new to this

tom harada

Jul 22, 2006
Creswell, Or.
I'm surprised at the response I got from wall paper paste! I'd like to defend myself a little bit since I know my question might seem stupid to all the experienced framers in framerland. I got a Logan Intermediate Mat Cutter April 10. I put so many hours on this machine I could see it starting to wear... So I bought a Framer's Edge 650 on June 15. It is now the end of July and I have been framing for 3 and a half months. I joined the Grumble to shorten my learning curve and I think it's working. As for the website I made in mid July...I just can't justify charging more because of my inexperience. Give me a couple of years...Thanks! Tom
Tom - you can learn alot here - no doubt. You must be cutting a heck of alot of mats to wear out a piece of equipment that quickly. Good for you.

After looking at your website... I am not sure about your pricing philosophy.

And I would like to suggest that you try some wider mat widths in the design process.

good luck

Sorry sir I didn't mean for you to think that you were stupid. Or that your questions were.

I am pretty sure that you are very intellegent and from your website I am sure that you are talented and very conscientious toward your customers. I am sure that we could agree on many areas, and agree to disagree on many others.

However I was surprised that you would ask questions here when on your site you tell your customers that they are being cheated when they go to a custom framer. Do you read medical journals and then operate on yourself? Do you listen to CarTalk then go and rebuild your car? Granted I am not a surgeon or a qualified mechanic, but neither am I pretending to be. I learned a craft, I use my existing skills, and I try to continue to learn more everyday about framing and conservation issues.

Please stay here, ask questions, learn from us, and let us learn from you. But don't do so and then tell potential customers that custom framers "rip you off".

As to charging your customers for your inexperience, get thee to a framing class! Learn from an expert. Don't learn on your custromers artwork. Or you will lose your customer base before you get one!

There are Grumblers in the Eugene area. Go visit on of their shops, talk to them, learn from them.

And stay here. Keep contributing, just please before you open your door to paying customers know what you are doing.

Oh and on a persnal note, do you have any pictures of your fly poles? How's the fishing? While we are framers we are also people and naturally curious, at least I am!
I agree with Bob.

I looked at your website and was surprised by what I saw there.

I will frame with a customer's frame if they bring it into my shop but to suggest that custom frames are too expensive so "go and buy a frame somewhere else" would be like shooting myself in the foot.

Feel free to ask questions here but be prepared to get a variety of reactions.

I also suggest that you buy some books on framing.
The PPFA bookstore would be a good place to find them.
If you don't already subscribe to the trade magazines I would suggest you do that too.
It's a good thing that the average internet shopper doesn't like to take time to read!

Sorry, but what I read on your site, I found to be offensive to the industry. If you want to be a Professional Picture Framer, be one and educate the consumer, but not in that way. I work with my customers within every budget they present, but I hope I'm not offending them because they have a budget nor am I condemning the professional framer on pricing. There's a lot that goes into figuring out the right pricing and how we educate the consumer on what goes into the pricing.

I would also suggest you join PPFA and get the educational tools you need.

my 2 cents & Off my soap box


Buying cheap frames from bargain stores and putting in someones art is not framing.

What we do is a profesion and artform.

If you really want to do this, take classes, work in a shop, visit trade shows and get an idea of how it is really done.

Also the pricing on your site strikes me as just plain strange. This might be because you don't yet buy from framer supliers and you don't have the same overhead and multiple other expenses like insurance, and everything else that a person gets at one of those expensive/profesional shops. (insurance for when you take apart a customers frame to find someone glued down a print with wallpaper paste)

I understand that you are new and I do wish you luck but it does tick me off a bit when on your site you bash those of us that do things correctly as expensive when you don't yet know what your talking about.

To wear out a mat cutter in a matter of months tells me you are doing something wrong. I have been framing for years on the same machine and it works great and other than a cleaning requires no attention from me.

Yes we all hear the "it only cost me $5 on vacation"... well it costs me a heck of a lot more to hand cut your glass, moulding, backing, join it and put it together profesionally instead of buying crap from walmart and charging someone by size instead of quality.

From your site it looks like a glorified hobby that you will charge someone to do and eventually they will bring it to a profesional to fix the beginner mistakes.

Just re-read all of this and I am sorry, some of it is bashing...I apologize that it came out harsher than it was meant.

Point is learn a trade, (plumber, framer, carpenter) become good at it, take classes, work in the industry, don't badmouth those of us that have a clue, and when you are ready open up a shop you will be better prepared.

Ask questions the entire time, we like to help here (unless we feel like we are being trashed), you will find a wealth of information here.

