Bill Got A Framing Job with stories to tell!

billrobertstudios

True Grumbler
Joined
Jan 12, 2004
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78
From
Cumming, GA
Hey all:

So now I will be asking lots of questions. I have watched and learned quite a bit here in the past and shared some.

After retiring from the Navy over a year ago, An and I adopted 2 boys from Ukraine and I have not worked since. We eventually want to open a shop and have a good start on lots of equipment, just not the funds to get going. We had been pondering starting up from home.

A friend knew I framed and spoke with an aquaintance who recently expanded his unfinished furniture (and framing) business by buying out 2 other shops in the area. He was advertising for help and I didn't even know it.

So, after a couple of weeks, I got around to calling. He knew my name from out mutual friend and we made an appointment for 1/2 hour later. He hired me on the spot and I started work immediately. Later that night he gave me an application to fill out!

The framer that came with the "bought out" business only did glass, matting, fitting, etc. I guess the previous owner had done the chopping and joining. So they were having production problems. The new owner's original location did pretty low volume framing and they were now trying to keep up with 2 shop's worth of frames.

So the framer that came with the "bought-out" business was frustrated and quit. Well, with a week's notice... that is my training time.

I've framed some before on my own, but never in a retail location.

The place was in shambles! The new owner moved to a new location about a month ago (he's had it 2)! It is not really set up to well yet. No good design table and the "ready-mades" and pre-framed prints and such are on cast away shelving from a "angel trinket" store.

Yesterday I learnd a bit about the POS they use... Lifesaver. I was able to ask more questions than could be answered or explained, so last night after I left at 7:30, I came home and downloaded the trial version and "studied" the manual. Now I already know more about it than anyone in the store. The owner today had me entering orders for him.

Since the POS was not used very effectively, the current frame orders are a mixture of print-outs from the POS, print-outs from the old owner's system (not pos but printed forms of some sort), hand-written orders on forms and various other orders backs of envelopes and scraps of paper! Uggg!

These "orders" were on clip boards scattered all over the place, some over a month old...

Today I had to help move furniture to the third new store, so I showed up at 8 a.m. to do that. At around 1:30 I was back in my assigned store to learn more about framing!

I got some good pointers and showed the "old" framer (the one quitting) how to use the POS. I completed several jobs that had been started and stared some that were not.

There is no joiner in the shop. However the owner was going to move the Cassese from his original business to this store. Was supposed to happen today. I'll make sure it happens tomorrow.

The "old" framer left at around 3. I was on my own in the shop, confident I could take on anything! The owner showed up at around 3:30 and "supervised" me, so to speak. Then he got a call at around 4:30 from someone reminding him he had to be in court at 5!

So out the door he went, telling me to lock up. I asked him if I should go at any particular time or keep working if there was stuff to do. He said to stay. Soon after he left, he phoned and told me he had promised someone he would stay until 5:30 (I think they close at 5, but I'm not sure as there are no hours on the door and no one has told me the hours yet!) so a customer could pick up some chops.

I kept working on some orders and the young man shows up at about 6:15... my first real customer I had to deal with face-to-face. He saunters across the room, holding up one of those staplers like you use to put garage sale posters up on telephone poles and says, "Do you think I can put these together with this?"

"Nope," I immediatley replied, thinking, "OH MY GOODNESS!" But I said, "Not with that." We had a discussion about how frames are professionally assembled and he then promply paid for the chops and left saying how he would take them to work and use the "big stapler" there to do it... I tried to tell him!

I suggested that if it didn't work for one of the frames to bring the other 2 back and we could do it for him. I had no idea what cost to suggest, though, so I didn't.

After he left, I stayed and worked until almost 10 p.m. organizing and straightening the shop. I needed to make room for the joiner that is supposed to be set up tomorrow.... and now, one can acutally get to the toilet in the bathroom without tripping over frames stacked in there!

I placed all the open orders I could find on one of the work tables after cleaning all the junk off it.

We'll see if a better system evolves from this.

So, I will ask some specific questions... in other posts!

Hope you enjoy my saga!

Warmest regards,

Bill
 

JPete

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
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Posts
1,993
From
Huron SD USA
I think the next best thing your Boss could do is send you to the West Coast Art and Framing Show in Vegas in January. Take all the classes you can.
 

JbNormandog

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Joined
Apr 8, 2004
Posts
3,751
From
NJ
RUNAWAY!!!

The place sounds horrible.

I hope he is paying you well.

Good luck to you. You have a great support system with the Grumble.
 

