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Opinions Wanted Price Check on Michaels

Discussion in 'Picture Framing Business Issues' started by PaulSF, Dec 3, 2008.

  1. PaulSF

    PaulSF PFG, Picture Framing God

    Last night I was lurking near the framing counter at the local Michaels, and the guy was waiting on a woman with a piece of artwork on paper. I hung around, observing surreptitiously and waiting for the price to be announced. Let's see where everyone else comes in:

    Size of artwork: @20x28
    Mat: Double mat, let's say 3-inch top and 1/4-inch bottom, both alphacellulose (Bainbridge)
    Glass: Conservation clear
    Frame: LJ's Taichang 355093 (might have been the lookalike from Omega or another company)
    Mounting: I didn't hear whether they were going to drymount or hinge/tape, so let's assume hinge/tape

    After the 60% off, Michael's price was $180 plus tax, indicating a full retail of $450. With "Masterpiece Glass," the discounted price was around $250.

    My full retail is pretty comparable to Michaels' full retail, give or take $5 or $10.
     
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  2. surferbill

    surferbill SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    For pricing, is the outside dimension 20x28 or are you adding 3 1/4 mat around that?
     
  3. PaulSF

    PaulSF PFG, Picture Framing God

    make 20x28 the window size, not the frame size
     
  4. Dave

    Dave SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Interesting.

    I come up with about $ 410.00 + tax at my regular price.

    I'm presuming you meant 3" all around and 3 1/4" on the bottom not 1/4".

    Does anyone know if Michael's has one set pricing scheme nationwide or do prices vary regionally?
     
  5. Bob Doyle

    Bob Doyle SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Maybe they got tired of being referred to AOSF and are really honoring their coupons.
     
  6. PaulSF

    PaulSF PFG, Picture Framing God

    That's what I wonder, too, Dave. I keep hearing from people that Michael's 50%-off price is comparable to our full retail pricing, but that isn't the case here. So either (1) it's a myth we tell to make ourselves feel better, or (2) Michael's can price by store or region, or (3) I'm twice as expensive as everyone. You are too.
     
  7. j Paul

    j Paul PFG, Picture Framing God


    Most certainly is a knock-off of their own.

    $310.
     
  8. Paul N

    Paul N In Corner

    My price is very close to Dave's.
     
  9. Cliff Wilson

    Cliff Wilson SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I'm assuming you meant the bottom mat had a 1/4 reveal and the top was 3" all around.

    I come in at $420.

    A while ago, I priced a double mat and 1" black frame (I stock one) at some shops in the area. I beat the local Ms 60% off by $6.00.

    When I checked a "high end LJ look alike Gold", it was similar to what you saw.
    In trying to break it down, I almost always beat their 50% off mounting and mats. They beat me by a little on glass, and the frames are all over the place.

    I always beat their "retail."

    When I change the moulding to another vendor's look-alike, I am at $299.
     
  10. PaulSF

    PaulSF PFG, Picture Framing God

    Yes, the top mat is 3-inches wide, and the bottom mat is 3.25 inches wide. That's my assumption, because I didn't hear them discuss mat width.
     
  11. happycamper

    happycamper CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    I hung out recently at Michaels and had a chance to pick up what I thought was a larson Queen Victoria moulding and when I flipped it over, it was MDF...hmmmm
    That may be the difference right there in the pricing.
     
  12. Dave

    Dave SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Couple things to point out...

    Paul eyeballed the size. If it is 18X26 it has a radically different price because of glass size, etc.

    The moulding used wasn't LJ. It would be a knockoff. Like Decor's #8581. This too would have a radical difference.

    He assumed the 3" / 3 1/4" mat.

    Too many variables to really nail down a price however it does make me pause to wonder if it is an urban legend that the BB's aren't considerably less than Indies. Of course we do know that the quality of work is highly dependent on the particular store and employees at that store.
     
  13. CAframer

    CAframer SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Perception is reality

    Whether or not 'they' are really cheaper is completely immaterial.

    The only issue is what prospective customers believe.

    Numerous prospects believe 'they' are the low cost option.

    Numerous prospects cannot tell the difference between MDF and the real McCoy, and probably don't care even if they can.

    Just a thought!
     
