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How cheap will they skate?

Discussion in 'Grumble Archive pre 2004 Topics' started by EllenAtHowards, Dec 23, 2003.

  1. EllenAtHowards

    EllenAtHowards PFG, Picture Framing God

    We had a customer turn down a $23.00 frame for her panoramic picture of a trip that probably cost $3K. "Too expensive! Don't you have a mat that will fit it and make it go into one of these metal frames?" No. It's 2 days before Christmas, and you are just starting your shopping? And with that attutude? Get Out.
    Other than that, it has been a pretty merry Christmas at Howard's.
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  2. Mike Labbe

    Mike Labbe Member, Former moderator team volunteer

    Did you send that person to us yesterday? We had a call in the late afternoon and she said she wanted to spend no more than $25 for a custom frame job.

    A guy called just before that who wanted 4 large pieces framed for the 24th, and said his total budget was about $100. He wanted plastic frames, which we don't carry. The only place I have ever seen the thin plastic frames is from the local mall framers. (posters directly on cardboard, plastic frame, plastic hanging clip on cardboard, thin flexible plastic glazing - similar to that used on a book report. The cardboard holds it all together structurally, and the frame is purely decorative) I told him we don't carry plastic frames and he asked if we would substitute metal or wood at the same price, since we don't have any [​IMG]

    I'm anxious to get in and see what today brings [​IMG]

    Andy and I have both come down with the flu, unfortunately. What timing. We hope to be completely done with the holiday orders by noon today.
  3. JFeig

    JFeig SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Did they both have a $150 hair-doo and a Lincoln parked in front of the door? O yes, papa is an attorney who charges $300 per hour.

    Seasons Greetings to all
  4. Cliff Wilson

    Cliff Wilson SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Must be the season.

    I had one yesterday ... Brings in four panoramics about 36" x 12" and wants them framed. "we'll do one first. For my in-laws. I want this one real nice." I do up a simple single mat and nice frame. (Really all this needed.) about $320. "Oh my, that's WAYYYY TOO much!" So I take the mat off and put a nice medium frame on ... $160. "Look, ... I had one done the same size as this at P****** P*** in the mall for $70." I ask what kind of frame that was. "Small Black." So, I show him a small black for $85. "No, I want it to look nice." He settles for a thin gold frame at $125 because he has to have it for Christmas and I am the "only one" (How many and who did he check?) who will do it.

    BUT, he is already bad mouthing me and calling me expensive! So now, I get this done on the rush, rush, and I get a bad rap to boot! :mad:

    Oh yeah, ... he only did the one picture. Rolled up the other three and took them with him.
  5. Jim Miller

    Jim Miller SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    At that point my reply often goes something like this:

    "Sorry, but that's not our kind of framing. We promise the best design & construction, done on time, and we keep our promises. Our prices are higher because our value is higher -- and worth every penny. Sure, cheap framing is OK sometimes, and that's someone else's job. To put it another way, they're offering a Yugo, and we're offering a Mercedes you really can afford. The question is, which do you want today?"

    Once in a while a customer decides to go for the Yugo, and that's OK. The other guys have to eat, too. But sooner or later, most of them come back.
  6. soho

    soho CGF, Certified Grumble Framer

    ...so a guy comes in the other day who we know fairly well and brings a limited edition Giclee and a photo of his boat. He's in a big hurry so we do the design at warp speed and he leaves telling me to call him with the pricing.

    I left the pricing info on his voice mail and when he called back he sounded like he was having a heart attack. "You gotta be kidding", he said. "I usually get this stuff done at the Rag Shop for under $100, you told me your pricing was competitive?!"

    I told him that my pricing was competitive or even lower than any of the other
    local "independent" framers, I just can't compete with the buying power of the Rag Shop.

    This is a guy who owns a local contracting company, 3 Rolls Royces and a racing boat. How did he get all that stuff you might ask, apparently by shopping at the Rag Shop!!

    Sometimes you just can't win!

