Too small for cmc?

joe

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whitewater,wi.53190 usa
My Christmas rush involved three large multi-opening mats. One is coming back to re-do. What I would have given to have a cmc to do these difficult jobs!

I've been thinking about getting one since I had these hard, time consuming, mat jobs. I know I don't have the volume to justify a cmc but it would have saved me hours in a rushed time of year.

My question is: If one has a small volume such as myself, will a cmc be a financial burdern or will it be an asset to build my business. Last week I was kicking myself for not having one.
 

JudyN

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Montana ( A Tourist runs through it )
I wish I would of had one when I was a really small shop. We have had a CMC for many years now.

The CMC really helps keep the work flow keep moving and fast. Many don't think they need one but I think the CMC helps GROW a business.

Think of it this way: Do you really need that new car... or something that will really grow your business?
 

treeves

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Dec 15, 2004
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SouthEast
I am a one framer shop with an occasional helper. A CMC is like having an expert framer at your side at all times to assist you in the most complicated of multiopening mat jobs.

You are up and running in a matter of minutes to hours cutting up to 6 layers deep and all cuts absolutly perfect. It used to take me up to two years to get someone trained to cut almost any mat, and then they would usually quit. You can have a new person up and running in a matter of minutes cutting perfect mats. They are incredible and equal to at least one or two employees.

The CMC is usually cutting my mats as I cut and clean the glass and is usually through before I finish.

Its a no brainer, get one as soon as possible, I use the wizard, and have the past 21/2 yrs. It is great for a small shop and the latest programs are fantastic......good luck either way.....
 

Littleframer

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Feb 28, 2004
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From
Roswell, GA
Joe,
I am probably the smallest frame shop on here and I have a cmc. I keep it at my houses since no room in the shop for it. I did alot of multiple opening mats for Christmas, A customer called me yesterday. Her family loved the piece I did and they want to order 3 more. Some months it seems like it is not worth it. But, I believe overall it will be. Besides, I lease it and can write it off on my taxes!
 

Finley

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Jul 25, 2003
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Bridgeport, NE
Arguably I have the second smallest shop. A store front I open in the evenings and on weekends in a town of 1600. I decided after much consternation to go for it in October. I haven't been sorry. At this point there is nothing I can't offer my customers. This Christmas a photograph gallery from another town came in and we cut 4 multi opening mats, while she waited, she took them home and sold her artwork as matted. I also did alot of letter mats for Christmas. A cool multi oval frame package. And frankly I don't put off the multi opening stuff I normally would have cut. My overhead is very low and that was my other justification. It will grow your business.
good luck
 

Jay H

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KY
Joe, I’m also a tiny outfit. I know you’re very aware of the benefits that a CMC offers. If your question is “Can my shop afford this” I would find it hard to believe that it can’t.

I rent mine there are plenty of times when I think that maybe I got it prematurely. The slow months make that $250 payment rough.

When I was a kid, we helped dad do mass production in a shop out back. One of the frames we sold had three openings. We cut those a manual cutter. We would do several hundred at a time so I certainly could do without a CMC. But I’m glad (even after making the tough payments) I don’t have to.

I can tell you how I use mine to grow my business! I use rounded corners about half the time. I use either Palisades cut or Roman cut on all old photos. I rarely do a three opening mat with all three openings the same shape. Those almost always get a square-oval-square design.

This isn’t rocket surgery or anything but customers are really noticing these slight design features. They are showing their friends who have never seen rounded corners or noticed how appropriate a Roman cut is on old photos and they are bringing me their stuff.

Entering the slow season I have a few extra corners. I’m thinking about putting a coffee can beside the computer and letting some of the other small shops cut their stuff here for a small fee.

Over all I feel it was a good decision. I have no intention of getting rid of it, if that says anything.
 

BILL WARD

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Mar 25, 2004
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Tampa, FL
For all us us "small" timers out there....I've been kicking the idea of opening a CMC Co-op shop that would be for the small frammers in the area....a dedicated bldg, a dedicated operator, seperate mat storage areas, etc. etc. a LOT of hassel to set up/get running but, I think, a viable idea/format for all of us little guys that simply don't do the vlume to justify the expense....any views on the subject????
bill ward
 

