• Welcome to the largest and friendlest resource for picture framers! Please LOG IN or REGISTER a free account.
    Once logged in, you will be able to SEARCH our archives.
    Forget your password? Click here to RESET PASSWORD Trouble? Click the CONTACT US link.

Just gotta Grumble


SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Jan 7, 2005
I am so ticked off right now. Have a home builder in town who came by on Tuesday afternoon & wanted a beveled mirror 36 x 48 ASAP with Larson Juhl moulding #788453. On Tuesday I told her the mirror itself would be $120 and if she would give me a second I could give her a price on the moulding and total it all up. She said "No" that's the one she wanted & just go ahead & do it. I had her mirror ready by noon on Thursday. (can anyone say rush order?) Her minion called this morning ( I wasn't here... she talked to my husband). She was pi$$ed. The total cost was $860. She then said she could get this exact same frame in another frameshop in another town for less than $500. I wish I was rich enough to tell her to bring it back & I would handg the thing in my house. I was so proud of the join job I did & it was absolutey gorgeous. I guess I just feel insulted. Shouldn't a home builder & her interior decorator/designer know that quality costs money? I just had to vent before I had a stroke. Do you think I charged too much? God, I get so sick of being devalued.

And BTW, just found out last week that we are getting one of the largest Super Wal Marts in the country about 3 miles from us. The neighboring city which really runs into our city has a SWM only about 5 miles from the location of the new one. :mad: :mad: :mad:

Whew...that feels a little better. Thanks for listening.
Well gosh, if she could get in another shop in another town for that much less you might wonder why she hadn't gone there in the first place.

Lesson...make sure you give them the price even if they say it doesn't matter.

By the way, my price would have been similar to yours.
Mine was $30 more but on a $800 job thats pretty close.
Mine comes in at around $800 too.....I've learned the hard way about making sure they know the price, even if they say it does not matter. I think we all do. Some people, even the ones with money, just don't have a realistic concept about how much this costs.
Builders often use framers that do low overhead pricing for quantity projects for them. Because of this they become accustomed to paying less for more. The builder probably expected the price for one mirror to be the same as the cost for one of 500 pieces. NOT!
I learned this lesson also. I always get at least 50% up front so if they walk my end is still covered and when it sells off of my wall it's all profit.
You should still be proud of the job you did. Just because she is a toad doesn't diminish the workmanship you demonstrated in doing the job.

She will probably be back, I know mine came back and I bite my toungue everytime She walks in, then I take her money!
yeah, and when you get that 50% down, make sure you deposit the check, q-u-i-c-k-l-y. Don't ask me how I know that........but, mark my words I will come out the victor in the end.
Thanks for making me feel better, everybody

Emibub, I just went to the bank. My husband suggested I deposit it immediately & get the money in our account quickly. I'm not over it yet, but now the fuming anger has at least shrunk into irritation. I have so many good customers that when I get one like this (who actually thought $120 was the total for the whole freakin' job
), it drives me mad. I just have to remember the ones who have actually hugged me with tears in their eyes because they were so happy with their frames.
Originally posted by Mecianne:
... when I get one like this (who actually thought $120 was the total for the whole freakin' job
I'm sorry if she thought that was the price for the job she is an idiot or thought that you were!
Yeah, & she probably builds her houses out of particle board and thumbtacks :rolleyes:
Did you get paid?

This may be a standard tactic to bluff you into reducing your price. Some folks just like to work you a bit to see if they can make you squirm.
The comment about being able to get the same product elsewhere for considerably less money really begs the question.

Edit: I type way too slow to get into a heated discussion.
The problem with mirrors (and its more of a problem I find with mirrors than with ready framed art) is that you can pick up large ready framed mirrors for peanuts ... some of them look real good too ... it sets an expectation level that is obviously inappropriate for custom work ... but half the time they don't care ... "never mind the quality feel the width" ... I wonder if this was a factor in your case?
Yeah, I got paid by one of her workers who picked it up yesterday. What bothers me is that she thinks I am sooo expensive & will tell people this. She could have picked the 4 1/2" moulding from Cash Moulding she liked and it probably would have cost only around $400-$500. I hate situations like this. Oh & should I make any contact with her in an effort to, he11 I don't know what it would be in an effort to do. Oh, she ruined my day. TGIF.
I also find time and again that people think that the actual mirror is the expensive bit ... they'll lug in crappy old mirror with mastic all over the back in the belief that it is valuable and all they need is a "cheap frame around it"
I hope your bank and her bank are the same. Just because you deposit it in your account, if the bank's aren't the same, she can still stop payment and her bank will not honor it. Then your bank will remove it from your account and charge you a fee! If there's ever a question, get cash! I didn't get burned but a dear friend did...
CAframer, yeah...I think she buys her mirrors at Lowe's for $99.95. The mirror she ordered was a standard size. I'll bet she'd have a coronary over the price if she ordered a custom sized beveled mirror for one of her spec houses.
Just read Betties latest list of definitions. Pretty funny but one was missing. Builder, How you got the money you deserved. How can she complain when she told you to go ahead? and on a rush order to boot. Maybe she'll take the time to look at herself in that mirror.
120 bucks for a 36 x 48 beveled mirror is a little high, sorry, but it is a standard size and can be had for alot less, however the frame she picked would have still put it in the 7-8 hundred range anyway. I was gonna say that I'd probably call her and talk about it but, then I thought no I wouldn't, but that type of person always expects something for nothing.
$10/sq ft for a mirror may be a little high... Jerry
but for a "beveled" mirror we start at $12/sq ft. and go to $45 for a 2-1/2" bevel on a 3/8" thick glass. (that's to cover the crane costs....LOL)

