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McKenzie Taxidermy Supply, new Taxidermists, lowballers and bull sh.............

Discussion in 'The Taxidermy Industry' started by michael p., Dec 5, 2011.

  1. michael p.

    michael p. Getting better with age :)

    Well, everybody else has a McKenzie, low baller post so I did not want to feel left out :) But seriously, I've wanted to put down in words for some time a few strong feelings I have about this whole entire McKenzie & lowballer conspiracy/situation and these last couple of posts and responses have kind of been the straw that broke the camels back. This may be long, but it needs to be said and heard.

    First of all, do some of you even think before you type....are you impaired??? What's the effing deal?! There are a bunch of people on here ranting and raving about all the NEW Taxidermists popping up around them...ummm excuse me, what were half of you 1-2-3-4-6 years ago?? A NEW TAXIDERMIST IN TOWN! Where is this sense of entitlement coming from that nobody else should try this art? Many of you are members of your state association, you should be promoting this art, not stabbing people wanting to try it.

    So many gripe about the low ballers. I'm going to tell you a secret, please do not share it......YOU ARE NOT LOSING BUSINESS TO LOW BALLERS, THEY WOULDN'T HAVE BROUGHT IT TO YOU ANYWAYS, THEY CAN'T AFFORD YOU!!!! I'm going to tell you another little secret and this one is a biggie!!! Seriously, keep this one under your hat. If you are a professional Taxidermist as many promote themselves to be, the $250 new guy is not a threat to your business....a threat to losing business is a new guy coming in, doing average to above average work, setting up a nice, clean full time business and charging $400-$500 dollars starting out for a simple shoulder mount. This guy/gal has confidence, skill & apparently a little business sense and while you've got your eye on that little guy you've been complaining about charging $200-$300 for a deer head to clients who obviously don't give a damn about quality, only price, the other guy is taking in work you could have had if you stayed focused. I'm going to give you a sound piece of advice......THERE IS NOTHING YOU CAN DO ABOUT THE OTHER GUY, YOU CAN ONLY CONTROL YOUR OWN BUSINESS! Concentrate on that. I am not a big shop, I am a small shop. i do not want to be a big shop. Yes we are adding on out of necessity.....but I can promise you I will never be a big hitter. You see I still think a well managed small studio can make as much profit as a large studio that has too much overhead....maybe I'm wrong, but I'm quite sure I am not :) In this business you can have a small studio managed correctly and make a good living or you can have a huge studio and make a great living with major stress....I choose the first. But whether you run a large or small studio, you must carry the large studio attitude........and that is not to give a crap what the 'other' guy is doing outside your studio. Now of course if somebody local is stealing your advertising, slandering your business or otherwise then you deal with it.....but what they charge, promise or mount is none of your concern and should not even be addressed or thought of.

    Same with new Taxidermists. What were most of you on this site 2-3-4-5-6 years ago? You were new Taxidermists. Now many of you are criticizing those who are following the same dream you were just a short few years ago. Ask yourself, what makes you so special? Why are you welcome into this industry and they are not? I read on facebook and here how you shouldn't trust anybody, let newbies into your shop and yada, yada, yada.........is this how you want to be treated? and if this is how you were treated, how did it make you feel? I'm going to share another secret with you. If you are rolling along, started doing good in taxidermy and have some local kid come into your shop.....treat him good. You don't have to show him your magical ear wizard or share with him that Krowtann is like magic in a bottle......you don't even have to tell him 555 or 111 is better than epoxy, but don't treat him like a scab. You treat him like a scab, you're only going to motivate him to be bigger, better and higher priced than you out of spite.....if you are kind and have a professional courtesy to him, you may just wind up with somebody to shoot the taxidermy BS with and as a peer he may look to raise his prices closer to yours simply out of respect. When I travel I sometime get off the interstate and go into these little towns looking for Taxidermy shops. I did that today and saw something amusing. i saw a homemade spray painted business sign that without stating it, you could tell was a jab at another newer taxidermy shop so being an enquiry mind, I wanted to know.....so I went to the first shop and looked and then set out to find what I knew was another taxidermy business in town....I found it and it was PACKED with people checking in mounts, the first one I saw with the homemade sign was also open but not much going on. People, potential clients will RUN from a small business that promotes themselves by disparaging others. I have always felt that logic was true and saw it first hand today.

