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Discussion in 'Fish Taxidermy' started by Matt Jones, Jun 14, 2016.

  1. Why is it that most fish guys price per inch?

    Who on here doesn't price per inch, and what caused you to come up with doing it a different way?

    I'm finishing up on the handful of fish I've accumulated over the past several years that have been sitting in my freezer and am thinking about trying to take in some customer fish or maybe do small batches wholesale; which lead me to think about pricing.

    Deer guys don't price on the size of the deer---they charge the same whether they're mounting a 2 1/2 year old 120 class or a 5 1/2 year old booner.

    Bird guys don't price more for bigger Toms with long beards and spurs or for roosters with longer tails or spurs---they typically charge the same for whatever category of bird they're taking in (i.e. duck, upland, turkey, goose, etc.).

    So why do most fish guys charge differently for a 27" walleye versus a 30" walleye when they're essentially the same amount of work? I'd rather do a 29" given proper field care than a roughed up 25" with split fins.

    Wouldn't it make more sense to charge a flat rate by type of fish?

    Not trying to offend anyone.....simply something that crossed my mind and made me wonder if guys charge by the inch just because that's the way it's always been done and they've heard of others doing it or if it is legitmately something they put thought into.

    My inquiry is primarily in regards to skin mounts but I'm curious as to how you replica guys price too. Anyone a wholesale guy or use one? What's the going rate?
  2. FishArt

    FishArt Well-Known Member

    Matt, per inch is certainly not the fairest way to charge for fish work. The simple answer to your question is per inch pricing for fish has been the industry standard forever. I believe in the K.I.S.S. theory here and changing the way you charge creates confusion with potential customers and some folks will also be leery because of the deviation. Some taxidermists have successfully implemented what you're describing successfully. I want to say Jim Tucker charges this way and I'm betting he'll chime in here eventually to either confirm that or refute it. Now, for me I do have certain minimums and I did go to a flat rate on most panfish via charging minimums that usually take precedent over my per inch price. IMO I think if you'e already established with a good feeding of repeat customers and referrals that it probably doesn't matter. But, for somebody starting out I think going the way of the industry standard is still the best route. JMO...

  3. AFWS

    AFWS The lost Robertson

    So if a taxidermist charge a guy $10,000 to mount a 13 ft alligator, should he charge the guy that brings a 2 footer $10,000?
  4. If it takes roughly the same time and same cost to do it then yes, charge ten grand for the two footer as well.

    I'm from MN so I know very little about gators, I've only ever seen one put together and it looked to be a pain in the azz and wasn't inexpensive...but $10K!? Dang. I'm sure there are reasons between associated costs/labor and I hope they're pocketing enough of that to be excited to see them come through the door.

    I'm assuming your point was that the smaller gator is a lot less work and cost so it wouldn't make sense to charge the same. I get that. If a Dad comes in looking to get his kid's first fish mounted and it's a 14" bass obviously it's only right to charge him accordingly for something that takes considerably less work than a 45" pike. Those cases are the exceptions though and not the norm.

    What I'm getting at is if charging by the inch really makes sense to do from a customer dollar to taxidermist labor/cost standpoint.

    Up here I'd say the average bass mounted (largemouth or smallmouth) is 18"-21;" the state record largemouth was 23.5" a true monster for up here. The average walleye mounted is 28"-30," so about 50% higher in price charged to do one...yet for me at least, they're pretty much the same cost in materials and same amount of time to do either. So depending on your pricing (and maybe just overall outlook) you're either taking it in the shorts when it comes to bass or making out like gangbusters on the walleyes.

    As I've been toying around with the idea of taking in some fish it lead me to think about what I'd even charge, which got me to thinking about if it makes sense to charge per inch...hence the thread here seeing if any of the fellow fish heads that are a lot more experienced and know a ton more than I do have tried to go against the industry standard on pricing. Especially with the amount of casting and molding many are doing. I'm going to try casting/molding my first fish head tonight so the only experience I can speak from is doing bird heads but in my opinion it was often more difficult and time consuming to cast a teal head compared to a goose head. I have to imagine guys run into that in many cases, where they have more into doing something small and detailed, which makes it seem even more counterintuitive to charge per inch.

    I agree with Marty though, especially when it comes to someone in my scenario; K.I.S.S. and don't buck the norm.

    Curious as to if the guys in much different scenarios than myself (established, recognized, tenured, etc.) have used their standing to try something different than what seems like an outdated way to commission a piece of art.
  5. FishArt

    FishArt Well-Known Member

    I agree with all of the above that you stated Matt.

