When the customer gasps at the price...

framinzfun

MGF, Master Grumble Framer
Joined
Aug 28, 2002
Posts
893
Location
eastern pa
I had a customer yesterday (this is a new new new shop, and I value anyone who even looks at the front door of my shop), anyway, when I gave him the price , he sort of hesitated and said, "Oh, OK". He went ahead with the order, but I don't want them to get freaked out by the prices, and continue to get their framing done at Michaels (where the wife said she usually goes). Am I reading too much into this? Usually, after the customer picks up their order, I send a nice thank you card, and include a coupon for their next order, to at least try to get them to come back.

Don't get me wrong, I think my pricing is fair, and I don't want to get in the habit of pity-discounting, I just want to make sure that I don't burn bridges here.

By the way, it's a digital photo (I'll mount with that perfect mount stuff), a single alphamat, reg UV glass, Decor 8694 frame, the whole thing will be about 11x13, and I charged $70.
 
sounds cheap to me
 
You must have not had the pricing class from Jay Goltz. Sticker shock is a guage of how your pricing is perceived. You want a few "How Much?", a couple "OMG!" and occasionally a "No Way!"
As has been said many times by much more savvy businessfolks than I...if everybody likes your pricing, you're not charging enough.
 
I just checked out your web site. What a great shop!!

If the finished size was 11 13, My price on that was about $54.00. wonder what the difference is? The cost of the frame for mine was 16.80.

I still say don't cheapen it by lower the price.
 
Yes, very nice web site. I like your framing examples, with small photos being clickable to get a close-up view. I did that on my site too ( http://www.frameworkscincinnati.com ). Makes the viewer feel as though they are "exploring".
I think your framing price sounds quite reasonable.
:cool: Rick
 
Jennifer.... My price for the frame was $30. Not MY cost, but retail. I usually go off of 3x chop. I generally try to order length, when I can, and when my chopper will cut it, but with shipping charges, and what not, is it really that much cheaper? I don't have the space, or desire, to stock a lot of stuff... so that's out. Anyway, I do remember reading that if you never lose a customer because of price, you're prices are too low....

Thanks everyone.
 
Pricing depends on where you are.

$70.00 for a handmade frame is a good deal.

In my shop that would be over 100.00.

It all depends on where you are and on how the customer perceives your shop.
 
I've recently had so many material price increases that after 30 years in this business I'm at a loss to explain this whole thing to some of my clients. And I can be guilty of pity-discounting sometimes. But when you hear that gasp a couple times in one day it can be a little unnerving.
 
We rarely have an order that is under $100. You will always have someone who gasps at $70 but hopefully you'll also have someone who doesn't bat an eye at $700.
 
Sticker shock is not uncommon to a lot of our customers especially those who have done little or no framing in the past. But as Wally indicated, if no one complains about your costs then your prices are too low.

When they pick it up, if they are pleased with the job, they’ll be back. The coupon and “thank you” notes are a nice touch.

I would have charged $84.40 for the same piece and never even consider that it might be too high.
 
My pricing is closer to jb's than any other. I need to have some wiggle room...find that knocking of a few percent at the sale results in a certain "feel-good".

framinzfun, Jay Goltz does this routine where he asks if the negative reaction "HOW MUCH?" would be any greater or less if you were to raise or lower your pricing by 20%. The point being that some folk are programmed to react no matter what the price.
 
OK, I just found the difference. I was charging lenth. When I priced it for chop, the total was $68.00.

That is something I need to watch for myself. I sometimes become so dependent on the computer that I forget to change to chop when I'm not ordering lenth. I probabaly have really ripped myself off in this area. Mainly because most of what I do is length and on a delivery truck. I forget to keep a watch on those things. I can think of two very small pieces this week alone that I have done that on! Shame on me!!
 
I'm just under $ 80.00 + tax.

Dave Makielski
 
Focus on value, not price. When customers gasp at the price, we review the features of the framing and talk about less-costly alternatives. They hardly ever buy cheaper after they understand what they get for what they pay.

If we allow customers to judge us only on price, they lose, and so do we. Any competitor can cut the price by a few dollars, when value is perceived to be unimportant.
 
Frame price was also $30. Total pkg was $63.

I am actually in the process of slightly raising prices. Haven't done an analysis since before Christmas. We are getting busier everyday (this is our 2nd year). And some smart guy told me once that if someone will pay, say, $63 then they will probably come off of, say, $74. Add up an extra ten bucks or so on every framing job you do in a year. You do the math. I just no I hardy ever get anyone who gasps anymore, so I know I could get more.
 
I have never figured out why the frame job should be more figured on chop price than length or vice versa. The person who buys length should be getting paid for cutting and it seems to me the value should be the same.
 
Originally posted by JPete:
I have never figured out why the frame job should be more figured on chop price than length or vice versa. The person who buys length should be getting paid for cutting and it seems to me the value should be the same.
Precisely! Doesn't make since to charge less and do more work! This has been discussed in detail in the other thread lately about length vrs. chop.
 
<blockquote>kwote:</font><hr />When the customer gasps at the price...</font>[/QUOTE]

</font>
  • Reach into customers pocket/hangbag</font>
  • Remove all Cash</font>
  • Retreat to original postion</font>
  • Look innocent</font>
 
This might just be one possibility but was it your fault? People are perceptive. Almost always when my customers start weirding out about price its becuase they are feeding off my uncomfortableness. It happens less and less every day. If you think that could be a possibility, then I would suggest that you get really comfortable with your prices ASAP. When you are, you will be shocked how the price resisitance will decrease.

Yesterday an artists said "Thats $150 right?" and I responded "Nope with your gallery's discount its $125." She said "Do I hear $100?" and I answered, "I wouldn't do it for $124.99." We both laughted but I wasn't kidding! If I were wishy washy and showed hessitation she would have probaby either got the job for $100 or left or bought it thinking "I should have paid less." Be confident and they will respond in a very well.

