New Business Venture, HELP, advice requested.

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Gary4444
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New Business Venture, HELP, advice requested.

Post by Gary4444 » Wed 07 Apr, 2021 7:37 pm

Hi all & thanks for advice left on an old post (Albeit 18 months ago! - hope everyone's stayed safe & well).

1st & foremost I need to make a decision as to start a new venture of either, offering a framing service only, or to try & incorporate a small gallery too.
One that's decided, it'll make looking for suitable premises much easier (size, location etc.)

Ideally I'd like to do the framing myself, in-house, after suitable training. Would you advise establishing a framing business first, then hopefully trying to add a small gallery, or, focus on the gallery & offering a framing service from it. A suggestion has been made to outsource part of the framing (i.e., ordering the frame, glass & back, then assembling in-house?). I'd prefer not to have to move premises later on.

Any thoughts & advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Regards - Gary

Not your average framer
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Re: New Business Venture, HELP, advice requested.

Post by Not your average framer » Wed 07 Apr, 2021 9:23 pm

Hi gary,

As far as I know it's a lot easier finding suitable training to be a framer, than to find suitable training to start a succeessful gallery. For this reason alone, starting out as a framers might be the best move, but it's still quite a steep learning curve. Like many on this forum, I did not have much idea when I started out, what is was letting myself in for and I slowly struggle to get to the point where I had a viable business. it involved a lo of advice from other members on the forum and quite a difficult first six months of trading.

I'm nothing special and I'm not really based in the best location, it was in this location, or nothing. I did not do very well for a long time. customers want to hear from other customers, if you are any good before they will bring their framing to you. As your reputation grows customers start to bring their framing to you. Until then you have to accept a slow build up and not go to wild spending money, while waiting for things to come together. It is said that it takes about two years to get a new business established and in my case, that was probably about right.

If you don't mind working at it and learning your skills well for about two years, then it often works well. Learning how to price a job was the most difficult part for me and prices won't be the same for businesses in every part of the country. You will make mistakes, I made some and you've just got to learn from them and move on. It hard work, but quite a lot of us have made it and don't forget that lots of us got started the hard way and that we are always here to help here on this forum. If you need some help, or advice, don't be afraid to ask.

All the best,
Mark.
Mark Lacey

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

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Gesso&Bole
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Re: New Business Venture, HELP, advice requested.

Post by Gesso&Bole » Thu 08 Apr, 2021 8:42 am

I would say that the majority of good framers are not particularly good at running a gallery, and vice versa.

That isn't to say it's not possible! Just my observations, and own experience. There are obviously going to be exceptions.

It's very different if there are two people, one running the gallery, and one running the framing - that can be a good way to do it.

I suppose another way of looking at it would be to ask yourself if you have the right personality to do both?

When I have tried to do both, I have always found myself drawn to making/framing/doing in the workshop, and neglecting the gallery. My solution was to stop trying to sell pictures, but to use the 'gallery' space to showcase the different framing techniques - things like framing the same print in 10 different ways, so that customers can see what the benefits of double-mounts/fillets/AR glass etc add to the finished result. This has worked better for me.

Now, I have gone a stage further, and work from my home workshop, so I have time to post on here instead of spending quite so much time with people 'just looking'.

So to conclude - by all means have a gallery as well, but you've got to really put a lot of work into the retail/social media end, which will probably mean that you don't have the time for framing, unless you genuinely love both parts of the business, and are able to allocate your time efficiently to both.
Here for the love of picture framing - happy to share any knowledge I have

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Gesso&Bole
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Re: New Business Venture, HELP, advice requested.

Post by Gesso&Bole » Thu 08 Apr, 2021 8:43 am

Oh, another thing Gary, I would suggest getting your training before you commit to any equipment or premises. :D
Here for the love of picture framing - happy to share any knowledge I have

Not your average framer
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Re: New Business Venture, HELP, advice requested.

Post by Not your average framer » Thu 08 Apr, 2021 9:22 am

Many of us tend to operate with a t least some second hand equipment, which is a sensible way of stretching of finances. When you get some training, ask the trainer to take you through how to check out the condition and usablity of the main equipment that you will need. This will be helpful to you if you decide to buy any second hand equipment. It is important to see what to look for on actual equipment. When I got started, I was very short of money and second hand equipment was all I could afford, it saved me a lot of money at the time. I had already had a period of time training at a major south devon gallery for six months before hand, so I was already famiilar with all the usual equipment and therefore I knew what I was buying and how to check that it worked properly, which was very helpful.

