What Do I Charge?

DaveK

True Grumbler
Joined
Feb 24, 2005
Posts
61
From
Southern Maryland
I am in the process of doing my first real picture frame for someone. Is there a rule of thumb as far as what to charge? I know in some businesses, they say to charge 3 times the total costs incurred. Is this true for framing also? Thanks in Advance
 

Bob Doyle

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Joined
Jul 14, 2002
Posts
19,504
From
South Berwick, Maine
Good god man, you're trying to run a business without a tax number, moulding suppliers, equipment or a plan.

Charge your "customer" $10 and then close down your "business", take some classes, contact SCORE, Get a business plan, and do it right!

If you keep making frames the way you are you will spend your second year fixing all the frames you are about to screw up this year! Save yourself two years of a failing business by getting your act together now!

OK Fellow grumblers you can all yell at ME now for being rude to a newbie!
 

puttyboy

CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2
Joined
Jan 28, 2005
Posts
283
From
minnesota
I'm not going to yell.
DaveK: If you don't even have any equipment to do this type of work why are you bothering? You're putting the proverbial cart before the horse! I hope you can understand why Bob is so annoyed.
I used to teach D-I-Y framing classes and would always, always have people come in that felt this craft would be a breeze to do. Many of them couldn't draw a straight line even with a straight-edge, yet there they were,talking about starting a business in framing and not having any apptitude fo go along with it.
I hope this isn't the case for you, but I also believe you need to let us know what your background is before you start asking for more information.
 

DaveK

True Grumbler
Thread starter
Joined
Feb 24, 2005
Posts
61
From
Southern Maryland
Bob, I AM in the process of getting all the info to start my business. I am doing a frame for a friend, I am not doing it for free, therefore I would like to know if there is a rule of thumb as far as what to charge. I have applied for all the licenses to start a business, like you suggested. I am also planning on taking a class in March in Baltimore through the American Picture Framing Academy. Was I wrong in assuming that finding this forum would help me get answers for my business plan research?
 

Bill Henry-

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Joined
Aug 17, 2002
Posts
20,885
From
Boondock Bowerbank, ME
Business
Retired from the grind
Okay, Bob, we all know you are a flamin’ pinko, tree huggin’, Democratic su’mbitch, but (tempering my words more carefully) you’re right … this time.

Dave:

The subject of pricing is way to complex to do any justice here on this modest little forum. <u>At the very least</>, get hold of a copy of Kistler and Mayfield’s <u>Pricing Custom Framing</u> available at Decor's on-line book store.

You might try a “search” at the top of this forum page and look for pricing under “The Grumble” as well as “Business Issues”. That might help a little but you’ll see for every 10 framers there will be 12 different schemes for pricing – none of them absolutely right or wrong.
 

Framerguy

PFG, Picture Framing God
Joined
Apr 12, 2001
Posts
7,261
From
Destin, Florida
Dave,

First, welcome to the Grumble. There is a wealth of framing information available on this forum for the asking.

And that brings me to your recent posts about breaking into framing. Would you attempt to drive from So. Maryland to visit my shop in Fort Walton Beach, FL without checking a road map for the routes and quickest way to get here? It seems that you are jumping into custom framing in the same manner that you would attempt to drive a thousand miles without any directions on how to find your destination.

Have you done any research at all on actually operating a custom frameshop? Do you have any business management background? Do you know what that tax # that everyone advised you to get in another thread is used for? How are you going to cut mats, moulding, glass, backing, etc. and cost them out to your customers? The time to learn about all this isn't after&nbspyou take in your first frame order!! All of this information should have been researched and gotten one way or another before&nbspthat first retail order. You can't risk losing a single customer because of apparent ignorance of your trade or lack of the most basic of skills to do the work required to satisfy your customer.

I am saying this not to criticize you but to open your thinking so you can understand more than the excitement you are feeling right now about entering a new path in your life. There are certain concepts that one must know before starting most anything. And it is apparent to me that you haven't done all your homework yet and should possibly hold off on taking in retial work until you get a grasp on some of the basic requirements needed to operate a business of any type. And you need to understand what equipment you will be using in the framing business, how to operate that equipment, and what supplies you will need to support your work building frames and cutting mats.