    Seriously fellow Taxidermists, have you ever heard an auto mechanic say he thought NAPA auto supply was getting too big or was carrying too many parts??? Think about that for a second, I'll say it again..."have you ever heard an auto mechanic say he thought NAPA auto supply was getting too big or was carrying too many parts??? " NO! And you never will! Most businesses love the consolidation of supplies...EXCEPT TAXIDERMISTS! Here you have a Taxidermy company that was started in a garage (just like yours!), went to show after show after show, kept up with market wants and needs and came out bigger than the rest and what does the McKenzie company get from some of its peers? Condemnation! Even from companies who are only a few years old!! LMAO So here's the deal, in Taxidermy you achieve the American dream and you are the devil to your peers. Wow, do you teach your children also to only be half as good as they can be?? People react with bitterness to McKenzies so called 'snap together' parts. Question, did you ever stop to think that it was a Taxidermist JUST LIKE YOU who created those items and now makes a commission off of them??? Once again I will repeat 'did you ever stop to think that it was a Taxidermist JUST LIKE YOU who created those items and now makes a commission off of them???' Yep, it was somebody just like you who loved working in this industry who created those parts and now you, the taxidermist are giving them crap for using their God given talent and striving to do more for this industry. YOU BITCH BECAUSE SOME PEOPLE DO NOT SHARE ALL THEIR KNOWLEDGE AND THEN WHEN THEY DO YOU BITCH THAT THEY ARE MAKING IT TOO EASY FOR OTHERS! Are every damn one of you complaining about this bipolar? Are you pissed that technology passed you by?? We have an industry that is finally being looked at in a more respectable way, we have an industry that has advanced to where most mounts will not embarrass us as bad as they use to and we bitch!

    People gripe about a $50 form. you are going to bitch about the main structural product that cost less that 20% of the gross product to be finished. Have any of you ever ran a real business??? Our profit to cost margin is one of the best of any industry and yet you bitch! You bitch that "Taxidermy is too easy to get in to" well let me ask you, where the hell did you come from (if you've started Taxidermy since 1985-if you came up before the 80's you would not say this ) You cry that Taxidermy is the only business where anybody can order supplies wholesale..........tell that to plumbers, carpenters and electricians who see potential clients walking into Home Depot and Lowes to buy products so they can fix their own leaky toilets, build their own sheds, install their own windows, paint their own houses and install their own flooring.....and most contractors pay MORE for their supplies than WE DO! Most have to order from smaller lumber yards who specialize in more builders products but have to charge a higher price because they do not have the volume buying power as Depot or Lowes. We have a lumber yard here in La Grange where the owner buys his 2x4's at home depot and resells them at his yard with a mark up because his lumber wholesaler cannot beat Home Depots price. ALSO, how many beginners do you know that are going to order a $1,000's worth and get a 12% discount? Also, if ANYBODY thinks the discount stops at 12% then you are crazy!! Do you honestly think that the shops ordering $100,000 worth of supplies are paying the same price as we are??? Heck no....and before one of you say 'well that's not fair, all Taxidermists should get the same discount'.....bu;ll $h!t!! risk everything you have, open up a $1,000,000 plus studio, order $10,000- $20,000 worth of supplies at a time and then tell me that everybody DESERVES to get the same deal.

