The majority of North America is coming upon the annual spring turkey hunting season. That means turkey hunters from Maine to the west coast of Oregon will be taking to the woods in pursuit of the wild turkey. That means taxidermy shops across America will be once again busy taking in birds to mount.
If you’re new to taxidermy and just starting out, now is NOT the time to start taking in clients thunder chickens. You should have at least a good year of practice of mounting #turkeys in all poses before you consider offering your services to the public.
So what should you be charging your customers to mount a turkey? You’re free as a bee to set your own prices. You can charge whatever you want, there is no set price. But be warned that if you are not between the $600 to $800 range you will lose in the taxidermy turkey business. If you’re looking to just make minimum wage or perhaps do your friends a favor, then by all means charge less.
Mounting turkeys is no easy task. A great deal of work goes into a well groomed bird. You just can’t slap these things together. Only a few taxidermists can skin out a turkey from start to finish in under an hour. Think about the time you will spend at the fleshing wheel and think about the time you will keep going back to the wheel. Skinning the wings out can be a real royal pain in the ass. After the bird is fleshed of all meat and fat just how long are going to spend at the sink soaking and washing the skin? You’re not just going to rinse that bird skin just one time and think you got the entire soap residue out of all the feathers. Sorry Charlie isn’t going to happen. If and when you do get all the soap out of the feathers the real fun begins with drying. If you’re not a gasser and corn cob grit kind of a guy or girl, plan on spending and hour or two blow drying your bird.
Now that we have all the skinning, fleshing washing and drying out of the way, think you can breathe now? Hell no! We haven’t even begun the mounting process.
As you know as there is a lot more to do. Manikin prep has to be done. Legs have to be set, injected painted and attached to the bird body. Our freeze dried head must be painted and YES you supply your customers with a freeze dried head. Preferably the turkey head that was on their bird and only replace if theirs is beyond repair. You can expect to cough up about $75 to have a turkey head freeze dried, which should include the shipping. Once this is all done the real fun begins with the mounting process. Plan on many more hours until the job is done.
There seems to be quite a few taxidermists across North America who are in a rut when it comes to pricing turkey work. This group will typically be in the $500 price range. So if you’re one of them who charges $525, $550 or $575 to mount a turkey, sit down, grab a cup of coffee and rethink your business plan. Start logging the hours it actually takes you to complete a bird. Figure your actual cost of supply, including shipping and handling of those supplies. And let’s not forget that Uncle Sam will get about 1/3 of your profit per bird if you’re an honest upstanding citizen and business person. When you have all your figures on paper look at it real hard and ask yourself, is they guy working behind the counter at Burger King or Mc Donald’s making more money than me? In other words how much an hour do you feel you deserve. If you want to work for minimum wage or less then get the hell out of the #taxidermy #business if your #prices pay you just that. You are doing nobody any justice and your work will suffer from it. The quality of your work will not even meet commercial quality if you can’t support your business.
We haven’t even begun to cover the taxidermists who charge under $500 for a turkey mount. Also known as low ballers. Low ball taxidermists are a breed of their own. Just about every professional trade has a low baller within and taxidermy in not immune. The facts pretty much remain the same. Any person who calls themselves a taxidermist and charges less than $500 to do a turkey mount falls within one or more of these categories.
- Is unlicensed and most likely uninsured.
- No experience in mounting turkeys and will practice on their clients
- Does not have confident in their work
- Absolutely has no business skills
- Does not pay income taxes earned in taxidermy
- Weekend taxidermist with great paying daytime job
- New taxidermist attempting to build client base
- Cut throating the competition
- Wants to work for free to pay for sins
With closing we wish you all luck this spring and hope your freezers fill with turkeys. Turkey taxidermy income is second to deer taxidermy and between the two it’s what keeps most shops open year round. If you have anything to say about this article good or bad, go ahead and leave a reply.