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Discussion in 'The Taxidermy Industry' started by AFWS, Sep 16, 2014.
"edge of absurdity" It passed that a long time ago!
I just had someone call wanting a 6' bear rug made. I quoted him my price of $1800. He complained that he had a friend who had a life size bear stuffed awhile back for $2100. I said sorry, but that's what it cost. Too many people are willing to deal, then the word gets out and you lower your prices on everything. Aside from setting a price, the willingness to drop the price and give a customer a bargain also hurts a taxidermist in my opinion.
Everyone knows math isn't my forte. Thanks for correcting me.
I am in the "less than 5 years of experience" group and I have been told I dont charge enough and that I am too expensive. I mounted several deer before I opened up to customers that I recorded cost of all materiels, shipping, taxes, and tannery costs. This was my base material costs.
Then I took the number of hours it took me to complete the mount from skinning to finish work and multiplied it to the amount I wanted to make per hour.
I added the two together and thats my price. When shipping or forms go up my material cost goes up. I have several return customers that dont even ask how much it is until they are picking up. The ones that complain or try to bargain can find someone else.
You left out all your over head and profit margin. There are many, many things that are involved with over head, from electricity to trade mags to tons of other stuff. Over head and a profit margin are all above and beyond time incurred, materials costs and what you want to pay yourself as wages.
Good luck, I agree with Tanglewood on this one do you know what your overhead is? If not it's coming out of either your labor or materials. Simple 101 cost plus pricing.
You also forgot to add in electricity, insurance, taxes...a whole host of costs you left out. You have to count up everything. When I was figuring my expenses I even added 1/10th all the cost of all the tools I had purchased divided by the number of mounts I did that year. I just took in a life size ibex billy goat and made the mistake of charging too little. Just the cost of materials and tanning and shipping is over $1000. If I priced it at that alone I would still be cutting myself short. The first thing I did when I realized $2100 was too little was raise the price by quite a bit and then look at all my other prices which I had raised by quite a bit last year. My life size bear went up $300+. That was after raising it $300 just last year. Everything went up because all my costs have continued to go up. I don't know how someone can charge the same as they did 5-10 years ago and stay in business. Supply costs have doubled. The price of nearly everything including food and other living essentials here has doubled. Shouldn't all that warrant that everyone would have to raise their prices just a little? You can't tell me that everything costs the same as it did 10 years ago no matter where you live.
This has gone way beyond stupid. You guys want to factor in everything to the point that you've eliminated the human factors. Do you count the time it takes you to go take a crap in your profit/loss statement?? Some of you have tried to show how intelligent and business minded you are that you have impressed no-one. I can normally mount a deer head in about 3 hours. However, yesterday I mounted on one of those God forsaken McKenzie wall pedestals that took me a full 5 hours to mount. Did I loose money? Or is that difference in time factored into my overall cost? (Now mind you that I charge an extra 100 bucks to do one of these, and as i was doing it, a friend said I should be charging 200 bucks more.) Maybe he's right. A hundred bucks an hour sounds fair to me. Now which one of you brain surgeons wants to hire me? :-\ I'll even clock out when I go take a crap. But, I will give you 40 hours a week at 100 bucks an hour for 50 weeks a year. Any takers? 200K a year. You should all be able to handle that with your business skills.
Now, so-in-so is 3 times faster than I am, and who-so-ever is 4 times slower than me. You guys have factored in everything right down to the cost of your toilet paper, but have left out the human element which accounts for more of your profit or loss that anything else.
And furthermore, did all of you factor in the time you wasted here, or is that included in the invoice under [expletive deleted] off time?
LMAO Tim I got to get me some of those invoices. ;D ;D ;D ;D
If I get to charge for my [expletive deleted]ing off time I'm about to become a wealthy a$$ man. : : : : ;D ;D
That is the same point I made in Pricing thread 678. If taxidermist A mounts a deer for $800 in 5 hours and taxidermist B mounts a similar head for the same price in 10 hours, taxidermist A is making twice as much as taxidermist B but both can boast about what fine prices they charge!
You can make all your fancy business talk, and do all your fancy math but there are only two numbers that matter! Your bottom line.....and the hours you took to make it!
