Discussion in 'Picture Framing Business Issues' started by Sarah Winchester, Aug 7, 2007.
Here you go, Betty.
Yeah. I knew I'd get blasted for that. But I feel better now that I told on myself, so maybe now I'll get my rear in gear and git-er-done . A Round Tuit, and all that. I just wish someone could come in and set it all up for me, show me how it's done, and I could take it from there. As it is, I'm so dang busy framing, and I need to sleep sometime. Help!
I've actually had a couple pm's from folks in the same boat, maybe we can motivate each other!
Cathartic, Bob? I don't know about that, but at least some of us are out of the closet, and seeing ourselves saying so, it might work? Or at least make ourselves feel guilty as all getout!
Val, one thing at a time. Do your POS first. That will have a more immediate and profound impact on your business than occasional use of your visualization program. If it's all set up with the pricing you want, then just start using it. If you need practice to get comfortable with it, start by taking the last 20 orders that you wrote up manually, and do them in the POS.
By the way, I still have to look up things in my user manual from time to time. Don't worry about being an expert in every aspect of the POS. Just be comfortable with doing the basic custom framing orders. The rest will come as you need it.
I actualy set up my visualization program in a matter of 2 or 3 hours, including running cables through my ceiling and upgrading to a new computer. That doesn't include the trip to Fry's electronics to but all the cables and such that I needed to complete it. The POS system on the other hand took days to set my pricing and days in the future for adjusting what I realised I did wrong. The training of the staff and myself to use the program properly is an ongoing process. I put the programs on the computer in mid January and was usning the visualization byt Feb. 1st but didn't get the POS and staff ready to go untill April 1st. Both were well worth the effort.
I will not stay after hours to get work that needs to get done done.
I will not after 2 grueling hours of designing an 8x10 just say "Look woman this is what your getting now get out of my store and let me do my work!"
Val, you know I can only motivate you on the visualization. I finally downloaded Frame Ready because we have several Macs and I just cannot get the hang of the thing and have no patience for it and cannot relate it to my complicated order form, let alone setting it up and training my staff, some of whom are not all that great with computers, buying extra computers, figuring out how to have 3-5 sales going at once, how to link the computers, yada yada. Frame Ready even called me and I have not answered becasue I don't even know what to ask. This comes from a comptuer saavy, comptenet business woman, who just cannot deal with this right now. I too need a consultant to set the whole flipping thing up.
But the camera--Oh, Val, what a joy it is to show customers their frame in advance. And they ooh, and aah, and think you are so smart and wonderful, when all you did is hook up a few wires and play with the software. This is a piece of cake. Try it first with the art on the floor and holding the camera one day when you are closed. Just play with it that way. Then hook up the wires. I'm amazed every time I use it. Its like using the new Wizard--you'll have so much fun! And of course, that will transfer to the customers who will be in awe of you. (I know, they already are.)
I am telling my staff that they must use this as much as possible with any sale which we have room for under the camera (Sometimes when the design table has several orders going at once it is just not possible.) . The cusomers will go home and tell thier friends about what a wonderful device we have. I have a few people who area bit computer shy and we do have to work with them more on this becasue I truly feel at visualization is a huge marketing advantage. They don't do this at the bb.
Here is my new web page touting the new visualization system. I laid out all the examples in IF and then took a shot of the final piece when it was framed. The customer was delighted. I forget who used the Magic theme on the G, but thank you for the idea!!
What wires?? That's my problem! I'm wire-challenged! I went to our local camera shop and office supply store, and can't find those blasted cables (wires?), and can't find the post that told me where to go online to get them. Then once I have them.... wires and cables and wires...where do I put 'em?? ACK!!!
So, I tell my "I just can't visualize that" customers, "Trust me. I have that crystal ball in my head, based on years of experience, that shows me what it will look like finished. I promise, I won't let you take home something yucky." That has worked for me for years. Can't remember the last time (or any time) that someone hated it and brought it back. But honestly, I'd love to Wow! 'em with the camera and all that.
If it were as easy as everyone makes it sound, I'd have it all up and running a long time ago. For some of us, well, speaking for myself.....it isn't easy!!
