big box repairs... charge or for free?


SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Jun 7, 2004
They must have hired a real knuckhead at Michaels as we've been getting a lot of repairs lately. One was a 36 x 48 stretched canvas that was put on the equivelent of LJ's medium size strainer stock with no bracing. The middle bowed in several inches and the whole thing wobbled by several feet. The customer was very distressed as she already paid a bundle. We restretched it for 50% of our normal charge.

Today someone brought in a single mat, 12 x 24 with one hole in it. She needed 2 more holes cut. They couldn't do it so she came in rather flustered. Just had 1 salesperson working today as it's the first really nice Saturday of the year and I wasn't expecting any customers so I took the day off. Got a call on the cell, customer was getting upset so I drove 40 minutes to work and cut the holes in her mat, asked for $5. Luckily, she ended up spending $90 on gift items.

There have been several other incidents recently. We've been charging nothing if it's been simple and we've used no materials or at most charging a heavily discounted rate, hoping they would prefer to shop here next time. But the impression I got from this last episode was more like I was reinforcing their habit to buy at the big box, because if it's screwed up they can just bring it to me.

So, basically, I'm feeling rather bummed about the whole thing. Man, I feel bad looking at someone who has just blown a bunch on a shoddy piece and tell them they gotta spend a bunch more. What do you do?
I'm trying to imagine another kind of business where this could happen.

Come on. Somebody help me out here.
What business "A" botches the job so business "B" eats it to make the customer happy?

No I can't think of one!

However I do things like replace glass up to 11X14 for free in photo frames. I charge $10.00 if I have to tear it apart and replace backing and hangers. I replace just hangers for free also. But not specifically because store "A" broke it.

I hope you don't mind this frankethread's here but I thing you should charge BUT sell your shop by making the purchase well well worth the money.

This is a thought I've had for a while and I'll start my own thread right now on the topic.
I have a customer that brought me a 8 x 10 photo of her children framed by a big box place.
She wanted to the mats replaced to match her new wallpaper...
I saw how poor the work was and asked if she would stay as I opened it in front of her.

The yellowed mats, cardboard backing cut from a crescent box and packaging tape securing the picture was more than she expected. She was upset to say the least.
Frame was fine. She wanted a white mat, so I used some scrap and cut her the mat and properly assembled the frame package infront of her and gave it to her. Even had a peice of conservation clear pre cut to 11 x 14 laying around.

Even someone without any framing knowledge could tell this was bad.. very bad.

Two days later she brings 18 other previously framed items to fix
I well made up for my peice of mat and glass I "lost".
You know, if somebody brings in a photo frame for glass replacement I usually surprise them and do it on the house. Or if somebody needs some wire or a hanger or two, gratis on those too. Or if somebody needs a mat for a funeral I've not charged for those. But why on earth would you be compelled to redo other peoples mistakes practically for free? I would feel like a chump if I did that. What are they learning? Go to the cheap place and save money, take it to the nice place and they will make it right at their expense? I've fixed things from other shops and usually the customer is just grateful their piece can be corrected. The fact that they already paid to have it done poorly doesn't factor in on what my price is.

If somebody presented me with a canvas that bowed in several inches in the middle I would question why they accepted it to begin with. I'd start by suggesting they bring it back to where they got it done to see about being compensated first.
I'm with Kathy on the quick easy stuff for free like wire and hangers. And I also agree that if I do free repairs for the Big Boys I would be a chump. Some of your customers will love you for the free repairs, and some will not respect you and continue to shop the other place.

I had a customer a couple of months ago bring in a Garden Ridge plastic pre-framed piece of "art" that had been dropped on the corner and broken. The wire eye had pulled out of the junk frame and down it went. She wanted to know if I could "repair it". I found a wood moulding that was very close to the look of the frame and offered to build the frame for $100. She whined and left. Her husband told me later that she went back to Garden Ridge and bought another one, just like the one that broke for $179. What do you say to these people?

