PFG, Picture Framing God
Founding Member
Aug 12, 2000
San Diego, CA
Have any ideas or is there anything you want to know how other folks are thinking. Doesn't matter how stupid it may sound, put it here, you may be able to help.

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Must be why I've only got 6 votes so far.

Single edge razors: Notch or No notch?

Use a handle v. use your fingers?

Have stashes at home & car v. only use at work?

Chopper blades: Hollow ground v. Flat ground?

Made in USA: Would/Could/Is it be a selling point?
Baer: Double edge blades. No handle - fingers only. Butterfly closures by the crate from Sam's Club.

I vividly remember, as a toddler, getting ahold of some double-edge blades and playing with them on the floor. My mother walked in the room and her screams were the first things that really upset me about the whole situation. The blades were so sharp, they didn't hurt, but they made a big mess.

I guess that's when I knew that, someday, I would be a picture framer . . .

. . . and that, some other day, I would work for a big health insurance company.

Sorry. I'll try to think of some poll ideas.
Ron - when I was a kid my uncle found me with a double edge razor blade in my MOUTH!!! I thought it was Dentine gum - ya know, red wrappers! Luckily Uncle was a medic during WWII and he got to me before my mom did - or her screams would have been burned into my brain.

Although she had to remove a bunch of straight pins from my mouth once when I was really little.

And I survived - kids today will NEVER grow up to be framers - surrounded by cotton wool as they are - car seats, etc!

Can't think of any poll ideas either - sorry!
Jeez Ron, I'm not sure if you're serious or not...Angie??? He is/was a framer...

When I was doing close-up magic (a short career), I learned how to pass needles with thread through my cheek....without the blood. I learned "Clinical" Hypnosis later... :D

pole questions: Hmmmm
Do you sell stock frames? (Just arms and head or full boddy stocks?

Photo frames or larger also? (ie 18x24, 24x30, 24x36 . . . )
Baer- I've been trying not to post so much...
but you said my name so I can not resist.

Okay first off... for crying out loud is it a d*mn poll or a pole? :confused: I believed my husband when he said it was a poll... but now i'm not so sure with all you guys and your pole's and poll's and what ever else...

Anyway, a while ago I came up with an idea to get some of you framers to show more of your fabulous designs by having an on line grumblers framing competition. This would mean that those who want to compete would have to post or learn how to post pictures of framed items they did a really good job on... this way we get to see lots of framing design ideas and get to vote on the winner for fun! What do you think?
I thought about doing it after superlatives one gets over but if Mike wants to do it he can.

Personally I think he's doing a great job with the poll's he's came up with already... it's hard to come up with ideas like that.

So if you want to do that kind of poll/e, someone else will have to start a new thread that gives the directions on how to post a picture (because I don't know). Those who want to compete will send a private message to the one running the thing with the picture in it and all the details about the piece... that way no one sees their competition's piece until the voting. Then the day the poll starts we can post all the pictures and details and have everyone vote on who they like the best. I think it would be very fun and informative. Think it would work?
here's another idea I just thought of... it's probably been done already though..

What kind of machinary do you use in your shop?

cmc or manual or both

vacum press, heat press, or other

saw or chopper
Demographics and the relationship to framing sales volumes

how big a radius do shops draw from

CPF salaries and experience
Design aspects...
Moulding choices
color choices:
number of mats
types of mats (all archival!): regular, textured, handwrapped, etc.
use of fillets
size of mat widths
artwork mostly framed: art prints, oils/acryllics, watercolors, pastels, photos (portrait, wedding, scenic), LE prints, posters, objects, etc...

GREAT idea, Folks. Keep em coming!

Most of them haven't been used yet and i'll put em on the list. It's often hard to find topics that have a limited amount of answers, which fit into the format of the software. We have to think of the question and all possible answers, before making the poll.

The system can do single choice answers or multiple choice answers.

I've always wondered about various pricing methods people use to arrive at a final job price. Do people charge for such items as hangers (screw eyes and wire, saw tooth, or heavier duty systems)? Or is this included in your mldg mark-up? Do you charge an additional amount for "unfitting" if a customer brings in something for reframing? Do you charge a fee if a customer brings in their own frame? Anyone charge a design fee for counter time 100% applicable to the job if left??? (Don't we all wish?). Discount for pre-pay? Hinging fee? Trimming fee? Storage fee? Glass cutting fee or a discount for standard sizes? Do you remember to factor in your freight costs for materials having to be shipped for a job? Do you charge to copy and/or adhere information on the back dust cover. Do you provide free of charge courtesy hangers?

