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Tip jar at the design counter?

Discussion in 'Picture Framing Business Issues' started by Andrew Lenz Jr., Dec 12, 2015.

  1. Andrew Lenz Jr.

    Andrew Lenz Jr. MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    One of my framers approached me and suggested that we have a tip jar at our design counter. (His fiance is in the restaurant trade, and he suggested that she makes a nice bonus on her income that way.)

    I'm not too sure that I like this idea. Tips are the bread and butter of the food service industry. But for us, it seems kind of . . . dunno . . . cheesy? Like you don't walk into a car dealership and see tip jars there sitting around. It seems more classy to not have a tip jar sitting there.

    The counter argument is it's a chance to further compensate our staff. (Everyone knows that framing isn't the most lucrative trade on the planet.)

    There are other complications, such as our design area is not always manned (we have a bell) and we'd have to physically put the tip jar out when the customer is there—even more pushy/greedy/mooch-like. We could keep a tip jar only at our front register, but again, it seems weird to me. I don't remember seeing a tip jar next to the register in Neiman Marcus, for instance.

    It's a perception thing.


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  2. neilframer

    neilframer PFG, Picture Framing God

    I've been in the business for 46+years now.
    Never had or have seen a tip jar anywhere in the biz.

    I don't like the perception of it.
    Maybe it's my perception.
    I have been given tips over the years, a few quite generous, and I've even tried to refuse the tips only to be almost forced into taking the tip by the customer.
    I must be a little whacky....:confused:

    I guess that I really like what I do and a happy and pleased customer is it's own reward for me.
    I'm not the business owner.
    If they're happy, I'm happy and they will return and give us more business which is great for everyone.
    Kev@Frames and Joe B like this.
  3. DSR7

    DSR7 True Grumbler

    Uh, yeah, I would feel incredibly awkward as a customer coming into a framing studio that presented itself like that. The thing is, people are (generally) paying top dollar for our products and services, and implying that we also want "tips" on top of it seems to diminish that perceived value. Doesn't seem right to me at all.
    neilframer and Joe B like this.
  4. IFGL

    IFGL SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    We have a charity jar, no way would I permit a tip jar.
    neilframer likes this.
  5. Joe B

    Joe B SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Totally cheesy and totally unprofessional...it will never happen in my shop - but that's just my opinion.
    blueeyes and neilframer like this.
  6. Larry Peterson

    Larry Peterson PFG, Picture Framing God

    I would be amazed if anyone said they like the idea.

    Put a tip jar out and here is what you are saying.

  7. tedh

    tedh PFG, Picture Framing God

    Great way to lose customers.
    neilframer likes this.
  8. CB Art & Framing

    CB Art & Framing SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I once got a $20 tip, and my boss "stole" it -really!
  9. David Waldmann

    David Waldmann SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer


    I think it's bad enough that the restaurant and valet type services have become tip-compensated.

    If someone wants to give a tip because you really wowed them, they will. My salesman got a $100 gift certificate from a customer recently who felt he had gone well above and beyond his duty. Generally, it's a $20 here or there, but even that not often.
  10. cjmst3k

    cjmst3k SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Andrew, don't compare your business to a restaurant.

    Compare your business to other like businesses.

    Depending on the type of frame shop, some comparisons:
    -gift shops
    -commercial art galleries
    -custom clothier
    -retail interior furnishings
    -big box craft store

    ...I'm struggling to find exact compatibles, but above is a wide variety. None of those have a tip jar, and none of them have the expectation of one.

    Food is relatively inexpensive and is a consumable, gone within minutes. The product and price range is not comparable to me. It's also universal in the U.S. for people to tip their server 15% to 20% because server wages are typically under minimum wage. Even a coffee shop tip jar is not always used by customers and not as universal as their staff is not table service, and from my understanding at least makes minimum wage.

    If you are compelled to answer their call for a boost, I'd say increase the shops prices a touch. But that's me. ...or I'd explain the above to your staff, and compare their wage to those in a restaurant.
  11. Bill Henry-

    Bill Henry- SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    blueeyes and IFGL like this.
  12. Paul Cascio

    Paul Cascio SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    A tip jar is obviously a bad idea, but putting a spiff of a dollar or two, for each order that includes a mat; and for each that includes a fillet is a great way a great way to increase your profit margins and to provide incentives.
    Ylva likes this.
  13. Bob Doyle

    Bob Doyle SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Tell you what, if your employee wants to work for tips then you offer to pay him $2.35 an hour. I think that is the going rate for tipped wages.

