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What types of discounts do you offer?

  • "Frequent Framer" program card

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Price matching local competitors for identical components

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Accept local competitors printed coupons

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Volume

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Religious

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Police/Fire/City/Town

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • OTHER (please explain in a post)

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters

Mike Labbe

Forum Support Team
Forum Donor
Jun 25, 2002
Lincoln, RI
Get The Picture

RESULTS from previous surveys: LINK TO RESULTS

Hopefully this will generate some discussion!
Do you discount and why?
The big boxes are inflating retail value, then giving large 'discounts' of 50-70%. Should we be doing the same? Why or why not?

-This survey is intended for framers. Suppliers and guests can view results without voting.
-Your poll selections are anonymous, although discussion is public and encouraged.
-The results represent only a small sample of the industry, and should NOT be used as a planning tool or business plan.
-This survey is purely for entertainment and discussion.
I send out postcards to new residents to the area with 15% off initial orders.

The list of new residents is from the county.........home sales. I edit the list to home sales of $150,000 or more.
Under "others": school teachers.

I also have a program with the local high school, that if any teacher or member of their "core" organization (this is a membership orgainization for parents, students, teachers, anyone with an interest in the school - not a PTA organization, though) has framing done, then a percentage is donated back to this school program. (Teachers must choose between the discount for themselves or for the donation - most choose the donation.)

Oh, and since I sell an 11x14 mat with backing for $6, anyone who asks for a discount gets a funny look, and "I just gave you one!" (the matboards are buffered, not rag, they are technically acid free, since the ph has been corrected, but they are not processed without acid)
I think this will be a great discussion. Thanks Mike!

First off, I'm not trying to step on JFeig's toes. When you offer a percentage off and it is low in comparison to others, I think it makes your offer look small. I have noticed that my local Ben Franklin is offering 25% off custom framing. How does the consumer read this when on the same newspaper page ACMoore has a 50-60-70% off 'sale'? If I was a consumer and knew nothing of the games being played I would much rather get 70% off than 25%.

That is why I do $20 off of a $100 purchase. It just sounds better to me than 20% off.

On the other hand. Your customers that already know you and know your pricing, they will see a 15% off deal as just that. A deal.
There seems to ba a lot of folks giving Artist discounts. What kind of discount? How do you advertise it? What percentage of your orders are these? I offer what I beleive to be great discounts for artist and don't get a lot of them....
We offer a 30%,40%,50% off discounts on instock custom frames, mats, glass, labor, etc. at regular prices. The discount is based on the number of jobs that they bring in (1,2,3 or more).

This offer has preformed very well. The items on sale are bought at with a buying advantage so margin is not sacraficed. (ie. specials at a trade show)
Under others: My Mom
I didn't want to include her in the "relatives" choice, because I don't discount any other relatives. That is a trap I can't afford to fall into, because I have so MANY relatives. We rarely run discount promos. I keep my prices low already.
Oh yeah, I do make donations to some people or organizations. I make sure the donees know that this is an "as I can afford to" thing, and not to expect me to be able to do this every time they have a project.

Once, when things were slow, I donated matting for an art class, so they could have show at my gallery. It was a lot of fun, and got me some new customers. (and used up a lot of discontinued mat board!)

Usually, I can mat or frame artwork donated to a charity auction. There is almost always some nice, but discontinued molding laying around a frame shop that can serve better as a donation than a dust catcher.
I've just been at this about a year. My prices are very reasonable already, so I'll give Interior Designers & Artists 10% off.

Considering 10% off to local Chamber of Commerce members too.

A common statement tends to center on the fact that their prices are "very reasonable" and they "keep their prices low".

May I suggest that a better tack ought to include pricing "up to market"? If most others are higher (making you low), wouldn't it be wise to, at least, match the prevailing prices? Then, if needed, a discount here or there wouldn't be as damaging. Especially, if you gain a couple of points on the 98% of the rest of your sales.

I might also suggest that most framers really do not have an accurate sense of where the "pricing mean" really is in their market.

Every pricing model really ought to include a buffer for mistakes, re-do's, ordering errors and yes, even a discount or two.

A better poll might include "Do you set your prices according to preset factors on your POS?"
A better poll might include "Do you set your prices according to preset factors on your POS?"
We did that 4 months ago...

Something I'd like to see discussed:

What are your feelings about how the big boxes present their pricing? (Typically it seems they double the market average as "msrp" and then discount 50-60% off) They all seem to be adopting this model, and the "perceived discount" is an issue that both helps and hurts us.

What would happen if everyone adopted the same strategy?

They keep raising the stakes... How long before people realize it for what it is?

Granted, I'm just trying to stimulate discussion and think this is an interesting topic.

