We all knew this was comming anyway.

Jay H

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Just let me be the first to say "I finally saw it." I was watching TV last night and saw a commercial from Ben Franklin Crafts. They were inviting you to come celebrate their 50th anniversary. For the event they are now officially advertising FREE FRAMING!!!!


That’s right all you have to do is pay for materials (whatever that means). This seems to be a permanent offer. They said “this isn’t a sale, its our new everyday low price”.

These commercials are making framers look one step above a used car salesman. I think for my commercial I’m gonna dress in a monkey suit and scream at the viewers with a megaphone.

As a disclaimer, I want to make it clear that I’m not pouting. We don’t a BF here and the nearest one is about an hour away. But I think this is pathetic. What’s next, “Come and let us pay you to frame!”

This is stupid.
 

Ron Eggers

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If you bring in your own materials, will they complete the order for honest-to-goodness free? I should hope so.

This may be the solution I have been looking for. I have lots of inventory, plenty of people looking for framing and not much time to actually do any framing.

Maybe I can take some moulding, glass, matboard and fomecore to Ben Franklin and have them complete my orders for me. (We DO have a Ben Franklin here, but I haven't noticed any ads yet.)

Thanks, Jay. Now I can go out <strike>drinking</strike> socializing with my friends tonight without feeling guilty.
 

Bob Doyle

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I was thinking I could "outsource" to them and get my customers work done for me!

If all I have to pay for is materials (doing that now) and get the labor and fitting for free, which I think is all they are offering, then I can get a "free" employee out of the deal!
 

Framerguy

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Well, all I have to say is if Ben has to stoop to offering "free" framing, they really must be hurtin' overall in their sales. Using a hook or a loss leader like that is like that used car salesman you alluded to offering free cars and all you pay for is the plastic and steel and wiring and glass to build the vehicle!

Seriously, if you are the least bit intimidated with any outlandish offer that your local neighborhood craft&nbsp store has to offer then you may need to take stock of your self confidence skills and where you are heading with your business. (Jay, this isn't pointed at you or anyone else so don't take personal offense with my comments). Common sense should rule here with those who understand how framing is done and what is required to build a professional frame package. It ain't gonna happen on a regular ongoing basis, no way!!

I would rather worry about something more important like the patterns left in the nap of my carpet after vacuuming or how many insects are inhabiting my back yard at any given moment. Now those are important issues!

Framerguy
 

Ron Eggers

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I don't think Jay sounded intimidated.

Bob, you're brilliant. Why didn't I think of that?
thumbsup.gif


FramerGuy, you said "loss leader." Now you're gonna be hearing from Bob Carter.
 

FrameMakers

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For once it doesn't effect me. We don't have BF's it the Columbus market.
If you have to pay for materials then how is it free? Is it just free labor? This smells fishy but it might work. I would hope that people would be able to spot the gimmick.
 

Jay H

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It was funny how they mentioned "Free Framing" about 4 times before the very quick insert of "allyoupayforismaterials" then they mentioned "Free Framing" about 4 more times.

I hope they spend all day dealing with garage sale shoppers explaining why the materials still cost $140.
 

wpfay

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Michael's has used the same hook in the past...nothing new. What they are basically doing is discounting the fitting charge. So you still pay full price (or more) for all the parts.

It all comes back to the lack of consistency in the lexicon of the business. As long as advertisers are free to make the language suit their needs, the public will be willingly led.

Years ago a coworker of my wife came in the shop and asked if I would match the "free framing" offer from the local Michaels. After I got her to elaborate, I found out just what the phrase meant. I suggested that she get a written quote from the both of us and compare the bottom line. She reacted as if I had asked her to eat a cat (oops, wrong thread).
So would the buying public be happier being duped and believing that they are getting a better deal, or actually buy the service that is a better value? Does the "free" make them feel as if they are winners? Moreover will they forgo due diligence in order to accept perceived value?
 

Dave

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Love the idea of outsourcing, but think of all the re-does...it'd be more work than doing it in-house in the first place.

"Free Framing"...is that like the "Free Chocolate" someone suggested for signage?

I usually wrap a frame job when it's done...not bound and gag it!

It's Saturday, sunny and 75 degrees out...I've got spring fever and get out of the shop in a couple hours to my barbie (an inanimate domed object that's easily heated up)...forgive my crazy warped humour, but it has been one heck of a week getting work out, filing tax extensions, etc.

Believe me...I am ready to "Free Dave"!

Have a great weekend all...
icon21.gif


Dave Makielski
 

JFeig

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What about the cooking sprays (oil) that profess to be "FAT FREE".

When you look at the serving size (1/2 - 1 gm) and the fat per gram for oil ............. the answer is less than 1 gm.........and anything less than 1 gram doesn't have to be counted.....per FDA labeling guidelines for packaged food.
 

