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This Is A New One For Me!

Discussion in 'The Grumble' started by MitchelC, Dec 1, 2018.

  1. MitchelC

    MitchelC MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    Recently (the past 6 months) more and more "crazy" customers have been wanting something framed "professionally". I begin showing them mat(s) that would enhance their print, photo, etc.. They said the wanted the "professional look"... black frame, black bottom mat & white top mat. This morning, a customer comes in with a 16 x 20" wedding photo. Beautiful photo. What she chose? Black frame, black bottom mat & white top mat. I asked her why she chose this. She said it was to "enhance" the photo. It looks like a ready made frame/mat she picked up at WalMart. I completed it a few minutes ago and put it in a closet. CrAzY PeOpLe out there! I hope I don't have to make my closet any larger! What a shame.... lol☺
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  2. Paul Cascio

    Paul Cascio SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Did they say what profession?
    Rick Granick likes this.
  3. framah

    framah PFG, Picture Framing God

    As the old saying goes:

    If the guy wants a green suit,
    you sell him a green suit.
    Aiden, David Waldmann, IFGL and 2 others like this.
  4. cjmst3k

    cjmst3k SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    When someone comes in, the first thing I usually ask is "Do you have a design you wanted, or can I show you what design comes to my mind?"

    This does three important things:

    -Lets the customer know they are "driving".
    -Sorts out the "I only want it this way" customers from the "I'm open to ideas" customers.
    -It peaks the interest of people who had an idea, but before you have shown them their idea, they want to see your idea first which gives your design an advantage.

    On that 3rd part above, most often after I show them my best design, they usually abandon what idea they have which often is likely a black frame with a white mat. Heck, it happened exactly this way about 30 minutes ago. So the phrase at the top is a helpful one.

    Another helpful thing is to explain your design as you go.

    While shuffling mats "I usually choose a neutral mat for the top mat for a landscape, but neutral is relative to the colors of the picture. You see, this white mat might be neutral on a black-and-white photo, but the white mat is the loudest thing on this landscape, so lets see if we have a good soft but rich beige which is the brightest this image gets".

    While searching frames "This picture being an older one seems to have some character. These Italian olive wood frames have a "well worn, distressed" look to them which may look more comfortable on the piece rather than a frame which is pristine.

    All these descriptors help the customer understand and visualize the finished project, and how it may enhance rather than just be a container.
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2018
  5. Joe B

    Joe B SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    The jail look is professional - black bar, white space, and black bar :eek: It's considered professional looking because the starving artist and photographers are cheeping out because they just can't afford more. Also, the juried shows - they are always black and white so the artist or photographer is judged on their work not the professional frame job. In many cases, especially with some of the art that is being produced and photos that are being taken this day and age, it is the frame job that makes the art or photo look good. (boy am I going to get in trouble for that comment:rolleyes:) Of course when some people see the black and white they think it looks professional because they see so much of that at shows and studios.
    Grey Owl likes this.
  6. neilframer

    neilframer PFG, Picture Framing God

    I do exactly the same thing, but if the customer says "I'm not looking to spend a lot" when I ask them if they have an idea in mind, then they are helping me to not waste a lot of time designing a $300 framing job when they are thinking $75 (or even $50..:eek:)
    I don't like for our other sales people, who are also framers, to spend 30 minutes designing a job that looks great only to find out that the customer would never even spend half of what the design would cost no matter how great it would look.

    When they say "I'm not looking to spend a lot" I show them our least expensive plain black Studio moulding with and without a mat.
    If that price is too expensive, we have some closeout mouldings that we got when we took over another frameshop that are very discounted lengths.
    If that's STILL too expensive, then we are down to four thumbtacks (or maybe just two)....:oops:

    That's not to say that we can't or don't move a customer up to spending more, but you get a sense of where they might go.
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2018
    DVieau2 and Jim Miller like this.
  7. prospero

    prospero SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Artists often go for the 'basic' look because they don't know who the end-user will be. Also because they can
    frame up maybe 40-50 paintings/prints without spending a fortune on frames that may well put some buyers off.
    These are so-called 'exhibition' frames. It gives the display a cohesive look, albeit a bit innocuous. Any buyers are then
    free to re-frame the painting to their own taste.

    Sometimes people want "a simple pine frame" which translates to "I want it cheap". They don't know that pine frames are
    not necessarily cheap. Now and then I nail down what their budget is and do a frame to fit. I do have a huge amount of
    offcuts and orphan frames/moulding so very often I can knock up a very decent frame where the materials cost to me is
    essentially next to zero.
    OK, they are don't have the choice but generally they don't know what they want to start with. Never had a knock-back anyway.