I wish you good luck and hope that you will continue to post questions here on the Grumble as you feel the need. Most of us have already made many of the mistakes that you will be facing so any advice you get here will probably be from first hand experience!

Framerguy

Edit:

It took me much longer to finish this (I had some business for a change!) so much of it seems redundant now that all the other posts are up there. But I don't have any change of feelings about biting off too big a mouthful before you lose your baby teeth and get the permanent ones in and useable!
 

K-Cat

Grumbler
Joined
Dec 8, 2004
Posts
47
From
Rogers, AR
From what I can gather you do not have any supplies for this job? Mats, glazing, etc?
The reason I ask is that it may cost you more than what you should charge for the frame if you were an already set up shop. Meaning you will be in the hole for doing this one job but on the plus side you will have more materials for your next job. If I was your friend I would not want to pay much for your framing - just being honest. If I could get a better product at the same price from an experienced framer than why am I getting a first time job from a friend? If I were you I would not feel good about making my friend pay for my inexperience. Just IMO. I would consider putting off this job until after taking the classes and having a better plan of action about starting this business.
As others have stated - picture framing looks easy but it does take a lot of skill to do it right.
Best to you.
 

framah

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Joined
Mar 15, 2001
Posts
10,151
From
Degobah
Business
death star driver
My personal thoughts on pricing is that as you aren't a professional framer or even a framer of any sort, you, in all good conscience, can't charge your friend anywhere near what we charge for framing. Our costing methods are based on actually having a business with fixed overhead and ALOT of other expenses you don't have as well as actually knowing how to perform the work properly.

How about doubling your materials cost and charge him that. That way you are making a little something for your time and you are also using him as a guinea pig of sorts and maybe learning something and he is getting a bargain job by going to someone who doesn't know how to frame.

I agree with Bob on this. You aren't anywhere near ready to start framing and you will be doing your potential customers as well as yourself a great disservice by proceeding as you are. Doing framing for a few friends and actually framing for the public are two different animals. Everytime you screw up a job or do a poor job for a customer you lessen your chances of actually having a succesful business. Word gets out REAL fast about who does poor work.

If this sounds harsh... well, it's supposed to. You asked us for our advice and this is it.
 

lise

CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2
Joined
Jun 3, 2000
Posts
359
From
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
If you are doing it for a friend, then by all means charge him 4-5 times your cost because as we all know friends and family want to see us do really well in business so they want to pay at least retail. :rolleyes:
 

Jerry Ervin

PFG, Picture Framing God
Joined
Jul 13, 2001
Posts
8,117
From
North Carolina ... The Picture Frame Capital of th
Dave

Welcome to the G!

Hang in there, you'll make it. I think learning things the hard way is a good thing. The lessons learned will stay in your memory longer than if you read about them, or hear it in a class. For your very first paying job, 3 times cost ain't bad.
 

Bob Doyle

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Joined
Jul 14, 2002
Posts
19,504
From
South Berwick, Maine
OK Dave,

Take Bill's NewHampshireLibertarianLeftWingRightWing PatrioticAllAroundGoodGuyFellowGrumbler advice. Do a search of Pricing in this forum. There is no real "rule of thumb" although I do at times wish there was.

My brother the mechanic does have a book rate he can charge per job. That would be handy, unfortunately that would not be Custom.

The search will be helpful as you will see how we argue/discuss this issue amongst ourselves quite often! Come back when you are ready and serious. This forum has been very helpful to me and many others.

I am not trying to stab you in the back, just trying to stop you from doing it for me! This business is built on word of mouth and if you start up with your foot in your mouth then you'll never get your business reputation back. You'll be playing catch up forever.

Save your reputation or you'll never get it back.
 