BUDDY

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Sep 16, 1998
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Mandeville,La. USA 130 Blue Heron Dr.
Joe I am a bit late but I seriously suggest that you take the plunge ( no pun intened) and consider a Wizard rental agreement.
Ther are times when you may have a hard time justifieing the expense .However it will indeed give you what amounts to an extra expert mat cutter. This doesn't even mention the bonus you may derive if you can master CAD or if you aquire the Model that has the Merge feature.
However i must admitt i was surprised when i finally read your post. i first thought you where complaining about CUTS that were too small for a CMC.I have encountered this often ,since the blade and drive default limitations do actually prevent some very small cuts from being achived. And as some one else suggested haveing mastered this before the CMC I often don't even use it.However there are some ways to circumvent this problem. And if you master CAD and Merge you can store your designs and simply click on it and restore the design,which in a rush can be a real life saver.
But on a negative note that is also an endorsement you will have aserious competitive disadvantage with out a CMC if you closest competitor has one or has the ability and talent to crank out the fancier cuts when you can't.
BUDDY
 

Julia

CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2
Joined
Feb 11, 2003
Posts
395
From
Portland, Oregon
Happy New Year to all:
I am reading this thread with great interest. Many say that one needs a CMC to grow your business. My question is, how have smaller shops translated the cost of a CMC to getting clients to walk through your door? What percentages of growth have you experienced due solely to the purchase/lease of your CMC?
Regards,
Julia
 

Mike Labbe

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We're a very small shop (2 of us but only 1 person workload) and bought a Wizard last year. It was our best decision to date and has nearly paid off in just 12.5 months. The biggest savings for us have been time and accuracy. It's like having an extra part timer, and will delay the inevitable of having to hire someone. (which will cost as much as buying 2 cmc's EVERY year) Does it bring in extra business? Probably not, but maybe we're not marketing it properly.

We offer some pre-made fancier designs and have examples of special openings in the gallery, but the fact is most people want plain old square openings.

Several POS systems including ours (LifeSaver) export the jobs right to the CMC, so it's pretty seamless and difficult to make an error.

If you're considering it, my advice is go for it. Check out the various CMCs on the market, and consider not only rentals but purchase and leasing. Often the lease price is about the same as the rental, without corner/usage limitations.

We really like our 8000 and are so confident in it that we sold our Esterly Speed Mat 4060 and circle cutter last summer.

ANYONE will be able to cut perfect mats with about 5 minutes of training, because the software is very intuitive. The best part? It doesn't call in sick! :)
Mike
 

printmaker

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356
From
Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada
Originally posted by Julia:
My question is, how have smaller shops translated the cost of a CMC to getting clients to walk through your door? What percentages of growth have you experienced due solely to the purchase/lease of your CMC?
Regards,
Julia
Excellent question(s), Julia?

I am obviously in the minority around here, in that I don't see a CMC as a necessity. If ours was primarily a store-front, retail frame shop, would we acquire one? ... I'm not sure!

Having said that, we purchased a CMC. I was convinced that after conservatively crunching the numbers, we would see a profit and positive return within 3-5 years. It turned out that the machine paid for itself before the second year.

Having said that, although we do custom framing, ours is a business unlike most others on this wonderful site. For us, the CMC pre-empted the possible need to hire an additional employee, and increased productivity so that we were able to take advantage of opportunities which were previously out of our (production) reach.

For some, a CMC can indeed increase customer traffic and sales volume significantly. However, this is certainly not a foregone conclusion. And, I suspect, there are many out there trying to rationalize the expense and desperately trying to recoup losses by the upcharge on the fancy mats they are now capable of producing.

When all is said and done, I suspect your growth will warrant the expense, or not. To blindly acquire an expensive piece of equipment in the hopes of bolstering an already struggling business may not be the ideal way to go.

Best of luck!
 

joe

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whitewater,wi.53190 usa
"We're a very small shop (2 of us but only 1 person workload) and bought a Wizard last year. It was our best decision to date and has nearly paid off in just 12.5 months. The biggest savings for us have been time and accuracy."


Mike what you said is my situation exactly. Savings in time and accuracy. My biggest competitor has closed. There are only two shops in town now. I am getting a lot of new business. I fear that not putting out the very best quality in a short time will hurt my growth. And because I work two jobs time is at a premium.

I understand that some months will be slow and the cmc payments will have to be made. But if my reputation grows for doing great mats then I think it will be worth the cost. I am surprised that all the responses are so very positive. The one thing is that I don't want to get too far behind the technology curve. As I said in my first post I had three multi-opening mats, and if I had a fourth customer walk in with another one I could not have done the job. I don't want to turn down business because of limitations.

One last question: Is there any advantage to signing for a cmc at one of the shows? any deals to be made that way.

Thanks,
Joe
 

Mike Labbe

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Hi Joe

They sometimes have show promotions. I may have misread, but I thought I saw something in the recent Wizard newsletter about a promotional (year end/tax time) lease price thousands below what we paid.