    Very often people confuse 'minimal' with 'cheap'. o_O
  8. alacrity8

    alacrity8 MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    When selling framed prints, I like the line "Do you have that in a smaller size?"
    Usually code for do you have that cheaper.
    Wish customers would say what they mean.
    prospero likes this.
  9. Pat Murphey

    Pat Murphey SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    You never know with a customer. I've converted many a $200 frame into a $400 job by saying, just for the heck of it, look at this frame, often from my favorite Munn Frameworks. Some have even been a lot more with gold finished corner "econo" line frames from Munn. Once they're sold on gold you'll appreciate at the value of "getting one's nose under the tent".
    shayla likes this.
  10. artfolio

    artfolio SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Ansell Adams has a lot to answer for. I have seen a few of his black and white photos framed in the "professional" black frame white matt combination and, on those very high-key black and white pictures it looks good but it is far too harsh a contrast for anything softer like a portrait.

    I usually used the "do you have anything in mind for this?" opening and start out in that direction just to avoid up-front conflict then move onto suggestions that maybe this (Crescent Silver) grey is softer than the white with, maybe, this (Crescent Dark) grey under it?? Once a couple of suggestions have been accepted it is then easier to pry them away from the flat, black Ikea frame.

    I think a lot of this stems from the fact that many customers have had little exposure to professional framing and have a limited idea of what picture frames look like. It is a bit like walking into a 5 star restaurant headed up by a world-famous chef and asking for a Big Mac with fries.
    shayla likes this.
  11. i-FRAMER

    i-FRAMER MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    I don't think you should ever do this. If they say i am not looking to spend a lot, then the next question should be "Sure, what's your budget then?" As what may be a lot for some may be nothing to others.

    I have had people same the same thing, but quote out the job into $500 and they are like great. Let's do it.
    We have 1 frame shop here that starts at twice the price of all other frame shops. So if they had just come from there, then it's going to look like a bargain regardless.
  12. neilframer

    neilframer PFG, Picture Framing God

    Maybe I was misunderstood.
    I've only been doing this for 49 years now (going on 50..:eek:)
    I was out on a mirror installation last week with one of the other guys in the shop.
    As I walked up to the second floor of the building, I take the stairs two at a time, the guy with me told me to "slow down"..
    He is half my age .....:rolleyes:
    Sorry, I'm not a texting zombie who walks like the living dead.:cool:

    I just bought a bicycle to ride to work now that it's finally cooled off in Phoenix.
    I'm training my dog to run alongside me on a leash.:p

    I work full time for a very successful shop in the 6th largest city in the US.
    We have over 30 5-star reviews on Yelp, all 5 star reviews on Google and Facebook.
    We have been in business since 1974.
    We do huge amounts of retail, commercial and government framing as well as installations in Arizona and Nevada.
    We have expanded our shop to take over the building behind us to do plexi laminating and mounting and laser cutting.
    We have also absorbed another frame shop that closed because the owners retired.

    I did mention this in my original post...
    "That's not to say that we can't or don't move a customer up to spending more, but you get a sense of where they might go."

    What do I know?o_O
    We must be doing something right.....;)
    End of Rant...:D
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2018
    tedh likes this.
  13. tedh

    tedh PFG, Picture Framing God

    Neil has my sympathy. Anyone owning an Australian Shepherd needs sympathy.

    Had I only known......

    Back to the thread: Larson has two Tribecas that are available in box quantities at terrific prices. I just keep on selling these, as customers really like them. Trouble is, I'm trying to get rid of my current inventory, as retirement calls. Those Tribecas just get in the way of Plan A.
    neilframer likes this.
  14. neilframer

    neilframer PFG, Picture Framing God

    What is this thing you call Retirement.....?
    I have said that they might have to pry my cold, dead, fingers off of the saw or the Wizard..:D
    Hey, we just got a brand new gigantic vacuum for the CTD saw and the sander.

    Hey, Ted, took my Aussie, Maya, out on a leash down the block with the bicycle for the first time today.
    She was pretty good except when the handle of the leash ripped off....:oops:
    I think she likes it.:p

    She's really a good dog.
    She's not an Alpha, she just loves everybody and all the neighbor dogs.
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2018
  15. cjmst3k

    cjmst3k SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I have a different approach which has worked well, and is worth considering.

    When I hear "I'm not looking to spend a lot", the key thing missing is "what is a lot?". For some people saying that, $100 is a lot. For other people, $500 is a lot. And that difference, compounded over numerous customers, is a gigantic difference on your income.

