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Great Article by Jay Goltz

Bob Carter

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Hey Paul-I think being open when consumers expect you to be open is very important, too

I think my immediate neighbor's hours are pretty important, also

We are seeing less and less evening biz; but nothing would be worse to not be open on the occassion when someone (rightfully) woul expect us to be open. Rest assured that only your most loyal customer will come back when it's more conveinent for you

I doubt if many of us could survive on only our most loyal clients or by appointment
 

Tim Hayes.

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Kirstie are you implying that Paul will not be a legitimate business if he changes his hours. If that is the case then I guess Orvis and the Container Store are not legitimate businesses. Both near me have changed hours. As a one person store Paul may be considering ways to better use time away from the store to better promote it or possibly make sales calls.
 

PaulSF

PFG, Picture Framing God
Well, I think quite a few framers here close sometime between 2 and 4 pm on Saturday. Customers expect me to be open when they get here (within reason), but nobody gets here between 4 and 6 pm. I've been pondering this for more than a year, and it's become crystal clear that customers don't need me to be open between 4 and 6 pm on Saturday. That's not "shopping time" for them. I don't know what they are doing, but they aren't shopping on 25th Avenue.

Keep in mind, I'm not in a shopping mall, nor am I in a strip mall. I'm in a 2-block business district. The cafe down the street closes at 2 pm on Saturday. The pharmacy, which gets most of the foot traffic on the block, closes at 2:30 pm. The restaurant next to me is closed between 2 and 5 on Saturday. The coffee house down on the next block closes at noon, if you can believe it.

This isn't a rash decision. Like I said, I've been studying it for more than a year. I don't have to do a survey; customers vote with their feet, and their feet haven't been crossing my door after 4 pm on Saturday for a long time. I'll probably ease into it over the next couple of weeks - staying til 4:30 one week, then 4 pm, then 3:30. Just in case.

I can't lose business that isn't there.
 

Doug Gemmell

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
What kind of restaurant is it Paul? Any chance of luring diners into your place? Do you have a relationship with the restaurant you could exploit? Maybe do a show at your place starting at 6:00 and find a way to advertise it at the restaurant? Or do a lunch time show. Loan the restaurant a couple of sample pieces to whet the diners' appetite for art? I know the 6:00 show would make you stay open later but maybe explore it and see what happens. Maybe lunchtime would work better, maybe dinnertime.

If you've already tried this, nevermind..........
 

PaulSF

PFG, Picture Framing God
It's a clamhouse, and as best as I can tell, business for them is really down. In particular, their lunch business has been really slow. I don't think there's much of a cross-marketing opportunity there. I did put up a flier with my poster special pricing at the coffee house, however.

Interestingly, the new owners of the clam place (new = one year, approx.) are always driving a new car, and it's always a luxury car of one sort or another. Porsche, BMW, Mercedes. So maybe the restaurant is a tax write-off for them.
 

Doug Gemmell

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Interesting. The previous owners of a donut shop near us all drove Mercedes. They were always loading or unloading things from their trunks at odd hours (open 24 hrs.). The landlord of the building told me he came across a bunch of their bank statements in his dumpster with weekly deposits in the tens of thousands. I think more than donuts were being sold there!

Hey, you could advertise your poster special for "Only 50 Clams".
 

Kirstie

PFG, Picture Framing God
I understand now Paul. You seem to be in a neighborhood time warp! I understand the Stepfords at Saturday morning soccer but what do they do in the afternoon? We often get a 5pm rush on Saturday which can keep us late at work. Maybe people in Berkeley sleep late and shop late.

It seems you have done the research, and I didn't understand that.

I have a fever today and don't understand much at all. I can't be held responsible for what I say. It's the Italian cold.
 

Kirstie

PFG, Picture Framing God
Hey Paul-I think being open when consumers expect you to be open is very important, too

I think my immediate neighbor's hours are pretty important, also

We are seeing less and less evening biz; but nothing would be worse to not be open on the occassion when someone (rightfully) woul expect us to be open. Rest assured that only your most loyal customer will come back when it's more conveinent for you

I doubt if many of us could survive on only our most loyal clients or by appointment
Years ago we cut back to one late night per week rather than two. We are now open until 8pm on Thursdays only and run a split shift that day. Some of our competition are open until 7 every night, but that would necessitate overtime, and that was the clincher Also, by 6 most of our staff are ready to go home.. About 10 years ago we switched from 11-5 on Sundays to 12-6. Like Paul, we watched the traffic patterns. Now I see a local church service finishing at 11:30 and sometimes open the doors early if I am there before hours on Sunday. So we have made changes too.
 

Paul Cascio

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
I don't have a problem with Paul shortening his hours. We can always rationalize about the "one that will get away." However, at some point it's just downright depressing to sit alone in an empty store. Especially on a Saturday afternoon.

The mental health benefits might more than outweigh any perceived loss. Also, unlike the restaurant business, there is the chance that the stray customer who arrived to a Closed sign, will return when you are open.

The question I would ask myself is, "What will I do to make up for closing early on Saturdays?" You could commit to making an hour's worth of corporate cold calls on Monday, for example. Or conduct a followup phone call to all customers who picked up jobs two weeks ago. Give something and get something.

