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Discussion in 'Picture Framing Business Issues' started by Kerry, Sep 16, 2007.

  1. Kerry

    Kerry Grumbler in Training

    I need to revamp an old shop that never really had a good order-form/work-order. Can anyone send examples or ideas for templates, etc.
    Maybe something that says:
    Customer - __________________ Address _______________ etc.
    Moulding - __________ @ $--- ft
    Mat1. - _______
    Mat2. - _______
    Mat3. - _______
    Glass - ________


    and maybe a diagram on the bottom with dimensions?

    What do you think? Anyone got good images I can use as a starting point?
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  2. cjmst3k

    cjmst3k SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I'm an "analog" shop too. I think I have a good design for an order form. If you email me, I will fax you my gallery's order form. theartgallery@gmail.com
  3. Jim Miller

    Jim Miller SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Check the archives for the benefits of a professional POS system. There's a lot more going on in the design process than writing an order form.

    Invest in POS. The sooner, the better.
  4. DawnStendin

    DawnStendin MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    I have to ditto Jim's POS suggestion...I thought hand writing orders would be easier and cheaper and just as efficient...but alas I was wrong. I haven't had one customer question the pricing since the computer started spitting it out instead of me. (hmmm might be time for a little increase :D )
  5. Dermot.

    Dermot. In Corner

    Hi Kerry


    I thought I had on line somewhere a PDF of my old worksheet but unfortunately I cannot find it……..but here is a link to something similar ……….I did also have on my sheet a column which was lined up with component of the worksheet for pricing calculations.

  6. Kerry

    Kerry Grumbler in Training

    Unfornunately going with a POS setup is not an option, at least not yet and I suspect not for a long time. Kickin it old-school, yep. I'm taking over the frame shop from someone that had been there many years before and the place lacks any good documentation, at least on the framing end.
    I'm also dealing with extremely expensive items and having to accomplish things beyond the shop's means much of the time. The place I came from before had ultra deluxe equipment but rather low-end prints for mass-production.
    I was hired to be one of the art installers but was quickly thrown into the frame shop when the framer left rather suddenly. Luckily I like what I'm doing but at the same time I find myself feeling quite the anxiety about the level of potential disaster due to the value of the art, and trying to make everything work smoothly while being the only framer there. So far I've impressed the Managers and am in the good books.
    Dealing with customers is the most taxing part of the job for me as I work alone a lot and when a customer comes in I am not always "on". I am by nature a loner and kinda shy and am always struggling to remain personable and with-it. Some of you know what I mean, I'm sure.
    That's my story. Don't know why I'm emptying out on everyone here but I felt the need to vent. Sorry.
    Thanks for your responses!:help:
  7. JFeig

    JFeig SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I was going to suggest NEBS http://www.nebs.com

    I just looked at their site and I knew that they had 2 part work orders for framers... I guess they do not offer those forms any more.
  8. Mike Labbe

    Mike Labbe Member, Former moderator team volunteer

    I do see them still on the NEBS site; but there is only space for 1 frame and 2 mats. $78 for 250, $109 for 500 3 parts http://www.nebs.com/nebsEcat/products/product_detail.jsp?pc=615

    If you're getting it custom printed, a fellow grumbler will hopefully share one that goes into greater detail.

    The cost of the forms probably exceeds that of the software and maintenance, and the benefits are huge. Jim Miller wrote an eye opening article about this last year. http://www.getthepictureframing.com/gfaq/Feb06_POS.pdf

    I urge you to give it some very serious consideration. A computer will save a tremendous amount of time by tracking your customer database, order history, paperwork, pick lists (what you sold/what has to be ordered or pulled), keeping the price changes beast 100% up to the date every week, accounts receivable and billing for corporate customers, accurate and quick quotes at the front counter, it will likely reduce haggling, legible paperwork and quotes that dont present the customer with unnecessary details/components, reports to track the direction of the business, etc.

    In any case, good luck with the new position!

    Best regards,
    resident computer geek
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2007
  9. Framar

    Framar SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    So here is a hypothetical question about POS - what kind of average cost is associated with setting up a POS from scratch? Figuring buying a computer, hooking into the Internet, and whatever average costs would be associated with any of the POS software, which would also, I am assuming include more hardware, like a printer (and cash register?) and hooking credit card processing into the whole works???

    From one who still writes up orders by hand (on nicely printed two-part forms) - and who looks up prices in manufacturers' price lists).

    All of this sounds like a huge expense and hassle from a very small shop point of view.
  10. Kallen

    Kallen True Grumbler

    Basically just what you have there.