    My interactions go something like this:

    "I'd like to get this framed, and I'm not looking to spend a lot"

    "Great - can do. You mentioned you're not looking at spending a lot. Would you like me to show you the least expensive option, or would you like me to show you reasonably priced options that might have some nuance which works well with your piece?"

    Half the time I hear "Yeah, the least expensive option" and the other half of the time I hear "Oh, I didn't mean the cheapest, I just didn't want one of your really expensive frames". When I am told that second sentence, I say "No worries, I'll keep you away from the hand-carved, real gold frames". I'll also work my way up, and as I show them $350 frames, I'll pull one off the wall and say "This one is a bit more, but its worth considering because the patina has a really subtle muted pewter mixed in the design". If they like it, and it prices out very high, it makes the rest sound even more reasonable.

    I have one customer that often brings in watercolors he buys at auction, and he says "Hey, I need this framed and I don't want to spend too much". He's been very happy to spend $650 per piece. So when you're told "I'm not looking to spend a lot", every time, follow up that with the right questions so you best help the customer, and the art. That question will save your staff that "30 minutes" every time.
    Dave, Rick Granick and i-FRAMER like this.
  16. Bob Carter

    Bob Carter SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    i'veused the example a million times but worth repeating

    For most framers one of their most 'expensive' possessions is their car. And when they take that 'valuable' item to get an oil change, they choose a place that is convenient, quick, cheap and probably has a coupon. They tell the person 'just the basic' oil change for advertised $19.95. But, the attendant doing his job tells you about this great product, synthetic oil, for only $79.95 that is so far superior in protecting your 'investment'. And, he's right, of course

    But, how many will say 'no, thanks, i'll stick with basic/inexpensive/cheap option'

    point is consumers generally are pretty similar

    the next step by the Jiffy Lube guy can easily affect your shopping experience and if he thinks the driver is 'crazy' he might need a few lessons on selling

    Sell the benefits, show examples, offer friendly 'advice' and honor the customers wishes

    just like when you say 'no, thanks' to synthetic oil

    BTW I use synthetic oil
  17. i-FRAMER

    i-FRAMER MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    I have another example from an artist this time. Yes an artist who did not want to spend much, can you believe it?
    Anyway, i asked what she wanted to spend she said around $100. I said ok, but for that i am not doing a consult, you will have to trust me, i will frame up it with something i have in stock, it may be discontinued etc, but will do it justice. She agreed.
    Long story short, i got rid of old stock, she entered her artwork in local art show, and won first place.
    Next time she came, she dropped off 2 pieces of artwork and asked for the 'no consult' option.
    I charged her $150 each for the next 2 pieces. She was over moon, as these now had double mats.
    10 years later, she is now in her 90's and just couriers her artwork to us.
    And pays around $200-$250 a piece. Still rather inexpensive for what she gets, but i continue to move old stock.
    It is probably around 70% of what i might have charged if doing a consult to the same design. But i have saved time on the front the counter as well as not having to order materials.
    So one of my cheap options is 'no consult', or you can buy a cheap frame from Target and i can cut a mat from $20 to suit.
    No framing comes in under a $100 in our shop, so i am not going to waste my time for less.
    I would rather customers walk then waste my time.
    I work on Jared's 80/20 rule, if 20% of customers are not leaving artwork then you are to cheap. But probably more around 10-15% for us though.
  18. tedh

    tedh PFG, Picture Framing God

    I recently tripped over a new selling method: when a couple comes in, we get going on design options, then I take a hike, using some flimsy excuse. I come back five minutes later, and they've sold themselves on something both unexpected and somewhat higher priced.

    Hasn't failed yet, but it only works with couples. Seems they want time to themselves.
    Rick Granick, cjmst3k and neilframer like this.
  19. neilframer

    neilframer PFG, Picture Framing God

    I worked at a gallery in Scottsdale in the late 80's and early 90's that had a similar technique.
    The gallery only sold original and limited edition artwork already framed by us.
    The salespeople were not framers and they only knew how to sell.

    The salespeople would excuse themselves and go in the back to have a cup of coffee or answer "an important call" and then they would come back and close the deal.;)
    cjmst3k, tedh and shayla like this.
  20. echavez123

    echavez123 MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    As soon as they balk at the price, I just direct them to the nearest Walmart - end of discussion.
  21. Bob Carter

    Bob Carter SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    i'm actually stunned someone would say that.

    i'd be really, really stunned if that actually happens

    framers work so hard to get folks in the door; to so rudely dismiss them is baffling. The client with the inexpensive project today often has other items 'more worthy' later. If treated better, they probably will come back

    As a consumer don't we often do biz where we are treated well? Can't satisfy everyone, but i'llbust my tail to try

    the long term value of a satisfied client is huge. Just ask the framer that captured that client

    just my opinion
    Rick Granick likes this.
  22. i-FRAMER

    i-FRAMER MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    I will do this sometimes but in a helpful way.

