Internet Access in Frame Shops?



We debate here a lot about whether frame shops have access to the Internet. Sure would like to hear from framers. We are always looking at new features for our products. It always comes down to, "...but will the framers use the internet in their frame shop (if we don't allow browsing)?". I hear anecdotal evidence all the time that framers don't want the internet in their shops cause they don't want staff surfing.

Wizard Software Manager
Ha Ha Ha HA HA HA ha,

When I stop laughing....We have Internet access and it ain't the staff I have to worry about it's me, ME do ya Hear me? Alot of Grumblers, have internet access in there shop and there in lies the problem. I order via internet, I get Corners for a CMC (Won't mention any names here) over the internet, I receive HH'ers via the internet. Yes there are a lot of framers who don't. You may want to make a poll out of this in the voting booth. I know that a lot of Grumbers have their internet at home and not at the shop.
I use for internet postage. I do on-line banking and bill paying. Our state has recently required that we start filing monthly sales tax reports over the internet. I do ocassional print searches for customers.

Sometimes I even look at The Grumble at work.

Tell ya what. I'll start a poll for ya - right here on this forum - because that's the kinda guy I am.
Besides personal browsing (which I've resolved to limit if not eliminate)and checking the Grumble I use the internet in the shop to search for prints, and share general information with clients. I have a page bookmarked about choosing a conservator and print that as requests crop up. I also print resale forms directly from the state's website rather than using a 7th generation crooked, spotty photocopy.
My goodness! I find searching for prints WAY more easier with the web! We get people to look at our website, and then we might just search on Leibermann's if they are looking for a particular title...easy easy. WHO has time to surf at work???? you gotta be kidding me! I let employees do that on their break if they want and it's been an OK arrangement. Once in a while I allow myself a break to surf, but only for an alloted amount of time and only if I've finished a difficult job. (Oooo, am I a tough boss to work for!)hehehehe.
I do all the things mentioned above with a dial-up line. The only reason I haven't put in higher speed access is money. (Still too new and not enough revenue quite yet. :rolleyes: ) But, it is very high on my list and will be put in as soon as I can justify it. :D

We use it heavily at work. (daily vendor pricing updates, Lifesaver beta test program downloads, pcAnywhere access to/from home pc, online banking to see if checks cleared, remote backups, print searches, research, immediate company email, contacting vendors via the web, instant messages, and of course - THE GRUMBLE! :eek: )

In our case, the cablemodem feed is CHEAPER than dialup. This area of the country has local message units (7 cents for the first minute, 3.5 cents for each additional minute for local calls). Factor that in with a dedicated line(~30/mo), and it would far outweigh the cost of the cablemodem. The extra speed and "always on" are bonuses.

Business cable around here is about $69.99/month. DSL is $49.99/month.

Norton Antivirus is installed on all pc's. We also put an inexpensive router (Linksys BEFSR41 ~$50) on there to serve as a firewall and to share the line with multiple computers in the office. We lovingly call it the "fisher price router".

Since it's just the two of us, it doesn't get abused. If we had multiple employees on their own, I might be concerned about them using the internet instead of working, and might have some sort of "acceptable use policy" for them to sign at the time of hiring. Since we're only 11.5 months young, it'll be a while before we have to worry about this.

Mike, resident computer geek
We do not have the Internet at work and I am glad. I would want to sneak onto the Grumble all day long.

When we need to do a search for pictures for people, I spend hours at night finding them. I love the job and don't charge my boss for the service.
In these times internet access is almost essential. We use it for all of the reasons listed above.

If you are concerned about too much personal surfing, you can always limit use of your browsers with passwords.
Another thought for a poll. Do you have a website for your shop? And is it bringing in any revenue? (I might expand on the questions a little more.)

We do have a website that, even thought has been up for about 2 years, is still in its infancy (long story). But last year caning supply sales was just 6% of our overall sales, but the web portion of those sales was 45%! And 2 other craft shows accounted for the other 55%.

The site is now being reworked to add print sales and coming soon - "framing ideas" - showing things we've done.

Yep, this is definately the computer age!

The website has worked well in our case. We get more walk ins/referrals from the website than we do the local Yellow Pages (with a full color 1/8th ad).

Some customers ask to be contacted by email when their job is ready, or email with questions before coming in.

We don't actually sell anything on our web page yet, it's just there for general info and to get the word out. I'm curious how others are doing with web based sales.

I think this method will continue to grow.

[ 02-28-2003, 10:54 AM: Message edited by: RHODY ]
Another thought for a poll. Do you have a website for your shop? And is it bringing in any revenue?
Yes, we have a site. Does it bring in any revenue ... probably not a lot.

I feel that our site is a marketing tool and not a sales tool. I built the site as a "defensive" measure to bring us on the same plane as other local frame shops and, because I wanted to learn Adobe GoLive.

Most of our referrals come through word of mouth or the yellow pages. Most folks who need framing will go locally and pick up the phone rather than log on to their computer and use a search engine.

And, we found, getting listed on the places like Yahoo! and Google and AltaVista was the toughest part of the whole operation.