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Picture Framing - A Nice Little Earner


Everybody dreams of a day when they can be their own boss and make a fortune from a simple idea … and preferably by doing something that they really enjoy.  Reality isn’t quite like that.  Instant fortunes are rare.  But it is not impossible to develop a money earning opportunity from what starts out as a hobby.  If you like the idea of working from home, using skills and interests that you already have; then picture framing could be the answer.

Many people see framing as a practical extension of a hobby and would be forgiven for missing the business potential.  But just look at some of the significant advantages:

  • modest set up
  • no need for a vast work space – a kitchen table is enough to start with
  • tools are small, transportable and can be easily packed out of the way
  • you can set income targets – one commercial frame can earn between £30.00 and £60.00
  • it is quite possible, working from the home to complete 10 to15 frames per week
  • it is an easy business to market, using simple methods such as ads in local magazines, cards in shop windows, etc
  • you can use  your own body of contacts to generate work: friends / family, business colleagues, co-workers etc 

When you sell framing as a commercial service it is all about confidence, vision (seeing the completed piece) and knowledge. It is a practical craft and you must start by doing some framing – lots of it and as many different types of project as you can.  Here are a few ideas to set you on your way:

  • Start with your own artwork or photos; children’s first drawings; reframe prints from old clip frames. 
  • Next on your list should be friends and family.
  • Work out a pricing strategy from the outset: even for these “mates rates” jobs;
  • Develop a habit of doing your own rigorous quality control… and do it right from the very first piece you undertake. 
  • Make sure that you never let a customer down.

Once you are satisfied that you can deliver a level of service you are pleased with then try leafleting locally; prepare cards for shop windows, business and club notice boards and post office windows. Try giving every satisfied customer 5 of your framing business cards and ask them to refer you to their contacts for future business.

At this point you will be ready to take orders and have a clear idea of what service you can provide.  If working from home, really understand the significant advantages to customers of a home consultation.  These are:

  • no need to transport valuable works to a gallery so reduced risk of damage;
  • no parking, fuel or fares costs;
  • door to door service takes up much less of their time;
  • opportunity to discuss a bespoke service that will fit in with other pieces and the décor, where it will finally hang
  • “the personal touch” – many people like the idea of a specialist working for them.

The bottom line is, that you will market a top quality service rather than simply “doing” a framing job. This serves as a highly marketable, unique selling point. 

In all circumstances there are a few resources you need to have ready:

  • moulding samples (a sensible range would be 50 – 100 different styles.  These could be held in a case or simple samples boxes);
  • mountboard chevrons ( a range of 30 – 70 colours)
  • a simple planning sheet ;
  • a duplicate book so customers have a receipt for work being taken;
  • a tape measure – dimensions will effect the price you charge
  • a means for pricing the piece – calculator and order sheet, ready reckoner, spreadsheet on palm / laptop computer ... whatever suits
  • a carrying case
  • a means for leaving your contact details.

Customers will often rely on your “vision” as a guide to how the finished piece will look.  Having the physical samples of moulding and mountboard to hold in combination against the artwork will help you to get that vision across.

Make a start on an order as soon as you can.  There is a danger of being distracted by events and then the promised time-scale slips.  Also, once framed, the artwork in your care is no longer at risk of being damaged.

When work is completed don't forget that personally returning the frame to your customer may give you an opportunity for honest feedback and further orders. Talk to your customer: they may have something else that they want framing when they see what an excellent job you have made of it.  Therefore always have your framing samples and order sheets to hand on any return visit.

If they are impressed with your work, ask them to recommend you to others and leave some of your business cards.

Remember:  the 2 most powerful two sales tools that you have are the quality of your work and the recommendation of your customers.

This is taken from articles published in magazines aimed at the business community – to read the full suite of articles on our website click: New Business.