When I opened my first store, I was open 6 days a week and worked ridiculously long hours. By my 15th year, it seemed as if I was closed on Saturdays, Sundays, Mondays, Fridays, the day before a holiday; the day after a holiday; whenever the weather was really bad, whenever the weather was really good, or on days when I just didn't feel like working. :D I always found a way to make up for it. There's got to be benefits to being self-employed. If not, why bother.
 

Grey Owl

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
...
The mental health benefits might more than outweigh any perceived loss....

...I always found a way to make up for it. There's got to be benefits to being self-employed. If not, why bother.
I worked with [Note With, not for] family businesses most of my life, and devoting your life to your business and ignoring yourself and family is dangerous to your mental and physical health as well as contributing to business failure because after a while you are no longer objective about yourself, or your business. Everyone needs some time for themselves.

If this means that, for a one-person business, you are only open part time or only 4 or 5 days and no evenings, and you still take vacations, you will probably live longer, and the life you live will be better.

And if you don't enjoy what you are doing, find something else.

I don't know how many of my past clients (or clients competitors) did not heed my advise and have at least one of the 4 D's (dead, disabled, divorced, or diseased), and painfully lost their business. Some of my happiest are those that ended up working a few less hours, being more comfortable with themselves, making a little less money, and enjoying life.

Of course, you still need to make enough money to eat and drink; some of my more pleasurable pastimes.
 

PaulSF

PFG, Picture Framing God
Also, we're just starting a Framer On the Go service, to bring design to the customer's home or office. It's something everyone should have been doing all along, but this is a more formal program. I think that will appeal to the people who are as busy as we are, and can't get to the store during regular hours. The benefit for me is that I'm far less likely to encounter tire-kickers with this kind of service, and I can cherrypick the mouldings I bring to them (there will not be any cheap, half-inch black mouldings!!).
 

Kirstie

PFG, Picture Framing God
Also, we're just starting a Framer On the Go service, to bring design to the customer's home or office. It's something everyone should have been doing all along, but this is a more formal program. I think that will appeal to the people who are as busy as we are, and can't get to the store during regular hours. The benefit for me is that I'm far less likely to encounter tire-kickers with this kind of service, and I can cherrypick the mouldings I bring to them (there will not be any cheap, half-inch black mouldings!!).
I had a lawyer client a while ago who ran a lawyer on the go law office. She wen to see those who could not come to her. She loved her lifestyle and hours and was very successful. Good luck with this Paul.
 

framing fashionista

CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2
Also, we're just starting a Framer On the Go service, to bring design to the customer's home or office. It's something everyone should have been doing all along, but this is a more formal program. I think that will appeal to the people who are as busy as we are, and can't get to the store during regular hours. The benefit for me is that I'm far less likely to encounter tire-kickers with this kind of service, and I can cherrypick the mouldings I bring to them (there will not be any cheap, half-inch black mouldings!!).

Great idea! Would you be willing to share how you will market the concept? I do this for some clients, but not everyone knows about it. My other question is do you charge an extra fee for the service or gas/mileage or extra for your time.
 

Bob Carter

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Hey Fashion-We used to provide just such a service, but found that too many of the clients had us come out, show the wares, and have them then go to a BB or the internet to save a few bucks
 

DTWDSM

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Over the past several months, I've noticed that I almost never get anyone on Saturday after 3:30 pm. That's not just my store -- the entire street is a desolate wasteland after 3 pm on Saturday. Every parking space is empty. Tumbleweeds are rolling down the street. The only people out and about are 14-year old skateboarders.

Paul,

Bruce McGaw has a series of skateboarder art, maybe you should switch your window display on Saturday afternoons to the potential customers you have wizin' by.

Skate or Die ####, Skate or Die! :)

Why is the word thay rhymes with rude, but starts with D get censored?
 

PaulSF

PFG, Picture Framing God
It's a franchise-wide service, so it's supported by a website and brochures and fliers. I'm just working on edits to my brochures and fliers this week, and then I'll see how they print up on my color inkjet. If I'm not happy with how that looks, I'll take it to a professional printer.

As for charging, my inclination is not to charge for delivery and installation for customers that have me do the framing (except if delivery is really out of my way, or installation requires something out of the ordinary). This is a service that the chains are not providing, so it gives the customers one more reason to value our services, even if they perceive (wrongly or not) that the chains might be cheaper.

I'd be pretty surprised if someone drags me out to their home or office with all my samples, and just wants a $100 job. I'd be equally surprised if they just want to milk me for ideas before going to a chain, but I suppose it could happen. Perhaps a little pre-qualification needs to be done when setting up the appointment.
 

CAGallery

MGF, Master Grumble Framer
Paul,

We charge a minimum design fee when going to a client's home and get paid for it upfront. When they place the order the fee is credited to them. If they do not place the order the fee is ours. In all the years we did this only one person didn't place the order.

As far as changing your hours you have to do what is best for your neighborhood. We are closed on Fridays and Saturdays as we are in a very Jewish neighborhood. No one is open on Saturday and Fridays mostly necessity type of shops are open. Instead we open Sunday all day which is one of the busiest days for all stores in our neighborhood. That is what works for us and you have to do what works for you.

Good Luck!
 
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