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Open on Saturdays??

Discussion in 'Picture Framing Business Issues' started by framerbob, Apr 7, 2012.

  1. Ylva

    Ylva SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    I just see a ton of miscommunication here
     
  2. blackiris

    blackiris SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    I don't.......... what Paul said does not meet every shops description.
    Clear as anything to me.

    I'm with ya Kara!
     
  3. Ylva

    Ylva SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    He never claimed it should. I'm not with anyone here. Just myself.

    I am in basically the same situation as you are Nic. I don't have a choice on how to run my business as I am running my family as well and there are only so many things I can do and only so many hours in a day to do them.

    But I don't pretend that it's not hurting my business. I don't like it. I wished I could be open longer but it won't happen. But it does mean that I miss opportunities in getting more customers and growing my business at this point.

    It's a personal choice that I made and I don't feel that Paul is attacking that point of view. (if he is then he's toast! :icon21:)

    My starting point on why to go into business for myself was different. If it was just for the money, I would have go a different way. I needed the flexibility more than the money.
     
  4. blackiris

    blackiris SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    That's pretty clear cut to me.
    That says..... not commited or that you are lazy about your business.
    Having set hours and set days off means just that.. we aren't frollicking in the daisies and taking elaborate vacations or spa days.
     
  5. pwalters

    pwalters SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    And it's my fault. For Nic and Kara, sorry about the misunderstanding and congrats on having a business that you are happy with. I hope for nothing but good things for both of you. Sorry my opinion isn't the same as yours but that's what makes the world go round. Best of luck.
     
  6. John Ranes II CPF GCF

    John Ranes II CPF GCF SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    That's it Ylva - You've got it! :thumbsup:

    Nicole and Kara - you are both making this a little too personal, I think. You both have made valid points about your personal lives being important....and I think what Paul is really trying to say is that..

    For a business to be Professional - in a Consumer Oriented fashion...it should and cannot be closed two days a week. For an individual to take off two days is important and greatly improves your sanity. Just ask my wife, Sarah who insists on having time off....she knows herself well...what she needs to be good at work and how to balance her life. (She also is aware that I would work 7 days a week...all the time. :D)

    Now, would she consider closing the shop down for two days each week.... No way! She recognizes that she might have to hire staff to make sure that we are open.

    As Tom Hanks states in You've got mail...
    John
     
  7. pwalters

    pwalters SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Totally fair rant for how you've taken my statements. I truly apologize and will only say that the sentence above is nothing close to what I intended my message to come across. Whether you believe that or not, I can't control but I wanted to say it for the record. Sorry to have offended you.
     
  8. pwalters

    pwalters SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Thanks for the attempt at clarification John but I probably should have phrased my original message differently or just kept it to myself. However that's not my nature. I bet those two could outframe me any day of the week. Probably truly great at what they do. We just look at this business different. That's what makes the world go round.

    I certainly didn't mean to get personal with anyone but it appears that's what I've done.
     
  9. blackiris

    blackiris SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    I dont agree.
    You are AGAIN...... making the broad assumption that ALL BUSINESSES should be this way and we are unprofessional if we dont follow.
    How can you NOT take it personal? You have people to cover for you and your wife when you go on vacation or have DR appointment.
    Sole buisness owners don't. What would you do if it was JUST YOU?
     
  10. blackiris

    blackiris SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Wanna trade shops for a week? :popc: You have to keep the baby too. :D
     
  11. pwalters

    pwalters SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I tend to drop things. Probably not a good idea.
     
  12. Ylva

    Ylva SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Nic, maybe I should just not say anything...but do you feel that your business is the best it could be, or would it benefit if you could stay open more days/longer hours?

    No, I know you can't do that, this is just a rhetorical question. Neither can I. I am taking care of my whole family too and have practically no one to fall back on. But just for being honest; I know my store hours hurt my business. But I'm stuck with them as I have two fulltime positions; business owner and mom.

    But I do agree that I could grow my business much better if I'd only could be the business owner and not deal with everything else.
     
