Turnover

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swany
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Turnover

Post by swany » Mon 20 Sep, 2021 11:28 am

Hi Guys,

Fairly new to the site and I am currently embarking on setting up (for now) home based framing business. I know this question is like a length of string and every answer will differ from the high street shop to the back shed framer. I'm just wondering how many frame jobs per week do framers take in and how do they generate work.

- Word of mouth
- online
- location

It would be interesting to see the different amounts of work coming in for the different business models.
Hope I'm not being to cheeky asking.
Also how long did it take to build up the business to a level that you're happy with.

Thanks in advance

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Re: Turnover

Post by Not your average framer » Mon 20 Sep, 2021 5:50 pm

That's quite a question and there quite a few hidden variables within that question. Every framing business is different and I not just talking about turnover, but also the factors which determine that turn over. In all of those categories, different aspcts of you business model and how you do business will have a large effect up on your actual level of turnover. You will need to fine tune at least some bits of your business model to suit what works for you, it's not a real big deal and it's not particularly a knowledge thing. There's a bit of a learning curve and it will take a little white before you get a feel for how it needs to be.

Turnover is only part of the picture, only part of it is profit and the rest is expenses. Learning to control expenses is a bit of an art and it takes a while to get you head around. It really helps to understand both you fixed overheads and your variable overheads, also what the bank balance is doing from week to week. Cash flow forecasting and bank balance management are also important skills to learn. I sort of go with the flow a bit, but I do keep an eye on what the bank balance is doing. Whether you like it or not, experience comes with time and practice and there are no short cuts.
Mark Lacey

“Life is short. Art long. Opportunity is fleeting. Experience treacherous. Judgement difficult.”
― Geoffrey Chaucer

swany
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Re: Turnover

Post by swany » Mon 20 Sep, 2021 9:30 pm

Hi Mark,

& thanks for your input. I have 10 years experience running another company so fairly ok with that side of things, more wondering about getting work in the door. I know with my other business I was a good 4 years (started during the recession) before work just came in without having to hunt for it. I'm allowing about the same amount of time for this one to get established. I see some guys with 5 or 6 staff & others are just a one man crew, just wondering how much work coming in is needed to sustain either the big crew or the one man band.

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Re: Turnover

Post by Not your average framer » Mon 20 Sep, 2021 11:52 pm

The bigger crew type businesses are quite often dependant on larger volumes and lower margins and the smaller business might turn out to be a lot more resiliant that the big ones in these current times. Small businesses can usually make adjustments more easily than the big ones, if times get tough and it's not very easy to guess what the economy is going to be like in the coming few months, so let me tell you what I am doing right now. I am based in a small rural devon town, which has lost all it's banks. All of my income for my shop is being used for, or saved for my domestic expediture and I am paying my bills from my savings in the bank. Taking cash from my shop to the bank involves too much travel and expense. I currently can cope reasonably well for cash on what comes in to my shop.

The rural devon economy is not really a particularly good one, even at the best of times, so a recession does not help much, but there are a few things which may help a bit. Since the start of covid quite a lot of people have moved in to devon, including some who are in the upper earning bracket. These are the people who still have money during hard times. I don't historically get particularly high volumes of sales and a higher proportion of my income comes from my niche market side of things. The people with money like nice things, well that's what I produce. My sales to such people are a smaller numrical volume of my sales, but they are the ones that count and particularly in difficult times. I produce a reasonable volume of hand finished frames and also stacked moulding frames and there's a definite emphasis in my shop of nice, but more traditional styles of frame profiles.

Much of what I produce you will find it difficult to obtain elsewhere and this is a deliberate business tactic. There are customers who like things which look different and have a bit of style and exclusivity. They don't like the latest mass market fashions and like to be seen as having class and good taste. These are my target market and I have had plenty of practice doing this sort of thing, so over the years I have gained a pretty fair idea of what sells in to this niche market and it's generally a good thing for me. In a recession, bottom end of the market stuff relies on low prices to shift things and tends to be a race to the bottom as far as prices are concerned. Bottom end of the market prices and sales tactics are not great in a recession and the bottom end of the market never was my thing anyway.

