Minimum Prices?

JBergelin

CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2
Joined
Dec 14, 2004
Posts
374
From
Big Rapids, Michigan
Today I had a customer come in and ask about having a counted cross stitch piece framed. During our conversation she poo-pood the idea of glazing - "most people who do needlework don't use glass" - she says in a condensending tone (as in - you fool, you don't even know this business) then as I supress a shutter- she says "I just wipe off my pieces with a wet cloth twice a year to remove dust" (I think those poor mistreated pieces of needlework) she goes on to say that she will provide the frame and just wants me to "pop in the needlework - how much will it cost?" As she is talking I am confirming to myself that IF I do the work I am going to charge enough to make me smile as I "pop the piece into the frame" otherwise she can walk. I tell her at least $150 and she says she will do it herself - "I understand" is what I say - thank God is what I think.

So the question - do you have a minimum for certain projects?
 

D_Derbonne

PFG, Picture Framing God
Joined
Jul 12, 2001
Posts
5,345
From
Middleburg, FL
How big was the piece?
Pop it in the frame? What did she mean by that?
Was it needlepoint or x-stitch?
Need to be blocked? stretched?

I do small jobs but I want to make a profit.
I don't stretch needlepoint unless I'm framing it.
By that I mean custom framing it.

That being said I have framed small pieces of needlepoint that totaled less than $150.

Minimum charge?

Well, let's see...I give lots of advice for free.
 

Baer Charlton

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Joined
May 24, 2004
Posts
21,029
From
On FB
I'm maybe thinking that you're missing the point of the charge Deb....

IF I do the work I am going to charge enough to make me smile as I "pop the piece into the frame" otherwise she can walk.
Yes, there are those 8x10s that come with glass, stretch, and frame for $84.... and then there are those customers that come with a minimum of $150.
kaffeetrinker_2.gif
 

Ron Eggers

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Joined
Jul 6, 2001
Posts
16,932
From
Wisconsin
If she actually said "just," anything you charge is already too much.

Otherwise, I'd quote my standard stretch and fit charge for the size.
 

D_Derbonne

PFG, Picture Framing God
Joined
Jul 12, 2001
Posts
5,345
From
Middleburg, FL
Sorry, I guess my sarcastometer wasn't tuned in last night.

I understand that feeling of relief when a very rude person walks out the door.

There are times to just say, "I'm sorry, I don't do that."
By quoting an outrageous sum of money for a job you simply reinforce the idea that custom framing is ridiculously expensive.
 

Jerry Ervin

PFG, Picture Framing God
Joined
Jul 13, 2001
Posts
8,117
From
North Carolina ... The Picture Frame Capital of th
When I get a 'price shopper' in like that, I usually offer to do the job for free if they pay my rent for the month. I have not had one take me up on the offer.

I started this after I offered to stretch and mount a piece in a ready made frame for $15 and the person acted like I had slapped their mother.


Noticed I never mentioned the word 'customer'. Until they actually spend money in your store they are not your customer. Up until that point, you can call them PIs (product inspectors), shoppers, life force drainers, etc.
 

Rozmataz

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Joined
Jun 13, 2002
Posts
2,773
From
Fingerlakes Region of NYS
I had a similar thing happen the other day... a lady brought in a poster size LE print from the 70's (could it be a real LE, probably not).. and wanted a price.

She mentioned someone had referred her to me and I asked who that might be as I have a referral program whereas the referrER receives a reward for sending me someone new. THis lady proceeded to say that she referred herself so why shouldn't she get the reward... I said "that's not how it works"... but it got me thinking about the program...

She went on to have be give her a price on this one (she had two)... and then left it with me to go home and get color swatches of paint/fabric... and comes back a little while later, picks up her piece and leaves... I guess she didn't like my referral program answer.

Hrrrumph!
 

Ron Eggers

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Joined
Jul 6, 2001
Posts
16,932
From
Wisconsin
Roz, I think it's very useful to know how a new customer learned about your shop and it's an easy thing to find out. You just ask them.

It's also nice to acknowledge an existing customer for sending you a new one, and it might be something as "simple" as a little thank-you note. ("Dear Mrs. Smith. Thank you for recommending my framing services to your friend, Mrs. Jones. She came in yesterday, wasted three hours of my time, and departed without spending a dime.")