K-Cat

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Hobby Lobby is not much different in how they offer their services. It's nothing new. Personally, I have never liked it when a company gave a free offer with strings attached. I don't think to highly of any business that would try to fool me this way.
Oh well.....
 

Emibub

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Yikes, that is how LeeWards advertised their framing 20 years ago when they first added frame shops. I had daily discussions with customers on the subject. It was not a good way to introduce framing to their customers, very negative having to argue with them. I used to think it takes a real dope to think they could bring something in and we would frame it for free. But a handful of those dopes put up enough of a stink and got their framing done completely for free.

Thankfully, they dropped the campaign after a year. Although they had put coupons on all their needlework kits telling people to bring it on back and we will frame it for free........so we still got them in from time to time.

The general public as a whole is not very aware and easily convinced, I don't see this being a very positive campaign for Ben Franklin.
 

BUDDY

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Tom and all who are wondering about Ben Franklins ,I may be very lucky but I think Tom has it right on the head.

I am lucky because there are two JoAnns here in my immediate area and neither does framing,and in all honesty I truly thought Ben Franklins were on the way out if not gone already.

I used to have one located just two blocks from my shop. It went down hill quickly and then folded. I also heard from an accquaintance that managed a Franchised BF that they were being absorbed by some other chain (which I can't remmber their name) .

So when I hear all of you say they are still around and they are offering that "FREE FRAMING" ploy I am convinced Tom ( Framerguy)couldn't be more correct.

Or maybe I am just too dumb to keep trying to make a go of Framing where the EXPERTS have failed or won't try.

What was the tilte of that old song Charles "FOOLS RUSH IN WHERE WISEMEN FEAR TO TREAD" or something like that. But then how wise is it to believe that a business will give their labor away with no way of recouping their cost ( employees don't work for FREE .or do they?)? So maybe I am not the only one being foolish,and we may need to point things out to consumers who believe in a free meal ticket .
BUDDY
 

BFoley

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Years ago I did some part time work at a BF and they offered the same deal. As you guessed the labor was free but you payed for the materials. Alot of customers were obviously confused. BF thinking was to make a quick sale because most customers are not aware of what true custom framing is.

So dont feel intimidated by any ads that you see that use this ploy. If you have someone that comes to your shop that has had a bad experience, take it appon yourself to educate them on what framing really is. You just might have made a loyal new customer.
 

HannaFate

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I bet that free framing is worth every penny you pay for it, too.

The BF here did such quality work that, all over town, if a framer sees their sticker on the back of something brought in to re-do, they cringe. (It closed several years ago)
 

Bob Carter

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Hi Ron-I'll bet that Tom knows the speech by heart by now

But suppose, you go to buy a new car and the sticker lists all the materials (like we all do) and then adds the Labor/Fitting charge on the botom (like we all do). Talk about Sticker Shock. What do you think the labor component is on a new car with Union UAW workers wages?

Perhaps we ought to all "waive" fitting charges and simply add $1 or so to each component and just offer a flat Total Price?

The biggest problem I see with this promo is that it attracts to many of the "wrong" types of customers. You just know that someone will bring something in and expect that it wiil all be dome for free.

Then, you spend the next 10 minutes trying, vainly, to explain what the ad meant.

When you have to explain it, it is a lousy ad
 

JRB

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Bob, I never break my prices down during a sales presentation unless my customer asks me to. The only price we quote is the completed job price, not counting sales tax. I have found this approach to be a lot easier for the customer to understand and makes for a much comfortable conclusion to the sale for everyone.

I remember years ago when my brother was a sales rep for the San Diego Union/Tribune newspaper. I asked him to give me a quote for a two column by four inch ad to be run twice a week.

He started out with the basic price per column inch in the Metro area, but if I wanted to run in more areas, the price would change, depending on the area. The next thing was if I wanted color and how that could affect my cost. Next was artwork and set up fees, followed by how much I would save if I ran more frequently.

This went on and on and on. I finally stopped him and said, Larry, just give me the price for a four inch ad, in black and white, to be run twice a week. All that did was start the process over again, would the ad be running in the Sunday paper, what section, what areas, etc.? This kept going on and on for over an hour and I still had not gotten a price for my basic question, HOW MUCH?

I had framing to get out and my temper was wearing thin, so I said to him, Larry, do you want to sell me an ad or not? He said of course he did, I said how much will it cost me? I pointed out that I had asked that question an hour earlier and would he PLEASE answer the question, so that I could make a decision and be done with it.

I swear to God, this is all true. He looked at me and said that by running in three or more areas I would be saving X number of dollars per ad if I ran X number of times per month. If I increased my ad size by just four inches, I could increase my savings even more.

That was it, I blew up, Larry are you going to give me a %x*#@& price or not? He started to ask more questions and I stopped him with, NEVER MIND, I don't want an ad after all, I have work to do, you will not give me a price, I will not buy an ad, see ya!