Difficult time will mean less individual numercal sales volume, because that how things tend to be and it's very hard to change that at all. Even in such times, nice hand crafted things are still sought by those who can afford something classy and special. So this can be the right market sector to concentrate on in such times and for the small one man framing business, I would suggest this sort of niche type market is usually a very good thing. Prospero has said that in framing nothing suceeds like excess and I have not been slow to take this on board. Wide framing profiles, featuring class and style are most definitely something which works! Such profiles often are produced using the stacked moulding frames technique and this is what I like to do on a regular basis. Not many do it anymore, which is why it can be so eye catching, if you do it right.

Yes, these are becoming less predictable days and hand finishing, plus stacked moulding frames may well be the ace up your sleeve for at least a few smaller framing businesses. I also have had good sucess copying some of the finishes of some of the older Larson jhul mouldings, which is a good way of creating very helpfully increased profit margins. It might be helpful to think about doing this sort of thing - It has been helpful to me!
Mark Lacey

“Life is short. Art long. Opportunity is fleeting. Experience treacherous. Judgement difficult.”
― Geoffrey Chaucer

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Rainbow
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Re: Turnover

Post by Rainbow » Tue 21 Sep, 2021 4:15 pm

swany wrote:
Mon 20 Sep, 2021 11:28 am
I'm just wondering how many frame jobs per week do framers take in and how do they generate work.
Hi swany

This is how I generate work:

- Primary source is web site as it comes top of Google searches for picture framers in my target area. It has lots of testimonials on it from satisfied customers, plus examples of my work.
- Recommendations. This takes time to build up, difficult to say how long.
- Pavement swing sign.
- Advertisements in parish magazines.
- Door-to-door leaflets.
- Craft fairs.
- Community notice boards.
- Always having business cards on me has brought unexpected results.

Social media wasn't time/cost effective for me when I gave it a fair trial but you might find otherwise.

Hope this helps, and good luck setting up your new business.

Rainbow

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Steve N
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Re: Turnover

Post by Steve N » Wed 22 Sep, 2021 12:03 pm

I agree with Rainbow,
Website is a must, it's your shop window...especially if you are working from home, leaflet drop around your neighbourhood, can't be a bad thing
Steve CEO GCF (020)
Believed in Time Travel since 2035

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Re: Turnover

Post by Not your average framer » Wed 22 Sep, 2021 1:30 pm

I don't currently have a website, but posting leaflets through doors definitely works well on a local basis and making you own leaflets can be a good move as it saves money. There are a fair number of businesses in my town and some of them employ some interesting advertising tactics. There are some railngs down bottom of the town, where the local park is and people place little adverts on the railings. There's also people placing adverts on the recycling skips in one of the council car parks, telegraph pole and lamp post adverts are common as well.

My town is only a small town and some of the businesses do little boxes of business card swaps with other businesses and people can come into the shop and take a business card, from which ever box which interests them. It's free and it's how we help each other, I have a space in one of my shop windows where I let friends and customers place a single business card of view and I never charge for this service. Lots of small businesses need a little help, so why not!
Mark Lacey

“Life is short. Art long. Opportunity is fleeting. Experience treacherous. Judgement difficult.”
― Geoffrey Chaucer

swany
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Re: Turnover

Post by swany » Wed 22 Sep, 2021 10:34 pm

Hi Guys,

And thanks for taking the time to respond. Some good insights here. keep them coming

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GeoSpectrum
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Re: Turnover

Post by GeoSpectrum » Thu 23 Sep, 2021 7:27 am

I use social media and my website. No walk ins or visitors to the workshop. I don’t sell glazed frames and don’t do football shirts or needlework. Ive put up my prices and turn down a lot of work. I’ve never been busier…and I’m trying to slow down. So, in order of importance…