    We have one customer who buys those nice little $20 ornate shiny frames from Myers 4x6 and 5x7 photo, then comes to us to get a small 10mm mat inserted to keep the glass off the photo. Probably done about 50 of these for her over the years. But then once a year she willl bring in expensive art, and spend $1000 framing it.

    When they say they don't want to spend a $100, i suggest that they look at somewhere like target and could pick up a frame for $20. And come back we can cut a new mat to fit. However, we only have 5 standard colours for DYI's.
    30% probably come back for a mat. 50% probably come back because they couldn't find a frame or size they liked. And the other 20% didn't care what they threw their artwork into as long as it fit.

    So as long as its a courteous and helpful suggestion they will still come back for the important stuff.
    Bob Carter likes this.
  23. MitchelC

    MitchelC MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    It's NOT that they want a "cheap" frame. They want a black frame & mat(s) so their photo would look "professionally framed". They chose a 3" wide BLACK wood moulding for their 16x20" wedding photo with a black bottom mat and a white linen top mat. ☺
  24. David Waldmann

    David Waldmann SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    As do most.
  25. David Waldmann

    David Waldmann SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Hey, grasshopper, to some, $500K is not a lot. It's all a matter of "What am I paying compared to what I've got available". Don't limit yourself.

    Seriously - to some, $50 would require breaking the bank, to others, $500K is petty cash.
  26. DVieau2

    DVieau2 PFG, Picture Framing God

    I believe the biggest mistake is for frame shops to make a judgement about any customer based on the car they drive, the cloths they wear, the way they smell (the horsey crown) or the words "I don't want to spend a lot".

    My years in business gave me way too many stories to tell about millionaires who act like bargain and coupon shoppers.

    Point here is the same customer who is cheap one day may go first class the next day. Take care of them.
  27. i-FRAMER

    i-FRAMER MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    So true, usually the rich ones are the frugal ones.
    And you shouldn't judge anyone. I have a couple of mates of grew up with both millionaires, yet you would not pick them out of a crowd, even a small crowd. And if you ever went to their homes you would think they did not belong there.
    shayla likes this.
  28. prospero

    prospero SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    I can only recall one instance where the customer flatly refused my recommendation and insisted on what I
    would describe as a 'yukky' mat colour. Sort of *mid-brown. With a brown frame. OK, everyone has their own
    taste, but this looked absolutely horrible to be to me. :confused: But I did it. :)

    * maybe 'mid' was not the best description. :p
  29. shayla

    shayla WOW Framer

    What is the best description?
  30. framah

    framah PFG, Picture Framing God

    Baby pooh??
  31. Larry Peterson

    Larry Peterson PFG, Picture Framing God

    Rule #1. The customer is always right (in the end)
    Rule #2. The customer is always right.
    Rule #3. When in doubt, refer to rule #1

    I have ended up framing some carp that ended up look like carp. But at least there was the satisfying ca-ching of the cash register (or its virtual equivalent).
  32. Bob Carter

    Bob Carter SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    the defining rule we told our people: It's not hanging in your house, satisfy the customer. HUA-Heard, Understood, Acknowledged

    we should all be thankful our customers don't come to our houses and pass judgement on our choices
    David Waldmann and shayla like this.
  33. Rick Granick

    Rick Granick SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Right. Ultimately, they are the ones who will be seeing it every day. So I will use what they desire. However, that doesn't mean I won't first show them my ideas of what would work well. Sometimes I'll use the expression "there's no law that..." to justify a design choice that is out of the realm of what we usually do. "There's no law that says the green mat has to be on the bottom," for example. Bringing a little humor into the process helps put people at ease about their choices.
    :cool: Rick
    Bob Carter and shayla like this.
  34. sandlot

    sandlot Grumbler

    "....For most framers...... when they take that 'valuable' item to get an oil change...."

    I would guess that most picture framers change the oil themselves.
  35. Bob Carter

    Bob Carter SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    what do you think about mechanics that do their own framing:D

    never changed my own oil ever:) your (and most framers) car is probably much,much more expensive than 99% of the art brought in. Many framers openly decry 'cheap' customers that balk at spending what will protect their investment

    wonder how many mechanics feel same about people that change their own oil (and don't lube):p
    cjmst3k and Rick Granick like this.
  36. Grey Owl

    Grey Owl SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    What you personally 'feel' towards price tends to come out in the way you present your design and price.

