What do you charge other framers to drymount/chop/etc

Larry Peterson

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Resource Provider
Apr 8, 2003
Wilkes-Barre, PA
A couple of framers in the next town over have asked me about doing work for them.
Neither have a press, chopper or underpinner. They presently have to go about 40 miles to get their stuff drymounted and order all their frames chopped (metals) or joined (woods). I am looking to suggestions on what to charge for:

1. Drymounting per UI excluding or including foamcore.

2. Chopping their length (per cut either metals or woods)

3. Joining their frames (per/corner)

I want to keep a good relationship with these guys and don't want to charge them retail, but I would like to make a buck or two also. Any suggestions on pricing would be appreciated.
I think you need to charge a realistic amount to cover your time, materials and wear and tear on your equipment. When we drymount or cut mats for other framers, we normally charge retail less 10-25% depending on different circumstances. We have never been asked to chop or join frames - given the services our distributors offer, we would probably decline that work.
It's great to help out a fellow framer - but what kind of business are they operating without making any investment in it? Are they in the next town undercutting prices because they don't have any expenses in equipment?
Larry -
We do a 25% discount from our regular retail price for other framers/photographers. If it is an especially difficult job - they only get a 15% discount.
Afterall, they can charge their customer whatever they wish
Both these framers are in the resort town of Jim Thorpe 3 miles up the road from me and pay resort town rents. Both have tiny studios with no room for additional equipment. You could prabably fit 10 of their shops in my store and still have room left over. And the rent the two pay is probably still more than mine ( I have 5200 sf for $1150 a month - we are an antiques store also). Both of their shops in total could prabably fit in one of my workshops alone)

I haven't "shopped" them as I don't want to influence my prices. One of them sells collectibles along with framing and has been in and out of business several times - seems like more of a hobby to him, the other has several local artists displayed in his small gallery and a bunch of premades. Both are nice people and if I can help them I would like to.

I have started to outsource some of my work to a good friend who has a very nice framing business…….he gives me 25 to 30% depending on the job….some jobs I will fit myself and this is reflected in the pricing also if I supply the length moulding this is also reflected in the pricing……I have a very good relationship with this guy we shared a premises a few years ago……..one thing to consider is that I do the drop off and pick up at his workshop…….one up side to that is that he has good parking at his workshop which is becoming a big consideration in parts of Ireland…….

We would describe our pricing arrangement as “Mates Rates”

In the past year I've done maybe 25-30 things for other framers (mostly drymounting and happy to do it) I charge FULL PRICE. Some times I even charge a PIA fee because the jobs are always in a rush.
These people are my competition, let them mark-up the work as they see fit. (And yes we still get along.) If for some reason I need help of another framer I expect to pay full price and will mark up as needed.

I'm not trying to sound calloused (sp?) but why would you give them a discount?

Two editorial observations:

1) My business philosophy states that labor should cover my overhead while material markups should determine my profit.

2) A speaker at a PPFA meeting was emphatic that you can discount materials but never labor.

Since there is no material markup for your

2. Chopping their length (per cut either metals or woods)
3. Joining their frames (per/corner),
I would say that you should charge those guys whatever you are charging your retail customers for those services i.e. full retail price (in our shop, 50¢/ corner for chops and $11.50/ four corners for joins).

But, since there is both material markup (dry mount tissue) AND labor in your

1. Drymounting per UI excluding … foamcore.
you would have to determine each component in the dry mounting process and apply a discount just to the materials part.

For example, our retail cost for Colormount is $0.002675/square inch which we ordinarily mark up x3. You could mark it up only 1-1/2 times and still make a buck.