Last week I had a gentleman whine about a $32 quote. He left and went to the same GR and bought a ready made that he brought back to me to cut a mat. "Sure I can cut you a mat but can you tell me why you didn't get one when you purchased the frame?" To which he replied "They wanted $22 to cut the mat and put it together". "Really" I replied "That's a good price, my price is THIRTY TWO DOLLARS"

The moral to the story, if it takes you an hour to do something, charge them one hour of your rate. Charge them the same thing you would any other customer. When you re-frame something that came from somewhere else, it takes you twice as long, you have to take it apart before you can even start on it.
I wonder why we would be nicer to the person who shops elsewhere than we would to the person who comes to us in the first place.

But then, I always wondered about the story of the prodigal son, too.
I will do something gratis once in awhile for a customer but can't imagine why you would repair another stores shoddy workmanship at a discounted rate.

I don't enjoy repair work.
THe customer should learn the lesson that it costs less to have it done properly in the first place than to have it framed twice!
johnny, I think you hit the nail on the head when you realized you were encouraging folks to use your free services to fix someone else's mistake.

By handling the work and effecting repair you have taken on a certain responsibility in regard to the quality of the finished product. What happens should something else go wrong? Will the customer take the piece back to the original framer or to the person that supposedly fixed it?

I can symapthize with a customer that has to spend more money that they should have to get something corrected (but not much), and I can certainly see the value in offering minimal correction/replacement services to established customers gratis, but discounting or freebies to a total stranger with a hard luck story? Why didn't they take it back to the original framer and try to get some satisfaction? Too lazy, too embarassed? Not your problem.
Part of the "education process" for our clients is learning to value what we do. If we undersell ourselves that message will never get across.

There are story like Steven's that do show the rewards of helping someone out, but I wonder how many times he's done something similar and gotten no further business from the client.

Somehow, johnny, I think you already knew the answer.
Originally posted by Emibub:
You know, if somebody brings in a photo frame for glass replacement I usually surprise them and do it on the house. Or if somebody needs some wire or a hanger or two, gratis on those too. Or if somebody needs a mat for a funeral I've not charged for those. But why on earth would you be compelled to redo other peoples mistakes practically for free?
And does the funeral home charge for every service that they perform................they definitely do and hansimly at that.
The little stuff I typically do for nothing. The customer expects to pay something for the new wire, hanger, time etc. When I tell them no problem/no charge, I usually, in a friendly way, add the condition "just bring me something to frame next time". And they almost always do.
Well, I know the logical answer and that's to charge for the work you do. I know what would work on me if I was the customer. In the future, I would go to the place that fixed the job at a cut rate. However, that's not valid because 1.) I wouldn't have been in the big box to begin with. 2.) I wouldn't take their shoddy work to be repaired somewhere. I'd have tossed it and started over. 3.) I'm a really loyal buyer once I'm treated well. So, really, making a decision based on how I would react is the wrong thing to do.

Most folks are extremely appreciative that we pulled their butts out of the fire for making a poor choice. We explain what was wrong and why and also advise them that our prices are not all that much more. However, on days like yesterday, we'll have someone who is really upset before they walk through the door and **** well expect almost no charge because "but you're not using any materials!" And then you want to be nice to the people who don't expect it and nail the people who do, but you have to be consistent. One reason is that you don't want to treat two friends or neighbors differently. The other is that you confuse the heck out of your employees.

Which is why I'm pondering this... I have to have a consistent policy. Honestly, I still don't know what it's going to be, but I'm leaning towards charging full price for materials with a lot of empathy thrown in and being a bit of sap when it's labor only.
I had a customer come in with a piece framed at a big box store and was not happy at all with what they had done. She asked if I would fix it. I did and charged her a very small fee and explained what had been done wrong originally on the piece. She said she understood and would be back in a day or two with some other things to be framed. When she came back and I worked up a quote she said the big box was cheaper. I said yes but after you have it redone after they frame it, which one of us is less expensive?
Re stretching a canvas takes a whole lot more labor than starting from scratch. It can be very time consuming removing a bazillion staples from the previous stretch. I can not understand why you would take on that project for half your normal charge.