I do wish you good luck and take what you can from this.
Tom: I completely agree with what the others here have said. I would add one more thought. Once you are doing framing on a professional level and are confident that what your customers are receiving is of high quality, you will realize that the prices they pay to support a professional operation and to create a professional product are indeed fair. Although they may seem expensive to someone who has never sought out custom framing before, it should be a straightforward matter to explain why things cost what they do, and to make simple analogies to put this expenditure in perspective along with other purchases they make more commonly. In that light, both you and your customers will realize that professional framing represents one of the best values of anything one can buy for one's home.
It's all about value, not just price. If you encourage your customers to have a mentality that low price should be their first concern, you are doing a great disservice to both your potential customers and to yourself as a business owner. Industry surveys have shown that price is usually not among the first several priorities of framing customers. Good design, quality, and service often trump price when one is looking to have something custom made. If you offer these qualities, why shouldn't someone want to buy their frame from you rather than from Wal Mart?
Have respect for the industry, and for your potential place within it. There are learning curves involved, but it's well worth it. Both you and your customers will be a lot happier.
Best of luck.
:cool: Rick

I think that you will find that ready made frames are quite often made from cheap, low quality mouldings and the joints are often pretty bad compared to those made by a custom framer.
Like everything else we buy, there are different qualities involved.

You seem to be only encouraging people to buy "cheap". Perhaps that's because you buy "cheap" yourself. Not everyone wants "cheap". Many people want good quality and are prepared to pay for it.
The fact that there are hundreds of framers on this forum who cater for people who want quality is testament to that.

Your website will attract only "cheap" customers. Customers who like quality will never come to you after reading your website! In fact your website will probably drive many people away from you!

Please learn from what the people on this forum have said and learn all you can about framing before you rubbish the industry you want to be part of.
Hey Tom,
I took a look at your link to Framing 4 yourself. You know, after I purchase all the supplies (including all the extra materials to "put aside for future framing jobs), add in the equipment I'll need, pay for ruined materials for miscuts (which is highly likely since "I" am not a practiced professional), have I really saved any money over going to a professional and have my framing designed and produced by someone who knows what they're doing? The website makes it all sound so easy - naturally they want to, because they want you to buy your materials from them. Some things about framing aren't hard to learn. But many others require practice, patience and skill to achieve quality results.

I think it would be a good exercise to calculate how many customers you'll have to service at your stated rates in order to make a living. Be sure you add for the cost of overhead (you won't be able to maintain a very long line in your garage or to your basement). Building a business on low prices + volume is certainly valid. But you need to decide if that's really what you're after?
education, education, education....can't say it enough. Good luck to you in your business, and you have come to a great place to learn as well as been giving excellent sources to further your education.

But I am curious if you are admittedly new to this, only 3 1/2 months if I recall, why would you put together a website such as that. How about working for a professional frame shop before doing going out on your own any further....there is always something new to learn in this business, and it might be wise to work for another framer to increase your learning curve. Beyond the vast information you need to be a professional framer, its equally important to be a good business person.

Sorry , I really do wish you the best, but your website is offensive to professional framers. Oh and you might want to re think the framing is like dressing a woman line....oh puleeeze
Not to be funny (but it still may be).

After someone gets something framed "cheaply" from Tom they might then go to a profesional in the area after they see what cheap gets them.

Framing like most things, you get what you pay for.
Good luck to you.
May I suggest you do a search on the Grumble for "Michael's" or "Discount Framing" or "Walmart". Those big-box stores are a threat to the livelihood of small businesses, not just custom framers. They threaten us, pharmacies, florists, etc. I could go on & on, but I think everyone has pretty much covered the negatives.

Stick around....we may make an educated convert out of you yet!
I'm with the others on this too. And I wonder if "bashing" custom framing on your website might someday come back to bite you in the butt when/if you decide to become one??

I carry some quality ready-made frames so I don't have to send people to places like Michaels, etc, and if I do have to, I always advise them that they will get what they pay for...."cheap" isn't something we say out loud in this business of custom framing.

I do a lot of RE-framing stuff that was originally framed "cheap", so how much did they really save?? We're proud of the quality work that we produce, and have earned the right to charge what we do, because our customers get what they pay for...quality custom framing. If they want "cheap" they can go you, maybe?
This is what I'd like to add to the topic:

<marquee>"The bitterness of poor quality lingers long after the sweetness of a cheap price is forgotten." anonymous</marquee>
well said Roz!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Perhaps advising people to buy frames at Walmart or at yard sales is a means to avoid buying the equipment necessary to join a quality frame.
When we opened 10 years ago, we did it on the cheap but equipment was the one area where we didn't pinch pennies and have not been sorry about the investment.

Good luck Tom. You've already gotten a lot of good advice for your business.

My two cents...join PPFA and be active in their chapter. Try and make it to trade shows and take all the education classes that time will allow. (Atlanta's coming up - and it's worth the cost to go!) You can come to the Grumble dinner and we'll really talk your ear off.