    INVOICE #000001

    -Customer Name_______Phone #
    - Moulding____________________________Price.________
    - Matting_____________________________
    - Glass type__________________________
    - Dry Mount or not_____________________
    - Stretching or not_____________________
    - Special Instructions___________________


    Pick Up Date _______________________


    (All quotes subject to change,
    Not responsible for artwork left over 30 days,
    Deposit of 50% must be paid at time of order,
    blah, blah, blah...)

    All on carbon copies, etc.
    You have charts for working out prices in united inches, glass, mats, etc?
    Hope they're paying you well for the extra work:vomit:
  11. Kallen

    Kallen True Grumbler

    How long have you worked at this place?
  12. Kirstie

    Kirstie PFG, Picture Framing God

    Here's the ultimate form, 3 part NCR. One for the permanent file, one for the sales drawer, one for the custom framer. Customer gets copy on pick up. I think we finally covered everything. One of my staff made this last version in Quark.

    You may need a magnifying glass to read this. PDF would not upload--too big.

    Attached Files:

  13. B. Newman

    B. Newman SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I've done it by hand (which most all of us have), I've done it by a combination of hand/POS, and now do it completely POS.

    Mar, let me answer your questions first - First of all, you (obviously) already have a computer and are online... so no additional costs there.

    Second, EZ Framer has a version that is very inexpensive, will give you a "printed" copy PLUS (and this is the REAL reason to have a POS) you get vendor updates regularly.

    Have you ever sold a frame (after hours of design time) only to find that it is discontinued - and you have to call the custoemer back? We all have. Vendor updates will eliminate that.

    What I did, in a "combination" method, was write up the "ticket" by hand (either on a real form, or scratch pad) just to give a price. Then, I entered all the info into the POS on my office computer (didn't have a second computer on the design table at that time) and printed out a workorder for myself, and an invoice for the customer WITHOUT the detailed pricing.

    This is a great "transition" method - and the cost is very little.

    But... if you still want a hand written workorder, I have an Excel workorder that I used for years that I'd be happy to e-mail to anyone that wants a copy.

    You have a computer, you have internet access, you (most likely) have a printer. Why in the world would you want to buy printed workorders?
  14. jframe

    jframe <span style="color: red"><b><i>Charter Member</i><

    Kirstie, your form opened up full size for me.

    Kerry, I assume you are using your home computer and have no access to computers at work, correct? You should be able to change the logo on Kirstie's form and take it to the printer. I would suggest printing it in a 3 part form, one copy for the customer, one for ordering/office work, and one to stay with the art.
  15. Mike Labbe

    Mike Labbe Member, Former moderator team volunteer


    Not as bad as you might think...

    If you didnt already have a spare computer from home (POS systems dont require a very powerful computer, as long as it has XP it should be fine).

    NEW Dell Vostro 200 Slim Desktop Dual Core E2140 1.6Ghz 1GB/160GB, 19in LCD, CDRW/DVD, XP $479 shipped free.

    Brother HL-2040 laser printer $99 at Staples (often on sale for $59)

    USB printer cable ($5)

    Internet connection recommended to get your updates (dialup, dsl, cable, fios, etc) ($10+ per month)

    Cash drawer, Barcode Scanner, Built in Credit card processing (free), thermal receipt and label printers and some other items are optional and not initially required.

    As far as software, it can range from free to 3k. Softare has a yearly associated fee to cover upgrades, tech support, and the cost for someone to compile hundreds of vendor price changes weekly on your behalf. Most companies come out at close to a dollar per day. Most products have a yearly committment that goes along with the pre-paid maintenance fee, and a downloadable demo that functions completely for 30 days.

    Everyone is proud of their choice, so I'm not going to recommend the one we have here :) Instead, i'll link you to a neutral comparison list that has them all:

    ...and 4 years of surveys which track what technology choices your fellow grumblers have made. We do a techie poll every year to see which CMC and POS products everyone uses. Scroll down to November 2006 to see the most current results. We're doing it again on 11/1/07.

    With these resources, you can make an informed choice. If you're serious, grab some demos and have fun evaluating their differences and advantages. You can then retire the calculator and price charts, and make better use of your time.

    Need help? Stop by the grumble chat room any time. There are chatters in there during business hours that use all 3 of the top products. If I can answer any additional questions, feel free to email me directly.

    Good luck
  16. Paul N

    Paul N In Corner

    If a POS is REALLY not possible now, maybe then you could create something similar to those nebs.com forms in either Word or Excel (which can calculate the fields).
  17. Kirstie

    Kirstie PFG, Picture Framing God

    Mike, you have now seen my form. Is there one POS which would accomodate all the information on this form? For diagrams we are often attaching a visualization photo for the custom framer. I'm still envisioning where to put 4 sales terminals, the bar code scanner, etc. Not on the design tables--we get way too much oversized art and have to be able to clear them in a blink.

