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Suggestion Sledge Hammer Business Model

Discussion in 'Picture Framing Business Issues' started by Jeff Rodier, Feb 9, 2010.

  1. Jeff Rodier

    Jeff Rodier SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Hey Jim, can you check with Fletcher-Terry on the future availability of the sledge hammer. It can be placed in a shadow box hung by the cutters. It does need the logo on it though.
  2. janetj1968

    janetj1968 PFG, Picture Framing God


    My apologies if I sound harsh. I've just had too many blessings in my life to think like this.

    I'll never be that afraid of competition (especially if I'm leaving it) or that selfish or spiteful towards future framers (home-based or storefont). Or even that desperate for money.

    How would it have impacted you to have to buy all new equipment?

    I bought a new CMC when I opened but I sourced the rest of my equipment used. In total, I spent $40,000.

    By the kindess of others (among other things not having to buy everything new), I put together my shop. One of my very best friends sold me her drymount press and her glass cutter after she went out of business. They were carried away gently and reverently, just the way they'd been stored.

    I'm here...every day, one more day because God gave it to me. Why would I destroy that chance for someone else?

    If ever I go out, it'll be finding a home for every piece of equipment that I've touched and have been honored to hold. And if I can't sell it for what its worth, I'll give it to someone who can use it.

    This post makes me incredibly sad.
  3. JRB

    JRB PFG, Picture Framing God

    I started my framing business in 1976 with nothing but old, rusty, used equipment. It took me weeks just to get the things I needed into serviceable shape. I was flat broke and had no other options.

    Selling used equipment is the only way others can get a start in this industry, or even help an existing business keep on trucking along. Just because someone has new or old equipment does not mean they can be a threat to you, unless they happen to be better framers and better businessmen than yourself.

    Attempting to stop competition by only having brand new equipment available might be considered a good idea by some, however, in the real world, it ain't never going to happen.

    Then as an old timer, I can safely state, to make good picture framing, you do not really need any of the framing equipment that is commonly used in todays frame shops.

  4. Jeff Rodier

    Jeff Rodier SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Now let me ask any of you who were outraged by this thread a few questions.

    1) Did you in any way support the cash for clunkers program.

    2) Did you in any way believe it was right for the cash for clunkers program to assist in maintaining jobs in the auto manufacturing industry.

    3) Did you in any way believe it was right for the cash for clunkers program to keep auto dealerships in business.

    You can choose not to answer the question but silence will provide a good indication of the answers.
  5. Luddite

    Luddite PFG, Picture Framing God

    Thank you,perfect sentiment.I hate destroying anything with life left in it...And for me I think my competition generally makes a great breakfast.so far so good :) . L.
  6. Luddite

    Luddite PFG, Picture Framing God

    No, I didn`t... But it didn`t work so well did it? L.
  7. Jeff Rodier

    Jeff Rodier SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    No I thought it was incredibly dumb to use taxpayer money to subsidize the auto industry. Although it is the only reason the government has proclaimed that the recession ended. It will take 2 to 3 years to determine if it ended but if so it was artificial.

    The bailout through cash for clunkers is the only reason unemployment has not reached 12% or 14%. The growth in GDP is 100% cash for clunkers. The stock market remaining several thousand points higher than where it should be was cash for clunkers.

    I personally don't see any competition but rather contestants. As I said before, bring it on.
  8. janetj1968

    janetj1968 PFG, Picture Framing God

    1 No
    2. While it may have saved a job in the auto industry, it also cost many businesses untold dollars by flooding the market with scrap metal... So no, I don't think it helped much...and no, I don't support government bailout of businesses (except farming).
    3. No

    Outside of that, I don't think the paltry pieces we would hammer and dump would make any significant impact on the scrap metal market....and I have to say...the cash for clunkers was at least designed to be a win-win situation -- even if it didn't help the auto makers, it would certainly help the environment.

