Discussion in 'Picture Framing Business Issues' started by Sarah Winchester, Aug 7, 2007.
Hey Dave, I do like high maintenance female customers.
But I had my fill of the non-customer type!
I love it when I can compare prices. This is as close as I get to shopping the the competition.
... The vanilla ice cream eater..... That could be my wife, or my mother, or my manager......
Doug, Doug, Doug. :icon11: Pay no attention to the numbers here. Even if retail prices were valid among multiple businesses, do you really believe all of these Grumblers posted their real prices...retail prices...after coupons and discounts? This reminds me of a retail pricing survey once conducted by a magazine.
I think so. At least most anyway. I'm sure that there is some here that blow smoke, and others that are as honest as the day is long.
You shouldn't distrust everyone.
I posted my real retail price for that job.
That is certifiable behavior... and not in the CPF sense.
My price on that frame would be $163 plus tax - and my COST (LJ chop) for materials would be $46 - and I figure it would take me an hour from unwrapping the chop, joining it, cutting the mat and backing and fitting it.
(Figured 1/4 of sheet cost on matboard and archival foam since I would be using the rest for sure.)
That says as much about you as her!arty:
Yes, Dave is one lucky Guy, I'd say!!
Yes Jim, there are many honest ones around here too.
I posted $222 (which happens to be the same as Edie's, although we live maybe 1500 miles apart) and the difference between most was maybe $20-$30.
I guess I assume that everyone is playing straight with no BS.
Now… if we were all face to face…. and there were more than two framers in the room …..and adult beverages were being served …. that would be a different story.
Duuuh... It never even OCCURRED to me to fudge my figures. And it also never occurred to me that anyone else would do that. I am so incredibly trusting....
I am at about $201, but I am wondering what people's prices would be if that order was with a double mat and museum glass.
i would be at $302.
I know this is not a 'legit' way to compare prices, but I was in range for the first example, so I am just curious about my museum pricing.
Jim, I'm with Ellen! It never occurred to me people wouldn't give their retail $ if they bothered to respond.
Avid, look up an old thread on Museum pricing and you can pretty much figure out how I price it.
$ 263.91 with the extra mat and Museum Glass.
Again without any mounting.
I do think there is value in "I'll show you mine if you show me yours" ...if nothing else it makes you put some thought into re-evaluating your pricing formulas. It also either validates customer's comments about your prices being high or helps to put into perspective any such comments as not really being credible and can allay any fears that maybe you are too high.
As was stated before the demographics of each region is different and therefore any pricing stated has to take into account a number of such factors.
I happen to have very low overhead and am a one person operation. My monthly expenses for rent, heat, electric, insurance, water, telephone/broadband and related occupancy expenses hover around $ 1100.00 a month. I'm in a 1000 SF storefront in a small strip center in a rural community within 15 minutes drive to a large regional shopping mall and shopping mecca on a major commuter's highway. No walk by traffic ...totally destination but fairly good visibility. Being in the framing business in the same community for almost 100 years definitely brings name recognition and I do little if any advertising at the present.
Everyone who posts has a different business model and somewhat unique circumstances and therefore has to interpret any comparisons to what works for them.
$ 200.00 with the extra mat and Museum Glass.
Dang Dave! I wish my expenses was around $1100 a month.
I apologize if my previous post was taken to imply dishonesty by any framer here. That's not what I meant.
What I meant was that most of us routinely offer coupons, discounts, and other promotional opportunities that reduce our retail prices. So, one's retail price would not be the same as his real price after incentives are applied. How many of us offer no discounts, coupons, or other incentives?
Of course, not every sale (we hope) comes at less than full retail price, but some of them do, and they have direct affects on our pricing structures. For example, let's say my retail price is $200, right out of FrameReady. If the customer whips out a 10% off coupon, my real price suddenly becomes $180. If that happens with one third of my sales, my average real price turns out to be $200 + $200 + $180 = $580 divided by 3 = $193.33.