We discount percentages and/or fixed amounts on a case by case basis. We choose the charities to which to donate and/or disount. Alleged charities like the State Trooper Assn or State Sheriff's Assn no longer gets a penny. They hire out of state telemarketers and pretend to spend the money on great causes, but the final thing they say after you've donated is "NONE, $0, of the amount just donated may be claimed as a charitable contribution for tax purposes"

Charitable donations for a promise of future ton of work doesn't happen any longer. If we agree with the charitable purpose we donate; if not, the answer is "I'm sorry, we've already spent our annual charitable budget."

We have a program for Designers, Artists, Photographers which is similar to what we received from our suppliers. No discount is given until a certain level of loyalty to our business is shown. Once the agreed level has been reached, then we give coupons (based upon agreed percentage) similar to those we receive for the purchase of corner samples.... in currency demominations and only ONE is redeamable per order. AND, we don't keep track of the coupons, it's the customer's job to keep up with them and they are not transferable.

To specifically answer Mike's question.... YES, We have several mouldings which are marked up to be comparable to other similar mouldings and take advantage of discounting down to our regular markups on an individual basis. Why? Because I can and it works for us.

Regarding "built-in" POS formula, NOPE. We use our own formulae for Moulding. Different formulae for different matboards, glazings and mountings.

Similar to Jerome, we use property valuations for varied purposes but since the average price keeps creeping up, we've had to increase the lower end cutoff. Assessed property values just went up this year by an average 37.5%. The notices just arrived a few weeks ago.
They keep raising the stakes... How long before people realize it for what it is?
Probably not until all the BBs advertise "FREE FRAMING-ALL THE TIME (with purchase of custom frame at "regular" price). That might be a slight clue to anyone interested enough to actually think about it.
When people ask if we do coupons, I explain that it would just mean I would have to raise my prices more often, which I hate doing; instead of playing the discount game I try to keep prices realistic and fair for everyone, all the time. Most people understand this point of view and seem to appreciate the respectful attitude. Sometimes I will give a free glass upgrade or inkline on a mat as a "value-added" gift to cement a relationship with a new customer or as a thank-you to a longtime one.
Mike- love your new avatar.
Since we are located in Metroploitan Washington DC, a large metropolitan area, I tend to try targeted promotions. By that I mean very specific smaller offerings. The area around my new store (opened 12'03) is pretty affluent. A 420 unit condo bldg that sold out (1 bdroom units started at $400K) is ready for occupancy this month. I contacted the bldg mgr and they are giving the new homeowners a "Welcome Bag" with offers from local merchants. All I had to do was to provide him with 500 items and they take care of putting them into the individual bags(printed with the condo's logo, decorated with ribbon & gift tissue) and placing one bag in each unit. My offer was a $20 Gift Cert. good for framing. We'll see how this works out. I used a three up bordered certificate ordered from Paper Direct($25/300), customized the text and had them copied at Kinkos ($25/500).

I have gotten together with the container store and a few other merchants here and they are interested in duplicating this promotion with other new condo/apartment projects as they open, as well as existing buildings. All these buildings are within a few block radius of my store.

The Washington Business Journal is a good source for us for commercial lease transactions, etc. March 2005 they ran a section on the top 50 women executives in the Metro DC area. I created a letter praising each individuals accomplishments and offered a $50 credit. The first one came in the door yesterday (4 months after the mail date) and she spent $600. The whole thing was created in house with a form letter on our letterhead with two business cards enclosed and merged with the data on each individual to creat a more personalized letter.

I noticed a small article in the Washington Business Journal about the CEO (it had his picture)of a local bank with about 12 branches in our area. I Xeroxed it framed it (materials cost maybe $20) in a black core mat and simple black frame and delivered it to his office the day the paper came out. I got a note and a call - we're now doing the framing for their branches as they continue to expand not huge maybe 4-5 posters per location.

These more personal targeted promtions seem to provided us with better returns then ads in The Washington Post, design magazines where we just get somewhat lost because we don't have the budget for repetitive insertions of larger ads, trying to get noticed. This is simply my experience in my maket of what works for me. We are all different and these approaches may be totally useless for your particular situation - just food for thought.
A long time ago in a city far far away, I owned a tobacco shop. Had some retired men working for me as clerks and they gave everyone a discount. Might be just 5%, but they did it. Then I would work my own store on Saturday mornings and people would come in and if I didn't give them the same discount, they were PO'd. Point being, everyone better get it or youi'll get in trouble. In framing I do give a discount. I use the same price chart as other framers in the area, point out to customers that I am using that chart and then take 20% off. I know, I know - that flys in the face of proud framers who never give a discount, but I know my expenses, I know my area and I know what I want to make. And I do it for everyone. That way I won't get caught with my bare discount showing.
This is from oz and may not be relevant to the BB problem but last year I got sick of individuals asking for discounts, I will discount for certain groups, artists etc but do not want to giveaway profit or loses sales. At the start of this year I did a global increase of 10% to the software, not one complaint about the increase and now I feel happier if I have to giveaway 10% to keep a sale. I think it comes back to that "hamburger flipping" concept in a different post, we are making a one off hand crafted product for the customer not turning out a string of sausages

