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Opinions Wanted Picture framing is so expensive ! NO IT ISN'T !

Discussion in 'The Grumble' started by Keith L Hewitt, Mar 10, 2019.

  1. Keith L Hewitt

    Keith L Hewitt SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I am seriously thinking of writing an article aimed at the general public to attempt to convince them that "PICTURE FRAMING ISN'T EXPENSIVE "
    Only yesterday a filthy rich friend was telling me that picture framing is so expensive.
    He was wearing some classy clothes so I asked him " How much did these trousers cost you" About a hundred he replied . So I said the material probably cost less than £10, but you happily paid 100 quid for them. Picture framing is the same. The raw materials may not cost a lot, but you are paying for the framers time and skill to make them into a beautiful framed picture. And the picture will last a lot longer than your trousers. He seemed convinced.

    My plan is to submit the article to in flight magazines as they are always looking for interesting articles, not necessarily travel related.

    But before I start putting the article together, does anyone have any suggestions of what are the main points I need to emphasise
    Has anyone written anything along these lines already that I can read ?

    Appreciate your input
    FramerCat, ckelley and prospero like this.
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  2. neilframer

    neilframer PFG, Picture Framing God

    I worked for a wonderful woman for 14 years before the job I'm working at now.
    She could evaluate a customer based on the purse and the car that was driven as the customer walked in

    She would say "That woman has a $2000 purse and is not willing to spend $300 on an excellent framing job".o_O

    Even now, we sometimes see people driving up in very expensive Mercedes or BMW's, and Range Rovers and other high end cars but to spend $300 or $400 on framing an heirloom picture is too much...:rolleyes:

    Maybe we could emphasize that proper framing can last for decades and be passed along for generations of families.
    The other stuff, the cars and purses and clothes will become junk pretty quickly.:cool:
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2019
  3. Keith L Hewitt

    Keith L Hewitt SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Neil, Thanks for your reply but you are describing the situation we all know too well.
    What I'm asking please is suggestions for what do I need to say in the article to convince Joe Public that "Picture Framing isn't expensive"
    Its simply good value for the money spent
    neilframer likes this.
  4. i-FRAMER

    i-FRAMER MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    Sometimes people driving those expensive cars are also in debt up to their eyeballs. We have friends like that, from the outside they look very well to do, but living week to week just to pay credit.
    neilframer likes this.
  5. neilframer

    neilframer PFG, Picture Framing God

    Hi, Keith.
    I edited my comment and you may have missed it at the end.

    This was my added comment if it can help..
    "Maybe we could emphasize that proper framing can last for decades and be passed along for generations of families.
    The other stuff, the cars and purses and clothes will become junk pretty quickly.:cool:"
    shayla likes this.
  6. Keith L Hewitt

    Keith L Hewitt SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Neil, Yes I did reply before your edit :eek: Your edit is just the point I need to make ...Thanks :)
    neilframer likes this.
  7. i-FRAMER

    i-FRAMER MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    Keith, i think you comparison with the trousers is good. Maybe make some comparison to shoes and handbags what women can relate to, and for men it may be their gadgets, i.e smart phone.
    I myself have no problem spending on apple over pc/android. I have better experience and better product life out of my apple products then any pc type product.
    Same with kitchen appliances. Anything we are going to use on a daily basis and a lot, i will look for quality and pay extra. other then having to replace every year or 2.
    So along the line of life expectancy of hanging on your wall and enjoying it, even passing it down to family, is the value in itself
    Keith L Hewitt and neilframer like this.
  8. tedh

    tedh PFG, Picture Framing God

    As framers, we frame, or re-frame, family photos that are priceless to their owners. The cost of framing these is totally ignored or forgotten, as the memories mean so much.

    As framers, we are privileged to be able to place our work on the walls of our customers. Think about it: our customers buy a house, move-in, decorate, and the crowning touch, the absolutely last thing they do, is select and frame art for their walls. They see these treasures all through their lives. They have positive feelings about their choices, and cost is forgotten.

    As framers, we are expected to bring out the best when designing a frame job. We have years of experience, years of making mistakes, and years of successes. These years are valued by our customers, and we reinforce their trust by keeping up to date on trends, colors, techniques and more. Our expertise contributes to how their travel purchase looks so great; how the family collage looks so balanced; how an artwork dominates a room. Cost is forgotten when the job is done right.

