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Training and hiring someone?

Discussion in 'Fish Taxidermy' started by Cecil, Aug 12, 2017.

  1. Cecil

    Cecil Well-Known Member

    Anyone want to share experiences training and hiring someone in a fish only shop? Good and bad experiences? Subcontract vs. outright hiring? Tips and advice?

    I'm getting to the point where raising prices makes no difference, and I could be looking at 1+ years for return time if I don't do something.

    And no wholesale is NOT an option. I'm really picky on how my fish should look and want full control of my final product.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. Training someone to do fish to your quality would be a long process and then they will go out on their own. Train some one to skin and flesh and maybe mount, with you doing all the painting.

    I have always done everything on the fish, but have trained employees to skin, flesh mammals, I mount face and they do sewing, works pretty well! I'm sure this would work on fish as well.

  3. Cecil

    Cecil Well-Known Member

    Thank you for your response! Makes good sense! Yes it would take a while to get them up to my standard so yes basic skinning etc. would be the best option.

    I've heard of having them sign a contract to not open a shop within a 50 mile radius, however, been told good luck enforcing that.

    Back to the subcontracting: Took the dog to a dog groomer (she needs special care due to skin allergies) and complemented the owner on her employees. She said they were not employees. She indicated they were subcontractors because subcontractors work harder. She did say not to let the subcontractors get too chummy with the customers as there is a potential for them to take your customers from you. I found that interesting.
  4. JL

    JL Taxidermist for 64 years

    Cecil...you might think that a helper or student in the shop will save you time, but the reality is that it will take a lot of time to train that person ( costing you time ) and then you'll have to repair the work they did. And if you get that person to a point that they can do the job well, they'll see the income potential and will start their own part time business and you're worse off than before. If you have an overload of fish, part out some of it to a reputable person, to just skin and mount with you doing the finish work. Otherwise just tell the customer their wait-time and hope they agree. Having a lot of work isn't a bad thing unless you're old and tired. ;D
  5. fishmaster

    fishmaster Well-Known Member

    What JL said. Begin by giving up all areas of fish taxidermy you don't want to do such as repairs, large saltwater replicas etc. Get a few matuska or mckenzie rock and driftwood combinations to put in your showroom to sell as "add-ons" so that you are not having to do custom build habitats. Put a price on them so you make a few bucks.
    Buy all of your fish mannikins and cast heads that you possibly can so you don't have to carve them. You are paying for the service of ready made body but it saves you time from having to carve it yourself. As expensive as they are they are still cheaper than paying an employee.
    If you hire an employee, hire someone to put fish on driftwood, scrub and prep replicas, back fins on skin mounts sweep the floors clean the place and do all the crap jobs that are not necessarily taxidermy. High school kids are replaceable as they get bored and you won't waste a bunch of time training someone.
  6. Jon S

    Jon S Well-Known Member

    While it is true that you may train people, only to see them go off and start up their own thing.
    I am retired. I have no desire to start my own business, nor do I have the space to set up a full time shop. I only ever did taxidermy as a hobby and still enjoy the work.
    Just saying, the right person might be out there.
  7. I agree with what Jon S. Said. Find one or two "seniors", who are retired, but would like to work part time. Very little threat of them going on their own. Also, if demand dies down, it would be easier to reduce their hours or eliminate the position. ..
  8. JL

    JL Taxidermist for 64 years

    Like Dondi said look for retired people to help. Go to the local BINGO hall and watch for the ones not winning...now you know that person can use extra money and hire that one. Just don't holler B I N G O in your shop 'cause they usually do a lot of swearing when they hear that. Good luck....JL
  9. Sotired

    Sotired Active Member

    Don't look at me, I'm sleeping! 8)

  10. Cecil

    Cecil Well-Known Member

    I noticed one of the bait and tackle stores I used as a pick up drop off point uses only seniors.

    Thanks for all the good feedback!
  11. Pikeonthefly

    Pikeonthefly Active Member

    What about trading work for painting instruction? Once their skill level met your expectations maybe you could renegotiate? I'm one of these people that mounts a fish once or twice every 6 months and its usually in the winter as my summers are packed. My goal is to recreate something worthy of posting in this site or maybe even entering into competition someday (same thing) but that's along ways off. I'm more interested in perfecting the craft than making a living from it. Its just a hobby. There has to be someone near you and to learn from an expert is invaluable.
  12. Cecil

    Cecil Well-Known Member

    Thank you all for your comments! Lots to think about. Spent 6 hours altering a huge musky form and mounting the skin mount musky the other day. I swear some days I feel like I take one step forward and four backwards!
  13. Sotired

    Sotired Active Member

    Just turn around Cecil, then you'll be ahead of yourself! :eek:

  14. Cecil

    Cecil Well-Known Member

    Hmmm… Now I'm really confused! LOL