I'm from an IT background, so I may be a bit over-zealous in suggesting technology. We carefully looked at all our options before deciding to make the purchase, and had the money in reserve - just in case. We put it on a 0% credit card (with 1% "cash back") for the first year and have since paid all but 2k of the original amount. After doing the math, the purchase was a better bargain than leasing or renting (in our case and with projected growth figures). It requires some thought and comparison to see what works best for you.

There's a chart comparing prices and features for all the popular CMC's in my tagline, if interested. I did this a year ago when we were shopping for ours.

Mike
 

Emibub

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Centennial, CO, USA
I look forward to having a CMC someday. But, until then I have made arrangements with close by shops who do have them on the occasion when I need something special. Obviously, I pass the cost on to my customer. But, I don't think I am at a disadvantage not having one since I have access to the technology. I would certainly add one on before hiring an employee though.

Here's to business growing in the coming year so we are all swamped enough to need a CMC!
 

Pat Kotnour

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Hastings, MN
Joe, I have a Wizard and have my shop in my home. It is really worth the cost. If they are still doing it, Wizard has a junior program for small shops that gives you smaller amounts of corners and doesn't cost as much as the full program. That is what I have been doing for years and I wouldn't be without it. There are so many things you can do to make it pay for itself that the cost is minimal. Most of the distributors have specials during their shows and you can save quite a bit by signing up then.
 

Mike Labbe

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I was wrong about the sale. I just checked the newsletter and that applies to "Platinum Rental Customers" only. ($10,990)
 

David Knox

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Hillsborough NC
I can't say my CMC has increased business; but it definitely has increased revenues. I charge a flat $18 for any cut besides one rectangle opening (more if it a multiple opening mat with much design time). This year, as well as the last two years, that specialty cut charge paid 95% of my wizard lease amount. The bottom line has been affected without even considering the labor saved or the cost of goods being affected by messing up on a manual cut, and having to reorder/pay for other mats.
 

Maryann

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Shippensburg, PA 17257 USA
We rented a Wizard when we were only a part-time shop. Made the decision at the NY show - the night before we signed up, I don't think I slept all night worrying about the decision. But it's really a win-win. I think we had 60 or 90 days to send it back if it didn't work out. We have never regretted the decision. It is an aid to upselling at the front counter. Never again cringe when someone wants a triple multi-opening mat, you can suggest things at Christmas time that they didn't even think of, a v-groove - no problem! Yes, I think a CMC is more than justified for a small shop. We would not have survived the last several Christmas seasons without one.
 

Julia

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Portland, Oregon
Greetings:
The replies from my post have been very, very informative. I appreciate Joe's response questioning the need for a CMC and his comment at the end of his post "to blindly acquire an expensive piece of equipment in the hopes of bolstering an already struggling business may not be the ideal way to go". What I am hearing is that having a CMC is a "savings in time and accuracy", it's "an aid at upselling at the front counter" and Sherry mentioned it has increased her revenue, all of which reminds me of the saying "work smarter, not harder". I fully understand the need to remain technologically advanced (I remember Rob Markoff discussing this in one of his classes). It seems by acquiring a CMC, most small shops have paid for the machine in one to two years. Another question for the forum: Do you actively advertise that you have a CMC? Does that fact alone bring you new clients? Many thanks,
Julia
 

kbarrett

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Dec 21, 2004
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New York
If smeone were averaging 10 frames per day double matting (hoping to double within a year), would it make sense to do get a cmc, or would most of you continue to do them by hand?
 

JFeig

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based on Jays quote of a $250 pe month payment, thats $57 per week. What amount of time do you think you can save by cutting those 10 double mats per day based on a 5 day week?

The cost of the machine would be about $1.15 per double mat. Is that too much of an investment in a second employee who does not forget to show up or take a 3 hour lunch?
 

Jay H

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KY
I think it was Jay (the other one. Less hasn't rubbed off on me yet) showed where it would be a wise investment if you were doing 20 pieces a week.

Now that I say that, it doesn't sound right. As a matter of fact forget I said anything.

Carry on!
 

pernice

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Aug 23, 2005
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Modesto, CA
CMC

My wife resisted getting a CMC...She would never do without one. It saves time, and money. Many companies offer rental programs. Wizard has one tailored for a small business. I really believe that the designs, the ability to cut multiple mats and shadow boxes along with ovals will set you apart. If you cannot rent one then cut a deal with a shop in your area to use theirs.

My Christmas rush involved three large multi-opening mats. One is coming back to re-do. What I would have given to have a cmc to do these difficult jobs!

I've been thinking about getting one since I had these hard, time consuming, mat jobs. I know I don't have the volume to justify a cmc but it would have saved me hours in a rushed time of year.

My question is: If one has a small volume such as myself, will a cmc be a financial burdern or will it be an asset to build my business. Last week I was kicking myself for not having one.
 
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