How much does it cost to start a taxidermy business: A detailed guide

So, you’ve got a love for nature, a passion for patience and a talent for making things look real. You’re thinking, “Maybe I should start a taxidermy business”. Well, I’m here to tell you that this is not a business for the faint of heart. As a matter of fact, it’s going to cost you a pretty penny to get started and a significant amount of hard work.

Starting a taxidermy business is not a cheap endeavour. In fact, it can range anywhere from $5,000 all the way up to $30,000. You’ll need to purchase tools, materials, and supplies, such as knives, scalpels, saw blades, antlers, horns, bird bodies, forms, mounting supplies, and so much more. One of the biggest costs you’ll face is purchasing a taxidermy freeze drier, which can easily run upwards of $6,000. Then there’s the added expense of securing business insurance and licenses to operate.

But, if you’re up for the challenge and willing to invest in your passion, starting a taxidermy business can be a rewarding career. With the right education, training, and marketing, you can establish a name for yourself in the industry, and create stunning, life-like mounts that will bring joy to your customers for generations to come. So, let’s dive in and explore what it takes to start your own taxidermy business.

Licensing and Legal Requirements

Starting a taxidermy business requires obtaining several licenses and fulfilling legal requirements. These are crucial to ensure that the business operates within the law and avoids any legal troubles. Here are some of the licenses and legal requirements:

  • Trade Licenses: Every state has its own regulations regarding trade licenses, which are required to operate a taxidermy business. The license is granted after fulfilling certain criteria such as educational qualifications, work experience, and passing an exam.
  • Federal Requirements: Businesses that import or export taxidermy products must comply with the US Federal Fish & Wildlife Regulations and obtain permits from the US Fish & Wildlife Service. Failure to comply with federal regulations may result in heavy fines and legal action.
  • Sales Tax Permit: A taxidermy business must register for a sales tax permit with the state government if it sells products or services taxable under state sales tax law. The tax rate varies from state to state.
  • Certification: The taxidermist must meet certification requirements to sell to museums or enter competitions

Fulfilling these requirements can add a significant amount of cost to the startup process. Additionally, as with any business venture, it is important to seek legal advice and ensure all legal requirements are met before starting operations.

Business Plan Development

Developing a business plan is an essential step in starting a taxidermy business. It serves as a roadmap that outlines the goals, strategies, target market, and financial projections for the business. A well-crafted business plan can help attract investors, secure loans, and guide the business towards success.

  • Executive Summary: This section provides a brief overview of the business and its objectives. It includes information on the business structure, products or services offered, target market, and financial projections.
  • Market Analysis: This section analyzes the target market and the competition. It identifies the demographics of the potential clients, the demand for taxidermy services in the area, and the pricing strategy of the competitors.
  • Marketing and Sales Strategies: This section outlines the plan for promoting and selling the taxidermy services. It includes the tactics for reaching out to the target market, such as advertising, social media, and networking, as well as the pricing strategy and the options for payment.
  • Operational Plan: This section describes the day-to-day operations of the business, such as the location, equipment, supplies, and staffing. It includes information on the procedures for handling the clients’ requests, the maintenance of the equipment, and the hiring and training of the staff.
  • Financial Plan: This section presents the financial projections for the business, including the startup costs, monthly expenses, revenue forecast, and profitability analysis. It also includes the funding sources, such as loans, investments, and personal savings, and the plan for repaying the debts.

Developing a business plan requires research, analysis, and creativity. It is a task that should not be rushed or taken lightly, as it can be the difference between a successful and a failed taxidermy business.

Below is an example of a simple financial plan table:

Item Cost
Equipment $15,000
Supplies $5,000
Website Development $2,500
Insurance $1,200
Legal and Accounting Fees $2,500
Working Capital $10,000
Total $36,200

It is important to make sure that the financial projections are realistic and take into account unexpected expenses and fluctuations in revenue. Seeking the advice of a financial expert can also be helpful in creating a sound financial plan.

Location Selection and Rental Costs

Location plays an integral part in determining the success of any business, and taxidermy businesses are no different. Choosing the right location can help you attract the right customers and generate more revenue. Additionally, rental costs vary depending on the location you choose.

  • Urban areas: In crowded urban areas, where finding a parking space is a daily struggle, renting a store can cost you upwards of $4000 per month. However, the tremendous foot traffic and proximity to tourist destinations above all makes it worth the investment. Moreover, being located near popular restaurants or bars could also drive in new business.
  • Suburban areas: Renting a store in the suburbs may cost less but the volume of customers would be slightly lower than in the city. Good places to look for premises include suburban shopping centers and malls, which allow your taxidermy business to attract more customers easily. It is important to bear in mind that rental costs vary considerably in the suburbs, from around $800 to $3000 per month.
  • Rural areas: It is relatively cheap to rent a store in the countryside, with prices ranging from $400 to $1800, depending on the distance from the nearest city. With this lower rent comes less foot traffic, so it may take longer to establish a following.

