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Question "I should have charged more"

Discussion in 'Picture Framing Business Issues' started by jim_p, Dec 15, 2008.

  1. jim_p

    jim_p SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Here's a customer-relations question for you... I just finished building the biggest frame I've ever built (72x44). I now realize that I should have added a hefty PITA tax to the job. I priced it out at materials+markup, not realizing that it would take the better part of a day and some rearranging of the furniture to actually get this thing built. Okay, lesson learned for next time.

    So the question is this: do you tell the customer anything? Like, "I should have charged you more. You're getting a real bargain here!". Basically I want to set future expectations. I don't want her to bring more oversized work expecting the same price, and I don't want her telling her friends how little she paid for the job...

    Or do I say nothing, chalk it up to experience, and quietly readjust my labor charges for super-oversized work accordingly?
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  2. Luddite

    Luddite PFG, Picture Framing God

    I would hand that one over for the price quoted,however make it WELL known that any future project of that sort will be more expensive. Explain it(sound genuinely sorry...) as a rise in cost of goods/supplies,darned inflation! I`ve done it....people nod and almost apologetically agree with you,it`s almost funny"Yeah everthing is goin up in cost,Ok then,I know you are in the same situation we are...." L.
  3. JFeig

    JFeig SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I would just chalk it up to experience.

    BTY - I have pre set oversize charges for most every category of work.
  4. Dave

    Dave SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Your last statement is what you should do. If you tell the customer that you undercharged it appears very unprofessional and like you didn't know what you were doing.

    Been there, done that too.
  5. PaulSF

    PaulSF PFG, Picture Framing God

    I would follow the last option. Say nothing to this particular customer, but certainly revise your charges for oversize jobs. Don't be shy about doing that, either, because your big box competitors probably won't even take an oversize job. Where's the customer going to go, Thumbtacks.com?
  6. johnny

    johnny SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Don't say a word.
  7. j Paul

    j Paul PFG, Picture Framing God

    Agree, don't say anything to this customer.

    Adjust your prices for oversize.

    If you have POS, make a note that comes up when you select this customers name in the future. If she then does bring in another oversize piece you can explain at that time why the price might seem higher, if she notices. Simply explain then, that oversize pieces require more handling/labor to do.
  8. surferbill

    surferbill SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I would jokingly tell the customer how long it took.

    You could say something like "wow, I spent all day working on your frame, but it turned out great didn't it?"

    Oversize pieces just take longer, and you really can't charge enough to compensate for it.

    For a piece 44 x 72 I would add $200.00 to $300.00 extra for the PIA charge, and that still wouldn't cover the extra time it will take.
  9. cjmst3k

    cjmst3k SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    One way to let her know the price will not be the same without being awkward about it is to say "perfect timing on the order by the way, the manufacturer of this style of framing is having a price increase as of the new year..."

    This makes her feel good because she "got a deal" because of her impeccable timing and you feel good because she now knows that next time will be more expensive.
  10. prospero

    prospero SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    About this time last year I did a mega-frame. It was about 7'6" x 4'6". Profile was built up from 5 seperate sections. And it was completely hand-finished. Didn't sound too big until I started putting it together..... It was too big to work on in my workshop so I had to build a makeshift bench in the shop area. Had to shift the Morso to cut it.
    The actual time spent was not all that long, but I couldn't do it all in one go as coats of paint had to dry. So it was blocking the place up for about 10days.
    About 6 coats plus a coat of wax, which is the same as one coat on 150ft of molding 7" wide. Plus sanding. I think I charged about £600, but it would have been cheap at twice the price.

    Sorry for carp photo. Wish I had a pic with the painting in it.:eek: the artist was still working on it while I made the frame. Had to go over to his studio and measure the canvas. Fortunately, it fitted in perfectly. Would have been very embarrassing if it was the wrong size.


    GUMBY GCF SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Tell them how much you loved doing the job and look forward to doing another for them........It's a no brainer

    BILL WARD SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    really BIG !!!! I did one about 3/4 that, finished up & called them to pickup AND reiterated how large it was and that they should borrow a van/PU/station wagon.......they arrived in a 67 mustang droptop!!!!! people just do NOT listen!

    " I now realize that I should have added a hefty PITA tax to the job"
    with experience comes enlightenment! this wont be your LAST short estimate!
  13. couture's gallery

    couture's gallery PFG, Picture Framing God

    we get a lot of pick ups that won't fit in the customers cars...one guy came in a corvette to pick up a 44 x 50 piece....people are pretty much out of touch with reality with all these small cars they are driving..we very nicely offer to deliver the piece in our Yukon XL or extended Chevy van for a small fee or for
    free if they spent enough or have a decent attitude... any of you experiencing this problem?
  14. surferbill

    surferbill SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I had a very good customer show up in his Mercedes convertible to pick up an oversize oil piece.

    I tried to talk him into letting me deliver the piece, but he said it would be fine.

    It fit in the back seat with the top down, but it stuck out of the top of the car.

    Long story, short, he decided to stop at another store, and put his top up, which badly smashed one side of the frame in the top.