DavidS, that is funny. I had forgotten DJ's restraunt... as a kid I worked as a busboy/dishwasher. All six of the cops in town ate there for free, as long as they were in uniform.

Three of them were batchlors and ate there breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week...always in uniform.... :D

I pointed out to Don how he was loosing money. Nope. He pointed out that he was about a dime higher than everyone else in town, so all the other customers were paying for the cops to eat. LOL

I thought I would never forget that. Thanks for jogging the mind.
I have a Retail price, a friends and good customers price, very good friends price and artists price ( not nescessarily in that order) The retail price is for every one that comes through the door. On the second visit they go into the friends in good customer price. If they ask for a discount I tell them that next time they come in they will get the friends and good customer price. Wow I have given them something for their loyalty. If they have been introduced by one of their friends or relation I will tell them that I will give them the friends and good customer price. If they then ask for a discount, I tell them they already have gotten one. This is my standard price while the retail is 10% higher. Since I implimented this the " Can I have a discount customers" are few and far between.

A discount is only a percieved saving. Most people only want to be one up on you so they think they have gotten a good deal. We sell picture hooks in our store for $2-50 AUD, within about 50 yards is two BB, (No Framing done there) but they both sell these for $1-50. I tell everyone they can get them cheaper if they walk another 50 yards, but they still buy it from me. No one has said oh Ill go there then. Some of these same people will go half way across town to save $1 on a slab of beer. Go figure!
Kudos to Tim for mentioning the Washington Business Journal. I think any city's Business Journal is a valuable resource-not only for leads, but to keep up on the business climate for your particular city. May I also suggest the Daily Journal of Commerce? I have had good results from letters sent out to businesses listed in this publication.
I have a quote from the local Micheals store.
Outside dimension are 16.75 x 18.5.
,,,,,,,,Micheals price,,,Our Price
B8467 mat,,, 19.10,,,,11.80
Glass CC,,,,,,21.47,,,,11.04

I didn't have this frame but I know from another price check if I did it would be about 180% of my price.
I don't give any discounts and the adds I run
stress no coupons needed, everyday low price,no gimicks.
They have been open for a year now and people are just starting to consistently come back with stories and the knowledge of the price game they play.
My prices almost ALWAYS beat our Michael's store. Just getting people to realize it is a process. Sold a frame yesterday for 136.43---full price. She was quoted almost $500 at Michaels. I asked her if it was before the 50% off. She said she didn't get that far. So at $250 at Ms I was still 100 hundred under. Different moulding I am sure, but she left saying she would be back with four more pieces. They will learn...I just have to bide my time.
Primary job is education so I do offer an discount for educators in the local school system. Gets me a lot of work from their friends etc at full price.
Thanks for participating. The voting period has now ended.

What types of discounts do you offer? (95% said they do)
64% Volume
50% Designer/Decorator
44% Artist
39% "Percent off" promotions/coupons
37% Relatives
35% Corporate
30% "Dollars off" promotions/coupons
16% Police/Fire/City/Town
13% Student
13% Religious
12% Price matching local competitors for identical components
12% Club discount (AAA, Chamber, Lions Club, etc)
10% "Frequent Framer" program card
08% OTHER (please explain in a post)
05% Sr Citizens
04% Accept local competitors printed coupons
03% (If order is) pre-paid

For those offering a "Dollars Off" discount, how much would it be for a $140 sale?
07% $5 off
12% $10 off
19% $15 off
23% $20 off
33% $25 off
02% $30 off
02% $40 off
02% $50 off

For those offering a "Percentage Off" discount, how much would it be for a $140 sale?
01% 5% off ($7)
38% 10% off ($14)
26% 15% off ($21)
26% 20% off ($28)
05% 25% off ($35)
01% 30% off ($42)
01% 40% off ($56)

It has spawned some great threads about this topic, including:




Please be aware that the results are a representation of grumbler's opinions, not necessarily the industry as a whole. As with any poll data on the grumble or in a magazine, approach cautiously. Results will vary depending on market and regional conditions. This is offered for entertainment and discussion purposes, and not as a primary business planning tool.

Thank you for participating!