    There's nothing gained by future generations by destroying our equipment.
  9. Jeff Rodier

    Jeff Rodier SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Don't get me started on farm subsidies now. That is absolute insanity. Why can't the farmers grow food to feed the hungry rather than be paid to do nothing for profit.
  10. janetj1968

    janetj1968 PFG, Picture Framing God

    :) Well Jeff you have banjo nerves today. :)

    <poke> <poke>

    :) Just kidding. I'd buy you a Mai Tai.
  11. Luddite

    Luddite PFG, Picture Framing God

    Even better- all the farmers here getting paid NOT to grow Tobacco.Come to think of it, I`m NOT growing any...where`s the check? L.
  12. Jeff Rodier

    Jeff Rodier SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Yes, technically it's not tobacco.:D
  13. rmehoves

    rmehoves CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    1) No, I have a new vehicle already

    2) Yes, because the auto manufacturers are at the top of the food chain and there are many, many businesses who support and are affected by the major auto companies

    3) Yes, same reason as #2

    The cash for clunkers was a multi-leveled attempt at boosting the economy and helping the environment and whether it worked or not is being skewed by both sides.
    GWB tried boosting the economy by giving tax rebates to try to get people to spend, same thing IMO

    While I'm not a big fan of the American auto industry if you can keep them in business you support many smaller businesses down the line and keep multiples of people working which also affects the framing industry in the long run. Chrysler was bailed out decades ago for much the same reasons.
  14. Jeff Rodier

    Jeff Rodier SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Now here is an interesting statement. Don't our equipment manufacturers employ people. Don't they buy raw materials from numerous sources. Don't those sources also provide jobs. Isn't there a vast dealer network that depends on equipment sales to remain viable businesses. Aren't these dealers providing jobs. Aren't many of these dealers the same vendors that provide moulding, matboard, glass and supplies delivered directly to our businesses in order to save us on transportation costs.

    Without this vast network we would not only be eliminating a huge number of jobs but many frame shops could not afford to do business especially in this economy. This seems to be a huge price to pay all in the name of a couple hundred bucks. I could purchase all of my materials in bulk directly from major manufacturers/distributors via motor freight but it sure wouldn't be as convenient as it is from the regional distributors. I know that most of the retail framing businesses in my area would have to close if the distribution network were to go away.
  15. stevens

    stevens CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    Let me start off that we will be getting new equipment soon and we will keep the used stuff in storage in case anything goes down.

    I still have 4 pages of this thread to go through, I understand both sides, but I am more on Jeff's side. We like to call the people that do it from their houses at almost or no profit (and no taxes) "steak and beer" guys. It is derived from someone you know that will do it for a steak and a beer. We know a guy around here that just undercuts the whole market print around here, does everything on the cheap including used equipment and works from his garage (I am willing to bet he doesn't collect or pay taxes too) and hurts local businesses. Any business in the area knows the guy and thinks the same thing of him. His day will come.

    Now this topic has different levels of issues depending on what industry you are in. The framing industry is frankly a quick learning curve and the barriers to entry are low. It is a cottage industry and we do not intend to compete in it. I believe that at some point in the next few years we will be a big name competing against Mpix and the likes. That side has a much much steeper learning curve.

    Side Note: Colorado absolutely sucks for businesses. Very, Very, Very, unfriendly.
  16. Emibub

    Emibub PFG, Picture Framing God

    I can't imagine seeking out and destroying your competition legal or not can be very healthy for your business Jeff. You are focusing on negativity. They shouldn't be any of your concern. I never cared about others when I was in business, they were the least of my worries.

    One of the best things I have learned from Deepak Chopra is to exhalt in the success of others including those you consider your enemies. I used to compare myself against all others either feeling inferior or superior to them. Then Deepaks statement made me realize the futility in that. Focusing positive energy keeps you positive instead of being bitter and resentful. Spending time worrying about those few playing with framing in their spare time seems so futile. I think it is absurd obsessing about BB's too, but at least they pose a known threat on the little guy. Just no point in focusing on either one. Put all that energy into making your business the best.

    Funny, we have so many people here who didn't want to consort with the enemy by joining the PPFA. I never understood that either. A bunch of like minded people getting together discussing biz can only be a good thing for all. We were even told by a supplier once that some shops didin't want to attend meetingss because our board had too many homebaased framers on it. Wasn't even true, at the time 2 out of all the people who had been on the board were homebased. The one who has been there from the beginning who is homebased has been the chapter president for several years now giving of her time tirelessly to bring education and information to Colorado to make all of our business's thrive. The naysayers just stay in their shops protecting their secrets. Business pretty mmuch sucks for everybody right now, imagine if they had participated and what we all could have gleaned from each other.
  17. Paul Cascio

    Paul Cascio SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

  18. scottk

    scottk CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    Proposing to take a sledgehammer to used equipment is simply an incendiary comment meant to make it difficult for hobbiests to obtain equipment. Anybody can walk into a store and buy all the new equipment they want and make good (or bad) with it. Buy a chop saw at the home center. Buy matboard/foamboard at Michaels.

