traveling frame shop


CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2
Jul 27, 2002
Wichita Falls, TEXAS
Ya'll this is amazing! I had an epiphany.
Which is why you havent seen me on the grumble lately.

After sitting on my thumb through the Christmas Season almost going insane with bordom, I decided
this is rediculous. I have to do something different.

So I made some flyers and drove to the surrounding towns and passed flyers out to restaurants and antique stores and then randomly on people's cars( I hated doing that part.)

The flyer said "pick up and and delivery of custom picture framing."

Then, Last week I had a break through. I had a lady call me 45 minutes away. So I packed up a few moulding samples and a bunch of specifiers and headed out.

I spent 15$ on gas and came home with $1000.

She indicated that she had 2 jobs. When I left her house I had 5.

And it was such a lovely visit. We listened to classical music and sipped coffee while we went over designs.

This week I have three other appointments lined up out of town.

So this is how it works. I pick up and Deliver on Tuesdays or thursdays. I am in my gallery framing and taking care of business on the other days except Sundays. I even hired an assistant to cover for me while Im out.

Ya'll this is FREEDOM.!!!

I am so excited about this concept of "Go Get em" instead of waiting for them to come to me.

The other really great thing about this is that I get a sense of their style by entering the customer's home. I found it makes designing so much easier.

Am I crazy, or am I crazy?
This definitely is a new concept to framing. I think it's great that you took the initiative to do something different! Good for you!


How far are you willing to travel? How do you determine what or how many samples to take? And with your specifiers, can the customer really determine those are the colors they want for their framing? What are you to do if they don't like what they've selected upon receiving it?

Just curious. I like new and different concepts, especially when they work!

Good Questions.

How far are you willing to travel?
Because I am pretty remote (for Texas) I will travel aproximately 80 miles. I actually like driving and getting out and seeing what others are upto. This is not a bother for me.

How do you determine what or how many samples to take?
When they call me I get an idea of what they are thinking about, then I choose two mouldings that fit their discription and 2 that are wild cards ( that maybe they havent concidered.) I drop them in my satchel and hope for the best. I have a catalogue that I carry with me too, just incase I am all wrong then they can flip through the catalogue and pick something that suites them. ( so far this has worked smoothly).

And with your specifiers, can the customer really determine those are the colors they want for their framing?
I think this is where trust comes in. In my experience, most people dont trust their sense of style so they let me make a judgement call. with the experience that I had last week, the customer had great taste and knew exactly what she wanted. WE agreed on everything and from that we developed a repoir. She picked out a color from the specifier that
matched what she was looking for. Once I got back to the gallery and layed the design out with the actual matt sample, the color was way wrong.
So I called her and suggested that we try another color, "maybe Peanut Butter instead of Taos."
She was easy and let me make that change.

What are you to do if they don't like what they've selected upon receiving it?
I havent come to that problem yet. When/if I cross that bridge, I will let you know what I do.
Well, it isn't such a new idea. I ran The Framing Van for about 15 years, starting in 1981. It worked really well. I had 20x32 1/2" foamboards covered with Velcro fabric for the moulding samples. The mat samples were in a suitcase. Corporations loved it, and it is sooo much easier to design a frame when you can see exactly where it was going to hang. And we met so many lovely people (not that we don't meet lovely ones now...)I really loved doing business that way....
Yeah, we've been doing "on-site consultations" for, well forever. (When you're located so far back that you nearly come out on the other side, you learn to adapt! ;) )

Most of my very best customers have never been to the shop. I cut double thick cardboard pieces (about 12x12) and covered them with carpet to fit a "sample type" box. It will hold about 15-20 frame samples. Then I have another sample case that has a set of matboard corners. Sometimes I take the whole case, and sometimes just selected colors.

However, I've been doing this so long for some folks that they just have me pick up the piece and do "whatever" with it.

I'm excited about "getting cranking" again this year.

I'd say about the fartherest I've been is around 35-40 miles. (But when you consider the # of frame shops per square foot er, mile in East Tennessee, I'd say that's pretty good.)


[ 01-23-2004, 09:52 PM: Message edited by: B. Newman ]
Congrats, Peavy, for taking the initiative to drive your business. (...uh, literally.)

Seriously, there is nothing worse than someone complaining about how slow there business is and they sit in the store waiting for customers to show up. Why wait for your ship to come in? Build the d*** ship and launch it!

Unfortunately most wait for the mysterious ship.

I also had a good deal of success with this very idea some years ago, and we still do it on a limited basis. I found that there are certain people who have little time and much money--and love this type of service. They also have friends and colleagues that you will be referred to if they are well taken care of. Good luck.
Often I make two appointments. First I make a quick trip to look at the space and see the art the customer has. Back at the shop I put together samples, and if I happen to have a print that would fit in splendidly in the (choose a room)I take that along when I go back.

The customers I visit are the customers who remember my name. They also stop in with their friends on the way to lunch across the street...and then the friends remember my name and I get to go to their homes and find art for them.

And they'll tell two friends, and so on, and so on. . .
Peavy, I've had a traveling frameshop for 27 years.

It doesn't travel very far, or very fast, but it's moved a mile west in all that time, in two-block increments.

I don't put my address on my shop stickers.

Seriously, when faced with the prospect of my fifth and most recent move (two blocks west 3-1/2 years ago) I was considering just renting some workshop space somewhere and taking the show on the road.

I didn't do that, but I do set aside a day each week to do on-site consultations, deliveries, instillations, etc. The people who use these services are ecstatic and tend to give me much bigger and better orders than my average.

Just try to protect yourself against driving 90 miles round trip (twice) for a $60 order.