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Average Frame Order?

Average Frame Order?

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Cliff Wilson

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
What is your average Custom Framing Order $ amount. I just had a conversation with another framer who believes my average frame job is too low and that I am "leaving money on the table." I have also spoken to another local framer that thinks I am "really sqeezing the pennies" out of the customers. Although I understand that everyone's costs and markets are different, I felt the average frame job would be interesting info for me.

I know this can be difficult for some, but try not to include jobs without moulding and I would prefer a "per frame" number as apposed to a "per invoice" number.

Thanks, Cliff


PFG, Picture Framing God

From the selections you offered in the poll, I would say that you may be looking at custom framing with a smallish eye. I mean that much of custom framing will actually be over the $200.00 mark. I noticed that most of your choices were below my average ticket per frame. And I am not in a very affluent area of the country.

(Maybe that is the reason that I am looking for another place to frame now.) :eek:

I am finishing up 2 shadowboxes that are both over $700.00 each and I just finished 2 rather generic looking double mat framings that were both over the $200.00 mark.

It is very difficult to compare pricing and costs for framing in different parts of the country. There are so many variables to consider, shipping costs, labor rates, cogs, and the general cost of doing business will vary from state to state and region to region.

Customer tastes, art background and education, and the general interest in art will skew the costs of doing custom framing from the urban areas to the rural areas. There are exceptions but, generally, you will not find the majority of customers in a rural blue collar area to be as "into" custom framing as in the urban areas.


Cliff Wilson

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Framerguy, Sorry!

I was talking to local (New England) area framers and my LJ rep and the general consensus seemed to be that an AVERAGE retail framing job over 200 was VERY difficult.

I'd be glad to change it if that is not true. Actually your response itself is very interesting compared to the framers I have spoken to about it. Many in very affluent areas.

If a moderator can change it, I'd be glad to get more definition above $200.

And, I agree with you that tastes, markets, ... almost everything varies with the local demographics. But, it gives me just one more piece of data to plug into my ongoing analysis.



PFG, Picture Framing God
Average framing job...varies greatly. I do jobs for the budget conscious and on the other hand I've done a couple of shadowboxes recently that were $500 and $800 respectively. My customers vary between the budget minded and the design oriented. Of course I prefer the people that are more interested in the best design but I take whatever I can get. Someday the penny pinchers may be back with something special or they may just say somehthing good about me to a friend with a special project. ;)


SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
2 things,

Avg framing order, we do not consider a simple poster in an OEM15 metal frame as custom framing yet when you run a report on our POS it is included as custom framing and brings our avg framing sale down.

Average framing order is nice to know but with that, depending on what you are wanting to know, shouldn't you be concerned with avg number of framing orders? If my avg framing order is over $200 yet I only frame one piece a day I may be hurting. If my avg framing order is 150 yet I am framing 25 a day then I am a lot happier.


SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
I really do not keep records as to only custom framing dollers per order. However our average ticket is well over $150.00 per ticket. That includes the sale of a poster, a package of hangers a ready made mat....... and custom framing.

I agree that the scale that is in the poll is slanted too much to the low side. Remember, for what it is worth, the national average 16x20 frame in the Decor Magazine 2002 survey is over $125.00

I remember a banker once told me that the amount of paperwork for a million dollar loan is about the same as a $10,000 loan.

It doesn't matter that you are in a small town or a large metro area. The object in business is to make an appropiate income for the services performed. I feel that too many of us sell ourselves short. What is the cost of plumber today?


SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Interestingly, a split of 19% in the 175-200 range and over 200 range.

I really must reiterate: you gotta take Jay Goltz's class in effective pricing.

It's one thing to work out of your home andbe able to charge accordingly. But some of us, like Bob Carter, Tim Hayes, probably Lessafinger and myself, have hideous rents

Jay teaches there are few variables: a few are advertising, cost of goods and resale. If these aren't properly aligned, you're gonna go broke.

So, yeah, I can do OEM metal in a package for $95. But I'll go broke doing them. To make money--I mean REAL money--my package starts at the high end of this survey. And that is the audience I try to attract, while not forgetting the other end that needs that OEM package.

A tough balancing act, to be sure. But there are students that begin with that $90 package and three years later are doing higher end stuff.


G'day Michael ...

> I really must reiterate: you gotta take Jay Goltz's class in effective pricing.

