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Price on Whitetail deer

Discussion in 'The Taxidermy Industry' started by Rick Carter, Sep 4, 2014.

  1. $350 or less

    7 vote(s)
  2. $375 to $425

    23 vote(s)
  3. $450 to $500

    45 vote(s)
  4. $500 to $600

    49 vote(s)
  5. Over $600

    32 vote(s)
  1. Rick Carter

    Rick Carter Administrator

    This year I am starting a Whitetail mount at $520. That is at the upper price level for Georgia. I usually spend 12 to 16 hours on each mount. Most of my mounts would score in the low 90s in the professional division at a State competition. I would have to spend another 3 to 4 hours on the finish work to get a Blue in professional at the NTA or World. From 3 feet away or without a light the difference would not be visible so that is where I choose to end the extras. I already hear a few complaints about my current price but I really think a good deer head should start at $1200.
  2. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    You know Rick, let me tell me what pisses me off about you. I've been charging $500 for deer for the last 3 years now. I have not one scintilla of a doubt in my mind that I mount deer just as well as you do and I don't take any less time to do it. The part that pisses me off, however, is that when my deer dry and are finished, I'm pushing the envelope. When YOUR deer are dried and you finish with that magic you do, you're being screwed over for getting no more than you do. I've reached the point in my life of acccepting that I can't finish deer worth a crap. I just want to know where I can RENT one of these people who can.

  3. James Parrish

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

    Rick, $520 seems awful low considering the amount of time you put in. I'd be willing to bet that your commercial deer mounts are better than 99% of the other commercial mounts produced in the USA. IF I were pricing your work, I would not hesitate to ask at least $650 or $700. If you charged that much, your customers would certainly still be getting more than their money's worth.
  4. ljones

    ljones 1994 wasco award winner

    I completely agree with what George is saying.... I will be starting my third season this year at $520 on a basic wt shoulder mount & know I don't have over 6to 7 hands on hours in a mount from capeing , tanning, mounting , finishing to out the door... I think I mount a pretty good deer and even won some ribbons on my deer back in the 80's and 90's. But I know one of my 2014 deer wouldn't even place when the judges brought out there flashlights and magnifiers looking for septums & nictateing membranes because I don't use them ...My customers seem to like them though and bring in 75 to 100 wt heads every year and that's all that matters to me at this point
  5. antlerman

    antlerman NTA Life Member #0118

    So..............in essence, your telling me that your work is only 25.00 better than mine? Holy Crap. I guess becoming an icon really isn't worth much after all.
  6. Brian Reinertson

    Brian Reinertson Well-Known Member

    Holy cow, I can say I charge more than Rick Carter. I won't touch a deer for less than $600, after tanning and materials I'm only making $25 bucks an hour at that price.
  7. I'm at $650 here in Pennsylvania and at about 20 hrs on a standard wall mount. $250 extra for an open mouth. All my mounts have my detailed cast nose and my own cast ears detailed inside etc. Open mouth are all my own cast parts as well. I have continued to increase my price by $50 each year over the last 4-5 years and did not lose any of my usual customers. I always try to explain the quality of the parts that they are getting and overall appearance compared to cheaper mounts. I want clients that are interested in quality. I like to use three words....cheap, fast, and good. if its good its not going to be cheap or fast. If its fast it not going to be good but cheap. If its cheap its may be fast but not good. If you do not fit into the trifecta of taxidermy proportionality and you are indeed cheap, fast, and good then you are short changing yourself.
  8. Heck I by no means can mount a deer like rick, but I'm $670 on a shoulder mount and I have 10-12 hrs in one and my price is going up again before our season!
  9. I get $695 for a head, before the state of Vermont gets its 6%($737). around me the price ranges from $350-$500. I average 150-200 wt/year. some of the $350 guys get 300-400 deer / year. I would much rather do less deer for more $$ than the other way around! The wages in this area are among the lowest in the country and yet they still pay for quality! Someone has to be the highest priced in the area, it may as well be me!! got to go tee time is at 3:30 Pete Lajoie
  10. Rick are you saying you are going to start charging $1200. or are you staying at your current price? I do not understand the staying close to the competitions price theory.
    Someone will be the high end and someone is going to be the low guy. Then again everyone has their own business plan.
  11. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    I'll bet Rick sleeps quite well at night. Sometimes people confuse their value with their worth.
  12. EA

    EA Well-Known Member

    I know nothing about pricing deer. The industry I am in (medical billing) runs on a percentage basis. From what I have learned, the vast majority charge 5-8%. I'm contacted a few times a month to outsource overseas for even less than that. We are the highest that I know of, and I won't say where we are, but our percentage is double digits. I operate with the same mindset now as when I was doing carpentry and that is, We are good at what we do and we want paid for our skills.

