Would you charge for this?

Paul N

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Jun 10, 2005
CT, not far from the LI Sound
A few days ago a woman called and explained that when she bought a mirror from our store, we helped her hang it (she bought it 2-3 years ago from the previous owner of the store). Now she would like us to move it to another room.

It is a big, heavy mirror and requires 2 employees to handle / hang it. It would require about 1/2 hour of work, including travel time.

Would you do this as a freebie or charge for this service?

PS: She is in town and not far away.
Short Version: Charge for it.

Long Version: I'd doubt that she expects it for free and probably mentioned that you helped her hang it as a opening to asking you to move it. We charge for the service most times with the exception being when someone has purchased one of our high end serigraphs or really high end frames. Like the guy who came in today and had his rat pack poster framed in 3" wide mahogany with a gold fillet for $800 - he's getting it delivered and hung and I may wash any dirty dishes that are in his sink and shovel his drive while I'm at it. However, in the situation you describe we charge and it's expected. We've learned to charge by the hour, not a flat charge for showing up for, say, the mirror, because once they get you there other things that need hanging tend to pop up.
If she had bought it since you owned the shop what would you do?

Is this a normal service you do and charge for? If not are you insured to go into someoens house and start banging?

Has she bought more/other pieces from you?

These and other questions come to mind.

Does she EXPECT you do to it for free? If so, and it isn't a normal part of your business, run. You can't win. If you charge her you're a bad guy, if you don't, well you weren't expected to.

If it is a normal service, but the "old" owner didn't chare, try soemthing like a $100 charge, which comes with a gift certificate for $100 toward their next custom frame job.

I am sure there are other factors you haven't had time ti tell us yet.
I don't understand the "we helped her hang it" bit.

If she bought it from the old owner and THEY
helped her hang it - then this is a new customer -unless she has become one of yours since.

If you can do it easily, one day when you are passing, then maybe you could do it as a lost leader.

You've met her, what's the impression - will she come back?

Being a mirror, then ON REFLECTION she just may!
Yes, I would charge her.

Heck, I would be charging her to move it even if I sold it to her originally.
This reminds me of a story.... A few years back, my husband and I bought a big computer cabinet from a local furniture guy... we buy a lot of stuff from this guy... anyway, when we moved, we couldn't get this cabinet down the steps... not without either killing each other or getting a divorce, so we called the guy we bought it from to see if he could help us (they got it up there for us in the first place)... Long story short, he agreed to help us and got it down the steps in one shot (I still don't know how) and didn't charge us for it. We still buy from this guy, and the way I look at it, it was excellent marketing on his part, it took about an hour out of his day, and we recommend his shop to everyone we know.
My opinion... don't charge, and if you do, I like the gift certificate in return idea.
How about this? Would you charge for it?
Woman brings b/w photos in that were framed 67 years ago by the previous owners. She shows employee spots on the photos where she thinks that they look "dirty" . She said that it happened after her husband dry walled the room where the photos were hanging. My employee (who happens to have a degree in photography) tells here that it looks like the photos are discolored. She asks him to please take it apart and check.

We take it apart - the photos are definitely discolored in some areas. I call her and tell her that it doesn't have anything to do with the framing or the drywall and suggest that she take the prints back to the original photographer and get reprints.

We put it all back together, wap it up and it's waiting for her. I didn't charge anyhing - figure that it's good will and hopefully she come back for more framing. But we seem to ge an awful lot of this type of thing.

Previous owners told us that in 15 years they had never had anything returned. We have had at least one of their items ecome back every month for repair. Stuff falling down in shadow boxes. Needlework coming loose, frame corner coming apart. We've lost a lot of "their" customers since we took over and I don't want to lose anymore by saying "we didn't do it, so we don't repair it. We owe the previous owners some money and I have considered writing a bill and sending it to them for the work, but not sure that I am up for the fight.

Thanks all for the feedback and great ideas.

I think the best compromise here is to charge and offer the gift certificate for $100 toward their next custom frame job.

I was inclined to do it free of charge, but if other friends of hers/ customers hear about this, where do you draw the line!
I delivered a framed photo to my new doctor today. My predessesor had replaced the frame that was originally done by him. A triple suede mat, he had colored the bevel(maybe with a sharpie pen?) and it had faded badly. When I took over the shop (18 days ago!) it still needed to be fitted, he didn't mention replacing the mat, just that it needed to be closed up. The mat looked awful, so I took the liberty of replacing it - no charge. She was grateful, and said he had done several more for her ($800 worth!) and all the bevels looked like that one and she hated them. I told her to bring them back to me and I would replace them at no charge. She said that wasn't fair to me, of course she would pay for them. But I figure it this way...those frames all have "my" sticker on the back, whether he did the jobs or not, and I feel responsible for correcting them. She said she had decided not to bring him any more framing to do, but since I had replaced that mat, she has a lot more framing to do and will bring them in. Then she handed me a check for the one I brought in, and said that doesn't happen very often, you go to your doctor and you get money! It's those little things that people appreciate and will keep coming back because of.
When you buy an existing business you also buy it's liabilities - be it poor workmanship or otherwise.

As for the original kwestion? Time is money.

A quick one of my own, now you have decided what to do.

A lady - fairly regular customer, buys a nice mirror - swept frame, from our last shop - 7 years ago. Came in recently and fancied changing it for a bigger, more expensive over-mantle mirror.

Could I ....

a. Come and collect the old one

b. Hang the new one

c. Keep the old one - re-sell it and only charge her the difference.

Did she expect you to wait for payment until you sold the old mirror or was it more of a consignment sale?

No, she was willing to pay the difference as soon as the things were swapped over. A part exchange deal I suppose.

MAYBE I would have offered some sort of discount, for being able to resell the mirror, but not the full original retail price, in fact nothing even like the original TRADE price. But that discount would be wiped out for the removal/rehanging fee we were'nt talking big bucks here.

Give this type of person an inch - they will take a light year. Trying to get her old photos ripped out of the acid laden falling apart garbage they are in and quibbling over a few pence because I could maybe re-use the old glass or something.

Worried that if she spends too much the children will scold her

Join the SKI club lady - Spend the Kids Inheritance!
Thanks, Lance, for the reminder of buying the liabilities. It's quite true and I usually take the attitude that we'll make anything right ... but needed to vent a bit - there have been a lot of these lately and several gift certificates at Christmas that were not taken care of in the accounting, and some taxes that they need to pay that they are being resistant to.

It's not unexpected, just makes my days a bit more challenging...

Looking forward to Vegas - leave tomorrow!
Originally posted by RoboFramer:
Keep the old one - re-sell it and only charge her the difference.
That's the easy part. Just use the same formula as a car salesman: add the "value" of the trade-in to what the new one should be and give them that price. If you make anything off selling the trade-in it's gravy.
BTW, I didn't mean to insult any car salesman out there. I know that's not exactly how it works, but you get the idea