Another poll would be to make a list of potential services available and ask if people offer these services, do not and plan not to, never considered, use to offer, but stopped, or have considered and may in the future.

Such services might be:

artwork on canvas restoration
artwork on paper restoration
restoration of old frames
cleaning and varnishing of paintings on canvas
blocking and stretching of needlework
stretching canvas for artists
stretching paintings
pick-up or delivery of work
Do you sell fom-cor, mat board or other framing materials over the counter or comercially?
hand wrapped fabric mats and/or liners
hand wrapped paper mats and/or liners
storage of images and information for customers for insurance records
Do you sell originals?
If yes, do you take work on consignment?
Do you order reproductions for customers?
Do you sell gifts?
Do you sell artist materials?
Do you sell other items?
What percentage of your total gross sales is in custom picture framing?
What would you estimate custom framing contributes as a percentage of your net profits?
Do you sell ready mades?
Do you sell photo frames?
Special order closed corner frames?
Teach classes?
Offer commercial discounts?
Offer artists discounts to frame their own work for themselves or someone purchasing their work which they involve the artist in the framing choice?
Interior designer discounts?
Student discounts?
Senior discounts?
Do you sell to other frame shops as a courtesy?
Do you charge "Rush fees"?

Maybe not a poll question, but I wonder if other framers encourage or allow customers to take any samples home and, if so, do you charge a deposit on them? Another would be do you have your customer sign any form of disclaimer if their work is already damaged when they bring it in or if they request something you are willing to do, but is not proper conservation or handling procedure?

I think both these topics might help us all by suggesting ways to improve our profitability by charging appropriately or offering additional products or services.

Dave Makielski
I'd like to see a poll that asks just the right magic questions to get a feel for the cycles of the economy and how it affects our business.

For instance, a set of questions for businesses open for up to 5 years, another set for businesses open up to 10 years, then up to 15 years, 20 years, 25 years and 30 years.

The questions could ask: What was your best year gross sales-wise (list of appropriate years), worst year gross sales-wise, most profitable year, largest one-year increase (%-wise,) smallest one-year increase, largest one-year decline, longest time without an increase, etc.

Also a question to what do we attribute the increases? and declines? Economy? Personal reasons, change of location or improved buying?

I am interested in seeing any overall trends.

How to organize all this...

edie the butstatisticscanlieiknow goddess
I like that one.

added (as well as all the others)

Thanks to all!

It's difficult coming up with timely and appropriate polls at the first of every month, and i'm running out of material. :(

Bob Carter and others have been generous with thought provoking ideas, but we need more.

With the new polling software, most of the restrictions have been removed. There can once again be multiple questions, with various types of answers; including questions that branch off depending on previous answers - and even written essay/comment answers.

November will be the 5th annual Technology In The Frame Shop Survey, and I have only about 4 ideas on the drawing board beyond that. At some point, I guess it may make sense to recycle some of the previous polls from the past.

If anyone has suggestions, let me know.

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Okay first off... for crying out loud is it a d*mn poll or a pole? :confused: I believed my husband when he said it was a poll... but now i'm not so sure with all you guys and your pole's and poll's and what ever else...

Ok, first off ...I'm a Pole and it's a poll.

Poll questions (Because a Pole wants to know):

1.) Hand cut or rail cut glass?

2.) Do you stock/sell Museum Glass? If so, what is your mark-up factor?

3.) If you have a CMC what percentage of your mat cutting is:

a.) Straight rectangular cuts either single, double or triple mats?
b.) Multi opening mats?
c.) Oval or circular mats?
d.) Cut with v-grooves?
e.) Ornate decorative template mats?
f.) Custom designed in path trace?

