Discussion in 'The Voting Booth' started by JackBingham CPF, May 24, 2002.
A poll to see how many framers give signed copies of work orders to their customers.
I don't give signed or full estimates to any of my customers. My estimates have all the important information for constructing the finished frame package and I have heard of customers taking these to the "next" framer and the "next" framer until they get the lowest estimate they can. This has been done for years in the autobody field also and is a dirty nasty throat cutting habit of some who want to get work into their shop by whatever means possible. The original framer is the only one who put in the time to actually figure out an estimate for the work.
If my customer wants something to take with them I print a "blind estimate" for them. FrameReady will print an estimate of cost only with no part numbers or measurements or names and this is what the customer gets.
That's one of (and maybe the only) advantage of not having a pos system. I can say, "Here, I'll write it down for you" and only put the total cost.
You do know there's a difference between price and cost don't you? "The cheapest price is not always the least expensive!" I have this framed in my shop in an inconspicous spot, but one where it eventually gets noticed.
But just in case Tom and I misunderstoon the intent of the question, and you mean a "receipt" type of thing. I will usually give them the original and I'll make me another copy (I keep 2). I always hate to do that, because once in a while I have been known to "adjust" the measurements a hair one way or the other or change the mat color if I feel it would look better. (With in reason of course. DUH! I wouldn't change a red matboard for blue! )
We give a receipt but no copy of the workorder. I have had customers write down mat numbers, etc and take it to other framers after taking their sweet time in my shop.
I son't mind giving quick estimates, but after spending an hour with a customer only to have them take the information and go somewhere else seems like stealing to me!
And customers wonder why custom framing costs so much!
We give receipt, no workorder. If customer wants estimate, he gets it but without profile #s, etc. but it is stored in our computer with all the important info, much like I guess Fullcalc and all the rest.
I can understand the reluctance to give a casual shopper a itemized price quote, but what's the problem with giving her a copy of a work order for an order placed and, in all likelihood, paid for? (I think that's what Jack is asking about.) Are you concerned that she's going to take it around town, find a lower price and cancel the order?
I give very detailed written price quotes, but they're in Gaelic. I'd love to see the look on my competitors' faces when somebody walks in with one of <u>those!</U>
Okay - If I misunderstood the question, I want to change my vote. I don't give written estimates but once the order is placed and paid for, the customer gets a receipt which is a copy of the work order.
OK, as usual, many of us are trying to read more into the poll question than is needed.
Jack's question at the top of this thread says,
"A poll to see how many framers give signed copies of work orders to their customers."
The actual poll question where I voted said something to the effect of, "How many framers give a full workorder to their customers."
In either case, it is a workorder and not an invoice or receipt. Sure, I give copies of paid invoices to my customers for a record of having paid the bill. But that workorder doesn't go with them. That has my time involved in calculating it along with all the pertinant numbers and prices for each "ingredient" in the frame package. If they want something to tell them how much each part costs, they get a "blind" estimate with "Frame - $225.00 Mats - $51.00 Glass - $21.85 Fitting - $17.00 Miscellaneous - $9.26
THAT'S what I meant by a "blind" estimate.
We have a four copy work order form which is detailed, itemized, and priced. One copy is the customers once the order is placed and the others go to various work stations throughout the shop to process the work.
If an estimate is asked for it is also itemized and priced. Also dated and signed by the staff member.
Yes, I do mean a copy of a work order after the job order has been placed with you. This can help out later when a customer comes in to pick up their finish work and says that not the moulding I ordered or that’s not the mat, right glass, etc. With a signed copy (by the framer and customer) of the work order, both parties are covered.
I will also give a written price quote when ask, but this usually does not have the mouldings and mats on it. But when asked I will give the customer that info also.
I know many are sensitive to not giving out info for fear of that info being taken to someone else to have the work done. I'm sure that has happened.
But with a business as personal as ours, I think a little (okay, maybe a lot) of salesmanship can "close" some of the same "lookers". You might start tracking the estimates from the sales and see if there is a high percentage of folks not getting the work done by you.
If it is a little high (for us, I'd say 10%) then maybe the problem maybe internal. It could be price, it could be selection, it could be salesmanship. It could be that it was just more than they wanted to spend. We have all seen that "sticker shock" look on some of our customers faces.But sometimes a pleasant and accomodating attitude might bring them back when they are really ready.