A lot of us are a loooong way away to do that; any specific tips/precentages you can pass on?

Cliff Wilson

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
"there are few variables: a few are advertising, cost of goods and resale. If these aren't properly aligned, you're gonna go broke"

I agree completely ... for setting your MINIMUM retail prices. But, market and customer expectations can let me get a larger gross margin. Of course I have only had my shop for 6 months, so I am still working on trends and COGs and actual expenses understanding, and testing the elasticity in this business. Recently (3 weeks) raised all mat board prices ... so far I can't say it's cost me anything. Also, adjusted services like lacing and canvas stretching to better reflect actual times. All but one went up in price.

BUT, I repeat, cost analysis gives you a "lowest retail price," not a maximized gross margin.


Cliff Wilson

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
WELL, I find this very interesting. Thank you all! More than half are over $150, and more than 20% are over $200! Not what I expected. I expected the bell curve to peak lower. I definitely should have given more granularity to the scale at the higher end! Maybe I'll wait a bit and try again.



SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
I would say that our average would be $200 - $400 on a picture. We do cater to people who must be budget minded as well as the rich.

The rich do $1000 orders. They are amazing.

We generally do 10 to 12 orders a day.

However, business is down right now, a bit.

Bob Carter

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
The term "average" is so simple, but everybody has their own definition. You can't leave some out, not include others, unless you want to determine a "typical" order average.

But anybody with a POS knows if you take 10 orders and 2 are for mats only, you still took 10 orders and the daily dollars will be divided by 10.

These polls can be fun, but have no bearing on anything but one persons figures based on their own criteria.

A wiser way to use the same information would be to compare the number to the same period last year of your own operation, then factor if you are doing more or less dollars than last year, then see if it is profitable or not.

Everything else doesn't really matter. If you think yor average is too low, shop your market, see what everybody else charges. See how you compare on those levels.That will tell you if you are leaving money on the table quicker than anything else


SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Brother Bob:

I took this to mean the average FRAMING order, not your average "can you cut a mat" or "how much to cut a piece of glass" type thing

yeah, that dilutes the average.
I think we ALL need to track, each and every day, our pricing on total framing--mats, frame, glass, backing, etc.

use this in your analysis. Not the guy that comes in and wants mats cut, or glass, etc. That will dilute your picture

Cliff Wilson

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Bob, I understand and agree with what you are saying. One problem I have is I only have 6 months to work from. Also, most of the shops know me, so shopping around is a bit difficult. I have sent a "spy" out, but she hasn't returned. Weeks and still waiting. Maybe she was caught !! :eek: Clearly that will give me a more local view. But, I still find this poll interesting.

Do any of you believe the poll is inaccurate? One person suggested that online framers may be "higher end" and the bulk of framers are not online and probably have lower averages?


Bob Carter

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Hey Mike-I agree with the direction and intent of the question, but just would caution against too much reliance on these figures.

Some poor soul may use the "numerical" average and think he's way behind the norm of someone that uses the "typical" average.

Once again, local market conditions should reflect the upper limits of what to charge.

But, as a safe suggestion to those in doubt, raise every component in the "typical/average" frame by $1.00 and your average will surely increase by $7-8 per order. Can you go up more? If your market will allow it and you are good enough, sure, why not?

But your own situation/market dictate if you are leaving money on the table. With just a small amount of research, you can find that out easily.

But just like "Suggested Retail Price" charts, be careful to rely upon them solely.

But, the real props have to go to Purp-She states she does 10-12 pcs per day between $200-300 each. With an average of being open 312 days a year and a daily average of around $2800 , they are doing around $900,000 a year (with a slight uptick for the holidays). If accurate at those averages, she can teach all of us a lesson or two. Or maybe, if not accurate, it points out the problem of using averages like this.

I'm not picking on Purp and I hope she is accurate, but this shows sometimes that our numbers don't always tell the things we need to know

[ 04-05-2003, 11:34 AM: Message edited by: Bob Carter ]


SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
I would suggest this: each and every framing order--not the change a mat, change a glass but real ground up custom framing order--is entered into a log. then, at month's end,count them, divide by the total dollar amount and voila--you're average fraing order, or average CUSTOM framing order.

