1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. WELCOME Grumblers
    Backup is now done at 3PM EDT. You may find the server down for up to two minutes at that time.

Suggestion Price check for stretching

Discussion in 'Picture Framing Business Issues' started by NYJim, May 1, 2018.

  1. NYJim

    NYJim CGF, Certified Grumble Framer


    I just want to see if charge $700 for stretching the canvas 71 by 105 on the 1 1/2 stretcher bar is correct .

    Thank you
    Sponsor Wanted
  2. Dave

    Dave SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Sounds about right.
  3. Joe B

    Joe B SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Really close - all of us have different markets but that would be close to what I would charge.
  4. bruce papier

    bruce papier MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    If the customer came after you with a knife, then it's too much.

    If they smiled, it's too little.

    If they groaned and said O.K., it's about right.
    AaronF, MATTHEW HALE, shayla and 4 others like this.
  5. NYJim

    NYJim CGF, Certified Grumble Framer

    Thank you. Now when I've got to do it I'm ready to pull a knife...
  6. Miles Taylor

    Miles Taylor Grumbler in Training

    I charge $200 and make $185 profit on it. Easy to make your own strainer bar out of high quality wood and do the work in an hour.
  7. framah

    framah PFG, Picture Framing God

    Absolute nonsense!! Seriously, no one who actually does framing for a living would charge an insane price like that....AND say it would only cost $15.00, including the cost of overhead while doing the work as well as your own pay with the included government deductions as well.

    Profit is what one makes AFTER all of the expenses are covered, not just the 4 pieces of wood.

    Don't forget that you would need to shape the pieces of wood to have a recessed area so the canvas doesn't rub on the inside edge of the frame. That is why these things are milled to that shape.
    Just buying 4 2x4's and joining them together does not make a strainer frame.

    You might as well practice saying: "Do you want fries with that?" Youre going to need that special skill.
    AaronF, neilframer and MarkPDX like this.
  8. Miles Taylor

    Miles Taylor Grumbler in Training

    Cut a bevel with a table saw at about a 22 degree angle, use a round-over bit for a router to smooth the top outer facing edge, a miter saw for the corners. Wood glue and pin nails for the joints. Great-quality poplar hardwood from a local supplier is cheap. The work can be completed in an hour.

    It's easy to make a floater frame out of real walnut instead of the poplar stained to look like a nicer hardwood that Superior and Larson-Juhl produce. Then traditional frame shops upcharge that faux frame ridiculous amounts.

    I do frame for a living and pay my taxes and overhead.
  9. JFeig

    JFeig SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    The principal of making your own stretcher bars is understood. Most frame shops do not have table saws or the skills to mill lumber into usable stock as you do. I have a table saw and a few more toys. $200.00 might be OK for building the strainer; but, what about the stretching of the canvas? and who supplies the canvas?
  10. Terry Hart cpf

    Terry Hart cpf SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I'm a bit less according to my pricing but I might regret it. I'm about equal parts stretcher & stretching at that size.
  11. Terry Hart cpf

    Terry Hart cpf SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    *Does not include canvas. That's at least $150 retail maybe close to $200 for preprimed cotton (it's a little hard to even find canvas over the 80" or so height you'd need for this). That would put me well over the $700.
    AaronF likes this.
  12. Miles Taylor

    Miles Taylor Grumbler in Training

    @JFeig, @framah implied I just slapped some 2x4s together, which is why I went in depth. I'm talking about a canvas that someone has already painted onto. Customer comes into my shop with the cavnas and I make them a strainer and stretch it for them.

    $166.83 covers the cost of the strainer and me stretching it. Tax is $17.74. Floater frame is another $100 or so on top if they want.

    Artists get ripped off by traditional shops, so I cater to them. I also go for volume of orders rather than charge crazy amounts for a few pieces. Professional picture framing is ultimately a very simple service.
  13. JFeig

    JFeig SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I just wanted more information on what you were offering. FYI, I have been making furniture since my college days sometimes using my own moulding milling machine from hard various woods. I have no idea what you are basing your hourly charges on. My college degree was in accounting and I have a little bit of an engineering background.
    1. Popular (1 in. x 2 in. x 8 ft. S4S Poplar Board) at Home Depot is about $10. You will need about 8-9 lengths of this for the 6' x 9' strainer including cross braces. That alone is about $80-$90. If you are only paying $15 for your popular, I know a few people who would like to know the source of your way under market price source.
    2. The time to buy the wood, set up the shop for the job and then cut and assemble the strainer, then clean up the mess is at least 2 hours. How long would it take you to stretch a canvas this size?
    3. The time to properly stretch a canvas will be at least 2 hours.
    I see this as at least a 4-hour job. $167 - $80 = $87 $87/4=$21.75 per hour. If I pay an employee just $15 per hour, that really costs me about $19-$20 per hour (including, taxes, insurance, time off,etc.). This does not include rent, utilities, business insurance, and all the other costs of running a professional business much less a profit to put food on the table.