I was living on unemployment benefits at the time and most of the money that I needed had to be saved up bit by bit from my benefits. As time when on I also bought various items of stock from places that were closing down, most of the mouldings which I bought were a bit old and needed a bit of hand finishing to make them look more up to date. I've been had finishing mouldings and frames ever since. I never knew if things would work out successfully for quite a long while and it was quite a long time before I could stop struggling. After six months, I had quite a bad heart attack and that was very hard and then I was really struggling to cope with the work that was coming in, so I put my prices up by 20 percent and instead of getting less work, I get even more.

Then I decided to increase my prices again by another 20 percent and yet again got even more work, so I did not bother to increase my prices any more. It was a very strange time! How I managed to survive this period is hard to understand. To me I can only say that it was a real miracle and all these years later and after yet more difficulties, I am still here. Don't ask me how, but it was mostly by the skin of my teeth. I am now 68 years old and still trying to go for it. Am I a bit crazy? I don't know, but I'm still try to do what it takes to pay the bills and keep going. One day I'll have the good sense to stop, but I have not got there yet. Am I a big sucess and making lots of money? Well making lots of money in a mall rural devon town on the edge of Dartmoor isn't particularly easy, but I'm getting by.
Mark Lacey

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

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prospero
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Re: New Business Venture, HELP, advice requested.

Post by prospero » Thu 08 Apr, 2021 11:14 am

Hi and Welcome Gary. :D

One thing you have to think about is that the term 'framing' covers a wide area. People will hang almost anything
on a wall and it's the framer who has to decide how to deal with it. As well as 'pictures' there is needlework, 3D objects,
sports shirts and memorabilia. Coins, medals. You never know what folks are going to pitch up with.

Avoid crossing the line into restoration. People will always assume the a framer can fix anything. Don't try to 'improve' stuff.
And never practice new techniques on customer's work.

The actual frame construction is a small aspect of the craft. The way the work is put in the frame is the main skill. :D

You should work to the ideal that when you have finished the job you should be able to un-frame it again and never be able
to tell it had ever been in a frame. Not always possible, but it's a principle to work to. :wink:

Good Luck. 8)
Watch Out. There's A Humphrey About

Gary4444
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Re: New Business Venture, HELP, advice requested.

Post by Gary4444 » Thu 08 Apr, 2021 9:38 pm

Thanks for all the advice & suggestions.
It's really helpful & will definitely help in my decisions.

Perhaps a shorter term lease on premises (or the inclusion of a break clause)
may be an option if I'm unsure which direction the business was likely to take?

Gary

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GeoSpectrum
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Re: New Business Venture, HELP, advice requested.

Post by GeoSpectrum » Fri 09 Apr, 2021 5:41 am

A break clause is a given I suggest. You need an ‘out’ if things don’t work out.
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: New Business Venture, HELP, advice requested.

Post by Not your average framer » Fri 09 Apr, 2021 8:18 am

I was not sure about how long I wanted to commit myself to with my present lease, so I settled on a three year lease and this runs out this year, as I become 69 years old. The last two years have been not very active because of my stroke, my mother dying and covid, so I have not had very much benefit from my shop lease during this time, been at least my lease on the flat has given me somewhere to live. At the end of the lease, it will still continue on a rolling basis as long as neither my self, or my landlord choose to give notice. Maybe a short initial period, will a roll over option would be a good option for you as well.

Fortunately for me the monthly rent for the shop is something which I have been able to manage during this period of less happening. If you are in a not too busy location, maybe the rent will be quite reasonable, such as in my case and this has been very helpful to me. There's going to be quite a lot of empty shops around, as a result of likely business failures, so it won't be necessary to rush to take on the very first premises that you get offered. Maybe there's better premises at a better rent, just waiting for you to snap it up, My current shop premises are a lot cheaper to rent than the first place I was offered and there was a flat available in the same premises. It's two separate leases, but no more expense than just the rent for the shop that first was available.

I have as a result got a very short distance to travel to work and this makes life so much easier and when my stroke came along and I could hardly walk, this was extremely helpful indeed.
Mark Lacey

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

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