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Not trying to start a fight, but honestly, how do they do it?

Discussion in 'The Taxidermy Industry' started by michael p., Apr 26, 2012.

  1. retiredfulltimer

    retiredfulltimer New Member

    Come on now, you got to use a little common sense, on fish I had a flat price for bass (average back then was 8 lbs), another for trout (the biggest average might be 24" for here), 1 side only, pedestals extra, 1 price for crappie, quotes on the rest (salt water, salmon etc). This fit our area well. Never posted prices that might bite me later (er...tried too) on the saltwater, salmon etc. Too many variables on some, never posted a price just call for quote, then I wrote it down in our call log books so the guy couldn't say I said something different later.

    On bears I set a flat price based on the species as well, same for lions. It was a set price for a black bear for example. Sure the tannery and rugger charges by the foot as their work is a little different. The cost difference between a 4' bear and a 6' bear for tanning and rugging might only be $80-$100, I set a flat price based on the above average bear for our area , put the extra tanning/rugging money on my pocket on the little guys yet still got my profit level on the big guys. My work output on a 4' vs. a 6' bear was about the same. Maybe a few minutes more fleshing/salting. Why leave money on the table mounting a dink? We work too damn hard gotta get those few extra bucks where you can.
    A guy brings in a bear that he thinks is a 5' bear after stretching and rugging it comes to a different length, now his pissed and says you took his bear. Man it just helps take away the issues.

    I do the same thing with elk hides, we did a ton of them and I got tired of arguing how we measure them. We to a flat price for cow elk and a separate price for bulls. No issues, no problems, no explaining, saves time and money because the bickering is minimized. Sure the tannery charges by the square foot, I don't care, with shipping costs and all I set my price for the larger elk, made more on the smaller one and slept well at night.

    Look at what you do and why you charge what you charge. I had time/material sheets for everything we did for the first 5 years just analyzing times, costs, productivity and profits. I made my employees fill them out as they worked so we continually adjusted pricing in the early years until we got a handle on it. It was broken down into every step of the process. Including BS time with the client, and the number of calls/letters I had to do to get it paid for.

    On birds my fees were 2x-3x times greater than my competitors. Birds are labor intensive to do them right, my competition just mounted them without much detail. My bird numbers tripled as clients spread the word for me. On ducks I was at $425, If they didn't want to bring them in I didn't care as I wasn't going to spend that much time on a bird when I could make more money elsewhere. Plus it did me a huge favor, the guys with the shot up crap that you would spend a ton of extra time on didn't bring them in. Bottom line............less time overall and more money. Why work for free on some species that just aren't conducive to profit? Put your time where you can make money.

    Think outside our self created box, hell we are artists aren't we not? Why are we a flock of sheep when it comes to pricing?
  2. Bob Mead

    Bob Mead Mead Taxidermy Studio, LLC

    I wouldn't ever do a flat rate on rugs, only by the linear foot excluding tail. My reason for this was solidified after I had done a ton of fairly same-sized NM black bears, and then an Alaskan Brown Bear rolled in for rugging. Obviously, a huge difference in costs.

  3. Paul C

    Paul C New Member

    I wonder what the fine for not paying your Sales Tax in LA is? They would probably calculate it using an accrual system along with interest and penalties for each quarter you didn't pay. WOW!
  4. Once again now a guy from Idaho with the fish pricing stuff. We have a huge range in sizes for fish here in mn. As far as bass go I have never done a skin mount of an 8 pounder that is nearly our state record. Now would you just take the time to quote each fish, write and file it so you don't look like an a$$ if the customer calls back and asks in a month or two and your price is different. That type of pricing is where friends think they should get deals and on and on.
    Now take for example a northern pike. With the guys striper example earlier say I charge $300 for a 25" pike then $700 for a 48" pike with the set prices described. Now what happens with a 35" pike. How many different prices do you need to write down, how confusing, disorganized and unprofessional does that look to a customer? I can see with a bass, they don't range that terribly much. But I have done pike/muskie from 17" to 54" in length! Now try charging a customer $750 for a wall mount 35" fish when they can get similar quality for that species within a 2 hour drive (one shop 15 min away) for $385! For the record a pike is a warmwater fish. And also with trout we see the 12" brookie to the 30 something inch laker. I would rather spend my time and energy producing than trying to remember what # I randomly throw out there for a quote for each customer. And no driftwood, habitat, or any of that is not included in the price.
  5. Brian Claar

    Brian Claar New Member

    Re: Re: Not trying to start a fight, but honestly, how do they do it?