FrameMakers

PFG, Picture Framing God
Joined
Mar 20, 2001
Posts
7,395
From
Powell, OH
Bill, I agree with everything said above. It sounds like the new owner is in way over his head. If you stick it out the store will probably come up for sale real soon. Maybe a chance to buy it then. Here's hoping you can get the place "ship-shape".
 

framah

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
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Mar 15, 2001
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10,157
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Degobah
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death star driver
At least you cleared the pathway to the bathroom. We must keep our priorities straight!!

"I completed several jobs that had been started and stared some that were not."

I often stare at them also! Sometimes I daydream over them as well. Then it's time for lunch.
thumbsup.gif
 

brian..k

MGF, Master Grumble Framer
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Aug 30, 2005
Posts
750
From
Fremont, California
Always the problem with getting the shop ship shape is that then the owner won't want to sell!
 

5th corner

CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2
Joined
Aug 23, 2005
Posts
303
From
Australia
Originally posted by billrobertstudios:

We'll see if a better system evolves from this.
A framing shop must have systems wether they be in existance or newly created. The hardest part will be getting your boss to follow them. It may never happen but one always hopes it does.
 

belinda

CGF, Certified Grumble Framer
Joined
Oct 21, 2005
Posts
146
From
Midwest
Originally posted by FrameMakers:
Bill, I agree with everything said above. It sounds like the new owner is in way over his head. If you stick it out the store will probably come up for sale real soon. Maybe a chance to buy it then. Here's hoping you can get the place "ship-shape".
I agree.

I will say this: I came into a framing situation knowing nothing. I was then shown several hours of video tapes about framing, which I later found that no one else in the shop had ever watched. No one had a CPF, and we got all of our frames pre-joined. No matter how much I tried to learn, there were no resources in the area.

If your boss really doesn't know how to run the place, it's going to be really really hard to keep the business up. Maybe you can talk him into bringing in a pro to set up a little schooling session to help things along. The best thing is to figure out what works for you and if you have a question, don't be afraid to ask the pros. I have seen many framers just try to do something quickly or the way they were 'taught' and do something wrong because they didn't know.

Invest in some of the framing books that you need for the CPF. They aren't wonderfully intruiging reads, but you will find that the more you learn about it, the more you will probably become interested. (though I read them all the time and folks at work think I am bonkers)

Also- it is possible to join pictures with a 'big stapler' that shoots the staples half way in. It's possible that your particular customer had done them this way. Many frame shops use pneumatic staplers to finish the backs of frames. (We use point guns, but I have worked in places that didn't) so he wasn't completely off. You did warn him though, so if there's a mistake, it's on him =)
 

Baer Charlton

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On FB
belinda, I think he was talking about "Joining" the mitered corners with a staple gun...

Like the kind that drives the copper staples for large cardboard boxes.....
faintthud.gif


Bill, if he brings it back, after having tryed "stapling" it together.... YOU'VE GOTTA POST PICTURES. :D
 

Phoneguy

MGF, Master Grumble Framer
Joined
Dec 1, 2004
Posts
678
From
New Westminster, B.C. Canada
Originally posted by Baer Charlton:
belinda, I think he was talking about "Joining" the mitered corners with a staple gun...

Like the kind that drives the copper staples for large cardboard boxes.....
faintthud.gif


Bill, if he brings it back, after having tryed "stapling" it together.... YOU'VE GOTTA POST PICTURES. :D
Really? Even I wouldn't try that....Don't have one handy!!??
party.gif
 

billrobertstudios

True Grumbler
Thread starter
Joined
Jan 12, 2004
Posts
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From
Cumming, GA
Yes... he had a stapler in his hand... the kind that you put your "Garage Sale" sign on the telephone pole with. He held it up high and asked me if I thought he could put them together with "this." Yes, they were chops... not a completed frame.

Thanks for the advice. I have read a lot of those books in the past but should reread them and more.

Baer... yes, pictures if he comes back.

Warmest aloha,

Bill
 

Lance E

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
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Hamilton, New Zealand
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Getting into the deep end can be a great experience, and really what do you have to loose other than your personal time and maybe some sanity...

I am sure this type of situation happens from time to time however I cannot imagine putting an employee (especially a new one) in such a horrible position without at least a good background in the field personally or by an employee in a higher-level position. If I were to put this type of pressure on an employee I would most certainly be spending up large by paying the employee very well for their effort (and by the sound of it Bill, you are exhibiting an extraordinary amount of initiative), probably in the vicinity of $80-$100k, and that would be when I am able to have such kwestions answered by my own staff.

I feel that you have taken on a position whereas you will be taken advantage of, very likely not by intent but by default as it certainly seems that the employer is out of his depth. Watch yourself and make sure you get a good reality check from your better half often.

