Average Moulding Price

Ron Eggers

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Jul 6, 2001
When presented with a price quote, customers in my shop will very often ask how the frame compares with my average priced moulding.

I think that's a fair and reasonable question. The last time I checked, my average retail price for wood was something like $7.50/foot - and Ronald Reagan was president.

I checked again today. My 3164 wood mouldings (I've cut back) range from $3.20 (that's gotta be a BEAUTY!) to $64.80 retail and the average/mean price is $13.67. From now on, any quote for a moulding that's less than $13.67/foot will be called "a bargain" and anything over that will be "the good stuff."

Metals (825 of 'em) range from $3.60-$13.90/foot and the mean is $6.51.

I just thought you should know.

BTW, does anybody think the median price would be more meaningful?

I have nothing in wood less than $4.50 a foot for moulding. I see no reason to charge less based on "set up". An 8x10 thus starts at $18.00.

A $6.00 chop (wholesale) will not be covered by a vendors minumim. And how much time will it take to process the paper work and join the frame?

As for that type of average to convey to the customer, I would favor "mean average" of what I actually sell and not just have on display.
Good points, Jerry.

I went to hunt down the $3.20/foot mouldings. Turns out it's stuff I bought from Bendix about ten years ago, moved 4 years ago and piled in my basement for "disposition." They were among the mouldings involved in the Great Christmas Eve moulding collapse of 1992. I guess I can remove them from my database before somebody asks for one of them.

The rest of them start at $5.20.

I can't find the stats for my metal mouldings (and I'm too lazy to re-do them), but this is current as of January, 2004

I can't find the stats for my metal mouldings (and I'm too lazy to re-do them), but this is current as of January, 2004
OK, I am not going to be as analytical as some of you guys (my software doesn't break it down as easy.) But as for what I sell, $12-$13 seems to be the average. Hanging on the wall we have as affordable as $3.75 Flat Black and as beautiful as $55.00.

Lately, it's been slow but the $25.00 a foot stuff has been selling in an attempt to make up for it.
Where do you get such cheap moulding?

Help me for instance -

up here in Canada I pay about $4.50 ft for LJ 373IS (which I consider middle of the road) & sell for about $14.95 Ft)

the cheapest mld 1/2" blk I pay $1.35 Ft
I don't remember who it was that said this, but it was about 1 1/2 years ago and I think about it at least once a day:

"Do you all realize how seldom we see wood moulding below $10.00/ft. (retail) these days?"

It was true then, and ofcourse, near absolute now!
Studio Moulding (which I'm not terribly happy with) has a box program for mat black moulding, prices range from $0.41 to $1.25 but box lengths of 270' to 640'.
Nurre Caxton has a similar program with 240' length boxes ranging $0.35 to $0.70
Of coarse these are just black and cheap, but I sell the heck out of them.
I inform the customer xxx mouldings are those selling in the average. I would not say it is based on an average of the prices but more on what the majority buy. I'm not sure why anyone would put all of those prices up here on an open forum. Actually the median may be a better figure. How close does it come to the mean?
I hardly see any METAL moulding under $10.00 these days (except for the OEM). My Neilsen profile #15 is up to $7.75 now.... it's not the bargain it used to be. Ah... well.... shucks.
Originally posted by JPete:
I'm not sure why anyone would put all of those prices up here on an open forum.
I agree. We've seen how many artists, photographers, and just plain ole customers find this site. It's not that it's wrong for them to know what things cost, but that they won't understand that "everything in the world" (ALL the overhead) comes out of the "so-called" profit.

I just hired a highschool girl to help out part time. The first thing I did (and don't start on me about a POS, I'm getting there) was to have her work on updating the moulding - pulling discontinueds checking prices, etc.

I knew she wouldn't understand how something that costs $1.00 per foot (for example) could sell for $5.00 - $6.00 per foot. I knew she'd think I was making money hand over fist. So I wrote a piece on pricing, about how much it costs every day to just "open the doors" whether we sell anything or not and about why markups are what they are. I made copies for everyone so that she wouldn't think it was just her. (Actually, it worked out well with the others, too. They also needed to know this and by giving one to everyone, it didn't look like I was picking on her.)

