overdue customer pick ups......



hello all grumblers......
do any of you charge a fee if finished orders do not get picked up soon after completion?
on my receipts i state......no refunds, all sales final and "not responsible for any merchandise left over 30 days"
how long do you wait before a second pick up call ....
alot of $ can build up if you do not stay on top of this....
any thoughts?

beth @ silent pictures in sunny las vegas...

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Jim Miller

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Here's what we do to get finished work picked up:

1. Charge at least 50% deposit up-front. There are a few exceptions to this rule, but not many and never for new customers.

2. Phone when the job is done, or email, or FAX, or whatever it takes to reach the customer. Usually, this involves leaving voicemail or recorded messages. We try not to be confused for telemarketers.

3. Phone again at least once every week until it's picked up.

4. 30 days after completion, forgetful customer gets a nice letter, including our policy and advising that we will waive our $2.00 per day storage charges for one more week.

5. In 13 years we've come to this point exactly three times. The three pieces are hanging in the back. We said in our final letters that we'd discard them and accept no further responsibility if not picked up by XX/XX/XX. They weren't, so they're officially trash.

Incidentally, all three of the discards hanging in the back were taken in without a deposit.


ALL of the orphans in our shop are tickets with no deposits. We call when the job is completed, then call again about once a week. If six weeks go by we send a postcard. If six months go by we send a certified letter.

I have a job in the store now that was a super duper rush for. . . Thanksgiving.


SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Postcards reminding the customer work nicely. They are stuck in the purse/pocket or left on the counter as a reminder. They work well for us.

I cut the mat, I pet the =^..^= cat.


How about orphaned artwork?

My boss carries some ready-mades, and while straightening them out one day, we came across someone's full-color caricature. Apparently "Rob" was a doctor who was retiring, and moving to Pennsylvania. (This we gathered from the image of Rob happily running away from X-rays towards a sign that says, "Off to Pennsylvania!")

I guess somebody put the picture there to see if it would fit, and then forgot it....it is now hanging proudly in the back, and we have plans to frame Rob extravagantly, and make him our mascot....we grow fonder of Our Rob every day...LOL

I don't care what color your sofa is.


I know, I know, bad form to double post, but I can't resist....

On the topic of phoning the customer when their order is finished, what kinds of responses do you get to this phone call?

I've had people angrily deny that they've ever set foot in the shop, that there is NO WAY they've framed anything recently, and that they don't know why I'm bothering them. LOL

One particularly angry old man informed me that his wife (who had placed the order) was "doing yardwork, and I can't be bothered fetching her, and anyway WE DON'T FRAME, so you must be calling the wrong number!"

And then his wife calls up, all bent out of shape because we never called her. *sigh*

I don't care what color your sofa is.


SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
We now collect a 50% deposit on almost every order.

Our window display consists of two abstract prints that we did a number of years ago. The customer had put a significant deposit on the order. We called him a few times, and he denied ever placing the order!

We have other assorted pieces that have never been picked up. Maybe they will find their way into a window display, too.


True Grumbler
I had to go to small claims court to get one large job paid for...thank heavens they left a deposit because they claimed that this wasn't their artwork and they never had anything framed with me. If you have a deposit and the proper documentation the judge WILL side with you. I took them to court...not for the money but for the nasty way they treated me whenever I called to remind them of their artwork.

Susan May

We have had the unfortunate "pleasure" of being stuck with a few items through the years. In my opinion, it does not matter whether or not there is a deposit... it only matters whether or not you can sell it to someone else. If it is a family photo, or just plain UGLY, get full payment up front.

As for dealing with late pick-up's?... Our form clearly states that we are not responsible for artwork left 30 days after completion of work. It also states that there is a $10/week charge for storage after 30 days. I have had to collect the storage charge a few times, but most of the time people come in when you mention that it is going to cost them more soon.

Rob Markoff

PFG, Picture Framing God
I agree that orders without deposits left are usually the ones not picked up but..... fellow framers/businesspeople please note:

A DEPOSIT IS NOT COLLATERAL! The primary purpose of taking a deposit is NOT to get the customer to come back faster.

The primary purpose of a deposit is to increase CASH FLOW. Do not lose track of this fact.

If your cost of materials is 30% (or less), if you charge a 50% deposit at the time of order, you will have enough to pay for the materials within the 10-20 days most vendors alot for a prompt pay discount. The value of these discounts is HUGH. If you are not taking advantage of them, you are throwing money away. There is no easier way to put money in your pocket than to pay your bills promptly and take advantage of prompt pay discounts.

Those who have taken my class, Proven Pathways to Profits, know what I am referring to (and you are probably making more money too!)

Rob Markoff, CPF
San Diego, CA

Jim Miller

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Originally posted by R Markoff:
"A DEPOSIT IS NOT COLLATERAL!...The primary purpose of a deposit is to increase CASH FLOW."

Of course, you are correct about the cash flow benefit, Rob.

But this thread is about how to deal with late pick-ups. Regardless of the direct benefit to cash flow, a deposit is the best way to ensure that customers will pick-up finished work. So, that's a benefit of collecting a deposit, also.

"Collateral" is a term usually associated with borrowing, but I don't see it in this thread. Did I miss something? A deposit is partial payment, not collateral. Law in Ohio (and other states, too?) says that we *can* keep a deposit as partial payment for agreed framing services.

If there were collateral in a normal picture framing transaction, it would be the customers' property in our possession. In Ohio (at least) we can not legally withhold customers' property. We can, however, deny or limit our responsibility for it, if it is abandoned by its owner. We can not be held perpetually responsible for it.

You've brought a whole new dimension to this thread, Rob.

There are specific laws about what we can -- and can't -- do when a customer fails to pick-up on time. Every shop owner should consult a lawyer about such legal matters.


CGF, Certified Grumble Framer
We have been blessed with four unclaimed pieces in four years....three with no deposits. This past Saturday, we placed one unclaimed piece that had been brought in for framing in July 2000 (an original oil) in our window with our regular display. No sale sign or anything, just prominently displayed. It was picked up before noon. Next week I think I'll try it with piece #2.


SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
I have a nice $200.00 limited edition golf print we framed that the customer put a $100.00 deposit on. It's been sitting here since last August, and I have called twice. It is going to look very nice hanging in my husbands new office. One thing I would like to mention, we always call when a piece is completed. Sometimes people would tell us they didn't get the message. Now we make a note on each slip as to when they were called and how the message was received, answering machine, son, husband, etc. That way, they know whom to yell at for not giving them the message. At least it's not us.


True Grumbler
If you've called once and left a message, try dropping them a postcard with a personal message on it thanking them for their business and reminding them that their framed piece needs to be picked up.

This is what I'm getting ready to implement. I'll let you know how it works.

All of you are right! The customers who leave no deposit are the ones who are slower to pick up their work. GET THE DEPOSIT!

How cheap do you want it to look??

alan beitz

We don't get very many non-pickups but we put any that catch the eye in our window diplay - we try to change it every week . We have had them all picked up after somebody has told somebody else so the system seems to work quite well