    Good for starters?
    Keith L Hewitt and neilframer like this.
  9. tedh

    tedh PFG, Picture Framing God

    Good framers are easy to find: they're the ones with repeat customers. They're the ones who are asked to "just do it". They're the ones who have built businesses on word-of-mouth. They, above all, provide value. Perhaps the person who thinks framing is expensive is the one who has not perceived value in what they had framed. And the person who builds rapport with his/her framer does so because they do appreciate the value in what they received.
  10. neilframer

    neilframer PFG, Picture Framing God

    Our shop might be one of those Good Frame Shops...;)
    Screen Shot 2019-03-09 at 10.54.24 PM.png Screen Shot 2019-03-09 at 10.53.30 PM.png Screen Shot 2019-03-09 at 11.04.23 PM.png Screen Shot 2019-03-09 at 10.53.56 PM.png
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2019
  11. tedh

    tedh PFG, Picture Framing God

    Good ratings, Neil!

    More ideas on the cost of framing-

    A custom picture frame job involves bringing together, and carrying in inventory, moldings, glazing, matboards and framing supplies. Each of these categories includes hundreds of varieties, and requires considerable overhead expense.

    That frame job involves the use of very specialized and expensive machinery that must be maintained and insured and housed.

    That frame job is produced by experienced and trained staff.

    The price of that frame job includes a share of rent, marketing, utilities, direct materials, wages, insurance, business taxes, and every other element that went into that piece. Even something as innocuous as waste may have a cost of up to 15% of direct materials.
    Keith L Hewitt likes this.
  12. Jim Miller

    Jim Miller SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Hi Keith:
    In order to address this very issue, I recently made a video about VALUE in picture framing, intended for consumers. It can be re-edited for framers to use on their websites, which would greatly improve dissemination of the message.
    I'll send it to you.
  13. David Hewitt

    David Hewitt CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    Keith, this guy has a great site for consumer information, in regard to the value of picture framing. It's a good source for the information you're looking for.

    they are in Alberta Canada
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2019
  14. JFeig

    JFeig SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    As a custom picture framer, we have many hats to wear as we consult with a customer.
    • we are a consultant to the visual design of the finished product
    • we are a color consultant to make the design coordinate with the color of the item and the theme of the location of where the item will be displayed
    • we are a consultant to the best way to protect the item being framed
    • we are a consultant to keep the finished product within a prescribed budget
    • we are an engineer to find the best way to actually produce the finished frame
    • we are an ear to listen, to the woes and or joys surrounding the item being framed
    • we are craftsmen of custom "one of" products.
    Creative Chicks likes this.
  15. JFeig

    JFeig SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

  16. Jim Miller

    Jim Miller SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Yes! He certainly has an effective website; that's some really good marketing.
  17. MitchelC

    MitchelC MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    I have a lady customer who is a "regular", however, every item she brings in to frame, she wants only ONE mat with only 1/2" showing with the narrowest frame possible. Why? You won't believe it! She says "I am limited on wall space." lol ☺
    Keith L Hewitt likes this.
  18. DVieau2

    DVieau2 PFG, Picture Framing God

    Don't use that term.
  19. shayla

    shayla WOW Framer

    A few thoughts:

    Imagine you're flipping through an in-flight magazine and find an article on custom picture framing. What will keep your attention? What would cause you to keep flipping?
    It's a pretty safe bet that a brief real-life story, positive perspective, and reader-focused writing all help. Reading, 'We're not awful!' is less appealing than, 'Here's why we're worth it'.

    Even better: keep all the focus on the reader. They're likely to be familiar with big box and online framing options. No need to even mention those.
    Rather than listing negatives and refuting them, it can work to instead focus entirely on positives. Most folks keep reading when they feel intrigued, included and inspired.
    Dave, Rick Granick, MarkPDX and 2 others like this.
  20. Paul Cascio

    Paul Cascio SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    The term "Expensive" is subjective -- it's their opinion. Arguing with them, or insulting their intelligence with a boring video on what most would consider a boring subject, whose purpose is to convince them that their subjective opinion is wrong, is doomed to failure. When you're faced with this situation, consider the following:

