Hello, another newbie here, looking for advice!

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Hello, another newbie here, looking for advice!

Postby Frangipaniframer » Wed May 08, 2019 9:09 am

Hello everyone!

I’ve spent years dropping in and out of Framer Forum looking for advice so thought it was time to actually register!

I’ve been picture framing for nearly 10 years, working for various companies. I’m not sure about the rest of you, but it was just something I fell into and realised I’m actually not bad at it :giggle:

We recently moved to a new area that doesn’t have very many picture framers at all, so I am looking to start framing from home. The internet keeps telling me that it’s an ‘easy thing’ to start from home, but I am of course sceptical. I know how to frame, but what I’m concerned about is buying machines that I can afford versus ones that will last. I’ve only ever framed at shops/ workshops that are well established or on a high street so I’m also concerned about how much business I could expect to get working from home.

I guess this first post to to see if anyone can offer advice on good machinery on a budget and what realistic expectations I should have if I start a small picture framing business from home.

Fran
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Re: Hello, another newbie here, looking for advice!

Postby prospero » Wed May 08, 2019 10:33 am

Hi Fran and Welcome. :D

The only advice I can give on equipment is, buy the best you can afford and good secondhand kit
is better than iffy new stuff. 8)
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Re: Hello, another newbie here, looking for advice!

Postby Rainbow » Wed May 08, 2019 10:49 am

Frangipaniframer wrote:I guess this first post to to see if anyone can offer advice on ... what realistic expectations I should have if I start a small picture framing business from home.


I've been framing at home for nearly 4 years. Realistically - it takes time to build up and I’d be surprised if you got instant results. On the other hand, quite a number of my customers have had several pictures stashed away, just waiting for somebody to come along and frame them. I’m lucky not to have very close competitors, and several customers have told me that they haven’t been happy with the ones that are nearest. So if you get your name around, who knows!

Good luck, and I'll look forward to hearing whatever questions you've got!
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Re: Hello, another newbie here, looking for advice!

Postby vintage frames » Wed May 08, 2019 1:14 pm

I would second Prospero's advice, buy only second hand machines. A Morso is essential, then an underpinner and mount-cutter. All the rest is bits and pieces. Working from home is a very fortunate thing to do - no rent, good work life balance and huge economies is heat and lighting.
The only downside is - no one is going to know you're there!
You can splash yourself all over social media but remember the age group of most of your customers may not be very active on social media.
You need to get noticed. Can you do anything with your framing that would get people's attention or interest? Do try exploring handfinishing. Buying inthe usual factory mouldings isn't going to get people exited.
Why not buy in some contemporary art cards and frame these up in a simple way ( no mounts!) and take them to some antique or craft markets, along with loads of business cards. Try to choose something strong and a bit off the wall to get you noticed.
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Re: Hello, another newbie here, looking for advice!

Postby Not your average framer » Wed May 08, 2019 6:14 pm

Hi Fran and welcome to the forum,

When I first started, I had limited available start up capital and started off with a Proman 110 hand powered mitre saw, a rather old C & H mountcutter and a magnetic bit that fitted into a drillstand as a very basic substitute for an underpinner and just did whatever I could to get by. It was not easy, but that was where I first started off. I was at the time unemployed and only later got some mostly secondhand more professional equipment. The whole thing started with me being what the Job Centre described as a business case. All these years later, I'm still equipped with mostly secondhand equipment and after a while I found myself a shop and things progressed to where I am now. I've certainly been through some ups and downs along the way, but you learn quite lot about how to run a viable business over the years.

Prosperro's advice to buy second hand equipment is good advice and I would add to that, you also need to see things working properly, before you part with the cash. Also Vintage frames advice about hand finishing is probably a good move as well. Don't be to intimidated about getting into hand finishing. You can start with quite impressive basic stuff first without having to worry about the fancy stuff at first and just buy a few useful bare wood mouldings, cut them oversize, paint, or stain them and then cut them to size join them to make the frames. The big advantage with this is that you don't have to be ordering small quantities of mouldings each and end up paying the usual carriage for such a small value of mouldings.

