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Thread: Fair Pricing Structure?

  1. #1

    Fair Pricing Structure?

    I have started this thread following a conversation I had recently with a guest, regarding the pricing structure of stalking they had bought over the years.

    Firstly, this is not a 'dig' at anyone, but as someone who does take out guests it has become obvious, especially with folk relatively new to the sport, that some have paid for days that later appeared not to be quite the 'deal' they thought they had been getting and have in some cases really been sickened by the experience. That cannot be right surely?

    I do not want to introduce any names and I wholeheartedly accept that if a deal is struck before stalking then there is no complaint afterwards. This is more of an opportunity to discuss some generic pricing , (not the varying costs of medal class trophy stalking) and hear why some justify doing it the way they do. It is also not an opportunity for me to say 'my way is right and yours is wrong...'. But there are issues I feel are worthy of mention, especially when some on the SD appear to abhor anyone making too much of a living from taking out paying guests or think there are secrets in pricing which result in huge unexpected bills!

    I will offer my own example. I charge 75 for a whole day out on sika hinds and only charge a further 75 if any are shot, regardless of it being one or more. Minimum for the day 75, maximum but only if successful 150. That is clear and I would think not over the odds. Some may be cheaper, some more expensive but I think with the chances of success it is a fair price.

    There are a lot of beginners on this site and I hope this thread will be seen as a point of reference in what should be a guide to a 'fair' price in obtaining a days stalking, but it must also be said that distance and perhaps overnight accomodation if necessary also need to be factored in when pricing. It is not an advert for me or anyone else on here because that is taken care of elsewhere by trade membership and by use of the PM's.

    The example that prompted this was hearing about a days stalking that is split into a stalking fee and then a shot fee. That is how I price mine and think it is a fair approach. Others do it differently and that is a matter for the guest to decide on as to which suits them best. If someone pays for a morning stalk and a beast is shot, then that guest has the option to carry on for another beast if any are available. Surely that does not mean though that another outing fee is applicable because the shot has been taken and that means the outing is over and the day effectively has to start again, at least not in my opinion and especially when after female deer. I was really taken aback that some fees are applied in this vein and can imagine what a guest would say if they got their beast 5 minutes after arriving and on the way home an hour later.

    For me an outing (on Sika stags) lasts about 3-4hrs, morning and evening, but perhaps all day on the hinds though as the days are short. If during that outing 1, 2, 3 or whatever number of beasts offer a shot then the only fee in my eyes that is due is the shot fee, either per beast if on mature stags or for any number of hinds, not a seperate outing fee as well applied to each beast.

    On a personal note though, I am getting really fed up of hearing about inexperienced new stalkers being taken a loan of by some out to make a killing, although that comment is not directed at the above example.

    But without a mentor introducing them to the sport how can beginners know any better? They can ask on here but many do not for fear of showing their ignorance (not meant in an insulting way), so hence the reason for this thread.
    Last edited by jamross65; 28-09-2012 at 10:28.

  2. #2
    Excellent and seems reasonable.

    What happens if the client wants the carcass ? charges?

    May well try and see if I can make a day with you when I come up to see my parents.


  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Cyres View Post
    Excellent and seems reasonable.

    What happens if the client wants the carcass ? charges?

    May well try and see if I can make a day with you when I come up to see my parents.


    I think like most others the venison is offered to guests at game dealer rates. This year it is up at 1.40 per pound (happy days!!!). Although lets be honest, that is just getting towards the true worth of the meat!!!

  4. #4
    I think it is a fair post and do feel that the Trade members who take others out would benefit from clear easy to understand pricing. I also heard of a chap who shot a beast early into a stalk and was told that's it for the day if he dose not pay again (muntjac was the target animal) As long as the client knows this is what happens then fine if not then there could be problems. I would need to travel hundreds of miles to have a go at the Reeves and would not be happy if it was all over in the first 5 mins with a quick deer happening but hey. Clear and Transparent is what its about.

  5. #5
    May be you should produce a template contract. SD readers can then comment and if generally approved it could be published on this site.

  6. #6
    Thanks Jamross, good thread and interesting to see your pricing structure - there seem to be a number of different opionions on the subject of pricing, and as someone who pays for a the majority of my stalking I'm always interested to see what stalkers are charging and how they justify it.

    As a paying guest I really like to see transparency in pricing - i.e. 75-100 covers stalkers time (x hours), fuel, etc. the shot costs x (and includes the head?) and is a bonus to stalker for putting you onto the beast. Stalker sells the meat to the game dealer for x so if guest wants to take it then that's what he/she pays too.

