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How to Start a Taxidermy Business

Taxidermy Business

A taxidermy business is a business that specializes in the preservation and mounting of animal specimens for display. Taxidermy is the art of preparing, stuffing and mounting the skins of animals in a lifelike manner to create realistic representations of the animals for exhibition and decorative purposes.

The aim of taxidermy is to create a lifelike appearance, often capturing the animal’s natural posture and expressions. Taxidermy involves ethical considerations, especially when it comes to sourcing animal specimens.

Many taxidermy businesses adhere to legal and ethical guidelines, obtaining animal remains through legal means, such as from animals that died of natural causes, were legally hunted, or were obtained through breeding programs.

Steps on How to Start a Taxidermy Business

  1. Conduct Market Research

Conducting market research is an essential step when starting a taxidermy business to help identify potential customers and understand their needs and preferences. First, you are expected to know your potential customers and determine their demographic characteristics, such as age, income, and location.

Next, you are expected to research the market pricing of similar taxidermy products. Consider factors such as materials used, design complexity, and the perceived value of your creations. Conduct surveys or focus groups to understand what customers seek in a taxidermy business. Ask about their preferences for products, pricing, and customer service.

Participate in local craft fairs, markets, and events where you can observe customer reactions to various taxidermy items and get direct feedback. This also provides an opportunity to network with fellow crafters and artisans.

You should also determine the cost of goods sold for each product and the overhead costs associated with running the business. Analyze pricing strategies used by competitors to determine what pricing structure will be most competitive and profitable for your business.

Lastly, based on your market research findings, make informed decisions about your product range, pricing, marketing channels, and branding. Adjust your business strategy to align with customer preferences and market trends.

a. Who is the Target Market for Taxidermy Business?
  • Hunters and Outdoor Enthusiasts
  • Museums and Educational Institutions
  • Interior Designers and Decorators
  • Collectors
  • Hobbyists and artists
  • Film, television, and theater production companies
  • Restaurants, lodges, and other establishments with a rustic or nature-themed atmosphere
  • Memorial and pet owners
  • Research institutions, wildlife conservation organizations, and scientists who require taxidermy services for educational and research purposes.
  • Artists who work with taxidermy or incorporate taxidermy elements into their art.
b. Is Taxidermy Business a Profitable Business?

Yes, taxidermy is considered a profitable business, but it is important to note the profitability of a taxidermy business can vary depending on several factors, including market demand, competition, pricing strategies, operational costs, and overall business management.

While taxidermy businesses have the potential to be profitable, it is important to carefully consider these factors before starting or investing in such a business.

c. Are There Existing Niches in the Industry?

No, there are no existing niches when it comes to taxidermy business.

d. Who are the Major Competitors?
  • McKenzie Taxidermy Supply
  • Jonas Brothers Taxidermy
  • Second Nature Taxidermy
  • Advanced Taxidermy
  • Nature’s Design Taxidermy
  • Cedar Hill Taxidermy
  • Artistry in Motion Taxidermy
  • Wildlife Recapture Taxidermy
  • King Sailfish Mounts
  • Knapton Studios Taxidermy
  • Hedrick’s Taxidermy
  • Premier Taxidermy
  • Trophy Room Taxidermy
  • Downeast Taxidermy
  • Wild Reflections Taxidermy
  • Safariworks Taxidermy
  • Wells Taxidermy
  • Blackwater Taxidermy
  • Northland Taxidermy
  • African Wildlife Artistry.
e. Are There County or State Regulations or Zoning Laws for Taxidermy Business?

Yes, there are often county, state, and federal regulations, as well as zoning laws, that can apply to taxidermy businesses in the United States. These regulations can vary widely depending on the location and specific nature of the business.

Zoning laws determine where certain types of businesses can be located. Taxidermy businesses might fall under specific zoning categories, such as commercial or industrial zones. Zoning regulations can dictate the type of building where the business can operate and its proximity to residential areas.

Taxidermy involves the use of chemicals for preservation and other processes. Businesses might need to adhere to environmental regulations regarding the handling, storage, and disposal of these chemicals. Businesses that handle animal remains need to follow health and safety regulations to prevent the spread of disease and ensure safe working conditions.