Nevertheless, renting a storefront that is too costly will undoubtedly be a burden on your business. Your rent expense shouldn’t exceed 5% of your monthly income from sales and should really be somewhere between 2% to 3% of your total monthly business income.

In summary, choosing the right location is necessary when starting a taxidermy business. The location you choose will influence the rent you’ll have to pay, so it is important to pick one that suits your budget and will bring in customers. When looking for a store, calculate your monthly rent expense according to your available income, and don’t overspend on the location.

Below is a table showing the average rental costs for storefronts depending on location:

Location Average Rent per Month
Urban Area $4000+
Suburban Area $800-$3000
Rural Area $400-$1800

Keep in mind that the numbers in this table are subject to change depending on the location, store size, and the state of the economy.

Equipment and Supply Costs (e.g. scalpel, chemicals, preservation materials)

If you’re looking to start a taxidermy business, you’ll need to have the right equipment and supplies on hand. Here are some of the important costs to consider:

  • Scalpel: A scalpel is a basic tool for skinning and cutting. You can expect to spend around $10 – $20 on a good quality scalpel.
  • Chemicals: To preserve the animal skin, you’ll need to invest in chemicals such as formaldehyde and borax. These chemicals can cost anywhere from $50 – $200 depending on the quality and quantity you purchase.
  • Preservation Materials: In addition to chemicals, you’ll also need to purchase materials such as tanning agents and pigmenting compounds. These can range in price from $50 – $500 depending on the quality and amount you need.

It’s important to invest in high-quality equipment and supplies as they can make a big difference in the quality of your taxidermy work. You’ll also want to consider the ongoing costs of maintaining and replacing your tools and supplies.

To help give you an idea of costs, here’s a table outlining some of the common equipment and supplies needed to start a taxidermy business:

Equipment/Supply Cost
Scalpel $10 – $20
Formaldehyde $50 – $100
Borax $20 – $50
Tanning Agent $100 – $200
Pigmenting Compounds $50 – $300

Remember, these are just some of the basic costs to consider when starting a taxidermy business. It’s important to do your research and budget accordingly to ensure you have the right tools and supplies to create high-quality work.

Taxidermy Classes and Education Costs

If you’re considering starting a taxidermy business, it’s essential to have a solid foundation in the art and science of taxidermy. To do that, you’ll need to invest in your education and attend taxidermy classes. The cost for taxidermy classes varies depending on the type of classes you take and where you attend.

  • Online Taxidermy Classes: If you prefer to learn at your own pace, online taxidermy classes are a good option. The cost can range from $100 to $500 per course.
  • Community College Classes: Some community colleges offer taxidermy courses, which usually cost between $300 to $1,000 per course.
  • Professional Taxidermy Schools: There are several professional taxidermy schools that offer hands-on training. These schools can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $15,000 for a full program.

Attending a taxidermy class or school is an investment in your business. Although it might seem expensive at first, the knowledge and skills you gain will be invaluable. Not only will it help you improve your craftsmanship, but it will also make you stand out as a professional in the industry.

If you’re serious about pursuing a career in taxidermy, you might also consider attending taxidermy conventions, seminars, and workshops. These events provide an opportunity to network with other professionals, learn about new techniques and trends, and get inspiration for your own work.

Taxidermy Education Option Approximate Cost
Online Taxidermy Classes $100-$500 per course
Community College Classes $300-$1,000 per course
Professional Taxidermy Schools $5,000-$15,000 for full program

Overall, taxidermy education costs can range from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars. It’s essential to research your options thoroughly and choose the program that fits your needs and budget.

Marketing and Advertising Budget

Marketing and advertising play a critical role in the success of any business, including a taxidermy business. It is important to allocate a budget for marketing and advertising to attract potential customers and build brand awareness. Here is a breakdown of the cost-related aspects of marketing and advertising for a taxidermy business:

  • Website: A professional website is essential for any business in today’s digital age. The cost of building a website can vary depending on the complexity of the site, but it is important to invest in creating a user-friendly, responsive website that showcases your taxidermy work. The cost can start at around $1,500.
  • Social Media: Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are powerful tools to promote your business and build a following. Creating social media profiles is free, but you may need to invest in paid advertising to reach a larger audience. The cost can range from $500 to $5,000 per month, depending on the level of advertising and the size of the audience you want to target.
  • Print Advertising: Print advertising can still be effective in targeting specific demographics, especially in local publications. The cost of print advertising varies depending on the size, frequency, and placement of the ad, but it can start at around $500 per ad.