I really need that Framer's Helper For the Technology and Time Challenged. I'm sure that, given some time I could "figure it out", but I just don't have it! Like you, I'm not a stranger to a camera (digital or 35 mm!) or a computer or a scanner or a calculator or even a POS (it's the pricing that's getting me in that one!), but I'm stretching myself so thin already....It isn't that I don't want to....I want to!!!
I'm already repairing and maintaining my equipment (updated and installed two last weekend, and have the muscle spasms to prove it!), and trying to learn new-and-better-business-practices, and dealing with quality control issues, and being a psychologist/saleswoman/bookkeeper/janitor/designer/fire-putter-outer....Wires!! Wires!! ACK.
I'm working on it, Kirstie. Honest, I am. And when it happens, I'll kick myself for why-it-took-so-long, but small steps feel like giant leaps, and sometimes I feel like that wishbone about to break in half and hope I get the long side, and all I can do is breathe and workand be grateful and love what I do in the meantime. But....I'm amazed at myself for even considering what I'm considering. I have the camera. I have the POS. I'm using the CMC. Keeping my chopper blades sharp. Got an accountant. Whittled down my vendors, learning to track COG's. Saying NO! to the charity/donation/advertising vultures, and keeping my arms and legs attached while doing all of that, and even getting some sleep every night, while maintaining my sanity. I think I'm doing pretty good. I think.Considering.
Where's that Framer's Helper???
Val, here's the thread. Now you need a place to buy the repeater cables, a way to hang the camera, (get hubby to do that) and a way to get the power from the camera to the outlet (ditto, hubby). So all you really need is a repeater usb cable. Looking that up now.
repeater cables on this thread from Mike Labbe
Thanks Kirstie. Husband-the Electrician-Turned-Baker can help. Will get them ordered. Nowhere in town are they available...or at least, do they know what I'm talking about. Duh! I guess we just hafta go online!
Taking the plunge..."Oil can...Oil can!" (Oz fans will know...)
.sigh...I know (via several private messages) I am not alone here....
One small step for ...oh. Nevermind.
I couldn't find them locally either and had the same frustrating experience. If I owned Wizard (in my dreams) I would sell the things with the software. I also had to go online to buy the kit with all the different kinds of hanging devices in it to attatch to the bottom of the camera so that I could hang the camera from the trac lighting. They make attachments for drop ceilings, and other ceiling types. We ended up attaching a 6 x 6 piece of plywood to the trac and then attaching the camera attachment to that.
So now, where did I get that attachment....
Here it is
you'll look at this page and go crazy. All these mounts and which one to buy. I didn't know so I bought the micro kit with the most attachments! After fiddling around with a couple we used the one which would turn the camera DOWN. I think we also used one of the plates in the kit to attach the mount to the ceiling. All in all, the little kit came in handy. Another thing that Wizard, or others should sell with the software. Buying the camera is easy but finding all the bits and pieces is a pain. I didn't get mine from a spy site, but they all seem to carry the same kit.
Who knew that to hang the blasted camera we would need to investigate security camera sites! OK, I've done the leg work. Now you came come and set up my POS.:nuts:
I'm thinking PaulSF's idea of the camera on a tripod, aiming it straight on, might just be the way to go. No mounting, no hanging. Propped up, easel, magnets, etc. Lighting issues. On the other hand, we have a drop ceiling, camera's lightwight, the computer is close by, so wouldn't require lengthy (repeater? Oh! I'm getting it!) cables. Guess it will be trial and trial and trial....okay, my head hurts and I'm gonna sleep on it.
I'm still thinking about that crystal ball in my head thing....Trust Your Framer. Trust Your Framer....and wondering what the monetary value to me really is. Is this visualization merely an ego-driven deal? Do I just want to "look good"? Am I looking for that Wow! factor? I get that when they pick it up, usually. They already trust me....I'm not losing sales because I can't show them what it will look like in advance. Haven't had anyone walk out yet because they couldn't "visualize it". Honestly....is it really worth it? What's the TRUE (monetary) benefit? Give me some figures.
Convince me, someone, and convince Kirstie too (I'm not convinced that Kirtsie's convinced yet!). When Kirstie's convinced (she hasn't been doing this framing thing successfully for as long as she has from sheer luck), I'll be even more convinced. Until then........