Jerry Ervin

PFG, Picture Framing God
Joined
Jul 13, 2001
Posts
8,117
From
North Carolina ... The Picture Frame Capital of th
Originally posted by Bob Doyle:
This business is built on word of mouth and if you start up with your foot in your mouth then you'll never get your business reputation back. You'll be playing catch up forever.

Save your reputation or you'll never get it back.
WOW! I didn't know a Democrat could come up with such words of wisdom. I'm impressed.




I love this place.
 

Bob Doyle

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Joined
Jul 14, 2002
Posts
19,504
From
South Berwick, Maine
Originally posted by Jerry Ervin:
All joking aside....


That was a very insightful and powerful statement.
Thanks Jerry, from someone who quotes Forest Gump in his signature line that means a lot to me!

And I love this place too! We may be blunt to each other, we may kid each other, but that is what keeps me coming back. The info and knowledge flows as fast as the insights.
 

wpfay

Comfort Badger
Forum Support Team
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Joined
Sep 1, 2000
Posts
14,827
From
Jacksonville Beach, FL USA
Business
Sunshine Frames
Hi DaveK, and welcome to the grumble. I see you noticed that the name of the forum isn't inexact.

For every formula you come up with to value your work there will be someone that says there is a better method. Remember that in pricing you need to cover your costs including projected overhead. Try to think as if you were a shop owner with rent, utilities, insurance, etc. Then add what you think are good wages for you to receive for such a service (remember, you will be paying all of your self employment taxes as well as your income taxes from this figure). Also figure on a business profit; money you can use to build your business. Finally compare what the job is worth on the open market in your area. Comparison shop what other framers are charging for similar jobs so you don't price yourself out of the market, and so you aren't grossly undervaluing your product.
It's really not as simple a triple-keying your costs, but if you intend to survive and grow in this or any business you must do your due diligence before you officially open your business.

Gosh, you got off to a pretty rough start here. Perhaps there is something about the full moon after all. We're generally a pretty amicable bunch, but , as you will find out if you do a bit of research in the archives, there are some hot-button topics that just draw out defensive responses.
 

Baer Charlton

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Joined
May 24, 2004
Posts
21,029
From
On FB
IMHO, (and welcome to the frey of the G), until you get yourself train and up and running, you may just consider taking the art to another framer, have them do the work and double the price you payed and charge that.

Worse things have and will happen.

Or to save your future reputation, take your friend with you to another framer and help them design a nice frame job. And then you keep them as a friend, and they now know you care about them as a friend, and will look after their interest when you're up and running.

Trust me. You will be their only framer from then on.

Both of these senarios will work, but only one will keep your friend and make a customer for life. Welcome to the G.
 

Elaine

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Joined
Jul 9, 2001
Posts
1,569
From
Skaneateles,NY USA
unless their one of those friends that comes to you expecting to get it cheaper cause' they know you and they won't have to pay full price somewhere else :D had lots of those!

welcome to the G, you will learn a lot, but you will also realize that research is your friend and so are these guys. Sometimes reality sucks, but you might as well have the reality check BEFORE you jump in headfirst or put your foot in the "bum poop" This busy isn't easy


my 2 cents

elaine
 

Janet L

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Joined
Apr 9, 2001
Posts
2,458
From
Clayton, NC, USA
Um, DaveK, if you are really serious about framing something for your friend, I can only hope that it's not something that is valuable. Take the advice of all the above framers. I especially like Baer's suggestion of taking your friend to a custom picture frame shop.
 

Mecianne

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Joined
Jan 7, 2005
Posts
2,229
From
Alabama
Hi DaveK....as I said in a previous answer to one of your posts....ask questions....lots of questions. Don't be afraid of the knives. These folks are overflowing with information. Just don't mention silicone (trust me on this.)
And read...read everything you can get your hands on.
And take a class...at least to learn how to use the equipment(and also do research on equipment!)There is a lot available. Some is necessary, some is a waste of money.
There is a wealth of information here on the Grumble. Don't let them scare you away. Pull the knives out, stick some mylar over the wounds Search old threads & ask new questions.
Good luck!!!
 
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