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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. BDrake

    BDrake Active Member

    I bet the 7-800$ per head guys are saying the same things about the 4-500$ guys
  2. I live in Upstate NY , Now I am 6 hours north of the city. Very country area. Sportsmen-women find the extra money to spend on taxidermy. The sooner you the bussiness person figures that out , then the sooner you can make money.
    I have been in this for over 25 years and have seen alot of part-timers come and go in my area. However there are 4 full time studios within 30 miles of me. We all make a very good living on taxidermy. Why because we do not get in the pricing game with each other and let the customers choose. Thes are good studios, One is Bill & rob from Hog Heaven, Bill Becker , And Keith Kanclerz & another, All long time bussiness men. We all have families and make money. :)
    Most of the shops near me are charging $550-650 for full shoulder deer. I plan on going to $575-95 this fall, (Shipping is killing us up here)
    WHile the some of the hackers in my area are in the $300, and they look the part. Never be afraid to raise your price. Your customers will pay and most of the time you get more bussiness and better customers . Just my thoughts for the day.
    I got into taxidermy because I love it and then saw I COULD MAKE MONEY AT IT. Yeah.
    Gregg Ielfield

  3. Bill Dishman

    Bill Dishman Well-Known Member

    What other businesses set thier prices by what they think customers are willing to pay?
    What a rediculous way to price your work.
    Lets face it, we all charge exactly what we feel our work is worth.
    The customers that you ultimately want arent those who shop by price. Its that simple truth that most taxidermists never get.
  4. gab

    gab Active Member

    i have a problem with calling another businessperson a scumbag just because they choose to operate differently than you.I'd say 90% of the people on this site consider themselves conservative,but when it comes to having to compete in the free market,they want prices to be fixed to make things"fair"which is more of a socialist view.
    A suggestion:when you want to raise prices plan to do it and tell your competitors.When you do it send them all your new price list.Chances are with rising fuel costs and material prices they'll jump at the chance to go up and still be competitive.This is not collusion or price fixing because you are simply telling them what you are doing and they can make their own decisions.
  5. Wildside

    Wildside Active Member

    A couple of years ago when things slowed a bit, I went up in price and then heard of several "full time" guys lowering their prices because of the economy. They even did it in the middle of the season. That tells me they may have been overpriced. These were the guys that wanted to be the highest in the area. Do less and make more. It was never about their quality, all about image and it caught up with them.
  6. Tim and Mr T trust me i see your side. I want to get to that greener grass as well. And do plan on making a small hike on the price before next season. most likely 25.00.

    Tim i will try to answer your ? i am not sure but i think 5 years ago i was at 280 i think.
    Tim and Mr t thank you for your intelligent and adult replies . It is possible to express ones view without resorting to words like
    lowballer, scumbags, liar, idiot, etc etc. and of course all the #@%$#
    You guys already know how many times this has been beat to death on tax-net. And every single time someone get raked over the coals.
  7. Jerry Huffaker

    Jerry Huffaker Well-Known Member

    What to me is sad about the pricing picture is, these guys who do low priced taxidermy, will wake up 15-20 yrs from now with No retirement, no health insurance, debt up to their eyeballs, a years worth of work in the freezer , burned out , depressed and too old to start something new. The excitement of being independent, learning the trade, owning your own business, and just being able to make a living all goes away if you do it long enough. You have to get something more out of it than just getting by or you will end up angry and hating it. I see this quite often.
    The Gentleman in Louisiana is doing what he thinks best, but that isn't what I think being an independent business man is supposed to be. It's not about struggling and just getting by. You can do that working at a convenience store with a lot less headaches. We need to PROSPER in this Industry, not struggle. We are just as skilled as any plumber, electrician, Accountant, HVAC guy out there and should be paid accordingly.
    When I went into this business in the 80's I promised my wife that if I couldn't make a good living for our family doing this I would do something else. So from day one , I priced my work according to how much money I needed to make, not what I thought the customer could afford. 27 yrs later, everything I own is paid for , house, shop vehicles, everything. We raised two great kids, have good health insurance,At 55 I could retire today if I wanted to and I'm just a hack working out of a building behind my house.
  8. michael p.

    michael p. Getting better with age :)

    I still never comprehended basing your price on what others charge. If you do better work or offer better service, why should that matter.

