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Should I abandon my own business & take this offer from a local taxidermy studio

Discussion in 'The Taxidermy Industry' started by man2hit, Oct 14, 2016.

  1. man2hit

    man2hit New Member

    I am VERY torn about this so please share any opinions and advice you have. I have been doing taxidermy on and off for about 11 years. About a year into it I took a job with a local taxidermy shop that is owned by a man that I am related to through marriage. He just needed my help through the Fall so I only worked there about 3-4 months. I then took a job with a coal company making great money and for the next 9 years I worked there. I was laid off this past March and have now decided to try and start a full time taxidermy business. I'm not aiming to be backed out the doors with work.....just enough to sustain myself financially....which isn't much, because I can live CHEAP and i have no debt. Anyhow, I get a call this past Tuesday from my relative through marriage and he wants me to come back to work for him full time because he is doing 250 mounts a year and needs help bad. He says he can grow his business even larger but good help is hard to find. He also goes on to say that he is getting to the age that he needs to start thinking of leaving this business to someone else one day. He is probably 53-55ish in age.
    Now, I'll give him credit....he is an AMAZING taxidermist with a very accomplished studio. He does mounts from all over the world and has an impressive stack of ribbons from his competitions through the years. I'll admit, I will probably not ever have an opportunity like this handed to me again. I could learn more from him in a year than I will by trial-and-error in 10 years probably. At first though, I thought maybe he was just trying to shut down a competitor before they ever got their footing and offer a shiny promise of inheriting a successful business one day. I can't say that's not what he is doing, but I feel like it's not. He will take in more out-of-state work this year than he will in-state. My business is not threat to his livelihood.
    My dilemma is this....everyone's dream is to be their own boss, make their own schedule, and to be their own success story. I have invested about $4,000 this summer into getting everything ready for this business to launch this hunting season....So far I have taken in a couple bears, a bobcat from last season, and a fox squirrel. I supposedly have a deer and another bear on the way next week. I told him I would have to see how this season goes and he said he would give me till the first of the year to decide. We are all aware that most times it will take a taxidermy business a couple of seasons to get off of the ground. Sooooo, should I just walk away from my business ( Skin & Bones Taxidermy) if it falls flat this season or should I try to stick it out and make it on my own? FYI, there are only 2-3 full-time shops around here and they are ALL backed out the doors with work. So it just seems to me like there is room at the table for someone else to make a living at it too....meaning ME! What do you all think?
  2. jim tucker

    jim tucker Active Member

    I may not be the best one to answer but I will because I have been in both situations.

    Myself I would make a list of "demands"(only word I could think of) for him to meet before going (pay scale, paid time off, expected workload, etc.) Aim high, and if he would meet those requirements I would go work for him and forget my own place, at least for now.

    At least I would start there. What I learned working in a large studio was priceless and the biggest thing it taught me that I never want a big studio. Being the "man" ain't all it's cracked up to be. Let him worry about getting YOU paid instead of YOU trying to figure out getting YOU paid LOL.

  3. BrookeSFD16

    BrookeSFD16 Well-Known Member

    Re: Should I abandon my own business & take this offer from a local taxidermy studio

    You could always keep what you already have invested. Do your own customer work and do "wholesale" type work for him. Kinda like a partnership.

    Another option is splitting up the work. In other words, do certain things at your shop, ie finish work, tanning, Waterfowl?

    Just a thought. I definitely wouldn't pass up the opportunity to learn from him.
  4. If you did taxidermy while working with the coal company why not do both. Work full time for him and do some of your own customer work on the side.
  5. grumpa

    grumpa Active Member

    If he offers you good pay, some benefits like health insurance and his checks are good, go to work for him. You'll be able to hunt and fish on your days off and WON'T have to lose sleep because there's tanning bills to pay, rent due, etc. Being your own boss is not always what it's cracked up to be. I could go on and on.
  6. joeym