  13. blackiris

    blackiris SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    YOu are missing the point. We are being told...... that we are UNPROFESSIONAL for not putting every single ounce of our lives into our businesses and being open 6 or 7 days a week.

    If you can swallow that.......... whatev........ I can't and WONT let someone tell me I don't do everything I can for my business and that I'm unprofessional

    And for the record I wouldn't stay here longer or open another day. Even if I didn't have kids. THAT'S INSANE. It doesn't work if you are a 1 person shop.
     
  14. Ylva

    Ylva SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    well...let's agree to disagree then.

    My work is professional and I don't feel I have to defend that. On a purely business level; no, I am not professional. That doesn't mean I don't work hard and put in all the hours I can. There just not that many hours that I can.
    In order to grow my business and just focus on that (which I can't) I would have to be here more and longer and focus solely on my business. It's not possible.

    If my husband thought differently; we wouldn't be able to pay the bills. He does what it takes. I am nowhere near that on a business professional level. Again, that doesn't make me feel less or make my job less important.
     
  15. j Paul

    j Paul PFG, Picture Framing God

    I think I run a professional business. (So does the IRS and my landlord and the utility company and my vendors) My hours are 10 - 6:30pm T-F / Sat 1-4pm - I used to also be open on Monday until I closed just for the summer last year - extended it to permanent after running numbers and seeing that my business grew despite that. I have new customers every week and I'm sure some that don't come back when I'm closed. My regulars know when I'm open and if they forget and stop by when closed, they come back, because they tell me.

    I NEVER PLAN TO HIRE AN EMPLOYEE. I want it that way. I used to be in another buisness and I had employees but don't want them this time around. Might I have more business if I was open 9am 9pm everyday, maybe. Maybe a little more if I were open 24/7. I'm an independent, because I can and want to be.

    With the exception of the Big Box stores (and even they have a sign on their counter saying the frame dept. is closed during certain hours the store is open) Every independent frame shop in my area has somewhat limited hours. So do most independent tropical fish stores / stained glass supply shops / most any Mom/Pop. Even a lot of restaurants are only open for Breakfast/Lunch or Lunch/Supper or some are even called Supper Clubs, because they only have evening hours.
     
  16. blackiris

    blackiris SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Well you are just unprofessional John! :D........ and so is Hobby Lobby cuz they are closed on Sundays!
    Welcome to the party!!!
     
  17. pwalters

    pwalters SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    And I certainly didn't intend for Ylva and Nic to have to scrap.

    Maybe I'm digging the well a bit deeper or maybe this will clarify.

    When I set out years ago to build my business plan I knew of a few things.
    1. That I wanted to be my own boss.
    2. I wanted to take the $$ I was putting in and grow it.
    3. I wanted to provide employment for people in my community.
    4. I wanted to deal with the public (and no, I don't regret this one!).
    5. I was going to find a way to do all of these things in an industry that interested me.

    Now, I wanted to be my own boss so that down the road I would have the freedom and flexibility to do what I wanted. Like take weeks off at a time or have weekends off to go on my boat. I felt I had to get the business to a certain level to do these. I knew that was going to take quite a bit of elbow grease to get to that point. I felt that I needed to present my business in a manner where it was most accessible to my clients. I knew that my personal life was going to have to take a backseat to reach my goals. I did that and still managed to be a good husband, uncle, friend to everyone involved in my life.

    I feel that if I had gone into this with the goal of making sure I had two days off a week I would not have achieved my goals. I felt that if I was closed when most people in my community were shopping that my business would not be taken seriously by my customers (this is where Nics situation differs because her community is different than St. Louis and I bet Atlanta is). I felt that if I did not compete with similar businesses (not just frame shops but anyone else that can siphon off disposable income) around me on things like store hours and pricing that I would have thrown away my investment and my opportunity. These were the things I felt. I never once questioned that to get there I might not get two days a week off. For most of my adult life I worked 60 hours a week plus. I also had previous careers that involved many of the same things KaraK mentioned which is why I decided to put that uber hard work towards my own goals.

