CMC or Not?

Cliff Wilson

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Worcester, MA
Hi Everyone,
Quick background: Many years in High-Tech, a number of years selling my Pastels in a gallery. 3-4 years doing my own framing. Have decided to open a retail framing shop and gallery (probably strip mall location). Have purchased a Vacuseal 4468H, Fletcher 2100, Fletcher 8460 (Glass), C&H G60 for board sizing, and Clearmount Saw. Plan on purchasing a v-nailer (still debating brand)

Question: Do I rent/lease a CMC or not?

Thanks!!!!
Cliff
 

FrameMakers

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Yes

I couldn't imagine framing without one.

If you are considering a Wizard (I feel they have the best entry level program) please put my name down as a referral. I get a $100.00 credit

Tracy Art & Frame

PS we are in the midst of changing our name.
 

Cliff Wilson

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A Wizard appears to be the logical starting point if I go with a CMC. I guess my real question is can/should I wait until some volume level? If so what volume.

Your post seems to indicate there is no volume too low. Does everyone agree?

thanks
 

FrameMakers

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If you can afford it. always get the best equipment that you can.

As to volume level. What volume do you expect now to 6 months, 6-12 months, 1st year and ect.

Think of a cmc as a part time employee that never calls in sick. Allows you more time to focus on building your biz rather than manufacturing a product. A cmc may also allow you to stay a one man show longer and advoid payroll expenses
 

po' framer

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Atchison, KS
I never thought about that, Diver Dave, and here I've been talking up the Wizard (and all CMCs in general) all this time!

Consider this an efficiency investment. Take a look at your time and think of where the potential wins are in efficiency. Then consider whether or not that investment will pay for itself. Besides what Dave has said about a CMC, you'll find that once word gets around that it's easy for you to do these great multiple openings or nice cuts, your business definitely grows as a result.
 

GUMBY GCF

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Rest In Peace



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Well Cliff,
What did you project in your Business plan? for your First year second year etc. There lies your answer. How many mats/frames do you need to in order to cover your overhead. Do you have est. Will you have enough free cash flow to sustain you until you build the volume to justify $225.00 extra. a month. Will the Wizard give you an edge on the other frame shops in your area?
Jim OHIO
PS Forget Dave put my name down when you call wizard 1-888-855-3335 :D
sorry dave could not resist. :cool:
 

Rick Bergeron - CPF

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Hi Cliff,

Regardless of the payment method (rent, lease or purchase); regardless of your volume (10, 20 or 100 mats per week); get a CMC

There are days that go by when we don't even turn our Fletcher on. The time saved can be spent on other important issues that you have with a new business. We started with a Wizard the first day of opening (back when they were almost $400 per month) and have never regretted the decision to spend the money on a CMC, regardless of the manufacturer.
 

Leslie S.

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Waxahachie, TX
Cliff,
First, let me say that I was in your shoes about 10 years ago. From the first day I opened my frame shop the volume of framing has pretty much ruined my art career. Running your own retail store can be a time consuming monster, and leave you so tired you will have no time or energy left for creative artwork. I don't want to sound negative, just be aware that this is a possibility and plan accordingly.(This same thing has happened to other artists I know, so it's not just me). On the issue of the CMC, I just got a Wizard about 2 weeks ago on a jr. lease. I am crazy about it! The VCADD is fairly daunting, but the basic program is pretty easy. (The manual needs a little work.) I think that the biggest plus is the amount of time it can save, and honestly I think after the learning curve it will save materials, too. Because I can work out all the issues on the screen first, multiple openings are so much easier. I no longer avoid things like alpabets because I know they won't take hours to cut by hand. I am keeping track of how many extra designs (read..income) I sell this first month. I have already sold lots more than I normally would. I am still working out the best way to charge for this stuff.

Good Luck!!!
Leslie S. ;)
 

Lance E

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Although we are yet to purchase a CMC (other depts keep taking the budget away from the workshop...grrr), I would consider that starting a new frameshop would almost certainly have to include the purchase or hireage of a CMC in it's plan, at the least a good out-service provider for the intial period. IMHO it would provide an excellent Point of Difference from the established competition in most surrounding markets at this time.
 

Cliff Wilson

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Well, besides the postings here I have received a few emails and phone calls.

My early year projections run 185k to 240k. I can afford a few hundred a month if it yields time/money. My original thinking was to wait until "volume warranted it." But, I am beginning to think I'd be better off installing one right away. NOONE has said it's a bad idea!

BTW, "most" of the shops in the general area have CMCs.

Thanks for the info.

Cliff
 

ArtLady

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Lawrenceville, Georgia
If you get that Wizard I think you should put Framers name down for a referral bonus for obvious reasons!
 

JRB

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Just get the Wizard, don't worry about justifying it. It will not be too many more years from now that ALL frame shops will have a CMC. You will not be able to compete without one.

I have customers that come into my shop that I've never seen before, expecting double and triple multi opening mats, just because they have heard we do them.

When I got my first CMC, there was no way on earth I could justify it on paper, we just plain did not have the volume.

I learned to cut professional quality mats, using nothing but a streight edge and a utility knife. That is the REAL hard way of learning our craft.

Back in the early 60s, we would be in the shop late at night trying to get large mat orders out, daydreaming about a CMC. We had no clue that a machine you could just order to cut a mat for you, would ever exist, I mean I'm talking before Star Treck and the word "computer" were common houshold words.

