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Problem with customer pick-up?

Discussion in 'The Taxidermy Industry' started by inkyspal, Oct 18, 2006.

  1. inkyspal

    inkyspal New Member

    I'm relatively new to the taxidermy business...have been mounting for others for about 6 months now. I am having a difficult time getting people to come and pick up their deer once they are notified of completion. They tell me they are coming by on X-day to pickup the deer and then never show. So, after I call them it's usually the same story...they are out of money. I have about 6 deer in my shop now that have been waiting on their owners to pick them up for far too long. Just wondering if anyone else has had problems along these lines....and what kind of policies do you have?
  2. Becky P

    Becky P One must believe the glass is half full.

    I send them a certified letter (or is it registered? uhm, anyway, the one they have to sign for), telling them they have 30 days or I'll be adding a storage fee. That usually gets their attention.
    It's all in the contract they sign when they bring in their trophy AND pay their deposit (what, no deposit? they can store it in THEIR freezer til they get the $, I'm not a free storage facility). Thirty days to pick up, after 90 it's mine to do whatever with.

  3. Mr.T

    Mr.T Active Member

    Use a contract, spell it out, set the rules. I started out without a contract, and I can testify that there are customers that disappear and play games on the followup of the sale. Most will drive right over after the first phone call with cash in their hands. But there are a few that will say one thing on the phone, and never show or reply. Get a contract, get a contract, get a contract. Get a 50% down up front deposit, it's easer for the customer to come up with the other half when done, and this will cover materials so you are not out anything but profit if they default.
    It is false to believe that you wont ever have this problem when starting out, but it happens. You can set on the mount for months, and maybe they may come up with the balance. Or take aggressive steps with calls, letters, and due dates, then dispose of the mount to cover what ever you can out of it.
    Keep records when it is done, the date you called them, the date you sent letters and keep minutes of what was said or written in all correspondence. Set dates, charge storage if you think that will help them zoom over and settle. But have something in writing with the rules and consequences of the transaction.
  4. inkyspal

    inkyspal New Member

    Thanks for the advice! I'm working on a contract now. If I do get stuck with the deer...what is the best outlet to try and sell them to recoup my expense? Ebay?
  5. Jims Wildlife Studio

    Jims Wildlife Studio Full Time PA Taxidermist

    You have to have a written contract, it holds up pretty good in a case when you have to take to small claims court. In 24 year's I only had problem's with no shows in my first 3 year's. Then you get a little smarter. I did have to take 2 former client's to small claims and the hearing was over after the judge read the contract. Good Luck in collecting, Jim
  6. Matt

    Matt Active Member

    I agree, I went to a contract a few years back, and when they sign and date it, at the bottom it specifies they have so many days to pick up or it becomes property of Wildlife by Design and I will either sell it or hold on to it. I have alot of people who buy mounts just to display in their homes or cabins. I have not had to sell piece in 5 years, but I'm sure now that I have said that, I'll have a few!(LOL)
  7. inkyspal

    inkyspal New Member

    Thanks everyone. I wrote the contract last night. It states that upon notification of completion, they have 10 days to pick up their deer. After 10 days pass, they will incur a $20 per week storage charge & after 30 days the deer becomes property of the shop. Sound OK?
  8. I wouldn't put it as property of your shop. I would leave it as (partial of my copy):
    after X days the mount will be considered "abandoned" and may be sold or disposed of without notification or compensation to the customer and I (meaning the customer) may be subject to legal action.
  9. Dean

    Dean New Member

    inky - if you have a deposit, which you should . Tell them they have x may days to pick it up or the mount will be sold. When the time is near call them again and remind them it will be sold and deposit lost. They will be there that day. I've only had two not picked up in all the years, and they happened in the last 2 years. I ended up pulling the racks and used the mounts for someone elses rack. I get people drop off racks and want to buy a cape and get a mount done. I just use the mount and change out the rack. Then eventially sell the other set of antlers.
  10. Artworks

    Artworks New Member

    We had this problem when first starting full time in taxidermy. Our "check in" paperwork covers all your problems. To see a copy or print it visit our web page at www.dkartworks.com and click on shipping form. Hope you have better luck. Michele K.
  11. jim tucker

    jim tucker Active Member

    Just my 2 cents. you may write whatever you wish on your contract.....however you may not be able to enforce it. Although I have the "becomes my property" section on my contract it is NOT LEGAL in the state of Ohio to sell wild game UNLESS it is YOUR TROPHY(meaning you shot it) OR it has been given to you either by the OWNER(need written paperwork) OR by a court of law. In other words if I am going to sell a NON-PICKUP I have to take them to small claims court first and get awarded their piece.

    There are other laws in many states that govern these things. So before you do anything you might THINK is legal, better check with someone who REALLY knows your area before acting.
  12. RTF

    RTF Active Member

    Jim Tucker is right, you better know your state laws if you intend to sell a non-pick up. I like the storage fee idea.
  13. Hey Ink..Go to a Lawyer, Invest & drop some change into your biz..then you can get some sleep at night, and the Bills paid during the day !
    .......If you don't ..you might not be around to long if that keeps up much more !
    Don't play around and wait !
  14. bill@hogheaven

    [email protected] New Member

    It is not a horrible idea to call the customer a couple months ahead of the completion date & tell them it is in process. This gives them a reminder to get some cash together.
  15. I had a lady not pick up her mount for 6 months. I was ok with that as I had space on the wall for it,as it was one of the last deer I did for the season. I called several times and just got the answering machine. I ended up sending a certified letter to her saying she had 3 weeks or I would sell it or donate it to a charity of some sort. On the day of the deadline, she shows up with a check. I take it, shes happy and I am happy. Well the check bounced. I called her and she was rude on the phone saying, "I know the money is there, I will check on it!" I gave her a week and called again. This time she acted like something was wrong with the phone and just kept saying "Hello, Hello......HELLO!" After she hung up, then I got mad. I called one of the local businesses and asked what to do. I took the check to our local county attorney (this is what they get paid to do) he collected my amount plus $25 and also $25 for the court fees. This took about a month. I got mine in the end. The county attorney also said he sent her a letter out and if they chose to ignore it, that there would be a bench warrent out for her. I didn't want to make a client mad, but, in the end who wants a client like that anyway! reason for this story is you know what to do if one of your clients pick up a past due deer head with a check and it bounces. A contract is a must. Hope this helps ya!
  16. Becky P

    Becky P One must believe the glass is half full.

    Tony's experience is also why I do not accept checks as final paymet. Cash or money order, I'm not set-up for plastic.