pricing french matting


SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Feb 7, 2001
I have not done much with this recently, but now that I have a substantial order for some french lines & marbeled paper panels, I'm wondering how others out there price their work. In the past I priced mine at a 15 cents per line per united inch, and 75 cents per united inch for a 1/2" panel of marbeled paper. What's the range now? Since I'm still getting paper samples for the order, we have not talked about price yet.
I price the marbled paper panel at about the same price as a second mat. The cost of material isn't so great, but the labor makes up for that. (edit: after re-reading your post, I will have to look into adjusting my pricing for marbled paper application)
The ruled lines seem a bit low considering the amount of time necessary to lay out the design, to mix the inks, and actually do them, esp. if they are of different colors. I charge roughly twice what you do for the first line and drop a bit in price for subsequent lines.

It's a tough call because you really have a hard time doing comparatives on a local level. Not all shop offer this specialty, and the pricing is all over the place.
I have tried to do time studies with multiples, but it's difficult getting more than 15-20 minutes continuous work before being interrupted. I just did 28 mats for another framer in the area and priced it out on expected time/mat using high shop $/hour rates, and I still think that I probably didn't get it right.
Thanks, Wally. I thought my figure on the french lines would be low...I haven't changed the price in 6 years. I think I may add a surcharge on the marbled papers if I pay more than $10.00 per sheet. Some of the nice ones I'm looking at can run $15.00 per sheet or more. I am going to do a few samples and time myself when I can't be interrupted. I'll let you know what I come up with.
I'm not sure I'm following your pricing on line work. If you are charging .15 UI then a 16x20 (that's what I use for my base or min. chg. on such work)= 36 UI x .15 or only 7 1/2cents per lineal inch? That seems way way low to me, even .15 per lineal seems way low to me unless the min. chg. is way up there and the .15 is in addition above a certain size. I'd have to check our pricing but a single line shouldn't be too much less than an average rag mat in my view.
I love doing French Lines and sometimes offer them free to people I know and like as an extra touch. I have a simple policy for french lines when it comes to pricing, charge double for the top mat. This way if you screw it up, you don't loose money to finish the job. Sometimes we loose money in framing but having to pay to finish a job is a sin.
Ok, I've revisited our line and panel pricing, been a while. I'm still happy with the way it works. A line is a little less than a typical rag or alpha type mat. My thinking is that if a customer balks at the price of a double mat they can still dress up a single for a little less and that seems to work well. I think even in Ricks worst case, screwing up, I should still break even on redoing a mat. Anyway I don't think I screw up a line any more often than I (or the Wizard) screws up in the cutting. Panels are twice the price (and in addition to) of a line. I think a panel is more than twice the work but I look at it as an add on. I often do a line or two without a panel but I can't think of a time when I did a panel wthout at least two lines. Ink, mat magic powder included. Customer pays for extra materials like sheets of paper seperately as a rule. Fancy corners are extra.
I know my old prices are too low...I'm trying to get a feel for current pricing. Terry, that frame job is gorgeous!
That frame job is without a doubt, fantastic!

What stands out more, the framing or the pictures?

What is picture framing?

A picture frame is a boarder that is placed around a picture that is intended to force you to look at the picture. Although beautiful, this is an excellent example of over framing an image.

There are exceptions to every rule, of course. Some pictures are framed as accent pieces for an environment, in other words, decorator framing. This is where the environment is more important than the image. If that is the case with Terry's example of exemplary craftsmanship, then it is framed correctly.

I know, I know, I'm an opinionated old man, just felt like getting my two cents in.

John, there is also a school of thought, that we framers are the worst judges, when it comes to over framing...

because that is ALWAYS what we see first, last, and in between. We have to force ourselves to see the art in the framing as others do. Its a curse.
When I go to a museum... all I see is the workmanship of the framer. :D not like thats a bad thing.

Terry, you are humbling.
John is entirely right. And it is a decorative/showpiece. You wouldn't frame your original TK that way, far too distracting. The only other defense I would offer is that I think my photograpy skills are pretty poor. I think it looks much more integrated in person. Here color and contrast are off. And those little embellishments upper rt & lowwer l are 16kt gold leaf that looks nice and soft in person but I photographed with flash and it just glares. On 2nd thought maybe it is the way to frame a TK.