How to Keep Your Framing Customers for Life

Differences between using 99% UV and not using UV filtered glass

Recently, I had a customer want me to repair a framing job he had done remotely (through a frame by mail outfit). He was well pleased with our fix.

He then asked me if I could price the job using our standard museum grade materials and our normal archival mounting.

"Sure, no problem" I said. "But, this is not apples to apples".  He was aware of that.

After giving him my estimate and a similar frame as his was made of a poly plastic, ours are made of wood, he found our price to be only $50 more.

He asked me how we can keep our prices in check like that and stay in business.  Even though our business philosophy hasn't changed since its start in 1989.

But, I told him its easy by maintaining low fixed overhead.  (This is the Business 101 I remembered from my college days).  Our money goes into framing supplies, materials and paying for expert framers........not rent or other bloated overhead!

I wasn't being funny, just honest.  When I started this business back in the 1980s, I couldn't fathom having a bloated rent bill every month.  Good times or bad, I realized that rent bill had to be paid.  Just find a good, clean space where clients can easily park and access our business.

Also, the incremental costs of doing to full museum quality versus minimal is much less than you think.  

Plus, since day one, I have refused to cut corners or quality to make an extra dollar.  To me, that's not right.

If a restaurant buys a slightly lower quality of meat, they will save money and that adds to more profit in their mind.  And, if you take off a little bit of meat every time you cook a hamburger, you save even more money.

Really?  Do you see the point?  A business would rather nickel and dime their customers to save a quarter here and there than give them what they expect and win them for life?

The below image shows how a frame shop used inexpensive, regular glass instead of the conservation grade 99% UV glass. She was very upset so much of the work was faded. (Notice the original colors on the side that was hidden under the mat!)

Faded artwork

Framing businesses should give their customers what they expect and at a fair price.  The best customer is one made for life.

Custom framing is no different than any other businesses.  Keep your customers happy and you win them for life.

When I was a stockbroker back in the day, my manager said it's easier and more profitable long term to keep an existing customer than to lose that customer and try to find a new one.

He was right then and he would be right today!