    Clearly, we didn't all get into this business for the same reasons and clearly we are all looking to get different things out of our businesses. I used the wrong word. I'm not saying I am more professional than anyone. I am only saying that my perspective on owning my own business varies with some of the rest on this forum. Nothing personal was meant and I truly apologize that it was taken that way.

    Doubt this clears it up because obviously there are people who are upset, but I certainly hope that those upset can step back and try and see if there is a way to perhaps try and see if I intended my comments in a way that was NOT intended to flame anyone.
     
  18. j Paul

    j Paul PFG, Picture Framing God

    Paul, I do understand where you are coming from. For those that run a business with employees' and extended hours and freedom that can be a good thing and one approach.

    For the small operator with no employee and thus limited hours they can/do have something else going for them. THEM! - If they are good at what they do, and good with customer relations that can be a BIG DRAW. One of the Buzz Words in marketing today, the CUSTOMER EXPIERENCE. A small shop can do that very well, if it is part of their mission. Heck, I bet some of Nic's customers stop in once in a while to see what color her hair is this week, or to see how the baby is doing. :icon21:
     
  19. DVieau2

    DVieau2 PFG, Picture Framing God

    If your not open you really never know what you might be missing.

    One way to measure: Ask you neighbor ( assuming you have a neighbor).

    I'm located in a small strip center and I'm open 6 days a week. My neighbors on either side have limited hours.

    Boy... do we get an earful.

    Doug
     
  20. John Ranes II CPF GCF

    John Ranes II CPF GCF SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Well actually Nicole, a very good friend of mine was a "one man band" shop for a number of years. And he would actually have a part time friend "babysit" whenever necessary...for a day off, for a convention trip. This part-timer knew enough to be nice to customers, take the framing order and leave it for the owner to design when he returned. It can be done.

    But for those real independent types out there, I have found the perfect Business Hours sign for you...

    [​IMG]

    :) John
     
  21. FramerDave

    FramerDave PFG, Picture Framing God

    I really hope John doesn't mind me paraphrasing him, because he had a very good point in another discussion on the PPFA Framer's Corner. He wrote that in one of his classes he points out that when we decide to go into business for ourselves, we sign a contract making ourselves servants to our customers and giving up the 40-hour week.

    Sorry, but that's just the way it is. It's not about us. It's about the customer, serving them and being there when they expect you to be open, not when it's convenient for you. If you want to be closed on a Saturday when your customers want to do their weekend errands, that's a personal choice. But don't get upset if a customer leaves a negative review or if your sales are down.

    Now please don't build a strawman from what I've written. There are always exceptions, and if you're running a successful business and closed on Saturdays (or whenever) then good for you.
     
  22. blackiris

    blackiris SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Well.... there Ya go..... I guess next time ill just have to give birth on my frame counter and pop right up and cut mats for people!!!!!
    Or skip a family members funeral cuz God knows they need their framed jerseys.
    Give me a break.

    I'm not a servant for anyone...... do people really think like that still???
     
  23. johnny

    johnny SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I was born with my mom straddling a bassinet while framing 250 disgusting florals in Riviera Rose matting and gold metal frames for a hotel chain and giving quotes of the phone at the same time. Once the umbilical cord was cut I was folding cardboard corners and loading up the pallets by the time I was 18 minutes old. We knocked out 14 different jobs before they even knew I was a boy. I was in first grade before I knew my true age. It was never, "Can you believe he's 4 months old?" it was "Can you believe he's 387 jobs old? I wonder what he'll be like at 922?"

    Get with it sister! Go pro! Lets here it! This is my ATG Gun! There are many like it but this one is mine! My ATG gun is my life! It attached down all the crinkly bits of backing paper all nice and flat and pleasing and such. Without my ATG gun I am useless! Because little freakin dots of fabric glue are for terrorists.
     
  24. RParrish

    RParrish PFG, Picture Framing God

    Well Nicole and I are in the same boat, my hours are dictated by family needs, my wife works four twelve hours days a week, 7 to 7, she spends 3 days with our kids, that's no day off either. I spend one day with them, while the wife works, we don't have any days off together. I take the kids to school in the morning and pick them up at the end of the day. I work Tues-Sat 10-5, Monday's by appt, which is really my day I do installations, and I am booked a month in advance so its no day off.

