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price raise on shoulder mount whitetails?

Discussion in 'Deer and Gameheads' started by IAtaxi, Sep 24, 2017.

  1. 3bears

    3bears Well-Known Member

    JP, you can call BS all you want here but, as I said those two trades base their price on an industry standard, the difference is their mark up of supplies and their hourly rate and added expected profit margin. I don't believe that is disputable. Reputation and customer perception are very important here, maybe even moreso than quality of work. I don't begrudge you fro charging what you do. I say good for you. I'll get there. I'm listening to folks such as yourself that share your experiences. I also see the same things, when I raise my prices, I lose some, for a while and gain some others. It seems that those that leave, come back when they realize that my quality exceeds other, less expensive choices.
  2. Bill Yox

    Bill Yox Well-Known Member

    3bears, thats the point!!!!! Taxidermists should too. I dont believe in industry standards per se, but we should have at least enough pride in what we do to charge at least a going rate for this decade.

    But technically you ARE correct in that taxidermy is more a luxury and the mechanic is a necessity. But both can easily structure their prices the same, and there are many similarities.

    To me, there just is no reasonable way to justify how a person can run such a business at prices that have not changed in years, while ALL of their costs continue to go UP. If it were any other form of making a living, people would easily recognize theyre losing money...and get a different job.

    I personally like that theres lower prices, it helps me price away from my competition in a business way. But it does baffle me how folks can leave money on the table. its the attempt at justification that likely keeps me repeating this stuff in all these price posts.

  3. tem

    tem Well-Known Member

    there are guys here that cut up the deer for you. thats why they can charge what they charge. they cut, and rap up your deer and mount it in one place. makes it harder for us that dont cut it up for them. if i go up i might cut my own throat. guess i wont know if i dont try.put like it was said. they dont half to mount it. and some will not pay that price. one guy told me he can buy a nice gun for what we charge. got to keep it ware i can bring them in and make money.
  4. Bill Yox

    Bill Yox Well-Known Member

    So at what point do you figure out that youre either paying into their mounts just so theyll come to you instead of the other guy, or youll not make enough money for how hard you work? And you guys would laugh if we said go work at mcdonalds instead. I would understand the logic if two things were happening...the other successful taxidermist were not getting what they do, or if your work really wasnt very good. I know the guys are getting it, and Im willing to bet your work, like everyone elses, ought to be worth a MINIMUM of $500 all day long. All I can say is, charge what you can justify, but God forbid someone picking up a head at your place slips and falls down...and sues you. And you cant afford insurance to cover such things. I cant keep beating the dead horse, its skeletal at this stage of the debate, but I sincerely wish you all well.
  5. 3bears

    3bears Well-Known Member

    Bill, I do agree with you. Hell if I could get 1 million dollars to mount a damn squirrel, Id mount one and retire but, we know that ain't happenen. The breaking point in my area seems to be around the $500 mark for shoulder mounts. Sure I could set my prices the where JP is, but I would be sitting here with less work , if any. I started my taxidermy business late in life, I'm not cut out to make it working for someone else anymore, in todays world, so I set my prices where I think I can still have enough business to keep my doors open and make some profit. I will continue to push the envelope though. We all have our own ideas and ambitions pertaining to taxidermy. The material costs are similar accross the board but overhead and motivations are different. Chit some of our peers don't need to make money at this, they have pensions or other sources of income and only do it because they like to.
  6. Ron B

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

    Absolutely! Have you ever broken down in a remote western town? Ouch!

    Had a friend who was a mechanic in Alaska. He had a sign that read: "Yeah...its more expensive than back home................BUT YOU AIN"T BACK HOME"!!
  7. GregJ

    GregJ Active Member

    So if you hiked your price to $525 what do you think the other taxidermists in the area will think the new prevailing rate is? And what do you think they will do when they figure out they are working just as hard as you for $100 less a head of pure profit? Maybe everyone is waiting on everyone else to make the first move so they can too.
  8. Steven Klee

    Steven Klee Steven Klee Studios

    I have to side with George on this one.

    Anyone who thinks region doesn't effect price, both in income or out go needs to go back to high school and take an economics class.

    We won't even go into housing, property, real estate or taxes as it relates to state but here's just a few businesses that don't charge the same price across the country, let alone in the town next to you...

