Question about prices (visibility)


CGF, Certified Grumble Framer
Oct 21, 2005
One thing I have noticed when going to other frame shops in the area is that NONE of them have thier prices per foot listed on the frame samples. I am not sure why this makes me suspicious, but I do know that I have worked at least one place that changed frame prices during 50% off sale times.

I know that frame prices fluctuate throughout the year and it's a pain to replace tags with pricing on them/etc but we find that pricing them from 6.00-6.99 (etc) is a good way to keep from having to replace the tags. If a customer asks the exact price, I just click the moulding database and give it to them.

I know why many frame shops do not display the pricing on the frames: to keep customers from grabbing one and saying "I'll take this one" based solely on the price-but I find that doesn't really happen to us. Sure there are always the customers that want the cheapest frame, but they just ask me to get it, they don't even look through the frames.

I find that our customers (even new ones) get somewhat IRATE when they don't find a price on a frame. We tried it for a while during a price change before we switched to this method of labeling.

My question is- Do you display the price per foot on your frame samples? And if you do or don't is there a specific reason that I haven't mentioned?
I have never heard of a shop putting prices on the frame samples, other than a friend in Nebraska. Is that common in the midwest?

What happens to these shops when there's a periodic price increase or a temporary adjustment (fuel surcharge, etc)?

Everyone will have their own ways, and i'm sure they all get the job done, but we try to put as little as possible on the samples.
Most are void of prices, item numbers, and brand names. Ours have a barcode on the back, which identifies the sample to the POS system. When the manufacturers make a price adjustment, Lifesaver changes it within a day and theres no need to re-label the sample. (the barcode tracks only the item #, the database tracks the rest)

Come to think of it, we do have price per foot on the finished corner samples. They came through this way from the vendor (AMCI).

Now I'm curious to hear more folks answer your question. Is it common to put prices on the samples?

Why or why not?

This may make a good poll topic in the future, if its a common practice.
Is that common in the midwest?
I put prices on my samples in 1977 - when I had 33 samples and the mouldings were all in stock.

Since, then, I've used a unique 4-digit numeral that references the moulding database in the POS.* That database has the moulding name, the source(s), the width, the rabbit depth, the chop and length costs, the retail price, the inventory status (or chop availability), the location of the sample and the last time the moulding was used. I couldn't fit that on the 1/2" labels.

Aside from the logistics involved in relabeling 3,000 samples once or twice each year in a timely fashion, the retail price per foot doesn't mean a thing to most customers. Most of them think a 12"x12" frame takes two feet of moulding. (The more sophisticated think it takes four feet.)

I quote only prices for the finished frame - not the price per foot. They're not buying length moulding from me.

If they are price shopping only, there's an OEM flat black #11 metal in plain view.

*On further reflection, there may have been a brief period after 1977 when there was no computer and no POS. I believe the first business computer system I priced out was on the order of $85,000 so I waited a few more years.

In the meantime I used reference charts.
We put the prices on the samples when we opened up eight years ago. Six months later, we had a POS and the prices came off. Never had a customer upset about it. I would be upset if I had to spend the time updating frame samples every couple of months.
No, never done it.

I've worked in shops in CA, KS, TX, MS and GA- I've never seen prices on the sample. Bar codes, yes. Unique id#'s to a POS, yes.
So, maybe not a midwest thing?

Now, the customers sometimes think the little stickers used for row # and place are the price. A customer estimated a price with this place sticker once; they had figured a 3" wide yummy gold frame was 3.00 a foot, based on being in row 3. That ruined it- they couldn't get over how much it really cost!!

That's been a long while- I don't remember the last time a customer didn't ask for assistance in choosing a more inexpensive frame.
price codes on a moulding samples and or actual prices is a BC thing. BC = before computers ;)

LJ has a price averaging system with leter codes (see page 48 of their price list). An example of this is chop price $1.30-$1.51 pe ft = Code "F"

with the advent of computerized POS systems it is a lot easier not to price the individual samples.
It is also for the fact that a computer usually does not make any calculation mistakes or marking mistakes in the pricing of the individual samples.

Now is that sample $4.50 a foot or $5.40 a foot?
We never put prices on our samples either. It was a pain enough to change our moulding prices when a vendor had an increase, so as a result it only happened every six months (okay, every year if we were lucky). I can't imagine changing the prices on each sample. Bless you SpecialtySoft.
I've never had this be an issue with the customer before.
Looks like I’m one of the few of us who do place prices on the corners.

My pricing is done on a spreadsheet. Once I get a new wholesale price increase, I redo my retail pricing, then copy the new retail price to a database and print them out on 1/2” by 1-3/4” address labels.

I can switch out roughly 400 new labels in two hours. It’s a PITA, but, in some ways, I enjoy the mindless activity.

Most of our customers don’t look at the back of the corner samples, but the few who do seem to appreciate being able to compare prices.
When I first started in the business I too had prices on the back of samples. In fact, I had them that way up until a few years ago when I got the POS system.

In the past, companies would adjust prices about once a year. It seems now some companies have a new price list every couple of months. Some of that is new products coming out faster, then there is the rising cost and inflation.

Thank God for FrameReady!
It's a New York thing too. I bought my shop in 1997, the owner put the prices on the back.

I hated it.

Got Lifesaver in early 2000, and never looked back. There are still some samples that have the 1999 price on the back. Between increases in cost and redoing my markup (took Jay's class on pricing) it is funny to see some of those really old prices.
I worked in a shop that did it but they didn't have computers.

In all the time I worked there they never raised prices and I could not see how if ever they received updates.

They are still in business but I don't know how.
weuse LJs letter codes with coding ranging from K up to Q, those Qs for the larger profiles. Then if someone doesn't like the price of an M we can go down to an L or some such.

No one seems to mind
In the early 70s I used a letter code that made LJ look like Pixie dust. "a" through "ZM". Yes, case sensitive.

In the late 60s, in the shop I learned in, the moulding was priced by the foot... all six profiles. The prices didn't varey the entire 5 years I worked there... neither did the price of gas... :D
Until I got a computer, I used to have the prices on the backs of the samples, and some of the samples actually had little pits in them from scraping off the old prices to update them periodically.
Of course back then we hadn't gone to velcro for hanging them yet either, and the samples hung on little brads sticking out of the burlap-covered walls at a slight upward angle. Every time we got new samples or had to rearrange them for whatever reason, tapping in the new brads would cause other samples to fall. The whole process was a huge PITA.
The other reason not to mark the prices per foot is that the customer can't conceive of the relationship of that number to the overall price of the job. It complicates the whole process of design if you have to explain the arcane mechanics of pricing as they try to decide based on cost per foot rather than what looks best.
Originally posted by Maryann:
We put the prices on the samples when we opened up eight years ago. Six months later, we had a POS and the prices came off. Never had a customer upset about it. I would be upset if I had to spend the time updating frame samples every couple of months.
The point I was making is that we put a price range on the frame to show a dollar range. We don't have to change them very often at all this way (once every couple years)

We find that customers get very agitated if we don't price the frames, because for some reason they assume that we are lying about cost even if we show them the prices in the database.

We have computers to show the prices, but I find that the customers really like knowing the price up front, rather than waiting for it to be spelled out after we price out the order.

Most of our customers understand footage too.

Of the 7 frame shops I have 'snooped out' in the past, only 1 had prices on the framing samples and the rest were really really really hiking the prices on thier moulding.