    The biggest feedback I hear is " we come by all the time, but your never open", to which I reply "Tell that to my wife :p". Do my hours suck? Yes! Do I like it ? No. But I have managed to grow and thrive in business for 17 years! Do I care what people needlesly argue about here? Heck no! I am doing my best and always trying to do better.
     
  25. i-FRAMER

    i-FRAMER MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    I think the big question i what is work?
    I love what i do therefore i don't consider it work.
    Like Randy, i am a considered a workaholic. But for me i find it hard work doing nothing.
    I have had several businesses one being an online business. I used to get calls from the U.S. at 3.00 in the morning. My wife would say"what are you doing/" i would simply reply, "well i am awake now". As i tell my customers, if my car is at the shop, i am open, just knock if the doors are closed. If they need to meet me on a weekend ring, and if i can make it i will.
    I don't think this is sort of work ethic is for everyone. For some there business is still a job, mine is a lifestyle that i created that suits me. With our new venture, our toll free number is linked to my mobile, so again i tell my customers, ring anytime, if for some reason i don't answer i will ring back as soon as i can.
    I am only 41 and stated in business about 12 years (borrowing every cent), i have put the hours in and worked hard, but it is paying off, and what it means for me is that by the time i am 50, i no longer need to work. I will just do want i when i want.
    If i had of taken a different attitude or approach this would not have been possible.
    Everyone and every business is different and should be respected for such.
     
  26. Ylva

    Ylva SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    And I'm in the boat with both of you. Like Randy, my husband and I rarely have time together although we try to keep Sundays off. We succeed maybe 10 Sundays in a year. We have promised ourselves that 'soon' we will go see a movie together, have dinner together but there is always something coming up.

    My hours suck too and I hear quite some customers saying the "you are never open" when they finally manage to come during the listed hours. Those are the ones that come back because their friends have referred them to me. I know there are many who will not return. How do I know? Because hubby's business is next door and he is here all the time and tells me how many customers I have missed.....
    Not something I want to hear....

    But do I have another choice? Right now I don't. I have only been in business for 4 years but I'm still in business. This year I finally see some growth, so I know I am doing something right. But, it could be better and I know it. I try to improve on things within my control. My store hours are unfortunately not completely within my control. I have been staying longer and come in earlier but I can't list that as my new store hours as I know I won't be able to keep up with that.
     
  27. KaraK

    KaraK CGF, Certified Grumble Framer

    John - Of course small business is personal, which is exactly what that scene is about. Watch the rest of it.

    Framing is a strange, unique, challenging, difficult, wonderful business. There is no other business like custom framing. I don't have any friends who own their own business, and certainly not a frame shop, so I don't have anyone to talk to about business issues, which is why I come to this forum. Without really trying, I counted 21 recurring reasons why some on this forum discount other framers as "less than". The last thing any of us should have to do is defend our business practices - whether it's ordering chops, not accepting AMEX, being home-based, not requiring deposits, having too many vendors, having too few vendors, and so on, from fellow framers. If anyone should understand that each shop is different, shouldn't it be our fellow framers? Advice is one thing, derision is another.

    We talk about bad manners so often on this forum, because they are displayed so often. Too often. I think the lowest insult anyone could make to a fellow framer is: You are not a professional. I generate a lot of money through my business for the local economy. I have a 1200 s.f space in a busy shopping center in the most expensive neighborhood in Atlanta, smack on Peachtree Rd. I treat my customers so well it probably makes them a little nervous at times. :) I'm the type of person who if I realize I made a mistake during order entry and charged someone too much, I give them a refund, even when they would never have known they were overcharged. I meet customers at my shop on my days off. This, and about 1,000 other things, makes me a professional. If you don't think so, that's fine. Just keep it to yourself.


