Do you let clients take corner samples? (September Poll)

Do you allow clients take corner samples from your shop?


  • Total voters
    117

Mike Labbe

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DO YOU LET CLIENTS TAKE CORNER SAMPLES FROM YOUR SHOP? - SEPT 2005 GRUMBLE POLL & DISCUSSION

RESULTS from previous surveys: LINK TO RESULTS

This month's poll will be a small/light one, due to the hurricane crisis and trade show. I hope everyone will share their opinions in this thread.
-Do you let clients take corner samples home?
-Do you require a deposit if so?

-This survey is intended for framers.
-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 chose “other” although in the past I have lent (without charge) corners to very good customers with the promise that they bring it back the same day. They have to be very good customers! So far, I haven’t been burned.

What I usually do is find the profile or at least a similar finish that I keep in length and slice off a 3 or 4 inch rail for them to take home. If they don’t return it, big deal – no great loss – just the cost of doing business.

It beats customers coming in with a six foot drawer that they removed from their armoire or a sixteen cubic foot end table that barely fits through the door; both of which have happened.
 
Oh please, they're free aren't they? Just get a new one if it doesn't come back.
 
Both questions answers are dependent upon who is asking to borrow the samples. I don't lend them to just anyone, and unlike Cliff, I have some samples I paid a fairly large sum of money to get, so I do expect the borrower to provide their credit card number (with a few exceptions, but that's always the case...a few exceptions).
 
I let customers take samples home if they are having a tough time making a decision or really want to know what the spouse thinks. It doesn't happen very often.

I do make sure I have name, phone number and address...not that the information would do much good if they didn't.

I've never had a customer fail to return a sample...even if they didn't place the order.
 
Sorry Wally, I was trying to be funny
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I don't actually let me Closed Corner samples out of the store.
 
We used to demand that they leave their first born as a deposit.....

But then we found that most of those kids couldn't frame...

so now we just give them a box of LJ samples if they bring back the ones from some of the other independent suppliers....

Closed corners, I will take to their home and we will discuss what works. People like that personal touch.
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My plan in the future is to lend them out with confidence. Confidence because now that Martha has been on the ankle bracelet it gave me a good idea. The corner sample will be anchored to an ankle bracelet and I will be able to monitor it's wherabouts. I haven't worked out all the details as of yet. Like what to do if it is not returned in a timely manner. My impulse is to be able to by remote tighten up the ankle bracelet as a thoughtful but insistent reminder to return said corner sample. I'm just now submitting the plan to my insurance company for liability issues. I'll let y'all know how it comes out.

Then the plan will be to Trademark and market the ankle bracelets to all framehsops. I'm still working on the namebrand. so far I have WE'VE GOT YOU CORNERED!® It is a nice play on words don't you think?
 
Oops, forgot where I was, please forgive my little dalliance Mike......................
 
We loan them to customers that are in our database but we always change the numbers to prevent price shopping by phone using moulding numbers only. It's happened to us before. Folks called around and got a less expensive price because the framer didn't have to do any design work. They said thank you when they brought the samples back and told of the phone marathon. We usually the next higher number in the same line/profile to ensure a higher price on a phone quote.
 
Kathy I love your idea!
 
Geez....these are corner samples. If you are speaking of a box-full, then maybe not. One or two or even three....no problem. Matboards, too. Only time it ever happens is if they can't make a decision based on the color of their walls or if they can't decide which room they want to put it in, I suggest they take them home and actually see how it looks in their lighting, etc. Same as Deb said. They are so amazed & happy by this convenience I have given them & some are even astonished by the trust I am placing in them. I have never lost a sample of anything yet. If I do, no biggie. Lots of times they will just leave their artwork and return the same day & spend a nice chunk-o-change. I don't see how it could hurt.
 
Originally posted by Bill Henry:
...I have lent corners to very good customers with the promise that they bring it back the same day. They have to be very good customers! So far, I haven’t been burned.
You will!


Originally posted by Rick Bergeron:
We usually the next higher number in the same line/profile to ensure a higher price on a phone quote.
Rick........you conniving devil, you! :D

John
 
I sent a customer home with several corner samples and when she returned with them she pulled them all out of the bag and I noticed they were not mine but from The Great Indoors. She was really embarassed. She is a regular customer who spends loads of time making the rounds to several stores everytime she has a piece of art to frame. Every once and a while I get the job but, I find her exhausting and can't imagine how hard she works lugging her art work and loaned corner samples around from store to store.

I'm always happy to lend the corners out though.
 
My very good customers rarely ask to take the sample home. And if they do ask, they get it.

Usually the newbies are the ones who ask.

But lately I have seen quite a few who just want the sample to go price shopping. Especially the ones who are looking for mirror frames.

And I bet 90% of those who task ake the sample do just that.

So: Yes, to very good / repeat customers
No to everybody else (since they are a lost cause anyway).
 
I cringe when people ask to take them home. The rule is to write down who they are and what they take with a date. The last time I felt it neccesary to call for them to be returned, the guy had died.
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I actually have several out on loan at this moment, but will I be calling to get them back....probably not.

