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Thread: Picture Frames-Profitable?

  1. #1

    Picture Frames-Profitable?

    AS guy at work has a brother that is into photography. In March he is scheduled to put 24 pictures up at a local cafe/ bookstore. He has been looking around for some picture frames but so far he is looking at a grand for just the glass. The picture frames would be another 1000 bucks or so. Too much money for him, so he approached me.

    My plate is kind of full with the house addition and snowmobiling this winter. I could take or leave the job, but would not even consider it if picture frame making was not profitable. He is not looking for anything fancy, but 16 x 24 picture frames, in glass, can get costly material wise.

    I am leery about even giving this guy a quote as he has already checked around and is looking at low balling the cost. I would not need to get rich on this, but I don't want to lose money either...and I am really great at doing the latter.

    Any thoughts on making picture frames for profitability?
    I have no intention of traveling from birth to the grave in a manicured and well preserved body; but rather I will skid in sideways, totally beat up, completely worn out, utterly exhausted and jump off my tractor and loudly yell, "Wow, this is what it took to feed a nation!"

  2. #2
    I made frames for a while. The secret of profit is volume. You need to be doing it regularly and you need to invest the money to save wasting the time. I would bet that the guys who have quoted him already for the work ain't making millions. They quote the price they quote because the costs in time, money and materials are such that they need to. Personally, unless you have an underserved market or you want to give your money and/or time to the world of art I would pass.

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    good advice ian..........if this guy wants to save money and you feel generous offer to let him work in your shop for "x" money per hour..
    [SIZE="1"] associated with several importers and manufacturers.[/SIZE]

  4. #4
    Travis, I think if you get into this deal, everyone but you and the artist will make money. Sounds to me if they are looking at just basic frames, then that is a commodity biz and not something you want to be trying to beat with even lower prices. A race to the bottom so to speak.
    Now, if they wanted you to build a nice gallery wall... that may be a different story.

  5. #5
    I would pass as well if for no other reason than you said you were busy enough. Taking on this job would not leave you free time.

    FWIW,
    Wes

  6. #6
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    Send him to Walmart
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Thom View Post
    Travis, I think if you get into this deal, everyone but you and the artist will make money. Sounds to me if they are looking at just basic frames, then that is a commodity biz and not something you want to be trying to beat with even lower prices. A race to the bottom so to speak.
    Now, if they wanted you to build a nice gallery wall... that may be a different story.
    (scratches head) Let's see, $1K for the glass, $1K for the frames, 24 frames...that's about $80 each ready to hang. (I'll assume the 'frame' price includes any necessary matting.) That sounds either way too high (for commodity frames) or way too low (for gallery/custom framing).

    Is something really odd involved, like complex matting or oddball shapes?
    Last edited by Lee DeRaud; 10-22-2007 at 04:55 AM.
    Where are we going? And what am I doing in this handbasket?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lee DeRaud View Post
    (scratches head) Let's see, $1K for the glass, $1K for the frames, 24 frames...that's about $80 each ready to hang. (I'll assume the 'frame' price includes any necessary matting.) That sounds either way too high (for commodity frames) or way too low (for gallery/custom framing).

    Is something really odd involved, like complex matting or oddball shapes?
    What I was thinking.

    Sounds like they want something special for Borg prices.

    Just like most customers!

    I'd decline politely.

  9. #9
    You guys all made sense to me. I'll probably decline this one. Thanks for taking the time to post your thoughts and ideas.
    I have no intention of traveling from birth to the grave in a manicured and well preserved body; but rather I will skid in sideways, totally beat up, completely worn out, utterly exhausted and jump off my tractor and loudly yell, "Wow, this is what it took to feed a nation!"

  10. #10
    Pricing depends heavily on size and profile chosen. If these are photos they are probably something like 10" * 12" ish? On that basis the price could be as low as the $80ish but with a complex matt and a fancy moulding they could be 3-4 times that price, done properly. A good mat cutter is $1500 - $2000. A basic mitre cutter is $2000ish. A manual underpinner $1000+. If your used to handling float glass in windows the stuff used in framing is a very different animal. Expect to have to buy about 30 - 50% more than is needed for learning on. Learning curve on mats as well. Matboard comes in lots of grades (acidity) with the highest being 3-4 times (easily) the price of the cheapest. Every wants the high cost board at the low cost price.

    Trying to get frame quality mitres on anything other than a knife mitre cutter is a recipe for huge time wasting and lots of scrap material. Unless you want to start this as a business and seek other orders you would probably need to charge double what the price calculates out at to cover the time to do the job right. Thats with a pretty basic moulding.

    Of course if the guy doesn't care about getting a real frame finish then by all means take the job. But make sure you get the money up front because no matter what he says before he sees them he will whine like heck afterwards if they are not "right"

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