    Paul - We're cool. I appreciate your apology. You said you knew you would catch some flak, and you did! I guess a little more than you anticipated. I understand your point of view, maybe you understand mine, but we don't have to agree. However, any time you post a moulding or mat search I'll always check to see if I can help you out! No need for any animosity - we both stated our opinons and it can end there.
     
  28. RParrish

    RParrish PFG, Picture Framing God

    Reviewing some of the post on this thread regarding "Saturdays" I have come to conclude a shops activity consist of a couple factors...

    1. Location, rural versus urban. Micro location, the specific mix of businesses in your block. These factors can be guide to a shops
    general activity.

    2. Custom framing only versus framing partnered with other merchandise, gifts, photography, crafts
    people might not be inclined to go framing but there are certainly people out and about browsing at gifts and ect...


    To say your not open 7 days a week is not professional is ridiculous! Would it be ideal? Yes! Competent employees working for free would be ideal too. So can you be professional but not in the ideal sense? Is this the American dream? Or the American slave to the dream? Do other countries have the same expectations?
    Do you expect every type of business to be open 7 days a week? What about services? Should my accountant or lawyer be available 7 days a week?

    Anyways to get worked up over this is a waste of time!
     
  29. John Ranes II CPF GCF

    John Ranes II CPF GCF SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Kara,

    You are obviously passionate about your business and taking care of your customers - true characteristics of a successful business retailer. I don't think that anyone is questioning these nor your not being a professional. And I think that most posting and reading this thread recognize readily the different business models in the custom framing industry that exist.

    That being understood, we were simply talking about Saturday (6 days a week) hours as this relates to a store front retailer who operates a custom framing business. It might be important to clearly define that we are not talking about personal hours working....but rather the hours the business is Open and available to the consumer.
    • We are in the service industry. We are needed when the customer needs us, similar to a plumber, or cable installer, or a car parts store.
    • Our business hours are for the convenience of our customers, not for our convenience. Similar to the music played in our shop - this is for the enjoyment of our customers when they visit...not ours. The credit cards we accept are offered for the conveniece of our customers...not us.
    • Many of those with the disposable income to afford custom framing are busy working Monday-Friday 10am-5pm. The more hours we are open OUTSIDE of that range, the more we increase the likelihood of being open when they need our services.

    Randy - Agreed!

    I clearly recognize that many of us make lifesyle choices as it relates to our business hours, which I accept and understand. But I firmly believe that a business that plans on being in business tomorrow examines longer hours and embraces a flexible attitude in whatever it takes to assure success.

    Respectfully,

    John
     
  30. blackiris

    blackiris SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Just so you know. I disagree with everything you just wrote. AGAIN...... it does not fit every single custom framing shop.

    I seriously can't wrap my head around SERVING PEOPLE. That's 80's MENTALITY.......

    If your shop wasn't the way YOU set it up ...or had your tastes or your spin.... why even do it? It's an extension of who you are as a person.

    I'm not playing elevator music in my shop...... I'm not accepting American Express either.....I'm not painting my walls beige or wearing custom POLOS (YUCK) .... YES I'm dying my hair pink and whatever color I want and ######... I'll change my baby on the frame counter if I want to.

    I just had a lady in that works 9-5.... and said she loves stopping here on saturday mornings to pick up just as my 3yr old art class is leaving. She gets to see their work. And shes a surgeon.

    I don't see this INDUSTRY as SERVING a customer. It's more personal like they are paying me to be their best friend. :D AGAIN........ your statement do not fit every single shop.
    I've known MORE SHOPS TO CLOSE that do it to please everyone else.
     
  31. stcstc

    stcstc SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    john, we are a retail industry not a service industry

    and yes some peoples businesses require them to work hrs around customers

    I do quite the opposite, i an not a walkin type retail shop, do get a few but not many

    but what i do is create a persona, so people think they have to make appointments to see me

    this does 2 things, they fit around me generally(although i do go sometimes and meet people in the evening etc) it also means my conversion rate into sales is waaaaaaay high than that of a traditional retail shop

    the point though is as nicole says there are lots of different models of business here, and so generic systems and terms dont fit
     
  32. Dave

    Dave SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    It boils down to do you own your business or does it own you?