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Making Money From Photography


For some people, starting a new business venture is not the most significant issue.  It may be more important to view framing as another income stream that adds to an existing business portfolio.  It then becomes much more about creating a unique selling point to attract additional orders or about providing a means to market your own work in new and exciting ways.  This article, featured on the Focus on Imaging website, outlines some ideas that have worked successfully for photographers.

A new training package, with photography and imaging at its core, has been launched by DIYframing.

According to the company, it was clear from the first day of Focus on Imaging 2006, when its new web site went live, that this was going to be a massive year with the development of the new training package a major feature.

And at the same time, DIYframing has introduced a top quality range of professional framing tools. First, there’s a  guillotine for cutting the mitred ends of moulding cleanly and accurately. It is floor mounted and foot operated and so can be used in areas without power – and without saw dust.

The second tool is the Logan Framers edge. With accurate bevel edge and straight edge cutters built into the system and production stops to guide the cuts, creating mounts of all sizes is fast and accurate – no marking out required.

Last of the trio is the underpinner, used for joining moulding sections to create the frame. Another foot operated machine, it means that users can keep the workshop space small and manageable.

“If you want to take your photography seriously,” says DIYframing’s Richard Buttle, “you need to learn how to make the most of it.

“Adding a mount and frame to an image does much more than add a protective package. At its best, it gets your work noticed and adds value commercially.

“Whether you’re a keen amateur enjoying exhibiting the work you have produced, or a professional trying to find ways of standing out from the rest in a competitive market, then learning how to create dynamic, top quality framing is essential.

“All it takes are two days and the right type of equipment ... and some expert guidance provided by DIYframing.”

The two day “Photography Weekends” and “Photography Specials” (for those who can make weekday dates) operate around the UK and take “students” through everything you need to know about the mounting and framing of images. Day One is all about how to plan, design and create frames for students’ own artwork. On Day Two they discover how to take the presentation even further by looking at different mount styles and packaging materials available. Each session is based around practical activities during which they will see each step demonstrated before carrying out the procedure themselves.

“The results are always surprising and top quality,” says Richard. “This package differs from our usual basics sessions because it means we can really focus (sorry about the pun) on areas of interest to photographers.”

“We look at how you can use the mount to shape the final image; how to present pieces for sale and exhibition. The best part is that it brings together photographers with differing levels of experience, artistic interests and ambitions.

“Our first-hand experience of working with groups of photographers is unequalled by any other framing group; in our first year we worked with over 40 photographers. Some were highly talented amateurs, others people who have been earning a living from photography in one form or another (wedding photographers, forensic work and portraiture). “

“Many of these we first met at exhibitions around the country, such as Focus on Imaging, and they came along with simple ambitions to frame their work for exhibition or just as gallery pieces for their own walls. Most completed the course buoyed up with the notion of marketing their own framed works and offering bespoke framing as an additional service (and income).

“We keep up with our “students” and have been delighted with the feedback that is coming through even a few months later. “

One of them, a keen underwater photographer, realised that simple prints would not offer the returns to cover the costs of the photo shoot, no matter how stunning the piece is. She has the contacts in the Caribbean to sell her works, via outlets such as sub-aqua clubs and diving gear hire-shops and is now able to offer framed works to other diving enthusiasts and holiday visitors; the value “framed” well over three times the cost of the print alone.

Another customer, already a professional wedding photographer, now offers directly to clients a bespoke framing service, which would otherwise have to be sub-contracted out, putting him one step ahead of the competition.

This article is featured on the Focus on Imaging Website in the NEWS section.  DIYframing will be at this year's Focus On Imaging Exhibition, NEC Birmingham: 25th - 28th February 2007

Find out more about Photography Framing specials by searching on our Training Zone

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The Great Escape


Now put those two themes together: starting a business from home AND adding to your existing business.  You are left with the clear incentive to explore the possibilities of either making a completely fresh start or of building up a business, working from what you can cope with initially, as a hobby, before making the big break.

