length/chop ordering question

B. Newman

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Sep 5, 2001
Kodak, Tn. USA
Ok, a "newbie" question from an old time framer -

I've never ordered length before (other than local supplier) so when placing an order with both length and chops, is it customary for the order to be broken into 2 different orders?

I placed an order for some chops and some length fillet. (Very well known company.) I specifically asked for the length to be cut into whatever sizes would keep it from having to be an oversize box. I'm not stupid, I know oversize costs more. I ship things all the time myself.

Anyway, I got the bill on the fillet today without the chops on there. With a HUGE shipping charge! I called about it and was told that when I ordered length and chop, that was the same as 2 different orders and that none of the pricing discounts would apply - and not only that, but now I am charged with under the minimum order! AND for under the minimum length AND for oversize shipping because they shipped 1 stick of fillet in an oversize box. Although, she did say, it is on my order to cut it "however necessary."

I am a little miffed (to say the least.) But, if it is customary practice to do this, then it's my fault for not knowing.

Just thought I'd ask.

Same thing happened to me once, Betty. Paid that huge freight charge for 8 foot lengths of fillet when I had specified that they be cut in half.

Can't remember the resolution of the matter - seems to me they gave me a couple of bucks off my bill.

So what I do now is order lengths of fillet locally and finish them to suit the job. Nice gold leaf fillet - and I can antique it or whatever. No more shipping charges.

I think a lot of suppliers should review their shipping departments. I hate getting an 8x10 chop in a 48" carton! Grrr.
Must be Roma. I have no idea why they do this. I order lengths and chops together and I specifically tell them, (no, plead with them) to send them at once in one box, but for some reason, they won't. I will get 2 orders delivered on the same day with the same courier company and there will be 2 shipping charges. That is the only negative I can think of with Roma.

That is the way some suppliers jack the prices up. There is many things they can do to help, or hurt your bottom line. Things like 'break bundle' charge, and minimum order charge are just ridiculous. I have had a supplier charge me $5 just because the order was less than $100. The week before, they didn't take $5 off because my order was over $500. Let me see if I can remember where their samples are again. Oh yea, I filed them in the big green receptacle out back.

What would your customer say if you added a $5 charge because their order was less than $100?

I really can't believe anyone would ship a single piece of fillet in an oversize box. That's just stupid. I would have a heart to heart talk with the rep.
Nope, not Roma - Omega. I was just afraid it was my ignorance. Now that I know many others do this, too I'll be more prepared next time.

And Jerry, I'm just a little peon rural framer - no such thing as reps out here! :(


There is room in my green receptacle for those. Beside mine.

The $5 charge I was talking about. That week I needed 10 ft of canvas liner. Liner $1 a foot, $17 shipping, $2 break bundle charge, $5 for being less than $100 = $34. My customer was charged $30.

Where are those samples again? Oh yea, I remember!
That's why I try to do most of my business with a regional supplier. As in my case Montana Moulding. They don't play those kinds of games and if they think I'm over sized they call and double check to make sure I want to pay the extra shipping.

And the company truck run saves a bunch of shipping on stuff that can wait a couple of weeks, especially oversize length and oversize mats.

It's a matter of how much effort the company puts towards customer service.
$5 Jerry? You got off easy.

One of my vendors that I use less and less all the time charges me $10 when I'm under a $100.

I guess minimums orders are fine. The reality is to me that this is more of a deterrent than anything. The funny thing is that the truck runs by my store rather I order anything or not.

The only complaint I see on here more than LaMarshe is shipping charges. This is why I decided very early on to rely mostly on vendors that deliver. I expect the price to be higher because of it but it does uncomplicate life a lot. When they start tacking on charges for shipping I fail to see the benefit. Partnership my ………..

Back to ya Betty. Sorry for stealing your thread to cry.

Carry on!
I order both chops & length. The length stuff is usually small quantities. For fillets that are going to be shipped, I request cutting them 5 & balance for ups. Like others have commented, I try to get most of my fillets from someone who delivers with their own truck, then it comes in uncut. Haven't had any problem doing it this way
I don't mind paying hefty charges when I know they're coming, and I've made a consious decision to go that route. What I hate are surprises. I had no idea that chops and lengths would be separate orders.

I do now, and I am making room for more of my local suppier's frames and fillets.

Oh, Randy, I DID request it to be cut to avoid oversize shipping. They just didn't do it.

Originally posted by B. Newman:
I'm just a little peon rural framer - no such thing as reps out here!
You may not see him (her), Betty, but I would bet that you DO have a rep, and that your rep is earning comission on every order you place. Call customer service and ask who it is; they do more work by phone than ever in person.