    Personally I don't know how people like Nicole, Ylva, Randy and others juggle all that they do with family, spouses, etc. and manage to run a one-man-show so successfully. I applaude them.

    I use to do the 60-80 hours a week thing... at Christmas some years I took a bedroll to my store and never went home for a couple days at a time.

    Only you can decide how you want to run your business. Others offer advice which has worked for them and mean well in offering that advice. However each business is different and the reasons for being in business are as varied as the individual businesses.

    For me, the main motivating factor was never about the money. Money was important but not #1.
     
  33. cjmst3k

    cjmst3k SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Here's a story.

    There's an awesome vegetarian restaurant about a 20 minute drive away. Being a vegetarian, I want to patronize this place. The food is great. Atmosphere is low-key. Heck of a drive for a sandwich (probably burn $3 in gas for a $6 sandwich) but to me its worth it.

    I am a potential goldmine-customer for them.
    -Vegetarian
    -Willing to drive from far away
    -Willing to pay practically any price for their food


    But, the reason I've stopped going there... because their hours are completely inconsistent.

    Sometimes they're open at 6pm on a weekday. Sometimes they're not even open at 2pm. I called once to ask what time they closed that evening, and they said 7pm... I got there at 4pm and they already closed.

    As much as I want to give them my money... their priority is not on being convenient to customers. So, now my money goes to places I'm less satisfied with, but I know will be open when I go there.


    The same could be said for indie-frame shops vs big-boxes.

    Consistent and convenient hours are key, because even the most determined of customers have a breaking point (unless you're the only game in town for framing). Not to say one couldn't have a closed-day on sunday or something, but those of us in areas with lots of competition, the days of being open 5 days a week from 10-5, like my father's gallery, are over imo.



    -If your shop is closed a few days a week, and if you're earning enough money this way, then keep it up. You're in a great situation that I would love to be in.

    -If your shop is closed a few days a week, and you're not earning enough money this way, then be open more days.


    Retail is a rough game, and not everyone survives.
     
  34. osgood

    osgood SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Serving people goes way back past the 80's and for many people it's just as relevant today. There are many ways to 'serve' others and I like to think I do that in my business and in several other ways. It gives me great pleasure to 'serve' someone. To go out of my way to serve someone is very satisfying and fulfilling. In fact I like to do it so much that I think I must be a really selfish bas#$rd!
     
  35. cjmst3k

    cjmst3k SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer


    + 1
     
  36. The King

    The King SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    There are some really angry people in this thread that might need THREE days off each week.

    Working unholy hours was a fact-of-life in small business, and I guess I figured it still is. I brought my kids to work with me when I had to. I brought work home with me. By Christmas day, I was always flat-on-my-back sick.

    The up-side was that I generally had help and I could slip away for an hour or two to go to an awards assembly at my kids' school and chaperon some field trips.

    Then I started cutting back. I continued to make personal choices, which is what we all do, and eventually I wasn't in the shop enough to make a living. So I made another personal choice.

    We all have to balance business and personal decisions and often the two are at odds. It doesn't necessarily get better when you're working for someone else. It just gets different. You lose some flexibility. You don't bring your kids, or your dog, to work with you. But, depending on who you're working for, you get paid vacations, weekends off, insurance and the knowledge that the buck doesn't always stop with you. You don't get all the credit, but you don't get all the blame.
     
  37. RParrish

    RParrish PFG, Picture Framing God

    I disagree there are some shops that are custom frame shops, business is on demand, all they do is frame and maybe sell a thing or two of framed stuff a month, they are "services industries" they survive on framing.

    Then there are retail shops, they sell art, gifts, craft supplies, photo frames and framing is around half the business, they are retail. They probably have 3 or 4 employees or more and are open 7 days a week and evening hours.
     
  38. Less

    Less SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Open More or Less

    M-F 10-6 Sat 10-5 Sun 11-4 if Less has to pay rent everyday, Less wants to be open everyday.

