What's a girl to do?

stshof

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I had a new customer come in yesterday carrying a 16 x 20 frame and a 11 x 14 photo. Sold her the mat she wanted, cons. clear glass, mounting and fitting. It was so depressing! :(

The frame was 4 1/2" gold with dark brown/black running through the center. It really looked great. The depressing part? Hobby Lobby, made in China, customer price $20.00!!!

How can I compete with that? Should I start advertising that I will assemble your Hobby Lobby frames? (Just kidding...I think)
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Ron Eggers

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Make sure your glass, mounting and fitting are priced right and you won't have to ever sell another frame.
 

Baer Charlton

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Was the frame wood or plastic?

And yes, you can advertize that you will fit what they can't/won't.

Which begs the question... "why can't/won't they fit what they sell?"
 

stshof

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Originally posted by Baer Charlton:
Was the frame wood or plastic?

And yes, you can advertize that you will fit what they can't/won't.

Which begs the question... "why can't/won't they fit what they sell?"
It was compo over wood - very heavy.

I don't know how you always manage to ask the right question - ;) :D ...here goes! The customer brought it to me because the photo was "personal" (if you know what I mean!) :D :eek:

Seriously, if I have to try to make a living assembling Hobby Lobby frames, I may as well throw in the towel now.
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Jim Miller

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Originally posted by stshof:
...if I have to try to make a living assembling Hobby Lobby frames, I may as well throw in the towel now.
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Don't just throw in the towel. Charge extra for it.

What would be wrong with assembling frames from others? So long as the work is profitable, I'll take it. And believe me, when I assemble another's frame, I make sure it is profitable.
 

framah

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If someone comes in and just wants a mat, I will make a profit on it.

If someone comes in and wants anything out of my store, I will make a profit on it.

You will not always get work in that requires you to sell them a frame. But you should be making a profit no matter what.

Now... if you find that ALL of your customers are coming in with their own frames... you have a serious problem there!!

By the way can you post a copy of the photo for all of us to see?? I promise I won't tell her.
shutup.gif
shutup.gif
 

Lance E

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A simple safety measure when assembling frames of this nature is to take a good photo (or photos) of the frame while the customer is in store. For some reason they only ever notice wee scratches or marks once the job is complete.

As far as I am concerned this is a part of our business, and kwite a profitable part too!
 

stshof

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Originally posted by framah:
Now... if you find that ALL of your customers are coming in with their own frames... you have a serious problem there!!
That's closer to my question. This frame was nice - 4 1/2", compo over wood, heavy, and the corners were finished so the mitre cut didn't show(translate "closed corner" wannabe?) 16 x 20, $20.00!!! That's less than $2 a foot! :eek: Maybe I'm the exception but I don't have anythng in my inventory to compete with that, do you?
shrug.gif
 

FTP

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Red Bank NJ
Least we forget that custom picture framing is a luxury.... If someone brings in another frame from a "discount" store no problem . Hey I love a good bargin too! (understanding that the quality is not comparable) They still came to you to do what the discount store couldnt do. Hooray for that, and quite honestly how many of us if not for being in the industry could walk into a frame shop and order a thosand dollars for framing? Big or small I will take them all!
 

Framerguy

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That is very curious as HL has their own framing department in almost all their stores and they all use Wizards for mat cutting. I would wonder why a simple mat cut and an assembly couldn't be done by them as the frame is on site and they carry a fairly wide selection of paper mats in store?? The customer probably asked for a (insert today's favorite catch word for cotton/alpha cellulose mat) which they don't stock.

Regarding the frame, they are made by the kajillions in China and cost very little in the volume that HL orders at one time. I don't remember any gold closed corner compo frames that sold for $20 but it could have been a closeout. We usually discounted them heavily when they closed the style out just to get them cleared out of the store. The typical HL doesn't have enough wall space or shelf space to display closeouts for long. Almost every running inch of display space is spoken for in the store master layout.

I sure wouldn't pass on the mat cutting, glass, backing, and assembly for that piece though. It probably cost much more than the frame and should have put a few bucks in your pocket. And that IS the name of the game, isn't it??

Framerguy
 

Baer Charlton

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We have a gal who buys <strike>all</strike> ALL of here frames at Pier One Imports.. They always stink and the first thing I do is leave them in the plastic bag, take them home and blow them off in the yard.... filthy filthy filthy.

Then we cut the Alpha mats, mount the art, replace the glass with ConClear and give it that "Special fitting".

