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The new normal?

Discussion in 'Picture Framing Business Issues' started by simplymatted, Oct 3, 2016.

  1. simplymatted

    simplymatted SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I just received a reply from a moulding supply company. Not saying who in public. My inital purchase as a first time customer has to be 300.00 min. " We require an initial purchase of $300. This qualifies our customers so that we require no additional minimums. " Is this going to be normal of a min. placed on all orders from company's. I wish I could get away with charging a 300.00 qualifying first time purchase.
    FramerInTraining likes this.
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  2. wpfay

    wpfay Angry Badger

    This is an old normal come back around. Back when length was the only option, minimums were in place, but they were just there to chase away anyone who wasn't in the business. Meeting minimums was never really the issue, since paying freight was the same for 300' as it was for 50'. I remember when a local distributor started offering local delivery, and when regional distributors started making regional deliveries. This was long before Larson Co., a small distributor out of Atlanta, met up with Juhl-Pacific, out of Seattle and Chicago.
    Initial minimums insure the company that you are serious about being their client. Setting up accounts, doing credit checks, etc. are costly and they want to make sure that you aren't a one hit wonder.
  3. simplymatted

    simplymatted SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Interesting on Larson. Didnt know that. One the other side, i have framed for people I never saw again, but certainly appreciate the one stop. Just as much work to frame once as it is over and over for repeat customers. Throw out there a min. one time charge and you can drive away customers.
  4. Ylva

    Ylva SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    A retail customer is a bit different from a corporate customer, which is what you are to your supplier. I understand the initial minimum.

    Decor's rule (as an example) is that you cannot be inactive for a certain amount of weeks. If you don't have regular orders, they close your account and you will have to re-set up new account.
    David Waldmann likes this.
  5. simplymatted

    simplymatted SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Doesnt that make shops spend money they dont need or have to? What a game.
  6. Bob Doyle

    Bob Doyle SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Well, maybe you do :) $300 would be an 18 by 24 double mat, easy. And if you request full payment up front for the first few orders, until you have established a relationship, then you do have a first time minimum order :)

    Just had a couple come in and plop down a first time order for two prints. Worked out to ~$300, "aorry to have to say that payment is required up front for the first ten orders".

    Oh, yeah I am staying open after all. At least for a year or two more, got partners so no more sitting alone!
    shayla, Joe B, cvm and 6 others like this.
  7. simplymatted

    simplymatted SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I was wondering when you was going to chime in. That was funny.
  8. Bob Doyle

    Bob Doyle SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Really? I placed an order after a long hiatus, didn't have to reopen my account. Guess it depends on who you know there. Me? I know Becky!
  9. Ylva

    Ylva SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Me too, she's my rep as well. New rules I guess since I became a customer a few months ago.
  10. Larry Peterson

    Larry Peterson PFG, Picture Framing God

    I've been a Decor customer since 2001. In the early days sometimes went many months between orders without reopening my account.
    FramerInTraining likes this.
  11. graysalchemy

    graysalchemy CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    I wish our suppliers in the UK adopted the same policy it would distinguish those of us who rely on make a living out of framing and those who have a hobby and take away from those of us who do rely on making a living out of framing.
    westman 2 and IFGL like this.
  12. IFGL

    IFGL SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    According to one customer who purchased a print off me a couple of days ago, there is a man who works from his garage a couple of miles away from me, his prices are very low, about half of what I charge, the customer is taking the print to him to be framed, further to that the customer told me, this man in his garage is going to put most of the framers (if not all) in my city out of business because he is cheap we just won't be able to compete, don't know how I am going to sleep tonight with all the worrying :) I can't help but wonder how he is going to keep the prices the same when he gets all our work and I hope he has a bloody big garage!
    skye likes this.
  13. Bob Doyle