    Much of Less's business comes in Saturday afternoon - right up until and past 5. Sundays have been a waste of money but it is because Less is not at the shop and he has not been consistent in the past about Sunday hours. Lots of NY weekenders around here. Mondays and Fridays are good.
     
  39. Less

    Less SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    ooooo

    oooooo - Less must read back
     
  40. Jim Miller

    Jim Miller SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    There is reason and at least some wisdom in all of the arguments here, but I see a couple of other factors to consider: balance and enjoyment.

    Yes, any retail frame shop owner needs to be truly committed to serving customers. How many times have we witnessed the failure of shops operated by people who did not take their customer-service responsibility seriously enough? Too many, methinks. So yes, one's willingness to invest whatever time it takes to succeed is essential.

    Yes, it is also essential for everyone to reserve time for interests outside of the business, especially family. How often does a small business owner isolate himself within the business to the point that he/she loses touch with others? How many times have we seen families fail because a spouse thinks work is more important than family? Too many, methinks.

    Since 1988, my frame shop has been open Monday through Friday 10 am to 7 pm, and Saturday 10 am to 4 pm, so I know about the commitment of time and effort. On the other side of the equation, my wife is also involved with the business. She has always had a full-time career of her own, but she comes to the shop daily and keeps the books. If we had children at home, I would try to involve them too, one way or another.

    Considering her regular job plus her shop involvement, Gail works at least as hard as I do. But we both enjoy the personal gratification and other rewards of the business, and that enjoyment is also essential to sustaining the effort.

    My dream is to have the store open only one day a week, take in one framing order of, say, $5,000.00, and spend few more days in the back room to build it at my leisure. After 24 years, that is still only a dream.

    Let's face it: If running a small independent retail business were easy, everyone would be doing it. In reality, we who walk the tightrope of running a business and maintaining a happy family are a rare breed.
     
  41. Puppiesonacid

    Puppiesonacid SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer


    Just wait a bit longer for inflation, and you might get your wish! :)
     
  42. johnny

    johnny SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I like this post. "Quoted for truth" as they say.
     
  43. johnny

    johnny SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Some folks might be stressed about their own hours after reading this thread and concerned that they can't put in more time. I think those guys can relax a bit though.

    Nobody has a better understanding of your business that you do. You live it. If you've already been around for a few years you should innately know what you need to do. Listen to the little man in your head.

    You don't have enough customers if you're not constantly disappointing or irritating someone. The trick is to find the right balance to thrive despite doing this. For a frame shop, it's really not difficult.

    Make people happy.

    That's it.

    When you're there, make people as happy as you can. People have expectations regarding your shop before they ever walk in. These start out as general expectations built from their overall shopping experiences. Then they may become more refined if they have shopped for art or framing before.

    If you're reading this you are most likely in the position to blow away their expectations. If a customer comes in and they are greeted by a friendly person who is intelligent and helpful and really knows their business then that customer is going to be happy. The experience they receive in your shop will totally blow away the experiences they receive shopping almost anywhere else. Even on my worst days, when I'm tired and have a headache and my A game is a distant memory and I can't quite remember where the frames are made or out of what wood or all the reasons a dropped mat makes good design sense for that particular piece of artwork I'm still likely to be better than anywhere else they will shop that day. It's strange to feel like you're on your C game instead of your A game and still get complimented so much.

    You're going to be highly knowledgeable about all your product, friendly/cheerful, polite, and fast/efficient. You're going to be professional. Your going to make them happy and your business is going to naturally grow. Eventually, you'll have to make the truly crucial decisions regarding how to manage a growing business.

    Because framing is a relatively easy business to run everything else you do will add to your success but this is the key.

    So for your hours, you might irritate or disappoint some people. You might lose some because they won't come in your door at all. If they come in you'll win them because the experience of working with you makes them forget about your hours, but they might never come in. If you are doing your best when you are there your business will continue to grow anyway.