  14. Paul Cascio

    Paul Cascio SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    As Dave pointed out, this is verfy unscientific as we don't know either the size, or moulding with any certainty. Also, I don't think Michael's is selling LJ moulding. I thought LJ was merely a backup source for glass, matboard and mounting materials at the local store level.

    On the other hand, I think that every framer should be aware of what their competitors are charging for comparable framing. And if you find that your prices are less than 200% of Michael's Half-Price Sale Price, then I would recommend you let the public know that your prices are less. Remember, the problem iwe face competing with the AOSF's has never been their prices, but the perception of those prices in comparison to ours.

    In this business, because of the extremely high markups, any framer can beat any other framer's prices. And they can beat yours. The key is to know the exact specs and the quoted price.
     
  15. Maryann

    Maryann SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Don't think it's an urban legend.
    We have a large sign in the window. " Price us last. Our everyday fair price is less than their 50% off price. " Of the people who have brought in a piece in to be priced, we're below M's 50% off - always. At least the sign has been getting them in the door.

    I'm pretty sure from the traffic that's been in this week, they're done with shadowboxes for the season.

    And Paul C., our local M's does have some LJ on the wall. (Not knock-offs.....I flipped them over to check)

    I really don't concern myself with them too much, but I'm trying to get a percentage of the $750,000 average framing that each store does - 40 % would be good! ;-)


    BTW, my price was $314
     
  16. CAframer

    CAframer SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Which is substantially more than $180 or even $250, notwithstanding the vagaries of the specification.
     
  17. shadow images

    shadow images True Grumbler

    A couple of years ago we sent someone into a micheals to have a quote done and there discount price was almost twice our retail price.
     
  18. j Paul

    j Paul PFG, Picture Framing God

    Don't know if it is like this chain-wide or not. Here they no longer will give you a written quote/estimate. They're reason/excuse it their POS will not do it, unless the order is taken.

    Guess they don't want no comparing apples to oranges.
     
  19. PaulSF

    PaulSF PFG, Picture Framing God

    So far nobody is coming in with a full retail price of $180-$200, using LJ, Omega, Decor, or any other moulding. In fact, everyone is substantially higher. Now, Michael's full retail price may be higher than your full retail, but as Paul Cascio has pointed out, Michael's never charges full retail. Their AOSF price is their regular retail price, and that's substantially lower than every price I've seen here.
     
  20. Paul N

    Paul N In Corner

    I could beat their price if it were one of my mouldings that I buy by the box (Decor). My markup would still be 3 - 3.5 on it too.

    If M is buying that frame as low they can offer that low price as well.
     
  21. nikfrz

    nikfrz SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I did have a customer come in last week with a Michaels quote in hand. Simple 1" black frame, MG, suede upper mat, reg alpha bottom mat. She did not show me their quote until after I quoted my price. My regular price was $90 less than their 60% off price of over $700. She still didnt want to do it. I salvaged the sale, by switching the MG to reg UV and replacing the suede mat with reg alpha. I was not going to let that woman leave with that poster in her hand. Now Im hoping now she is going to tell all her neighbors and friends about her visit to M's. I wanted to plant the seed, but didnt.
     
  22. Cliff Wilson

    Cliff Wilson SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Paul, I don't want to question your manhood or anything, but I'm guessing your guesses are off.

    You need to bring some art and KNOW what's being priced or the comparisons are silly.
     
  23. PaulSF

    PaulSF PFG, Picture Framing God

    Cliff, I probably will go in with something and get a specific quote, but I'm pretty confident about the size of the artwork. When the clerk was in the back, I went up and praised the work and asked the customer about it. Turns out it's one of those paintings done by elephants in Thailand. Her daughter sent it to her, and just got out of Thailand by taking the train into Cambodia. So I did get close to the artwork, and I'd say 20x28 is pretty accurate, especially since the clerk measured from one edge of the paper to the other, both dimensions. So even if I'm off a bit, we're talking 20x24 or 20x26. We're not talking 11x14.

    As for the mats, they were Bainbridge, and not suedes. I don't believe Michaels sells paper mats, so these were either alphacellulose or rag. That's not going to affect the price that much.

    The moulding looked like the LJ Taichang, in the narrower version. It may not have been that exact moulding from LJ, but Omega and Decor have a lookalike. It's the round-cap bamboo moulding, between 1 and 2 inches.

    Glass was conservation clear, not Masterpiece.