1. Make the most of social media, it is the most powerful and free way of reaching your chosen customer base.
2. Website. This is your shop window and it’s worth spending good money on even if you don’t sell online.
3. Develop a speciality or exploit a niche. In my case it’s exhibiting, semi-professional and professional artists and those that frame purchased art.
4. Don’t go cheap. The race to the bottom is a miserable place.
Alan Huntley
Ashcraft Framing
Plain wood frames, Inlay/tray frames and painted frames for artists.
http://www.ashcraftframing.co.uk
Twitter: @AshcraftFrames
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Doing nothing is a much underrated activity

Not your average framer
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Re: Turnover

Post by Not your average framer » Thu 23 Sep, 2021 9:35 am

To quote Geospectrum - 3. Develop a speciality or exploit a niche.

I agree completely! Don't be "run of the mill", be something different!

Having a speciality, or selling niche things, immediately reduces your competition and that means not having to worry about lower prices being offered by competitors. Competitors around me seem to come and go, it's a difficult market and a lot of it can be low volume for them, getting properly established is not as easy as most local new start up's think. I've been here for years and my overheads are peanuts and I'm not killing myself to stay in business. I do mostly niche market stuff, business wise I'm not totally rushed off my feet, but quality items get quality prices. I've crazy amounts of older mouldings, which I have picked up cheap and I make up things like really made frames with stuff like this, but these frames need to be distinctive and really nice. They need to have the "I must have this" thing about them. Shop window items really need to sell themselves.

Some of my ready made frames are priced using the "Goldilocks" principle, there is a price which is just right and fits peoples expectations and it must not be too cheap. If it's too cheap, it's will not be considered to be good quality. Everybody knows that good quality does not come cheap! Make it special and people will want it. It's as simple as that. Too many shops are only selling minimalist frames, and this means that when some thing is produced which is less minimalist and is really special it stands out. Fact - People who buy minimalist frames, will still buy something which has a lot of class and is not completely minimalist in style. I am taking about producing something which may be bordering on the mnimalist, but has some interesting features as well.

Sure you can do the minimalist thing a bit, but add something stylish and special at the same time. Look at some of the mouldings from Larson Jhul, they are selling style, but I dont buy Larson Jhul. I stack basic and cheaper mouldings together and hand finish them to look special and worth the extra. It's not that difficult to do! A lot of it is developing the mindset and the eye for what looks right. I also do a fair bit of hand finishing, but making it pay means that it needs to be quick and easy. Complicated and long winded finishes can take too long and considerably reduce your profitability. Many modern day framers who do a bit of hand finishing, avoid pine mouldings. Well, I don't! There are certain bare wood pine mouldings, which are nicely priced, decent quality to work with, versitile and can look really geat with quick and easy finishes. I do lots of these!

A lot of profitability comes from how much you pay for things, like it or not, customers will always have their price limits, so how do I get more profit out of such price limits? The answer is I buy well and give myself more room for overall profit. Most of the bare wood mouldings, which I buy can be used individually, or as part of a stacked moulding comination. Versatility is a real big deal. Like everyone else, I still produce waste and waste still can be used to make money. It's something which I think about when choosing my stock mouldings. I allow for 40 percent waste, as a working figure and waste which is almost, but not quite of a size which can be used for other things is particularly unfortunate, it is often better to get the next piece out of another length and have something left which is still usable.