  7. Emibub

    Emibub PFG, Picture Framing God

    My last minute customers seem to be extra cheap this year too. But that is okay, I just have to offer them something they can afford and I can live with selling. Not everybody is framing the Mona Lisa. It sure is nicer to sell a $200 job as opposed to a $50 job, but there is still money to be made......
  8. JRB

    JRB PFG, Picture Framing God

    These are all examples of when it's time to just say NO.

    "Independent" frame shops, get it?

    I try to accommodate as many of these high end customers as I can, and I try to be as nice as I can, but there is a point. That point is my prices. I have overhead, wages, inventory, taxes. These nice people are essentially asking us to PAY THEM, for the privilege of framing their pictures.

    Cliff is absolutely correct, no matter what you do, even if you let them talk you into framing their picture, their way, at their price, or not doing it, they are going to bad mouth you as being WAY too expensive.

    So why bother to fight this losing battle? What would you rather be, the most expensive frame shop in town or the cheapest frame shop in town? What shop owner do you think would make the most money, in his pocket? What shop owner would be working his butt off for whatever he earns? What kind of clientèle would they be cultivating?

    Nickle and dimers are not interested in you putting food on your table, or if your business even survives. They will not talk you up to their friends. They only have one thing in mind, the lowest possible price, period.

    Every few years, here in San Diego, some business mastermind, will brilliantly open a frame shop with the lowest prices in town. He honestly believes he is the only person who has ever come up with this original tactic for getting rich. They usually last just a few years before their advertising stops proclaiming how cheap they are, in fact, usually their advertising stops all together.

    You can not please everyone, learn that, expect a few walkouts. If you don't have ANY walkouts, there is probably something wrong with your pricing structure.


    [ 12-23-2003, 01:04 PM: Message edited by: JRB ]
  9. Jim A

    Jim A In Corner

    People who are cheap like this probably go out and buy all the free after rebate items at stores and give them away as gifts. Merry Christmas everyone and Happy New Year.
  10. rosetl

    rosetl CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    I think the last week before Christmas holiday breaks all the normal customer service rules on custom framing.

    I don't think I have ever actually created a new repeat customer during this time period--no matter how friendly & helpful we've been, nor how quick, cheap or time consuming the project takes.

    Can't you imagine a customer going into a tailor and saying Target didn't this shirt in my size, can't you sew one up for me today for the same price? It's just fabric and thread.....but it needs to match this paint chip perfectly.

    Am I exagerating? Not really!!!
  11. Jim Miller

    Jim Miller SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    I wouldn't say that, because he'll take that to mean you're just too small to be competitive, which probably isn't true.

    The point this customer needs to understand is that you choose to serve a different market than they do. It's not a matter of buying power.

    More to the point, if the Rag Shop produced framing equal to yours, then their prices might be well above yours, since you have considerably less overhead.

    Sell VALUE -- what you offer for the dollars spent -- not price.
  12. Emibub

    Emibub PFG, Picture Framing God

    I agree with your philosophy Rosetl....it is a little off putting that they don't even bother to consider there is a process that takes time. But on the flip side, I don't think they understand what we do.

    I had three people yesterday want things for today. One balked at spending $100 on a stitchery and asked if I could go cheaper. I suggested she look for a ready made at AB. But I had one show up last night at 5:30(I close at 6) she didn't even ask if it was possible, she just assumed it would be. Three pieces, two completely custom framed. I selected stuff I could pick up this morning and what I had on hand. She spent $750. I couldn't see saying no. I need the $750. I am still a little stunned that she didn't even come in pleading. She just assumed.

    I guess it depends how hungry you are, I need the money so I don't really care if she is repeat business or not. I hope she is and I hope she remembers my "kindness". But bottom line I am doing it because I need the money, so I lost sleep last night and will be a zombie at my families tonight. Oh well, Merry Christmas, I can sleep tomorrow.

