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Making the change to $650.

Discussion in 'The Taxidermy Industry' started by boarhunter67, Aug 8, 2015.

  1. PA

    PA Well-Known Member

    I probably should let this go but, as well written as what you said Mr. Yox, there are some flaws along the way.

    Certain costs are not the same. Not even accounting for the house costs - Multiple things are different priced. The cost of water and sewage is probably MUCH higher in California than rural Louisiana where a person has their own well and perk field. Real estate taxes in New Jersey probably average $6000 where on average that is 1/4 of the years income in some places. If a house is appraised at $40,000, which might be average for and area, the real estate taxes on an average house in Connecticut which may be $300,000 would probably be 6 times the cost. Even something like gas - ours currently is around $2.40 a gallon - 35 miles away in Ohio it is $2.05. There are dozens of other variances.

    On top of that is the true cost to mount a deer. You can buy $20 eyes and $5.00 eyes. If you use dry preserve and adhesives from Home depot, it is cheaper than sending it out for $70.00 to get a good tan job. Not everyone uses nasal septum's, or re-builds nose pads, etc. The forms are probably fairly evenly priced, but that may be all.

    The other flaw is that taxidermy is both a hobby and a vocation. As a hobby, it has people willing to just do something for the enjoyment. Someone who works in a factory or mine or refinery may enjoy mounting specimens as a hobby and do it for fun in there spare time. They may not need the money but still strive to do excellent jobs. I mentioned years ago about the craft ladies who make afghans or quilts. They love doing them, keeping their hands busy, but after doing 10 quilts what do you do with them. The big cities have professional quilters who might charge $1000 or more for a quilt, but backwoods West Virginia can't even have a profitable business at the local flea market.

    As a hobby, and with a paid job, a budding taxidermist can afford to do deer heads for a net profit of only $100.00, and so they can charge $300 total or perhaps $350. They can only mount up their deer and their friends deer, etc., but if they really like doing deer, they may branch out and start a side business. Because taxidermy is a hobby, a professional who charges $800 and moves to an area with low costs will have to develop a clientele who is willing to pay the price. This is not easy by any stretch, especially when 15 taxidermists in an area do almost as good a job for $350. Profits on ten deer heads at $800 certainly is better than ten deer heads at $350, but the latter may do it as a hobby/side job and not have to rely on it as an income. The hobby taxidermist will definitely garner business away for the sole income taxidermist.

    People at the upper end look down at others who charge lower. Some of the best taxidermists are part-timers. If Boarhunter lost his job, could he actually replace his income with taxidermy entirely?? The perks of a full time job are way more than they were 20 years ago. Health care for a family of four is probably now about $16,000, whereas, that number 20 years ago was probably $6000. Even with inflation that is much more than double. The companies cover the difference, but a taxidermist has to make up for more than inflation. College costs, cable, electricity, heck even phone costs have gone up phenomenally more than inflation.

    Commercial taxidermists have a hard row to hoe. I am surprised at the number still trying to eek out a living at it as their sole income. I sure am glad I am not one.

    Maybe if buckfever can't find a job at the BMW dealership, he can open a franchise for Jarods diamonds.
  2. JL

    JL Taxidermist for 64 years

    I've been on this forum since it started and this is the same argument today that was made back then how to make money doing taxidermy? The prices mentioned for deer heads run the gamut from depressed to luxury and anywhere in between but the running theme is that the deer head is what carries the income in taxidermy. There are very few taxidermists that make a reasonable income from just deer heads the labor and costs just don't allow it at the current prices and to claim you are a full-timer and just doing deer heads is just fooling yourself. To make a living you have to diversify and do what oldtimers did, MOUNT ANYTHING THAT COMES THROUGH THE DOOR, and I mean anything. Birds, fish, reptiles, animals....and on and on... EVERYTHING. If you don't know how to do it find a wholesaler who you can work with and put a price on it to make money but don't turn it away. The fact that you will mount anything will get you a reputation that will advertise your business in areas you never considered. I just skinned a house dog and sent the skin out to be tanned...charged $600 and made a good profit and the customer was delighted. Said she called all the local taxidermists but none wanted the job ( 2 hours ) until she called me. I just sent a pet parrot to Joe Kulis to be freezedried in a very select position to hide the missing breast feathers. All I did was price it...got paid in advance as with all pet jobs, wrapped it up and shipped it overnight. I've worked with Kulis in the past and know the quality of his work. I will put more $$$$ in the bank with these 2 jobs than I would doing three deer heads. I do deer heads as well but I really don't want a lot and my prices are right there with the best. BIG SECRET ....DIVERSIFY if you plan on doing this work as a full-time endeavor or want to make money. Good luck...JL (64 years in taxidermy and still loving it)

  3. boarhunter67

    boarhunter67 Well-Known Member

    JL, you are defiinitely correct about that. There's a full time taxidermist who is moving away from here because he can't get enough work. However, he doesn't do skin mount fish, certain animals, pets, etc. I take in about a dozen hogs a year at $850 a pop. I take in several bobcat, badger, coyotes, etc. at $900-$1000 each. I got a call about a lady who wants her 20 year old cat done when he passes. I explained a lot of things including my price of $3500 and she said she'll definitely call me when he passes because she is certain she wants him done and every other taxidermist she's called has said no. I was taught to never say no, but just to quote a super high price on things I didn't want so that if I got stuck doing it, it would be worth it.
  4. livbucks

    livbucks Well-Known Member

    $3500 for a housecat? LOL.