    1. They're in your store, so they've decided they need a frame. And they will buy a frame from someone, so which one of your competitors would you like them to buy from? Or would you prefer they buy from you?
    2. Ask them to tell you about their most recent framing purchase. Then, ask why they felt it was too expensive? Then, empathize with them, "Yes, some frames can be expensive..." A little empathy can have incredible power. Now, you're in their corner. And now you can ask, "By the way, how too expensive was it?"
    3. Armed with this info, offer them a couple of "not-too-expensive frames" without any bells and whistles. Make them your customer. Or, direct them to a competitor of your choosing, it's up to you. Hopefully, they will decide that spending more, and getting more, will be worth it next time.
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2019
    FramerCat, Joe B, Bob Carter and 2 others like this.
  21. Bob Carter

    Bob Carter SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Broken record time

    why spend so much time educating the customer on a successful retail experience. The real challenge should be educating the framer on what makes a successful retail experience. The problem, in my mind, is framers should only sell to other framers. But, as Kistler said so many times, framers can't afford their own product:D

    May I suggest an example. I'm am a real meat snob; only but Prime cuts (Costco has fantastic meats). The customer buying Prime needs no education, but he provides only a fraction of the meat market. If a butcher (or meat section in market) only offered prime, he would be a lonely butcher

    Bottom line: There are lots of customers that see Prime and say 'that's expensive' but walk out with $50 worth of Choice or Select

    Consumers that buy Prime aren't bothered by the fact that butcher offers lesser grades and have a 'snobbish' attitude and aren't very price resistant

    A butcher that thinks customers are stupid for thinking Prime is expensive doesn't understand the consumer. Those that do will easily sell Prime at a Premium. If that NY Strip is Prime, is delicious than cost not remembered; the sizzle is and will come back.

    The Choice customer will come back if the TBone is pretty good, value drivenand has good service and may 'treat' himself to Prime cut once in a while (all the time knowing it is expensive).

    More Bottom line: the butcher knows his customers

    Want proof? Would you shop for meat where the only option is 'expensive'?

    MY ADVICE: Framers, educate thyself first

    The Prime Customer comes in for that Filet but will buy hamburger, Shrimp and marinated Flank steak, too. Now, if you dont want all those Choice and Select consumers, rest assured your competitor does

    Just an opinion
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2019
  22. i-FRAMER

    i-FRAMER MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    i tried to download the "The consumers Guide toPicture Framing" off Jacksongallery website. Got a message saying
    Huzzah! Your copy of "Ten Things Artists Do To Screw Up Their Careers" is on its way!
    But then received "Marketing Tools for Artists!"
    Anyone else try.

    I will send them an email to let them know with regards to their links
  23. DVieau2

    DVieau2 PFG, Picture Framing God

    These are all good points.
    I believe that the biggest error most frame shop make is to assume every customer who wants to spend less is a cheapskate who need education or contempt.

    BTW. to Keith, your idea is a good one.

    My 35year run in an exclusive zip code has proven over and over that well to do desirable customers sometime want a cheepy. Who knows what the reason and not your business to pry or degrade.

    If they have a $50.00 project do it so they come back with a $1000 project.

    With very very few exceptions the absolute best solution is to offer low end choices along with high end choices.
  24. prospero

    prospero SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Good idea Keith. :D
    Keith L Hewitt likes this.
  25. Keith L Hewitt

    Keith L Hewitt SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Just to say thanks to all who have replied:)
    Some very good point made.
    Bob Carter …. I will need to Google those names of cuts of meat:rolleyes: :eek: but get the gist of your comparison.
    Bob Carter likes this.
  26. prospero

    prospero SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Very often people have 'ideas' that involve lots of labor-intensive procedures which they don't realise
    will increase the cost considerably.

    Or, they ask for something that they think is a cheap option, but it isn't.

    "A narrow, plain pine frame....."
    "I don't want a mat....."

    "Can't you just..........?" o_O
    neilframer likes this.
  27. MarkyW

    MarkyW SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    This is what I have in my business card sized mini-brochure:
    (I have very limited space to write something, so I tried to condense the idea as much as possible. The idea being to compare what other things cost, especially over time and that this is hand made just for you.)

    Consider how often you buy and replace other things. A meal out; shoes; car brakes; a computer. A frame doesn’t need to be replaced - probably not ever! When you think about it, custom framing actually gives you THE BEST value for your dollar.
    Make your home more enjoyable by choosing items and art that have meaning to you, and framing that’s extra special so that all those years down the road you will still say “Wow” looking at the beautiful framing that was hand-made just for you.
    shayla, neilframer, Ylva and 2 others like this.
  28. prospero

    prospero SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    "You have to spend enough to get your money's worth".

    echavez123 likes this.
  29. Bob Carter

    Bob Carter SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    hey Keith an easy comparison might be, Prime cuts may easily be like really good framing. Once you have 'tasted' it, it's really easy to appreciate it.