Most people don't know or understand about costs vs selling prices. Most people think that we get to keep all the money in between what an item costs and what we sell it for. I wish!

Perhaps if the thread had stayed on simply average retail prices, then any customer would see how different shops vary in pricing. But by throwing costs into the mix, then some explaination for markups need to be made. "If you ain't never done it, you won't understand!" ;)

I never mentioned cost, nor did I intend that anyone else should. The prices I listed are retail, which are no secret.

A few got carried away, but I doubt it's the end of the world as we know it - unless we draw a lot of attention to it.
Originally posted by Ron Eggers:

A few got carried away, but I doubt it's the end of the world as we know it - unless we draw a lot of attention to it.
Well, excuuuuuuuse me!

Sorry for the double post. Actually Bill used to be a former employee of mine and he stole my numbers … and my dog, and my wife, and my pickup truck. ;)

BTW, does anybody think the median price would be more meaningful?
Because we all have some of those 5 inch behemoth corners on our walls priced at half the national debt (and probably don't sell too many, either), the mean is skewed in the direction of the higher priced ones.

The median price is probably a better indication of our "average".
Bill, if you play your country music backwards, you'll get back your truck, your wife, your dog (though after seeing your dog on Warped, I'd reconsider this) and your numbers.
need your help…

Most framers in Ireland….include glass….backing board….hardware…etc in the retail price of moulding…and add mounts/mats etc.

I’m trying to follow what you guys do…..i.e. build up the price of the frame package

Frame (shell only)

The above is just a quick snap shot…..the one thing that I don’t full understand is what you guys mean by the retail price of the frame…..whether it is chop….stick….or whatever…..it is just the frame (shell) bit I’m a bit confused about.

I have Vivian Kristles book (if I can find it) and other information on how you guys price out a framing package……I just need to firm up on the shell bit of the frame..

Any help would be great as I feel that how you guys price gives a more consistent profit over all elements of framing as compared to the straight mark up method….I’m helping (we are helping each other) my nearest framing business to better understand what the method of pricing can mean for our businesses….so anything that will help would be most gratefully received…..if you are not comfortable posting here you can email me at ontheedge@oceanfree.net.

There are some POS software over here…but if my efforts to improve how framers price in Ireland are to be successful I feel that we need to use a manual system to start with this way framers will better understand there pricing and then can transition over to a POS system…

What I have.

The Grumble
PPFA (I’m awaiting my renewal details)
A spreadsheet pricing method from a US framer (and much more framing information) (thanks Jerry)
Vivian’s Book (if I can find it)
Jay Goltz Book (if I can find it)
Why can’t I find the above …..I had storm damage in my workshop, and some stuff has gone AWOL
Proven Pathway to Profit (Rob Markoff) sponsored by TruVue...Which includes the Larson Juhl suggested retail charge schedule 2001 for materials and labour….but not the “frame” price list.
And other various bits and pieces that I can access online

Mostly what I’m missing is the dialogue that happens when people get together and discuss pricing….I only manage to do that ever few years.

Any input will help….the does, the don’ts, hints, tips…..or whatever…..

I did not want to start a separate thread for this subject….as I feel it need to be buried within another thread.


Some framers charge a different retail price based on the method of purchasing the raw materials to make a frame (shell).

A different markup might be used for purchasing via "length", "chop", or "joined". These different markups will result in different "retail" prices for the same frame in the same shop. I feel that the "retail" should be standardized in a shop regardless of the method of purchasing the materials for the client.

I use basically a 3 times markup based on "chops" and if I purchase via length I still sell it at the same retail price as if I bought a chop.