The central point I wish to convey is that, while comparing retail prices may be a fun exercise, this is not a valid way for any of us to evaluate our pricing structures. Comparing retail prices does not address any of the bazillion variables that make every one of our businesses unique. Pleasepleaseplease do not adjust your prices just because some here are higher or lower than yours. Find a better reason than that.
Ultimately, the price variations among us do not matter. What matters is that we attract customers and earn profitable sales.
Maybe Jim was referring to me.
I'm at $2750.92 on this one.
I've not posted on this but $2750.93 would be my price. Gotta keep the image up...
Keep on Carrying on
Well, the whole discount/promotion thing would only be a factor if someone is doing it on a large scale and consistently. If someone sends out 100 customer appreciation coupons, and only 5 of them are redeemed, and the remaining 75 orders that month are full price, then the full retail price is the relevant one. On the other hand, if someone is running a sale this summer, and every single transaction gets a 20% discount, then the discounted price is the relevant one.
I miss Marc. As I recall his grumbling slacked off when his kid was born, but I haven't seen him literally in years. You out there?
Ok, threadjack over. Carry on.
Thank you, PaulSF, for proving my point: All of us do not operate the same way. Some discount rarely, and some discount all the time.
In any case, the "relevant" price is the end-of-day/week/month average after the discounts have been accounted. Some framers' accumulated discounts might average 20% of total sales for a given time period, while others' discounts might amount to less than 1% of total sales.
Target mainly profit dollars, not just sales dollars.
I had a heart attack two and a half years ago, so when I came out of hospital after angioplasty, I decided to increase my prices quite a lot. The intention being to reduce my work load by putting off the cheapskates while I recovered my strength.
It did not work, I got more work not less. So I put my prices up even more and got the same result again. I figure is a case of nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Welcome to the Grumble, NYAF!!!
Glad you are recovering and back at it.
I had to chuckle at your post. It is a prime example that reinforces my belief that for most customers price is one of the least important factors in why they come to you.
I've had more people surprised when quoting a job that the price seemed quite reasonable than the opposite.
Those who shop for custom work know it isn't cheap. Those who buy ready-mades that are mass produced and sold at WallyWorld are stunned.
Most of my regular customers have gotten so they never ask how much anymore and just say do it.
If a customer complains that the price is too high. I usually counter this by suggesting that they should not choose such an expensive moulding and then show them something cheaper. They always still want the more expensive one, so you tell them you get what you pay for. I always deny that I'm expensive.
Is there a connection or not?
With that experience why not multiply your prices by 37.
We often see claims like this and I have one reoccurring thought. That is that there is no way that the prices, pre-increase, was inline with a local market when the increase took place. I would have to see with my own eyes an increase of 50% - 200% over a market and store not be laughed out of business.
Thats not to say that customers shop on price only. I guess I can offer certain perks and experiences that causes customers to gladly pay a bit more than they would elsewhere. I do not believe 200% sounds even close to reasonable. Maybe prices are more inline now and were unreasonable before (not something I would boast about)?
I think these claims are a bit too anecdotal for my tastes.
It reminds me how the local Chamber of Commerce awarded a photographer for increasing her sales over 200% this year. That's impressive right? Paul Harvey would tell you that it's a 2 year old business and her first year was taking pictures for her friends and family out of her living room. So she gets a store front and opens shop. With that information I'm not all that impressed with 200% growth. I actually would think that would be much higher!
Also like Jim suggests, I don't think anybody is lying about anything. I just think Mr Harvey could give us "the rest of the story". That I'm not sure we have yet.
One possible rest of the story in NYAF's experience is that he is a well liked guy and when he went through his heart condition people wanted to help him and brought in more work.
I see this quite often in my shop. Customers come in and I'm in a slump without a ton of work. They come back the next day and bring me more. I call it pity framing, but appreciate that people are looking after me.
