Pricing method for "piece" work

Sherry Lee

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
This is a first for me. A "starving artist" is having one of our local vendors make a frame for her. She is buying a matboard and a piece of foamboard as well. Here's where I come in (ACT III)...I've been asked to cut the matboard, and CC glass. She will do the fitting. This is a new customer and it's Christmas - I'm glad to help her out, but I'm swamped with work, so this IS a big favor (she will come in Dec. 15....when the artwork is done).

Question is: for a 22 x 26 do you charge just cutting it?? 1/4 the standard price? And a piece of CC glass? I feel like I've put out a buffet line! :rolleyes:
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PFG, Picture Framing God
My price for sizing a mat and cutting an opening in that mat is the retail cost of the mat cut to the required size plus the labor to cut the opening.

Whether it goes into one of my frames or somebody else's frame is no matter to me.

The same applies for glass that I cut, retail cost of the glass plus the labor to cut it to size.

My question to the artist would be "Are you going to piece out all your framing to the cheapest bidder or are you going to bring your future framing to me and have it done in a professional and correct manner?"

It sounds to me like she is price shopping. If you can afford to support her whims, then I say give her all the breaks you feel that you can afford. Consider what you will be facing if she tells all her artist friends where and how much she paid to have this work done. You may be "swamped" with work that you don't want to do.



SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
oooohhhhh just give it to her!

holy crap it's X-mas

[ 12-11-2003, 10:46 PM: Message edited by: lessafinger ]


SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
I charge retail to artists - even if the do it themselves. If it is for resale (for a show), I give all artists 15% discount off of retail as long as they have a tax ID.

I have several artists that I cut glass for and also they buy mats from me so they don't have to buy the minimums for shipping. The work doesn't usually cut into our peak times, so there is always some small change coming in the door. Works as good will for the artists who want to hang in my gallery, but are required to use the correct materials and pass a quality check before their work can hang.

I don't this this is overly generous, but its better than they get at alot of places

my 2 cents


The King

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Sherry, to cut a single rectangle in a customer's 22x26 board (I think that's what you're asking) I'd charge $19 less a 15% discount for an artist with a seller's permit. That's a straight labor charge - a 0 material code in my POS.

To cut it from my Alphamat, I'd charge $31.

People are often astounded that the biggest component in a matting charge is labor - not material. That's why they ask us to enlarge the window in their mat - stuff like that.

Even premium matboard is pretty cheap, unless you're in Minnesota and using a lot of Bainbridge silk.

In your pricing structure - whether it's POS or manual - you should have some idea what portion is labor and what's materials.

If I'm cutting the mat - and probably even if I'm not - I'd cut down the glass for free.

And not just in December, Less.

The King

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
I just noticed that this means I'm effectively charging $12 for a sheet of Alphamat that cost me about $8.50.

Don't ever take pricing advice from me.


MGF, Master Grumble Framer
If I really wanted to help I would do it for free with the condition that if something goes wrong I am not responsible for replacing the materials. You never know when you'll have a bad glass cutting day or an uncontrollable sneeze while cutting a mat.

I do special discounts for artists who are serious about trying to make a living, provided I can make the deal work for me. Don't do anything special for the customers who claim to be artists but are really engaged in recreation.

Grumbling Mike

CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2
we now do full orders here only. our labour, our glass, our mats. the last time I cut a piece of glass for someone It caused grief as I wouldnt let her fit it into an Ikea frame on my design table. who needs that kind of customer.

I just need ... just just....

just forget it.


I charge $1.00 per cut. So to just cut the hole it is $4.00. I get them to tell me the size they want whenever possible so if there are any questions we can determine who is at fault.


CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2
An instructor I took a class from likened that scenario to walking into a butcher shop with a side of ribs and asking the butcher to cut it for you. His price was the same price as if they purchased the whole shebang from him (mat, glass etc.).

I see his point but,I think I would charge him just for the labor only. Never hurts to have an artist friend when your a framer.


CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2
How about the cost of a mat that size, similar quality, less your cost for a sheet of matboard.

Used to do a flat 3 or 5 dollar "per window" charge, but found that way too cheap...especially when a client walked in with 12 ply!


MGF, Master Grumble Framer
Starving artist, Heck, what about starving framers.

I'd charge my normal labor charge and make sure that they knew that if anything happened to there supplies that you won't be held responsable. If the glass cracked, or the mat buckled , you would be out that material cost upon replacement.

Or, You could be real generous and do it for nothing just because you are that nice.

Or you could let them come in your back room and save themselves the expense of equipment and use yours.

My question is why doesn't the vendor just do the cutting for her, I have vendors in my area that will do it all, like they are in direct competition with me. (I've seen there work and I'm not to worried from a quality standpoint.)


PFG, Picture Framing God

I just re-read your post and noticed that the artist is supplying the matboard and the foamboard!

In that case I would charge my regular rate of $7.50 per opening plus a charge of $1.50 per board to size the mat and foamboard.

You should be able to set up your mat cutter and cut that opening in about 4 minutes or so. Add another minute to size each board and you would be making almost $2.00 per minute. That equates to almost $120.00 per hour.

That seems fair to me.


P.S. Now, if you stand around and talk to her for 15 minutes about artsy stuff, then your profit margin may be a little slimmer. ;)

Sherry Lee

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Thank you all for your feedback - interesting input!!

Just want you to know that this NEW customer arrived, looked at the studio, we chatted (yes, free of charge) and before I knew it, I got the entire order for two of her pieces....yep, the entire package. AND she has since sent me a new customer (one of her art students). Love this job!! :D