Big box customers will always be big box customers, they are not interested in service or quality, only price. Unless you are intending to go head to head with big box's on their prices, I can not understand discounting your normal labor charges. If you worked for me, would you work for less dollars per hour when I felt I should accommodate a big box customer?

Your only edge on big boxes is your service, knowledge, and quality. You can not compete with them on a price basis. Sure you may be able to do it for a short while, but there is no way you can mount a sustained campaign, in a price war with them, and survive.

A noticeable percentage of my business is re doing work from other shops. I do not see how I can work for less money per hour because of someone else's incompetence, unless I started cranking out the same garbage they did. What is the point in that?

I agree w/ John the big box customer will always be the big box customer - they are price sensitive and that is their mind-set.
Charge a fair price, be consistent and you will get repeat business - try to go head to head w/ the BB and you will only frustrate yourself. Sometimes it's best to let that business go elsewhere.
Reflecting on what brought me to this point, I realize that an element is that terrible word "just."

As a framer I despise that word. I know that whenever I hear it the words that follow it are going to make me cringe.

"Can't you just..."
"I just want..."
"This is just a..."

Met with the cost of repairing something the consumer's first line of defense is "Well, can't you just..."

Let's take the wobbly canvas. "Can't you just put in a bracer bar?" No and this is why.... Then 3 things can happen. Either they understand or they leave or they argue. If they leave they aren't going to be a future customer. If they argue you go back to step 1.

The discount is a way of sticking gum in that leak. Then add on the fact that I'm feeling sorry for them, sometimes.

I'm not going to 1/2 arse fix anything and follow up one bad job with another. The discount is kind of a compromise. I'm not doing it to compete on price. I'm trying to invest in goodwill. It probably ain't workin.' It's just a lousy situation.
It is a lousy situation, not much you can do about that. It is OK to feel sorry for one of the big box's customers, they got burned by the big box. If you correct the error by working for less than you would normally charge, doesn't that mean the big box got you as well?

work being brought into your shop is work, it's how you earn a living, don't forget that.

I remember how frightened I was when a BB went in 8 miles from my shop. Alot of people just were not aware that a frame shop was located right on Main Street (I can't compete w/their advertising campaigns) but the advertising by M made them more aware that they needed to compare shops. Many customers of mine came to me through M's. The biggest complaint I hear about them is the attitude of the people working the framing counter. The customer is supposed to design their own job. Oh, and btw, yes...I get alot of repair jobs due to something they've screwed up. But I do not discount my work.
Maybe you should separate the framer person from the business person.

As a business person, I charged for anything I did as a framer. I had a $7.50 minimum charge in place for things such as wire and hangers. I never had anyone complain about the charge, as they expected to be charged for the service.

Johnny, I don't understand why you would do anything that requires labor only at no charge. You must have an hourly rate. One of the reasons for an hourly rate is for "labor only" jobs.
Guys-I am always surprised that we just rarely, ever see anything framed by any BB. Once in a blue moon we replace a lite of glass or change a mat.

Those "repair" jobs so many speak of in terms of "lots of them" just never come to us.

But, I guess most of you must see a lot more clients than we do.

Perhaps we ought to put a sign in the window stating "We Repair Michael's Mistakes". We must be overlooking a goldmine
Bob, I think it more about where your store is located in relation to the big box or offending frame shop, as opposed to you being any better of a framer than them.

Myself, I am in an out of the way location, but my store is only four miles away from an Aaron Brothers and a Michaels.

You are right, if I had to count on repairs of other framers work, I would be out of business. I think every shop is guilty of sending off an unhappy customer from time to time. I'm sure the shop that gets the re-do will get in some crowing time, and why shouldn't they?

When you produce shoddy work, you are probably saving time or money by doing it. Think of that as borrowed time or money, you are going to have to pay it back somehow, someway. Your going to lose customers, your going to have other shops badmouth you, just the way it is. It is going to cost you.

Big box operations are the same as all of us, sometimes a bad job goes out the door.

Hold your horses there, is what you are probably thinking. My shop only puts out the best quality work in the world, All the time, how dare you say something like that?