She "knows" we give her a special deal because she brings in 6 alike every time. :D

Gosh I hope Pier One never runs out of those crappy frames... they make me so much money.
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Whynot

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I wonder what Chinese manufacturers' real books look like and what happens to their price difference.
Not far from where I live there is a Freight Harbor store full of tools made in China. Occasionally I take a look inside and can't repress my awe at the retail prices in use there.
A 5+ lb small anvil made in China which needed to be shipped somehow from Asia over to the Eastern Coast is yours for only 9 dollars. I know that "you get what you paid for it" but in this case it is a hunk of metal, no different from any similar German or American anvil. Right? All things in there defy the economics the way we know'em.
I can understand lower and higher wages from one place to the next, but raw materials and shipping cost is just about the same everywhere, which makes me suspect that this is a form of economic warfare, sort of US winning the cold war by overspending URSS. Only this time China is sucking in world's manufacturing capacities.
I don't know if you are aware of how Russia took Europe hostage by praying on its dependence on Russian gas and other natural resources. Well, with Russia's firm grip on world's greatest natural resources and China soon to become world's number one manufacturer future looks uncertain.
Being happy to still make a good profit from putting a "final custom touch" to what China is not concerned with (fitting) is just a way of looking at the full part of a fast emptying bottle. With jobs and businesses rapidly moving to China, you'll find less, no more costumers in need for that special fitting job. And this is, I guess, the make of Sue's depression.
 

stshof

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Originally posted by Whynot:
Being happy to still make a good profit from putting a "final custom touch" to what China is not concerned with (fitting) is just a way of looking at the full part of a fast emptying bottle. With jobs and businesses rapidly moving to China, you'll find less, no more costumers in need for that special fitting job. And this is, I guess, the make of Sue's depression. [/b]
Exactly! What I'm depressed about is what is happening to us...When did we change from being a power to be reckoned with to being satisfied with the crumbs? Post after post says be happy with what you can get - sorry, I'm having a hard time accepting that! :confused: :(
 

Framerguy

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I'm not sure when common sense business practices became so "clever"?? You take in whatever will make a profit for your shop. If every minute of the work day is spoken for with customer driven labor then I can see turning this kind of work away. But, unless you are on your feet for 8 hours either writing new jobs or building existing jobs, then I say you need to fill those voids in the work day with work.

If you are sitting on your butt reading the recent posts on the Grumble, how much profit is that making you?? If you make profit on cutting mats and glass and fitting someone else's frame to these items, at least you are still productive and making SOME profit! I will take profit to no profit any day if it comes down to doing this kind of job or spending idle time in the shop.

I am not advocating "being satisfied with the crumbs" or "being happy with what you can get", I am saying fill your work day with work. If there is no time for more work and your work day is filled completely then I don't think anyone would bother to make comments like these.

Bottom line is you are inside that shop for a prescribed number of hours every work day to make as much profit for your business as you can. Why pass up small profit jobs or those which don't fit your comfort range when the alternative is sitting around feeling sorry for the direction we are supposedly heading??

Framerguy
 

GUMBY GCF

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In Memorium

Rest In Peace



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Good business practice!~ If you do fitting for things you sell you know how much to charge. If they did not buy it there you charge more. If you sold prints & someone brings you in a print to frame do you charge more to frame IT? your billable shop time is billable shop time!~ Whether you are fitting mine yours or someone elses. Just be glad she came to you to fit it!~ She could have gone to me or one of the other frame shops.

Oh by the way if you start to get to busy just fitting what others sell your fitting prices are to low raise them!~
 

Sherry Lee

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Framerguy - I agree with you totally!

My comment about Baer being "clever" was facetious. He doesn't want Pier One to run out of "crappy frames" because they are bringing him income (a "clever" business practice....anything to make money!). JUST like you are saying.

You just couldn't hear it in my voice!!
 

Framerguy

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Got it. :cool:

Thanks.

FGII
 

Baer Charlton

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Exactly Sherry, that customer does the volume of framing that she does because she gets it "so cheap".

The frames are about $5-6, but the rag mat, ConClear and "Special" fitting drives each one up another $100... And with the CMC it makes the job of 6 at the same size as long as it takes to wash the glass and chop the mat and backing blanks. And with the two of us... that's about an hour for a $600+payday.

Did I mention that she just drops them off and says "use your own judgement on the mats"?

For us, that means what we have in the bins... scrap bins.

I even experimented with a couple of insert mats... [less than 1/2" under the rabit] and she loved them... didn't even blink at the extra charge.

One of these days we might have to re-stock our scrap bins.... then it might impact our COGs.
 
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