    Everybody harps on McKenzie, even some supply companies still growing, but I see where one supply just signed on 2 new sculptors from other companies and are expanding their product line......but just a couple of months ago an employee of this supply company was on here lambasting McKenzies for getting too big. Why is it OK for one supply company to try and grow but they criticize another for doing it??? Seriously, answer that question. Why is it fine for a company like the one who smartly contracted 2 new sculptors try and grow and get where McKenzie is.....but McKenzie is the devil because they are where the other is trying to be?????????????????????????????????????????????????/

    We have people stating that McKenzie wants to put Taxidermist's out of business with their price increases. Well you may feel that way (for good reason) if you're charging under $350 for a deer head. You will NOT make a living! But seriously, where do some of you come up with this crap?????????????????? I here how some Taxidermists local economy will not support a living wage cost on a deer head.....well then find a different profession or MOVE! If you cannot make a living wage get the hell out! I have 2 friends who have lost their job in the computer industry and they are perfect examples of PEOPLE. One could not find a white collar job like he had, lost his house, wife and self esteem (I believe over it) and applies for jobs every week, but otherwise bitches about how their are no jobs out there. The other friend who also lost his white collar job traded in his dockers for a jumpsuit and is climbing drilling rigs out in West Texas....he kept his house, his family and is making it the best way he can.

    All this crap about McKenzie being the only supply company... the Antelope I just mounted with Manny Chavez is on a Jet smith form, I just got a bunch of awesome whitetail forms from Fosters Taxidermy Supply, I'm ordering muledeer and antelope from Jonas in 2 weeks, in January I am ordering 9 bobcats from Research.....and on and on and on!! I love y'all....but shut up!! LOL you are condemning ingenuity, entrepreneurialism, capitalism, innovation and success all while trying to use your ingenuity to be an entrepreneur so you can have more capital to expand your innovations and be a success.....think about that please.

    PS Please find out who they are and support your smaller supply companies with orders indstead of sitting on here and bitching that there is none left.....you are not helping their cause by complaining, you only help them by buying.
  2. nelentaxidermy

    nelentaxidermy Member

    Perfect post.
    Many thoughts expressed that I have but if I said it ( low post count rookie) I would probably get blasted.
    I have lurked here for years, don't post or speak to much.
    Spent alot of years in the construction fields working and brought that business experience to taxidermy and you said it perfectly and used some great analogies.
    I maybe a rookie but not a lowballer and plan (yes, I have a business plan), plan to be working in the taxidermy business for many years to come.
    Thank you for being a positive business voice and maybe I will see you again in PA this year Michael.

  3. joeym

    joeym Old Murphey

    I just don't understand why they had to stop making forms out of paper...I don't remember paying over $5 for a paper deer mannikin, LOL!
  4. BDrake

    BDrake Active Member

    Danmyou can type. I would be at it all day and stil lnever compose that good.
    I think part of it may be the Walmart effect, were they go in and setup stores in small towns become big enough to move into any large city and cuase small mom and pop shops to go out of buisness.. It is a mentallity we have brcome used to.
    My post was mostly inspired by what I have been reading for sometime on here from alot of people, I do think it is true, but at the same time as far as other cheap taxis around my area popping up, it makes no difference to me. I have a fulltime job, I have enough taxi work to quit that job, but I just can`t do it. For me I could take in 1 deerhead a year and could stay in buisness.
    Everyone likes to rant now and then, we just like to rant about different things.
    Good post mp
  5. nickstax

    nickstax New Member

    like you i also agree with the lowballers mentality that cheap is good and mckenzie should take on the same concept. if i didnt pay taxes and insurance and health care (obama care) i too could charge 200.00 a head and bitch about form prices. i tell all lowballers and mckenzie bashers that when you run your hobby/business as a business you will see that mckenzie is doing just that. lets all bitch about the lowlife scum who are protesting about the people who work HARD everyday to get ahead and not depend on the goverment to take care of them because they are to lazy to work to get ahead. sorry for the rant i got carried away. i work hard everyday and i pay my fair share so all the whinners can raise your prices(if your work is worth the increase ) or shut the heck up. now i have a 12 hour day ahead of me so i will shut up and go make someone happy for christmas.
  6. gab

    gab Active Member

    great post!
  7. AA

    AA Member

    Best post I have ever read on here.
  8. psycho

    psycho 2011 WORLD CHAMPIONS!

