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Selling Taxidermy Vs. Commissions-based

Discussion in 'The Taxidermy Industry' started by JoshuaTreeBirds, Dec 12, 2020.

  1. JoshuaTreeBirds

    JoshuaTreeBirds Member

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    I'm looking for some input here. I know most taxidermy businesses run either mostly or solely on commissions and working with clients, hunters. I'm wondering how viable or successful it would be to run a business mostly making and selling pieces (like 75% of the time), and doing commissions only 25% of the time. I know that most mounts in general tend to sell for less compared to what people will pay to have "their" specimen mounted custom. But I think I've identified a “need” that clients will pay good money for, and that is, legal birds, exotic/novelty birds. I only do birds, that's my specialty. Most bird species are protected here in the United States and the few species that can be owned/bought/sold freely are mainly exotics, domestics, zoo and pen-raised birds. It seems to me that these are highly sought after by collectors and they will pay very good money for such specimens, especially for artistic pieces of good composition and quality, which I believe I can offer. I've had loads of interest, and since opening for part-time business this year, I have mainly been selling. Or, I offer out my specimens for custom commission, so I get money upfront that way. I've been doing both this and hunter commissions 50/50. But I really enjoy working on exotics as well as having the freedom to compose pieces the way I think best. I'm questioning how successful that could be if I were to do that long-term and full time, making and selling 75% of the time. I would of course need consistent suppliers so I'm thinking I’d have to be partnered with many more aviaries, zoos, etc. I've been thinking that I could come up with contracts so that once I finish mounting the birds and sell them, the aviary or place the birds came from will get a percentage of the profit. I’ve already done this with a couple small farms/places and it has been working out well. Just brainstorming here! I’d like to know what some of you in the industry think of this concept, thanks.
     
  2. JoshuaTreeBirds

    JoshuaTreeBirds Member

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    I'm also curious if anyone has done that before with aviaries/farms/breeders? Contracts where they get a percentage of your profit? Instead of purchasing upfront.
     

  3. 13 point

    13 point Well-Known Member

    Your Messing with a lot of laws there , some laws in one state or place could be different elsewhere, then the federal side of it . I believe your just opening a big can of worms . From the hunting side of it most hunters want to be the one that harvested said bird or critters, not buying someone else’s kill . JMO
     
    JoshuaTreeBirds likes this.
  4. byrdman

    byrdman Well-Known Member

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    Ebay is full of mounted pen raised birds....buy them outright and keep all the profits...no need to give game farm any cut...they make plenty selling you specimens
     
    Kerby Ross and JoshuaTreeBirds like this.
  5. JoshuaTreeBirds

    JoshuaTreeBirds Member

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    I am thinking most would be non-native or non-protected. Not ESA or MBTA listed, etc. Mainly birds that died of natural causes and hunters wouldn't be my main target. Birds like domestic parrots, finches, softbills, pheasants, emu/ostrich, etc. Not so much game birds. Then maybe pen raised waterfowl or other birds here and there which would require some paperwork and could only be sold in some states.
     
  6. byrdman

    byrdman Well-Known Member

    8,890
    4,120
    game farm... pheasants, waterfowl...
     
  7. PA

    PA Well-Known Member

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    I doubt many aviaries of any size would offer the birds to you. Decades ago at the museum I work for we would consistently get large quantities of birds from a couple aviaries/zoos and they were un-autopsied. Now-a-days veterinarians seem to want to autopsy almost every specimen in looking for possible diseases that might spread among birds. They would probably be even more reluctant to pass off these birds incase a disease might be spread to the person accpting the bird. I agree with byrdman - concentrate on pheasants and bred waterfowl, but the costs of great specimens is probably 1/3 of the final price.
     
  8. joeym

    joeym Old Murphey

    I think you are paving a slow road toward starvation. There is a market for mounted specimens, but the audience is very limited. I hope you can prove me wrong.
     
  9. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    I was came across a website that sold peacocks and swans. It was very well done taxidermy and it looked like it was a flourishing site.