Some suppliers, Omega is one, ship length from a different warehouse than the chops come from.

Talk to them since you did specify for the fillet to be cut and they do admit that they did not cut it. They should work with you.

The best thing to do if you are not sure about ordering chop and length from the same supplier is to ask.
Leary, I will check into that.

And Tim, thanks, I will ask next time. I guess this was just a $30.00 lesson. (I've had far more expensive lessons in the past!) Oh, I did talk to them. I said, (after MUCH discussion) "I guess I'll just have to pay it, huh?" And she said, "Yes ma'am."

But "nevermore" quoth the raven...

Betty: Even though we ship out of one of our two warehouses chop and length as well as metal on the same order result in what we call a split. In other words, a workorder goes to each department so it can be completed. Our warehouse people are very good at catching the splits but sometimes in their judgement it is safer to package and ship the length in different packages. On fillet especially, we prefer not to ship 8-10' sticks because even a fairly healthy bundle tends to get damaged by the shippers.
We were lured into Omega's web last year with promises of high quality and low per foot costs. Our realtionship only lasted a few months due to the same problems Jerry was talking about. LOTS of miscellaneous charges on length and chop which eventually cost us money on each order. Ridiculous. Where are my samples? Oh yea, I remember, they're sleeping with Jerry's.
There is only one vendor I've ordered mixed length and chop that doesn't deliver by truck. That's Nurre, and they have doen exactly what I asked and shipped them together.

I try to only show fillets from my "truck vendors," unless there is definitely a Match issue.
Originally posted by B. Newman:

I do now, and I am making room for more of my local suppier's frames and fillets.

I have been doing the same thing. LJ's are slowly being culled out b/c I never make the minimum on their orders & b/c they will not deliver even though I am 2 minutes from the interstate that their drivers travel each week. I don't spend enough $$$$$$. Thanks to everyone out there who recommended a huge variety of new suppliers. Good luck on your next order, Betty.
Originally posted by B. Newman:
I DID request it to be cut to avoid oversize shipping. They just didn't do it.

Shipment came in - box (six feet long) broken in two, fillet, which was only wrapped in flimsy paper - snaped right in the middle. No packing in the triangle box at all. :rolleyes:

I am NOT a happy camper

I took pictures of it and e-mailed the company, but I don't really expect to hear from them.

There's not a darn thing I can do. It will cost more time (which is money) to appeal to UPS, which from the way it was packed, I don't put the blame on UPS.

It's just a learning experience, but there's no one else who would understand like other grumblers. Thanks for letting me blow off steam.

In all fairness...

They did call and did remove the exorbitant shipping charge as well as one of the handling charges.

Thank You Omega - you just kept me as a customer!


If you are just starting to order length, keep these couple of things in mind:

1. Whatever you need in length, be it 8' or 10' or whatever, always have them cut it in half&nbsprather than 5 and balance or 6 and balance. I have had a few occurances when the "balance" wasn't enough to get the last leg out of the piece. When you order whatever length needed cut in half, you will always get at least a long and a short leg out of each piece.

2. If you need a borderline length like 10' up to 12' and the order taker can't guarantee that you will get a single stick that long, order one stick and a single leg chopped. I do this quite often with LJ's pricier mouldings that come in metric measurements. If you get one leg cut chop and order one stick for the other 3 legs, it will be cheaper in the long run than getting 19' of a pricy moulding that you only need 11' or 12' of.

3. If you are having fillets shipped, ask the order taker to specify that they tape the fillets to a piece of flawed moulding, the thicker the better, or tape it to the length order and not ship it loose. That is killer on thin sticks of fillet!

As far as shipping chop and length separately, I haven't ever had that come up unless the warehouse was out of one or the other and had to ship either from a satellite warehouse and then they usually didn't charge shipping on the one they didn't have on stock. It isn't your fault that they ran out of something you needed and had to get it from another warehouse.

Well, actually Tom, they don't ship any chops from the Tennessee warehouse, so it will always be in two orders. (Wonder if I could ask for the length to just come from wherever the chop comes from? Hmmm.)

Anyway, what I did was ask that the fillet be "cut however it was needed to make it a small package." That's a good idea to ask for it to be taped to flawed moulding.

Thanks for all the help/advice. I'm charting new territory here... (aka, teaching an old dog new tricks.)

I guess I should have qualified my statements by saying that I don't have an account with Omega, Betty. I was making more general statements about ordering that might save you some wasted money and keep your pile of scrap moulding to a minimum. I am sure that there will be exceptions to whatever I said up there depending on what the supplier's rules are and how/where they ship their stock.