    Price after the 60% discount was $180, indicating a full retail price of $450. I can't get a full retail of $180, even with Decor's 8578 (and it looked more like the LJ than the Decor, from where I was standing), without changing the artwork size to 11x14. That's just too big a different to chalk it up to measuring error on my part.

    And again, nobody here has quoted a price even close to $200, not even the people who boast about always beating Michaels' prices.
     
  24. CAframer

    CAframer SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Another consideration - data entry error sometimes plays a role in pricing!

    I recall one time at a nearby M's, someone being quoted $83 for a complete jersey job! That's a bit extreme, but there are plenty of times an inexperienced clerk will het the details wrong.
     
  25. Maryann

    Maryann SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Someone just brought in a receipt from M's (they were buying wreaths). It said "frame an 8 X 10, matted for $49.99. They asked me if I would match it. I'll do better.....our almost custom price for an 8 X 10 matted and framed piece is $35.

    At least in this neck of the woods, I've been beating their prices.
     
  26. Bill Henry-

    Bill Henry- SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    I come in at $381.90, but Cliff is right. Unless you or a “secret shopper” go to Ms, you are only guessing whether the moulding was a Larson-Juhl Taichang or a knock off.

    I’ve sent my wife into Michaels, Moore’s, and JoAnns and I have been very close after their marvelous “discounts” (± $5.00 or so).

    The thing that most of us independents are struggling with is how to overcome the perceived bargain that our customers believe they are getting.
     
  27. PaulSF

    PaulSF PFG, Picture Framing God

    The problem, Bill, is that this wasn't just a perceived bargain, it was an actual bargain. Michael's beat everyone's price here, whether you use Larson-Juhl, Omega, or Decor. The customer doesn't know the difference, if he or she bothers to shop around. It "looks" like the same moulding.
     
  28. cvm

    cvm PFG, Picture Framing God

    Mine comes in at 178.00. 20% COGS. Delta B7753.

    I'd bet Warren and Jeff would be in the same ballpark.
     
  29. PaulSF

    PaulSF PFG, Picture Framing God

    It would actually be a narrower version of that, CVM, between 1 and 1.5 inches. So far you are the only one that comes close.
     
  30. FrameMakers

    FrameMakers PFG, Picture Framing God

    Last time I looked at the moulding in a M they were junk. They were obvious knock offs, but for the most part the customer that goes there doesn't know the difference.

    In today's economic times people tend to be more about the price then they are the design.
    Jeff Rodier was mention above, I know that his customers come in and are amazed at his prices. But if they are looking for something specific he will give them a quote that is closer to our average. They change what they think they need in a heart beat to save some dollars.
     
  31. j Paul

    j Paul PFG, Picture Framing God

    It all boils down to the same ole thing.

    It is all about getting them in the door to begin with. The perception given by all of their advertising is that they are always the lowest priced. That may be true in some cases but not always. We all, have lower priced options or are able to up-sell when warrantied.

    Got to get them in the door. Heck I have some custom 8x10 packages starting at $24.95 which is definitely less than them, but I don't have a million bucks to advertise it.
     
  32. PaulSF

    PaulSF PFG, Picture Framing God

    I did have some time to look at the moulding samples, and noticed a couple that looked pretty close to the LJ that I carry. The bamboo in question was one of them. Another was a gold that looked like LJ's 500CG. Now, that isn't a particularly attractive moulding to begin with, but the knockoff was pretty close.

    Probably the only way to compete effectively with this pricing is to limit your mouldings to maybe 100 profiles, and stock them so you can buy by the box. But even then, Michaels isn't buying by the box, they are buying by the truckload.
     
  33. Paul N

    Paul N In Corner

    And there is your answer. When buying that cheap, you can beat anybody's price.
     
  34. rhop

    rhop SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Michaels Who

    Glad there isn't a Michaels within 100 miles of my little humble family owned and operated shop. :D
     
  35. Jeff Rodier

    Jeff Rodier SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    With my pricing plus the upgrade to full conservation I would be under $150. That would have my material costs below 20%.
    The acid free foam core costs is less than heat activated.

    I took in 5 pieces for a good customer Saturday that are similar united inches but better scrap for me so I gave her a break at $125 each. She was talking about doing only 2 depending on price so I cut her a deal to do all 5.
     