After you've made your different display samples and a customer orders a particular moulding, you simply hand finish enough moulding for that particular customers frame. After a while, as customers start to know you are there and the volume of work increases, you may want revue if you still want to do this, or follow another way of ding thinks. As your business grows, you will make changes, everybody does and you will know what changes you want to make and when to make them, it will come naturally. May I wish you every success with your new business.
Mark Lacey

“Life is short. Art long. Opportunity is fleeting. Experience treacherous. Judgement difficult.”
― Geoffrey Chaucer
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Re: Hello, another newbie here, looking for advice!

Postby poliopete » Wed May 08, 2019 8:01 pm

Hello Fran :D and welcome to the FF

The advice you have received so far is excellent and I can only second it and add keep reading this FF old posts as well as new :giggle:

Very best of luck in your new venture.

Peter.
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Re: Hello, another newbie here, looking for advice!

Postby red » Wed May 08, 2019 9:50 pm

Hi welcome

I'm a hobby framer doing mainly for family and friends I sometimes
Wonder to expand, but life somehow gets in the way!
I was at my framers suppliers today,and the owner was
Saying that smaller home framers often have the edge
Over the larger companies as the public sometimes
Thinks that more attention is given by a smaller framer,

I think there is some truth in it,I think I will get better service
Off a smaller company rather than a huge dot com company
Good luck
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Re: Hello, another newbie here, looking for advice!

Postby cleaver » Thu May 09, 2019 11:49 am

Hi Fran,

Well done for registering, and a huge welcome to you. :handshake:

As you know by now, this place is a wonderful source of learning and fantastic support group.

Following on from Mark’s great contribution, I also have Nobex saw. I was knocked out at how good the cuts are with a new blade. And if you get one, I think it’d come in handy on occasion even after you upgrade to a Morso.

Same logic applies to an electric mitre saw – it’ll also be handy for general DIY, as well as the big stacked mouldings you may want to do.

Advertising-wise, why not do a door drop. You can run them off on a home printer, hand-deliver them yourself (free), and cherry-pick the places you take them to. Also, you can deliver them in stages, so you can control your workload to a degree.

Maybe get all the items you want on ‘saved searches’ on fleabay, and check it regularly for bargains. That’s what I do, and I wait for things I can afford to crop up.

Also, word will get around once you start doing jobs for friends, neighbours & family, so I’m sure it will grow organically.

All the best to you! :)

Paul
We're all cofficionados now.
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Re: Hello, another newbie here, looking for advice!

Postby prospero » Thu May 09, 2019 12:28 pm

I still have my Nobex saw. :D It worked fine (and you will learn all about gap filling) on small mouldings. One day an
artist mate of mine pitched up with a car load of moulding he had bought at a sale. This was very chunky. About 3" x 2".
I was eager to start chopping it up. He wanted 12 - 12x16"frames. So that's eight slices per frame = 72 cuts. I learned even more
about filling gaps and my arm nearly dropped off. :cry: :lol:
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Re: Hello, another newbie here, looking for advice!

Postby Not your average framer » Thu May 09, 2019 2:03 pm

:muscle: :giggle:
Mark Lacey

“Life is short. Art long. Opportunity is fleeting. Experience treacherous. Judgement difficult.”
― Geoffrey Chaucer
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Re: Hello, another newbie here, looking for advice!