Frame on! Keep the crystal ball and the communication light burning. Something's working!
Gees Val & Kirstie, I feel your pain. When I bought my IF form Wizard I also bought my Canon Camera from them and the mounting kit for the ceiling. The cable that it came with wasn't quite long enough but I was able to buy what I needed locally at a Best Buy store. I just tonight dug out my studio lights w/barn doors from my old days as a serious/amateur photographer and I am going to play around with them tomorrow and see if they help with the correct color rendition. If so I will buy some hardware from the electrical dept at my HD and mount them on the ceiling on Monday.
Wish I was close enough to you Val, I would run down the road and hook-up your visualization for you. Figuring out what pricing info to get into your POS is harder than learning how to use it. I agree though, get some prices in there and as you continue to price your current way and make the sale, after-wards enter them into your POS. Compare and tweak. Be advised you'll never get your hand pricing and POS to be exact, something about how it calculates mats/glass, but just so it comes out close or a little higher and you'll never go back.
Hang in there. I had those same problem and out of nowhere, the Lord sent a guy into my shop who knew about cameras and pushed a few buttons and boom there it was!
I was in tears when he came through the door! God sent him in, I just know he did!:icon21:
My IF is now one of my biggest selling tools.
I wrote an article about it in a local womens magazine and a few months later a lady drove 1 1/2 hours to see it and spent over $500.00 on framing because of it.:kaffeetrinker_2:
She is sending her sister back soon!
I also have been using Lifesaver for over 4 years now and I can't imagine going back to writing things by hand. The daily closings alone are worth the whole input trouble! I know exactly where I am in sales just by watching that!
You just keep moving forward! You won't believe the difference in your business once you get all of these things implemented!
Ok Val, here's convincing: I sent an IF image of a completed frame, a mock up ,with mat, to a commercial client and received a $21,000 job. Not quite as easy as that, but it was the first very positive step.
I've been saying "Trust me" for decades, but when they see the image and SEE that the mat is too small, the upsell is terriffic. I am a good designer and people ask for me way too much (they should be asking for all my staff as well, but that' another issue) but the visualization is just one more tool in your toolbox.
I have had people want to visualize closed corner frames, especially mortoise and tenon, so we may add another software to the computer. I know Picture it First will do this.
I have even put thier pic in IF after I made the sale! Now why would I do that? Because while I'm pricing, they are looking at thier beautiful art completed with a gorgeous frame, and when the price arrives, its suddenly so worth it. Think perceived value.
Yeah, its kind of a gimmick, and people wait to use it if someone else has the space,and it takes a few more minutes (and sometiems it hastens the sale) but so what? They always act like we are kings and queens of technology. That combined with watching the Wizard work, and why go anywhere else? They don't do all this at the bb!
Val, you bought the camera! Have fun with it when you have a little time.
We just did the same thing with a Commercial job. It wasn't quite as big, but the pictures we gave them was what closed the sale.
It was only about $2,300.00. But for me that's big!
You can always just call a computer Tech. I had one help me do the install of my Integrated framer. He didn't do anything that I wouldn't have done but it made me feel alot more confident that it was done right. Once the wires were strung it took all of 30 min for the program to be up and running. I made my first sale off of it that afternoon. That customer upgraded to add a wrapped liner for an extra $100. I've only been using the program for 7 months now and it has easily more than paid for itself in upgrades and shortened design times.
Brian, I hadn't thought of that. I have a techie friend who just might save me, before I tear my hair out!
Thanks for the encouragement, everyone. I've gotta get this done. Time to move on!!
Val, I have a local geek that helps me out from time to time, charges me only $60/hour. Well worth it. Even though it usually only takes him 5 minutes to sort out, when I've already spent hours on it.
Do what you love, and outsource the rest.
Brian, Paul, do your techs work in the east bay? If so please send me thier names.
You probably don't even need a real tech to help you set up your camera Val, just find a high school kid. Call the local school and ask for the right dept. I think they used to call them video labs around here. A high school kid, with their tech savvy could do that for you and $15.00 - $20.00 an hour would probably sound great.
My techie friend will probably do it as a favor, or maybe a little frame job trade. He's techi/nerdie, but sure knows his stuff!
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