But, for precisely the reason you demonstrated, I'd probably avoid mentioning a rewards program to the new customer.

Lots of people are repelled by the notion that there's some financial incentive out there that isn't immediately available to THEM. (Pretty short-sighted, huh?)
 

Candy

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Joined
Feb 9, 2005
Posts
1,543
From
Holland, MI
Along this same line....

Have you had a "person" bring in a dirty, discolored, faded mat and ask you to cut the inside to a larger size? In the past, I have done it but never felt good about it or about how much to charge. I have come up with a new way to price it......It is the same as if they are buying a new mat. That way, I am covered if it doesn't fit and they complain. I can pull a good piece of board and cut them a new one that is now acid free.

I know this sounds really tough, but I am a business person, I have paid good money for my equipment, etc. I do offer a guarantee with that new mat and explain that it won't fade like the one in their hands.
 

Ron Eggers

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Joined
Jul 6, 2001
Posts
16,932
From
Wisconsin
Candy, that's outrageous. :D

Most consumers think that the cost of framing is mostly in the materials. (Quite a few framers think that, too.) This is why they will bring in the side of a barn and expect you to make a 30x40 frame out of it for a couple of bucks.
 

J Phipps TN

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Joined
Jul 14, 2004
Posts
1,423
From
Kingsport TN
I usally tell them it can't be done. That the mat cutter will not line up properly. They usually buy this theory and purchase a new mat.

I just hate the jobs with the walmart frame, mat and glass that I am supose to just "pop" in there. Those make me mad.

I also think it takes alot of gawll to ask me to do that. It's like they are saying, "I'm not gonna spend a dime in your shop but can you do me this little favor?"

Jennifer
kaffeetrinker_2.gif
 

Ron Eggers

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Joined
Jul 6, 2001
Posts
16,932
From
Wisconsin
Don't get mad, and don't make them mad by quoting some fanciful fee for doing it. Charge a reasonable fitting charge.

If it's not worth $20 to have you pop it in there, they can take it home and pop in there themselves.

We get so emotional and indignant about these things. It's all about time and money.

(That from the guy who spends at least an hour every morning on The Grumble.)
 

D_Derbonne

PFG, Picture Framing God
Joined
Jul 12, 2001
Posts
5,345
From
Middleburg, FL
I agree, charge a reasonable fee or say I'm sorry but I don't do that.

I do all sorts of small jobs for people with the idea that it creates good will.
They may come back later with a "real" job or they refer a "real" customer.

I try to never p*** anyone off. They may not be a customer today but who knows about tomorrow?

Of course there are times that I would like to ask someone to leave but thankfully that is not something that happens often.
 

Candy

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Joined
Feb 9, 2005
Posts
1,543
From
Holland, MI
Thanks Ron!!

I also had a lady the other day that wanted a mat for her $1.00 yard sale frame. The mat was going to be $13.00. She could not believe it would be that much for a "piece of cardboard". I explained that it was not cardboard and offered to sell her the cardboard for $18.00 a full sheet (retail). I have also offered to sell someone a mat cutter....they usually don't buy it. :D

While the printed word sounds like I am ticking off potential customers, this really isn't the case. It usually flows with the conversation and comes out very nicely. That is when people usually understand that it just isn't something that they can do just as easily as I can.
 

FramerRandy

CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2
Joined
Feb 9, 2002
Posts
320
From
Montana
These kind of jobs are where my "shop rate" kicks in. For my shop I have a rate of $60 per hour. If someone wants me to fool around with their materials to accomplish something, I tell them that I would be glad to do it, but that I will charge them for my time at xx per hour and that there job will probably take around yy hours give or take an hour or two.
Most of the time they have me do the work, unless they really wanted it done for free. Some of these folks later bring in things to be custom framed, and I have gained a new customer.
shrug.gif
 

JBergelin

CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2
Thread starter
Joined
Dec 14, 2004
Posts
374
From
Big Rapids, Michigan
Thanks folks - I realized that I did not handle it well which is why I asked. I would like to mention that she did not leave angry, actually she was smiling when she left. I think she realized that what she was asking was unreasonable and knew that my response was equally unreasonable, it was delivered with a smile and body language that said I like you but....we are not going to see eye to eye on this. However, I was sure that there was a better way to handle it - in my prior life there was a "Minimum" for certain work and the consumer liked knowing what to expect so I was curious about this industry. I like Randy's solution and will give it a try next time. Again thanks.
 