    That will pay for Christmas!

    Some people are just plain nuts.......
  5. boarhunter67

    boarhunter67 Well-Known Member

    I get about 2 dozen pet calls a year and about 1-2 decide to go through with it. $3500 is the starting price. Large dogs can be $6k-$7k. If they want it done, and other taxidermists don't want to do it, I don't mind. I hate doing pets, but if I charge enough, I don't mind at all.
  6. Ron B

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

    Cause you suck at it!! ::)
  7. livbucks

    livbucks Well-Known Member

    That is a good moneymaker for sure! Me personally, I wouldn't even bury a dead cat when the trash can works just as well.
  8. Bill Yox

    Bill Yox Well-Known Member

    PA, you know I respect you and your words in taxinet. I just dont think the differences in costs you mentioned are enough for guys to charge the same prices from over 20 years ago. I think if they realized that the money IS there once they begin to ask for it, the tides of change shall shift.

    And, at the risk of hammering it out again, if a guy cannot get better than 20 year old wages doing this, whats the point? And if the argument is he truly doesnt need it, due to a better paying day job, then he shouldnt be worried about not getting in his numbers per year, should he? I still say a deer head is an art work worthy of the minimal $500 anyone could charge.

    By the way, I followed a lamborgini for awhile the other day while driving. Must have been a SE...southern edition, you know, way cheaper priced for the south...
  9. livbucks

    livbucks Well-Known Member

    I figure on making a few bucks buying the Lamborginis down South and bringing them up North for a quick profit.
  10. jim tucker

    jim tucker Active Member

    $10 an hour wage with benes is one of the good jobs here. Why don't people just move somewhere else?

    Why doesn't the taxidermist who is behind just put his head down and get to work, I did 10 heads in 2.5 days when I worked at a major OH studio..why doesn't everyone?

    The inner city stinks, why don't all those people just go somewhere else?

    How do some of these supply companies stay in business when their product is terrible?

    Why did I work 17 years at a job I hated?

    Why don't people with unruly kids just beat their asses?

    Why is everyone's head in their cell phones 24/7?

    It's all about ONE persons idea of what works for them. You can't judge a man until you walk in his shoes. I am barely in the "allowable"(according to this thread) range at $450. I wish I could go up and keep it afloat. To be honest if I could I would quit tomorrow...but at 52 years old what the heck else am I going to do. I did everything in the past (stopped birds a few years ago) but if you don't have a good DEER SEASON here you can FORGET IT. There is no other BIG GAME in OH except for Exotics. You CAN go for the SCI Crowd but that chicken has the bones picked plenty clean.
  11. HERE ! HERE ! WE CAN ALL AGREE ON THAT ! If you dont you dont have kids!

    nicely wrote as well PA.

    I am one of those that eek out a living in taxidermy alone and have for many many years. It employs my wife as well, if it wasn't for her I would have to hire help, but the $$ for her labor stays with us instead.
    I'll pass on that job PA, I'm sure they wont let me leave at 2:00pm to go hunting everyday for the next four months. I doubt they let me break as often as I want to , and the older i get the more often that is. I don't see them letting me leave for an hour to go feed up my deer stands and pull cards every three days. They may not like me playing Guns & Roses music as loud as it will go. Surely they will frown up on me welllll having my way with misses buckferer if the rut kicks in. ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D
    Naaa I think I will keep my job I have.

    Bill I beleive you could sell a life insurnce policy to a dead man, ;D ;D ;D
  12. antlerman

    antlerman NTA Life Member #0118

    If you can't make it as a taxidermist, you could always learn to play guitar.

  13. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    If the manager of your company came to you and said the owner wanted to increase your pay by two dollars per hour, and asked how you felt about that, would you say no thanks, we live in a depressed state and a depressed town so I can't get that kind of money here? Again, if the lowest guy in your state was $600, hunters would find a way to get it done.
  14. jim tucker

    jim tucker Active Member

    Or not. The big thing here is guys doing skulls for $50. I cannot tell you how many BIG BUCKS here get sent to the local "skull guy". At $150 I cannot compete. It's gotten to the point that I take them in and then take them to the $50 guy to do for me. :eek:
  15. livbucks

    livbucks Well-Known Member

    If you give people your talents for cheap, they will be all too happy to find something else to spend it on. It is amazing how people can suddenly come up with money when they want something bad enough. If you give away your talents you are just subsidizing something else in their life. Can you afford that?
  16. michael p.

    michael p. Getting better with age :)

  17. Dave Byrd

    Dave Byrd Active Member

    Hey that sounds like a pretty darn good life for a $400 guy. ;D
  18. Bill Yox

    Bill Yox Well-Known Member

    Jim, I can remember when you did all that work at that shop. Haha, I also recall the big argument in the old taxinet where they swore you were lying, remember those days? Anyway, yeah its a tough living in amish country and competing against the church. The local inflow probably sucks. But at $450 Id think youre on the right side of it. Those cheap skulls are another one of my pet peaves, but...lol, I dont wanna debate that again.

    I cant stress enough that I am not telling anyone how they have to do anything, nor do I feel it will impact me. I just hope to give those on the fence some idea that it can be done. To those that wont hear it, in an area with potential, well...
  19. livbucks

    livbucks Well-Known Member

    Personally, I just want to make taxidermy affordable for the average guy.
  20. Bill Yox

    Bill Yox Well-Known Member

    Hahahaha, youre bad.