    Gas stations, best buy, walmart, menards, sherwin williams, lowe's, any grocery store ( chain or privately owned ), mcdonald's, wendy's, burger king......... well let's make this list shorter so I don't write a novel... Any fast food restaurant, both privately owned or corporate. Any physician or hospital. Pharmacies, home health care providers, mechanics and parts stores..... as a matter of fact, EVERY PROFESSION under the sun you can think of charges according to their location, and taxidermist are no more special than anyone else...
    I have been told by walmart, menard's and several other businesses while traveling, when I ask how about matching price at my local store of the same franchise, they are not competing against themselves.. They only match other chains in their area.. If you price shop any of these stores on line, they require you to enter your zip code just so they know what your local store is charging you.. Every state's economics is different, right down to the taxes they pay...

    All that being said, there are certainly common price ranges throughout all professions and ones particular skill set can both improve or decrease the value of any service. The thing is, there is such a large range even between the aforementioned and the success of ones local business is directly effected by the economy in the state they live in, period. I don't care how big your ego is, you can price yourself right out of any job. If one is not supporting every aspect of his living through mounting deer heads only, then he really shouldn't be giving price advice here. You can not compare a profession such as ohh say, an electrician to a deer head taxidermist if the taxidermist is not full time like the electrician, and so on...

    It kills me when 9 out of 10 people who say, ohh you can charge whatever you want for a deer head, then you later find out, they only do it part time, they have a full time job, their wife helps pay the bills, or they suppliment it with other forms of taxidermy, lifesize, birds, fish, teaching, judging or any other source of income that helps them pay the bills....

    Let's be clear here, if you took in a good number of deer heads, say 70, at $700 dollars per head, an upper end wage for just about anywhere in the country.. That's only $49,000....... gross. After paying uncle sam, your state taxes, unemployment insurance, all licenses, business insurances, material costs, all other costs business related, bills and living expenses, you'd be in the food stamp line.... Numbers don't lie fellas, and the numbers just don't add up..

    If you really want a shot of reality, just try and do an inquiry of how many deer heads were mounted in your state in a given year. Then figure up how many you actually pulled... That will tell a person real quick if they're worth what they think they are..
  9. DFJ

    DFJ Active Member

    I promised I'd stay out of another of these price posts, but ok I'll bite.
    I guess after 42 successful years in the taxidermy business I've been doing it all wrong.
    Sounds like I've been charging way too much and need to move from the west and become part of the real taxidermy world where I can sit on the computer all day and downgrade and diminish our industry and the successful people in it for trying to make a decent living.

    I am also from the west and also in the 800 deer club. I hear from people all the time that you can't stay busy at that price in (My) area.
    Did an experiment 6-7 years ago and decided to see how many whitetail deer I could take in. The number exceeded all my other items I took in that year. Here's the kicker, my state doesn't even have whitetail deer. They came from (your) areas that won't pay those prices. Hummmm
    Guess I must have missed something in high school, but then it has been quite a while.

    Truth is I don't rely solely on whitetail deer and largemouth bass to stay busy.
    I also take in elk at 1800, life size bear, cougar, sheep, goats etc between 5-6000.00 , small animals at 2000.00 etc etc
    And in 42 years ,always seem to take in way more than I can handle for the year.

    I don't mean any of this as bragging rights, I just get tired of all the excuses most of you use to justify your unwillingness to treat the business as a true profession.

    I will add one more thing.
    Most on this site fall into the same situation with the false perception that all taxidermists in the country are in the same boat.
    Here's a hint. Most suscessful dont even get on these sites.
    Maybe it's time to shut the computer down and spend some time out side the box.
  10. ortegageno

    ortegageno Active Member

    I'm at $675 this year and I'm just a part time hack! Lol
  11. Bill Yox

    Bill Yox Well-Known Member

    Steve, heck I was getting those numbers and prices and still supplemented by doing some of that other stuff, because it WAS only that gross figure. How the heck are the $350 guys going to do it?
  12. Trophy Specialist

    Trophy Specialist Well-Known Member

    For the folks in the $800 range on deer that are maxed on on work, how many hours are you putting into one of those mounts?
  13. DFJ

    DFJ Active Member

    Sorry TS I should have mentioned that.
    Honest answer...
    Just a good solid mount with out all the bells and whistles.
  14. kjdouble

    kjdouble Member

    Time and time again the argument of pricing rolls on but what is not discussed is margins. So taxidermist A charges 800 dollars and everyone assumes he's making a great profit, while taxidermist B charges 500 and we assume he is making less than taxidermist A. Yet we don't know overhead cost, material cost, or the efficiency of producing the product. I think it is moot argument to discuss pricing alone. Problem with the whole pricing deal is most taxidermist don't know their true numbers. How many can tell me their cost per head of apoxy sculpt, mache, clay, glue, thread, brads, staples, screws, etc, It's easy to figure form, eyes and tanning. Some will say I'm tripping over a dime to pick up a nickle, but they'd be dead wrong because that's where businesses fail in not knowing their numbers.