Bob Carter suggested I put a mirror behind the customer facing me and watch myself give the price. This will sound weird but I did and it helped! Not to mention when a cutie comes in.....ahh nevermind!

Carry on.

BTW I don't have the mirror there now
 
Originally posted by J Phipps TN:

That is something I need to watch for myself. I sometimes become so dependent on the computer that I forget to change to chop when I'm not ordering lenth. I probabaly have really ripped myself off in this area. Mainly because most of what I do is length and on a delivery truck. I forget to keep a watch on those things. I can think of two very small pieces this week alone that I have done that on! Shame on me!!
Can I ask why you don't charge the chop price for everything and take advantage of the savings when buying length?

That way you never forget to "charge enough". You acn always take a dicount for your customer if you know at the time of sale that you are going to buy length. It gives you a way to offer them that little extra and seal the deal. All while guaranteeing that you have charged enough to meet you objectives.

I know there is a whole other thread on this at the moment.
 
Actually, j Paul, it makes a lot of sense to charge less and do more work; that's exactly why I work at charging less. The inverse also makes sense. You can eventually charge so much that you do no work at all.

JPete, the reason we buy length is to be able to charge less than the chop price, generaly a lot less.

As I've mentioned before, the demand for picture framing is elastic: charge less for it and you'll sell more of it.
 
Yep, thats exactly what I want to do! Work twice as hard for half the money!
 
Not to mention that when you buy length, you cannot buy exactly what you need. Therefore you end up with either a lot of firewood or scraps to make 3"X3" frames. Of course, this is not as big a problem if you buy full boxes...then you only have to consider the carrying costs of the inventory.

I agree whole heartedly that you cannot be squeamish about your prices. If you are not comfortable your customer will easily detect your discomfort. If you give a little they will always think you could have given more.

Dave Makielski
 
Unless you are a Big Box, charging less will not likely up you'r volumn enough to make up for the loss of income. My thoughts anyway. Paul.
 
Paul thats what I told Warren the last few minutes I was visiting with him. I said "Its awesome to see you excelling in a way that people are screaming from the rafters that you can't do."
 
Originally posted by Warren Tucker:
...As I've mentioned before, the demand for picture framing is elastic: charge less for it and you'll sell more of it.
The theory that customers will spend more if the price is lower has been proven beyond reasonable doubt. And I guess it makes sense to conclude that lower prices would encourage them to buy more often, as well.

The theory of lower price = higher sales may be even more effective in an industry like ours, where consumers generally perceive that "framing is expensive". Still, the theory does not apply equally for all of us.

Because most consumers know nothing about framing, their ignorance makes them vulnerable to clever marketing. The reality is that consumers will buy framing where they PERCEIVE the price to be lower, whether or not it is actually lower.

In the central Ohio market, traditional low price competitors were among the first to fail when the bigbox stores came here some years ago. Those framers always operated on slimmer profit margins and depended upon larger volumes of business than some others of us. The theory worked for them in those days. But when the bigbox framers came to town, the low price consumers went there.

When their business volume was pinched by heavily-advertised bigbox framing, their response was to cut prices further. Down they went. I know of two that decided to buy in larger volume to reduce costs. Their failures were trainwrecks. The other low-price framers slowly starved to death.

All of the four competitors in my immediate neighborhood have lower prices than mine, but if I beat the prices of every one of them, my sales would not increase enough to cover the lost profit. How do I know that? I tried it. As it is, my business is smaller than the local M, JA and HL framing departments, but my profit rate is much greater. Not the dollars, just the rate.

If you think the answer to keeping up profits is to reduce costs by buying truckload quantities or pallets, you don't operate in a 1600 square foot box at $20 per SF or more.

Here's a question for you, Warren. How many multi-million dollar companies that sell framing are within three miles of your store?
 
Jay

I think Paul's point is, if you are selling a million units a month @ 10 bucks each and you drop the price to 9, you will not sell enough additional units to make up for the lost dollar on each.

Although, I could be wrong.


You would really work hard if you just framed at cost. Then with your increased volume, you would get deeper discounts saving your customers even more.
 
We have run into the same thing in the photo business. We have our digital prints at .39 each. Firm. Most big boxes are .29 and online you can get them for as little as .19. A few of the other small photo labs dropped their digital price to .29 or lower. They are all closed now. People who are just after cheap will still go to the big boxes, thinking that chains are cheaper.

We also correct and adjust every print that runs thru our machine for optimum color, that helps keep people ok with the higher price. We also expaned our studio and do framing now (duh) to help make up for the loss of film processing, which is why were the only family owned photo store within the area still open.
 
I have two questions:

How much cheaper can you sell a frame if you price the moulding based on length rather than chop and will that SMALL difference be enough to drive more traffic?

My guess is, Not a chance. Unless you can sit on inventory $$$ until the volume catches up to your inventory levels.

Next, How long must you sell items at a lower price to make enough noise to make a difference in the public's perception of your business? "Assuming that you don't have 12 month's worth of funds set asside for very aggressive marketing."

I have, what I beleive is, a fairly reasonable advertising/marketing budget and I could'nt dream of making enough noise to let people now that I am the cheapest everyday, on every item, all the time, and actually be the cheapest for long. That is not to say that I am the most expensive in my market, in fact far from it, but I am competitive in tha areas that I feel I need to be and make my better margine in other ares.
 
Jim, Well, there is a huge Michaels and an AC More. We're eating their lunches, too. I imagine we do twice the business as both of them combined. We're way faster, better and less expensive than they are. And we're not not living on the verge of poverty, either.
 
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