Wow......let me count my blessings over and over....my local supplier out of Shreveport is wonderful...he'll be more wonderful when I get my Bainbridge corner samples....75$ min order and no freight...and Wall Moulding is also great to deal with....I only order chops from Wall because most of mine have been poly mouldings, but reasonable ups charge and no minimum...
At the NY show, Omega said, for any chop order of $125 or more, which isn't hard to do, 25% discount and free shipping...sounds pretty good
Oh yeah, overall they have a great program. I've used it before with multiple orders. It was just that I needed this one chop and this one fillet for this one immediate order.

Mostly it was my fault for not knowing/not asking about the order. However the shipping was NOT my fault, and they took care of it - and then some.

Customer service - that's what it's all about.

So here is a kwestion for those of you who order length: which is better? Ordering 5 feet and balance OR cutting in half???

I just ordered 100 feet of raw moulding and had it shipped at 8 feet and balance. Shipping was almost $30!!! I still make out like a bandit cause the moulding was only seventy some cents a foot - but...next time! What is the most effective size for cutting (and shipping)? I know some lengths can be close to 14 feet - so ctuuing in half would still amount to an oversize carton.

Betty - thanks for starting this topic!
It always pays to ASK what the prevailing length is. At 14', I would usually ask for 5' lengths... which depending on the company, mean that they eat the 4' balance and I get only 60" pieces, or I get 2/3rds 5' and 1/3 4'... no biggie.

It's when you ask for 5' and balance and they grab a bunch of 7' sticks and ship you 1/2 5' and 1/2 24-3/4"
You added 30 cents per foot of raw moulding and got a deal? If it were free to begin with I would say it was a deal. Your cost is now $1.00/foot. I hope its 5" wide and beautiful.

Do I understand correctly that you are ordering 100 feet and suggesting that they cut every single piece and ship it to you?

The only time I had any bulk moulding shipped to me I paid $64 for about 500' of various mouldings. I thought that was high.
Jay = it is the kind of raw moulding that can be sold "as is" (maybe with a kwik coat of wax) or finished to taste. I have been selling tons of it as ready-mades and chops, so YES, a buck a foot is a really great deal for me!

Hey - if a moulding company expects to sell their products they must be aware of the fact that they have to get it to the clients so they must be willing and able to cut it.

I dunno. I'm very new at buying length.

I would be leary of buying 500 feet of unseen mixed mouldings - even at such a terrific price. I can really honestly only sell what I love. I mixed up a teal acrylic stain to finish two frames of that raw moulding and sold it for $8 per foot. I view this as a huge step forward on my profit line. (it was a 1" square plain profile, BTW.)
I'm sure they would cut them into 2' sections if you like. Sounds like it would create allot of waste.

The moulding I had shipped was hand selected in Atlanta. I loved them and only have one profile left. I need more.

My point is that even at 500' the shipping was considerable. I think that one box didn't even meet the carrier’s minimum. My next shipped order will be more than one box. I'm betting that 3 or more boxes really gets the shipping to price/ft ratio down.

I'm sure there are some here who order boxes regularly that can be more informative.
I'm betting that 3 or more boxes really gets the shipping to price/ft ratio down.
Three boxes is the tipping point for getting the balance right. Most companies also give a deeper break at the 3 box level. Bendix gives you free shipping at the 1000 ft level. Depending on what profiles you are buying, that may be the 3 box level.
sounds like this can really be a challenge. almost sounds like they are working againt you, rather then to help you these days.

who are the really good suppliers for california.


dave moen
Originally posted by dave moen:

who are the really good suppliers for california.

Was that a question? I couldn't tell.

If so, get out your Decor Sources. It will have listings by state/area.

You do read Decor, don't you?

Sherry - thank you for the kudos! Our minimum order is just 1 chop or 1 bundle (10-20'). We cut our length to your specifications and UPS/Fedex charges are VERY minimal when you cut in 1/2, etc. On fillets, some are 10'-20' bundles, but if they are larger bundles, we always let our customer know so they can just order a "leg" of whatever size they need - 12" leg, 20" leg, etc. This way you don't get more than you needed! What a surprise that can be! We also combine chops & cut length on one order so you don't get double shipping charges!
Thank you!!! We are so proud! We are doubling the size of our line so LOTS of exciting things happening here! Keep an eye on us! Had a FANTASTIC New York show this weekend!
I just got your new catalog insert for Jan 2005 on the polystyrenes...also just visited the web site.....I really like the polys...my customers really like the price i can do on them and just as another plug for you guys.....Ya'll don't mind answering dumb questions from me..always gracious and friendly....Sherry