    Waiters know to upsell to increase the bill to boost their tips. I used to think of it as more of a commission not a gratuity. A gratuity sounds like freebie, like the customer has leeway in tipping or not. But the tip is a percentage based on the cost of the meal and drinks, prior to any discounts, that is expected, whether it is 15%, 20% or more can be based on caliber of service perceived but the base amount is figured on the cost of the meal. To boost your pay you do a good job and you sell more incidentals to ratchet up the tally.

    Salesman not servant.

    So tell your employee you might entertain a commission based pay for them, a base pay of minimum wage plus a percentage of their designs. The more they push high end the more they make for them and you.

    But as a waiter you knew you were going to get customers, you knew about what to expect every night or at the least you knew that weekend nights were busier than Monday night so you didn't want the **** shifts. Framing isn't as easy to judge a good shift from a bad shift in advance so I don't see the incentive motivation, but let your worker try it out if they want to go commission pay.

    Tip jar? No way, you aren't ice cream or subs. Tack on the added commission to the price. Just have the software add 5% to every sale or absorb it as the owner. You will probably truth be told either be paying the workers less or getting them to plump the bottom line for that added commission.
    David Waldmann likes this.
  14. cjmst3k

    cjmst3k SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Now that the above advice is consistent in this thread, I'm totally going to frankenthread it.

    When you go to a festival and they want $5 for a 30-second fro-yo, sorry, I don't tip (what's an appropriate tip for that?). But in a restaurant where they are spending time taking our order, clearing our table, checking on us, I usually tip 20%, rounded to the next even dollar if I have cash.
  15. Bob Doyle

    Bob Doyle SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    OK another frankenthread.

    when I tended bar we sold Harp pints for $1.75 (ouch, I'm admitting to being that old :)) So when the customer paid with cash I got 25¢. not great, not bad. Then the owner raised the price to $1.85 telling us more expensive bigger tip. As a waiter sure, but as a bartender that meant a 10¢ per beer pay cut.

    Other bartenders took matters into their own hands. Charged for Harp rang in Bud, made 35¢ a beer.
    Grey Owl likes this.
  16. wpfay

    wpfay Angry Badger

    If I wanted my business to be compared to a restaurant, it wouldn't be the kind of restaurant that would have a tip jar...just sayin.
  17. cjmst3k

    cjmst3k SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    succinct and accurate.
  18. IFGL

    IFGL SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I pay my staff above the going rate, since all orders are completed by more than one person tips are divided to the people that did the job, If a staff member is ill, or has an appointment and is late, I still pay them, if a staff member abuses this they are gone!
    The result of this is a very strong team that actually care about the business, they work incredibly hard and go above and beyond what I would ever expect.
  19. Rick Granick

    Rick Granick SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Didn't the boss notice that his inventory was way off- too much Bud on hand and not enough Harp's, compared to what sales figures showed?
    :cool: Rick

    (or, did they just serve a Bud and the customers didn't know the difference?)
  20. i-FRAMER

    i-FRAMER MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    Tip jars sounds desperate.
    I actually got a box of chocolates yesterday from a customer who was really happy with a service.
    We get referrals- bit then a tip.

    I also used to give our staff yearly bonuses between $300-$500 each xmas

    Staff want a tip make them earn up. Set goals and if they reach them have a bonus.
    This could be though upselling, increased production, decrease in stuff ups, etc

    You could always put a tip a jar out in the workshop, when you inspect the job and 100% happy leave a coin.
    Let it build up for the xmas bonus.

    Or what about a swear jar. Everytime a staff member swears they put in a dollar, that would pay their own xmas bonus.
  21. shayla

    shayla WOW Framer

    Sounds cheesy to me, too. It also runs counter to the image a custom design shop would want to put forward.
  22. Kirstie

    Kirstie PFG, Picture Framing God

    Absolutely not.

    We do have a sock box out right now. Our newsletter for the month offers 10% off a custom framing order for a pair of new socks for a local women and children's center. There are some cute warm socks in there! We gather them up and deliver on Christmas Eve.
  23. David Waldmann

    David Waldmann SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    That wouldn't last a week if I was doing the books...
  24. Bob Doyle

    Bob Doyle SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Pre computer ordering. Manager tended to look at the daily total and not dive into the nitty gritty. Also knew bartenders gave drinks away to pretty girls to keep the guys around buying drinks. Lots of non PC stuff going down back then, and now I am sure. Lots of bottles logged as dropped....
  25. Bob Doyle

    Bob Doyle SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    You would think right? But restaurant world is pretty dysfunctional when it is dysfunctional, people trying to work the system, thinking they are owed something, trying to get the money for that night's drug run.