When buying in box quanities I still use the chop "retail" price although I might alter my "chop markup" to give the customer a better retail price. This simplifies the thought process and the selling process as well. BTW, if I have a box program item I give it a different SKU (part number) to avoid confusion and show a special retail.
I feel that the "retail" should be standardized in a shop regardless of the method of purchasing the materials for the client.
I am in complete agreement with our bearded friend from Michigan.

I use mostly chop, but I watch my orders and if I see I am ordering 20 feet or more of a moulding - or if I'm ordering the same moulding more than 10 times/year - I'll get a bundle of it and cut it myself.

I think it's important that the selling price be the same in either case.

Thanks a million that’s the sort of info I need….roughly what is the percentage difference between Chop and Length!!!

Chop is very small over her except for the 3 aluminium profiles we can get (11, 15, and the really new introduction “a new one anyway I cannot find the profile # right now)…..it is length or a type of box program, we must buy 180Mts though we can mix 12 designs to get the best price break…..after that is a bit of Irish haggling….I have to say my favourite supplier Sisslings www.sisslings.com are super……they are so professional and they are getting better all the time….and will always give a little extra or drop a few € off the price….super people.

Thanks again
I'm not sure why anyone would put all of those prices up here on an open forum.
As a compromise, I eliminated the wholesale prices.
It used to be fairly standard that "chops" were 1.5 times length.

Now, I have noticed that chops are 1.5 to 1.8 times length.

As for joined, some supplies charge a flat fee ($5.00 - $8.00) while others have a times length rate. If the supplier is not delivering via their truck freight also comes into play with pre-joined frames (shells).

Some of us don't use a linear markup, but a curve sort of, kinda, similar to a hyperbola,


where we mark up the stuff we buy the cheapest more than the stuff we buy at a permium. It's fairly simple if you use a spreadsheet for pricing.

In the interest of "partial" disclosure I have obliterated my actual wholesale prices. :(
I'm not sure why anyone would put all of those prices up here on an open forum.
As a compromise, I eliminated the wholesale prices.
Bill, lots of people get double posts.

What's interesting about yours is that they're 30 minutes apart.

Throw some salt over your left shoulder. Sometimes that helps.
Thanks guys this is great….I’m trying to build my argument for an in depth method of pricing rather than the simple mark up method that is been used over here by most framers……and I won’t go into some of the pricing methods I have come across or you would think I’m trying to “Warp” this thread…… :eek:

I’m trying to get a handle on how fluid the pricing methods are and to present my argument in a simple but convincing manner……I would suspect that only a very few framers in Ireland have any real idea of how there pricing works…..

Bob Carter would pull out the last bit of hair he has if he saw some of the stuff over here
Well, Dermot, if you have seen me lately, you would think I must have already been to Ireland.

But, I wouldn't be too hard on your fellow neighbors, as we framers here, also, tend to take the easy road. We often abdicate these critical decisions to POS system, pre-set markups and Suggested Pricing charts.

But,let's be fair: Most of us are not all that interested in the mechanics for a couple of reasons. First, we tend to be a little more of the Artsy side (we'll kindly call it the creative side) and secondly, most of simply have never had the training or the ability to see the effects of wise pricing decisions.

Look at this as an opportunity for you to become an industry leader over there. Be forewarned that inertia is a powerful force and overcoming resistance can be daunting. But, from experience I will tell you it does get easier.

You flatter me…I have to say I don’t see myself as an industry leader…though in saying that I would see myself as a source of information and help.

By no means would I underestimate other framers in Ireland there are some very clever and successful people involved in the business….I just very fortunate that my personal circumstances allow me to explore and indulge my passion to try and understand the framing business better……and then share this understanding with anyone who cares to listen…….


I have another question about length and box programs….do you add a default wastage factor to your landed price (in your premises) or do you just put the mark up straight on i.e. “cost per ft. x mark-up” or “cost per foot +25%+- wastage x mark-up.

Scrap (waste) is accounted for via a larger markup.

The scrap can saved and recycled as a source of ready made frames. The cost is only your labor since the cost was absorbed in custom jobs.