And if I wasn't sure why the sale didn't close, I might give a follow up call to Mrs. Jones. You did get her phone number on the estimate didn't you? A sincere follow up phone call might give you another chance to use that great salesmanship another chance to reaffirm how good you are and how beautiful the work will be.
If she got it done elsewhere, she'll probably tell you, and probably why. There could be a great lesson to be learned from the non-sales
We tell the customer work orders are proprietory information that we do not share with anyone. We are happy to write down the price for them.
If they are interested in obtaining other quotes then they should go to other frames and allow them to show them their own design ideas.
I went to a seminar where Marc Lizer was the speaker. The question of giving customers the information on estimates came up. Of course, eveyone said "no way", but Marc had a different idea on the subject. He gives the info freely, saying that if a customer is going to price shop, he wants them comparing apples to apples. I could work with a customer, show them a gold frame, gold fillet, an off-white mat, etc. and they could move on to the next framer. Without specifics, all the customers knows is, the frame was gold, the mats were off-white, and there was a gold thing in the mats. If specifics are given, the next framer cannot show a Decor frame instead of LaMarche, a paper mat instead of fabric, UV glass instead of regular, a 2" mat instead of 4", and so on to make the job substantially cheaper, and make the first framer's prices seem out of line. I have given alot of thought to this, and although I haven't put it to use yet (will be soon), I have worked up a quote sheet with enough information where, if the customer moves on, the next framer will have to try to use the same materials in order to give a comparible quote. Example: 3" wide gold La Marche frame; 4" wide double rag mat; gold Roma fillet; UV non-glare; museum mount with wheat paste, rice paper hinges; museum fit w/sealing tape and buffered paper. I have also included why we do certain proceedures in comparison to others, such as why UV glass rather than regular, why buffered paper instead of kraft. I figure this is another way of educating the customer as to the quality of the work produced at my shop vs others in the area.
What Pamela said!
We always give a full copy of our worksheet to customers who have placed an order. And always have. This includes mat opening size, mat margin widths, mat numbers, frame vendor and number, glass and mounting specs and all prices.
I would expect the same if I were a customer of mine...
With estimates I may or may not give all info. Just recently I gave ALL the specs to a long-time customer who drives a distance to see me and keeps telling me that there is a guy in her neighborhood who can "do it cheaper." I figured the same as what Marc said by way of Pamela- she should make an accurate comparison and THEN tell me that. And in the interest of customer education, I figured it was worth the risk.
In our area, we seem to have an inordinate amount of estimate shoppers. Maybe it's because our area is saturated with frame shops, or maybe it is that the average age of the populace is over 65. In any case, most of the frame shops tend to hold on to their workorders and just give out the minimum of info. My personal comment to the customer is that I need to keep the "scratch paper" in order to save us time 'when' they come back.
I have heard of where a customer came in to a frame shop and told them that she just wanted an estimate but that she needed the copy with the numbers on it. When pressed for more info, the customer admitted that another shop had said that if she brought in a full workorder, that they would match the choices and would give a discount as well. (10% for one estimate, 20% for two estimates and 30% for three) In other words, the design has been done by a competing shop, the discounter gets the $$ and the customer does the footwork.
The receipt that my customers get indicate that they've ordered a custom frame for their artwork which is also described. It has the price, but no break down of separate components.
They do not walk out with specifics about materials or measurements.
When a customer comes to pick up their completed work, inspects it, and states something like; "that is not what I picked out". What do you do? This has happen only a couple of times in our shop over the last 14 years and by giving the customer a copy of the work order, they can then compare the work order to the framed item and see that it is what they ordered.
I give full copies of work order with breakdown of prices for jobs we do, but not for quotes---and, I have my work order set up as a receipt, as well.
When a big box in town broadly advertised beating everyone's price with same or comparable materials---just bring in a work order from another frame shop and we'll beat the price--I even stopped sending out encrypted quotes and LOVE saying, I have the details here in my computer for when you come back.
I like Pam's idea of a promotional and educational blurb regarding the materials and methods used--but am still shy on a written full work order being given to a shopper.
I've also been blunt and told customer's that I don't like to copy another's order for quoting purposes but would rather start from scratch and see what we come up with.
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