    It also has nothing to do with the health of Fletcher Terry nor does it have anything to do with the health of this industry as a whole. Supporting hack framers? Let em' hack away, let em' buy used equipment. Every industry has these "shadow" businesses/hobbiests. Get over yourself and stick to business.

    If you want to take it a step further Jeff does this mean you'll also stop selling framing supplies out of your store? Don't the customers that buy supplies fall into the same category as many of those "shadowy" people undercutting your business? Seems to me to be a fair question.

  19. Jeff Rodier

    Jeff Rodier SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    On your first point, just because you say it does not make it true but you are entitled to the opinion.

    Now for the second point. I sell to artists and photographers in 2 states numbering over 500 in total that mostly frame their pieces to sell in consigmnet galleries. They also sell at the local arts festivals which occur constantly down here. The galleries collect and pay the taxes as well as the artists paying sales taxes when they but from me. The art festivals collect a special sales tax fee to cover those sales. Those two venues are legit.

    There is a small percentage that frame for others with no sales tax being collected and that is on them. At least they are paying sales taxes for the materials when they buy from me.

    I have 2 extra mat cutters. One will eventually be given to the college and the other will always remain a back up.
  20. David N Waldmann

    David N Waldmann SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Of course. But how many; compared to the auto industry?

    Picture framing isn't even an "industry" much as we all like to think it is. It's part of the home decor industry. The last survey I recall said that 10% of the US public had EVER had anything framed. How many do you suppose EVER owned an automobile? And what was the cost of that automobile and its support and repair? The auto industry is many orders of magnitude larger than the crumb that is the custom picture framing "industry".
  21. Paul N

    Paul N In Corner

    My turn:

    1) Did you in any way support the cash for Oil Companies program.

    2) Did you in any way believe it was right for the cash for Oil companies program to assist in maintaining jobs in the oil industry.

    3) Did you in any way believe it was right for the cash for oil companies program to keep Oil companies in business.

    And let me add one:

    4- Do you believe the oil companies needed that cash?? And why did the oil companies make trillions in profits and the previous guvment was he11 bent on giving them more money??

    You can choose not to answer the question but silence will provide a good indication of the answers.

    Just replacing one name for another and see what it looks like from the other side....;)
  22. Jeff Rodier

    Jeff Rodier SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    So nobody should care if Vermont were to close up shop and send their employees to the unemployment line. Since Vermont is a small company it wouldn't make any difference to your suppliers either even if the receivables got washed away in a BK right. Heck, they could just start selling to the builders again since the government has proclaimed the recession is over.
  23. Jeff Rodier

    Jeff Rodier SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    As typical nothing to add to the actual conversation which is going on.
  24. Rocco Penny

    Rocco Penny In Corner

    that's what I'm talking about!
    Americans fighting for American jobs.
    Using American skills, knowhow, and tradition.
    Americans feeding their families and living their dreams at the their own expense.
    Dreaming to make things and have people benefit from them.
    Thinking even social justice would be no high price or crime in the pursuit of that dream.
    Or being higgledy piggledy and giving no quarter?
    I mean you've not really expanded on my knowledge about how to make my frames work right, and now you think the market is flooded with carpy framemakers using the tools we'd have anyway-
    you think 200 dollars is going to stop me?
    You think talking carp about how a beginner will destroy the sanctity of an american institution will?
    I mean listen to yourself-
    This is certainly as impoverished a road one may take,
    not to be mean or anything but where is the love?
  25. Rocco Penny

    Rocco Penny In Corner

    Oh and someone should make sure the peasants never learn to read lest they threaten the merchant class
  26. Paul N

    Paul N In Corner

    Well, it worked as much as your own post about clunkers to distract us, once you and your arguments were thoroughly trounced!
  27. David N Waldmann

    David N Waldmann SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Jeff, I didn't say anything about caring. I didn't even say whether I though cash for clunkers was a good or bad thing. All I said was that comparing the impact of supporting the auto industry to the picture framing "industry" is not a really a comparison.
  28. Jeff Rodier

    Jeff Rodier SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    All I'm saying is this is one of a hundred industries combined that add up to something. Why is O.K. to pick one big one and not 100 small ones. Most framers have bet the farm on their businesses. No auto workers have bet the farm on the plant in which they work. It is just an outragiously high paying job for them. Sure they would have to change their lifestyle to get another job but they would not automatically lose everything they ever had and built up.
  29. Grey Owl

    Grey Owl SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Digressing from the primary topic.