    I don't think a flat fee on fish makes any sense. It's more to keep track of if you ask me. I price bigger fish based on if they are skin, repro, or custom molds. Salt water, fresh water, warm water cold water all come into play. A flat fee would not work for me. That's like saying you have a flat fee for game heads. How would that work for ya? LOL

    Outdoor Hub mobile, the outdoor information engine
  6. Same here. Coldwater, warmwater, reproductions, (I have never done skin mount on saltwater and wouldn't experiment on a customer fish so I don't do those) and I have base prices so if the fish is too small to make enough for it to be worth it per inch I would still get paid enough.

    I also charge more for open mouth on my mammals. And brown bear are more than black bear. And so on.
  7. Deerheads to fish.See we all care about it apperently.
  8. Harry Whitehead

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

    Paul, I hear you, penalties for not filing, penalties for taxes not paid and then throw the tax that was due anyway and there you have it! BROKE!!!
  9. marshy creek

    marshy creek New Member

    GOT, your are clueless....if you are so busy to not have time to make a price breakdown list to keep next to your phone for all those lost customers that will call you back in a couple of months, then you need to spend more time on your business model than posting so much BS...your web site photo's clearly validate that half of what you tout is crap....where are all the species you comment on?....you charge more for a Brown Bear than a Black Bear?....really...driftwood etc. is extra?....open mouth are extra too?....geez, I must be missing something here....and thanks for informing everyone that Pike and Musky's are warm water fish.....never knew that.....and if you can't even tell the difference between a skin mount and a repo, how can you even call yourself a professional?......people with your attitude pop up ever day, then fade away......step back and read more than post, the reality is, if you pull it all together, you will make it, if not, you will fail
  10. Michelle_Nelson

    Michelle_Nelson Bring on the Bears!

    Marshy creek maybe I am misunderstanding your post but it sound like you don't understand why some one would charge more for a Brown Bear than a Black Bear and why someone would charge extra to do an open mouth. That you don't know why drift wood would cost extra.

    If this is correct than you are definitely missing a lot.

    I charge more for Brown Bears than I do for Black Bears. Because Brown Bears are more work. I charge more to do open mouth because there are more expenses and more work.
  11. Michelle_Nelson

    Michelle_Nelson Bring on the Bears!

    Here is a break down on a 6' Bear rug that I just did.

    It is labor and materials. Yeah there is a lot of work to a Bear Rug. It is hard to do a 100% accurate break down of suplies and materials because each Bear varies.

    In a nut shell these are the material costs for a 6' Black Bear. These are full price from where I buy my supplies.

    * Tanning @ $28 per L/F = $168.00
    * Shipping to Tannery (ship multiple [email protected] time) and for Supplies (large order) = $22.50
    * Head Form w/ Jaw set (Cast Lip) = $165.65
    * Eyes = $11.45
    * Badding (2 yards @ 6.99 per yard) = $13.98
    * Backing (2 yards @ 7.99 per yard) = $15.98
    * Felt (2 yards @ 4.99 per yard) = $ 9.98
    * D-Rings (5 @ $.35 each) = $1.75
    * Adhesive = $14.99
    * Miscellaneous ( Bondo, Clay, Glues and Hide Pastes, Thread, Paint, Epoxy, Screws) $25

    TOTAL = $449.28

    That's $449.28 for supplies and we haven't even touched yet on Labor. These can only be approximate times because again each Bear varies.

    * Splitting and Fleshing (2 Hours)
    * Salting 2 x (45 minutes)
    * Head Assembly (1 hour)
    * Install Rug Shell ( 2 - 3 hours)
    * Stretching the skin and sewing up bullet holes (2.5 hours)
    * Rug work including sewing on felt, installing batting, and hand sewing the backing (7 hours)
    * Finnish Work (1 hour)

    That is 16.25 hours of Labor @ a shop rate of $40 per hours = $650

    I should be charging $1099.28 for a 6' Bear Rug. Thats approx. $184 per L/F.