    joeym Old Murphey

    Ditto what Grumpa said. You need a living, he can provide it. Plus, all or part of that business might become yours someday. It takes half a lifetime to develop the clientele and business he already has.
  7. I have been in your shoes too, first I would have a contract signed in regards to your pay and work requirements, ( I didn't took the word of mouth promiss and all most went bankrupt ) he never came up with the pay he said he would, if it dose not work out then start your own shop up,, On the other side if you are your own boss you set the pay scale, and you decide what you want to mount, ( road killl ) I turn them all down,, working for someone else you may be mounting JUNK because your told to, I don't like being told what to do or how to do it,, been at the game for 39 years, and I call the shots not my clientel,, OR boss.
    try it out youc an always come home, so to speak.
  8. Get your demands in writing. One thing is the no competition clause. Here is the deal I see it that you dont have a business at this point.I dont know what you spent 4 grand on getting ready to go into business but unless it was tools I dont have any idea.

    Being your own boss in taxidermy is not true. Everyone who walks through your door is your boss.

    I would work for him and get the experience here is how I read your question.

    You lack a lot of experience.
    YOu need more experience
    You want more experience.
    So are you goign to use your customers stuff to get that experience?

    11 years of doing this part time, and you dont have enough experience?

    There can be great benefits in working for someone else.

    When you are off work you are off work.

    Being self employed you may end up putting 80 hours a week in or more and not making enough to pay the bills.

    You did not say what your prices are or what his are, but him being established can well be to your favor.

    Sales tax.
    Use Tax.
    Self employment tax.
    Local tax.
    Cost of materials.
    Cost of production.
    Cost of advertising.
    Cost of vacation and days off expenses.
    Cost of utilities.
    Cost of education (yourself admitted you dont have a lot of other experience.) seminars.
    Cost of your wages.
    Cost of your profit. (Profit and wages are two different things.
    Cost of retirement investments.

    Think about it.
  9. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    I too, would take him up on it, IF, he can offer you what you need. It takes a lot more critters coming in to make a living than most people realize.
  10. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    To add to John's list;

    Cost of business insurance
    Cost of health insurance
    Cost of time with family
    Cost of time with friends
    Cost of time doing outdoor activities
    Cost of building maintenance
    Cost of licenses
    Cost of dealing with customers on a large scale
    The list goes on and on
  11. Work for him, guaranteed wages! I would love to just do taxidermy for someone else, all the fun without the customer headache.
  12. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    To go full time you need more than a week or two of work in the shop, which would be a couple of bears, a bobcat and a squirrel. You need steady flow. 6 bears, 8 bobcats, 14 foxes, 120 deer, 3 turkeys, 10 pheasants, 11 quail, 20 ducks and five geese. 30 antler mounts, 15 skull mounts, 6 elk mounts, a pronghorn or two, and a few wall hangers. That would keep you busy for a good portion of the year, however, you need that every year, year in and year out.
  13. Bill Dishman

    Bill Dishman Well-Known Member

    If you wanna be happy, go it on your own. The risks may be greater, but so are the rewards.
    You cant succeed in a large way and play it safe at the same time.
  14. gab

    gab Active Member

    I would take the job offer if it is appealing without the chance to take over the business.pretend that offer never happened and never will.if it's still appealing go for it.Those offers almost never happen.a blood relative will tell him he's crazy to give the shop away or someone will convince him his business is worth millions and he'll offer it to you at a ridiculous price.
  15. Denton Shearin

    Denton Shearin 2009-Breakthrough Award, McKenzie Award,

    If he is serious about passing the business on, you might try to negotiate a way to do that. Offer for you to become a partner in the business over time.

    Something like after you have worked there a certain amount of time you would own 10% of the business. Develop a schedule that would give you 50% ownership after 10 or 15 years. You may need to offer to buy into it with cash or a percentage of your wages maybe. You could also offer to buy his part at a certain point in the future. As he gets older he might want to cut back on how much he works and you might even work it out where he can work for you part time after he retires.

    Let him know what you are interested in doing and be open to negotiate. And of course, get everything in writing.
  16. I just made the leap you're considering. Its been a great decision so far knock on wood. I don't have to wait on customers or worry about tanning costs form costs. Mount pieces and keep em looking good.