Pricing "Extras"

Leslie S.

MGF, Master Grumble Framer
Apr 11, 2002
Waxahachie, TX
I am in the process of doing my annual pricing overhaul, and I didn't want to hijack the thread about v-grooves. The main stuff (moulding, mats, glass) is fairly cut and dried, it is usually the "extra" stuff where I run into problems.

I am just curious where I compare in relation to some of the rest of you. (The closest local framer does not do much other than basic framing, so I can't compare with her.) I want to be fair to myself, but don't want to price myself out of the market either. I am also a master of "just throwing this in" because I'm not sure how much to charge for it. :rolleyes:

So, how and what do you charge for things like:
1)adding extra fabric around the edges of needleart?
2)using the attach-ez on non-archival items?
3)mounting items with mylar strips?
4)painting french lines and watercolor panels?
5)using hand marbled papers?
6)archival lacing of needleart?
7)increasing rabbet depth?
8)adding gold leaf accents?
9)custom toning or finishing frames, fillets, etc.
10)coloring bevels
11)printing out poems, titles, etc on the computer in calligraphy to be included in framing?
12)cutting down and rejoining the customer's frames?
13)scanning in old family photos and putting them on discs?
14)hand made brass mounts for shadowbox objects?

Any input will be greatly appreciated!!

Oy!I've got a headache!!!!
As a rule I take a stab at the time it will take and multiply it my my shop rate plus materials and material markup. Don't forget to take into account set up time.

7......$4.50/ft min. for wood add on
I have agonized over these such things in the past. Really, the only thing you can do on most of those tasks is figure out how much time it takes and charge your shop labor charge and for whatever materials you use. I've learned over the years to include a bit of a cushion because I never seem to charge enough.
Yep, that's what I usually do, but I guess I'm just trying to get a feel for what others are charging for these type services. These are always the hardest thing for me to get a handle on...
Leslie, like the others, I charge for items like these based on how much time I think it will take. Now, if it's something that I do really often, I will create a charge just for that service, but we (all of us) do so many different things in the course of a day, that if we created a place in our pricing for everything, we'd have pages of prices to scan through.

You've gotta know what you need to make every day, and then find a way to create that much work, every day.

My advice: Keep it simple.

Every framing task involves two things: labor and materials. Material cost is easy to calculate or estimate.

Labor is easy too, once you know how much time the task will take -- just multiply the time by your shop labor rate. Figuring your shop rate is some work, if you choose to do it; add up all of your operating costs (all but COGS) for a month or a quarter, divide by the number of manhours in the same period, and add whatever profit rate you want. Or you could just aim high; I charge $1 per minute.

For example, if a watercolor panel and four gold pen lines are to be added to a 16x20 mat, here's how I calculate the price of $31.50 for the "extra", in addition to the mat price:

1. Material cost; Wear & tear on brushes & pens, $1; removable tape, $2; Paint, $.50 = $3.50

2. Labor: 28 minutes at $60/hr. = $28.00

The time & material method works for almost everything.
2)using the attach-ez on non-archival items?
Same charge as sewing or stitching.

3)mounting items with mylar strips?
Same price as dry mount as determined by mat/image opening

12)cutting down and rejoining the customer's frames?
$80, flat fee. Price includes corner work. Size and frame type/finish do not matter. No poly/plastic frames.
You can produce a watercolor panel and four inklines in 28 minutes? That's pretty darn efficient. Still, I wouldn't undervalue something because of your superior efficiency. I believe the percieved value of these decorative elements greatly exceeds $31.50.
Also, some of these techniques do not go perfectly every time we execute them. Watercolor can drip on and ruin a mat or pool up and concentrate the color too much in one area. An inkline can smear by accident. I think it's wise to include some factor to account for these occasional costly glitches.
:cool: Rick
Yes Rick, I can do that work in that time -- probably less than 20 minutes. Now, if you want the lines to be parallel, well that costs twice as much. What? You expect no drips?? :rolleyes:

Seriously, I and most other calligraphers have at least fifty colors and kinds of acrylic gouache mixed and ready to go at all times, and pens & brushes are always at hand. It's the calligraphic lifestyle, ya know...

Accidents are another matter. We have that risk in most of our tasks. For work we do proficiently, our normal pricing & profit structure should cover typical waste factors. If the degree of difficulty is such that we might have to do a job more than once, then we should charge for that.

Your points are well taken. It's important to estimate the time accurately -- or at least conservatively, and to account for probable waste.
1)adding extra fabric around the edges of needleart? $5. Got a sewing machine here that I paid $2 for at a garage sale. Muslin scraps. Huge cone of pink cotton thread I got at the same sale for 50 cents.

2)using the attach-ez on non-archival items? May my fingers fall off first

3)mounting items with mylar strips? Preservation mount costs the same for mylar or paste. Each takes about the same time

4)painting french lines and watercolor panels? Not enough...

5)using hand marbled papers? If I don't have to marble them, an extra mat

6)archival lacing of needleart? All ours is, and is tied to size and our shop labor charge

7)increasing rabbet depth? No extra cost... but we really do try not to have to do it.

9)custom toning or finishing frames, fillets, etc.We use the old TLAR method (That Looks About Right)

10)coloring bevels Our price recently went up on this because I ran a time check and discovered that we had been virtually giving this away Now it's about $20 for a 12x16ish opening for instance. Before it had been $5 TLAL (That Looks Awfully Low)

11)printing out poems, titles, etc on the computer in calligraphy to be included in framing? $1 per word

12)cutting down and rejoining the customer's frames? $12

Good thread! I always like to see what others get for these things...
A factor I don't think should be overlooked is how much you like, or dislike, a particular job. This is really important if you work alone.

I really enjoy coloring bevels, so I charge the same as I do for a single v-groove. (Not that crazy about v-grooves, actually.) I dislike shrink-wrapping, so I kept raising the prices for it until I didn't hate it so much.

The last time somebody asked me to frame a latch-hook rug, I told them I don't frame latch-hook rugs. They persisted: "Well, if you DID frame latch-hook rugs, what would you charge?"

"Okay, $10,000."

Word got around, and nobody asks any more.
Thanks for all the responses. I guess I have always used the "eyeball" method, too, but my goal is to have as many prices loaded into my software as possible. I am planning on spending less time in the store for the next few months, and I don't want my employees to have to struggle with what to charge someone. I think it makes us look a little unprofessional.

The problem of course lies in the fact that we are in a small market, so we provide lots of different services but infrequently. For example, because we don't do watercolor panels day in and day out, it takes longer than it should to round everything up, etc. Time studies don't work too well around here!

I think the "perceived value" is an excellent point, and that is exactly where I am heading with this. Even though it might take me a long time to do something, it may price me way over what clients think is fair. On the other hand, if I am the only one doing it, then shouldn't I be able to charge a little more? So how do we determine that?

Ron, with my luck, I would say $10,000, they would take me up an it, and I would STILL manage to spend too much time doing it! :rolleyes:
All the tips are well taken. But i once was told by brian Wolf when he was asked the same question about "What to charge" .He suggested that we do a time study and not fix a price until we become Proficient ( or what we feel is proficient),and not try to charge what he or others do and not use the time we take at first.
The logic is his time and ability are much better than ours as his ability to demand a higher shop fee. next and more relavent is as we profect a given technique we will in all likelyhood become quicker at it. However our ability to be proficient shouldn't detract from what the task and it's risk may envolve.
Conversely as we prefect our skill the worth of the finished work may demand a higher price per the quality ( as is the case with Carveing and Decorateing of mats done by the likes of Mr. Wolf as in comparison to noraml framers like us.LOL)