    I'm going to take a different approach to the" setting standards in the industry" Just maybe it is the top guys, your national and world winners, the pinnacle of the taxidermy world that are holding back the deer head pricing . Why heck if they can only get 700 to 1000 dollars with the proclamation of "BEST IN THE WORLD" . ;D what is the little guy down the street to do? :eek:

    In all seriousness, pricing will always be a sore spot in our industry, One just has to figure out if you want to be the Walmart taxidermist and blow out mass numbers for little profit or Oscar de la Renta
  15. DFJ

    DFJ Active Member

    Well KJ,
    I can tell you I'm no world champion. Matter of fact I haven't even competed since the mid '80's.
    No medals, medallions or ribbons here.
    Truth, I don't even use nictitating membranes or septum's.
    I love to look at the people's work and admire a lot on here. Many putting out way better work than I do.
    I just can't figure out why people insist on putting out the best they can for the cheapest they can as if customers are going to beat a path to their door.
    Sorry i don't see it. And I don't see it happening in ANY location.

    I just listen to my customers wants and past issues they have and try to provide the service others have lacked in providing.

    I posted a comment a year or so ago that went over most people's heads but ill repeat it here.

    In ANY business you MUST be a business man first and a craftsman second to succeed .
    If your at the top of your game of your product and a poor business man, your going down.
    However, if your product isn't the high end and your a good business man you can still succeed.

    Carry on
  16. kjdouble

    kjdouble Member

    You've strengthened my very point with your last paragraph. But I will agree to disagree as there are taxidermist who only survive on shear numbers thus the reason for my Walmart analogy. I have one just up the street, charges 375 for shoulder mount and took in 360 last year.
    There are cheap taxidermist that stay very busy, are they making a good profit, I seriously doubt it. If they would run a P&L on their business, they would probably find out they are making less than minimum wage.
  17. Bill Yox

    Bill Yox Well-Known Member

    I think everyone brings up valid points.

    Ive got a medal, but it doesnt bring me the higher price. But ASKING the higher price does.

    As for overhead and the true expenses, i figure many taxidermists flirt with disaster. Under insured, not following city or county ordinances like handling waste, which can come back to haunt them, are but a couple examples. All it takes is one jealous nearby taxidermist or a wronged customer, and you can be in hot water.

    i know for sure that big winning taxidermists are not what sets the way for successful taxidermists. The smart businessman does. All of us have the potential to be successful however.
  18. DFJ

    DFJ Active Member

    Well KJ,
    Since I'm having a sick day and a bit bored I'll try one more time.
    Nowhere in my posts did I say that a 800.00 guy was better than a 500.00 guy.
    What I did say, is people in general have the idea in their head that in order to get work they need to put out the best head they can for the cheapest price. I think that is what is the biggest problem in this industry.

    Further, I never said there wasn't price points and fluctuations in any business.
    Or course there will always be highs and lows and everything in between in businesses.
    There are high end car dealers and low end dealers. And yes the low end guy can actually make as much or more than the other.
    There is no way a high end dealer can keep giving his cars away at low end pricing.
    Why do taxidermists think they're immune to this simple fact?

    I keep very close costs of my time , materials, overhead , etc. and find what I need to charge for a given project at the level I chose to put out to stay a float in today's economy.

    Again. I just don't get the mentality of some taxidermists saying my customers aren't willing to pay over 300 for a deer head but insist on giving an 800 head back.
    Just hand them back a 300 head and you've made as much or more than the 800 guy and alls happy.
    Just give them what they want and pretty soon you'll find the prices will raise in your area.

    Might ad that this is in no way singling you out, just a general observation.
  19. Bill Yox

    Bill Yox Well-Known Member

    Well said. And to the others, still valid opinions, whether I happen to agree or not.
  20. tem

    tem Well-Known Member

    well i cant help it if i get bunched or kicked cause im at $425.00 who wouldent want to get $1,000.00 a head. most of the guys you get will be only once in your life time. most will only shoot one in there life time good enough to mount. or to pay for one. if one is butchering and mounting there deer they will get most of all the work. they wont pay to have it caped and then take it to someone else. the butcher is a taxi guy. i charge my best for whats going on in my area. iv lived here for 65 years. i should know how the wealth is doing here. im glad for thoes who can charge that much. but if you lived in well fare wonder land you wouldent be getting it. and with that. have a good night.