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PART 2 , if you are charging $250-$350 for a deer, how do you do

Discussion in 'The Taxidermy Industry' started by J P Baker, May 3, 2012.

  1. Michael P. posted this comment “I just gotta ask...., if you are charging $250-$350 for a deer, how do you do it?”

    My disclaimer first; I charge $600 for Whitetail shoulder mounts and I am posting this just for the sake of discussion.

    I see this kind of comment all the time on Taxi.net, His price is to low! Really? I don’t know very many taxidermists that started out @ $500 or $600 for a shoulder mount deer! I think most forget that we all had to start somewhere and we are all in different stages and ages in our lives.

    Here’s a scenario:

    The guy is just out of high school and cannot find a job for more than $10 per hour. While working this job he decides to start doing taxidermy and tells his buddies. They all think it’s cool and they tell him they will pay him to do a few mounts. He orders the form ($50) & eyes ($6) shipping ($18) dawn, borax, clay, fishing line, needle, caulk for hide paste, staples (when cost is spread out over a handful of mounts $5 per mount) for a total of less than $100.00. So he mounts the deer for $200 and he feels like he just put $100 is his pocket for doing something fun. He soon gets faster and does two in one week working at it nights and weekends and is picking up an extra $200 per week. Now it’s not long before the word spreads that this guy is doing $200 deer heads and his phone is a ringing. He figures that if he can do 4 deer heads a week at $250 per head then he will make more doing taxidermy then he is at his $10 per hour job.

    Does he stay at his 40 hour job for $400 per week or quit to do 4 heads at $250 each and pocket $600 per week? That’s easy for someone in his shoes, quit the job and become a taxidermist. If he takes 12 hours per deer that’s 12.50 per hour and 48 hours a week.

    Now you can cry all you want that he is not making money on $250 deer but he is paying his bills for his lifestyle not your lifestyle. I would say that we all live different lives and what makes us happy, does not always cost the same.

    The mounts may look like crap but most don’t know or don’t care, it is about what they can afford at the time they open the wallet.
  2. Ron B

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

    Re: “I just gotta ask...., if you are charging $250-$350 for a deer, how do you do

    That is exactly how I started. I actually had my own shop when I was in High School! Started out doing ducks for friends for a box of duck loads so I could shoot my own ducks! Was mounting deer for $75.

    Your point is well taken. I charge a little more than the prices you mentioned but even at those prices I would still be making more than 95% of the jobs in my area pay! That is not to say one should not raise prices , but you do have to use common sense. If you are only doing 50 heads at $300 then now is probably not time to raise your prices. If you are doing 200...........then it IS TIME to raise your prices.

  3. Re: “I just gotta ask...., if you are charging $250-$350 for a deer, how do you do

    These thoughts were mine as well, but I had no idea how to articulate them. Very well said. We all start somewhere and work our way up.
  4. Re: “I just gotta ask...., if you are charging $250-$350 for a deer, how do you do

    You need to rename this thread ( NOT TRYING TO START A FIGHT PART 2)
    coming to a screen near you. starring your some of your favorite taxidermist.
    one night only admission free.
  5. pyeager1

    pyeager1 Active Member

    Re: “I just gotta ask...., if you are charging $250-$350 for a deer, how do you do

    I suck so bad at mounting deer That I pay people $200 just to mount their deer! ::) ;D :D :D
  6. michael p.

    michael p. Getting better with age :)

    That makes sense, very good explanation. I guess where (in my mind) it goes astray is that we all love doing taxidermy. The PROLEM is that we all know that price scale will not hold. I had a $640 deer head picked up today, but due to me being friggin anal, the amount of time I had in it, I netted more on the $550 muledeer I had picked up than this whitetail.

    Also, things DO NOT EVER go as planned LOL Last week I mounted 8 deer, finished 3 longhorns, 1 elk and 3 whitetail, plus did numerous antler mounts I needed to get out. This week I got 1 deer mounted and 6 finished....other than that I looked around today asking myself WTF is all my productivity. Sometimes running a business really steps in the way of producing product in the business.

    I know you can 'make money' doing a $300 deer. The problem is consistency. Anybody smart enough to set up a consistent money making operation is not stupid enough to do it for $300, at least longer than a 1-2 year start up.

    I'm really proud of a couple of young men around me, one started out lower, honed his skills, got a contract on a good ranch and consistently raised his prices higher and is keeping tread on the highway. The other has set his prices and workload to where he's making money doing it part time but it's what a good rate. Then there are those who stay $300, have crap for 2-3 years and quality gets worse.

    I guess what I am really getting at is I'm not knocking the guy starting by charging a rate to get started, but have never seen a person be able to consistently and successfully run a business over 2 years using that model. Burn out or bankrupt generally seems to be the MO on those businesses.

    As I stated in the first post, charge what you want.....but this website is also about education and i'll bet there are 99% more horror stories about those who did not get the confidence to raise prices then there are success stories about those charging those rates 2 or more years.

    PS That $50 form is more like $70 per in most cases because of shipping and no volume discount. Also those eyes are about $12 because they order the real expensive ones so they can tell the customer 'they use the same as the pro's'. I've seen it too often traveling, that is the scenario! ;)
  7. davehyer

    davehyer Active Member

    I will be honest, if I had to try to make a living doing taxidermy I would be in big trouble.

    I can honestly tell you that respect all of you that are able to do it. I would love to be able to, but at least at this point I am not a good enough business man to do it. My taxidermy skills have nothing to do with it.