Regulations might apply to the disposal of waste materials, including chemicals, animal remains, and other byproducts of the taxidermy process.

If the taxidermy business deals with the import or export of animal specimens or parts, there are federal and international regulations that must be followed. Taxidermy businesses must adhere to ethical considerations and follow laws related to the sourcing of animal specimens. Working with protected or endangered species can have additional legal implications.

If the taxidermy business engages in advertising, regulations might be related to accurately representing products and services. Some states require taxidermists to hold specific licenses or certifications to practice taxidermy as a profession.

f. Is There a Franchise for Taxidermy Business?

No, there are no franchise opportunities for taxidermy business.

g. What Do You Need to Start a Taxidermy Business?
  • A Feasibility Report
  • Business and Marketing Plans
  • Business Licenses and Permits
  • Production facility and studio
  • EIN (Employer Identification Number)/Federal Tax ID Number.
  • A Corporate Bank Account
  • Equipment, Machines, and Supplies
  • Employees
  • Startup and Working Capital
  1. Choose a Memorable Business Name

When looking to start a business, before you can begin to file the necessary documents with the constituted authorities or start your website, it is necessary that you come up with a name that you will be recognized with. It is essential that the name you come up with can easily be pronounced, is unique and easily memorable. Some of the catchy business name ideas suitable for a taxidermy business are;

Creative Taxidermy Business Name ideas
  • Black Craft® Taxidermy Studio, Inc.
  • Red India® Taxidermy Company, Co.
  • Ancient Mark® Taxidermy Studio, Inc.
  • Animal Kingdom® Taxidermy Company, Inc.
  • Cyril Moore® Taxidermy Company, Inc.
  • Nature Abhor® Taxidermy Studio, Inc.
  • Amber Lake® Taxidermy Company, LLC
  • James Trinton® Taxidermy Company, Inc.
  • Elke Hillard® Taxidermy Company, LLC
  • Georgia Victor™ Taxidermy Company, Inc.
  • Jacinta Powel® Taxidermy Studio, Inc.
  • Andiel Johnson® Taxidermy Studio, Inc.
  • Rowland Bush™ Taxidermy Company, Inc.
  • Green November® Taxidermy Company, Inc.
  • Master Craft® Taxidermy Studio, LLC
  • Hand Craft® Taxidermy Company, Inc.
  • Gladys Noel® Taxidermy Company, Inc.
  • Rose Redknapp™ Taxidermy Studio, Inc.
  • Trump Signature® Taxidermy Company, Inc.
  • Gray Signature® Taxidermy Company, Inc.
  1. Register Your Business

a. What Type of Business Structure is Best for Taxidermy Business?

The best type of business structure for a taxidermy business depends on several factors, including the size, the number of owners, and the level of personal liability exposure the owners are willing to accept.

However, we usually recommend a limited liability company (LLC) for legal document preparation business. An LLC is a popular choice for startup businesses because it offers personal liability protection for the owners while allowing them to be taxed as a pass-through entity.

This means that the profits and losses of the business are passed through to the owners’ personal tax returns, avoiding double taxation.

b. Steps to Form an LLC
  • Choose a Name for Your LLC.
  • File Articles of Organization.
  • Choose a registered agent.
  • Decide on member vs. manager management.
  • Create an LLC operating agreement.
  • Comply with other tax and regulatory requirements.
  • File annual reports.
c. What Type of License is Needed to Open a Taxidermy Business?
  • Business License
  • Sales Tax Permit
  • Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN)
  • State Tax ID
  • Environmental Permits (if using chemicals)
  • Health Department Permit (if applicable)
  • Animal Import/Export Permits (if dealing with international specimens)
  • Wildlife Handling Permits (if dealing with protected or endangered species)
  • Occupational License (if required by your state)
  • Zoning and Land Use Permits.
d. What Type of Certification is Needed to Open a Taxidermy Business?
  • Taxidermy Association Certification
  • State Wildlife Handling Certification
  • Occupational Certification (e.g., from a taxidermy school).
e. What Documents are Needed to Open a Taxidermy Business?
  • Business Plan
  • Business License Application
  • Sales Tax Permit Application
  • Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN) Application
  • State Tax ID Application
  • Zoning Clearance
  • Lease Agreement or Property Ownership Documents
  • Environmental Permits (if applicable)
  • Health Department Approval (if applicable)
  • Insurance Policies (General Liability, Property, etc.)
  • Professional Certification (if required)
  • Contracts and Agreements (Client agreements, supplier contracts, etc.).
f. Do You Need a Trademark, Copyright, or Patent?

