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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. davehyer

    davehyer Active Member


    SO what does it cost to get a GOOD deer mount from some one that takes pride in what they do?
  2. gab

    gab Active Member

    part timer,free and up.full timer 350 and up

  3. jasonb

    jasonb I think I'll keep her

    Smitty you hit the nail on the head.
  4. OK ! Mr. parish first the novel you wrote i didnt get through cause all the figures made quite a boring read. Stick to taxidermy your better at that. ( just poking you a little bit) anyways no place did i say or mean to imply the entire 6k was derived from deer alone.
    I got ducks fish small and large ls to deal with weekley as well.
    now your list cellphone - i dont think it over head if i close my shop tonight for good i still keep my cell phone and same #. and its hardly used for business purposes any ways. when i lock the door ever evening i am CLOSED!!
    internet 9.99 a month since you like # here is one for ya. 9.99 x 12 =119.96 divided by just the deer alone 200 = a staggering $1.67 a year.
    mileage you got me there. Yep i drive 7 miles to the shop.
    advertising - I spend this amount $ 0.00 there is no need to.
    trash disposal included in water bill. still same 30.00.
    however i see your point.

    bringam boy again your forgetting other items ducks etc etc.

    Gab thank you so glad i am not alone out here.

    Bob Mead thank you, that makes perfect since and believe it or not you comments alone soaked in and gives me plenty to think about. Also thank you for the comment on my work coming from you i am flattered.

    Michael P your right so far this tread is very surprising civil & friendly SO FAR.
  5. roundyracer

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

    Ive stated this before and still believe that the 500 and up for a deer wont hold water in some locations.Regardless of the quality.Ive gone to 400 and the 250 guys down the road are useing skinners in the prime season.My quality is competion proven and neither of them will support the Industry.Its all about numbers.On a nother note this dead horse has got to be sore.What is it about part timers being scum,low lifers and etc?How about living in a trailer?Look around a flame about this high and a bunch of egotisical taxidermist whom hasnt shared anything with anybody and thinks his poop dont stink fits that catogry moreso.I guess a bunch of trophies and ribbons makes for some superior.C mon man why the insults as to were a man lives or his lifestyle.Who knows what side of town whoms from.Maybe a silver spoon or a welfare child.If one conducts themselves properly and supports this industry are we to be judged as to his home.Reckoning here seems to be I became a Taxidermist when I was young and stuck it ouy thru thick and thin and years later Im fighting the economy ,priceing and lowballers.Did you ever think about maybe some other occupations some of us had for years like serving this country so you have the opportunity.How about some opportunities far outweighing a full time studio or plans to retire and become one of you.Jealousy is abundant in this industry.Till this day Ive never gotten a responce to this kind of discussion,Is deer your only source of income.No one is mentioning those mammals,birds or fish which brings in $$$$.Is that not a factor your accountant considers as income?
  6. This has been surprisingly civil for the subject!

    One of the best points I have heard on here (in my opinion) is about talking to the local surrounding taxidermists about all raising prices at the same time. That would probably not deter customers due to price from any of the taxidermists and would keep everything the same except for everyone makes say $20-50 more per deer head! I think some of the lowest guys in the area that have been the same price for a few years would go for it as long as the guys who charge more go up more also so they can still get their price shopping clientele! I think the big thing as far as charging over $600 is having a customer base that takes a little while to build up of clients who want quality or a name and will travel. At least a handful of reliable customers like that. Would like if some guys over $600 or $700 would could chime in on that. I only personally know one taxidermist that charges over $700 and he does all Lee and Tiffany Lechosky's stuff so it wouldn't hurt to get some input from a few others.
  7. nickstax

    nickstax New Member

    hell lets all work for free. that way we can put an end to all the fuss about what to charge. if your work is good, you will get work be it deer ducks or fish. if it bad you won't have repeat work. oh and DAVEHYER i charge 450 for my deer.
  8. Ok, for some reason I have the hunch within one or two more pages this conversation is going to go south!
  9. I am guessing your correct and would put hummmmmm 350.00 on it.
  10. Ron B

    Ron B Life Sucks.....Then comes the death roll!!!!