    I'm sure that working 45 hours a week at another job takes away from the time I have to really plan and run a business, most of my time is spent mounting and finishing, I believe if it were my full time occupation I could do better than I am , but I don't have big enough balls to take the leap and quit my job.

    I have always thought that once my kids were all set up and out of the house that I would do it, but we will have to see when the time comes.
  8. gab

    gab Active Member

    great way to articulate it john.the productivity michaelp just mentioned he did last week would be claimed as impossible by guys on part 1,who said a guy doing 4-6 a week was impossible
  9. davehyer

    davehyer Active Member

    Some people on here say it can't be done just because they can't do it. Wed night I got in my shop at 4:30pm, mounted 2 Deer and was in the house before 10:00pm. The capes were already prepped, but some nights things go really well and you get allot done.

    On the weekends I try to get 6 deer mounted when I am mounting. Sometimes I get it done sometimes I don't, but that is always the goal.
  10. smittysinc

    smittysinc New Member

    They carve out the back of those forms and pack it full of DOPE!! ;D ;D ;DThats how they make it!! ::) ::) ::) ;D
  11. Thank You Gab and all that have posted.

    Well, I just say to the ones that can't do 4-6 a week or thinks it is Impossible. NO its not, that would be a cake walk if that's all I had to do. I could have 4-6 done by Wednesday and have a four day weekend.
    GET TO WORK! and you can do it!
  12. Ted B

    Ted B Active Member

    J P I can understand your post, but lets be honest about a few things about this scenario

    1. He has NO rent, just out of school, he no doubt still lives off mom and dad
    2. He has NO dependants that need clothes or food and his IS provided again at no cost to him
    3. He pays NO taxes on any of that because he doesn't report it, hell he probably spends it on dope faster than he makes it lol.
    4. He has NO power, sewer, gas bills, insurance etc...

    Factor those things in and suddenly that $100 profit isn't going far at all. If you have a shop to maintain, bills to pay, houses to pay for, vehices to fix etc it all takes MONEY.
  13. Re: Re: PART 2 , if you are charging $250-$350 for a deer, how do you do

    Heck I wish I could explain that to people around me but they cheaper is better till there at my shop asking for a replacement cape and there deer that cost them 250 just went up another 450 plus a replacement cape which is 75 or more wether I have to buy one or not just depends either way if you can do them for 250 more power to you I can't and most people who have taxes and families can't

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  14. ryan rhodes

    ryan rhodes Well-Known Member

    I would stay at my $10 an hour job and get benefits, overtime, sick pay, retirement... how many taxidermists have that? I started in 2003 at age 23 charging $475... I'm at $550 now and plan to go to $595 for this coming season. At this point I don't care what people charge, however they are foolish if they think they're "making" money at $250 a head, bottom line....
  15. 1. Says who? Like most 18 year olds he wanted to move out as fast as he could, so He found a house and pays $600 per month. The funny thing is he splits the rent with his two roommates since it is a three bedroom house. (This is what my son is doing)
    2. Your correct he’s smart and waiting to have kids, but he does buy his own clothes as he has been since he got his first summer job. Food, well he and the roommates split that as well. (This is what my son is doing)
    3. Taxes, as far as sales tax, he collects it from the customer and pays it to the Comptrollers office. He has a friend that does taxes so he gets a deal. The friend set up to pay income taxes & SSI Quarterly but since he makes so little it’s really next to nothing for SSI and zero for income tax. Thank congress for that one.
    4. I think that one is covered, you know, Roommates.

    PS. Maybe he is working out of the garage or it could be his Granddad had a building and said he could use the back warehouse until he gets on his feet. How many guys on here work out of a family owned building, garage, the basement or fill in the blank_______?
    Like I said, we all live different lives and what makes us happy, does not always cost the same.
  16. Mason

    Mason Active Member

    Very good post JP
  17. Can i get a amen to that!
    6 by Wednesday and goofing around most of the day.
  18. cht

    cht New Member

    Thanks !!! a little coors light wentout my nose!!! L-ingMAO
  19. franchi612

    franchi612 New Member

    lol in alot of the country including where I live $10/hr jobs are hard to find. Benefits? What the hell are those? Most employers don't offer those anymore either, or they suck or are still so expensive you are working basically to pay for them. Most employers treat you like sh*t too, with so many people out of work, they know you are replaceable and aren't afraid to tell you that. I'd rather work for myself making $10 hr doing taxidermy and have no benefits than work for someone else and be degraded and treated badly, plus dealing with the psychos and office politics. Employment is like warfare if you ask me. If that makes me a bad person, so be it. I just see no value in health insurance and don't know why people make a big deal about it anyway. And I'd rather do something than be unemployed and live off the govt. So i can see the example here. At least the guy is charging closer to what his work is worth unlike some people charging double whose work is still subpar. Hes not really stealing work from an established taxidermist. People paying $250 won't pay $500 in general, or they are the PITA customers yoiu don't want anyway.It makes remount work for someone else if the person hates it. Where I have a problem is when you see these $250 people promising incredible mounts for the price, putting down their competition, or stealing others work and saying it's their own.
  20. ANDY

    ANDY Well-Known Member

    Had a friend get a job and he didn't ask enough question's. Didn't realize he had to pay for his health ins, got his first check and he said his $13-hr job ,after taxes
    and insurance turned into around $6-.