But, that said, I still will proffer that price is way down the ladder in reasons people come to most custom frame shops. Of course you have to be in the realm of realty, but most framers are afraid to charge 5-10 or even 20% more than they currently do for fear that people will walk. Some might, but the health of a shop's business will improve dramatically with a slight increase which dramatically increases profitability.
What is your price on the package mentioned at the begining of this thread?
I'm curious to know how close to retail you are now. I think that would explain a lot.
And by the way, Welcome to the Grumble! You are gonna love it here!:thumbsup:
I came up with $144 before taxes. I am about 40 miles inland from surferbill in Virginia Beach, so it would be about right for us in Suffolk. We also have a frequent framer program where the customer gets the average of 6 frames off the seventh. It sounds like the way we do prices is so completely different then the rest of you. Some things have not been raised in three years which I might take care of today. We also do not use a POS.
My good cyber-buddy Dave suggests that price is way down the list on reasons why customers come to see him.
And, he might be right
But, I'll also bet that price is way high on the list on the reasons that customers DO NOT come see us
87% of consumers did not shop at a custom framer
55% of them said price was a mjor consideration
Michael's and other Big Boxes which have, in 2006, garnered more market share than all the independent framers combined are masters of price impression. They do, on average, 5 times more volume than we indepedents
I think we need to develop a Jim Miller mentality on pricing
The things i'm good, no, much better at, I will charge appropriately
It is more important to generate Gross Profit than margin
And it is important to offer products that offer great value
To ignore the dynamic of pricing is simply wrong; that doesn't mean being the lowest in town on everything. But, It may not be a bad idea to be sharply priced on a few things
I use the Jim Miller mentality all the time when developing a pricing scheme
$206.86 with drymounting.
$274.30 with 2 mats and MG.
Here I was thinking I was expensive. Guess I will have to raise my prices again
Though as Jim suggests many that have quoted may offer disounts and sale prices beyond that quoted price. I would only disount this type of job if they brought me 5 or more at the same design and I haven't run a sale in over 2 years so my posted price is what 99% of my customers would end up paying for that design.
We can't be everything to everyone. I imagine that those same percentages could be applied to people who Do shop at Target but not at Nordstroms(implying that 87 go to target and 13 got to Nordstoms). Its all a matter of perceived value to the consumer. So only 13% of Americans shop at a custom framer. That means that my overall customer base is arround 39,000,000. Thats not a bad pool to draw from.
We are a fairly unique industry in that people come to us on a regular basis to have things one-offed. There are few industries that can say that. Even furniture companies don't offer the variety of products and choices that we do. A business model such as this can't have a huge customer base without mainstreeming and reducing your offerings to maximize your proffitmargins and reducing your labor costs.
I would be willing to assume that most if not all of the grumblers here are happy that they aren't a comparable company to M's AB or JA's. If we wanted to be in a business like that we could just open a convenience store and sell those shriveled hotdogs on metal heating rollers. Yes those BBs are profitable and yes we do compete with them on a market level but I have no problem concisely explaning to my customers why I may be more expensive than them but a much better value than they are. Rarely do they not get my point.
Brian-I am not being argumentative because the beauty of running our own businesses is that we can run them the way we wish
But, if many framers would open a conveinence store and sell shriveled hot dogs, most would probably get a raise in pay
There just isn't an acceptable reason, to me anyway, that this industry can't have framers that love what they do and make what they should
Most framers, at least all the ones I talk to, would love to find a way to make some serious money along with that serious craft we take comfort in. I think we all agree with that
I think we make a mistake when we feel that our industry is unique to consumers
I've found the package you mentioned, but LJ is distributed here in the UK by Arqadia and LJ438968 is not in their catalogue, so if you would like to tell me the price per foot, I'll work out my price. Also I don't know what C1609 is, (mountboard?), and BTW what do you guys mean by Acid free banking, just so I can quote like for like.
You said you are curious to know how close I am to retail. Well, I own my own framing shop in the main street of a small town near Dartmoor, Devon, England. In general it is a reasonably aflulent area and there are cheaper framers in some of the nearby towns.