    From your price quote, I am assuming that you are operating a small shop in a garage or other outbuilding from home with only minor overhead expenses.

    May you be blessed with success in your future endeavors.
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2018
    framah likes this.
  14. framah

    framah PFG, Picture Framing God

    "Floater frame is another $100 or so on top if they want."

    A 71x105 inch canvas would need a tad over 29 feet of moulding. Round that up to 30'.

    So you would only charge $3.34 per foot for a floater frame INCLUDING installing the canvas into it???
    You are also saying that you would make it out of REAL WALNUT ... and finished and assembled... for around $100???!!


    Personally, and I realize that you will continue to argue that you ARE an actual framer with an ongoing business... personally, i don't believe anything you have said in this thread for a minute.

    Now, the other possibility is that your work is so poor that those prices are the most anyone would pay for that quality. Not my first choice.

    ..and, yes I am getting personal because your insistance on putting out unrealistic prices is a poorly disguised attempt to give the whole business a bad name which makes you a troll.

    I think you are actually a frustrated "artist" who is attempting to give professional framers a bad name insinuating that we are all ripoffs with our "ridiculous prices".

    Please, just go away.
  15. shayla

    shayla WOW Framer

    Hi, Miles! Welcome to the Grumble. :)

    I'm curious as to whether you frame from a retail location or are home-based.
  16. neilframer

    neilframer PFG, Picture Framing God

    As a full time framer for 49 years and shop manager, I never realized how "very simple" the service was for "Professional picture framing" and how "traditional shops rip off artists"...:cool:

    I work in Phoenix, the 6th largest city in the US and I've worked in Chicago and Denver.
    We do regular retail framing and also commercial framing for corporations and design companies and installations in Arizona, Nevada and sometimes California.;)

    Over the years I have posted lots of pics of some of our "very simple service" stuff and folks here have already seen them.
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2018
    framah likes this.
  17. JFeig

    JFeig SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    In every industry, a professional expert is one who can in most cases recover from a mistake done by a lesser trained individual. Sometimes things are just too far gone to repair.
  18. bruce papier

    bruce papier MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    I think this discussion shows how difficult (and dangerous) "shooting from the hip" pricing is on dealing with really large pieces. Miles seems to have lumber processing capabilities a lot of us don't have, so his costs may be lower. I don't think they are as low as he does, but that's a different matter.

    The root of the problem is the stock needed to do a frame of this size. I don't think the 1 x 2 mentioned before would be stout enough. You would probably be looking at 5/4 x 1 1/2 at a minimum. I suspect someone makes stock that large, but rails 105" long are going to have to be delivered by semi. That's an added expense. If you had a local mill make the stock for you, the set up charge is going to be expensive.

    Additionally, pieces this large usually need to be stretched more than once. I've had pieces which were much smaller that I've had to stretch three or four times over as many days before they were flat.
    shayla likes this.
  19. JFeig

    JFeig SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I only used the Home Depot reference so that non-woodworkers could relate. Unless one is buying by the strapped pallet quantity, I doubt that would be more than a 20% savings for the woodworker. A 2" x 2" x 10' or 1" x 3" x 10' stick of wood is what I probably would start with if I was to do this project depending what my supplier would have in stock at the time I would need some wood. I have about 300 board feet of well seasoned popular in the garage in assorted widths and thicknesses.

    This is an example of a woodworkers source
    framah likes this.
  20. Terry Hart cpf

    Terry Hart cpf SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I have a table saw & a router table & am able to do custom work but it's more costly to do that way. As to lumber costs, I just bought some poplar boards for a framing project from Menards. 40' or so of a mix of 1x6, 1x4 & 1x2 cost nearly $50 or about 3x that supposed $15 cost for that much lumber. I think the same 3x would easily apply to the finished product price too. 71x105 is no small stretching project. I think you could charge $700 & still regret it in the end. Personally, these days, I would probably pass on the job at any price. My shop is just too small & it would end up in my way & causing problems with my ability to do other work around it til it left the shop. I don't have a panel van & how much you want to bet the customer comes to pick it up in their minivan :D That posters suggestion that he does quantities of canvases of this size is also as preposterous as the rest of his claims. Just having one of those to do is a rare bird. Good luck with the project NYJim!
    framah likes this.
  21. neilframer

    neilframer PFG, Picture Framing God

    We often stretch a lot of very large canvases.....(gonna' have to grow my arms longer..):p
    Screen Shot 2018-09-29 at 1.11.55 PM.png