4.) What do you charge for:

a.) Additional mat openings
b.) V-Grooves
c.) Ornate corners?
d.) Path Trace design time?
Sales Volume and maybe in relation to if you have sales/coupons or not
After a recent conversation with another grumbler I think it might be interesting to know how many framers work with or help out other framers in their area. And in what ways. Don't know how you'd make a poll outta that but Im curious.
one that would be interesting....age group of shop owners and age groups of framers
I notice lots of 50-60 yr olds at PPFA meetings and wonder what generation is predominate in the framing industry 20-30 yr olds 30-40 /50-60 over 60yrs old (like me) and maybe really old...and how long have you been doing this and WHY?
I would like to see

Average ticket
Average UI
Average $ per UI
Number of jobs taken in last month
Average number of jobs per month
Sales by month, to identify soft from strong months

With FrameReady, all of these items are under Sales Reports/Work Orders
What annual profit per capita your frame shop is making.
....with the second question added of how many people work in your shop, full- and part-time.
Not to be a crumudgeon, but as interesting as many of these topics might be, I seriously doubt if the responses would be accurate enough to be of any value

We framers do a lot of guessing, but very little actual analysis

But, they still might be fun

When I talk to most about market research and the numbers, response generally fall into three categories: one group gets that glazed eyed, deer in the headlights look, one group listens intently to see how the numbers agree with their own preconcieved notions to ratify what they do, and the third group listens intently to find out how the numbers are wrong because it doesn't agree with their preconcieved notions to ratify what they do

Not all that much different than the G in general

As a safe rule, the more boisterous the agreement/disagreement, the less they truly understand the data

Not all that much different than the G in general
What management training is taken by owner
When was the last time you formally up-dated your management skills.......
What management training is taken by staff
How often do you formally up-date your management skills (recognised professional training)
How often do you informally up-date your management skills (trade shows, PPFA meetings etc)
What professional training do you provide for staff and how often
What on the job training do you provide on the job………including fixing toilets!!!
What budget do you allocate for training.
How do you validate training courses and tutors.

Etc. Etc. Etc. training in general.........I think that this could reveal volumes in general about the framing industry and the people involved in leading it……….
There have been some GREAT suggestions. Thank you folks! Some of them have already been done, but many were new. Some were also emailed privately. They have all been cut and pasted to the "future polls" list, which is drawn from each month.

Polls results (of any kind) should never be taken too seriously, and represent only a handful of proud participants. Numbers may be exagerrated a bit, and questions misunderstood. They represent only the folks who participate, and not necessarily the whole industry. I try to mention this every time we do a survey.

Be that as it may, I think it's a good exercise to get us talking and thinking about subjects which concern us all. After all, that's the true purpose of this forum.

Keep 'em coming!
Thanks again
I would like to see a thread on how many different ways our fellow grumblers: fudge, discount, give away, coupon, their labor, materials and products. Then I would like to see a survey that measures the frequency of how many do what.

Following is one survey having several questions:

1. What services make up more than 10% of sales - check each (custom framing, art sales, photography, ready mades, other - specify please)
2. What type of location - check one only (home based, retail strip, mall, stand-alone retail spot, stand alone commercial spot)
3. Within 10 miles of your shop:
a How many big box establishments that offer custom framing?
b How many others?
c What is the population of that 20 mile diameter area
d What is the total population that lives outside that area, but most likely buys from it.
4. What is your average custom framing ticket price
5. What is your annual gross sales ($50-100k, 100-150k, 151-200k,201-275k,276-350k,351-500k,500-750k,more)
Good one. I wrote them all down. It's great to have fresh ideas to use! At some point we should start re-visiting some of the old ones for a "then and now" comparison. Some of them are 5 years old now.

The 5th annual tech poll starts today and it has been interesting to see certain patterns change over the past 4 years (dialup internet declined to nothing, dsl grew in popularity, people added cmc's/viz/pos technology, etc. I think that's the only poll we have ever repeated more than once.

Thanks for the ideas. keep 'em coming! :)

Most framers that share info privately all suggest that their poster/print biz is a whisper of a decade ago

Maybe a poll reflecting how quiet (or loud) that whisper might be could be refreshing.

We have seen that segment of our biz crippled by that buying shift
Here is non-thinking idea for, perhaps, December, when we all may be too busy to worry about figures and such...

Are left-handers really more creative than right-handers?

This population should be especially creative, so will the percentage be higher than the 15ish% figure that is bandied about.

So, are you left- or right- handed?

You could add for multiple employees, but why not keep it December simple?