It is important to develop a marketing plan that outlines your goals, target audience, and budget. This will help you make informed decisions about which marketing channels to invest in and how much to spend. As with any business expense, it is important to track the results of your marketing efforts and adjust your strategy accordingly.

Here is an example of a marketing budget for a taxidermy business:

Marketing Expense Monthly Cost
Website $150
Social Media Advertising $1,000
Print Advertising $500
Total Marketing Budget $1,650

Remember, your marketing and advertising budget should be tailored to your specific business needs and goals. By investing in effective marketing strategies, you can attract more customers and grow your taxidermy business.

Insurance Costs (e.g. liability insurance)

Starting a taxidermy business comes with its risks, so it’s important to protect yourself and your clients with insurance. Liability insurance, for instance, offers coverage in case someone gets injured on your premises or claims that your services caused them monetary loss. The cost of insurance varies depending on the insurance provider, the amount of coverage, and the level of risk associated with the business.

  • General liability insurance: This type of insurance covers bodily injury, property damage, or advertising injury caused by your business operations. For instance, if a customer trips and falls while in your shop and sustains an injury, your policy can cover the medical expenses and legal fees that might result from a lawsuit. The cost of general liability insurance typically starts at around $400-$500 per year.
  • Professional liability insurance: Also referred to as errors and omissions insurance, professional liability insurance covers claims related to negligence, errors, or mistakes in your services. For example, if a client claims that you didn’t properly preserve their trophy, and as a result, it became damaged, professional liability insurance can provide coverage. The cost of this policy will depend on the type of taxidermy work you do and the size of your business.
  • Property insurance: This policy protects any owned or leased property from damage or loss due to natural disasters, fire, or theft. It can also cover the cost of replacing taxidermy supplies and equipment in case of damage or theft. The cost of insurance often depends on the property value, location, age of the building, and deductible.

It’s crucial to shop around for insurance providers and rates to find the best fit for your specific business needs. You can seek the advice of an insurance broker or agent to get a sense of the types of policies and coverage that suit your business. Keep in mind that investing in insurance is an important step to protect your business from any unforeseen liability costs or damages.

Type of Insurance Average Cost
General liability insurance $400-$500 per year
Professional liability insurance Varies depending on size of business and type of work
Property insurance Varies depending on property value, location, age of building, and deductible.

Investing in insurance is an important aspect of starting a taxidermy business. The cost of insurance varies, but it is a small price to pay for the peace of mind that comes with knowing that you are protected from any unforeseen liability costs or damages. If you need assistance finding a suitable insurance policy, you can always seek the advice of a trusted insurance broker or agent.

Website Development and Maintenance Costs

A strong online presence is essential for any business, including taxidermy. Website development and maintenance costs can vary based on the complexity of the website and the level of ongoing maintenance needed. Below are some factors to consider when estimating website costs:

  • Domain name: Your domain name is the address where people find your website. Expect to pay around $10-$20 per year for a domain name.
  • Web hosting: You’ll need web hosting to store your website files and make them accessible to visitors. Hosting costs can range from $10 to $50 a month.
  • Website design: Designing a website can be done in-house or outsourced, depending on your expertise and budget. Expect to pay anywhere from $500 to $5,000 for a custom-designed website.
  • Content creation: High-quality content is key to engaging website visitors, so consider the cost of hiring a copywriter or photographer if needed.
  • Search engine optimization (SEO): Incorporating SEO best practices into website design and content can help improve your search engine ranking, but may require a specialist or SEO software, which can cost anywhere from $100 to $500 a month.
  • Website maintenance: Websites require ongoing maintenance to keep them secure, up-to-date, and running smoothly. This can involve everything from updating software, to fixing broken links, to backing up files. Expect to pay anywhere from $50 to $500 a month for website maintenance, depending on the level of service required.

Overall, you can expect to spend several thousand dollars initially creating your website, and ongoing costs will depend on your business needs and the level of maintenance required.

Employee Wages and Benefits (if applicable)

In starting a taxidermy business, a crucial factor to consider is whether or not to hire employees. If you decide to employ someone, you will need to consider and budget for their wages and benefits. The amount you will need to budget for will vary based on several factors, including the location of your business and the experience level of the employee you will hire.