    When we do this it will be a huge set up chore and learning curve for aobut 10 of us. Did anyone hire someone to help? Someone who knows framing and doesn't charge more than the equipment?

    My first demo has already expried and I never figured it out. :faintthud:
  18. brian..k

    brian..k MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    POS software can be free plus the yearly maintenance charge. I saw a computer at Staples for $300 that is more than you need to run the software. Don't you have a computer to do your books on anyways? What's dial-up cost these days? Like $10 a month? No register is needed. A printer can be purchased for $60 that prints in B&W only. The forms that you have printed for hand writing an order in multiple copies can add up in cost very quickly. Not to mention lost income due to moulding or matboards that weren't cost updated promptly. Then there's the time savings involved in never having to hand price your entire moulding wall every time you get a new price book in.

    I can go on if you would like, but I'm sure that everyone else will do that for me anyways very soon.
  19. Mike Labbe

    Mike Labbe Member, Former moderator team volunteer

    Absolutely. Any pos program out there will include everything on the form, and more. You just pop in the art size, moulding (up to 5) and mat number(s) (up to 7), mat width, desired mounting and/or stretching type, glazing type, a name for the project, and you'll have an immediate price. They cant decide? Change out any item(s) and you'll get an immediate re-price, including tax.

    When they're ready to buy, click SAVE. It will assign a date for custom framing jobs(based on the current workload limits you have set), print out a workorder for the framer (with all the measurements done for you, item numbers, etc), and a slip for the customer with simply the title of the piece(s), total, tax, deposit, and due date. At the end of the day, you get a nice report of orders and money taken in, and a pick list of the materials to be ordered.

    The only thing missing is the DIY charge and the glass cleaner fee, but those can easily be added. (you can customize the workorder screen to add additional items and up charges, which appear as check boxes and/or pulldown menus -or- you can sell them as inventory items so they'll be itemized on the customer's receipt)

    All systems will vary slightly, but this is a basic walkthrough. We are using Lifesaver here, for the above example.

    Last edited: Sep 18, 2007
  20. brian..k

    brian..k MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    You could get realy trick and mount the monitors under glass windows mounted in your design table top if you wanted to, with pull-out keyboards. Flat screens take almost no space. In the POS I use(lifesaver) you can add so many variables that I haven't even used up 1/4 of the posibble pricing options yet. As far as the setup goes, I did a 2 terminal setup myself only using the instructions and about 5 min on the phone with tech services at Lifesaver to set up my network properly. It will take the staff a while to understand all the nuances involved in these programs but its worth the effort as I'm sure you know.

    There are a few things I don't like about the Lifesaver program but it's much better than our last POS we had. Lifesaver is always updating and adding features also, which is nice.
  21. Dave

    Dave SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    This is only one of the multitude of problems that will go away with proper backups.

    Kerry, I know what it is to operate on a shoestring budget. When I put in FrameReady I was at a point of rummaging through my change to get extra gas money or to buy some Ramen soup. Been there.

    Saying that, there is no way you can fully understand the value of a POS system until you use it. I could write a litany on the return on investment you will receive in time savings, charging properly for services, price updates, documentation, ease of use and on and on. Knowing what I know now I think the value and return on investment of today's framing POS systems is incredible.

    The learning curve is minimal. I was up and running and using my software in less than an hour and quite honestly I know enough about computers and software to be somewhat dangerous. Sure ...the longer you use POS software the more you discover its power, but basic usage is not at all difficult and assistance is only a friendly phone call away.

    Also, just want to say that I appreciate your frankness and openness. We all have our strengths, fears and weaknesses. In general this is a very nurturing group and I don't think you'll find anyone who "knows it all" here or could be considered an expert in all areas.
  22. Bill Henry-

    Bill Henry- SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    For the Luddites among us, we’ve been using this “analog” work order form for years, modifying it as we add new services.


    It is a three part carbonless form with the top and middle the same (we keep the top white sheet and give the middle, yellow sheet as a receipt when the framing is picked up. The “X”s are near the mat board section to indicate the mat widths.


    The third and last part of the form is a slightly heavier stock paper/cardboard with the bottom showing just the amount essentially. This is a perforated, tear off sheet which we give to the customer as a “claim check” when the order is first processed.