The moral to all this is just keep it simple, all they want is the finished price. If you start breaking down every little detail it's just going to add to the confusion.

John
 

Baer Charlton

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The only problem I have with BF charging $0 for fitting, is that once again we start down that same slippery slope that happened in the mid 70s.

Someone started in with the $1 labor for any custom frame job....

Pretty soon the general perception was that ANY labor was worth $1. Frame restoration: $1, Fitting: $1, 48 opening mat with different colored fillets: $1.

Tune my car: $1? Brain surgery $1? Fix my broken water heater: $1? I don't think so. So why would a large company advertise that their fitting isn't worth paying for?

It's kind of like advertizing that you're a discount house, but do museum quality work?? :eek: ?

It is mearly a corperate dunderhead who thinks that the little people in the stores are being overpaid.... mmmmm

It reminds me of a VERY successful mens store in North Hollywood, CA, named Dorman Winthrop.
As you start up the stairs to where the 5,000 suits are, there is a small descreet sign.

WANTED 35 TAILORS WILLING TO WORK FOR FREE.

Then it went on to explain that when you recieve "free" tailoring on a suit, the cost is actually already embedded in the suit cost. They take the average heavily reworked suit and apply that charge into the suit.

So if you need cuffs, sleeves, waist, shoulders, vent and collar reworked, you do well.... but that poor sole that only needs his cuffs done, gets the shaft.

I think that it would be fun to adjust "shop labor $$" to fit the client. ie when the machanic comes in my shop rate jumps to $70/hr, plumber: $85, surgeon: $750/hr . . . teacher: $5/hr.

That way the right peope get the right discount...
thumbsup.gif
 

Whynot

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It isn't important if or how profitable BF's framing would be. This ad is in fact aiming at diminishing custom framer's role and expertise to a puny, dispensable value and this is something you don't wanna see taking roots in people's mind.
In your facing BB's threat you don't want your service appear meaningless and this is exactly what that ad appears to be all about. It is a very dirty blow and you are just missing the point by making fun of it or discussing its ingredients
 

David Waldmann

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Originally posted by Baer Charlton:
I think that it would be fun to adjust "shop labor $$" to fit the client. ie when the machanic comes in my shop rate jumps to $70/hr, plumber: $85, surgeon: $750/hr . . . teacher: $5/hr.
In Vermont, the average teacher makes quite a bit more than the average mechanic or plumber.
 

ahohen

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How about pharmacy that says "I got some good news for ya and some bad... we offer "50% discounts on all prescriptions" BUTT, instead of a hundred pills in a bottle you only get 50!!

Or how about that Russian commedian (Yokoff [spelling?]) "If i am elected President I will control the high cost of gasoline... I will order all the gas stations to charge by the QUART instead of by the GALLON!

LOL.....
 

shopmonkey cpf

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i think i like the idea of pricing the job with the labor charges built in. that way you could, say, more easily figure the cost of a fillet, or rabbet sealing tape, or joining that particularly problematic profile (sorry about the alliteration
shutup.gif
)...hmmmm?
 

Ron Eggers

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Aren't MOST of our labor charges built-in?

Do any of you charge separately for the moulding and the cutting and joining thereof?

The matboard and the mat-cutting?

Even the fitting charges typically include the materials and hardware.

To remove the fitting charge and then say you're charging only for materials would be highly deceptive.
 

treeves

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I'm not sure just what free framing means, please someone close to a Ben Franklin, stop in and ck out the pricing on materials only.
Any frame shop could reduce the cost of framing to individual material cost, by assigning their overhead to materials, and then offer free framing. No matter what they say, they still have much of the same overhead, in many instances more, than an average frame shop....


Personally think its just a promotional gimmick designed to reduce any competition in the general area of the store, and after the competition is gone, then they are free to do whatever they want.

Walmart has done this forever, running out all the retailers in their area, they want no competition, and I mean NO one left standing that competes with any of their products....JMHO
 

Jim Miller

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I don't mind aggressive business promotions and I respect worthy competition, but that's a deceptive offer. If any competitor in my market tried to offer "free framing", I would make trouble.

Their free "framing" includes only labor. If the dictionary definition of "framing" includes anything other than labor, then I would:

A. Write a certified letter to the company's highest officer involved, demanding that they stop the deceptive advertising.

B. That probably wouldn't work, so the next step would be to make a formal protest to the local BBB. They establish standards for advertising, encourage compliance, and keep a record of deceptive practices. When consumers call for a rating of the company, they would be informed.

C. I would contact the local and state business licensing agencies. They disapprove of deceptive practices, too.

Action like this might not solve the problem, but it would at least draw unfavorable attention to it.
 

