Business is tough out there. How do you get those who are in the market to spend money on custom framing to choose your service over the competition? Perhaps one way is to make it easier for them to do business with you than someone else. People who can afford to custom frame often have to work long hours to afford such luxuries. Working long hours means less time to run errands or make their home look good. In other words they want your service, but it’s just too hard to find time to choose a frame, ok the design, return to pick it up, and then properly hang it. Why not remove the hurdles? Make it easier for clients to frame and they will do more framing.
By offering added service, you can make your business tough to compete against
Imagine this: a busy client calls your frame shop and says they have something to be framed. You show up that week at their home to pick up the project. You work on a great design for the project, but instead of calling the client to come in to ok it, you email a picture of what the design will look like when the project is complete. The client ok’s the project via email and authorizes down payment on their credit card which is kept on file at the gallery. One week later the project is delivered to the home and installed.
Wow! You just saved the client 2 or 3 trips to your gallery and they had a custom project created, delivered and installed for their enjoyment without any work on their part! Who do think they will call the next time they need something framed? Who do you think they will recommend to their friends?
I know what you are thinking- I don’t have time to do all that. Maybe not, but perhaps you should consider what benefits these services can bring to your company other than more sales and referrals.
First of all, they are additional sources of revenue. No one expects them to be free, and you can and should charge accordingly. Nominal fees for pick up and delivery are accepted easily by clients with today’s gas prices. When you are able to combine several clients on one delivery trip, you can make money charging $10 to $15 per stop. Installation is also a great way to increase the ticket price of a sale. You can easily charge $40 per hour with a one hour minimum for hanging art. Large or heavy pieces can be installed for twice that rate and clients are happy to have someone available to help with this.
Imagine the frustration a busy person experiences when they order a large framed mirror from a custom framer who doesn’t offer installation. How do they hang it? How do they lift it into place? Who can they hire to complete the job?
Now imagine the same client buying the large mirror from a framer who automatically includes delivery and installation in the price of the mirror. All the barriers are removed. The client is happy because it is a one stop solution to their needs and the framer is happy because the price of the project is $150 higher than the sale of the mirror itself.
Delivery has additional benefits. The more often your delivery van is out roaming the streets, the more you advertise your company. People get used to seeing you all over the community and you become familiar to them. Many times our company van is stopped by potential clients who have something to frame and were reminded by seeing the van. Of course we always mention that we can stop by and pick up the art whenever it is convenient.
Another great way to make it easier for clients to do business with you is to offer on-site consultations. These in home or office meetings allow you to save the client a trip to the gallery and to see the exact environment that needs art. Consultations give your designers huge opportunities for doing business. So many more options for making sales are available on-site. This service can be very profitable because it leads to many sales, however, you should also charge for providing it. If you want, you can credit back the fee if the client places the order, but always charge for the visit.
Extend the consultation service by offering to find and procure the art the client is going to use for the location. You can often use gallery inventory to help fill these needs. If you have nothing in stock that fills the client’s needs, you can purchase wholesale from a vendor or use an online service. When you own the art or purchase wholesale, you may pass on your time at no charge, however if you purchase online at retail, you should charge a fee for your time of about $40 per hour. You will find that locating art becomes much less time consuming as you do it more often and therefore can become an additional source of profit.
Delivery, installations, and on-site consultations are a given for attracting corporate business. You can’t even begin to solicit this type of business without these services. Even though they are required, they should not be free. The cost of travel, time spent on location and time spent hanging should all be calculated into the price of the job. The difference is that you don’t detail the additional cost. Instead you “include” these services with the quote. The services ARE included in the price per piece.
Offering these kinds of services is a big step- a big step in the right direction of making your business more professional and complete. The additional revenue should offset costs and become a source of increased revenue. This is a key- you cannot undercharge or provide these services for free. Doing so will only increase your workload and make it difficult to maintain the level of service you currently offer. The cost of hiring additional help for these new services should be covered by the fees charged.
One of the most enjoyable parts of my just is doing some installations. Clients don’t realize who I am because I’m driving the van and wearing jeans. I show the pieces, listen to their comments and give any advice they need concerning height and spacing for installation. After I install them, it’s a great feeling to hear how pleased they are with “the company I work for”. Being in this position also allows me to see how the project looks in its true environment. It gives me insight into just how well we are doing at pleasing the client, and puts me in the right spot to do whatever is necessary to ensure they are satisfied with the end result. I recommend you try this from time to time. It’s a fantastic way to see your company through the eyes of your client.
Offering complete services makes a lot of sense for growing business. It gives your company a distinct competitive advantage, and builds relationships with your clients. It makes you a much more complete and professional company, and provides new revenue sources that can help replace lost business.