    I hope the cheap one managed to find her ready made......
  13. Emibub

    Emibub PFG, Picture Framing God

    Jeepers, the lady I just mentioned actually just called me to see if they were done yet. :eek: I didn't bother to tell her that I haven't even started them yet. :eek: It would just confuse her. I just now wrapped up the ones I took from Monday, I have one from Tuesday and then I will begin hers. Guess I better get to it, I want to go home at 4......
  14. Less

    Less SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Less is waiting for his last pick up at five :rolleyes:

    Family is starting to show up at my house tonight at five, and I'm supposed to be there at 3:30. :( :eek:

    Good thing I have an understanding wife. [​IMG]

    Not one complaint about price at Less'.

    Everyone is thrilled!

    Merry X-mas all!!

  15. JRB

    JRB PFG, Picture Framing God

    Jim, great response, I'll use it if it's OK with you.

  16. tnframer408

    tnframer408 SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    O PLEASE don't offend those of us who do our Christmas shopping on Dec. 26. We make a BIG deal of shopping the afterChristmas sales, exception being the stuff we buy on sale at Amazon or other internet stores offering free shipping, sales, and no state/local taxes. :rolleyes: :(
  17. Rick Granick

    Rick Granick SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    What the heck is The Rag Shop?

    :cool: Rick
  18. Jim Miller

    Jim Miller SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Sure, John, go right ahead. I usually ask for a quote in exchange, but I've already used several of yours, so you're welcome to it...Merry Christmas!
  19. soho

    soho CGF, Certified Grumble Framer


    The Rag Shop craft store chain is a Michael's clone that also usually offers 50% off on framing (mouldings only of course).

  20. Rick Granick

    Rick Granick SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Joel- Thanks for the info. Never heard of them. Wonder why they call themselves the Rag Shop? Sounds like a secondhand clothing store or something. I'm pretty sure it doesn't have anything to do with the kind of matboard they use!

    :cool: Rick

    P.S. I love the films that you and your brother Ethan make. Especially "The Big Lebowski".
    "That rug tied the whole room together!"
  21. joe

    joe CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    An older guy comes in and asks how much to cut some mats. He bought the mat boards at Michaels. I give him the price and the next day he brings in the mats along with the glass he bought at the local auto glass store and the metal frames he also bought at Michaels. My Christmas is bad and I need the sale so I do the jobs. I cut the mats and assembled the job for him. He is retired university faculty and I am a smuck framer scrambling for the rent. I, and maybe others also,learn the hard way.

    Get this; these Christmas gifts were pictures of himself.
  22. soho

    soho CGF, Certified Grumble Framer


    Maybe we can get the Coen brothers to do a movie about the framing industry. Michael's, The Rag Shop and the other BBs could be the bad guys and the rest of us could be the good guys!!

    I think Brad Pitt would be just right to play me (my wife thinks so too!)

  23. Emibub

    Emibub PFG, Picture Framing God

    If we are going to let the Coen Brothers do the framing story my mind sees it looking something like "The Hudsucker Proxy" but in reality it would probably play out more like "Blood Simple" or "Fargo". Or maybe "Barton Fink"? Maybe some headless framers scattered around the country. Who would we get to play that? Just food for thought on this very uninspiring Saturday. Sorry to interrupt the converstaion.....
  24. framah

    framah PFG, Picture Framing God

    Maybe we need the Washowski brothers to do the film. Not sure of the spelling but they made the Matrix movies. Some days it seems alot more appropriate. :eek: :eek:
  25. Jim Miller

    Jim Miller SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    When a customer brings in and asks us to cut the materials we usually provide, our prices are adjusted to include the full amount of profit we would receive if we had sold the materials.

    For example, if we normally earn $6.50 profit on the matboard we sell, then I would add that $6.50 to our price to cut the mat from board they bring in.

    Our prices and profit rates are based on the sale of materials as well as labor, so that's the basis on which we charge for our services. No pretenses or excuses -- that's just the way it is. As you might guess, it doesn't happen often.
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