    Unfortunately, not many people can afford it but for 'special' occassions.
  30. MnSue

    MnSue SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    (from one of my former accounts when I was a sales rep....)
    Male Customer: "why does framing cost so much????
    Male Framer: - upon observing his car and clothes -"Cause I want to buy a suit like yours...."

    HE exclaimed he probably shouldn't have said that to the customer...but it had been one of those days....
  31. Bob Carter

    Bob Carter SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    how about this dilemma? Hardly any framers can. Reason?

    From experience, I have known a few folks that do 'make enough' and they all seem to embrace a fairly standard biz-like attitude.

    Lesson to be learned?
  32. neilframer

    neilframer PFG, Picture Framing God

    I agree with your post and your brochure, Marky!
    It says it all in a couple of short sentences that cut to the point and existing customers and potential customers should all be able to agree with this.;)
    I said something very similar at the end of my post in post #5, but you said it better.
  33. Joe B

    Joe B SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Be honest in your article, framing is expensive but so is a new Chevrolet, so is a new suit, so is a new computer, so is a new couch. Tell the people the truth but also tell them the reasons behind framing, for example, complimenting art, preserving art, preserving memorabilia, and the list goes on. The framing is there to protect the art, tell them that. There is so much you can say about the good and reasons for why art or memorabilia should be framed, don't try to cover up the expense, the expense will be there no mater what you say so just try to acknowledge the expense and be able to justify those expenses. You could also talk a little about our waste - which can be extreme and most people do not understand.
    David Waldmann and i-FRAMER like this.
  34. Keith L Hewitt

    Keith L Hewitt SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Joe B,
    Thanks, I agree with you 100% .
    When I wrote IT ISNT EXPENSIVE in the heading, there wasn't room to add words like "Its an investment when you consider what you are getting"
  35. Gilder

    Gilder MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    Of course it is expensive, like everything else. And that's what I tell my customers.
    It's not cheap and please don't ask me to make something cheap because we do make
    high quality product, every time, even inexpensive one, I hope it make sense.
    My understanding that emphasis should be on aesthetics, place of frames in our lives,
    style, quality and so on. Price is secondary.
  36. shayla

    shayla WOW Framer

    How often do we see high end restaurants defending the price of their meals? Instead, the narratives focus on quality, creativity, service, etc...
    Better than defense is to just leave all that alone and share the unique benefits offered by custom framing.

    (Gilder, this isn't a reply to your note, just a thought for the general topic).
  37. Gilder

    Gilder MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    People don't mind to spend money, they just don't like to be cheated. Give them good value for their money
    and that's about all it takes. I don't bring customers in by advertising or any type of marketing, just by
    doing my job. And we doubled the sales since I bought the shop 8 years ago, still a small shop but I
    think it's a great result considering the state the industry still in. I figured if I take care of my customers
    they will take care of me.
  38. bruce papier

    bruce papier MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    A few years back, we put together a little blurb that tried to highlight the variety of choices offered by custom framing with dazzling mathematics. Say you have 3000 frames and 400 mats to chose from. If you go with a double mat, that's 480,000,000 different combinations. Add in 100 filets, and you're up to 48,000,000,000. Who couldn't find exactly what they are looking for?
  39. Dave

    Dave SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    My dad always compared framing to dining in a fine restaurant with one major difference... most people can't tell you what they had for dinner last night while a nicely framed work of art gives you pleasure for a lifetime.
  40. Larry Peterson

    Larry Peterson PFG, Picture Framing God

    I remember the first custom framing that I had done. In 1974 I had just come back from several years as a civilian contractor in Thailand and Vietnam. I took a bunch of Temple Rubbings and Thai tapestries to be framed.

    When I got the estimate there was a bit of sticker shock, but I plowed ahead. 45 years later I still have all of them.

    What about you all. Shirley (pun intended) some of yous can tell us your tales of your first custom framing experience.