    I used to think museum glass was expensive, and my customers seemed to pick up on that. Once I realized what a great value Museum glass was, I started to sell a lot more.

    So if they say a design is too expensive, my first offer is to go with regular CC glass instead of museum, and say something to the effect, 'I understand you are concerned about the price; I priced this with Museum, which is only $80 more [or whatever], but I would be glad to go with the Conservation Clear, which has the same exact design, but the price would be $80 less and only $ xxx. Then I hold the two demo sheets of CC and Museum near the art.

    Occasionally, for those that say 'Wow, that particular frame is really expensive" I explain,''no not for what goes into it, but just for fun, let me show you a really expensive frame I carry" and then show some of the original reproductions by Rhonda that I have in a 'special' place that run around $120 per foot, minimum quantity of 6 feet.

    That sometimes is all it takes. they can tell their spouse - No I didn't get the most expensive ....
  37. prospero

    prospero SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Going slightly sideways..... A lady once came in and enquired about a painting I had hanging. It wasn't mine, it was one I had just framed for
    an artist. I just hung it on the wall to see how it looked. I told her it would be for sale, but I would have to contact the artist for a price, but knowing
    the artist I said I would put it around £8-10000. She looked aghast, and asked why it was that price when one hanging alongside (which was bigger)
    was £300. I asked her why she had gone straight to the expensive one and not the cheap(er) one. :rolleyes::D

    Had a poster in the other day. About 30x36. The guy wanted 'Just a thin black frame'. I had to explain that he could have that, but the complications
    in beefing it up invisibly to take weight of the glass would make it quite pricey. Better to use a heavier moulding (showed him 1.5" oak) which would
    work out about 50% cheaper. Very often it's not the cost of the materials that is the main factor, it's the labor involved.
    shayla likes this.
  38. Pat Murphey

    Pat Murphey SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Frankenthread alert!

    There are cars that still need a lube job? :p
    (My car doesn't even have a dipstick, oil check on screen or phone.)
  39. Philliam Phulgor

    Philliam Phulgor CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    I have gotten a lot of mileage NOT following your rules, Larry.

    My revision is:

    #1: The customer is always KING! (or QUEEN!)
    #2: The customer is Not always right.
    #3: Never tell them they are not right, show them what is Kingly and/or Queenly so they can choose and be right.

    Done properly, with aplomb, customers have always respected forthrightness.
    That does not mean we can't be humble and say, "Yes Mam (or Sir), you are right."

    Just my take on showing and selling magical and stunning designs.
    Corbin Dallas likes this.
  40. Larry Peterson

    Larry Peterson PFG, Picture Framing God

    That's why I added "in the end" to Rule #1. :)
    shayla and Philliam Phulgor like this.
  41. prospero

    prospero SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Man goes for a haircut.

    "I want a Tony Curtis cut" :D

    "Certainly Sir" :)

    Barber snips away.......

    "That's not right! Tony Curtis doesn't have his hair like that!" :confused:

    "He does if he comes in here". :p

    (Old Joke o_O)

    Larry Peterson and shayla like this.
  42. David Waldmann

    David Waldmann SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    My 13 year old car can't have the oil checked by phone, but it doesn't have a dipstick and is checked via the dash. It automatically checks it for you every time you fuel up.
  43. Bob Carter

    Bob Carter SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    my car has a dipstick, but it's behind the steering wheel.
    Dave, The Village Framer and shayla like this.
  44. David Waldmann

    David Waldmann SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Ah... combined with the most important safety feature of any vehicle - the nut that holds that steering wheel.
    The Village Framer likes this.
  45. prospero

    prospero SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Most young drivers would have no idea what a Grease Gun was. Or Tony Curtis either. o_O:D
  46. shayla

    shayla WOW Framer

    Great chat about designing. When someone asks for any kind of design, unless they're adamant, I just include that in whatever I bring over. They get to see it, along with a few other ideas. I tell folks that I'll give lots of input, but they should choose whatever they want to look at, even if I'd just said it's not good. That puts them at ease, so they're more relaxed about exploring. That said, although we mostly do other designs, I'm fine with white mats and a black frame.

    Agreed about the 'price perception' thing. Whatever someone says they want, I try to honor that, while also showing the range of possibilities.
    Bob Carter likes this.
  47. prospero

    prospero SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    White mat. Ah, but which white? Could could think of quite a few off the top of my head. :D

    I can't ever remember seeing a matboard color just called White.
  48. shayla

    shayla WOW Framer

    We have one over here.
  49. prospero

    prospero SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Well there you have to advantage of me. :D
  50. shayla

    shayla WOW Framer

    How do I do that?
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