    Bob Doyle SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Maybe you could add a$50 surcharge to the prints, then offer a $50 discount on framing for prints bought from you ;)
  14. neilframer

    neilframer PFG, Picture Framing God

    Welcome back Bob!:p
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2016
  15. prospero

    prospero SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    I used to buy a lot of aviation prints from a certain publisher. Spent quite a lot of money with them over the years.
    Not cheap items, but I did OK out of them.
    Then they sold out to another company.
    The next time I ordered I received a phone call informing me that they were now only supplying 'authorised' dealers.
    But fret not, I could become an authorised dealer.
    All I had to do was buy in one copy of each of their current prints. This would have cost £10k+.
    They did say that I could have 90 days credit. Which was very ***** generous of them. o_O
    I heard from a rep that they had effectively fired about 70% of the accounts. All the little guys.
    The upshot was that I ditched the account and have never bought anything from them since. The market for le prints
    at that time was in decline so I didn't really miss them.
    About a year later I had a funny phone call from them. Special offers. The market had obviously declined to the point
    where they were having a sales drive. I politely pointed out that I was not an authorised dealer. The response was
    something like "Oh we don't bother with all that now". I could almost visualise the embarrassed smile on the face of
    the caller. :)
    Needless to say, I didn't place an order. That bird had flown. Be careful who you tread on on the way up and all that.... :confused:

    I must say that a minimum initial order of $300 worth seems quite reasonable. Proves your bona fides and filters out
    the happy dabblers. I had similar things happen when I first started up.
  16. Bob Doyle

    Bob Doyle SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    I will admit that when I first started I had a supplier play the heavy on me. Said that they would send my supplies by UPS. If I wanted truck delivery I had t guarantee at least $100 a week every week, not on average but every week. So if I had no orders that week I still had to order $100 of something. If I placed a big order that was all well and good but that the next week I still had to place the minimum order.

    I said no thanks and hadn't missed them. Others love the company I just didn't want to be pushed around by a bully like that.

    Make the decision that is best for you. If it means setting up an account and you can bite the bullet then do so, otherwise look elsewhere, whatever is best for you.
  17. graysalchemy

    graysalchemy CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    Surely $100 isn't a lot for a professional framer. It keeps dabblers out and maintains the market for everyone else. You would surely be complaining if your supplier offered ready mades to Joe blogs. Any other industry if you want to stock a suppliers goods you usually have to spend thousands. I had an art materials shop once and we carried about £80k of stock.
    prospero and IFGL like this.
  18. Paul Cascio

    Paul Cascio SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I think it's a reasonable policy, and in some ways it works to the professional framer's advantage because it can help filter out the non-professional who is trying to buy at the same wholesale prices that you covet.
    Most of our materials are relatively non-perishable so ordering a couple of boxes of glass, or a box of foamboard shouldn't hurt much.
    cvm and IFGL like this.
  19. David Waldmann

    David Waldmann SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    It could. OTOH, it ensures that they're serious. Certainly any "real" frame shop could somehow come up with a legitimate order of $300, even if they have to wait a week or three to consolidate. It is only the First Order, after all...

    I'd rather deal with a supplier who is overs zealous than under. We have potential Suppliers that won't sell to us because their current Customers already sell to us. That's fine by me. Plenty of other fish in the sea, and I won't (knowingly) deal with someone who sells to my customers. So turnabout is fair play in my book.
    westman 2 likes this.
  20. Larry Peterson

    Larry Peterson PFG, Picture Framing God

    I spoke too soon. Placed an order today, 4 weeks after my last order (Sept 13th) and was told I was inactive. Told the rep WTF, she was off the line for a few seconds, came back and all was fine. I am going to ask my rep about this.
    Ylva likes this.
  21. David Waldmann

    David Waldmann SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    That is actually a day shy of 5 weeks...
  22. Grey Owl

    Grey Owl SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I am a small framer. I don't have a problem with minimum order size, but requiring x dollars per week would not fly for me. I have probably bought most of my moulding at the wcaf where they have great prices for length and I can mix and match, or when a distributor is offering a special price on discontinued.

    The rest of the time I only buy for the order. Which might be a single chop or maybe an occasional 100 feet for a corporate account that comes in. And yes, they have had to reactivate my account with a few moulding suppliers.

    I also do lots of mats, without frames for some corporate [almost all 100% Solid Rag and I have inventory for around 20 different colors]. My old distributor just sold, but he had a minimum quantity of 6 for a price break; the new one has a minimum of 12 for a price break, so no problem, I just changed my min/max quantities on these mat boards to make the quantities for the price I want. But I will be buying with less frequency.
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