    When healthy it is great but when it isn't it really isn't anywhere near healthy! If you ran your business like a dysfunctional restaurant you'd be shipping mismatched molding, legs wouldn't line up, people would just be getting the orders out the door regardless of whether right or not. Wouldn't last long but the workers would be having fun while it lasted. Read bourdains kitchen confidential. Scary what can go on behind the kitchen door. Rare but happen
  26. David Waldmann

    David Waldmann SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    But this is so fundamental. I mean, if you raised your prices and sales went DOWN, and COGS went UP, wouldn't you dig a little deeper?
  27. Andrew Lenz Jr.

    Andrew Lenz Jr. MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    Thanks for the input. I wasn't very seriously considering a tip jar, but wanted to see what was going on out there in the framing universe. I try to keep an open mind. If you all said you all did have tip jars, then I still be hesitant, but I'd at least give it more thought!

    David Waldmann likes this.
  28. Jeff Rodier

    Jeff Rodier SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    The funny thing here Andrew is that I told my full timer about your dilemma and he said it would be incredibly cheesy. He is in a position where he would always like a larger paycheck but cheesy was his opinion. The one thing he has been aware of from the beginning is for him to make more money the store needs to make more money. He is motivated to see that sales increase so when he does ask for a raise he will have data to show why he should get one.
    shayla likes this.
  29. Andrew Lenz Jr.

    Andrew Lenz Jr. MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    Even without a tip jar, one of my staff got a $40 tip today. She's going to share it with the other framers.

    shayla likes this.
  30. Grey Owl

    Grey Owl SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    If you are a framer at one of the box stores, maybe a tip jar would be appropriate. ;)
  31. Larry Peterson

    Larry Peterson PFG, Picture Framing God

    It would quickly fill up with 50% off coupons.
  32. j Paul

    j Paul PFG, Picture Framing God

    I had a new customer the other week ( an area business owner who wants to shop local ) She promised me that if I could get her order to her within a week she would buy me lunch at the diner next door for a month. I wasn't really motivated by that but did have her order ready in a few days. She picked them up very very delighted but apparently she forgot about the lunch offer for even one day. ;-(

    My experience as a business owner is that employees might receive a tip, but rarely an owner.
    FramerInTraining likes this.
  33. David Waldmann

    David Waldmann SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    The only time I have been offered a tip (which I politely decline, saying I'm only doing my job) it has been when the person didn't realize I was the owner. It seems a widely held perception that business owners are rolling in it, while the employees are practically slaves.
    FramerInTraining likes this.
  34. Andrew Lenz Jr.

    Andrew Lenz Jr. MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    J Paul, that just stinks. I hate it when people do that. "If you can get this done, I'll buy you a gift certificate for dinner!" Then when it's picked up after a herculean effort and no rush charge . . . crickets. Mean.

    David, I typically turn down tips also. Sometimes people absolutely insist. Often, I'll just tell them to bring back cookies for the staff. And sometimes they do! :)

    j Paul likes this.
  35. i-FRAMER

    i-FRAMER MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    i have been given a few bottles of wine over the years. I think it would be rude of me to turn wine away.
    David Waldmann and Grey Owl like this.
  36. Grey Owl

    Grey Owl SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    The best tip I get is a recommendation! I love it when they refer someone else to me.
  37. IFGL

    IFGL SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Wine, chocolate and a few hugs, £50 is the biggest monetary tip I have received.
  38. wcox

    wcox CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    TACKY, TACKY, TACKY, In fact often times my installation crew got offered tips, but I was my policy " No accepting of any cash tips" During the holidays many people brought in cookies, wine and stuff. And on Christmas eve day we always had a ton of this stuff and would have a open house to enjoy it with our staff and customer friends.
  39. wpfay

    wpfay Angry Badger

    Weellll, I have been known to be amenable to receiving gifts, but have been tipped with cash only a very few times. Last gift was a 1.75L of 12 year old The Glenlivet single malt, and a case of Absolute miniatures. I had donated about $1K in framing to a charity, not thinking of getting much more than a listing in the program and a thank you letter. So it was a welcome surprise.
    I did have a customer ask me if there was something they could get for me in thanks for doing a rush order for them. I said, "yeah, a coffee from the sandwich shop". The shop was 4 doors down in the same building as my shop. They looked at me as if I was crazy. I really don't think they expected me to answer with a request.
  40. Dave