Since my heart attack and my price increases my work load has steadily increased and I've taken on a part time member of staff to help with the framing.
From what I hear framing prices are probably a lot higher in the US than in the UK, so I don't know how you would gauge how cheap or expensive you would think I am.
Yes, a fair point and I have to admit that people were very kind to me at the time and since then too. Another point could be that I am still building up my customer base as I have now been trading at my present location for just over three years. So it could have something to do with it too, I just don't know!
In the early days, I was worried about being too expensive, now I am more inclined to ask myself if I should charge more. Price increases can always be reversed if they don't work without anyone else needing to know there ever was a price increase. I don't know if it works the same way in the US, but over here some customers won't use you if they think you are too cheap. A lot of people think you get what you pay for!
Hi Mark (It's a small country folks - we all know each other!) & Welcome to The Grumble!
I don't know about higher prices - it's more a case of a richer market - higher average wage with basic commodities like petrol (gas) almost a third of what we pay - cars half price - houses ditto. We can fly to New York for a weekend's shopping - come back with a load of stuff and still save money after the airfare and hotel!
More high end mouldings, glass - and methods such as fabric wrapping and mylar encapsulation which are pretty much unheard of in the UK.
Also very difficult to comapre prices if you go by the current exchange rate - the £ is very strong. Our £200 job would not be a $400 job.
I can't disagree with your statement. It's almost as if because we actualy enjoy what we are doing we aren't allowed to make the amount of money that our efforts seem to warrant.
Hi Brian-I don't think that's it that we "CAN'T" make money doing what we love, but that we just don't seem to want to do the things that will "LET" us make the money
I am certain that if most framers would make an "I won't" list, it would be a great first step
For example (I'll start a list)
I won't pay a rent that allows me to attract more customers
I won't hire more people better suited to do things than I
I won't get CMC
I won't get a POS
I won't take Business Classes
I won't acknowledge that consumers that buy cars, jewelry and fine art an framing respond to the same motivators as thoe that shop at Target
Others list the "I won'ts" that can be hampering your ability to make more money. It might be cathartic
I won't charge my friends the same thing as regular customers.
I won't call back prospective customers in a timely manner that leave messages.
I won't get rid of employees that aren't performing up to my expectations.
I won't give a price over the phone...any price...I will argue about why I never give prices.
I won't refuse any moulding samples sent to me by any suppliers.
I won't ask for the best pricing or take advantage of buying opportunities.
I won't try on a regular basis to lower my costs by re-negotiating for lower/better pricing of:
- credit card processing charges (% rates, per item charges, monthly fees)
- my trash removal fees
- phone service (local, long distance, cellular, internet)
- rent ( CAM charges, insurance, etc)
- insurance (health, business, workman's comp, auto)
I will not keep my shop clean and up-to-date so that customers think it's a nice joint rather than a cluttered workshop...
I will not frame up lots of juicy, for-sale samples--- too expensive!!
I will not show expensive samples- none of my customers will spend that kind of money!
I will not show 'value' or readymade frames, my customers are not looking for bargains!
I will not throw away my price chart and I will not stick my toe in the water and get over my -uh- timidness (fear?) and officially start using the POS that I've had downloaded since February.
I will not regularly and thoroughly track my COG's, because I will not take the time to do it.
I will not order the cables that I need to take the time to set up and start using the visualization program that I paid for and have the camera to use.
I will not be nice to my customers who take more then 5 minutes to place their orders
I will not waste my time with cheap mouldings so my customers have a less expensive choice!
Oh and I will not show the best and most expensive option first. They will be lucky if they even know it's out there!
Now this is the perfect reason to NEVER walk into the middle of the conversation. There's gotta be a reason for all this "opposite-think", but I'm not even going to take the time to go back and read why...
I won't contact a conservator for work I'm not qualified to do.
Separate names with a comma.