Just because your workmanship is almost always top notch, does your customer always get the exact design they wanted? Have you never had one of your miters pop open? One of your wires break? One of your pictures slip? Is it written in stone somewhere that all your customers will always return to your shop when something goes awry?

Ain't no such thing as the perfect frame shop, just does not exist.

It seems like the big boxes screw up more than we do, and they do. They also have a customer count that would boggle your mind. When we have ten customers, they have a hundred. Naturally most of the re-dos are going to come from a big box.

I know I have re done work from just about every frame shop in San Diego over the years, and I'm sure there are a lot of shops that have corrected my screw ups. It isn't always the big box, it's all of us.

Originally posted by johnny:
...The customer was very distressed as she already paid a bundle. We restretched it for 50% of our normal charge...she came in rather flustered...customer was getting upset so I drove 40 minutes to work and cut the holes in her mat, asked for $5...We've been charging nothing if it's been simple and we've used no materials or at most charging a heavily discounted rate, hoping they would prefer to shop here next time...
One wonders why the angry customers didn't get satisfaction from the perpetrators of the botched job. Why are they coming to you with your competitors' problems in the first place?

If a customer brought back a job we had botched, I would not only repair it at no charge; I would beg forgiveness. Keeping OUR customers happy is very important.

However, instead of giving away my expertise to a competitor's angry customer, I would be tempted to charge extra. But I would not do that, because I believe it is important to be consistently fair with all customers.

Especially, I think it would be grossly unfair to charge a loyal customer regular prices, and then discount for a competitor's disloyal customer. That would be completely upside-down marketing.

Imagine this conversation over coffee:

Neighbor A: "GentleJoe's framing price was $25 higher, so I went to BusyBox Crafts. Their framing was terrible, so I took my problem to GentleJoe and he fixed it at no charge. I got GentleJoe's better framing at the BusyBox price -- what a deal! I can't wait to do that again."

Neighbor B: "What!? I've been going to GentleJoe's for years, and he has never given me anything at no charge. I know BusyBox's prices are cheaper, but I've heard about their lousy quality. You got the best of both worlds. Next time I'll do what you did."

What's wrong with this picture? :rolleyes:
Hiya Bob. Maybe the big boxes in your area have better people in them, too. I know a local artist that worked at Michaels for a while. He gave a lot of insight on what goes on there. You're framing after a few hours on the job and working the counter after a day, in a few months you're gone. (I still can't believe I'm losing customers to them.) Anyway, maybe yours has some of the stability and care that he provided them for a while.

John, thanks for your insights. I've been reading the Grumble for quite a while and have always respected your opinions. The last few years framing is most definitely not how I'm earning my living. I've lost more money in the past 2 years than I've ever thought possible. If not for retained earnings and investments I'd be working at Michaels right now.
My posts on the Grumble have reflected my deteriorating faith in the human race, unfortunately. Two years ago my landlord rented an enormous vacant space next to mine. He told me it was going to be a very high end furniture gallery with artwork but no framing, painting starting at $10,000. Well, it was a gypsy persian rug salesman. Why did this impact me? The name of his business had the word "Galleries" in it. He had the whole end of the building, 3 units wide. On the corner of the building was his name, then as you get closer to mine it said "European Furniture" then "Fine Rugs" then my sign, which is unfortunately generic. All the signs on the building are standardized. It therefore looked to all the world that I was part of his establishment, just another product line to the big gallery. He remained normal for the number of weeks required by Ohio law then immediately starting his "Going out of business" routine. Gallery going out of business signs all over the windows, 50 foot banners on the roof, little signs like the political ones for up to 10 miles down the main roads, A frame signs on the street, ads in all publications. I couldn't buy a new customer for over a year. Who wants to get their pictures framed by someone going out of business? There were tons of people shopping there, but none that would ever buy from me. They would come in looking for the 80% discount promised in his signs. The thing that really stung was the landlord. Someone I've rented from since 1990 and my father before me since 1978 to the tune of well over $1 million, $750,000 for this one spot alone. And for all that he wouldn't even acknowledge that this was in any way hurting me. The city - they wouldn't even let me put the word "Gallery" above my door in the past. The way the building is laid out it would officially be on a separate facing than my sign and against zoning. Somehow, this gypsy had no problem with his signing. He was also making at least $250,000 on a Saturday when he was running auctions, turning my busiest day of the week into zero days. My established customers would even stay away until they could come in on Mondays when he was closed. After he finally quit he parked a semi truck in front of my gallery windows for over a week. The police have come in and asked me to remove my car from the same fire lane as I was actively loading it. Through all this the landlord, far from being apologetic, threatened to evict and sue if I was late with the rent. I threatened to move, but the threat of another lawsuit was too much and the new neighbor went out of business like 5 times, each time with a new date. I had to deal with television investigative reporters because the gypsy was misrepresenting everything he sold. One guy spent $60,000 only to find out the stuff was worthless at appraisal. I got tricked just like the public, hoping that he would be gone soon. It's been the harshest, cruelist life lesson I've ever had and I've had quite a few.