I have done this for years and price my ready made frames @ 50% off custom prices. I mark the frames with the size and the custom price with a felt tip marker.

A sign over the bin states:
1. the range of sizes
2. made from shorts & seconds
3. 50% off marked prices

I am glad you bring up the curve idea. I have my own formula for pricing but have searched in vain for a mathematical formula that represents a nice curve like the one shown.

Do you have a fomula ( you can change it a bit so I won't copy it exact). I just need an idea of a formula to create a similar curve to the one you show.

Thanks in advance
HB, you can develop a curve formula with something like retail=(cost*4)+3. Change the 4 and 3 to whatever makes sense to you. I changed them here to protect the sensitive.

The addition of a fixed number ('3' in the example above) will mean that the markup will be effectively greater on the lower cost mouldings.

If you use a spreadsheet, plug in some numbers until you get constants you're comfortable with. If you want to know what constants I'm comfortable with, drop me an email.

Edit: Parentheses added to formula for clarity.
Thanks guys…..I’m getting there

Got you Ron I think……. :eek: geeee I thought this was going to be easy……..but I like it……now I need to figure out how to say all of this in “ten words or less” :D …..the attention span of some framers in Ireland is very short ;)

I’m going back to cutting the grass before I get into trouble :rolleyes: ……see you later
Sorry, Ron, I have to take exception to your linear equation,

retail cost = (wholesale cost * – A ) + B

because it will eventually cross the X-axis at higher wholesale costs rendering a markup of zero. Even a parabolic function

( A ^ wholesale) + ( B * wholesale) + C

will intersect an axis at some point.

The “ideal” curve is a bit more, kinda, sorta similar to a hyperbolic function

arcsine ( 1 / cost) / arctangent ( 1 / cost )

but even that isn’t ideal and, IMHO, is too unwieldy to be able to tweak and make it usable for the purpose of pricing.


The graph I posted was generated from a LOOKUP table in my spreadsheet not from an equation. If you're interested in more details, email me, and I'll try to respond within a couple of days.


You didn't really mean MINUS A, did you?

'Cause I didn't.

I can't find a point where my formula will yield a mark-up less than A, and A is a positive number. (It needs to be greater than 1, BTW.)

Help me out here.
Sorry, you’re right. Please accept my apologies for misrepresenting your position.

I was thinking in terms of a wholesale to markup instead of wholesale to retail.

Yet, I’m still not crazy about linear equations for pricing moulding. I would like to mark up a cheapo moulding that costs me a buck, say, five times; while a moulding that costs me $3, I can settle for 3 times. By the time I get to paying $8 a foot, I’ll accept a 2.5 times markup. I’m still making more for the higher price moulding, of course, but I feel like I’m not gouging anyone that way.

A=2.2 and B=2.8, as in


will get you very close to your examples.

In my formulas, I always round up to the next dollar.

(Note to non-framers/explorers: Nobody actually uses THOSE numbers. It's just a hypothetical example, okay? Really, the working formula is more like Retail=(cost*1.01)+.10 rounded up to next nickel.)

(That's why we all drive 10-year-old cars.)
Hey Guys-Where is the coefficient of price/demand elasticity? And is there a quotient for consumer resistance?

In essence, does the consumer get a vote in these equations?

Perhaps, the reason why most of us drive 10 yr old cars, is that we don't factor the market into the equation.

The most telling of those sentiments is the statement that we don't want to gouge anyone. As noble as that sounds, I would hate to think that any of us is gouging anyone.

Fear is the greatest impediment to profitability and growth in any business.

Any pricing model that doesn't include market pricing options simply is not a good vehicle. If the prevailing price for a certain widget is $12.00 and your system indicates that $10.00 is correct, then your system is wrong.

That doesn't mean that you shouldn't reserve the right to sell at $10.00, but it, in no way, requires you to do so. Any selling advantage that allows you to sell for less than market, should show a demonstrable increase in volume. Without that measurable increase, the wiser merchant will simply sell at market and pocket the advantage.