    Or were all of you born framers. :)
  41. RoboFramer

    RoboFramer PFG, Picture Framing God

    .................. and try getting one of THOSE custom built - THEN you'd be talking "expensive" !
  42. framah

    framah PFG, Picture Framing God

    I was framing my own stuff for various craft shows and decided that I should go to school for it and get other people to pay me.

    Dave likes this.
  43. Bob Carter

    Bob Carter SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    perhaps some perspective about 'expensive'

    every framer knows the benefits and beauty of Museum Glass. And, try to sell it through educating the client

    But, look in your own home and count the pieces with Museum Glass. Not many? Because it's 'expensive'?

    and, you buy it wholesale

    some products are expensive and have very small markets; learn to offer more products to more people at prices they like

    never forget you used another glass because of price

    btw about half our pics have MG and Istill buy at whsle. The single lite option allows a monthly splurge.We just complete a 31 piece opening of our trip to Italy with suede mat, burl frame and MG. And, yes Virginia, framing can be expensive
  44. neilframer

    neilframer PFG, Picture Framing God

    Yes!... and I won't call you Shirley..:p
  45. Joe B

    Joe B SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    All 43 in my house has Museum Glass.
    Dave and neilframer like this.
  46. David Waldmann

    David Waldmann SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    And THAT's what framing is so expensive :D:p:eek:
    freakquency likes this.
  47. Joe B

    Joe B SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    You are right it make it more expensive but a wool suit is much more expensive than a polyester suit or a Cadillac is more expensive than a Chevolet :D It all about quality and I must say that about 65% of the glass sold in my shop is Museum...just saying. :rolleyes: It isn't hard to up-sale, it's just that most framers are not salespeople and are even afraid to show the more expensive components of framing. If you don't show it you can't sell it. Again, acknowledge that framing is expensive but explain the reasons for framing, the longevity of framing, the longevity of the item being framed because of the conservation quality of the framing, so when you show the customers that you can usually justify the expense.
  48. Bob Carter

    Bob Carter SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Joe-make no mistake, you do a very good job and 65% is huge. Last I saw the 'lites' percentage of glass sold was around 3%. We had displays, about 16x20 with 3 'panels of glass; clear, museum and non-glare. It worked best with space between art, at least a double mat. Customers easily saw the difference ad some upgraded, most didn't primarily on price. But, we offered choices without much 'educating'. The staff called it 'vampire' glass; you couldn't see your reflection:D. Common technique had clientmove head side-to-side over each panel and watch reflection disappear. Unintended consequence was it killed NG sales

    Bottom line; show it, sell it, have fun with it

    I think it was Jim Miller that suggested we use a sliding multiplier on Gross Profit per lite than fixed margin; it really helped sellingit
    prospero likes this.
  49. Jim Miller

    Jim Miller SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Bingo. 'Educating' is the key to helping customers make informed decisions, whether by examples or explanations. You at least made them aware of the offering.

    Most of us realize that without our 'educating', consumers are prone to making poor framing decisions. Case in point:
    Last week I saw a framer getting ready to fit a beautiful antique print of The Last Supper into a new frame; no mat. It had some wrinkles and a few edge-tears, but the colors were rich and the image was sharp.

    When I asked how it was mounted, he said it wasn't, because they didn't want to change or possibly damage it. Then I said, "you're going to put a spacer under the glass, aren't you?"

    :eek: His reply: "No, they didn't ask for that."

    True story. :(
    Keith L Hewitt likes this.
  50. Bob Carter

    Bob Carter SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Jim we had a large wall, probably 12ft wide immediately adjacent to design work counter. We hung a combination of compelling client work waiting pick up and projects/ideas we were promoting or showing off. The tri-glass piece was used in the stores with many of those really handsome LJ sample works. Clients bringing in their project for framing just could not avoid that wall and spurred ideas but more importantly conversation. We had my daughter's Wedding pics in a killer project that easily created many clients to bring in similar projects. So did recent travel pics-things everyone has. We had clients that were shopping in malls pop in just to see 'what's new' on 'show off' wall. It might easily include 10-12 pieces, 8-9 changing daily

    Conversation may start with questions like 'is that your daughter?' then it's off to the races. Everything there was designed as 'silent salesmen'. Strong believers in 'you gotta show it to sell it'

    may i ask if you will share your idea on pricing Mus Glass? I'm sure it was you that showed us a better method. We used it with great success on glassand suede mats; both 'expensive' add- ons. Others may benefit
    Keith L Hewitt and shayla like this.
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