Even if you have the right crafts’ skills and DIY know-how, it is very rare to have everything in place for starting up a picture framing business.  You need to find out about the practical aspects of setting up: framing kit and equipment; sourcing supplies; pricing; organising your workspace.  At the same time, there are the important concerns of ensuring your business grows by looking at areas such as: marketing your business; developing the range of services you can offer; looking for business opportunities.  Our training programme could be just what you are looking for.

2007 will be the second full year in which we have run our training package for starting up (or developing) a picture framing business.  The Business Development Week is rapidly gaining the nickname, “the Great Escape”, as many people who have joined us, see this opportunity as a means of digging the “escape tunnel” from their current work place. Broadly speaking, the concept appeals to 3 main groups who have trained with us.

The first bunch is the group which really wants to break free from existing careers.  These people see the idea of working for themselves as being as much about “life-style” change as it is about marketing a product or service. It is often a means of earning a second income, “growing” an order book so that, when ready to break free, the business is already up and running and can easily become the main source of income. 

The second group can’t wait and head straight for the “walls”, aiming to leap them in one jump. They will have looked for premises for a main “arts based” business, such as a gallery, photo studio, craft centre / shop etc.  In these situations, the picture framing gives a potential for income, in addition to the existing projected sales.

Thirdly is the group of people who are already in open ground. They need to head for "safety" as quickly as possible.  They may well have already left a job, be between work or be finishing a contract.  They often don’t want to re-start in the same vein. Frequently they already have a product that they wish to market and picture framing provides that unique finishing touch.  Quite often these are photographers and artists – currently amateurs but who now want to market their artwork commercially.  However, other people we have trained have other markets in their sights.  One person had artist contacts in India and West Africa: the aim is to buy their work, frame it and sell it on directly or via stores.   Another person was aiming to work in the collectibles area, buying up illustrative plates and framing those for resale.  In fact the list of ideas is endless:  the common theme is that the framing makes the item more saleable and provides a potential “fall-back” income from bespoke framing.

These scenarios will seem eerily familiar to many of you regularly visiting the site.  Our Business Development weeks cater for all of those varied ambitions.  We lead you through two business days.  The first one covering aspects of how to plan and organise the business, taking account of practical issues, specific to picture framing, including:

  • first orders;
  • organising workshops;
  • pricing strategies;
  • tools and equipment. 

The second day deals with how you can make the business grow.  So we explore things such as:

  • how to offer a range of services to different groups of customers;
  • where to source materials;
  • how to identify and develop potential new markets.

We also recognise the need to develop your repertoire of framing skills and so the week also comprises of a series of practical workshops, developing five essential framing projects: 
Day 1       Basics of Framing
Day 2       Mount cutting and decoration
(Day 3: Business day 1)
Day 4       3D Framing – creating simple box frames.
Day 5       Conservation Framing
Day 6       Framing Fabrics
(Day 7: Business day 2)

Not only does this take you from being a complete framing novice to being a competent framer, the sessions have also been specifically chosen to home in on bespoke framing, where there is a clear market for those starting out on a smaller scale.

Follow the link:
Business Development Week
for full details of the courses, venues, dates and prices.The next week runs:

Glasgow, March 3rd - March 9th. 

So, if you are beginning to feel that life is a bit of a lottery, don’t leave your future happiness to chance.  Take control and, who knows, the next success story …. well,  “YOU COULD BE IT!”.

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Thank you for your continued support.

Until next time...



Everybody at DIYframing wishes you a Happy New Year.  This time, rather than making resolutions, only to feel the guilt of failing to keep them up after just a few days, now is the time to get organised.  If you plan for the future, when you do make a decision to alter your lifestyle, the foundations for change are in place.  Many people daydream about leaving the daily “nine to five” to start working for themselves in an area they really enjoy.  It doesn’t necessarily mean a shorter working day, but the hours you invest give you the return, directly.

We would never say it was easy to make the break or that there is a quick fortune to be made.  However, to start the year rolling, we have put together 3 articles which might just give you something to think (or dream) about.

So the theme for this special newsletter is:
New Year, New Business.


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