ALL the shops I know of that are making good money all have one thing in common. They are fast. It IS the human element that makes the difference, period. Try going to work for Harry Whitehead and try to get by with mounting one head a day. Try working for Mike Boyce and see how long you last before you burn out. Try working beside Dennis Harris for a day. Or Ray Hatfield. PRODUCTION is the name of their game. How's Michael P building a new shop and paying cash for it as he goes?? Anybody care to count the number of pieces that come in and go out of his shop in a month? When your fast, 200, 300, even 400 an hour is not out of the question. Seems everyone is counting nickel's here when you should be counting Benjamen's. Everyone of these guys are making money, their quality is good, their reputations are good, and their client base is far stretching, and I don't think any one of them is complaining about the cost of doing business, and everyone of them is pushing the envelop on pricing as far as they possibly can. We stay little and cry over our nickel's because we think little, do little, and expect little in return. And for some, that's ok. If you can't run with the big dogs, stay on the porch. I'm happy on the porch. But if youre trying to convince me that higher pricing is the savoir to everyone's business, sell your soap elsewhere. Production is your savior, followed by quality, and with those two in place.....name your price even if you are in the most impoverished of all the impoverished area's in the country. But I will admit, I'm tired and I'm lazy. My quality may be ok, but my production sucks. When your production sucks, your happy to get whatever work comes your way and consequently fearful of then pricing yourself out of the game. If my production was up to par, I would not be afraid to charge 850.00 for a deer head no matter where I lived, because I know my quality is there, but my production sucks so badly that people would laugh at me. But, if I was in the mind set to produce at a high end pace, you can bet your sweet ass I would also be charging out the ass. Just keeping it real guys.
Amen Tim you hit the nail on the head,
Sad fact is many taxidermist do not know the difference in wages and profit.
Seems to be a very civil thread except for a couple of guys. I still think its interesting to see the different opinions.
Tim I agree with you on the production, been there. Look at the prices Dennis spoke about earlier in this thread and they are about 40% less than some in my area charge.You also have shops that run under a much different plan and do not want to do large volumes. Some of these are very well known shops outside of this site.
My wife and I were just talking about this. If I had one person working for me whom I could trust to prep forms in front of me, and sew them up behind me, I could pay them 50.00 an hour and make good money. Production would be at 4 a day. No-one goes home until those 4 are mounted. Get them done in 6 hours we all take off early. At 500.00 per head, that's 2000.00 per day minus his/her wages based on 8 hours is 400.00. Leaving 1600. for the day to cover my overhead, taxes, etc. and pay myself. Think I could make ends meet? Now imagine that same scenario at even 600.00 per head. You just covered your helpers wages for free, theoretically speaking . At 650.00 a head you hire a finisher who makes 50.00/100.00 per head and watch the heads fly out the door. Now the question becomes...can you take in enough to pull it off? :-\ For most of us the answer is no. But for those who can, this isn't rocket science. : Production is the name of the game.
I have kept out of this because most pricing arguments are full of crap. However I have to say Tim has it nailed on the head.
I worked as a half ass part time shop for about 10 years. Never seemed to be able to get ahead. I had "taxidermy skill" but no "business skill".
Went to work for one of, if not THE busiest studio in Ohio. I learned how to move. I MYSELF mounted 500+ Gameheads/large lifesize a year working 3 days a week, and that's NO BS. So at his price at the time, I was GROSSING for the studio (if we use only "deer price" of $475) a minimum of $237,000. There was one other guy who did birds/small mammals at the same pace. Then the owner who mounted some and did all finish work. so we are looking at Half a Million dollars a year.
Our work was "ok" but not great, we were always at least a year behind and we never really made a DENT in the volume coming in. IMO this is the only way to make real money in taxidermy.
Buckfever, Dux, if the shoe fits, wear it.
Jim, I've been involved in taxidermy for many years and I'm tickled to death when someone "makes it" because taxidermy is a hard business to really succeed in BUT, to justify that figure you would have to complete 3.2 deer a day and that is simply impossible. Two people could do it but not a single person. One person could "mount" that much if it is already prepped an ready to go but not from start to finish. A single person working for him or herself can gross about $120K, tops!! Maybe just a little more but quite possibly less. If you did nothing but whole mounts or African you might make $140K but that's if the stars line up..! Most I ever grossed by myself was in the $110K range but that was in the 90's. You said that the owner finished everything so it was a couple guys working to make a product an that is the way it should be. People working together for a common goal. Everybody wins. That's a hard concept for some people on this site to understand....
For those interested, hunting was tough but I managed to harvest a small 5x5....... Damn good eating!!!
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Thanks harry I'm so glad you noticed my new shoes , I was hopping you would . wink wink :-* :-* :-*
Harry killed Bambi. A future world record taken before his time.
I'll keep that in mind when I'm eatin those back straps Tim!!!
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