    Well......I was going to type out a big "real world" spiel on how much emphasis is put on managing a business but so little is put on managing "MONEY" ! And how many of my friends who make WAY more than I do are actually more broke than I am! But now I don't feel like it cause I am tired and don't want to think :p

    So I am just going to ask a couple questions; (And let you people do the thinking)

    First...why is this discussion always about "deer heads and nothing else.? Why do some of you charge 650 for a deer but only $900 for a elk? If a deer is worth $650 then a elk is worth $1800! How come nobody ever beats the "cheap elk mount" dead horse?
    I have looked at some web site price list and the deer were $600 plus but some of the African was $1000 cheaper than what this redneck, backwoods taxidermist is charging!!! ??? Are "deer" head prices the only thing we judge each other on?

    Second...why not just go to a thousand dollars a head.....or more.? If it is a matter of making money and "image" of the industry........why not?

    But in the end you know what really sucks? If I raised my prices to a thousand dollars a head and didn't lose a singal customer............I STILL WOULDN"T BE MAKING "REAL" MONEY!!!!! Not compared to my friends who went to college and got "real" jobs!!! :-\

    Fact is........the only way to make "real" money in the taxidermy business to run a big shop and a big crew and turn out a LOT of work. There is no way one or two man operations can do it. But you can make a "fair" living and be free enough to tell everyone to &*(7 off during elk season ;) ;D And that my friends.........IS WHY WE DO IT.............ISN"T IT!!!
  11. I think the reason is the most abundant single species of animal, fish, bird that comes into most shops in the lower 48 states (most shops not all) is the whitetail deer and second would probably be the mule deer.
  12. James Parrish

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


    I look at it differently. I have a full-time job. I rarely use my cell phone for work. However, if the boss expected me to use it on a regular basis, I would ask him to pay for my phone or provide me with one. I rarely drive my personal vehicle to run errands for work. Again, if my boss asked me to do those things on a regular basis, I would ask for mileage reimbursement. Yes, I would have a cell phone (same one with the same plan) if I got out of the taxidermy business tomorrow. Since I use it to conduct business and better serve my customers, I let them pay for it. The same goes for the internet. Of course I would still have it if I were not in business, but I do use it to answer customer emails, work on my website, and shop for supplies, etc. So, my customers pay for it. I have a reference aviary with 7 species of North American waterfowl. Guess who paid to build it and bought the birds. Guess who buys the feed that they eat. I don't know about you, but I use my truck to go to Lowes, Wal-Mart, etc. for supplies all the time. My customers pay for the gas that I put into it to get there and back.

    I'm not saying you're wrong for charging $350 for a deer. We have guys around here at $250. The point I was trying to make is that a lot more goes into operating a business than most people think. If you're happy and your customers are happy, that is really all that matters. I just don't see how anyone can pay overhead (even if you have a small shop at home like I do), buy supplies/equipment, pay themself a decent wage, and turn a profit for their business charging those kinds of prices. It is heart breaking to see fellow taxidermists who spend 6 days a week in the shop, taking time away from their families, driving beat-up trucks, wearing ragged clothes, and with no money in the bank all so their customers can have a luxury item at a cheap price.