I'm sorry guys, I just don't see how any parabolic graph as shown can accurately predict that result. It can show the results ater the fact, but then it might be too late.

And it ignores the most basic component of selling: What is this product worth?

It's worth what someone else is willing to pay for it
Interesting, though not surprising, that you'd mention that, Bob.

In honesty, I could overwrite the prices in my database. If the formula says a particular moulding should retail for $10/foot, but it really looks like it should sell for $14/foot, I can just make it $14.00 and skip the formula for that moulding.

While I understand the rationale for doing that, I don't truly understand how I would decide what each of my 3,000 mouldings really should sell for. "It's worth what someone else will pay for it." Most of us don't auction our framing, and we don't negotiate prices. Should we raise our prices incrementally until nobody buys anything and then back off a little?

Certainly, if our prices overall are too high for our markets, we lose market share. If they are too low, we don't make the profits we should or could. But to micro-manage each moulding, each service and each component of the framing package on a supply-and-demand basis seems unrealistic - maybe impossible.

I'm not arguing with you, Bob. I just don't understand how this actually works.

Oh, and my car is only seven years old. ;)
Ron,of course you are right. We don't shop every single item, but we don't have 3000 samples on the wall. But, we do get a sense of market, and when we do see items where we simply aren't in line, we adjust.

From that base of knowledge, where you get a feel.

Here's a great example: When you go to show and you see a new moulding vendor, don't you pull a sample off the wall that looks interesting? And what's the first thing you do? You flip that bad boy over to see what the price is? And don't you have an instant feel if it's way too expensive or man, give me a box because this stuff is priced way too low?

As long as you have been in the biz, I'm sure you have a sense of that same thing for your market. If not, you need to get out more often. We often talk about thinking out of the box (I wish that if we "thought out of the box", we could come up with a different expression), but I would suggest we need to think outside our stores more.

So, it really isn't too difficult to develop a sense of pricing. But, it needs to be ratified by a few trips into the real world.

Rest assured that almost all your competition does things the same tired, fixed markup multipliers method as so many do. So, it ain't rocket science to break the code when you know a few item's prices.

But, the thing I continue to stress is that just because someone sells to you for X doesn't mean it automatically ought to be multiplied by 3.

I think the resistance comes from the fact that it might be real work-I mean 3000 samples is real work. And you are way too smart to do every single corner one at a time. Start with a highly defined and identifiable line like Florentina-Everybody carries 457904. Start there-it might be a real eye opener
Bob, that is exactly the way my friend prices cars on his lot. He buys a car. Gives it the once over. Drives it. Washes it and checks the Kelly’s Blue Book. Then he prices what he thinks it worth. It is very easy to get an idea of what THIS market will bear as every lot proudly displays their asking price.

We all carry way more samples than my buddy does cars. Also, the other framers in my area wouldn't dare let me know what they are charging for their moulding. As of this writing I haven't recieved my copy of Bob's Blue Book (I would gladly give $100 for it though). So now what do I do? For now the formula works better than guessing!

"Fear is the greatest impediment to profitability and growth in any business."

I think I'm going to write that somewhere where I see it everyday! I'll put your name after it if it's ok Bob? I needed to hear that.
That makes more sense, Bob.

It sounds like you need a formula to establish a starting point. Maybe that starting point is a minimum acceptable mark-up for a product.

Then you make common sense adjustments on a case-by-case basis.

I was happy with my pricing strategy. My total package prices seemed to be in line with my market, but I came to realize not long ago that some individual components were out of wack. It only became a problem when someone just wanted something mounted or just wanted a mat.

I decided my mats and mounting were too high, my glass was too low (especially my UV glass that I use 90% of the time) and my frames were, on average, a bit low. So I made adjustments until they made sense to me.

There will always be people that are unhappy with any price but, I think if you really listen, people will let you know if you're competitive.

They'll even tell you if you're too cheap.