So, really, I'm not in a very good frame of mind. Now that I haven't been hobbled for a while I've been regaining business over time. The gentleman that left was very opinionated, and persian, and forced his political views on his customers if you can believe that, which were very colorful and didn't go over well post Iraq war in this republican stronghold. "That gallery in my shopping center" - that's who got the bad word of mouth from it all, and that's me. I flew a huge American flag in my windows for a year. 3 monts before he finally left is when Michaels opened nearby.

So, basically, I'm still pissed off. I'm still rebuilding my sales. I'm still rebuilding my reputation with people who haven't dealt with me yet. I'm not willing to peacefully co-exist with the big boxes, like I don't want their type of customer. Right now I'm not willing to peacefully coexist with anybody. I'm so far past "going to the mattresses" it isn't even funny. I wasn't taken out by the events of the past 2 years, I'm not about to let freakin' Michaels continue to get one over on me. Dealing with someone that has been wronged by them is touchy. I want that customer in the future, just like I want every customer that walks through their doors. I should be able to do that. They sell by price but they are not that cheap. Their whole premise relies on consumers being flat out stupid. If I can get my message to them before they walk in to Michaels, I can have them. If they walk into my store already unhappy then it's a gift. I'm very concerned with treating them in the way that will garner me the most favor with them and the people they eventually talk to... "Michael's did a horrible job but johnny fixed it" doesn't have the same ring as "Michael's did a horrible job then I had to pay johnny another $100 to fix it." And I want to get this one right. At least over here they are screwing up enough orders to make it worthwhile. I was hoping that in a world where long time relationships mean nothing, loyalty is a dying idiolistic memory, and it looks like rug salesman and framers alike are feeding off of the gullible consumer.. maybe the consumer isn't as gullible as they are disillusioned. Consumers are lied to daily with just about every ad they see. They have no reason to believe you. Maybe I can get some of them back by just being human. What a refreshing change for them that would be.
Wow, Johnny, what a nightmare scenario. Your perseverence is admirable. Don't give up on human nature just yet. I like your approach at the end of your post. Sounds like you need some new signage anyway, so why don't you post one that says "Real Framing for Real People"?

If a customer brought back a job we had botched, I would not only repair it at no charge; I would beg forgiveness. Keeping OUR customers happy is very important.
I believe the good word of mouth you get from being a hero in correcting a problem far exceeds that from just generally doing a good job. It's a classic example of a problem being an opportunity.
Originally posted by johnny:
..."Michael's did a horrible job but johnny fixed it" doesn't have the same ring as "Michael's did a horrible job then I had to pay johnny another $100 to fix it."...
Johnny, your experience seems extreme. I can't believe a lawyer couldn't at least get you out of your lease. Every one I've seen includes something about the tenant's "quiet enjoyment" of the leased premises. And if the landlord actually created a situation where your business suffered, you certainly should have legal recourse.

In any case, there's no reason to compound your losses. Please consider that your business should not subsidize consumers who spend their money unwisely. That only reinforces their poor judgment.