Edward Barr

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To be sure, it's hard to figure out Michael's pricing.

One of our suppliers (who also supplies Michael's) recently warned us about an upcoming Michael's promotion:
Buy 1 custom frame - 50% off
Buy 2 custom frames -60% off each one
Buy 3 custom frames -70% off each one

Check my math:

1 frame @ $200.00 is $100.00
2 frames @$200.00 are $80.00 ea. = $160.00 for 2
3 frames @$200.00 are $60.00 ea. = $180.00 for 3

The 3rd $200.00 frame only costs me $20.00 extra? Where do I sign up?

Does this make any sense? It does not! Unless, of course, the pricing is "funny" to start.

To illustrate: During another recent Michael's sale, a potential client showed up with a Michael's quote that he wanted us to match. At 50% off, their price was $400.00 and included the usual poor design... 2" double mat with a 1" frame on a 24"x36" piece of art. Our full price
including our typically great (really!) design was $470.00! So their poorly designed project was regularly $800.00? Somehow I don't think so.

Yet they run these promotions virtually every week. Amazing.

Even more amazing, we didn't get the sale! This potential customer would rather drive across town, wait in line with everyone else for God knows how long, and accept poor design and quality, all to save $70.00.

I honestly shake my head sometimes.

Ed in Ottawa, Canada
 

wpfay

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Ed, What kept you from framing it like Michael's would have, making a note on the back that the design work had been done by Michael's and taking the $400.00? The person was obviously happy enough to spend the $400.00 for the design, and at that point was going to anyway. Was there some great sense of satisfaction in seeing them drive off and spend their money elsewhere?
Sounds like a lose/lose to me. You lost a sale, and you lost a customer. You could bring them up to speeed on your excellent designs later.

Sh*t, now I'm beginning to sound like Bob.
 

Jay H

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Again, I love little town USA. We don't have to address Michaels and the like. But I can tell you that a 24x36 priced out at $470 here would look like a million bucks!

At least their recept didn't say "free".
 

D_Derbonne

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I was wondering the same thing, Wally.

Why not quote a price for the same or similar design?
That would be what the customer came into the shop for in the first place. The customer may have really like that design and we aren't here to impose our taste on the customer.
I'll frame it the way they want it as long as they pay for it!

I guess that Bob's advice is registering on some of us anyway.
 

Edward Barr

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As it happens, Cliff & Wally, the customer wanted to "check" with his wife. Sometimes that is code for "Get the **** out of Dodge". As for matching the design, what if it's really, really, really bad design? In this case, we present the much better design at the slightly higher price, explain the "weird" factor with the Michael's pricing and let the customer decide at their home if that's what they want.

We have occasionally done poor design if that's what the customer DEMANDS, but I don't enjoy it and we all feel a little strange putting our name on the back.

FYI Jay: We're talking Canadian dollars here. Remember that it's funny coloured and doesn't go quite as far as a US Buck.
 

Jay H

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Bucks of anytype aren't going very far these days. Gotten gas lately?
 

Bob Carter

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Well, dadgummed, that does sound like my advice, doesn't it?

But, what about Phase Two of the same sales presentation?

How, about saying "You bet, I'll match that price in a heartbeat. But, starting with that $400 price, may I show you what I might suggest?"

And, if your design is really better or your selling skills are better (things we tell each other in which we excel), wouldn't it be easy to sell thm up to $470 real quickly?

And if we go from a 2" mat to a 4" mat, it probably didn't cost you anymore. I mean a full sheet of mat is still a full sheet.

Then you dazzle them with your ability and probably captured that client. But, the minute that your door hit them on the backside, you lost them forever.

Even in Canadian bucks, that is a sale we would not have lost
 

wpfay

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...and that's where buying smart allows you more flexibility. (We're slow, but by the time we grow up and we get hit with the "retail" stick enough times, it begins to sink in.)

Ed, ah ha, the rest of the story. They were going to walk anyway? Or did they just not buy your pitch? It honestly sounded as if you didn't offer an option for comparison, just your design at your price. Even with the C$ vs US$ I would think that there are a goodly number of options that would make the guy happy both aesthetically and financially.

Reason for the 2" mat is that Michaels doesn't go oversize (last I heard), so with a 36" poster you can only get 2" of matting (unless you creatively cover a bit more of the image ie. framercropping).
 

Jerry Ervin

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What the customer may have been looking for was a little cheaper price. You may have slid into home plate with a $360 quote, saving him 40 bucks, and been the home run hero.


You can always sell a Cadillac to a Cadillac customer. Some customers look for Yugos. You will never ever sell a Cadillac to a Yugo customer.

I love it when a customer walks in with a quote from anybody. You instantly find out what the buying objection was to the previous framer. My first question to them is, "Did you like the design that Framer X presented?", if the answer is yes then, "Did you object to the price?".
 
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