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Advice on starting my own business

Discussion in 'Beginners' started by mountin man, Aug 30, 2011.

  1. I have a full time job that allows me to only work 14 to 15 days a month and I have the rest of the month off. I have been dabbling in taxidermy for about 10 years, mainly doing ducks and geese for myself. Probably close to 30 birds under my belt. I have gotten pretty good, not a professional by any means. The area i live in is covered up with hunters and alot them are my friends and coworkers. I love taxidermy and I am constantly reading and watching videos and I have been slowly ordering tools and paints and manuals and DVDs and trying to learn as much as possible. I am thinking about getting my license and starting up a business from my home garage and taking full advantage of the tax breaks while I continue to learn more about whitetails and small mammals and eventually turkeys and polishing my waterfowl skills. I am confident that I can get more than enough work from people I know (by more than enough I mean 20 to 30 animals, nothing like some of you do) because I tell them up front it may turn out great and it may not. I would offer this service at a discounted price just for the fact that it wouldn't be top quality work at this time because of my lack of experience. I know some people may get upset by me offering this but the people I would be working for would not take these animals to get mounted if it wasn't by me. By this I mean they wouldn't have the money for a $275-$350 duck or a $400 to $550 deer or it may not be quite big enough to pay that for a mount. So I would do it for a little cheaper and get some more experience and they would get a mount that they otherwise wouldn't have done. Keep in mind I have no intentions of becoming a full time taxidermist, but I would love to have a nice side business and in due time offer top quality mounts while doing something I love and taking advantage of the great tax benefits of running a small business from home. Also keep in mind that I have spent alot of money out of pocket over the years just playing around and I intend to keep doing so even if this whole plan falls through. Like I said I really enjoy doing taxidermy work. Kindof obsessed with it really. I just really would like to learn more and do something I love, but I would like to have alittle break come tax time while I am learning. Any advice or words of wisdom or words of anger or any response is appreciated.
  2. joeym

    joeym Old Murphey

    First and foremost, check with your homeowner insurance carrier about your insurance status when doing taxidermy in your home. Many will not allow it, and would not cover an event if they knew you were doing commercial taxidermy in your home. What you charge is your business, but don't start out dirt cheap...it will hurt you seriously in the long run. Be prepared for people dropping by unannounced and at any time or day of the week. My shop is in my yard, and sometimes I wish it were 10 miles away.

  3. Thanks for the advice. I hadn't thought about checking on my homeowners insurance. The garage that I will be using is not attached to my house. It is roughly 200 ft. from my home. I will check on that for sure though, thanks.
  4. Uncle Harley

    Uncle Harley New Member

    Take it from someone who has been doing it professionally for just under 5 yrs and is experiencing burnout already. CHARGE FOR YOUR WORK CHARGE FOR YOUR WORK CHARGE FOR YOUR WORK It's not like you aren't making it without the taxidermy income, so dont be afraid to wait for the right customer. It only takes one satisfied customer to start word of mouth rolling. So ask yourself this, do you want the customer that has expendable income that picks up promptly telling all his friends about you, or the guy that had to steal diaper money from momma to make payments on his mount telling all his friends, now remember this birds of a feather flock together.
  5. That is a great point Uncle Harley! That realy is. Thank you for that. I definately have alot to think about.
  6. Very good points. I still do taxidermy part time and my friends think they deserve a "Buddy Deal" if you will and are upset when I say no. At first it was tempting ad did it once and that particular person expects that everytime. Whats worse is when words gets around on special deals... not worth it. Good luck
  7. Yea I have had another guy warn me about those "buddy deals". Even though I enjoy doing the work, my time is still wurth something. And most hard working people realize that and don't mind paying. I was just going to offer a slight discount due to the fact that my work may not be as good as some others around here. Thanks for all the input.
  8. Mr.T

    Mr.T Active Member

    What is a slight discount? They would pay more anyway to another taxidermist if you where not there to be take advantage of. Friends will milk you thinking that they are helping you, go figure. I started out cheap, and when it came time to raise prices on my repeat customers, my new price, I was told that I was still cheaper than the taxidermist they were using before they found me. So who was the dummy? Do what you want, just do not do it for cheap.
  9. Friends will take advantage of you for sure. If I was to do one buddies mount for cheap then every buddy would expect the same. Then next year I would be the A hole because I raised my price. I love taxidermy for sure, but I am also wanting to make some extra money. So I see your point. Thanks.
  10. Uncle Harley

    Uncle Harley New Member

    its something that i was told and I never heeded. I fear you will do the same, the stark realaity, we all are insecure about our work a little when we first start out and for what ever reason we think lowering our price will get us new business. How many other new business do you see come to town and lose money to get customers. Sure they may have a customer apreciation day with a cook out and coupons for door prises, but you dont see them starting out slashing their own throats................well at least not the ones that stick around for more than a few yrs.
  11. I am a giving person. I will give a stranger the shirt off of my back! I have always been that way. I like to make people happy and do people favors. I have been taken advantage of before and I am sure that I will again, but after hearing from everyone here and talking to other people I realize that no business can survive by doing everyone favors. And I am just gona have to be in business mode instead of buddy mode I believe to make this work out. Believe it or not Uncle Harley you are not the 1st to tell me that. Not even the 1st taxidermist to tell me that! haha. Even though I am doing something I love it is in the end going to be a business.
  12. Uncle Harley

    Uncle Harley New Member

    yip otherwise it's ahobby that becomes quite burdonsome once people find out about you. I had 1200 dollars worth of work hangin on the wall for up to 4 months this yr............all " buddies"
  13. deadwood

    deadwood New Member

    If you make up a price sheet, it is a lot easier to keep to your prices when it is there in writing. My price list has a "buddy price" on the bottom of it.. It reads BUDDY PRICE= REGULAR PRICE X 2 I haven't had anyone ask for it yet
  14. Unfortunatly, your willingness to do favors and "help" people will eventually cause your side business to fail. Nice guys finish dead last in the business world. It took me several years to realize this myself. My advice is to practice on your own time on your own dime till you can do a good commercial mount. Then CHARGE FOR IT! Trust me, you want to be known as one of the better taxidermist, not the cheapest!!!
  15. My advice would be to specialize in one thing since you just want to be part time whether it be ducks, deer or whatever is the most hunted species in your area.