Hanging Service


CGF, Certified Grumble Framer
Oct 23, 2003
Columbia, SC
Considering offering a hanging service to select clients (i.e., won't post a sign that say we do this, but want to have it available if asked and we feel comfortable with the situation).

Searched the archives and found only one relevant thread from 2002, but it addressed mostly pro/cons and hanging height.

For any of you who offer this service, would you share how (and how much)you charge? Per Piece? Per Hour? Fee + Milage charge? Do you charge differently for Commercial vs. Residential?

If you don't want to share your specific pricing "with the world" I would appreciate a confidential private post to thegreatframeup@msn.com
We offer free delivery/hanging services for clients that frame with us. My only restriction is that my feet can't leave the floor, and I don't do stairwells. For that, we hire professional installers and usually go with them on the delivery/install. Customers love us for this service. Show me a big box that does that.

Check with your insurance company to see that you are covered working in people's homes.

We have several good installers in our area, and I keep a list of them to give to people who come in asking for those services.
I charge about 50% more than my shop rate including travel time. That allows for the fact that I don't really like doing installations and I work alone.

I keep a big tool box with tools and hardware that are only used for installations. I put that together after I had to borrow a hammer from a customer. If you're charging $60/hour, you should have your own hammer.

No ladders, scaffolding, ropes or pulleys, but I'm tall. I've been known to take one of my teens along for an extra pair of hands.

I have a local referral for someone who likes doing installations and is good at it. Otherwise I tell them to call Frank in Washington ;)
Originally posted by FASTFRAME of La Jolla:
We offer free delivery/hanging services for clients that frame with us.
Hmmm....I don't recommend this at all. Unless, of course, you have built it into your pricing. You should at the very least charge your hourly shop rate. I know how tempting it is to throw in free installation to get that frame job because it doesn't really cost anything anyway, right? But think about it....is it any different than giving away free mats made from scrap? How about every frame job comes with a free 5x7 or 8x10 photo frame made from the leftovers? I mean it doesn't cost anything, right? You'd just be throwing the materials away eventually anyway, right?

Let's face facts here people....all we sell is our time. The time to take semiraw materials and turn them into beautiful picture frames for our clients enjoyment. All our fancy equipment, shop space, education, etc, is just to increase our profficiency and efficiency so we can make more $'s/hour to pay for that ever increasing overhead for our shops and our lives. Giving away my time is not an option. Giving away installations is leaving money on the table. People who can't or won't hang their own pictures are overjoyed to find someone who will and they will gladly pay the price.

Ron's advice on what he charges is excellent. Why should you make less when doing an installation than what you would make working in the shop? There is also the question of liability. Once you walk onto your customer's property if you damage anything in any way you are liable. YOU pay for it, so you should be compensated for the additional risk. Even if your insurance covers you (make sure you check) you still have to pay the deductable. How about if you get injured while hanging a piece of artwork? It happens...scared the **** out of myself the other day when I tried for a fourth step on a three step ladder and kicked it out from under myself landing on my side. Luckily all I had in my hands was a drill not a piece of artwork. Also lucky that I landed well without injury. (Scared my clients too...I weigh over 250lbs...the whole house shook, they thought it was an earthquake! So did their neighbors.) Who pays if you get hurt and how do you make money while you heal? You need to be compensted for this additional risk too. It just doesn't make any sense to give it away free.

Now, having said all this I have to admit I don't charge as much as Ron does. I'm at $45/hr with a $55 first hour minimum, and I do charge for driving time. My prices are going up soon though. The reason I can get away with charging less is simple...I don't have his overhead. I'm not paying for a retail location...just a garage. I don't advertise, I work by referral only. I'm also experienced and have learned how to limit my mistakes and can usually fix the ones I do make. Oh, and I don't have employees which really helps elliminate a lot of problems, of course it also limits my growth which is another thing I have to look at.

Occasionally I do take on larger jobs by the piece or by bid. Each case is a little different as in: single thickness sheetrock, double thickness, plywood backing? Concrete? Lath and plaster? Steel bulkheads (boats)? Hook and wire or security hrdw? Who's doing the placing? Groupings? How are the pieces packaged? For figuring these, from experience I know about how may pieces/hr I can do (4-12) which I divide into my hourly rate plus drive time and a 20% fudge factor. I don't get many bids but I do well on them when I do.

Oh yeah...commercial, residential, interior designers makes no difference to me...I charge them all the same. Works out...residentials take more hand holding so installs take longer and they end up paying more than designers. Almost all my commercial jobs come through or at least start from an interior diesigner so needless to say my attitude towards them is a little better than most of our fellow grumblers.

So THAT'S why I keep getting calls from Wisconsin. I keep hoping that one of them will bite and pay the drive time charge but so far no luck...