    Thanks to those who are also keeping this conversation civil. We've heard all the screaming and name calling for years, maybe it's time to actually talk about it. Maybe somebody will find a more common ground.

    I've got more to say on this subject, but it'll have to wait for tonight, got lots of work to turn today.
  9. jasonb

    jasonb I think I'll keep her

    If the price for the commen deer shoulder mount kept up with inflation like everything else it should cost the average Joe around $1500 to get one mounted. And what i see in our industry today verseswhat was put out 20 years ago, for the most part, is higher quality than ever before and worth the higher price. It seems that to many taxidermist are more worried about what the other guy is charging and not concerned about there own self worth and the bills that they have to pay. I have seen shops in the past that are afraid to raise there prices, BUT once they did they got more business because more people believe they get what they pay for.
  10. Bob Mead

    Bob Mead Mead Taxidermy Studio, LLC

    Glenn, I appreciate your point, but I have a question for you: Why should your customers benefit from the fact that you do not have a rent/lease payment on your shop? Your studio wasn't built for free, and just because you have it paid for shouldn't mean your overhead price is lowered as a result. I think your market would bear a higher price because your customers are willing to pay for good work. And you do good work.
  11. James Parrish

    James Parrish Tundra Swan...Its What's For Dinner!

    So, if you do $6000 a month/$350 per deer=17 deer a month. Assuming you work 40hr a week, that breaks down to 173hr per month. So, you have 10hr of labor invested in each deer. I'm not even counting your wife's time in this break down.

    According to your numbers, your overhead is $270 per month. Divide that by 17 (the number of deer per month) and your overhead per piece is $16. I think you are WAY, WAY low on overhead costs as you are not counting in property taxes, cell phone, internet, mileage, advertising, equipment replacement/maintenance, continuing education, state/national association dues, property insurance, shop maintenance, trash disposal, etc.

    Based on a cost of $50 for a deer form and $12 for a pair of eyes, your costs are $62 for a deer mount. Now, I'm not counting shipping, tanning (or tanning supplies), clay, glue, apoxie, paint, bondo, salt, scalpel blades, needles, thread, pins, etc.

    Add $62 for supplies and $16 for overhead and your costs are $78 for a deer head. $350 (customer cost) minus your overhead and supplies ($78) comes out to $272. That $272 is your "net" from the $350 deer head. Divide $272/10hrs labor. You are paying yourself at best $27 per hour. Not bad, right?

    If you are an honest businessman, you file an accurate tax return. Since you work for yourself, you have to pay self-employment taxes which run close to 35%. Knock 35% off that $27 per hour and you are really making $17.50 per hour. That is a good hourly rate for around here, but you have to realize that includes no benefits....no retirement, no sick pay, no insurance, no vacation pay, no paid holidays.

    That was fantasy land. Let's look at reality. You probably work more than 40 hrs per week, but we'll keep that part of it the same for illustration purposes. Your overhead figure of $270 per month is at least 1/3 of what it really costs you to operate, if you are honest. I know you don't have shop payment/rent, but don't you think your customers should pay you for the use of the facility that you invested your money in? Do you think it is fair for you to come out of your pocket to pay the insurance bill so that your customers' skins are insured in case of fire, etc? See where I am going with this? Let's triple the overhead cost to $48 per mount. I believe that is more realistic, but still probably low.

    Now, let's really look at supply costs. $62 covers form and eyes. If you do your own tanning, I would be willing to bet your real supply costs (including sales tax and shipping) is closer to $100. If you send your tanning out, add $50 to that.

    So, $100 for supplies and $48 for overhead leaves your net at $202 for a deer head. Divided by 10 hours, that brings your hourly rate to $20 per hour. Figuring in 35% for those pesky self-employment taxes puts you at $13 per hour for a no benefits job with a bunch of headaches (unless you are different than any other taxidermist I have ever met). That doesn't count a profit for your business.