    If THIS happens, you may have charged too much....:oops:
    20375847_10155119596025667_515044747028127138_n.jpg 20294493_10155119596045667_7850855602893773798_n.jpg 20374337_10155119596040667_9057757103381164163_n.jpg

    Actually, this was done about a year ago by some homeless guy who went down the street and broke a lot of windows.
    Nothing was stolen, he was just whacked out on booze/drugs and broke a lot of windows at businesses along the main street.
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2018
  22. Miles Taylor

    Miles Taylor Grumbler in Training

    I pay $0.66 a foot for pre-milled 1x2 poplar. Shopping at Home Depot or Menards for wood is like shopping at Walmart for picture frames ;)

    I do have a retail location, but it is very small and off the main road which reduces my overhead substantially and it's just me doing the work. I have relationships with local galleries who send me artists for upcoming shows and customers who have bought prints.

    I worked in pro frame shops for three years and started my shop about a year and a half ago. If you take 2 hours to stretch a canvas you're fired.

    Here's some of my shoddy work:


  23. bruce papier

    bruce papier MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    Nice work Miles, but even at .66 a foot for lumber you still spending $30-$35 on enough stock to make the bars and braces. I'm sure that's where people think your pricing is a little off.
    JFeig likes this.
  24. bruce papier

    bruce papier MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    O.K., current real world data- I just stretched a 40 x 96 canvas. It took me 45 minutes to make the bars and install the braces. It took me another 45 minutes to stretch the painting. I may or may not have to stretch it again tomorrow. I'll admit at no time did flame shoot from my fingertips, but I don't think I'm abnormally slow.
    Joe B, AaronF and shayla like this.
  25. shayla

    shayla WOW Framer

    Are your initial stretches all done with metal pushpins, then staples for the final go?
  26. bruce papier

    bruce papier MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    I use staples the first time then un-staple and re-staple as necessary.
    AaronF likes this.
  27. shayla

    shayla WOW Framer

    We've been using the metal pushpins recommended by Rob Markoff and letting it sit overnight with that 'stretch' before stapling. It helps, and D. likes not having to pull staples.
  28. AaronF

    AaronF CGF, Certified Grumble Framer

    I'm clocking in at $410 CAD for stretching their canvas and $620 if it's stretching my pre-gessoed canvas.
  29. Miles Taylor

    Miles Taylor Grumbler in Training

    What a kind man.

    Thanks, I'm getting 35 feet of footage including braces and cuttoff for the miters at .66 is $23.10. Let's add $1.90 for glue and staples. $25.

    Sweeping, cleaning etc. at the end of the day after a few projects doesn't take that long either.

    It's $25 for materials, so $80 to $90 sounds insane. Like I said above shopping for wood at Home Depot is a rip off and if you took 2 hours to stretch a canvas at a traditional shop, I'm sure your boss would be wondering what you were doing with your time. Most strainer or stretcher bars are made from kiln dried white pine any way and that's $0.20 a foot. That's what a local high volume canvas printing service and I have negotiated for materials for larger orders of Giclee printing that don't need higher quality poplar, that's where I got my original $15 estimate.

    Bruce made the braces and stretched the piece in an hour an a half. Sounds reasonable enough to me, could even do it a little faster.

    $25 in materials with $175 markup for at most an hour and a half of work. Half for business expenses and half for me. I made $13-$15 an hour at traditional shops, now I make $60.

    Cutting mats, trimming foam core, shooting brads, putting a proper dust cover on the back, and tying the hanging wire right isn't hard. The knowledge and tools are specific which is why customers come to us. Add a sense for design and you've got a good business model, but definitely not a complex one.
  30. shayla

    shayla WOW Framer

    Just checked out your website, etc... Do you still offer just those three lines, in 7 mouldings? If you're framing mostly for artists/galleries, with a limited offering, it sounds like you've found a workable niche for yourself. Our business model is different than that, but we have a framing friend who does something similar. There's a song thread over in Warped if you'd ever like to post one of yours.
  31. JFeig

    JFeig SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    It is time to close this thread.
Sponsor Wanted

Share This Page

Sponsor Wanted