The term to learn when dealing with contrators and builders is "Hammer". And I don't mean the one you just want to hit them with.

When they drive out of your parking lot. You are on the way to your bank or theirs and simple walking and tell the teller that you want to "Hammer" this check. It means to allocate and pay the funds NOW, not at midnight if there is anything left after they have been kiting checks all over town.

The advantage to going to their bank is that the bank will pay it out cash, or tell you what a flake their customer is..... if they are a high $$ customer they will pay you and float the contractor.... :D
One probably not pick on one class of customers but then life is not fair. I have had more sad experiences with interior decorators and builders than with any other class of customers. So there, I said it. Of this class, about 50% are not qualified to decorate a dog house but sure like to through their weight around and around. They seem to want a 75% discount because they are who they are. We resolved this by asking for their membership card in the National Interior Decorators Association and then telling them that our policy is that they are qualified for a 15% or 10% discount from our regulare pricing depending upon the amount of business they do with us.

Jack Cee
The awful truth is that she probably could have gotten the exact same frame, assembled by LJ themselves, for the ridiculously low price she mentioned to you if you have a Joann ETC in the area.

She would have had to wait three weeks for it, though.

edie the askmehowiknow goddess
Edie, I was thinking the same. Is that Bolshoi one of the "cherished" Ponzio lines? JoAnn isn't supposed to have those, but it wouldn't surprise me. Maybe I'll check on that with our J's this week.
It is Ponzio. We don't have a JoAnn's in the Tri-County area. Just Michael's and Hobby Lobby and AC Moore. She was speaking of another custom framing shop in a tiny town located off the interstate about 40 miles south of here.

Jerry-and others-what is your suggested mirror mark up? It was a 1 1/4" bevel. I paid $70.00 for it.
On something like that, a turn around and sell it, we tend to use a divide by .45 formula. Can't even remember exactly where that came from but it gives us a little margin above 2x cost to cover shipping or whatever and worse case if it breaks at least we don't really lose. It may seem a little high to some judging by some of the previous comments but I figure it's a convienance for the customer. If they want to drive around town and find a better price on the mirror thats fine. I'll still be happy to frame it but often times I think it's cheaper in the long run to just order it through us. To tell the truth, in our situation a mirror is a nonstock special order and thats how we look at it. On the other hand we do seem to be a bit lower on the frame so after all this pondering and figuring we end up at about the same place. Hope that was time well spent.
Terry, my thoughts exactly on the mirror mark-up. And for God's sake, we completed the job in under 36 hours...real time, not business hours.
Oh, well, I am over it now. Check cleared, mirror was fabulous. I got paid for my skills and time and supplies. If they want it for dimes on the dollar....go somewhere else. I am not gonna give it away. I may lose a customer, but regardless....if I have to cheapen it that much, I am gonna go out of business with or without her either way. Again, thanks for everyone's support and input.
There ya go then. Things could be a lot worse now then, could't they.
I have learned the hard way to over explain the price to a customer. The worse problem I had was giving an estimate and not including the tax. They would come to pick up their framing and not expect to have to pay the amount of tax added to it
. Now, I quote just a few dollars high including tax so the final total amount will be less than expected. It is a reverse psychology strategy that works on pre-selected customers--those who expect a deal or special treatment. :rolleyes:
We have sent people to go to Lowe's or HD and buy one of their cheap mirrors and we'll frame it....

There is a few heart beats where you can see the gears starting to smoke and you can see the question on their face....

As the vein starts to protrude... we simply state..."or, you can buy the mirror from us. That way you get a true 1/4" mirror, with the size bevel you want. And by the way, that 3/4" bevel at HD...1/3 of it will be hidden by the lip of the frame, so you only get a 1/2" showing.....

As times get tighter, as they are, explaining or educating customers becomes more and more important.
Well, we called a large frameshop (not a BB) in Montgomery---about 30 miles from here. They quoted us a price of $475.00 (mirror price of $150.00 included). I think I am gonna be sick. What kind of low price are they getting from LJ?