In a taxidermy business, you might need a trademark, copyright, or patent depending on the specific circumstances and the nature of your business activities.

A trademark is used to protect brand names, logos, and symbols that distinguish your goods or services from those of others. In a taxidermy business, you might consider trademarking your business name, logo, or any unique branding elements you use to promote your services.

Copyright protects original creative works, such as artistic designs, sculptures, and written materials. While taxidermy itself might not be directly protected by copyright, any artistic elements you add to your taxidermy displays or promotional materials (such as instructional guides or marketing materials) could potentially be copyrighted.

A patent protects new and useful inventions or processes. In a taxidermy business, it’s less likely that you would need a patent unless you’ve developed a novel and non-obvious method or tool that significantly improves the taxidermy process.

  1. Cost Analysis and Budgeting

a. How Much Does It Cost to Start a Taxidermy Business?

The cost to start a taxidermy business can vary widely depending on factors such as the size of the business, location, equipment, and supplies needed, staffing costs, marketing expenses, and more. However, a rough estimate could range from $45,000 to $150,000 or more, depending on the size and scope of the business.

b. What are the Cost Involved in Starting a Taxidermy Business?
  • Legal and administrative costs (the cost of obtaining business licenses and permits, registering the business, and consulting with attorneys and accountants): $4,500
  • Equipment and supplies: $35,000
  • Staffing costs: $45,000
  • Rent/lease: $45,000
  • Marketing and advertising costs: $4,000
  • Insurance costs: $2,800
  • Miscellaneous Expenses: $5,000.
c. What Factors Determine the Cost of Opening a Taxidermy Business?
  • The type of taxidermy business (production, distribution, or retail store outlets)
  • The size of the taxidermy business
  • The choice of location
  • The required licenses and permits
  • The cost of branding, promotion, and marketing of the taxidermy business
  • The cost of furnishing and equipping the taxidermy business
  • The cost of the insurance policy covers
  • The cost of registering the business
  • Source of your supplies and ongoing expenses
  • Cost of recruiting and training your staff
  • The cost of the purchase and customizing of uniforms
  • The cost for the grand opening of the taxidermy business.
d. Do You Need to Build a Facility? If YES, How Much Will It Cost?

It is not mandatory to build a new facility for your taxidermy business, but if you have the required finance, it will pay you to build your own facility. The truth is that building or reconstructing a facility for your taxidermy business will help you come up with a facility that will perfectly fit into your overall business goals and vision.

e. What are the Ongoing Expenses of a Taxidermy Business?
  • The cost of leasing a workspace or owning a building if you have a physical location for your business.
  • Expenses for electricity, water, heating, cooling, and other utilities required to run your business.
  • Costs for taxidermy supplies such as tanning agents, chemicals, mounting materials, sculpting tools, safety equipment, mannequins, and more.
  • Expenses for promoting your business through advertising
  • Costs for business insurance
  • Fees for business licenses, permits, and other regulatory compliance requirements.
  • Costs for hiring professionals such as accountants or legal advisors for tax, legal, and financial matters.
  • Employee Wages
  • Rent or Lease for Equipment
  • Expenses for maintaining and repairing equipment, tools, and the physical space.
  • Costs associated with shipping finished taxidermy pieces to clients, suppliers, or exhibition locations.
  • Fees for proper disposal of chemicals, waste materials, and other byproducts of the taxidermy process.
  • Rent for Display Spaces (If you rent display spaces at exhibitions, shows, or trade fairs to showcase your work, this would be an ongoing expense.)
  • Inventory, and restocking.
  • Ongoing tax obligations, including income taxes, sales taxes, and any other applicable taxes.
  • Unexpected or miscellaneous expenses
f. What is the Average Salary of your Staff?
  • General Manager – $55,000 per year
  • Production Manager – $47,000 per year
  • Administrative Assistant (Cashier) – $35,000 per year
  • Quality Control Officer – $43,000 per year
  • Taxidermists – $40,000 per year
  • Sales Reps -$30,000 per year
g. How Do You Get Funding to Start a Taxidermy Business?
  • Raising money from personal savings and sale of personal stocks and properties
  • Raising money from investors and business partners
  • Sell shares to interested investors
  • Applying for a loan from your bank/banks
  • Pitching your business idea and applying for business grants and seed funding from the government, donor organizations, and angel investors
  • Source for soft loans from your family members and friends.
  1. Write a Business Plan