    When your first pricing consideration is what the guy down the road is charging, you are doomed to fail. You can probably get by at $350 for a deer head. I don't know about you, but I would hate to look back at the end of my life and know that all I did was "get by" so that my customers could have a cheap deer head. I want to build a little wealth, be able to retire with dignity, and pass a little on to my kids (when I have some), not get by and die broke.
    But, hey don't listen to me, I'm weird.
  12. gab

    gab Active Member

    ya'll can do all the math in the world,but if it works it works.i'm a pretty easy going guy but one way to piss me off fast is to come to my shop and tell me how to do my business.if ya'll saw how my business runs and how much my receivables are,you would have a heart attack,but it works for me.and obviously his works for him.
  13. brigham boy

    brigham boy "if it's horny, mount it"

    At 350 a deer head minus lets say 100 for supplies that's a 250 doller profit at 100 deer head per year that's 25k. 200 head your making 50k before taxes.

    Scratch your heads fellas.
  14. davehyer

    davehyer Active Member

    Most business owners rely on that business for their main income. I'm talking about all businesses, grocery stores, gas stations, drugstores or whatever. Those kinds of businesses are different in that their competition is not a part time guy that doesn't rely on his business for his living.

    There are probably more part time, ( guy sthat do not rely soley on taxidermy for their living) than full time. That's one reason price is all over the place. If it were more like a traditional business, then there would be a much more standard price structure.

    I see why the full time guys get pissed, because they really need to charge over $500 just to get by, probably more. For me, If I make enough to go on a few hunting trips and fund all of my hobbies, ( hunting, snowmobiling) Then I feel pretty good about it.

    I do have my prices set as high or higher then the full time guys in my area, just because I feel that's fair to them, but their prices are too low as well.

    The two biggest full times shops in my area take in approx 500 deer between the 2 of them.

    One guy does everything he can do to sqeeze money out of what he has in a mount, he pours his own forms, does his own tanning, uses latex caulk for hide paste and staples everything to the form, all materials are th echeapest he can get. His Deer look OK from 5 feet away. he has been there for 30 years and alwasy gets lots of work.

    The other guy works out of his parents basement and has for 30 years. It's the house he grew up in, never married, no kids, never any other job in his life. He is approx 60 now. Never had a helper, turn around time is approx 14 mos. He does good work, get slots of it, but doesn't charge enough. Doesn't have to charge anymore, he is probably filthy rich and doesn't care.

    If I go much over them I am sure I will lose work, but we will see because I am continuing to go up.
  15. nickstax

    nickstax New Member

    if you run a business, then you run a business. you pay taxes, ins, license fees and other things that a pt will not incure on his price for a sh mt. the point is that i can pull your bad tooth with a pair of plyers for 10 bucks or, you can go to a dentist and pay 200 and get done with out all the pain and regret from the cheap dentist. point is you get what you pay for. anyone can put a sign up and claim to be a taxidermist and do a lot of cheap work with all the short cuts to turn out a quick mount and that is what it is a quick mount. quality ain't cheap i'm sorry but i don't work for free and i take pride in what i do.
  16. gab

    gab Active Member

    i like the way everyone is counting heads and forgetting the real profit makers:horn mounts,euros,tanned hides etc.figure the heads pay overhead and the rest is profit.
    i have an entirely different take on taxidermy than alot of the egos on here.It's a business,period.To be successful,make your customers happy.If you have happy customers coming back and money in the bank,nothing else matters.
  17. smittysinc

    smittysinc New Member

    They all vote Republican and live in trailers and eat welfare cheese and garlic noodles!!!
  18. michael p.

    michael p. Getting better with age :)

  19. smittysinc

    smittysinc New Member

    If you think your going to start out and make it as a FULLTIME Taxidermist in todays economy,YOU are A FOOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!You could win every show and all the ribbons playing Textbook Taxidermy and not make it.It takes years to build clients.I am blessed and thankful to be were I am at today!!!!I have yet to meet what I consider a Rich Taxidermist.Going to some taxidermy school or being trained by some so so expert in a few weeks will not make the cut!!It takes 3 to 5 years and hundreds of mounts to make someone a solid all around Taxidermist. I am now on my 26th year doing taxidermy.I have seen numerous Taxidermist fade away.We all start out at the bottom and have to earn our stripes.I do agree the market is flooded with too many youtube taxidermist.I also really dont think in todays world going in taxidermy is a wise career choice.The odds are not in your favor.If you have the Desire, The Passion and Artistict Ability go for it!However be prepared also to go through HELL to become a FULLTIME TAXIDERMIST.
  20. michael p.

    michael p. Getting better with age :)