|Crafts - Craft and Skill Businesses|
What will I be doing?
Photos and drawings are enhanced by a quality frame. If you enjoy working with art or with wood and other materials, consider a home-based picture-framing service, designing, selecting, constructing and installing frames on art, photographs and documents. Such a business can be operated in or from your home, serving a wide variety of customers.
What will I need to start?
To start your picture-framing service you’ll first need training or experience in selecting and installing frames. You can get this experience working for a framing shop or by studying books on framing, and by practicing on your own frames.
A framer typically works at a framing table with clamps, saws and other tools of the trade. For efficiency, you may need an air compressor to power a pneumatic stapler or other tool. Materials and supplies are available in wholesale framing catalogs and stores found in most metropolitan telephone books.
Who will my customers be?
Customers for your picture-framing service include individuals, artists, other businesses and wholesalers. Some framers prefer to work directly with the public while others don’t. In most areas, you have a choice. One successful framer has four galleries as clients, all located in a resort town. She visits the shops once a week to pick up any art that requires a frame or frame repair, bringing it back the next week. Another framer specializes in ornate frames for awards and certificates, selling his products to wholesalers.
Once you’ve defined who your customers are and what they want, it will be easier to find them through mailing lists and advertising.
How much should I charge?
Framing services typically establish a shop rate of $30 to $60 an hour, but price by the size of the frame, the complexity of the project and the quality of materials. A frame that requires 20 minutes to construct and install at $45 an hour means $15 in labor. Add materials at retail prices (two to three times wholesale) to establish the frame’s price. Depending on clientele, you may be able to increase the price based on perceived value of the frame.
How much will I make?
Once established, marketing and administration for your framing service will require about 20 to 30 percent of your time. If you have minimal tools, your overhead will be about 25 percent of income while a fully equipped shop may take up to 50 percent, including taxes. A full-time framing service can net the owner $30,000 to $60,000 a year.
How can I get started?
First, learn your trade. Develop knowledge and skills for framing through working in a frame shop or taking an adult education class on framing. Next, create your own flier and circulate it to potential customers. You can pass it out at art shows, at artist’s club meetings and to friends and neighbors. Also tell your local newspapers about your new business, offering them something newsworthy.
The SIC code for picture-frame dealers is 5999-27; for framing services it’s 7699-15.
How can I use computers to increase profits?
Picture framing is a craft business. As such, many picture framers operate from home and rely on UPS to deliver and ship products. That means that the entire world is your customer. Of course, you’re competing with other picture framers – unless you offer something unique. Then you can promote your uniqueness with your own website and sell your services wherever the brown UPS truck goes.