    You're always going to irritate or disappoint people. We've been here non-stop since Labor Day. We still disappoint people. We open at 10AM. Came in to work the other day at 9:45AM and a guy was tugging at the front door and pacing, all pissed off. By the time he left he was happy and cheerful and a huge fan of us. But he started out super annoyed. He wouldn't have been irritated if we opened at 9AM. Since we open at 10 he might have even walked away and not come back. I'm sure some do. But if we opened at 9AM then someone would eventually be tugging at the door and super irritated at 8:45AM. The earliest one that I've ever known about happened quite a few years ago. I was outside the front of the store at some insane hour 6:30 or 7:30AM. The door was unlocked. A guy parks, gets out of his car with his artwork, and walks right in to the store like he expected it to be open the whole time. I thought, "seriously?" And I followed him inside and he was very confused that I came in from the outside and wasn't waiting inside to serve him. And he was a pure knucklehead. And this is why you will always disappoint people no matter what you do: Many people are ####ing stupid.

    You have to find your sweet spot of irritating people vs. thriving. You're never going to please everyone.

    So work the hours that you can and that you feel make the most sense for you. Keep them HAPPY when they see you. You'll be just fine. After all, some of the people who think you can't be a professional if you don't have super long hours are the same people who will tell you that home based framers are just as professional as anyone and they are largely by appointment ONLY, no hours at all! If they are professional then you can close a day a week. I think you get that free-pass.

    Again, just make them happy when they are in your store. Many other retail establishments of all kinds are open way more hours than you are and they are disappointing and irritating people on a regular basis too. But you're not going to disappoint them with your product and service. And that's the disappointment that really hurts the most.
     
  44. Elaine

    Elaine SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    only by...

    saturay by appointment. Out numbers were similar to yours - we were open, but no one was coming in. I do saturdays by appointment, and I have found that a lot of my appointments are during the early mornings durnig the week. My weekly hours are 10- 5, but most people will book an appointment at 8:30 - 9. I am usually at the shop by 7 am, so I can accommodate the early hours easily. Very few are asking for later evenings and only a limited amount on saturdays. My business has been slow for the last three years, but it's not because of hours or availability, its because of the economy. I have multiple income sources, so I work around whatever works - it is getting to be a little tiring though...

    Do what you think works best for you.

    Elaine
     
  45. Karen

    Karen CGF, Certified Grumble Framer

    1. Originally Posted by Karen
    ...Our hours are now Mon, Wed and Thurs 9am - 5:30pm, Tuesday 10am - 7pm, (this was a great day that didn't interfer with church and other activities) and Fridays from 9am - 4:30pm... ...I do however accept appointments on Saturday but only from 9am-11am and I space them out at 30 min intervals...


    2. Posted by John
    Karen,

    How do you expect your customers and potential customer to remember these hours? If it takes a sliderule to figure out when a shop is open...then it's too complicated, IMO.


    John, I simply asked my customers of 7 years what hours they wanted (not what works for me), I listened to them and complied. Since we implemented the weird hours of what works for the customers our 2011 was the best year we have ever had!! It put us in a totally different tax bracket, one that I am delighted with and I couldn't of imagined ever being in with the way the economy has been.

    I truly feel that a good business person will suceed if they are giving the customers what they want regardless of what everyone else around them is doing. I've never liked being like everyone else or following the herd.

    These are only the store hours, not what I actually work, I arrive 3 hours before my scheduled opening times and am usually here at least an hour after closing time, if a customer shows up I simply unlock the door and let them in, take the order and then relock the door. I go above and beyond to meet my customers needs and if their happy then I'm happy so it's really not that complicated. And I have found that in my town customers will adjust to whatever hours are posted, they know I have a life and family beyond the store. Just like my hours are set to what works best for them.

    Karen
     
  46. David N Waldmann

    David N Waldmann SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    FWIW, my observation as a distributor is that a lot of shops are open just 5 days, but Tuesday - Saturday is a very common strategy. Many of our customers seem to work a short Monday to organize their week and put orders in.

    As to whether a frame shop is a service business or not, I would say it isn't; at least, once you go out of business because you can't compete with Micheal's et al. Remember the three-legged stool of business - quality, service, price. If you leave off service, most indies (not just frame shops) are giving up a huge potential advantage over the big boxes.
     
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