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Effort Vs Pricing?

Discussion in 'Fish Taxidermy' started by Mudbat, Jul 15, 2021.

  1. Mudbat

    Mudbat Well-Known Member

    Recently I got tired of making no money on fish work. So I figured out ways to do what I feel is exceptable at my old price of 22 per inch.
    Below is a 22 per inch on the left vs a 30 per inch fish 30 per is both outdoor and indoor photos.
    Thoughts on the subject
    View attachment 229573
    msestak and ARUsher like this.
  2. 3bears

    3bears Well-Known Member

    Charge what you want or need to put out the work you expect and don't offer anything less. I can't remember seeing any pics of your work that I didn't like.
    msestak and Mudbat like this.

  3. Clew

    Clew Help a child, Build our future

    York, SC
    You got to price based on your own business model
    rogerswildlife, Mudbat and msestak like this.
  4. Mudbat

    Mudbat Well-Known Member

    Fish work is no longer my main source of income. I enjoy doing steelhead so I’m only going to be doing those in the future. Price on them starts at 30. The more detail ya want the higher the price goes. Those of you that have made a living doing taxi work, my hat will forever be off to you. I truely love doing it but don’t like necessarily dealing with some of the people. Specially the ones that paid very little and expect a show piece. There’s a fee for that and well… you didn’t pay it! also hard doing fish day in and day out with no breaks. When your not motivated to paint of sculpt it just shows in the end.
    msestak, rogerswildlife and 3bears like this.
  5. 3bears

    3bears Well-Known Member

    Yep, I love a good looking fish but find it very hard to spend the effort to produce them on a frequent basis. I can put out 3 deer heads in the time I have in a fish, especially skin mount fish.
    msestak, rogerswildlife and Mudbat like this.
  6. Mudbat

    Mudbat Well-Known Member

    Had a extremely good fish guy and all around taxidermist tell me” I can do 9 deer in the time it takes me to do one king, and those guys will come pick them up and pay soon after I call. The king will be sitting here for a month before they come get it!”.
    JL, msestak, 3bears and 1 other person like this.
  7. Frank E. Kotula

    Frank E. Kotula master, judge, instructor

    You’ll hear every excuse and reason why you should do this or that. We all sit and talk about many issues taxidermy has and the huge differences between deer and fish. I’ve seen it both ways deer sits fish sits gotta call etc etc.
    It’s your business and what time is investment you should be paid others go flip burgers and have less stress on yourself wondering am I charging too much. If you want it one if not bye. you do excellent work get paid for it!!
    msestak likes this.
  8. 13 point

    13 point Well-Known Member

    I don’t do fish but will say this . No one should lessen there work to make some cheap ass happy , set your price do the great work and charge for it . I tried the $ 450 Deerhead and the $ 700 Deerhead and I found myself still giving more to the $450 head as I didn’t want my name attached to the ugly mount and I new I was better then that . I now charge $825 for a competition quality Deerhead. Yes I get less mounts but I lost the cheap skates , thank god . But I’d rather mount 1 deer and make the same profit as some do for 3 and have the time to hunt and fish . It took me 1 year 2 seasons to to recoup what I lost when I raised prices . Once people realized the quality of my work was way above the other taxidermist in my area , they had no problem paying my price . Just remember you have to show your client the extras you do for a better mount , educate them and tell them to look for it in others mounts , example a full septum detailed nose compared to a filled in nose . In your case it would probably your color underlayment and fin details. But you need to point it out as most don’t know what to really look for or what makes your work better . If you do this you’ll have clients looking and tearing all other mounts apart kinda like us taxidermist do as we look for all details. Trust me you will get your price , don’t work for free or to just break even .
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2021
  9. jake7719

    jake7719 Well-Known Member

    You got your Meat & Tatters jobs like WTD shoulder mounts, payed the way of the stuff I enjoyed doing like fish.
    I all ways put 100% into all my work (tanned hide, eye, nose, ear detail, finished back, good hanger). I payed my self $20 per hour and the shop got $10 per hour.
    I only had 10 hours in a WTD from start to finish, so 30x10=300 + my cost of materials (everything used in the mount to include shipping). Every job had a time card to track hours and costs, helped in keeping my price competitive and profitable.
    I like fish and habitat work the most, didn't make my $20 more like $12 on that stuff but enjoyed it a lot.
    Did not like birds so I over priced them, thinking that people would go with some one else but it back fired. Ended up with a lot of work, but got payed well. (liked them a lot more when they made me $$$ and I could take my time).
    Clovis Point and drob like this.
  10. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    My shop rate was $75 an hour nearly 4 years ago when I retired. Shop rate plus parts, materials and services, times number of hours on every project.
  11. joeym

    joeym Old Murphey

    Some hours I make that, then sometimes I feel like it's costing me that rate to keep the lights on!!!
    Clovis Point, 1fish2fish and Clew like this.
  12. Mudbat

    Mudbat Well-Known Member

    Yeah I originally started with the typical taxidermist business model of don’t make any money and slave labor.
  13. 3bears