    I guess I have to disagree. Colorado is rather business friendly, compared to most of the other states I have worked in. For example, look at some of the total tax rates for states in some of the business journals, and you will find Colorado has less total taxes, than most. Yes Wyoming has no income tax, and I believe Nevada doesn't, [but may now?], but the business economy is certainly much stronger in Colorado than Nevada or Wyoming. Trying to start a business in Colorado is also easy. And how many states is it still only $1.00 to renew your trade name each year. And a sales tax license is $50.00 but you get a $50.00 refund once you have submitted $50.00 in sales taxes. No Colorado is much more friendly than most. [and we have sunshine more than 300 days a year, so we have customers that are not as effected by bad weather]
  30. Pat Murphey

    Pat Murphey SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Since there wasn't a cash for oil companies program and oil company profit margins are lower than many other industries, what is your point other than you think people should not work for profit? :p
  31. Paul N

    Paul N In Corner

    They were getting money which they didn't need or deserve...just because they put one of their own to act as a puppet & president.

    But that's another discussion....:p
  32. Pat Murphey

    Pat Murphey SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    You make my point.:p
  33. PaulSF

    PaulSF PFG, Picture Framing God

    If you really want to raise the barriers to entry in this field, do it the way the doctors and lawyers have been doing it for years. Require everyone who wishes to be a framer to pass the MCPF (not the CPF) exam before they can work as a framer.
  34. surferbill

    surferbill SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Isn't selling Italian moulding readymades to artists and hobbyists for pennies on the dollar, the same thing as selling used equipment cheap to artists and hobbyists?

    Both compete against the store front picture framer trying to make a profit and stay in business. IMO
  35. Jeff Rodier

    Jeff Rodier SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    No that's just good business decisions. Since my last post I have sold a full conservation Chritening gown on linen w/ UV Acrylic and a stacked frame, three 32x40 photos framed with reg acrylic & mats, a 4 opening mat with frame glass & FC while he waited, 2 ready mades w/ fitting, 2 ready mades & 1 canvas plus prepackaged hardware.

    The 32x40's will have a dozen more being done for a mental hospital. The Christening dress will be loading up on canvas and ready mades before the end of the promo Saturday. The 4 opening mat job is coming back with multiple print and frame jobs. The ready made customers are coming back before Saturday for more ready mades and canvas.

    Selling to the artists at these prices is what enables them to hang in the consigment galleries and give 50% to the gallery owners. They can keep their prices down so they actually sell something and the gallery gets half. I guess you can see how I am supporting the local economy.
  36. janetj1968

    janetj1968 PFG, Picture Framing God

    Mmmmmm. Yes.

    But I defend them both.

    I think hobbyists have a right to be in business, too. Sure they compete with me (and perhaps I don't always like it!) but its their right.

    Jeff is willing to work far harder than most of us to pump out the volume and in general, make less per sale than we are. (But he makes some of it up by buying in volume). I honestly, even if I could, couldn't walk in his shadow for a day without collapsing. As long as his health serves him, more power to him. I think its a wonderful model as long as you're willing and able. Most of what he does, if I understand right, he does himself with no help. He works in a frenzy and I'm not equipped physically or mentally to deal with that at this stage in my life. Part of me is jealous of it and part of me admires it. But both halves know i just can't do it. Plus, geographically he's in an area perfect to do it. My local market just wouldn't support it because the volume potential isn't here.

    We'll never be monopolies...either controlling the market to exclude hobbyists or to exclude those who can buy and sell in volume for lower costs. So we might as well make the best of what we have ... and throw those sledgehammers away and by accepting that we can't control the competition...no matter what we do.
  37. PaulSF

    PaulSF PFG, Picture Framing God

    Jeff, I guess we're all having a bit of a problem seeing why you feel so threatened. By your own accounts, nobody can beat you on price. Not the big boxes, not the independents. Certainly not a garage framer buying moulding 10 feet at a time. By your own accounts, these garage framers can't beat you with their marketing, since every newspaper ad you place brings in dozens of new customers every week. By your own accounts, you've already sold 30 frames to every man, woman, child, and dog within 100 miles of Myrtle Beach. People drive from 2 or 3 states away to shop with you, by your own accounts. I just don't see how there's anyone left within 250 miles that isn't already buying framing from you.