    Shop rates ($40 per hour) are based on my Hourly Wage, Shop Utilities (Electricity, Water, etc), Purchase of tools and equipment, etc.

    Keep in mind that those prices are based on if everything goes right.

    If someone brings in a Bear that is not skinned out correctly, shot in the face, exit wounds I can put my fist through, knife cuts all over the Bear, and I have to make unnecessary repairs than I charge $35 per hour to make those repairs. Most of the time if I can make the repairs needed within 30 minutes I don't charge. Anything over that I have to charge.

    Here is an example of a Bear cut wrong for a Rug. This is pretty extream though.

  12. I concur. Open mouth hmmmm well let me just buy the mouth insert for them for free?Or spend the time with the original jaws and teeth,recreate the gums palates toungue,paint it etc.etc ..Which you have to do with the inserts also for free..no no.. You can if you want to but I will not.A brown bear costs more then a black bear of coarse unless you do alot of free stuff which it seams.
  13. socalmountainman

    socalmountainman Northwestern School of Taxidermy - Class of '73

    @ Michelle
  14. roundyracer

    roundyracer been to the mountain and seen the elephant.usmc 68

  15. Wildside

    Wildside Active Member

    Michael here is your answer:

    I do not tan my capes, they will eventually dry up rock hard. I use cat eye marbles I steal from the neighborhood kids for eyes, no one looks at em anyhow. I use scrap 2X4 from local job sites for an armature and stuff my cape with used straw from a local farmer. I do not buy hangers, just find some scrap wire or fencing and make a loop to hang the mount when done. I am a member of Free Americans and we do not pay any taxes. I am able to have such a quick turnaround time that my customers are happy and return with all of their freinds who are still waiting for their more expensive mounts to get finished.

    You asked how I do it and now you know.
    So now when you do the math, I'm makin more than any of you!
  16. marshy creek

    marshy creek New Member

    clearly, some of you have a reading problem.....I'm enlightened to find you should charge more for Brown Bears, open mouth, driftwood etc.....no wonder this industry gets such a bad rap
  17. Sorry folks there is somewhat of a history here.
    First off Bruce yes I do have a price breakdown by the phone, I just described it earlier. I charge per inch. That was also a comparison I was making about the bears, obviously I wasn't assuming they didn't charge more a brown vs black I was simply using it as a comparison.

    As far as the history goes if you look at anything Bruce posts AKA Marshy Creek then it is easy to see he has some sort of complex towards certain people (kinda like short guy syndrome) where he feels the need to attack any post they make. It happens to me a few times a month, half the time he is so eager to make the post he has no idea what you are even talking about (like the time you somehow assumed I was saying I take in a ton of fish from some lake in Serbia because a few of us were talking about color variations in pike and someone on the post was from Serbia, LOL) Anyway often times he gets so bent out of shape he flies off the handle getting defensive when nobody says anything to or about him.
    Here is an example of him blowing up on Gary Brunch during an everyday Q and A someone had because God forbid someone like Gary unknowingly brought out Bruce's little (INSECURE) side

    Poor Bruce, I will pray for you and sincerely hope you get your mental health issues figured out.

    P.S. I was unaware this industry as a whole had such a bad rap with anyone except tree hugging bleeding heart liberals.
  18. On a positive note

    Great Save Michelle!!!

    I just got done restoring a rug yesterday and thought I did a good job til I saw that, WOW! All I had to do was a good cleaning, dying, a little paint and some modge podge, and re glue in the tongue. Maybe I should start paying you to do my rugging! Free shipping right!
  19. Justin P.

    Justin P. Active Member

    Are you using treated 2x4's or just whatever you find laying around? Can you offer any tips on getting the marbles from the kids? Do you distract them with cheap candy such as candy corn? Looking to cut costs here and any info you may have would help. Thanks in advance.
  20. After I saw her save and looked at her work I am thinking she might have another customer for rugging as well.