$0.02
 

billrobertstudios

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Cumming, GA
Thanks for the advice!

38 hours the first week. Hired at 1:30 in the afternoon on Wednesday and worked 4 days.

Second week I was tasked with training 2 new employees. One for this store and one for another he just bought as well. I think, yes, I am probably not being compensated as well as I should be for my work, however, I am also gaining "knowledge by fire" so to speak. My dream is to open my own business in a retail location and this will help me to get there.

I worked 6 days, Monday through Saturday, and put in about 65 hours. The owners daughter does the books on Saturdays and asked me why I was staying so late. I explained that her dad knew I was there to catch up on things and didn't seemed concerned about it.

She was worried I would "burn out." I explained that in my 26 years in the Navy I often worked 18 hour days for months on end... no problem there!

So, even at well less than the $80-$100k you mention (not even close!), this is also an investment in my future. It is his business, but I am practically starting it up without any of the associated risks. No fear of failure.

It is hard for me to imagine that someone doing what I am would be paid that high... that would mean an owner makes much more even than that?

My wife will let me know if she needs me around more!

Warmest aloha,

Bill
 

billrobertstudios

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Cumming, GA
Oh yea.

The Cassese CS-89 joiner broke yesterday. The hammer jammed and crushed itself. I let the owner know and we decided to chop the frames we need but send them to another store of his about 25 miles away to join. Not my preference as I don't know the ability of the framers there and worry about quality... plus the possible damage in transit.

I spent a couple of hours resarching at home (late at night after "work") and found that Active Sales has the needed parts. I told the owner that I would give him the info to order the part on Monday. Hopefully we can have them FedExed pretty quickly.

He should have had a backup for that... so I am asking for an extra in case it happens again.

See ya,

Bill
 

gemsmom

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Posts
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$80-100K might be an owner's salary, but I'll bet very few owners make that much.
 

billrobertstudios

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Cumming, GA
So... have been now working at my first "retail" location framing job for one day shy of 2 weeks.

LOVING IT!

I am having such a great time dealing with customers, designing peices and putting frames together.

When the I ordered the plunger for the CS-89 yesterday from Active Sales and it arrived today. I had the machine up and running after going next door to the store that sells tools to "borrow" some grease. They repair pneumatic nailers, so they gave me some.

I also replaced the chopper blades and got that baby fine tuned to make perfect cuts.

So while the joiner was "down", the owner "sent" our chops to his other store to be joined. He waltzed in yesterday with a frame that he had personally joined at the other location on Sunday (was there babysitting contractors working on walls). OMG! It was a wreck!

The corners were all agap, some as much as 3/32nds of an inch! MORE THAN A 16th!

I couldn't believe it... well, I could but was still quite aghast!

I inspected the back and, for the life of me, I can not figure out how in the world he joined this frame. Using a VN-42 (I think) tabletop joiner, he managed to shoot the v-nails helter-skelter in the back! There was actually a v-nail that COMPLETELY MISSED THE JOINT!

Today, when he was not around, I broke the frame apart... among his other problems, he used v-nails so short, they only went about 1/3 of the way into the molding.

After the UPS Guy came and I fixed the joiner, I luckily found enough of the same molding to re-chop and made a new frame. Nearly perfect!

So I have been training a "newbe" (even newbe-er than I) and I found out that he is paid the same rate as me... I was kinda perturbed. This kid is a smart guy and good with customers, but sometimes he has his own agenda... and I am his so-called "boss." Plus, he really doesn't know much about framing. A week ago he had "cut some mats before."

So whaddya think? Should I tell the owner to poney up more cash for my "experience" or at least my initiative and because I am supposedly "managing" the store?

Or, maybe I should just shut up and keep gaining knowledge so someday I can open up a store on my own... and be his competition!

Warmest regards,

Bill
 

Lance E

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
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Hamilton, New Zealand
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Maybe you could venture into a partnership - he must be doing something right to get into the position to buy out more stores in the first instance.

Getting more pay would perhaps be a priority but the balance is always with enjoyment, I believe you have mentioned that you have a bit of gear yourself, this experience in purchasing an established outlet is likely very handy although you do not get the benefit of your hard work.

Pam has it spot on though, many people in this industry seem to take on rather low pay levels for their work for some reason.
 

gemsmom

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Joined
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Posts
3,576
You might want to ask for more money before your protogee knows as much as you. As long as you know more than he, you are more valuable. When he catches up, you will be more expendable, and in no position to make demands.

People making the kind of effort you are should be rewarded. I hope you are getting time-and-a-half for your overtime.
 
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