Postby Justintime » Thu May 09, 2019 5:40 pm

HI Fran,
Welcome!
What they all said!
To give you my perspective, I've been setup from home for 2.5 years and active on social media for about 3 years (starting during my studio build).
Last night I looked at my Instagram "insights" which offered the following info:
- Each week my posts reach approx 280 people.
- 60% of my audience live within a 25 mile radius.
- 65% are between the ages of 35 and 55
- 63% Women, 37% Men.
There are obviously loads of my followers who are framers or based overseas, but the age range and sex are spot on.
I'm building up a local following on social media through lots of networking both on and offline, with many other small local businesses.
I see many advantages to working from home/home based work space. Many of my customers book in to visit on their way to and from their visit to town. There is plenty of parking outside the door, no walking down the street in the rain with their artwork etc and as its been said, no rates, no business rent, although getting proper insurance made my eyes water...
I bought some new and some secondhand equipment. All professional level and I don't regret it.
If you enjoy it, you'll make it through the hard times!!
Good luck.
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Re: Hello, another newbie here, looking for advice!

Postby Frangipaniframer » Fri May 10, 2019 2:49 pm

Wow, thank you ALL for the amazing responses and kind welcomes! I don’t know why I hadn’t registered before! :lol:

After reading some of your suggestions about machinery, I think that I really need to do a bit more research on what I should go for. Of course, ideally I’d love a full sized Morso, but especially for the first year or so I think I’ll just have to save up! I do have an electric mitre saw and a bench Morso (meant to be used for fillets but I thought I could use it for small frames) BUT I think I will look at the Nobex saw seeing as a few of you have mentioned them :) I’m going to keep an eye on for second hand machines online, although I think when it comes to underpinners I may need to come back and ask your opinions. I’ve only ever used pneumatic Gielle and Cassese underpinners and theres sooooooo many going second hand that it’s fried my brain a bit haha doesn’t take much to be fair.

It’s interesting to hear about everyone’s experience with home framing. I’m nervous about starting but also excited! I know how to frame it’s just I need to learn how to frame from home and not working for a bigger company.

My first battle is with the husband and how much of the garage i can have haha!

Thank you so much guys! Hope you’re all having a great week :D Fran
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Re: Hello, another newbie here, looking for advice!

Postby Rainbow » Fri May 10, 2019 4:16 pm

Frangipaniframer wrote: I think I will look at the Nobex saw seeing as a few of you have mentioned them :)

I use a Nobex mitre saw, in conjunction with an Axcalibur mitre trimmer, as I have minus-zero interest in calibrating, using and maintaining heavy machinery like a Morso. I can achieve tight corners with these two pieces of equipment, but the downside is that the process is much slower than using a Morso and I don’t think I could cut hardwoods with them. That’s fine for me though, because I’m not a high-street shop with high-volume framing, I only work part-time and I make sure I don’t have hardwood samples to offer to my customers. A mitre saw (and trimmer?) might be fine for you to start off with, but if your aim is to make a full-time business out of framing, you would probably need to upgrade to a Morso when you get busier so that you can work faster.

I get business from several sources:

- Web site. This is my primary source of customers as it comes top of Google searches for picture framers in my area. Make sure you put testimonials on yours as soon as you can.

- The local parish magazine, in which I have an advertisement.

- I have a road-side banner and I've had quite a number of customers through that, but not necessarily the first time they pass. It's quite common for new customers to say something like "I've seen your banner loads of times and I've kept meaning to call in but never got round to it." Hence what I said earlier about it taking time to build up the business and not expecting instant results. Once they do get round to it, they've quite often got more than one painting that they want framing.

- I recently did a door-to-door leaflet drop which was very successful. I've still got a stock of leaflets as I intended doing it every month but so far I've only done it once because at the present time I don't need another sudden influx of new customers. I had them printed at Vistaprint and they look very professional.

- Recommendation. This is invaluable, but it takes time to build up because obviously you need a customer base in the first instance before you can get recommended.

- I've attended local craft fairs several times. Apart from selling pictures there, it gets my name around, enables people to meet me and see my work, and they subsequently come to me for framing.

- In my area there are a few public notice boards that I advertise on.

PS. Make sure you always carry business cards in case an unexpected opportunity presents itself, as I've discovered it sometimes does :clap:


I hope you build up a successful business, good luck!
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