    A couple of other things I forgot to mention (and a decent part of why I chose not to go flat rate - and I was THIS close to doing so for all your aforementioned reasons!) Anyway, it was my concern for new work especially, fish under the average length set. For instance if I set my bass flat price based on a 20" average and somebody with a 17" bass is shopping around, my price is going to be quite a bit more vs. the per inch guy for that 17" bass. Because he's paying for a 20" bass. Although, I do need to digress here and state that I do believe there is a small amount more work (and cost) involved with most species as they get bigger. Mostly labor, but some materials and more than just a couple of bucks when you include labor. But, certainly not equal to the rise in the per inch charged. Another tangent - I also think the per inch method encourages a potential customer (to some extent) to mount or replicate that 17" bass vs. setting the bar at 20" or higher (because that 17"er is cheaper). And, on the flip-side discourages customers to mount that 17" er if they're using a flat rate. Yes, I have over-analyzed this topic considerably and am probably wrong on some of my theories - lol! I'd be curious how it works out for you if you choose to change your pricing to flat rates.
  6. 3bears

    3bears Well-Known Member

    I charge by the inch but with a minimum. It is what works the best for me. I also charge for driftwood and or habitat. I've also considered switching to a set price for the common species, but realized it would be just a pain in the arse to change everything over. There are plenty out there that do charge a set rate, price shoppers feel compelled to tell me so and so charges this much for every bass or whatever it is. I say good for them. I would say that you are likely to usually get an assembly line mount, with little options for any changes in pose and such, which is fine I do plenty of them as well. When it comes to custom poses and things of that nature, it does take more materials and time, so either you have your flat rate set high enough that you cover all of the added expenses associated with that and that likely excludes some potential customers or you loose your butt when someone requests that at your lower set price. Figure out what you need to make on every fish and go from there. On another note, I do charge by the foot on bear rugs and life size.
  7. FishArt

    FishArt Well-Known Member

    X2 (except the bear rug deal - lol!)
  8. JL

    JL Taxidermist for 64 years

    I've been in this game on and off (military) for 64 years and although the prices have gone up dramatically fish have always been priced by the inch. That means that all of the customers from that time on have been trained to think.....How much per inch? So anyone trying to change that with a flat rate will have to retrain all those customers who have preceded the new ones. My question is WHY? Set your inch price by whatever business model you want and charge that. For small fish, cover your costs and profit with a minimum charge ( $200 ) or more. That way you make money no matter which way you work it. Just my opinion. JL
  9. Bill Dishman

    Bill Dishman Well-Known Member

    If it ain't broke don't fix it. Some people just can't stop themselves from overthinking everything.
  10. jim tucker

    jim tucker Active Member

    I used to hate per inch pricing myself...too complicated and not really representative of the costs involved. So I had a per species charge and i liked it....but for some reason customers RESISTED even though in many cases it worked to THEIR advantage.

    Now I went back to per in ch and they never say BOO. However I do have a $225 minimum on fish.
  11. FishArt

    FishArt Well-Known Member

    Thanks for chiming in Jim - I was wondering how that worked out for you.

    For the record, I actually have been doing a flat rate on all panfish and a separate flat rate for all Crappies for years. Basically the same as minimums when you think about it. But, I have since made a change on the Crappies because last year I took in an abundance of bigger Crappies and probably missed out on some of the smaller ones. (FYI, my flat rates WERE $295 for most panfish/$325 for any Crappie. I am not as fast as many when it comes to panfish so I price them accordingly). Now, I'm quoting Crappies/Panfish to customers at $295 also or $20/inch - whichever is more. We'll see how that goes... My point here is with the small guys I don't think it matters all that much with whichever method is used because the final amount doesn't change much. The only issue I have is the folks calling up thinking they can get an 8" Crappie mounted for $160 bucks. With any method of pricing most are not going to get that panfish mounted with whatever pricing utilized without understanding minimum charges. I can pitch to some the reasons why and land their business, but most aren't willing to pay close to double what they originally thought they were paying...
  12. jim tucker

    jim tucker Active Member

    lol....RIGHT! A 30" walleye is 10x easier to do.
  13. This topic has been touched on a few times . Im from a different part of the world and relatively new to the industry compared to masters on here. The charging per inch has never made sense to me , again : how can a 30 inch skinny Gar cost the same as a 30 inch fat fish ?? :eek: I charge by weight eg . up to 5 lb a fixed price , 5 to 10 lb a fixed price , 10 to 15 lb etc etc , price varys if customer wants any additional stuff done to the fish, and my prices are worked out by the upper weight range . Well thats basically how I do it in this neck of the woods , someone will no doubt pour scorn on my method . ;) You may have probs doing different to the accepted per inch method .