    The forms are numbered and filed that way. We record the customers name, address, etc., and w/o number on a database for easy retrieval.
  23. JFeig

    JFeig SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Nice design Bill,

    Just out of curiosity, what does that 3 part form with the index card 3rd copy cost per 1000?
  24. cjmst3k

    cjmst3k SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    GREAT links to the polls!! I wasnt aware of all the research. I was recently wondering about stats that this covers.

    A question - Why is Integrated Framer not among the POS survey results? Is IF not a POS system (design only)? I've been thinking about going from handwritten paper to a POS system (even if it still requires a separate credit card machine and separate register).

  25. Kirstie

    Kirstie PFG, Picture Framing God

    Numbers. Do you se this photo? All of the mats are organized by color name!
    I have such a long way to go. I have a headache.

    Attached Files:

  26. Paul N

    Paul N In Corner

    Integrated Framer is not a Point of Sale System(POS).

    It is a visualization system
  27. Bill Henry-

    Bill Henry- SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    I use a small Mom and Pop print shop who charge me roughly 30¢ a form with a volume of 1200.
  28. JFeig

    JFeig SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    thanks for the info - Bill
  29. cjmst3k

    cjmst3k SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Thanks Paul!

    I'm a little confused...

    Wizard made Integrated Framer as a "viewer" only, as competition to products like FrameVue, but they don't offer the complimenting POS software (like FrameVue w/LifeSaver POS)? Is that correct?

    I've been thinking about getting a Wizard (one day) and wanted to start with a Viewer/POS system, and one day add a Wizard to that. Anyone know what viewer/POS products work seamlessly with a Wizard machine, and also work well in general without a Wizard?

  30. B. Newman

    B. Newman SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I understand that Wizard introduced their POS at Atlanta... I thought you guys were there!:p
  31. cjmst3k

    cjmst3k SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I was there - but only spent the last 15 minutes on Sunday with them. Since computerized matcutting is new territory for me - I was mesmerized by all the shiny knobs. :)

    Just sent an inquiry to Wizard via their website now.
  32. brian..k

    brian..k MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    As of last years WCAF Wizards POS system was still in testing and was supposed to be out at some point this year. I couldn't wait that long personaly and went with Lifesaver instead of waiting.
  33. surferbill

    surferbill SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Wizard said in Atlanta that the POS would be out in January.
  34. Richard Darling

    Richard Darling SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I can't speak for the other POS systems, but Frameready puts the color name on the work order too.
  35. Mike Labbe

    Mike Labbe Member, Former moderator team volunteer

    By numbers, I meant the manufacturers item numbers printed and barcoded on the back. (the number you use to order them)

    Mat examples:
    A4101 (Artique 4101) aka "ARTIQUE WHITE"
    B8521 (Brainbridge 8521) aka "FAIRFIELD WHITE ALP"
    C3340 (Crescent 3340) aka "MANOR WHITE"

    Moulding examples:
    ST26101 (Studio 26101) aka "MATT BLACK 1-3/16 X 7/8' "
    L1486 (Larson-Juhl 1486) aka "ARQADIA WALNUT W/BLK 2 1/4"

    Most POS systems, including LifeSaver, will print the mat/moulding number and their description (as shown quotes above) on the framer's copy of the workorder. It has all of this information pre-loaded in the database, along with the current cost.

    It looks like you have a huge place!

    Last edited: Sep 19, 2007
  36. Jim Miller

    Jim Miller SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Kirstie, you really should take a closer look at a POS system. Sure, it takes time and lots of work to set up a software system. Of course you're busy, we're all busy. If you look closely at the benefits of POS software, I'd bet it will zoom to the top of your priority list. But we make time for the things that we feel are important.

    Professional POS software allows you pricing options that are impractical with any manual system. For example, you can program in fixed fees to be added to pricing items, such as mouldings and mats. That is, if you want to have a fixed charge of $15 for the joining of every chop larger than 20x30 (or whatever) in addition to the chop price, you can do that.

    If you want to have your own store-dedicated pricing for mountin golf balls or jerseys or knitting needles, or glass, or your own custom mat decoration technique, or sealed-frame fitting -- you name it -- you just program it into the software.

    When you are with a customer designing the framing, input prices for mats, mouldings, etc. by using a barcode scanner. I've heard framers say they think their customers appreciate the "personal touch" of hand-written orders. No, they don't. Customers get bored watching us calculate and would rather have it done in a fraction of the time by computer. Spend quality time with the customer, selling and relationship-building, instead of punching keys on the calculator. The price that comes out of POS software is preceived to be more credible than the price that comes out of your pencil.

    Many suppliers are already providing bar codes on their samples. Look on the back of your Crescent & Bainbridge mat samples, for example. Consider this: When you go to the supermarket, your purchases are quickly checked out by scanning barcodes, while the clerk chats with you. Can you imagine how long it would take to check out if every item were priced by hand?

