Paying for Corner Samples


SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Oct 10, 2000
I don't pay for corner samples, except for finished corner, gold leaf samples. I was wondering if there is anyone out there, who do pay for their samples, and from whom?
Not a chance, I do not pay for corner samples, no how, no way.
I have even considered charging for my wall space, it was a lovely day dream and it put a great smile on my face.

I have had to buy every single sample for my walls except for Mettle Company with their metal frames. All my wood samples were bought. When I relocated my business in November I bought over $500 worth of new samples. The worst part is that when I placed my first order only 8 days later, some of them were discontinued. Of course they didn't tell me and took my money anyway. I just received their newest catalog and about 8 of them are discontinued. Heck, the only way I can get anything here is to buy it and by the way....I have never had a rep visit me nor know anything about them or what they can do for a business, etc. Sorry, I won't mention names of companies. If you really need to know, email me personally and I will honestly...fill you in. Jean with Memories of Maine Gallery
Being relatively new to the business I have been dealing with only a few suppliers. Each one has set me up with free mat and moulding corner samples. One of the reps was nice enough to go through all of my mat samples and pull any discontinued corners. The reps have given me a selection that are their best sellers (no dogs) in my particular market.

Knock on wood.

Many variables will impact this situation....<UL TYPE=SQUARE>
<LI>Where you're located.....more remote?
<LI>Years you've been in business
<LI>Cometitive climate in your area
<LI>Cost of moulding itself Big Expense for many!
<LI>Relationship with sales rep / company

In general, as we have an established business, we do not normally pay for moulding corner samples...........however....

......if the company has a product that we would really like to show, and cost is associated, we then look to see if the company will issue credit on future orders. This is a very popular system that works, with credit vouchers issued at the time the corners are received.

Everyone wins with this system.....You order the product, you get your money back, easily, even when a corner sample is discontinued (jean)!

You don't order, then the sales rep & distributor isn't out wasted $ for placing samples that are never used, much less Shown or displayed?

(As a moulding sales rep for 3 years, I have to say that I see their side of the story as well..........I've visited many frame shops that were "Corner Sample Collectors" with boxes of samples sitting everywhere, under counters, in the back room.........and it was always this type of framer that demanded...."I never pay for my samples - If you want me to show your stuff, it will have to be FREE.")

Like most issues.......Reality lies somewhere in between.



The Frame Workshop of Appleton, Inc.
Appleton, Wisconsin

[This message has been edited by John Ranes II, CPF, GCF (edited April 16, 2001).]
Another deal I have seen with samples of real high end frames is to have them on loan from the supplier for a fixed period. I believe LaMarche has a deal on closed-corner samples that costs nothing, but you have to agree to return them in good condition if you find they don't work for you.
Larson- FREE
Studio- FREE
Bravura- FREE
Arquati- FREE
Tuscaloosa- FREE

Roma- $1 each
LaMarche- 30% of chop
LaMarche (closed corner)- FREE but must be returned when pulled from wall
Euro Art- length x2'
Regence- 1/2 retail/ft. x 2'
CAG- 1/2 retail/ft. x 2'

John is, again, right on the money. Nobody should expect that every moulding and mat company should give away samples to anyone that would like them. No more than you give out corner samples to anyone that would like to take them home to see if they match or if their husband likes them. But we often give samples of matboard or mldg to really good customers that we have developed a great relationship. Just like some of our vendors do for us. We rarely pay for samples(most don't charge), but it's naive ti think that you don't pay for them somewhere.

Does anybody get all their print catalogs for free? Call Bruce Mcgaw and ask for a free catalog, or Winn Devon, or almost any of them. Nobody should be offended by a charge that can be rebated with a purchase.