    I bitch because I can F O C K E R and obviously everyone has a right to their oppinion so shut up my ears are hurting. ;D

    Remember when some of us bitch about the low ballers we bitch because they hurt the industry because you know as well as I do we have done so much and came so far in this industry that we want it to have a professional image, what it deserves. If you don't treat yourself and your business with respect then you don't treat the industry with respect. I got another remount in yesterday, I love getting work in because of them. ;) ;D
  9. Brandon M.

    Brandon M. New Member

    Can I get a Hallelujah!

    The constant bashing of lowballers, hacks, newbs, and just other taxis who aren't running their business the way you like it in general gets old. I'm pretty much a newbie myself and no my work is not masters division quality but I do what I feel like is a very acceptable job for a commercial taxidermist. I opened my doors to the public for the first time this year charging significantly higher prices than the guy down the road who's been in business 30 + years. Do you think its easy even getting people to call you when your higher and new? But guess what I'm friendly with the guy and actually refer people to him, when someone calls or comes buy I do my little song and dance and if their more worried about quality than price I usually wined up with the job. If cost is their main concern I ask them in a very polite way if their familiar with so and so here's his number he is cheaper than myself. At this point Ive done my song and dance and they've seen my work so a couple things happen. One, they take their head and I never hear back (that's fine). Two, they go check them out and return shortly. Three, I receive a call asking about a remount and how much for a new cape. The point is the guy down the road is not hurting me at all if anything I'm slowly seeing myself emerge with a reputation as the more expensive but higher quality taxidermist in town, he has gone from being the taxidermist to the "cheap guy", nothing wrong with it where both after different clientele.
    Now next week someone could move in down the road from myself and charge $800.00 and become the really expensive guy who does awesome work, but that wouldn't change a thing for me, and he should know he's looking for different customers than my self or the cheap guy.

    But I guess the point of it is I don't bitch about his prices or the way he's doing things and to the best of my knowledge he doesn't do it about mine.

    Now if you've got someone who is doing good quality work with low prices still no reason to worry, you cant sustain that for long. And if your on level ground in regards to price and quality, its time to put on your dancing shoes and win them over with customer service which I beleive is more important than price or quality but that's just me.
  10. gab

    gab Active Member

    the phrase"preaching to the choir"comes to mind.those of us who get it already knew it and those that need to understand it will look at it like it's in a foreign language and figure it doesn't apply to them.the other phrase that comes to mind is "you can't fix stupid"
  11. good post Michael except for one comment: wholesale supplies. We really are not buying wholesale from any suppliers as our customers can order anything out of that catalog for the exact same price we are ordering it for. It were wholesale if we would pay lower prices then the general public but we don't. Other then that I do agree with what you said in your post.
  12. michael p.

    michael p. Getting better with age :)

    I addressed that twice. Once when I said that a person off the street more than likely is not going to order a $1,000 worth and get a 12% discount and the second time where i mentioned do people really think bigger shops only get 12%.

    The more you grow in this business and the more you work with companies the more you learn that yes, there is a wholesale price.

    Evelyn, do you think that any restaurant placing a $300 order with Cisco truly gets wholesale cost. If you look at most restaurant wholesale food catalogues such as my friend has, many times we as consumers are paying less in the grocery store than he is from the wholesaler..... but it's easier for him to spend more and get it all from one place. Now if he drops $20,000.... the volume discount starts to help his bottom line.

    I'm not asking this as an ass, I'm being honest.... have any if you ever ran another business besides taxidermy? You keep throwing out this word 'wholesale' like it's something given to a person when they enter an industry......it's not, it's something given to those who do very large volume buying.

