Michigan Sportsman Forum banner

1 - 20 of 29 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So how did you choose your Taxidermist?
Seeing a lot of topics about mounts coming back lately. Most are not bad but I wouldn't say they are exceptional. Yes I am a Taxidermist myself. I'm very detailed oriented and strive to make my deer mounts exceptionally life like. I love taxidermy so much that it pains me to see someone pay their hard earned money for sub par Taxidermy work.
Do you visit show rooms and inspect a prospective Taxidermists work?
Do you compare their work to a live deer and not other mounts?
Is lead time more important then quality?
What about price, how to you tell if a particularly Taxidermist is worth what he's asking for a mount?
I would genuinely like to hear how you chose you current past or even future Taxidermist.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18,972 Posts
I had a fish mounted for some one.
Looked over samples of taxi's previous work. Was content with the results.
Had a couple euro mounts done in a similar fashion. No complaints at all.
Visited other shops with friends and looked over their work too.
Friends with great mounts for reference are a start but no guarantee always.
I don't expect the stuff viewed at competitions as normal work , just potential of the craft.
That is where price really factors beyond a well produced specimen acceptable for realism and durability.
Having seen enough colors off, non life like mounts, and raisin noses ect.. I would not push any time schedule beyond a month over when mount was expected to be finished,nor would I pester the persons doing the work..
It is a science ,but an art also. Rushed results are not expected to arrive with blue ribbons.
If someone is backed up to freezer burn time there are reasons, some good, some bad.
If avoidable back ups beyond what are planned, then really not good.
So it is a balance of quality,turn around time and cost.
A year is tolerable on a whitetail.
A fish, my biggest concern is color.
While I need to present the color accurately ,reproducing it is on the taxidermist.
Good work can be critiqued, with fairness, but bad work stands out easy.
The best current work should have a premium due to demand.
Life like is always the goal but there is the integrity of the entire process to consider also for long term results.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
9,615 Posts
When I was shopping for a taxi I went looked at about 5 different places. I was referred to one I settled on by a coworker. Eyeball test is what did it for me. You pay for quality. You aren't gonna care what that mount cost a couple years down the road if it's high quality work.

I have seen quite a few mounts on here that make me just shake my head. I will never put anyone's mounts down because that's just rude. But it's crazy to see someone shoot a beautiful buck only have the mount look like crap. Maybe the person doesn't know what a good mount looks like but that's why you need to shop around and look at their work. It's like shopping for a TV. The picture almost always looks good by itself but when it's next to other tv' you see which picture looks best.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Waif, looks like you have a good understanding of the fundamentals of taxidermy and have realistic expectations from your chosen Taxidermist. It's good to hear people are indeed doing research.

I feel my biggest hurdle is I've only been doing Taxidermy for about 5 years. Not saying I don't do quality but no one knows of me. My other hurdle is being a woman. Working in retail I know there are many out there that just don't like to deal with a woman salesman.

U of M fan, what is your eyeball test?

Another question because I get this a lot "Oh I've already got a Taxidermist that does all my work" What would it take you to switch to a different Taxidermist?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,993 Posts
I started with taking recommendations from other hunters and even members of this site. I then researched them online if they had a site or facebook (I'll add having awards from competitions added credibility for me) . If I liked that, I then went and checked their showrooms. I based my final decision on the looks of their showroom mounts. I can honestly say that price and lead time had zero bearing on my decision as the one I eventually went with was the most expensive and longest wait. Now after having several mounts done by this taxidermist and being extremely happy with them all, it's unlikely I'd consider anyone else.

Like any business, if you're good at what you do, you will build loyal cliental. It doesn't happen overnight though and takes years to build a solid reputation.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
9,615 Posts
Waif, looks like you have a good understanding of the fundamentals of taxidermy and have realistic expectations from your chosen Taxidermist. It's good to hear people are indeed doing research.

I feel my biggest hurdle is I've only been doing Taxidermy for about 5 years. Not saying I don't do quality but no one knows of me. My other hurdle is being a woman. Working in retail I know there are many out there that just don't like to deal with a woman salesman.

U of M fan, what is your eyeball test?

Another question because I get this a lot "Oh I've already got a Taxidermist that does all my work" What would it take you to switch to a different Taxidermist?
Eyeball test is that I have to see their work.

For me to change I would have to see same quality at a lower price and or closer to my home.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Eyeball test is that I have to see their work.

For me to change I would have to see same quality at a lower price and or closer to my home.
Not going to get into pricing with this but what if quality was better for the same price or only a little more?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
9,615 Posts
I have no problem paying but I know what I'm getting with my current taxi so it would take lower price with same quality for me to think about a change.

If you do quality work than you will build a good clientele base.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,003 Posts
to get established I would think a web presence is almost necessary. That and good old fashion leg work. Make up some biz cards and make them look nice - or at least not cheap. Also make some nice flyers. Go to every bait and tackle shop, archery, gun, outdoor, ORV, party store in the country, gas station, bla, bla, bla and get your name out there with some cards and your number. I think a nice example of your work offered to hang in any one said retail location with cards/flyers would be a nice touch.

Established relationships are had to break. ie. I have a taxidermist.....

But, good news is, lots and lots of deer are shot, fish are caught and so on by people who never thought about it until they get said critter. You want to be the stand out flyer/card at the party store on the country corner they go to to show off their buck and buy a celebratory 6 pack.

Oh, and answer your phone at night when a random number calls in the fall.

Don't offer cheap work to drive business. Quality costs money and people know this. if they cannot afford it you don't want their business. Sell quality over price and highlight that point.