a. Executive Summary

Daniel Harvard® Taxidermy Company, Inc. is a premier taxidermy business located in Dallas, Texas, specializing in providing exceptional wildlife preservation and artistic displays. With a passion for lifelike craftsmanship and a commitment to ethical sourcing, we aim to captivate and educate our clients through unique taxidermy creations.

Daniel Harvard® Taxidermy Company, Inc. is founded on the expertise of its namesake, Daniel Harvard, an accomplished taxidermist with over a decade of experience. Our team of skilled artisans combines artistic prowess with anatomical precision to create museum-quality displays that showcase the beauty of wildlife in its natural form.

Daniel Harvard® Taxidermy Company, Inc. is led by Daniel Harvard, a visionary in the field, supported by a dedicated team of talented taxidermists and administrative professionals.

b. Products and Service

We offer a range of taxidermy services, including:

  • Lifelike mounts for hunters and collectors
  • Educational displays for museums and institutions
  • Custom creations that capture pets’ personalities
  • Artistic installations that blend imagination with realism.
c. Mission Statement:

At Daniel Harvard® Taxidermy Company, Inc., our mission is to preserve the beauty of the natural world through the art of taxidermy. With meticulous craftsmanship and a deep respect for wildlife, we create lifelike and ethically sourced displays that captivate, educate, and inspire.

Vision Statement:

Our vision at Daniel Harvard® Taxidermy Company, Inc. is to be the foremost leader in the taxidermy industry, recognized globally for our unmatched artistry, ethical standards, and commitment to conservation. We aim to redefine the boundaries of taxidermy by blending artistic expression with scientific accuracy, contributing to the appreciation and understanding of the natural world.

d. Goals and Objectives

The goals and objectives of a taxidermy business are to create a lifelike appearance, often capturing the animal’s natural posture and expressions.

e. Organizational Structure
  • General Manager
  • Production Manager
  • Administrative Assistant (Cashier)
  • Quality Control Officer
  • Taxidermists
  • Customer Service Executive

Marketing Plan

a. SWOT Analysis
  • Led by founder Daniel Harvard, the company has a team of skilled taxidermists with a strong background in artistic craftsmanship.
  • The company’s commitment to ethical sourcing of animal specimens positions it as a responsible and sustainable taxidermy business.
  • The ability to offer personalized and custom taxidermy creations enhances customer satisfaction and sets the company apart.
  • Daniel Harvard’s reputation as a visionary in the field adds credibility and attracts clientele seeking high-quality taxidermy.
  • Based in Dallas, a thriving cultural hub, the company benefits from a diverse clientele and exposure to potential partners and investors.
  • Taxidermy is a niche industry, potentially limiting the overall market reach compared to more mainstream businesses.
  • Customer preferences for artistic style can vary widely, making it challenging to meet all expectations.
  • Ethical and legal considerations surrounding animal sourcing can lead to regulatory challenges and complexities.
  • The business relies heavily on the expertise of a few skilled artisans, potentially posing a risk if key personnel are unavailable.
  • High-quality taxidermy requires significant investment in materials, tools, and training.
  • The increasing focus on environmental conservation could drive interest in educational taxidermy displays.
  • Taxidermy can cater to the growing demand for unique and artistic home decor and interior design.
  • Partnerships with museums and educational institutions offer opportunities for showcasing taxidermy’s educational value.
  • Expanding online marketing efforts and e-commerce capabilities can tap into a wider customer base beyond the local area.
  • Exploring new and creative ways to present taxidermy displays could attract a broader audience.
  • Evolving regulations related to animal sourcing and conservation could impact the availability of specimens and business practices.
  • Competition from other taxidermy businesses and alternative art forms could affect market share.
  • Economic downturns might lead to reduced spending on luxury items, affecting demand for taxidermy.
  • Misunderstandings about taxidermy’s ethical considerations could lead to negative public perceptions.
  • Variability in the availability of high-quality materials, like specific mannequins or tanning agents, could impact production.
b. How Does Taxidermy Business Make Money?