    Just because wr are not getting huge volume discounts does not mean they are not being used daily in this business....but that is between vendor and merchant.
  13. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    LOL gab. Ten years ago at an NTA board meeting I stated that taxidermists are absolutely the dumbest people who ever pretended to do business. I thought several were going to have a stroke. I remember Danny Owens' mouth almost hitting the table. I've told Michael that several times and do you know what? I haven't seen a helluva lot to convince me otherwise.
  14. Paul C

    Paul C New Member

    GREAT post Mike. You really ought to start doing some business seminars at conventions. In fact, I think you should talk to my wife Christie about a collaborative, interactive seminar with both of you on stage--it would be the Super Seminar of the Year!
  15. Harry Whitehead

    Harry Whitehead I love to hunt Buffalos!!!!!

    George, Lordy that's funny!!!!!!!! The REAL funny part is, YOU'RE RIGHT!!!!!!!!
    MP, all in all that was a good post. There are two things that I don't agree with though. First, and the biggest, is that these lowballers ARE hurting the industry as a whole. It's these people that portray taxidermy as a "less than professional" occupation. Now don't go and say " 2,4,6,8 years ago you were a newbie" because no, I wasn't. It would be like comparing physicians in the stone age to current physicians. Back then they would drill holes in peoples heads to relieve headaches. I don't think that is common practice now. Comparatively speaking, these people that start up overnight taxidermy shops, usually around deer season, don't do anything but bring the rest of us down as a whole with their archaic way of doing business and their lack of knowledge in the field of taxidermy. You are totally correct that you can't do squat about it and therefor you shouldn't bitch because it won't do any good BUT sometimes it makes for a good pressure release. I think that there should be some sort of actual competency testing but that is a whole different argument that I don't want to start now......
    Secondly, and least important, is your statement on small shops make as much profit as large shops with less stress. You're right about the stress but incorrect about the profit. I've done taxidermy commercially for 29 years. I've done it alone and with employees. You will work your BALLS OFF to gross 120K. Most likely around 90-100K if you are a one man show. Sure, there are exceptions but not many. Figure your profit and it will be around 60K if you are lucky. Trust me, larger shops make more....
  16. Bill Yox

    Bill Yox Well-Known Member

    While I like Mikes post, and of course, agree with the follow up comments, we have been saying this same thing for years...to deaf ears. Actually, the ears arent deaf as the saying goes. Ears not willing to listen. In this day and age of low accountability and blaming everything on others, people get "owl necks" that go all the way around to look at others instead of themselves, and complain about suppliers for one simple reason...

    ...the failures of themselves. When I finally learned it for myself, it was quite a slice of humble pie to be sure. I still can taste that pie all these years later, and quite frankly, I dont want another slice. I had nobody to blame but myself. I learned. Its taken much time, but it gets better once you work through it and stop pointing fingers.

    Good post Mike.

    ...after submitting, I see Harry weighed in. I dont know enough about running a large studio to comment there, he ought to know better than I would ;)
  17. byrdman

    byrdman Well-Known Member

    I love the fact that you can get most everything from mckemzies...my only problem is on a single order it may be shipped from 4 different locations giving you 4 shipping fees instead of one oder/one box/one fee......hopefully they are working to fix this
  18. Harry Whitehead

    Harry Whitehead I love to hunt Buffalos!!!!!

    Bill, you nailed it....! When you can look in the mirror and say "it's my fault" and accept that as opposed to pointing fingers at others and blaming them it makes things easier. I'm not sure where this fits in with this thread but you're right Bill.....!

    MP, I have helped run another business besides taxidermy. You won't believe it but it was women's shoes. I was one of the general managers for Bluegrass Shoe company that my uncle owned. Can you just imagine me at a shoe expo!!!! Went to several. That was back in the day. Sold shoes in the daytime and taxidermy at night...!!!
  19. michael p.

    michael p. Getting better with age :)

    Harry, I think we actually agree on the large shop, small shop profit. You yourself and I have friends that have humongous studios and humongous overheads and can barely make payroll. That's the point I'm getting at.

    Also, every industry has those that put it in a bad light. We as Taxidermists are not special that we have them..... but there is not a damn thing you can do about what another Taxidermist charges so why even worry about it?

    Harry, you and many others have business sense, that's why you do what you do ;)

    PS a small shop can still make more than x large studio with an over inflated overhead ;) LOL