over 50 years and I can remember the "low ballers" from way back. Some learn, some don't........most just fade away into other jobs......... eventually!

    josh s, what you don't realize........you are cultivating the low end client base. They will LEAVE you as soon as your prices go up, for the next low price guy who pops up.
  18. josh s.

    josh s. Active Member

    bill coates told me the exact same thing! Like I said....this year will be different and I an sure I will lose some but I know in a couple years I will be where I should be.
  19. dugart

    dugart Doug Smith / D-Sign,LLC. 616-392-3841

    Aw shucks Dennis.....I thought I could single handedly change the mindset of the ignorant taxidermists out there and everyone would live happily ever after. ::) ::)
    ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D
    You don't think that's gonna happen?? ;)
  20. *

    * Liberalism IS A MENTAL ILLNESS !