    There have been several companies that choked when they heard our rate. They try to beat us down, but we have yet to lower our fee and We have more work than we can handle. If anything, it may be time to raise it. I think people are programmed to correlate price with quality. The lowballers wouldn't work for free on your car. Why should you feel obligated to work within everyone's budget. Sometimes you just have to say "You can't afford me".

    Pete, I wholeheartedly concur. Why not you, or Me
  13. Pete,
    I'm curious about something that I see in other shops that's similar to your post. Why are you guys giving the state sales tax on the entire price of the head. Most of the fee is labor related. I understand sales tax on materials but what am I missing? In my shop we pay the sales tax on the materials & don't pass it on to the customer. Our price is $500 plus extras such as backboards.

    I'm sure that if we took a cross sampling of 10 or more taxidermists in Georgia it would be the same as SC. Most prices would fall in the $350-$450 range. We're not comparing the work here just what the market will bare. I have a feeling that if we did the same in other parts of the country we might find it to be $100 or more higher on average. But around here the deer head is definitely the bread & butter. I know guys who do 250 deer heads a year & have never done an Elk or any African work. It just is what it is.
  14. capnmike

    capnmike New Member

    Rick is in North Georgia where he is probably almost double the price of 90% of the guys within an hour of him. It's a tough place to be a taxidermist.
  15. pir^2h

    pir^2h Retrievers give you the bird

    I live in Tennessee and it is one screwed up state on sales tax. Labor on taxidermy is not taxable but as far as I know all other services are; it's the law (sales tax does apply to materials used in the process though). Unless it is a wholesale job and the person having the work done is going to collect sales tax on it we have no choice.

    Interestingly enough though, when I was in the electronics industry if I did the work here and sent the item to another state I only had to charge tax on the labor but not the parts I put into the unit. Tennessee has no state income tax so this helps make up the deficit along with a 9.75% sales tax (this varies by county from 7.0 - 9.75%). My county is greedy and has lots of relatives on the payroll that do nothing so they charge all they can.

  16. tazzymoto

    tazzymoto Well-Known Member

    The same old adage applies here (location location location). If you want high dollar move to Cali
  17. pir^2h

    pir^2h Retrievers give you the bird

    Yeah but with high dollar comes high living costs! It would be interesting to have an unbiased study of how the incomes vs. expenses compare and percentage of disposable income. I will stay here in Tenne where the cost of living is cheaper.
  18. James Parrish

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

    I've got a buddy who lives in one of the poorest counties in our state. He is very good at what he does and charges more than most "city" taxidermists. He has plenty of work but very little of it comes from folks who live where he lives. If you live in an economically depressed area and want to make top dollar for your work, you have to market to folks who can afford what you are offering. You will get the customers that you target. If you believe that you can only charge a certain amount because that is all your local market will bear, you will only get that much. If you feel that you work is worth more than that, you market your business to customers who live in an area where the market will bear what you want to charge. That might mean you have to ship mounts, offer delivery, or work out some kind of pick up/drop off location, etc. This kind of thinking is standard operating procedure for many other industries. I know a guy who works for a yacht builder in eastern NC. They do sell a few boats that remain local, but the majority of what they sell goes to Florida and the Caribbean. If they only depended on their local market, they would have gone out of business years ago if they were able to get off the ground at all.
  19. Taxiserv

    Taxiserv James Newport

    It is truly a shame that we must continually return to this topic and face the reality that our industry is not based on a business model. It is based on what the guy down the road, or "my area" charges. I completely understand the mentality and have fell victim to it in the past, especially when I was starting my business. I am in south Texas, hunting is an industry down here; so I realize I'm in a different situation than most. I charge $715 for a standard shoulder mount. My closest "competitor" is 7/10 mile down the road w a total of 3 taxis in the town of 12,000 +-. He charge $345. Point being we are the ones who price our work not our competitor. Just like what was stated above. If you can't get it from your market then expand your market by marketing!!!! (Wait whattttt?). I know I will be called an idiot by an array of the next several taxi.net gods who read this!! Feel free to hammer away but once we set fear to the side and follow a business plan we will ALL be better off.
  20. catman

    catman Active Member

    Marketing yourself is the answer. I never could understand how a guy could get himself so famous amongst his peers and not within the realm of his clientele. I can see the benefit if you sell a product that is in demand or you are tutoring. Joe Meder has probably done better than most at schooling, but guys like Toby Hart continued to evolve well beyond taxidermy. It truly will be what you make it. If you wish to find a way to do 700.00 deer heads, you could. Unless you wish to do 500.00 ones.