    75 for a days stalking seems fair to me - that's a lot of hours and only becomes a reasonable rate per hour if you get your client a shot. Personally I feel a bit robbed when I pay someone 100 for 3-4 hours and don't shoot anything, and if I had shot something it would cost me another 50 per animal. That's 25-30 per hour not to shoot something, or 40-50 per hour to shoot something!
    I work 8-12 hours a day and I don't make 400-600 per day. Lets say "John Doe" worked as a stalker for 4 hours in the morning and 4 hours in the evening and took 400 per day, which would mean he'd only have to work a 2 days a week to earn 38,400 per year, and another day per week to cover a lease on the land and expenses (19,200). That's 3 days a week to earn a salary that's very good for somone working 5 days a week, assuming the land's good enough to justify that rate and a deer gets shot every outing or a decent number of trophy's every year.

    Your pricing structure (if I understand it correcly) means 7.50 an hour/75 per day (base on 10 hours of sunlight) if you don't get your clients a shot, or 15 an hour/150 per day if you do. Trophy fee's are a going rate and up to the shooter. So when I guestimate your expenses I can see that you're claiming a reasonable salary if you put your clients onto deer (though there's no guarantee). To me as a client that gives me confidence as obviously you're not going to price your time in such a way unless you're confident of your own skills and experience... which is what clients pay for. This does of course all assume you're a full-time stalker.

    My point isn't to say stalkers shouldn't earn decent money, it's saying that clients with half a brain do feel hard done by when they work out the hourly rate in terms of their/our understanding of working in a job. Though again I appreciate that people/me who've never worked as stalkers probably don't understand everything that's involved... hence I'm going to mention the term "transparent pricing structure".

    Obviously though it's down to the client to agree on a rate they find acceptable before the outing, and no whinging about it afterwards - but for newcomers to the sport it's not always clear that there is a top and bottom end of prices.
    Last edited by BunnyDoom; 28-09-2012 at 11:26.

  7. #7
    I agree with all the above, and I think the difference comes down to whether you are stalking for trophies or for cull/doe stalking.

    I completely agree with Jamross's scheme of charging a 'success' fee, it puts the onus on the stalker to 'produce the goods'. Where it tends to get expensive, is when you have individual 'trophy' fees per beast on does/and cull bucks, unfortunately this pushes these days out of my affordability, and can lead to having an outing curtailed or an unexpected bill at the end of the stalk.

    I would prefer to see a fixed cost for culling/does stalking.

    How many times do we hear of the growing population of deer being attributed to the lack of doe/hind control, maybe its understandable when it becomes unaffordable for many.

    I stalk a syndicate in Scotland, but there are other times/days when I could go stalking, at 100-150 a day, but not knowing if a day on the does will cost 150 or 300, or if I shoot 1 in the 1st 5 minutes then is the drive/fuel etc worth the cost, is a gamble I am not prepared to take.
    Last edited by floyd; 28-09-2012 at 12:09.

  8. #8
    That seems good to me - at those prices I could afford to indulge myself a stalk for a sika so there's hope for me yet.
    A lot easier to justify to the missus than the prices for a red stag


  9. #9
    Fundamentally I think it depends how many deer are on the ground, I also tend to mostly go for cull stalking and the last one was 75 an outing but no shot fee, morning stalk no joy but evening 2 roe bucks. No increase in cost they had more venison to sell and more of their cull plan done and I didn't have to be concerned about cost as that was it. I also go occasionally where there is a cheaper stalk and a shot fee and though it can mean you've spent what you want in the first 5 minutes the costs are clear before and its then your choice to go after another one knowing the cost. Really its just about terms and conditions being laid out well so both sides know, the issue comes more with trophy stalking where the costs mount up fast but I've always been offered the shot and told what the cost would be up front.

  10. #10
    I just want to point out that there are very good cheaper options to me as well and only mention my method as no doubt soemone would have eventually asked!!!

    As an example I have suggested to a few folk who have contacted me, to get in touch with one of the site owners who I know has superb ground up north and allows unaccompanied stalking, which to someone with a bit of experience may be more attractive. I am trying to highlight there are lots of options that can be tailored to suit both terrain, likelyhood of success and therefore costs. Worth really looking around and comparing.

    Not sure about a template Baron, only because there are so many variables out there it would be too difficult covering all of them, some of which may be dictated by the owner of the ground and part of the deal with the stalker taking out guests.
    Last edited by jamross65; 28-09-2012 at 12:13.

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