    With all that said, to answer MP's original question, I personally could do a $350 deer head and still make money. I'd start by cutting out the tanning process and switch to DP (not that there is anything wrong with DP, but it is the cheaper alternative). I'd buy the absolute cheapest forms and eyes I could find. Instead of critter clay, I'd use plain potter's clay for everything. I would not spend the time doing a nice seam. I'd just sew them up "corn row" style. I would not spend time taxiing the skin into proper alignment...wherever it fell on the form when I slid it on would be where it stayed. I certainly would not rebuild the inner nostril detail or nose pad nodules. My finish work would consist of 2 colors...burnt umber and jet black. Further, all my transactions would be CASH only so I would not have to pay that 35% self employment tax. Yes, I could do cheap taxidermy work and make money, but I doubt I would stay in business for long. Instead of losing customers for price reasons, I'd lose them for quality reasons.
  13. Harry Whitehead

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

    What industry in the whole wide World would defend being cheap for their customers and broke all the time ..??? Collectively, we are not the sharpest business folks...!
  14. Harry Whitehead

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

    I have guys come into the shop saying that they have a big deer and they will let me mount it for them if I will do it for free. They say I can use it for a competition or advertising. You know what I tell them? I don't give a rats a$$ how big it is, I charge $500. Do you want me to do it or not!!! I don't think that shows too much ego. It's easy to confuse ego with having a competitive spirit. It's like Adolph Rupp used to say, "if it doesn't matter if you win or lose it's how you play the game, then why the hell do you keep score?" Same for competitions, it's just what it says, A COMPETITION!!! Personally, I don't see ego's......
  15. Harry Whitehead

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

    This is food for thought from another thread.....

  16. Harry Whitehead

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

    And another one....

  17. Harry Whitehead

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

    Now, if what some of you are saying that what you are doing is right and that you are successful then appearantly you are in the top 6%...... NOT!!!!! Not at $350.00 a deer head! It just ain't happenin'!!!!
  18. Harry; at 500/deer head,you must be a volume kind of guy.looking to do some sub work?p.s. hows the old golf cart injury??? Pete
  19. Harry Whitehead

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

    Hey Pete! No sub work here, got all we can do now.

    We do about 100-130 deer a year. I have a guy in house that does them all. I don't touch them. He does a great job and using the techniques that I have he makes MORE than a lot of these guys on here telling us how successful they are are making. He also has insurance, and an IRA!! I pay half of his taxes and life goes on.....To me, THAT is successful. If you are an employer you have to keep your payroll at no more than 40%. Materials will run about 20% and all the rest is eaten up by additional overhead like utilities and mortgage and insurance. After all is said and done the company makes about 10% of gross.
  20. I know Im a piss poor buisness man , but am learning. I wish I would have listened to some of the better buisnesses owners earlier in my career about pricing. Here in washington state I am now charging $620.00 out the door for a deer head. Last year I was $566.00 out the door. In all reality I know I need to be about $680.00 out the door and will more than likely make the jump next year. My shoulder mount elk are $1133.00 out the door . I no longer have an add in any phone books , pretty much just a few forums and facebook. With my price increase Im actually hoping to not bring in as much work because I am currently working on a 18-20 month turn around wich sucks. I have a 2 year old and a 4 year old and sum bitch are they expensive , wife works full time as a vet tech , pay is OK not great. My house payment is 1850.00 a month , 2300 SQ FT house on 10 acres 2500 SQ ft shop I built myself to save me 25,000. I have had nothing but problems with local tannerys I have been using, there turn around times suck , its hard to turn stuff around when alot of the tans I get back are 8-12 months out or even a little slower than that as Im still waiting on stuff from march of 2011. I now do most of my deer cape tanning but really am not saving any time , I could be mounting (if I had capes to mount) but Im having to tan myself just to keep stuff rolling out of the shop. My downfall is Im too damn nice and need to change. Every year has been a struggle for me but there is always a reason and ts not pricing for me its runnign the buisness smoothly, scheduleing is a tough one for me, keeping on track is another. If I could just figure out in my head how to make my buisness run smoother and get a schedule worked out I think Id be making descent money. I was paying my self every two weeks at $1000.00 , so $2000.oo a month. Thats $24000.00 a year . Not good if you ask me but its not pricing its me running the buisness in a smooth manner to make money. I just do the best I can and try and learn from mistakes . Anyone want to teach me how to run my taxidermy buisness more smoothly LOL.