    So really, what's the problem?
  38. surferbill

    surferbill SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    If instead of being in the newspaper business, Superman had decided to frame pictures for a living, I doubt he would have been able to wait on customers and frame as fast as Jeff. :)
  39. Jim Miller

    Jim Miller SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Don't be sad, Jan. I can relate.

    I know a man who retired from a 20+year career and decided to get into framing, pretty much on a whim, thinking it would be fun.

    He might have bought new equipment, but didn't know what to buy or where to buy it, and didn't have the cash to spare, anyway. So, he bought used equipment, hand tools, and most of the materials from a frame shop going out of business and set up all of it, mostly worn out junk, in his garage.

    He didn't know anything about framing, but realizing his deficiency of skills and knowledge, began to study and practice. Almost immediately he was taking framing orders from friends, neighbors and of course, relatives. He thought it was fun and gratifying to create tangible things that people appreciate.

    He saw a future in framing and planned to build a business. He set up accounts with a couple of suppliers. One of the suppliers he called was Larson-Juhl, but they said home-based framers couldn't buy from them.

    The rest of the story is that the garage set-up was intended to be temporary from the outset.

    Within six months, the Sub-Chapter-S corportation was formed, the storefront buildout was completed, and he was open for business -- but still quite a novice. Early on, he joined PPFA and started buying and studying every framing book in sight. He earned the CPF designation a few months after meeting the experience qualifications. Studying for the CPF exam was an important learning process, and it continues to this day.

    Those original books are still on the shelf over the desk, and it's fun to read the margin notes I wrote as a novice. My library has grown quite a lot since 1988.
  40. Jay H

    Jay H PFG, Picture Framing God

    I agree Janet except I can't see how the dirt cheap framer who gladly sells at near wholesale moulding to garage framers would reprimand others for selling used equipment to the same framers.

    That was the suggestion. The stuff about cash for clunkers, sales tax, and what ever else is all just an attempt to cover of the obvious contradiction.

    It's an odd day that I agree with Bill but I do now. Jeff proudly mentions how he saves artists and photographers and other hobbies tons on hand crafted Italian frames over what hacks like us charge. He even offers up that high quality to garage framers. Like you I support his right to run any type of business he desire. I even support his right contradiction himself. I do think it right to suggest others participate in such foolishness.

    I would recommend that we framers befriend as many people and businesses as possible. In the long term I find that building relationships is a wise business decision. Identifying exactly who will help you today and crapping on anybody that doesn't pass the smell test today seems like a quick path to being out of business. This one suggested tactic may not be that death nail but that type of attitude is deadly.
  41. Jeff Rodier

    Jeff Rodier SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Show me one post where I feel threatened. I mentioned the effect on the local economy, the detriment to the national economy and the demise of the picture framing industry in general.

    Maybe San Francisco is riddled with the underground framing model and that is why you are not seeing the desired foot traffic in your store. Once again as I said before Bring It ON. I thrive on a challenge. Home, Garage, Storefront it's all the same to me.
  42. janetj1968

    janetj1968 PFG, Picture Framing God

    What would make me sad is that if we followed this model, that framer may not be here :)

    What you said... wise words, too... JayH.
  43. Paul N

    Paul N In Corner

    I will answer for PaulSF if I may:

    Your very FIRST post said:

    "Here is my suggestion, rather than setting up hobbiest competition why not take a sledge hammer to it and take it to the scrap metal dealer in the area. Many of the very old dry mount presses are selling for a hundred bucks more than the scrap dealers would pay. A good whack to the thermostat, one to the platten and another to the arms that the platten swings on. The industry has become so dilluted that an ongoing business would be well served by not putting it in commission to create competition."

    Sounds to me you do feel threatened by them!!!

  44. Jeff Rodier

    Jeff Rodier SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    I still don't see what you consider to be me feeling threatened. I mentioned the industry which has lost an awful lot of good business owners. I miss a lot of people that used to be here on the Grumble. Some left because they were annoyed by other members but many left because they closed their framing businesses.
  45. John Golden

    John Golden CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    I recently reframed two pieces framed by "professional" frame shops. The quality of the framing was awful. Legitimate businesses that are collecting sales taxes. Not ripping off the state but instead ripping off their customers and taking a sledgehammer to their previously valuable prints.
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