Of course they are upset/frustrated/angry when they come to you -- they know they've been "penny wise and pound foolish", and they know their foolishness has a price.

It is a basic law of economics that those who spend unwisely must pay a price for their mistakes. If you reduce their "stupidity penalty", you only encourage the kind of behavior that hurts your business.

And mine.
I have read this thread over and over,and as an Englishman, cannot understand why anyone would not charge for rectifying someone else's poor workmanship. Would any of the services you use do it. Having visited the States, I was more than impressed by your wonderful customer service, but no way would I expect a shop to rectify a cock up made by another shop for FREE. As far as I am concerned, you charge the going rate for the job, and explain to the customer that had they come to you in the first place, it would have been cheaper.

The impossible I can do today,
Miracles take a little longer

You've gotten a raw deal. I can't blame you for being so upset about it, but you've still got the fight in you. Use that.

A question first--who is your neighbor now?
The rug man is history, correct?

Many years ago, I got a very bad perm and hair cut. I mean, it was so bad I couldn't appear in public, so I had to go somewhere reputable to get it fixed. It was a hard lesson, but I was glad that I could find someone that could actually do something about the situation.
Of course, I paid the second salon much more to fix it than I paid the first one that messed it up. The lady who worked on my hair acknowledged that it was a bite for me to pay for the redo, and explained to me that it took more expertise to actually repair damage than it does to do it right the first time. She didn't have to say anymore--I got it.

Since you ARE in a building mode, how about you charge them the full price, acknowledge their pain and frustration, but perhaps offer a $25.00 gift certificate off of their NEXT framing order that they bring to you, in an effort to ease their sting? Or $10.00, or whatever. If you are sincere--and you certainly sound like you are--people WILL appreciate and remember that.

Rick's last line is completely true.

A judge would have most likely let me out of my lease. Most likely. I've had a lot of experience with judges. One of the worst was done by a judge who recently ran for Ohio Supreme Court. Her commercials and print advertising said she was "For the working man - she's on OUR side" which means "Against Business" You may be as incredulous as I am about it and you heard me right - a judge running for supreme court advertising a built in bias. And it was so amazingly true. I stay out of court. The surest thing is never a sure thing and it's ALWAYS expensive.

Also, I would have to set up shop very very quickly. This location is 4600 square feet and holds my workshop. Without it I can't produce for my other one. There are good employees that work for me, up to 18 years invested here. I owe something to them too.

So, combined with the fact that I was under the constant hope the problem would be going away in a month or two a legal challenge was not the way to go.

I reason the problem of fixing the customers stuff out to help them out and it sounds reasonable. Then I read some posts here and it sounds really dumb, and I can understand why.
Barb, thanks for the idea! That's sounds really good. I just implemented a new gift card system too.

The space is currently vacant. It's a good 25k or 30k square feet. I'm hoping it's not going to be a Joann's Ect. ;) Actually, it's in my lease that another tenant can't offer framing.
I learned this at a very early age, and I have tried to live by it most of my life. When someone gives you an " OR ELSE ",.... ALWAYS take it. In your case it was "Or else I will sue you!"

Given all what you experienced at the hands of your landlord and his new tenant, I can not imagine any court ruling against you. I would go as far as to say the court could very possibly have ordered your landlord to pay for your re-location costs.

You should probably have a chat with an attorney to see if you can recover some of the damages caused to you by your landlord. Don't wait on this one, there is usually a statute of limitations on lawsuits of this nature. I believe it is twelve months.

I thought this thread had a familiar ring to it.

On the PPFA Online Exchange last month, another framer expressed feelings similar to Johnny’s. Here’s another viewpoint...

Subject: Survival of the Fittest

>...When a good customer brings in such a horror
> job, I am embarrassed for our industry and usually just charge for part and
> pieces to rectify it. It gives them some faith in my work and in the
> industry.

That's very generous of you, but do you believe the customers actually appreciate your gift of faith? Perhaps if they did, they would be compelled to pay you extra.