    He brought it back the next day, and sheepishly asked me to charge him whatever it costs to fix it, and then deliver it to him.
  15. David N Waldmann

    David N Waldmann SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    We're working on some moulding right now for a frame that will be 4'2" x 18'9" (outside dimension). I have no idea how our customer will move it through production but they usually figure things out. I did ask them about delivery and they will use a professional art mover.
  16. freakquency

    freakquency SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Right now we have a 60"x70" piece in the works... simple enough but we have the space. We do up charge. Last year we did some 6ft by 20ft frames that we assembled on site. That was an up up charge.
  17. Rob Markoff

    Rob Markoff PFG, Picture Framing God

    I disagree with many of the responses.

    I would tell the customer that you are happy to honor the price that you charged, but after working on it you realize that there was significantly more work than expected and if she (or anyone else) were to have you do the same thing again, you would have to charge accordingly.

    I don't think it is unprofessional at all. You are honoring your quote, though you found that you erred in anticipating how long it would really take.

    I have a lot of people working for me, and they too sometimes misjudge how long something sholuld take, or leave something off a work order (spacer, mat rise, not anticipating rabbet depth and requiring a frame build up, strainer) and we honor the price quoted, but we always tell the client what has happened and make a note on the work order what it should have cost.

    I say this because we have many situations where we have to "duplicate" an order and need to reserve the right to charge appropriately for the future orders.

    If you are a small shop, you have more control. My company was small(er) once too and the only way I could grow was to have other people waiting on clients (especially with multiple stores). :) If you expect to grow, you should also expect that "problems" like this will occur and you need to have a plan to cover it.

    This also happens with shadow boxes where the anticipated layout and attachment time are misjudged.

    We usually overcome this with a "this is how long we think it will take but any time over the allotted time quoted will be billed at an additional....$ per hour".
  18. Dancinbaer

    Dancinbaer SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I had the same problem this week on a hockey jersey framing job. (See my other thread in the Grumble where the glass broke). I decided to follow the early advice and not say anything to my customer. As it turned out, after seeing the jersey, the customer asked me if I had charged enough.
    My response was: "I quoted you $200 that's what it is".
    So he rephrased his question to: "If you do another one what will you charge?"
    My response: "I would have to charge no less than $375".

    Short ending, he tipped me $40 cash.
  19. surferbill

    surferbill SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I will not do a jersey for under $400.00. They take a lot of time to do right. IMO
  20. Dave

    Dave SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    I don't understand the need to inform the customer of your mistake, Rob. It does nothing but make the customer feel uneasy and puts them in an awkward position.

    I have been in the position of having made a pricing mistake and the customer duplicated the exact job. At that time I told them of the mistake on the last order and explained why replicating it would be more than the last order. They understood and thanked me for honoring my quote on the first order.

    I've also been in a position where I caught a significant mistake prior to ordering any materials and doing any work. In that case I had to make a decision whether to honor what price I quoted or call the customer and apologize giving them the opportunity to choose a new design, cancel the order or proceed with the corrected price.

    If a customer comes in to pick up their work and you inform them that you made a mistake and the price should have been higher then I believe that customer leaves feeling badly about the transaction. I know I would.
  21. Keith L Hewitt

    Keith L Hewitt SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Difficulty Charge

    Here is the answer! Charge them a DIFFICULTY CHARGE !:smiley:

    The notice is no longer on display

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  22. hangupsgallery

    hangupsgallery MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    Our motto..."no job is to big or too small" sometimes challenges us.

    Attached Files:

  23. PaulSF

    PaulSF PFG, Picture Framing God

    Steve, one of those corners looks a little off. :icon9:
  24. surferbill

    surferbill SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Very nice!! Did you use one sawtooth hanger for hanging? :D
  25. janetj1968

    janetj1968 PFG, Picture Framing God

    Throw it in, but say it kindly.

    I'd give it in the form of "once a year, I pick a special project to give someone a really nice deal on. It was a pleasure building this for you. I really wanted you to see what I could do without worrying about the price."
  26. PaulSF

    PaulSF PFG, Picture Framing God

    Careful Janet, they'll come in next year with a fiendishly complex project, and demand their annual charity case.
  27. Rob Markoff

    Rob Markoff PFG, Picture Framing God

    Gee Dave, I don't understand your logic. How is telling a customer when they go to duplicate a job that you made a pricing error on the first job any different?

    If it were me, I would be more displeased that I wasn't informed (that the price would be higher) prior to coming in the second time as I anticipated what the cost would be before coming in. If the price is going to be higher, I would want to know before I invested my time in coming in.

    I don't tell the customer that "I made a mistake and the price should have been higher" but (as in this case) say that the job took longer to complete (or was more difficult than expected), but we will honor the quote......

    I do think there is a difference.

    This is our 27th year in business and I don't think we would have lasted this long if we weren't pleasing our clients.
  28. PaulSF

    PaulSF PFG, Picture Framing God

    Oh gee, I"m working too hard, Rob. I just read that last sentence as:

    "This is our 27th year in business and I don't think we would have lasted this long if we were pleasing our clients."
  29. hangupsgallery

    hangupsgallery MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    We charged an extra $200 and put 2 sawtooth hangers on it. You can never be too careful.
  30. Dave

    Dave SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    I think the difference Rob is that it is rare that you make a pricing mistake and have to duplicate a job identically and therefore you avoid putting your customer in what I consider an uncomfortable situation 99% of the time.

    We'll just have to agree to disagree. [​IMG]

    April 1st of next year I'll be celebrating 98 years of custom picture framing by our family.
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