When I heard about the Wizard, I just had to have one before I retired, screw the expense. It turned out to be the smartist, foolish thing, I have ever spent money on.

Get one, you will not regret it.

John
 

Jim Miller

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One of the things I learned during four years of watching that market develop is that a CMC, fully utilized, represents roughly the output of a framer working 20 hours per week.

Also, the CMC can do things that no mortal framer can do. We love to fly our Fletcher F-6100.

If you can justify the expense now, buy or lease the machine now. If you're unsure about whether the start-up volume of your new business would justify the investment, wait until the numbers add up. But sooner or later you will probably take the plunge and be glad you did.
 

Bogframe

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Personally, I prefer cutting my mats manually so I can give my clients the human touch. If your volume exceeds what you can do by hand, then maybe a CMC would do, but for me, I've never worked anywhere where there were more mats than I could cut.
 

Ron Eggers

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Seth, you're a true reactionary! :D

The woman who taught me most of what I knew about framing before I opened my shop used to cut all her mats with a straight edge and a linoleum knife that she'd hand-sharpen to a deadly edge. I still have some of her matted photos and the mats aren't bad at all.

She didn't own a television, either.
 

Amy

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Portland, Maine, USA
Hi Cliff, We just got our Eclipse delivered 2 weeks ago...I was a true sceptic, an old dog with no desire for new tricks. All I can say now is WOW! It is the most efficient and compliant employee I've ever had the pleasure to manage!
The only hard part is trying to figure out pricing strategies for those fancy corners etc.
 

Ron Eggers

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Originally posted by Amy:
It is the most efficient and compliant employee I've ever had the pleasure to manage!
And it will never even THINK about stealing your customer mailing list!

For those that can't imagine ever cutting a mat "by hand" after getting a CMC, I'd humbly suggest you imagine it from time-to-time so you don't forget how. I'm not joking. After using a quirky but efficient Mat Maestro for a year, I had occasion to cut a very small double mat on my Fletcher 2000 for someone while they waited. It took me three tries to remember how! So now, even when my CMC is happy and productive, I cut a few mats each week on the Fletcher just so I don't forget how.

This is especially important if you own a Mat Maestro.
 

JRB

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We charge an extra $15.00 per mat for fancy corners, V grooves, ovals, etc. Our multi opening charges are the same as they have always been. If you have a Wizard, these corners cost you extra. If you have spent your $24,000.00 on another CMC, you have to earn the money for payments, replaced parts, additional insurance and time setting up to cut the mats. Just because you own a CMC, it does not make mat cutting "free", it sometimes seems that way though. The only real difference is the time you spend cutting mats. The CMC frees you up to perform other tasks sooner than hand cutting.

John
 

Framerguy

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Regarding the Wizard, how do they cost out ovals and circular cuts?

Is it "no corners, free cut" or does the machine register it as a wierd rectangle?

Framerguy, Ignorance is bliss, but I am trying to unbliss myself.
 

Framar

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Well, for years I said I would never have one of those stupid computers, BUT, I think I will stick to my Keeton with the Hendrixson head. I picture a day when the same people who disdain shopping in the big box stores will also bypass framing done by a "machine." I think that the human touch will always be sought by a certain percentage of the populace.

And since I WROTE the article "Alphabet mats are unique and profitable" in the October l981 issue of Decor, alphabet mats should not take anyone hours to cut if they use my template method.

I do not know where I would put a computer in my shop, much less a CMC. I cut my glass by hand as well cause I am plumb out of walls for a wall-hung glass cutter (also out of plumb walls but that is another story.).

And I do not want a bigger shop cause then I would just accumulate more crap. 500 sq. feet is OK by me!! ;)
 

JRB

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Not to many years ago, just about every picture framer used a miter saw called a Stanley 100. It consisted of a cast iron frame that held a back saw at a 45 degree angle and a wooden yard stick with stops for measuring. The shop I started out framing in used one of those exclusivly.

We would hand sand the mitres before joining the frame using the "slip" join method. Most shops now use power saws, "V" nailers, etc. The reason? Modern equipment does a better, more efficiant job.

Using the old methods is laudable, however, I can see the day that hand mat cutters, just like the Stanley 100, will no longer be used by anyone. Also, how many CPFs know what a "slip join" is?

John
 

Ron Eggers

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Originally posted by JRB:
how many CPFs know what a "slip join" is?
John, I used a Stanley 100 for years. I sold it, or more likely, gave it away, in about 1982. And I don't know what a 'slip-join' is. Maybe that's why my early corners were so crappy. My father, an accomplished wood-worker, took me aside one day and said, "You're not going to make a living with corners like this."
 

po' framer

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Atchison, KS
Framerguy, in a common-sense sort of approach, Wizard uses 4 corners when it cuts an oval or circle.

The scary thing is when it does a custom French curve.. it probably thinks it's cutting about a 100 corners as it rounds the bend. :eek:

just kidding.. actually, there must be some sort of corner manager in the software that 'watches' the angle of the blade. Said trigger has to be set for some kind of angle change within a given cut and it seems to be about 90 degrees.

where's the lil shruggie when we really need him? framer, we've GOT to have all our gremlins back!!!! :(
 
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