If I took my suit to a superior tailor who found a previous job to be done poorly by another, wouldn't he be foolish to fix it free? He's in business to earn a living, and should be fairly compensated for his expertise. Giving it away reduces its value, and could send customers the wrong message. I wouldn't expect him to be embarassed about having an unworthy competitor.

I suggest that all customers are good customers, and we should consistently charge them fair prices for our good work. I do not see any benefit, to us or our industry, in correcting another's bad work by giving away our good work.

Indeed, if a customer catches onto a wonderful framer's habit of gifting-for-the-sake-of-the-industry, he/she might enjoy paying low prices to the lesser framers, and then having the embarrassed expert fix their blunders free.
In regards to repairing other shops shoddy workmanship, we charge our full rate and make sure the customer understands that they got poor quality and as long as they use our services, they will never be left holding the bag. We (like everyone) have occasional problems, but like Jim, we make sure our customers leave our shop wanting to come back again.
This being said, we do give away wire, hangers, etc. I used to wonder if we were being the chumps for doing this until a customer came in and got two small prints framed and spent about $500 each on them. When she came in to pick up her order she explained that a year earlier she had come in to buy some wire and we had given it to her at no charge. At that time she was going through a very bad financial cycle in her life and was so touched that we gave her the wire she decided if she ever had the money to get framing done, she would use us. You just never know.
Wow johnny! I remember you talking about the rug guy last year. I'm glad for you that it is finally over. However, it is not good for the space to be empty for a long period of time either. It will make the center look like it is dying. Hopefully they will divide it up into some smaller, honest, traffic generating tenants.

It really does sound like you still have some kick left in you. I really think you will make it.
Jim- I agree completely with your post. Just to be clear, the statement I made about the goodwill that comes from cheerfully rectifying a problem was referring to work we had done originally, not someone else's screwup.
Just today someone brought in a print we framed at least five years ago. In the corse of a move, the hinging let go and the print slipped in the mat. You can bet she will not be charged for a re-do. Plus, I'm going to upgrade the wire to our current state of the art, wrapped stainless steel. No charge.
If someone else's sticker is on the back, however, it's a different story. You never know what kind of atrocities you'll find when you open those things up, so chances are it's going to cost more than the standard fitiing charge. No guilt, no problem.
Originally posted by Rick Granick:
...Just today someone brought in a print we framed at least five years ago...the hinging let go and the print slipped in the mat. You can bet she will not be charged for a re-do...
Ditto, Rick. Good point.

We offer a "life of the art" guarantee on our preservation hinging. We advise customers that the handmade Japanese paper hinges are purposely designed to fail under stress that might harm the artwork. And if/when it happens, we will repair the hinges & refit at no charge.
Get an Attorney "or else" suffer.(It can work that way also,JRB)

You're doing what you think is best for your business on a case by case situation. I find it admirable what you did for that client. You laid your cards flat out on the table, and she may surprise you by bringing her work in to you from now on. You won't know until it happens.
But, what you did shows how much you are willing to do to rebuild whats been lost. Now is not the time for you to "stick to your guns", it's a time to gain new clients by showing them what you're made of.
When we do those little jobs for customers (these would be putting a wire on a junkpic, but not cutting extra holes in their mat) and they ask what the charge is, we say "Whatever you want to give to the animal shelter." This way it ain't free (so they don't bring in all their junkpics for rewiring), it makes us look like good neighbor citizens, and the animal shelter gets some sorely needed cash every once in a while. I have had customers even put in a $20 bill on occasion! I feel no need to discount repairs to competitors work, however.
I'm off to do spring clean-up for my Grandma's lawn today, which is also what I believe my customers are doing this week.
Before I left I wanted to log on and say thanks for the support and encouragement. Things ain't so bad, been worse really. Man, lets hope this economy picks up like they say it is. We're all do for a "good 'ole" sales year.
Don't look now, Johnny, but the economy is only a small part of the problem.

The biggest cause of the drop in sales some framers are experiencing relates to changes in our industry. Consumers are buying more factory framed "wall decor", and falling for the cheaper-is-better marketing strategy of the BBs.

Please don't wait for the economy to improve, thinking that will restore a previous sales level. Take action now to bring in new customers.