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Why Choose A Repro? Why So Expensive?

Discussion in 'Fish Taxidermy' started by JD Lake, Jan 20, 2021.

  1. JD Lake

    JD Lake New Member

    A couple questions from a client. What are your responses?...

    1. If I catch a fish worth mounting, why should I choose a reproduction over a skin mount?

    2. Reproducing fish on a blank is not taxidermy, it's just painting. Why do you charge so much?
  2. Pescado

    Pescado Biggest in 2011

    1. You may want to release the mount worthy fish to fight another day.

    2. Molding up a fish for a replica is not a simple task. It can be more challenging than a skin mount. Why charge so much, because I can.
    D.Price, tazzymoto, Westcoast and 2 others like this.

  3. msestak

    msestak Well-Known Member

    1. reproductions allow the caught fish to be returned and live.
    2. order a reproduction, finish and paint it yourself :)

    WLELTD Active Member

    now about if done right its a way better product
  5. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    JD, the first question has been explained quite well. Now let's look at #2. Taxidermists are pretty much held captive by the businesses who produce these reproductions. To YOU, you think our price is gouging you, but we're simply including the suppliers charge/shipping in your price along with the hours/supplies it takes us to complete your mount. Suppliers charge simply for their overhead.
    Let's talk a largemouth bass. Yours is 21 inches. Now the taxidermist knows you'd bitch if I gave you a 20. You're a fisherman and will swear that the only choice I had, (22) was "your" fish. The supplier, in order to meet your requests has bass in even inches 12-24. Each of these have to be cast in both facing left and right. They also have to have it in tail up or tail down poses. Some suppliers offer flared gills versus open gills. This supplier has $10,000 tied up in your 22 inch fish.
    Once he cast your fish, all non-linear fins are cast separately. All of them have flashing along their edges. The supplier will sell it to you just like that and be very happy. Yet the taxidermist don't want to deal with all that dust and filling cast voids or attaching the non-linear fins seamlessly. So the taxidermist orders a "ready to paint" repro wit a 10-20% markup. Say the taxidermists workload is busted or he's just " not into fish." He orders a "customer ready" at an additional 25%+ mark up.
    Now in my shop, I could mount a deer on a form from start to finish awaiting for it to dry. I charged $550 over 3 years ago. If i got your 20 inch bass, I cut flashing, sanded, shaped, attached fins and then repaired/attached with epoxy putty. When it cured, I primed the form and the used 22 different colored paints to make that repro looked like it just came out of your live well. I spent 12 hours charging you $15 an inch. I could have cleared $1200 on deer after supplies. As it was, I settled for making $100 after supplies on a fish you didn't catch and a mount i didn't do. If you think you were dumb in paying me such an inflated price, think how dumb I am to have made $100 when I could have made 12 times that?
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2021
    D.Price, JL, Wally Gator and 6 others like this.
  6. JD Lake

    JD Lake New Member

    Well said, George. Thanks.
    JL and msestak like this.
  7. JD Lake

    JD Lake New Member

    Also, for #1 other than the fact that releasing the fish allows it to survive for someone else to catch, what if the person is hesitant to get a reproduction instead of a skin mount because they've always thought of a skin mount as being the "real deal" and a reproduction just being a fake painted blank. What is your sales pitch to convince them to go for the reproduction?
  8. 3bears

    3bears Well-Known Member

    I don't persuade them one way or the other, I prefer replicas, if I can find the right size blank and very few would be willing to pay what it would take to do a custom cast of their fish. Most folks know what they want when they catch a fish, that's the time to decide not after they kill the fish.
    msestak likes this.
  9. NOAH@aarrkk

    [email protected] Active Member

    Then there's the reality that fish like catfish are basically impossible for the 'regular' taxidermist to do and make a good end product. Replicas solve that issue. Others would use the oil/grease issue in their discussion with the client
    Just my contribution.
    msestak likes this.
  10. Clew

    Clew Help a child, Build our future

    York, SC
    It’s all about a business decision
    We are her to make money
    If my customer wants a repo he gets a repo
    If he wants a skin mount then he gets one
    Knowing the implications of both
    Making custom repos, which I do several a year.
    You have to charge accordingly
    It’s not cheap
    But my goal is to give the customer what he or she wants at a price
    JL likes this.
  11. byrdman

    byrdman Well-Known Member

    studies have shown survival rates of most trophy class fish after catch and release is very low, more so the larger the fish and warmer the water. Such as musky pike walleye have near 90% mortality. So keeping a fish for a skin mount may actually be the best option.In the case of large trout,salmon...pics and meas. can allow fish to be eaten and “ mounted”
    Perca and George like this.
  12. Mudbat

    Mudbat Well-Known Member

    Most people for one don’t understand what a quality blank costs. They also don’t have any concept of the amount of time in prep work it takes in order to make it look more natural. Just like a skin mount it’s not just slapping a fish on a form, drying it out and putting a few colors on it. Does a replica take less time? Yep! However, there is far more cost involved involved.
    A really nice blank from say dave or Terry runs from 10-12.50 per inch. Then there is still finish work on top of that. Man their blanks are nice though!
    People would ask why I would charge 60% down. That’s cause I need to pay for the damn blank!
    Many people are also accustom to seeing really crappy fish work. I’ll be the first to admit I priced myself way to low for the time involved in each fish. You you have 15,20,30 hours into something and you send a final bill for 150-250 bucks your left wondering why you wasted so much time.
    Sotired and 3bears like this.
  13. JL

    JL Taxidermist for 64 years

    A reproduction will last long enough to give it to your grandkids while a skin mount might be in the trash depending on where you kept it. Skin mount is leatherized fish skin so it continues to move with the humidity or dryness where it's kept. Paint doesn't move like the skin so at some point in time the cracked skin will have to be repainted. Not so with a replica. Painting a skin mount is easy in the sense you have all the natural features to work with (spots, lines etc) while a reproduction is basically a white fish and you have to re-create the things you have to work with you find on the skin mount. Not an easy job.
    I religiously Charge 50% up front and the remainder within 30 days after the customer has been notified of the completion. So I don't have to dip into my savings to pay for the blank and also to help eliminate the deadbeats we run into in this business. It keeps me solvent.
    Sotired and George like this.
  14. JL

    JL Taxidermist for 64 years

    The skin of a fish to be made a cast of has to be "taxied" for a great cast to be made so yes it's taxidermy no matter what others might imply. (example) all fins need to be moved or removed and carded, all wrinkles need to be addressed as in depressed stomachs, feelers on fish that have them need to be carded and placed in the right position, mouths and gills need to be secured in the right position. All of these things require the movement of fish skin so indeed it's "Taxidermy".
    Clew and Kerby Ross like this.