  • The minimum wage in the United States varies by state; as of 2021, the lowest minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, found in several states, including Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi. This means that if you hire an employee at the minimum wage level, their weekly pay (assuming a 40-hour work week) would be $290 before taxes.
  • Other factors that can impact employee wages include the experience level required for the position, the cost of living in the area, and the local competition for labor. For example, if you are in an area where other taxidermy businesses are hiring, you may need to offer a more competitive wage to attract top talent.
  • In addition to wages, other expenses associated with employing someone include payroll taxes, workers’ compensation insurance, and benefits such as health insurance, paid time off, and retirement plans. Offering benefits can be a way to attract and retain high-quality employees, but they can also be costly. For example, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of 2020, the average cost of providing health insurance to an employee was $7,470 per year.

It is essential to keep in mind that the total cost of employing someone goes beyond just their wages and benefits. You will need to consider the cost of recruiting, training, and supervising your employee. Also, if your employee is not busy and generating revenue for your business, you will still need to pay their wages, which can impact your cash flow.

Expense Estimated Cost
Weekly Wages for Minimum Wage Employee (40 hours/week) $290
Payroll Taxes (7.65% of wages) $22.20
Workers’ Compensation Insurance (varies by state and industry) $450-$5,000 or more annually
Health Insurance (employee-only, average cost as of 2020) $7,470 annually
Paid Time Off (10 days/year at average hourly wage) $1,160

Ultimately, the decision to hire an employee and budget for their wages and benefits depends on your business’s needs and financial situation. It is essential to thoroughly research and budget for all associated costs to ensure that you are making the best decision for your business.

Professional Association Memberships and Conference Fees

Joining a professional association in the taxidermy industry offers many benefits, such as networking opportunities, access to industry resources, and continuing education. However, membership fees vary by association. The National Taxidermists Association, for example, charges $105 for individual membership and $155 for family membership per year.

Additionally, attending industry conferences can help taxidermists stay up-to-date on industry trends and techniques. Conference fees vary depending on the event and location. The National Taxidermists Association Convention and Competition, for example, charges $195 for non-members to attend.

  • Membership fees for professional associations vary by organization
  • The National Taxidermists Association charges $105 for individual membership and $155 for family membership per year
  • Attending industry conferences can provide valuable education and networking opportunities
  • Conference fees vary depending on the event and location
  • The National Taxidermists Association Convention and Competition charges $195 for non-members to attend

While joining a professional association and attending conferences may seem like an added expense, they can ultimately benefit a taxidermy business in the long run and help it stand out in a competitive industry.

For example, attending a conference can provide taxidermists with the opportunity to learn about new techniques and products, as well as connect with potential customers or business partners. Additionally, belonging to a professional association can provide credibility and build trust with potential customers, potentially leading to increased business and revenue.

Professional Association Membership Cost
The National Taxidermists Association $105 for individual membership and $155 for family membership per year
The World Taxidermy and Fish Carving Championships $50 for individual membership and $75 for family membership per year
The United Taxidermists Association $60 for individual membership and $85 for family membership per year

Overall, the cost of professional association memberships and conference fees is a necessary investment for taxidermy business owners looking to stay competitive and gain valuable knowledge and connections within the industry.

FAQs about How Much Does it Cost to Start a Taxidermy Business

1. How much does it cost to take taxidermy courses?

Taxidermy courses can cost anywhere from $500 to over $10,000, depending on the level of skill you want to achieve.

2. What kind of equipment do I need to start a taxidermy business?

You’ll need a variety of tools, such as knives, scalpels, scissors, and wire cutters, as well as a tanning machine, fleshing machine, and other specialized equipment. These can cost several thousand dollars.

3. How much should I budget for supplies?

Supplies will vary depending on the size and type of animal you work on, but you should budget at least $500 for basic supplies like eyes, forms, and mounting materials.

4. What kind of space do I need for a taxidermy business?

You’ll need a clean, well-lit space with good ventilation. Whether you work out of your home or a commercial space, you’ll need to budget for rent, utilities, and insurance.

5. Do I need any special licenses or certifications to start a taxidermy business?

This will depend on your location, but you may need to obtain a taxidermy license or certification, as well as any necessary permits or business licenses.

6. How much should I charge for taxidermy services?

Your pricing will depend on a variety of factors, including the size and complexity of the project, the type of animal, and the level of demand in your area. It’s important to research pricing in your market and factor in all of your costs, as well as your time and expertise.

7. How long does it take to see a return on my investment?

This will depend on how quickly you’re able to build a client base and generate consistent revenue. It’s important to have a solid business plan, including a marketing strategy, to help you get off to a good start.


Starting a taxidermy business can be a rewarding and profitable endeavor, but it’s important to be realistic about the costs involved. By setting a budget, researching your market, and investing in quality equipment and supplies, you can set yourself up for success. Thank you for reading, and be sure to visit us again for more tips and resources on starting your own business.