Lori
 
People always astound me - I never would have thought of using the numbers on the back of the sample to call other stores for a price quote - Now I wonder about the printed quotes I have given to customers with all the details so that we have the information when they come back - come to think of it I cannot think of one who has come back. Silly me to trust everyone.

I like the idea of a larger moulding - what about a come back can for people who ask for the quote? suggestions please.
 
Closed corners, I will take to their home and we will discuss what works. People like that personal touch.
I call that "In-home consultation" and it really goes over well when I've been taken up on it.
 
We must not get as many customers as it seems others do, but I can't remember the last time someone even asked.

Like Bill, we will find a short stick or an end cut (at least, I think we did that-it's been so long)

Mike-another question on the poll might be how often does this happen?

Im guesing here, but I'm going to guess it might be one out of 4000 or so
 
I even suggest that people take them home, this goes for new customers, too. I have been burned. So what! They are relitively easy to replace and it has helped establish a few relationships.
 
We have a checkout book. The customer leaves their name, address, and credit card information. The items they checked out are recorded, along with their values. If they do not return the item by the specified date, we charge them for it.

Customers can take home framed artwork this way, and if it looks as good as they hoped, they call us, and we charge them for it.

Customers may also check out print catalogues (with their RETAIL price lists), molding samples, and unframed prints.
 
Originally posted by JBergelin:
People always astound me - I never would have thought of using the numbers on the back of the sample to call other stores for a price quote - Now I wonder about the printed quotes I have given to customers with all the details so that we have the information when they come back - come to think of it I cannot think of one who has come back. Silly me to trust everyone.

I like the idea of a larger moulding - what about a come back can for people who ask for the quote? suggestions please.
The POS we use has a work-order with all the details for us, and the customer's copy which doesn't include any in depth details, such as frame and matt numbers.
 
Originally posted by HannaFate:
We have a checkout book. The customer leaves their name, address, and credit card information. The items they checked out are recorded, along with their values. If they do not return the item by the specified date, we charge them for it.

That's a great approach. right now we use it only for art, but I will extend it now to samples as well.

Thanks for the great idea.
 
Originally posted by Bob Carter:


Mike-another question on the poll might be how often does this happen?

Im guessing here, but I'm going to guess it might be one out of 4000 or so
I agree with you Bob, but it is a tough call. This week it happened twice, but otherwise It happens 2-4 times per month.

And sometimes it is great for business: This very Saturday a couple couldn't make up their minds (and almost had a big fight...), so when the wife asked to take 2 samples, I agreed and even gave her a third (a more expensive, 22 ct closed corner...), they came back 10 minutes later having chosen the expensive one.

I also think I saved their marriage....
 
Depends on who the customer is, how many samples, & how much $ALL the personal info(only helps if they dont make it up!!!)....happens VERY seldom....they've always brought em back
 
We let customers take samples home, but we requires a name and phone number. They also have to have the samples back within a certain number of days before we call to remind them.
 
we have been having a rash of people not bringing back samples. so, i've made up a sample check out sheet that they must sign and agree to pay for any charges for replacing the listed samples, if they don't bring them back by the promised date. Kind of like a library card. We don't have to pay for replacing corner samples, but it sure will put a fire under their pants to return said items. lol
 
We stopped loaning samples unless it is a very good customer. When we did loan them out we never got the job.

We belong to a wholesale buying group and when we want to take a sample of fabric home we must leave a check for $50 for each sample. They only cash the check if you don't return the samples, obviously they just want the samples back and I don't know wether or not they have ever cashed any checks but you can bet that after writing a check for $250...I returned the samples in a timely fashion.
Ruth
 
Just a reminder: One more day and this poll will be over.

Mike
 
You're right Cliff they are free for the most part. For those that threaten to charge, what are you going to charge them for. What is the going rate for a free sample???????????
 
Some samples cost over $100 each.

[ 09-30-2005, 08:22 AM: Message edited by: Mike-L@GTP ]
 
What % of your moulding samples have you paid for? 5%? Lets say you don't loan those 5% out. Why the stink about the 4,000 that didn't cost a penny and can be replace with a phone call?
 
Originally posted by Jay H:
What % of your moulding samples have you paid for? 5%? Lets say you don't loan those 5% out. Why the stink about the 4,000 that didn't cost a penny and can be replace with a phone call?
Until you get a replacement, you have nothing to show to your other customers. The loss of a free sample is a non-issue. The loss of sales for that item may be an issue.

Closed corner samples never leave my store. For the rest, I let my regular customers keep them overnight if they wish.
 
OK, here's a true example:

A customer came in 2 days before Labor Day, said she was the cousin of the landlord and wanted to look at gold / silver frames. Asked to take 2 samples and bring them back the day after Labor Day..

Well, yesterday (almost 3 weeks later) she walks in and brings the samples, AND she admitted she went price shopping with them all that time!

And, now she wants me order a frame for her.

Can you spell %100 deposit for this customer, otherwise - no thank you!
 
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