    When any vendor issues revised prices, ads or deletes items, you download the changes directly to your spoftware from a web site. It takes a few mnutes. Manually, calculating a new price list takes many hours...OK, days or weeks to calculate.
  37. Kirstie

    Kirstie PFG, Picture Framing God

    Thanks for the info, Mike. I'm workin on it, but it is such a leap for us.

    The shop is 2400 sq ft. and still we have no room! The custom work room with Cassese is upstairs on the mezzaine, along with the office. I need a warehouse for box mouldings, extra ready made frames, and space for a double miter saw. I designed the shop 30 years ago and times have changed!
  38. Kirstie

    Kirstie PFG, Picture Framing God

    Right now it is, but there will soon be Integrated Framer Visualization, Integrated Framer POS, etc. What a mouthful.
  39. Kirstie

    Kirstie PFG, Picture Framing God

    Jim, and everyone, I have saved every thread on POS to a file and we will get there. the only PC computers we have right now are the Dell near the design tables for IF and the Wizard computer. I need some time to really explore these programs, and down on the sales floor is not the place to do it.

    So here's my plan. Next month I am buying the new 24" iMac for my home office with the ability to run Windows. I need this anyway--mine is too old and too full. Then I can download them all in trial versions and really study it all. I also want to compare to the Wizard POS when it finally arrives. Then I need to talk with the various companies, and you guys with my questions, price it all out and eventually take the plunge. For us it is also a big expense because we will need extra terminals for multiple order entry at once. And I need to find time for set up. I am fairly proficient with computer matters, but this one has thrown me. I'll get there.

    I do know the benefits, I really do!
  40. surferbill

    surferbill SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer


    Oh sorry, wrong website. I was just watching the Brittany fan going crazy on Youtube, and I got a little confused. Never mind. ;)
  41. Jay H

    Jay H PFG, Picture Framing God

    I was thinking the same thing Bill only I'm not watching youtube.
  42. jacqueline

    jacqueline True Grumbler

    We hand wrote orders when I first bought this store 2 years ago. I can say quite truthfully that the POS system paid for itself in lack of errors, correct addition and time spent hunting for lost paperwork! Not to mention getting prices adjusted in a timely manner! I would NEVER be without one. I just bought some refurbised computers for $249 at Microcenter. Not sure if Lifesaver is still free for the first year - but that isn't a whole lot more than printing a bunch of 2 part forms!
  43. brian..k

    brian..k MGF, Master Grumble Framer

  44. PaulSF

    PaulSF PFG, Picture Framing God

    the problem with waiting til January is that you will be competing with a dozen other people for the time and attention of the POS vendors. Call them now, and you can get them one-on-one.
  45. Kirstie

    Kirstie PFG, Picture Framing God

    LOL! Brittany was indeed painful to watch.

    Carry on.
  46. Dave

    Dave SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    I think that after doing a feature comparison on POS systems and making sure the package you are considering satisfies your needs the next step is similar to deciding which skin you prefer to use on the Grumble. What system seems the most user friendly to you?

    Get a free demo and play with it for a while from each of the vendors that had the required features.

    All the leading systems out there are great and are constantly being updated to add requested features.

    You wouldn't go wrong with any choice.
  47. jframe

    jframe <span style="color: red"><b><i>Charter Member</i><

    Kerry, did you get the help you needed from this thread? Are you totally confused about POS systems now?

    Does anyone besides me get the urge to jump on a plane and fly out to Ca. to organize Kirstie's mats numerically? You know you're a framer when.....
  48. brian..k

    brian..k MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    I worked for a guy back in the early 80's that knew all the mat colors by sight. At the end of the day he would number the back of the mat scraps without the use of any kind of specifier. At the time it didn't impress me but now.......

    I must admit though that every once in a while I'd like my mats done by color rather than number. Having to dig through all my scraps for the yellow that matches the one that's out of stock is a pain.
  49. Dave

    Dave SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    I can still do that with the Crescent paper mats but unfortunately that is now nearly a useless skill.


    Maybe it would still be a good parlor trick.

  50. cjmst3k

    cjmst3k SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I got a definite answer from Wizard to whether IF is a POS.

    I was confused because I demo'd IF in Atlanta - but since it was my first time, I didn't recognize the difference between regular IF and IF/RM.

    "Yes, you did see the IF Retail Management being demonstrated at the show in Atlanta! Although the POS will not be available until early 2008, we were showing it at the show to demonstrate the seamless transition between the IF Visualization, to the CMC, to the IF Retail Management."
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