Would this be a dope-like move?


PFG, Picture Framing God
Nov 2, 2001
Centennial, CO, USA
I have a customer who is looking for a print by someone called "Ferjo". I have located the art online from many retail sources but don't seem to be able to find where to get it wholesale. In fact, can't even figure out who represents him. I know the customer wants the art and wants me to frame it. But, to speed up the process my thought is instead of telling him where to get it on his own would it be within reason to purchase it myself at retail in order to get the print in my shop so as to expedite the framing process? I know there is always the chance he will pick up his print and go home to think about the framing but then I won't be out anything as I will of course have payment in full before ordering the print.

I hope this question doesn't appear to be not too terribly bright, I do understand you buy things and sell them at a profit. I'm not suggesting to sell things for an equal amount for the love of it or anything. Just thought before somebody jumps in and tells me to get a clue and take some business classes I would throw out that qualifying statement.

I'm just trying to hurry along a sale.....

Thoughts anyone?

[ 10-06-2004, 08:28 PM: Message edited by: Emibub ]
Recently was looking for some humorous golf prints by a guy named Ros Hill. Saw his ad in Decor. Emailed the illustrator, he called me and sold me his work at wholesale because I was a framer. I never even asked. On top of that, he autographed 'em. The three that I purchased for my son, (birthday this month & upcoming Christmas) he personalized them to Paul w/golf advice. The other three that I bought for the shop, sold the day I unpacked 'em.

My point Kathy, is that you should give them your wholesale tax ID number, and they may sell to you at wholesale.
Customer (elderly) orders a print and pays me for print plus shipping. I call the very reputable poster place and they do not have it. I ask them to check the internet and they say they can't. I go home, check the internet and find said poster in 27 different sizes and formats. Since my wholesaler can not order from art.com I go ahead and pay retail (there was no place for wholesale) and make about 3 bucks on the deal. Little old lady is just pleased as punch to get the print (it was a gift for granddaughter) and buys complete framing package from us.

Would I do this again, no, only if I was in a bind.

What's wrong with a little extra Customer Service?? :D
Done it several times. I add a little 'grease' for myself, but the framing usually makes up for it, and I look like a hero!
If I absolutely cannot get something wholesale, I just explain to the customer that I don’t have a “relationship” with the distributor/publisher and that he/she can get it at the same price that I would have to pay. I sometimes even research the items for them and give a web site or phone number so that they can order themselves.

If they insist that I do the ordering, I only tack on a buck or two (never failing to include the shipping!!!). Good PR is often more valuable than a small profit.

I've done this a couple of times this year and ended up with the framing on both jobs. Yes cover your cost plus shipping and tack on a couple of dollars just in case. Worse case scenario, if she doesn't pick out the framing now you have still provided her with great customer service and that's what everyone is looking for nowadays. Someone willing to go that extra step and not complain about, it will come back to you over time.

Langley House Gallery
I agree that only when in a bind will I order at retail to provide the customer with the service. And then make up some or part with the framing. I have done this on a couple of occassions recently.

It is value added service for our customer.

I have spent so much time looking for something for customers to only get the response, "oh, good, now I know where I can get it." I even had a customer come into my shop and ask for a certain print. I walked over to my print bins and found it for her within 30 seconds. Her friend says to her, "Oh, you can get that on the internet!" Talk about feeling discouraged. I got a little braver that day and suggested that instead of the internet they might consider supporting the small brick and mortor stores because we are able to give more customer service.

However, in a scenario such as yours, I would call the customer, let them know you can get the print for them and see if they would like you to order it. They should pay the shipping and handling and you can add a few $$$ to the framing. I would just make sure the customer wanted it first.
Okay, thanks guys. The consensus seems to be it wouldn't be such a bonehead move. I've just never paid retail for an item before. It is a customer who has had a couple things done with me. On his last trip in to pick up his last order he mentioned seeing the art and wanting to know if I was familiar. I told him I would look in to it.

I guess I feel compelled to handle it this way only because I can hurry up the framing if he has to pick the piece up here. If I gave him the info on where to get the print who knows how long he will put it off. I guess I'm angling for a bit of an edge. If it doesn't pan out and he takes the print home unframed I'm not really out anything except a little goodwill.

Thanks for the input everybody.