The primary source of revenue for taxidermy businesses comes from providing services to clients who want to preserve and mount animal specimens.

This includes creating lifelike displays of animals for various purposes, such as hunting trophies, museum exhibits, decorative pieces, and educational displays. Some taxidermy businesses sell taxidermy supplies, tools, and related products to other taxidermists, artists, and hobbyists.

Experienced taxidermists might offer workshops, classes, and training sessions for aspiring taxidermists, enthusiasts, and those interested in learning the art.

c. Payment Options
  • Credit and debit cards
  • PayPal
  • Apple Pay and Google Wallet
  • Gift cards and store credit
  • Installment payments
  • Cash on service delivery.
d. Sales & Advertising Strategies
  • Develop a professional website showcasing your portfolio, services, and contact information.
  • Optimize your website for search engines (SEO) to ensure potential clients can find you online.
  • Create engaging content related to taxidermy on your website’s blog to establish yourself as an expert in the field.
  • Use platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest to showcase your work through high-quality images and engaging posts.
  • Collaborate with local museums, nature centers, art galleries, and interior designers to showcase your work and establish credibility.
  • Attend industry events, trade shows, and art exhibitions to connect with potential clients and fellow professionals.
  • Collect and display positive testimonials from satisfied clients on your website and marketing materials.
  • Encourage clients to leave reviews on platforms like Google My Business, Yelp, and social media.
  • Utilize online advertising platforms like Google Ads and social media ads to reach your target audience.
  • Offer workshops, webinars, or educational videos on taxidermy techniques and related topics.
  • Send regular newsletters with updates, new projects, educational content, and exclusive offers to keep your audience engaged.

Financial Projection

a. How Much Should You Charge for Your Product/Service?

Small Mammals and Birds: Birds: $150 – $600+, and Squirrels, rabbits, small rodents: $200 – $500+

Medium-sized mammals: Foxes, coyotes, raccoons: $500 – $1,200+, and Bobcats, medium-sized predators: $800 – $1,500+

Large Mammals: Deer (shoulder mount): $800 – $1,500+, Larger predators (mounts): $1,500 – $3,000+, and Bear (full mount): $2,000 – $6,000+

Exotic and Trophy Animals: Exotic animals, rare species, or trophy animals: Prices can vary significantly depending on rarity and size. It’s not uncommon for these mounts to cost several thousand dollars or more.

Fish Taxidermy: Fish mounts: Prices can range from $12 to $20 per inch, with larger fish mounts costing more.

Custom and Artistic Creations: Custom and artistic pieces: Pricing can vary greatly based on complexity and size. High-quality creative pieces can command premium prices.

b. How Much Profit Do Taxidermy Business Owners Make a Year?

The profit that taxidermy business owners can make in a year can vary significantly depending on various factors such as the scale of the business, sales volume, pricing strategy, overhead costs, market demand, and overall business management.

It is important to note that individual results may vary, and it is challenging to provide an exact figure as it depends on many variables.

c. What Factors Determine the Amount of Profit to Be Made?
  • The capacity of the taxidermy business, and their sales volume
  • The location of the taxidermy business
  • The management style of the taxidermy business
  • The business approach of the taxidermy business
  • The advertising and marketing strategies adopted by the taxidermy business.
d. What is the Profit Margin of a Taxidermy Business?