I recall in jay's workshop in Atlanta he had a lady from Easthampton NY who framed stuff for Streisand and the other movie moguls living on the ocean.

her average framing order was 4 to 5X higher than anyone else in the room. Her rent was also 4-5X higher and couldn't find ANYONE to work for her at under $20 per hour.

She's living in a Vail/Sundance/Aspen kinda area. Her pricing reflects the higher costs of everything.

I ramble. Just try running your numbers on your custom orders.

And do the same with CoGS. Another real eyeopener if done religiously

Linda Foote

CGF, Certified Grumble Framer
Frame shops vary so much, the "average" ticket just does not make much sense. Some shops only do basic framing of common things, such as posters and prints. Others frame a greater variety of things, including a 61-opening matted and framed history of an Estonian Women's Choir, shadowboxes of military medals, Olympic medals or souveniers plus pictures, a display of a Star Trek fan's collection of uniform and pictures, a Monopoly set complete with correct starting money and replacement card for Pacific Ave in Dad's handwriting, cross stitch samplers, needlepoints, and many, many other items that other shops refuse to do or don't know how to do.....

I believe the larger variety of things that a shop frames, the higher the average ticket will be. And the more a shop does, the more referrals the variety brings, the more high-end jobs come in.

Susan and I tell our customers, "Challenge us! We think we frame everything!"


SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
I agree with Bob ,this information is nice but may be totally irrelavent in another area with a different clientel.I for one wish I had an average Framing Ticket of $125 - $150 .To me this means that I have Most of my FRAMING sales in that price range ,some for less but an equal amount for MORE to make the average. So unless you have very few sales it would also mean that you have a good number above that figure and I would love to live in your neighborhood or AT LEAST HAVE SOME OF YOUR CUSTOMERS.This doesn't even mention the people who say their average is Above $ 200.I now undersatnd why I can't match some shops Buying potenial when they go to Shows or negotiate prices with Vendors.
However,I feel , I am competitive in my area for what I do frame&I do check periodically.Some here are slightly higher and some a bit lower ,but I'm the niether .And yes ,prices even vary in my geographical area so guess how much the AVERAGE PRICE in say LA. or N.Y. matters?Isn't this just what is wrong with the Priceing surveys done by people like Decor?It's not what some one charges in another state that matters and it may not even be what some one charges in the next town ,but what your immediate COMPETITION charges that makes a differance.

[ 04-05-2003, 06:59 PM: Message edited by: BUDDY ]

Brian Gorman

True Grumbler
Very interesting points of view.

Mike, I understand your desire to see your true custom framing order. Does that number have much significance without the other money in the equation. When it comes down to paying the bills, whatever they are, all sales have a role in the overall picture, unless you refuse to sell the customer the $10 piece of glass.

The overall average question is a bit misleading. Although, guides through the forest are always wiser than the blind man. Without accounting for variables such as shop size, location, surrounding population, competitive pricing and a whole slew of others, it really doesn't matter.

Our business plans are based on estimations and assumptions for average ticket and volume. Why don't we ever talk about the volume issue. (I am posting a new poll in a minute.) This variable ranks up there with the best of them. One piece a day for a $1,000 would be nice, but reality for my area is something else.

It often seems that the high ticket is the only goal of many of the Grumblers. More pay for less work, I'm all for it. But, is this reality for 99% of us. Shouldn't our goal be a balance of ticket and volume to generate full potential for a given location? How many pieces and at what average ticket can a 1200 foot shop produce in a given year? How about a 2500 foot shop?

Still learning!


SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Brother Bob Carter discusses this very issue and I STILL don't have a grasp on the concept 'cause I'm mathematically dyslexic. He calls it "sales per square foot." As I udnerstand the concept, it's like I'd rather have a $45 photoframe taking up 1 sq. ft. than a little $10 photoframe occupying the same space, given my overhead.

I would throw another factor into the seemingly endless equation: how's your traffic? How many people come in per day? Obviously a mall location would have a higher volume traffic than one on a busy street vs. one in a highly trafficked strip center.

There are SOOOO many variables in this I don't know if they're all manageable.

I DO know, however, my breakeven. And knowing that, plus knowing the few variables I do have (ad budget, CoGS, wages and price of finished product), I price my stuff accordingly.

Bob Carter

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
And, Michael, that's exactly what you should do. Know your numbers, know your market, know your costs-then, price accordingly.

Comparisons are fun, but they really don't mean much