Good luck - you will do fine.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,052 Posts
For me It is quality and price. I did take a duck 175 miles this year. But ducks are fairly reasonably priced at most places. I also had a shoulder mount and a beaver done at the same time. For those i used a guy closer to home and had reasonable pricing. Before I committed I had to show up to his shop and do the eyeball test....for me I literally look at eyeballs lol. To me the animal has to look alive and they eye area tells alot for me....some taxidermists don't get it right and they look like hell. I also look for things like awards. If a guy is awarded amongst his peers that says alot. It shows they are into what they do and they are striving to get better all the time when they compete. I was very pleased with what I got with my new taxidermist this yr.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I like the input here. This topic comes up frequently on the taxidermy forums and I like hearing it from actual hunters or fishers that use the taxidermy service.

I'm not expecting to get every job and I know it'll take 5-10 years to get a good clientele base.
I think I'm heading in the right direction
Top commercial quality
Decent turnaround (under a year on most projects)
Reasonably priced for my quality
When it comes to deer I also try to do custom artistic pieces.
I know many wives that dislike just a deer head on the wall. I want them to come to the showroom with their husband and go "Oh I actually like that! I want that in our living room honey!"

I did a booth at the local sports show this year. I have a website and display my cards where ever I can. I plan on doing flyers.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18,972 Posts
Waif, looks like you have a good understanding of the fundamentals of taxidermy and have realistic expectations from your chosen Taxidermist. It's good to hear people are indeed doing research.

I feel my biggest hurdle is I've only been doing Taxidermy for about 5 years. Not saying I don't do quality but no one knows of me. My other hurdle is being a woman. Working in retail I know there are many out there that just don't like to deal with a woman salesman.

U of M fan, what is your eyeball test?

Another question because I get this a lot "Oh I've already got a Taxidermist that does all my work" What would it take you to switch to a different Taxidermist?
A woman involved is not an issue I would visit. Show me the results of your skill regardless of human,machine or monkey.
Some one don't like it they can leave or price goes up alot. But that's me. Been out of sales many years for a reason,l.o.l..
What is the goal for the customer on a deer mount? A fine mount with fine detail and my slight input as to how much size and what posture. A deer that looks real.
Besides, the argument of who notices more detail is not going to favor the majority of men when fairly compared.
A new season approaches.
Get your availability out there and caution people to let you do the capeing on fresh deer or at least what is desired in a cape if they have any doubts.
Then smile when deer come in split to the chin.

Ultimately you are being paid for your knowledge and tools and resources, but... you deal with human customers.
Some are not worth doing work for as we all know.
I know what I'd tell them if my sex was an issue, but then if I were patient ,taxidermy would be of more interest...
As mentioned in previous post's a sample of your work in places hunters frequent could help.
At least a contact number established with sporting good stores in the event someone inquires.
Buck pole contest's ect..
Don't be shy about letting people know what you do.
A loyal clientele will follow in time if your work is good.
Folks will acquire firsts this season and might make better target customers than those with taxi's already, or not..
The only reason to switch for me would be turn around time and that has inherent risks for both parties.
Results for me, and a potential negative customer when I compare work and cost for the service provider or worse a customer that the previous provider is relieved to see go.
Kind of a weird relationship comparison, but one of familiarity like a barber or hair dresser and the results being familiar; maybe creates much of existing loyalty.
5 years is some decent whiskers, pardon the pun.
You got it,(the touch) or you don't by now.
Just my opinion though.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18,972 Posts
Oh crap, I missed that angle aqhforever.
Get them ladies onboard.
A discerning gift for the sportsperson from their spouse/sig. other..
Deer widows, lady hunters..outdoor woman programs.
Sigh ,you'll get it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
648 Posts
I'm curious to see your website now!!
I usually go for the most expensive or at least the upper side and expect that quality will come with it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,860 Posts
I have 17 mounts I used four different taxidermists before I found Raynard Moll out of Hudson. He has done all my mounts in the last ten years or so and his work is outstanding. The mounts that I had done by the others suck compared to Moll's
taxidermy. Price doesn't mean much because two of the taxidermists that did poor work for me were more expensive than Raynard. His detail and quality craftsmanship is awesome. Not only is he a great taxidermist but he has become more of a friend than a business acquaintance. One of my bucks that was done by the other taxidermists my friends always tease me because it looks like the buck is smiling at you. They call him the clown! It's a bummer because it's one of my nicer ones. I have always wanted to get another cape and have Raynard remount it. But good luck in your business venture. Do good work, take lots of pride and word of mouth travels.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,860 Posts
Let me add that I had three bucks done by a taxidermist in Ohio and all three are cracking around the eyes and the ears are coming apart. So that's another worry. That guy came recommended! i would never use s taxidermist again that doesn't send the capes in to get commercially tanned.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,250 Posts
My taxidermist was referred to me by another friend that had a lot of nice work done by him. Outside of the quality of work, I have always liked that he spends a lot of time educating me on the things that he does to make his mounts look good. Not trade secret stuff, but things I can do in terms of caping, storage etc. so that when he gets it he is not having to fix things that could have been prevented. I also know that he controls the tanning process in house. Plus, he's just a great old guy that loves to tell stories and has taken the time to get to know me.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
19,263 Posts
Over the years I have spent a bundle on taxi work and only once been disappointed. I always inspect their work, talk to them about their tanning process, try to get a feel for the passion they put into their work and ask about turn around time. If their work load is small and turn around time is real quick I usually walk out the door. The time I got burnt I followed this process to the T and was pleased enough to hire the guy. When I arrived to pick up the finished mount I was very disappointed and learned that he had not done the work that his apprentice had done my mount. So now I have one more question I ALWAYS ask, "Who will be doing my mount?" don't just assume.
 
1 - 20 of 29 Posts
Top