Typically, the profit margin for taxidermy can range from 10 percent to 40 percent.

e. What is the Sales Forecast?
  • First Fiscal Year (FY1): $450,000
  • Second Fiscal Year (FY2): $580,000
  • Third Fiscal Year (FY3): $750,000
  1. Set Up your Shop/Office

a. How Do You Choose a Perfect Location for a Taxidermy Business?
  • The demography of the location
  • The demand for taxidermy apparel in the location
  • The purchasing power of businesses and residents of the location
  • Accessibility of the location
  • The number of taxidermy businesses in the location
  • The local laws and regulations in the community/state
  • Traffic, parking, and security et al
b. What State and City is Best to Open a Taxidermy Business?
  • Dallas, Texas
  • Miami, Florida
  • San Francisco, California
  • Chicago, Illinois
  • Portland, Oregon
  • Nashville, Tennessee
  • Austin, Texas
  • New York City, New York
  • Los Angeles, California
  • Honolulu, Hawaii.
c. What Equipment is Needed to Operate a Taxidermy Business?

Taxidermy Tools (Scalpel knives and blades, Fleshing knives, Skinning knives, Wire cutters, Bone saws, Scissors and shears, Forceps and tweezers, Pliers and needle-nose pliers, and Clay sculpting tools)

Mounting Materials (Mannequins and forms (animal body shapes), Polyurethane foam, Armature wire for posing limbs, Eyes (glass or acrylic), Noses, tongues, and other facial features, and Artificial teeth)

Tanning and Preservation Equipment (Tanning chemicals and solutions, Tanning drum or vat, Salt, and borax for initial preservation, and Wire or nylon for sewing up incisions)

Airbrushing and Paint Supplies (Airbrush and compressor, Paints, dyes, and pigments, and Brushes and spray guns)

Habitat Diorama Supplies (Materials for creating lifelike habitats (wood, rocks, foliage, etc.), and Artificial grasses, plants, and trees)

Cleaning and Hygiene Equipment (Personal protective equipment (PPE), and Cleaning agents and disinfectants)

Reference Materials (Anatomy books and guides for accurate depictions, and Photographs or references of the specific species for accuracy)

Workspace and Display Equipment (Workbenches and tables for mounting, Display bases and pedestals, and Cabinets or shelves for storing supplies and finished pieces)

Safety Equipment (Ventilation system to reduce exposure to chemicals and fumes, and Eye protection, gloves, and aprons)

Miscellaneous Tools and Supplies (Drills and drill bits, Screws, nails, and adhesives)

  1. Hire Employees

Although you may be able to start a small-scale taxidermy business alone without having full-time employees, if you want to operate a standard taxidermy business, then you must make plans to hire full-time staff.

For a standard taxidermy business, you should hire a general manager, quality & creativity director, project coordinator, life-size specialist taxidermist, sales manager, accountant, tanner, correcting/finish, make-up artist, packaging and sci measurer, and receptionist.

  1. Launch the Business Proper

The decision to organize a launch party before officially opening your taxidermy business is up to you. However, this is important because launching a business will help you announce your company and products to people in and around your city. Interestingly, these people are your potential first customers.

a. What Makes a Taxidermy Business Successful?
  • Quality Craftsmanship
  • Ethical Practices
  • Artistic Innovation
  • Customer Satisfaction
  • Strong Reputation.
b. What Happens During a Typical Day at a Taxidermy Business?

In a taxidermy business, a typical day involves a combination of artistic creativity, technical skill, and meticulous attention to detail.

As taxidermists arrive at their workshop, they begin by assessing the progress of ongoing projects, reviewing client orders, and organizing their schedules for the day. Skilled artisans might spend hours sculpting clay molds, preparing mannequins, or carefully preserving and tanning animal hides to ensure lifelike results.

Interactions with clients and suppliers play a significant role as well. Taxidermists might consult with clients to discuss their vision, preferences, and any specific customization requests.

Amidst the intricate process of mounting, sculpting, and detailing, taxidermists adhere to ethical practices, ensuring they comply with regulations regarding animal sourcing and handling.

Throughout the day, they toggle between hands-on work and administrative tasks, such as updating inventory, managing appointments, and maintaining a strong online presence to showcase their artistry to potential clients and enthusiasts.

c. What Skills and Experience Do You Need to Build a Taxidermy Business?
  • Taxidermy Techniques
  • Artistic Ability
  • Animal Anatomy Knowledge
  • Attention to Detail
  • Business Management Skills
  • Customer Service Skills
  • Ethical Practices
  • Marketing and Promotion
  • Problem-Solving Skills
  • Patience and Persistence
  • Work experience in a taxidermy industry
  • Experience in managing people.