Putting too much money in the dumpster is crazy and I try not to do it. Most of my waste does get turned in to saleable product and it's a bit part of my bussiness philosophy. Everything will sell evenyually, ready made frames which never sell. go in my one pound box, which only comes out when it suits me. Tourist's love one pound boxes and everyone loves a burgain when the see one. For me it still adds to the bottom line, it's not big money, but it beats paying for it to be taken away in the dumpster. My business is not that big and I need to have a strategy which fits that, so I am a little different in how I do some things! Small bussinesses and large business are unlikely to do everything in exactly the same way!
Mark Lacey

“Life is short. Art long. Opportunity is fleeting. Experience treacherous. Judgement difficult.”
― Geoffrey Chaucer

swany
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Re: Turnover

Post by swany » Thu 23 Sep, 2021 10:08 am

Make the most of social media,

Great reply Geospectrum, and thank you certainly the model I'm thinking strongly about adapting. On you website may i ask did you build it yourself with an add on widget for ecommerce or did you get someone to build it for you

regards

PhiliP

swany
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Re: Turnover

Post by swany » Thu 23 Sep, 2021 10:16 am

Don't be "run of the mill", be something different!

I must say your passion for framing really comes across in your posts & the great advice you give, thanks again Mark

regards

Philip

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Re: Turnover

Post by Not your average framer » Thu 23 Sep, 2021 10:39 am

I don't do this, so I am not an expert, but I have read that blogs on social media can create a lot of interest and result in customers wanting to bring their business to you as a result. However I think that it requires some regular content to keep taffic coming to your blog, so it needs to be worked on! I am not on social media at all, it's just not my thing!
Mark Lacey

“Life is short. Art long. Opportunity is fleeting. Experience treacherous. Judgement difficult.”
― Geoffrey Chaucer

swany
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Re: Turnover

Post by swany » Thu 23 Sep, 2021 11:20 am

If anyone would be good at social media you would Mark. Maybe set up a facebook page and just post photos of your work. use it as a platform to engage with customers.

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Re: Turnover

Post by GeoSpectrum » Thu 23 Sep, 2021 11:35 am

Use Instagram it’s quick and easy and on your phone. Blogs are a bit old hat, Facebook also to some degree.
Alan Huntley
Ashcraft Framing
Plain wood frames, Inlay/tray frames and painted frames for artists.
http://www.ashcraftframing.co.uk
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Doing nothing is a much underrated activity

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GeoSpectrum
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Re: Turnover

Post by GeoSpectrum » Thu 23 Sep, 2021 11:36 am

Regrading website I use EKM and would thoroughly recommend them for e-commerce websites.
Alan Huntley
Ashcraft Framing
Plain wood frames, Inlay/tray frames and painted frames for artists.
http://www.ashcraftframing.co.uk
Twitter: @AshcraftFrames
Our Blog: http://ashcraftframing.wordpress.com/
Doing nothing is a much underrated activity

Not your average framer
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Re: Turnover

Post by Not your average framer » Thu 23 Sep, 2021 11:46 am

It has been my experience that there are a few gaps in the market, which are not always fully addressed by the large volume mass market outlets, as it's obviously not easy to mass produce as therefore not ideal for such outlets.

One of these options is rustic style frames. I make these out of both pine, or oak off cuts which have knots, or other defects and stain them with watered down paint. The more natural defects the merrier. They are literally money for nothing, but I am good at making them look great. I am based in a very old town with lot of very old rustic houses and cottages, so such frames look perfect for such dwellings. I do not use mouldings with such defects for normal frames, so I cut around such defects, but the cut out bits need to be usable sizes.

I also make small deep box frames using off cuts. Many customers display bits and pieces in deep box frames, either for themselves, or to sell on the internet. I produce different types for different price requirements. Obviously customers producing something to sell on at a profit are going to be careful about prices, but I still need a worthwhile profit too, some I need to control my costs to protect my profit requirements. Making such items for barely adequate profit margins is completely pointless, hence the need for lower production costs for my lower price deep box frames.

For anyone who is wondering, the minimal profit business model is no way to earn a living, so don't go there. It's always a very bad idea!
Mark Lacey

“Life is short. Art long. Opportunity is fleeting. Experience treacherous. Judgement difficult.”
― Geoffrey Chaucer

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Re: Turnover

Post by IFGL » Wed 27 Oct, 2021 4:48 pm

About 20 years 🤣

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