  36. Luddite

    Luddite PFG, Picture Framing God

    Beat my hiney!!(wait- that came out wrong..) Just for curiosity,I hade a quote done on the Bamboo mentioned in this thread. 6x12,No mounting,mat,or fitting.Inexpensive(gonna toss it) backing,etc. WITH coupon.......$87.00! BTW,that bamboo is made in Taiwan,and is a poly casting. I suggested to the manager,(who proudly said"Ma`am,we use top of the line,domestic mouldings,in solid wood...that`s why the cost is what it is!")to please remove the made in China/Taiwan stickers before displaying the samples:D.... L.
     
  37. Dancinbaer

    Dancinbaer SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Well, I entered your specs into my POS and came up with $251.78 w/tax. I would love to raise my prices (again) but I don't think my market would agree.
     
  38. freakquency

    freakquency SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Mines gonna fall between 252 and 378.
     
  39. Jim Miller

    Jim Miller SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    By using similar-looking mouldings that are not as expensive as the big names, we are usually able to quote prices similar to the mass marketers' discounted prices.

    Often our prices are lower, but if it turns out that we are $10 or $20 higher on a $300 framing project, we can easily justify that slight difference in greater value to the customer -- better materials, better methods, quicker delivery, lifetime guarantee, and more.
     
  40. Ylva

    Ylva SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    $408 here (including tax)

    Our local M's does have LJ on the wall, but also some knock offs. It's hard to compare. I will go in one day and have them price something out for me. See what difference there is.

    I went in to M's the other week (needed some craft supplies) and no customers at their framing dept. Not that many customers in the store anyway.
     
  41. rocknrollron

    rocknrollron CGF, Certified Grumble Framer

    Snotty kid pricing

    I took an ugly 8 x 10 a couple of weeks ago to Michaels and had it quoted $145 with their sale price. Simple 3" mat all around, regular glass...nothing special.....the kicker was the awful mat the snotty nosed kid picked (didn't match anything!) and he kept tellin me how much he liked the photo....poor training!!! I had to choke on my laughter!
     
  42. Warren Tucker

    Warren Tucker MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    We have a piece in the store that's just about that size:25.5 x 39 with an above average (for us) moulding. It's $210.00. We could do it for a lot less if that price was out of budget. Ans we could do it in a day.
     
  43. PaulSF

    PaulSF PFG, Picture Framing God

    Warren, you are going to lose your reputation as the best bargain around!
     
  44. Jeff Rodier

    Jeff Rodier SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Nope I missed the "Masterpiece Glass " piece of the puzzle. Warren and I are about the same. Sorry for the slip up.
     
  45. ArmyFramer

    ArmyFramer MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    Using the specs, I price out at around $135-140. I have taken things into Ms to get a qoute and I find that I am roughly $25-35 lower then thier sale prices.
     
  46. PaulSF

    PaulSF PFG, Picture Framing God

    Jeff, if your original quote was using Conservation Clear, you were fine. The price of $180 was for CC, which is what she got, and $250 was with Masterpiece Glass.
     
  47. dtwwillow grove

    dtwwillow grove Grumbler in Training

    Michaels only carries 15 lj mouldings. This allows them to receive lj truck deliveries for oversize foam and32x40 foam if they run out. That is all they receive via lj truck, just ask your lj driver.
    They only carry bainbridge artcare board,and suedes. Not the entire bainbridge line. Also if you notice, they repeat the same moulding on there walls. They import there own mouldings. They are there own distributor. They do not buy any omega or decor. They keep there business model and do not change from it. They use every bit of mat, shorts, ect. They keep on top of there training program, and constantly update it. The sales staff must sell x amount of fabric amts, and stacked frames WEEKLY. The department as well has monthly goals, for add on sales, just like joanns and ac moore.
    Perception drives the American economy today, not reality.
     
  48. danny boy

    danny boy PFG, Picture Framing God

    ...Welcome to the 'Grumble dtwoxford....
     
  49. Jeff Rodier

    Jeff Rodier SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Thanks Paul, I thought that was what I read first but later saw someone quote Masterpiece. Yes CC is what I had originally.
     
  50. Kirstie

    Kirstie PFG, Picture Framing God

    My brother in law in VA recently took something to M's to be framed. He was given a price, and then remembered his coupon. The discount was then taken off and his price was indeed 60% off the first price they gave him.
     
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