    Dave SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    My wife and I received a ten day stay at a client's condo on the beach in Naples, Florida one year. They said we can use it any time we wish but I haven't taken them up on it again. Last year I got a $ 200.00 gift card to a four star restaurant in town from another client. Just had an artist we represent bring me in a bottle of Prosecco with a card thanking me for promoting her art and a crisp $ 50.00 bill in it. She wouldn't let me open it while she was here.
    shayla likes this.
  41. Joe B

    Joe B SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I don't think it is "TACKY" to accept a tip or gift from a customer for good work or where they are offering to show appreciation as long as that tip or gift isn't asked for. I do agree it is TACKY to ask for a tip or gift by putting out a tip jar or in some other ways eluding that a tip or gift should be given or wanted. I have customers that would be absolutely insulted if I were to turn down their gift or tip - if they want to give it I will accept it but only after I say something like "Thank you but that's not necessary". If they retract the tip after I say something like that then so be it but if they insist I will take them up on their offer - after all, they are offering it. NO JARS OR OTHER MEANS OF REQUESTING TIPS - THAT WOULD BE TACKY, CHEESY and all those other words.
    shayla likes this.
  42. prospero

    prospero SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Joe B likes this.
  43. Chris Chewning

    Chris Chewning Guest

    In a business where customers are almost always price conscious I find it humiliating that the idea of a tip jar would be on display. Think about what that says about the value of yoir business and what your employees are worth.

    In the past I've had a shop instead offer me a commission on framing sales. And to a degree that improved my income for a short term until they decided it was in the best interest of everyone to not do commissions further. The owner forgot he wasn't there enough to compensate his own sales and was losing money.

    Anyhow this should be upheld as a fine art and a skilled trade. We don't blatantly ask for tips. Although I'd encourage graciously accepting one of a customer felt inclined without prompting.
    Bob Doyle likes this.
  44. cjmst3k

    cjmst3k SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Aside from being an incorrect context having a tip jar at the counter of a frame shop, in a coffee shop I think a tip jar implies this sentence:

    "We are working in a coffee shop at a somewhat standard pay, which is just a tad over minimum wage. If we gave you a smile or great service, please help us out."

    Given that the median pay for a barista is around $8 and the median for a framer is $12 per hour, a tip jar is simply inappropriate.
  45. Jeff Rodier

    Jeff Rodier SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    I have a customer who owns over a dozen Peter Lik photos and she has had me change the frames on 5 of them now. How much confidence would it convey that I am qualified to do that work if I had a tip jar sitting on the counter.
    Kev@Frames and shayla like this.
  46. JRB

    JRB PFG, Picture Framing God

    I believe Bill Henry’s eloquent contribution to this thread sums up my feelings on the matter perfectly.

    Myself, I am sick of tip jars, bums on street corners, and government "fees". Everyone’s got their non contributing hand out.

  47. neilframer

    neilframer PFG, Picture Framing God

    Some of those "bums on street corners" are homeless vets.
    We have a number of them in Phoenix and they have now created a tent city for temporary housing here.
    I wouldn't say that they are "non-contributing".
    Joe B likes this.
  48. Kev@Frames

    Kev@Frames CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    On this side of the Atlantic we don't enjoy the tipping culture as much. I sometimes have a charity collection box.
    shayla and FramerInTraining like this.
  49. FramerInTraining

    FramerInTraining MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    I totally agree with you Kev. Employers should pay their employees enough so they do not need tips. Tips should be additional income for them for excelling at their tasks, not merely doing it.
    Kev@Frames likes this.
  50. imaluma

    imaluma SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    There are plenty of services that I'll tip on, car wash, oil change, haircut, manicure, etc. None of these establishments display jars. Those are intended for foodservice where tips are pooled like coffee shops and take out.
    I suspect your framer feels he is being undercompensated and is fishing for bonuses. Or maybe he's a tad jealous that his fiancee is making so much more money than he. I've never heard someone in the restaurant biz refer to their tips as a "nice bonus". I'm curious what state you live in and what the tipped minimum wage is there.
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