Jan 5, 2013 - Price Increases
Well, at some point I had to do it and unfortunately the time is here. I have not raised my prices since 2009, and have absorbed the increased cost of paint, forms, eyes, driftwood, foam, shipping and delivery, insurance and all the un-seen costs that go into running a business. Average prices are up about 5 - 6% overall and are effective immediately. There are new price lists available in the studio and on-line prices are also updated. To prevent lazy taxidermists and price shoppers from just copying my on-line prices, the list is a little hard to find, but you can access it here - http://www.simpsontaxidermy.com/prices.htm Prices for gameheads, fish, full mammals, rugs, and misc. items are available there.
The new prices for birds are located here - http://www.simpsontaxidermy.com/BIRDS.htm
Prices for replicas have remained the same (cost + $7.25 per inch for prep & paint) but Sturgeon replicas and composite mount prices have increased slightly. You can see the new prices and info here - http://www.simpsontaxidermy.com/Sturgeon.html
Feb. 5, 2011 - New plan to Reduce Backlog
I hope to be able to maintain these prices for the next few years, but if costs for materials and busines operations increase, then so must the prices. I appreciate the support and loyality of all my clients and look forward to working with you for many more years. Have a great 2013 and have fun afield.
To all my great clients that make it possible for me to make a living doing taxidermy,
I want to thank you for your patience, your appreciation of my efforts and your continued support. Without all you folks, I might have to get a REAL job!
Over the years I have struggled with various ways of trying to reduce the backlog of work, but without sacrificing any of quality you expect and still continuing to treat all my clients fairly. While many of you don't understand why I have such a large backlog or why I cannot seem to shorten it up - the vast majority of you are willing to wait in order to have me mount your trophy anyway. Please keep in mind, I never wanted to have a backlog of more than 24 months of work. And from a business sense and a customer service standpoint - it's definitely not what I want. Ideally, I would like to be able to complete all work within 12 months.
There are really only 2 ways to reduce the backlog - increase output or decrease incoming work. Over the years, I have tried several methods of reducing the volume of work, with little success. Some taxidermists raise their prices until they reach a level where only a few can afford them. While this does reduce the amount of work - I feel it would force many of my loyal clients to go elsewhere and end up with lesser quality work. Some taxidermists specialize and will take only birds or only deer heads. This also reduces the volume, but I enjoy doing a wide variety of work and I'm pretty darn good at it. I also have a difficult time taking the "easy" mounts from a client, then turning him/her away when they want something mounted that is more difficult or less profitable.
Other taxidermists hire unskilled helpers and then train them to work in the shop in order to increase output. This results in a lower quality mount in almost every instance while at the same time increasing costs. There are no corners that can be cut if the goal is the highest quality mount. Some "farm out" or sub-contract certain types of mounts (fish and being birds being most common) in order to increase output - but this results in having very little control over the finished mount - not good for you or me.
I have tried taking work only from previous clients, but this has resulted in confusion among my established customers as well as the new ones. Many "heard from someone" that I was not taking in ANY new work at all and rather than call me and ask - they went elsewhere and were disappointed with the results. This was not what I wanted to achieve.
A combination of bad economy, long backlog and poor deer season resulted in reducing the amount of work in 2009 by a substantial amount. That should help me shorten the completion time once I begin the 2009 work. In order to maintain a shorter completion time, however, I am going to try a new idea that, if it succeeds, will maintain the shorter completion time AND the quality, artistry and professionalism you have come to expect.
I have been going over my records from years past, looking at the number of each different type of mounts I have taken in over the years. In other words, how many gameheads, how many fish, how many birds, etc. have I taken in each year. Based on those numbers, I can determine a "cap" or maximum number of each different category of mounts I can do in a year.
This is my plan - I will accept any work from ALL clients until I have reached 50% of the CAP amount in each category. Once I have reached this goal, I will ask clients if I have done work for them before & accept work only from previous clients & their spouses (or those with a referral from a previous client) in that category. I tried it last year during the deer season. Beginning Sept. 1 - I had a CAP (or maximum goal) of 30 gameheads for 2010 season (deer, antelope, elf, etc.). By the time the archery season ended I had 15 heads checked in, so for the entire gun season, I only took deer in from previous clients. The end result - 31 deer heads by the end of Dec. Any client rejected because of the cap can bring the mount in after the new year. And I will always accept work from previous customers - it does not how much work you had me do or matter how long ago it was done.
My goal with this plan is to deliver the same high quality work with less of a wait time. Please - if you took the time to read this - I'd be interested in your feedback & suggestions for improvements or refinements to this plan. For instance - I have not decided if I should publish the "cap" numbers for each category on a web page or keep them to myself. I was also considering what to do if a category comes in under the cap? E-mail me by clicking this link - with your ideas & comments.
Confucius said - a man who loves his work never truly works a day in his life. I take great satisfaction in creating a personal work of wildlife art for my clients and in knowing that, each time they gaze at it, they are transported back into that wonderful outdoor experience. Thank you for making it possible & have a great 2011,