Matoaka

MGF, Master Grumble Framer
Joined
Apr 28, 2002
Posts
519
From
Albuquerque, NM
I liked Randy's answer also... Which begs the question: Do you publicly post your shop rate? Or do you just bring up in conversation?
 

LeighAnn

CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2
Joined
Feb 26, 2005
Posts
494
From
Yamhill County Oregon
I had a lady bring in three readymade collage frames the other day. There were about 6 openings in each frame of various sizes and she had three pouches with pictures (of various sizes, none that matched the openings in the frames) of three different grandchildren. She wanted me to pick the pictures out that I wanted to put in the frames and insert them into the readymades.

I think my mouth was open while she was explaining what she wanted.

We were swamped with work, I had never seen this woman before, and she wanted me to sort through her family photos and choose the photos I wanted to use..... and then put them in readymades that she didn't buy from me.

I explained this was something we normally didn't do and gave her a few suggestions on how to do it herself.

I think she left happy (I know I was).
 

Baer Charlton

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Joined
May 24, 2004
Posts
21,029
From
On FB
1:43pm, woman comes in with a funky 4x7-3/8" frame and a picture of her daughter that she printed out to match the frame..."what a dickens of a time I had. Is that a REAL shape of frames?" :D You gotta love someone like that.

she just needed some glass "so she could put it in there some how for her dad for his 80th birthday"... I'm lovin this woman more and more.....

Like Heck! Lady you need SUPER FRAMER! strange man from really out there who can just whip this up....

I told her just a minute...

I had a slip of 5" wide museum glass still laying on my table...and a chunk of Alpha with paper and a spare easleback.... oh and there were the 1/8" spacers.... maybe 5 minutes....

What do I owe you?
Nothing.
No. Really, what do I owe you?
Nothing.
But you can't make a living that way.
It's not my shop.
I don't understand....
I was on my lunch, reading Harry Potter #4. So I did this with scrap on my time. If it was during my "work time" then I'd have to figure out what a tiny piece of glass and mat board and paper and ATG.....
So WHEN you have some REAL framing to do, I'll charge you. But meanwhile, hug your daughter, kiss your daddy on the top of his head and enjoy. You're a good mom and daughter.

3:14, she was back with a poster and two 5x7s. She's gonna love the silk mats for the pictures. Her daughter is gonna hate the poster of her at 17 looking cool....LOL
 

CAframer

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Joined
Nov 19, 2003
Posts
3,834
From
Orange County, CA
Similar to Randy, but with a twist, when someone brings in a "junker" to "fix", I'll often provide two figures (a) cost to fix using my shop rate and (b) cost to reframe using an opening price point moulding (i.e. a cheap one). They'll often go with option (b) because it is better, cheaper, (and easier for me!) Sometimes once they are hooked on the idea of reframing they will upgrade from an OPP moulding to something better, or add a mat, or something.
 

Sister

MGF, Master Grumble Framer
Joined
Apr 18, 2004
Posts
945
From
Alabama
Originally posted by Baer Charlton:
[QB]
But meanwhile, hug your daughter, kiss your daddy on the top of his head and enjoy. You're a good mom and daughter.
Baer, that is so sweet. I have done similar little jobs for $0, but I don't think I have ever said anything so touching--I've got to work on that. It does bring them back with a real framing job.
 

Puppyraiser

PFG, Picture Framing God
Joined
Jul 10, 1999
Posts
6,569
From
Maryland
Business
Howards retired
Instead of charging nothing for 'a lil bit' job, I will say, "Whatever you want to donate to the animal shelter". It usually nets a couple o bucks for the shelter, but once it got a $20 bill!
 

Ron Eggers

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Joined
Jul 6, 2001
Posts
16,932
From
Wisconsin
Ellen, that wouldn't work for me. Most of my customers would assume I was talking about the Eggers household. ("$2.00? Why, that's CHICKENFEED!")
 
Top