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Mobile framing service

Posted: Sat 08 Sep, 2018 9:12 pm
by Tom Chambers
Hi, I am just starting out and setting up in garage, trying to find suitable retail space but no luck so far. Has anyone got experience of operating a mobile framing service where you go to customer home with samples and get order to be made back at your workshop? Keen to get thoughts or experience of this.


Re: Mobile framing service

Posted: Sat 08 Sep, 2018 11:03 pm
by Rainbow
If you don't have too far to travel between customers, it might be a good way to start off. I don't advertise a mobile service as such, but I often drop work off to customers, and it's not uncommon for them to give me a picture to take back, put some framing recommendations together and then go back for them to choose. I don't think they'd bother going back and forth miles to a shop, but because I'm on the spot and we're talking about pictures, it makes it easy for them to give me another job. I've built up some very good relationships in this way. Most of my customers are local so my travel time is negligible. In my area the nearest framing shop is not very highly thought of, and customers would have quite a way to travel to the next nearest, so they really welcome having someone come to them. And I enjoy going to my customers - some of them are very wealthy and have fabulous houses so it's quite an education to see how the other half lives :D This modus operandi wouldn't work for everybody but it works for me.

Some time ago I saw a van for sale which had been kitted out for mobile framing. It was a walk-in van (may have been a campervan), lined with chevrons and with a bench to lay out the customer's artwork. I've searched for it on this forum to show you but can't find it, so I don't know where I saw it. It looked quite good though.

Without the passing trade that a high street shop gets, it might be more challenging to get customers but there are ways round that. A web site is obviously a must and if I had a mobile van, I'd park it up on a busy street and make sure I had a good supply of business cards with me :D

Re: Mobile framing service

Posted: Sat 08 Sep, 2018 11:08 pm
by Tom Chambers
Thanks Rainbow, some good points and will now be googling to see if I can find the van (another idea for me to bore the wife with).


Re: Mobile framing service

Posted: Sun 09 Sep, 2018 10:49 am
by ChrisG
I started off visiting customers with an array of chevrons and mounts but found that by the time you have loaded the car, driven there, unloaded, had a cup of tea and eventually arrived back home most the morning had gone.

I also found that can you get called out just to a collect a small frame for a reglaze any profit gone due to your travel and time. Occasionally I came away with no work due to insufficient choice of may be cost.

It might be worth speaking to some shop owners in your area they may have a space you could rent. That's how I got onto the High Street by renting the basement of a gift shop until something better turned up.

Re: Mobile framing service

Posted: Sun 09 Sep, 2018 1:38 pm
by prospero
On the face of it this is quite a cool system. But you have to establish your customer first and if you have done that
it's 90% of the battle done. Home visits need the customer to be at home at a certain time convenient to you.
It's OK if you have staff busy framing the orders in the workshop while you do the 'repping'. Otherwise you are going
to waste a lot of time to-ing and fro-ing. Not to mention fuel costs, etc.
Far better all round to get the customer to visit you at their pleasure. High-profile street locations are all well and good, but
generally in such places parking is a nightmare. People will find you if you give them clear directions. Plus, people who take the
trouble to hunt you out will be genuine serious customers and not the "let's just have a look in here" type who will waste an hour
rabbiting on with no intention of ever having anything framed.

A good web presence and maybe a small ad in a local free magazine will serve you better. :D

A mobile service would maybe be a benefit to a large operation, but not for the little guy.

Re: Mobile framing service

Posted: Sun 09 Sep, 2018 4:36 pm
by Tom Chambers
Thanks guys, some great advice for me to consider, Prospero you make some very valid points that could hurt profit easily.

Mobile framing service

Posted: Tue 25 Sep, 2018 3:19 pm
by Ed209
I knew of a mobile framing service in that he would go to the regular Saturday market take the orders then you could pick framing up from them at the same market when ready.
He had a big Luton type van with steps leading up to basically a mobile showroom. Not sure if they are still operating but apparently did very well trading that way, again not sure if they just did the one market or several.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Mobile Framing Service

Posted: Tue 25 Sep, 2018 4:19 pm
by Bobble
Hi Tom,
Replies suggest travelling around would be unprofitable and I have to agree. However, before retirement I had several different art club members begging me to visit their societies to frame for their family, friends and upcoming exhibitions, etc.

I declined but with a suitcase of moulding samples and another with mountboard chevrons, I could have continued with a part-time business with very low overheads, framing from home. And limited travelling, of course. Some would opt for the cheapest but there would definitely be multiples per visit. Tea & cake too!

Daytime art groups are out there in suburbia if you want to pursue it. Good luck (remember the charm offensive).

Re: Mobile framing service

Posted: Tue 25 Sep, 2018 7:22 pm
by pramsay13
I started framing in my garage and visiting customers although when word got around people would just drop by in the hope of catching me in.
For the last few years I've still offered to visit customers although I always say if they come to me they will be able to see where I work and there are more samples to view so most people pick that option.
When I did most of the home visits I had a wallpaper pasting table with the legs removed and velcro inside to carry chevrons. I could fit in around 40 so had the most popular white / black / wooden / metallic frames.

Re: Mobile framing service

Posted: Tue 25 Sep, 2018 9:10 pm
by Tom Chambers
Thanks guys some good insights and feedback, love the pasting table idea.