    3bears Well-Known Member

    Yeah, that is how most of us did it because we love what we do and that old phrase that goes something like this, do what you love and you'll never work a day in your life fits. Well I'm here to tell you that only works for so long. If I could just put mounts out and not deal with the public sounds good about right now, but then I would work someone else's idea of what my day should be like and that doesn't sound too great to me. Damned if I do and damned if I don't.
    D.Price, Clew, Terry Bennett and 2 others like this.
  14. Mudbat

    Mudbat Well-Known Member

    100% agree. I absolutely love every aspect of fish work. Be it skins or replicas. I don’t however like dealing with the constant pressures of people. deal with some very cool people and I also deal with some not very cool ones. just spoke to a fish only taxidermist the other day. He said in the 40 years he’s been doing this that people now a days are the worst as far as patience, regardless of how good you are.
    3bears likes this.
  15. 1fish2fish

    1fish2fish Well-Known Member

    I think its amazing we can get Dave Campbell replicas at $10/in with FREE ground shipping CONUS.

    Is this still correct?

    If so, I wonder if its worth the effort to him. Seems like he's offering a community service at that price.

    So, what did you do differently between fish 1 and 2 that makes $8 difference?
  16. Mudbat

    Mudbat Well-Known Member

    I’d imagine daves prices will have to go up. Great blanks with very, very few tweaks involved and very limited prep work. 6 hours in paint vs 20+ Hours.
    Fish 2 has painted scales, fish 1 does not. Just the effect.
    Greater detail in fish two as well.
    Fish two is the way I enjoy doing them.
    30 per inch is my base price now a days.
    22 was my old price. Fish 1 was taken in at my old price as was fish two. Fish twos owner heard I wanted to raise my price and offered to pay me the difference for that type of mount.
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2021
  17. 1fish2fish

    1fish2fish Well-Known Member

    Ah. Looked like the scales behind the operculum were painted on the $22/in fish.

    40in fish:
    $22/in = $880/6 = $146/hr
    $30/in = $1200/20+ = $60max/hr

    Obviously this doesn't factor prep, but it's a comparison.

    If these results are repeatable, I'd ask...

    Are you in it to make a buck or to challenge yourself artistically? Are you trying to help as many potential clients as possible preserve their memories of that special catch, or do you want more exclusivity and control of your volume of work?

    I'm confident you know of other taxidermists running a couple levels of painting at different price points. So, there's that too.

    In this case, I imagine both clients were very satisfied....but if this is an effort/pricing dilemma (as the title suggests)...you actually made more mula per time invested at $22/in.
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2021
  18. Mudbat

    Mudbat Well-Known Member

    Those numbers also do not factor in blank cost, eyes and prep. Yes a couple scales had to be painted on the 22 but it was minimum.
    I no longer do this full time and work a regular 40 hr a week job. I want to focus solely on higher quantity work.
    Steelhead is all I will offer any longer and on a extremely limited basis to those who want to pay for my time.
    Also the only steelhead you can get away not doing scale work by hand and have it come out decent in my opinion are boot steelhead. Otherwise your stuck painting scales to get a good result. So tack 15-20 hours onto that 22 dollar per inch cost if that fish was not a turn back.
    22x35=770-350( blank cost)420
    41x30=1230-410(blank cost)820
    Had fish one been the same color phase the same amount of work would have needed to be put into the scales.
    Say both fish if requiring the same amount of work had 20 hours into them.
    420/20= 20.85
    I’m far happier with the finished product of fish 2 vs fish 1.
  19. 1fish2fish

    1fish2fish Well-Known Member

    I guess I don't get it. Are we supposed to comment on pricing vs effort, or is this a "which fish is nicer" kind of thing?

    I'm only responding to your words: "Recently I got tired of making no money on fish work. So I figured out ways to do what I feel is exceptable at my old price of 22 per inch."

    Now you are saying that these ways only work for certain fish, so that changes things, doesn't it.

    You are correct, the $/hr comparison I made doesn't include blank, eyes, paint, epoxy, sandpaper, solvent, overhead, etc. etc.

    In the comparison I've made those are assumed to be constants, the variables being price/in and production time of specifically your painting process.

    You can see the comparative difference is significant.
  20. Mudbat

    Mudbat Well-Known Member

    Perhaps I worded the original post wrong?
    Fish two is the way I like to do them. Any fish I have ever posted on this site has been a 18(skinmount)22(replica) inch fish. Regardless of work involved.
    I finally figured a way( I’m all self taught) to get a acceptable piece out the door while not working for pennys, if the particular fish permits. However it’s not a way that I enjoy doing them( at 30 per inch I would have painted scales on fish 1). I like the details. I like good anatomy and try to get it the best I can. I loose my ass on many pieces specially skinmounts making sure things are where they are supposed to be. With any fish as you know there is zero for sure on final price. Things go wrong. Soon as they do you start loosing money. Sometimes you end up basically paying them to do the fish in the end.
    I turn down work all the time as I don’t like my own version of the species. Ive got friends that are good at them and I refer them their way.
    I just no longer have any interest and neither does my family who never sees me due to 90+ hr work weeks in being a good value on fish.