I'm sure John is right about all those "free" samples still in boxes in most shops. I know we are guilty on occassion.
I do not mind at all paying for corner samples as long as we do indeed get a rebate/credit for what we spent. I figure that then not every frame shop will have the same samples. (such as the aforementioned Corner Sample Collectors) And also it helps me to realistically look at each sample- "Can I see myself selling this?" or "Can I cut and build this with the equipment that I have and get a nice corner?"
And Bob is right on, do any of us truly think that the samples we get "for free" do not cost us something somewhere snuck into the length/chop cost of the moulding? We all know that they WILL be paid for and not by the moulding manufacturers.
I love it when a rep pulls down disco'd moulding corners! It is certainly a lot easier for them to do so than me. I love it so much that I demand it before they show me the new stuff!
And Jean, make your reps work for you! If you have a complaint about discontinueds being sold to you, call him/her and let them know that this happened! If I do not know the rep, I will just call the 800 number and ask to be connected to the rep's voice mail. But DO let them know. Every rep I have dealt with has (at least appeared to have... ) been more than happy to work out any petty problem I have ever had!
-Edie the FG
WOOOOW, JRB, charging for wall space--- now THAT'S genius!
and cheeky...
We call those lovely corners Trophy Samples, and have quit acquiring them, also. Most of our samples are "free" (not paid for outrightly), but some are rebated at purchase of the first frame: a realistic idea which should make everyone happy, not to mention keeping your walls less cluttered.
John is right..again. Remote. Ya. Maine is beautiful and I love it here but it does have its drawbacks. Also, I would love to make my reps work for me...if I ever met one. So, I order most of my moulding from Don Mar now and make my own corner samples. I always find a way. Also, I'll admit that I have had a home business for 25 years so figure that alone is a big reason why no reps came in the past. As for competative framing businesses....nearest one is in a city 70 miles away and I have more equipment than they do.
Several of the moulding companies I deal with like to charge for the samples and give us coupons to come off our invoices with the company. Recently this has occurred with:

Designer (woods) & Nurre Caxton.

Others, like Valley, like to charge a nominal fee for a "set".

And, some relationships have built up to where I now get free samples -- not just because everyone does. Believe me, after the years of paying for two foot sticks and making our own, I am please with the free or rebate type policies that are prevelent today.

Fabric Books, swatches and samples are all paid for as well as most mat and glass samples/displays.

TL - Studio Frame
I hope there was no malicious intent in bringing this up and I have nothing more to add.

Two observations.

1. How come in 2001 everybody was amazingly polite and civil. No belittling that I can see at all.

2. When the odds that 30% of small businesses fail the first year and 50% fail in two years almost all the grumblers in this thread are still kicking (or retired by choice). Gotta be something to that!
I think Marc (and I'm only speculating) is just emphasizing that the Corner Sample type thread has been done before. No malicious intent IMHO.
Originally posted by Jerry Ervin:
Maybe Cornel was not here yet.

Just a thought.
From his profile I see that he was around, been among us since 2000. We should all be doing fact checks before we point fingers!
From Jay:
When the odds that 30% of small businesses fail the first year and 50% fail in two years almost all the grumblers in this thread are still kicking (or retired by choice). Gotta be something to that!
I have to agree. I always thought that the 2,000+ grumblers are at the top of the game...that is, the ones who want to learn more, are willing to share, aren't afraid of technology, and have some of the industry's leaders willing to help out with questions/problems.
We make our own samples; actually we have to in order to program the Cassese 4095 but, if I had to, I'd be willing to pay for them. They'd be a very small expense. We tell our vendors not to send us samples of molding we buy. Strangely, hardly a week goes by that another large box of samples arrives. We try to give the samples back to salesman when they stop by but they won't take them. It's very difficult to throw these samples in the dumptster, but that's where they end up. I'm very well aware that there are no "free samples" so somebody is paying for what goes in the trash and I know I'm included in those who get the bill.

We do have a wall of chop only samples for those willing to pay more than they need to but there was never an issue of paying for them. We didn't ask for them for free; the subject never comes up. These are all samples of expensive molding, too. One deal which is sort of free was a salesman who wanted to sell us close to $1,000 of very expensive samples; if after three months we didn't sell enough to cover the cost, the company would refund our money. We didn't have room for them so we dodn't take him up on the offer; most of the patterns we already offered. That's the strangest offer we've had.

I actually like companies who don't offer free samples since I'll be paying for them one way or another.
"When the odds that 30% of small businesses fail the first year and 50% fail in two years almost all the grumblers in this thread are still kicking (or retired by choice)."
Hope you didn't mean [American] choice ;)

Jerry Ervin,

I was around back then, selling ILO, that's why
You didn't think of that, did you?

Seriously now, the 2001 thread was going in such a decent direction that I had nothing to contribute with.
Nobody was irated at the idea that corner samples do cost and some do cost more than others and must be paid for one way or the other. Noticed?