Picture frames

Picture Framing

Picture framing is an excellent home-based key business for earning profit. If you do not possess enough experience and skills, purchase a custom business. It is proved that this area guarantees 500% profit margin! Matting and framing shop usually demand $10,000 - $50,000 as the start-up costs. You can also join a franchise that will cost between $112,000 and $201,000. The consumption will be higher than income within first two months, so the payback period is more than three months.

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Equipment $600
Supplies $700
Personnel $1,000
Property $1,500
Other $300
6 payback

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Framing kit
Charnwood PFK04 - Framing Kit $94
Logan STUDIO JOINER Logan Framing Tool... $135
Logan Frame Shop In A Box Elite $600
Logan Compact Classic Mat Cutter $120
Logan Simplex Plus 40" Mat Cutter Bevel... $420
Compact Elite Mat Cutter- Compact Elite... $151
Logan Graphic Products, Inc. Framer's... $680
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Picture framing is an indispensable need, so overall financial situation in your country of origin will not have an impact on your framing business. This field became popular in the last 10 - 12 years.

Despite operating on a five-day work week, you may spend only two-three hours per day on this business. Holidays are especially profitable. Foreigners mostly draw a demand. At least, whenever you decide on the souvenir production. The flexibility of picture framing art lies beneath the alternatives to choose from: you can either work on a home-based basis; open a retail store; run an art gallery; suggest wholesale framing services to people of art, manufacture pre-framed art, or even keep to the “on-wheels” business concept.

As shown, the standard profitability varies in the range of 30 - 40 %. 500% is a fantastic number, but still quite realistic. In order for this business to become profitable, you need to study the modeling framework “from a to z”. Half of all framing orders comprise from the photo frames because this hobby is constantly increasing due to the expansion of digital cameras functions.

This business is growing by 10 - 15% annually. Picture framing workshops turnover fluctuates within $3,000 – 7,000.

You can run this business in a PhotoLab nowadays. Then, all of the expenditures mentioned throughout this article are reduced heavily.

Because of the medium competition, workshops try to compete for each client taking into account the speed of orders execution. The minimum time spent on one order is 40 minutes.

Most frequently you will have artists, embroiderers, photographers, café owners and designers as the clients. So, creative people demand an original approach.

Because of this business nuances, glaziers are the potential owners framing shops. In addition, many designers, artists, photographers (both professionals and Amateurs) enter this industry.

As for the distribution channel, use the following options (at least two of them):

·           the local media;

·           business cards;

·           official site on the Internet where you can advertise your goods and put contact numbers;

·           "word of mouth";

·           quality of your work is the main advertising product.

You can spend the minimum of $200 per your advertising campaign.




It all began with the first oval and circle mat cutter as well as the "push-pull" surface v-groover. I would recommend dealing with the guys who first started to produce framing equipment. Logan Graphic Products, Inc. offers the largest, most comprehensive line of framing equipment and accessories.

To start working in the field of picture framing business, you must spend the amount is $6,000 – 8,000.

An absolute “must-have” is a straight-line mat cutter of 48” or 60” size depending on your business scope. You will need it to create the desired shape for the mats, backing boards and various filler boards. A professional work table is also required. It has to be sturdy, smooth, with a generous work surface.

You can build it on your own, of course, but factory supplies may be more efficient for serious work. 48” x 96” is an ordinary table size for picture framing of any kinds.

Low initial capital can be reasonably explained: you will need a lot of raw materials that costs simply nothing. At the same time, you don’t need a lot of heavy equipment.

cutting system - $285;

picture hanging system - $135 (average);

vertical saws and cutters – from $6,750 for the entire set;

fillet cutter - $550;

pinner/nailer - $1,500;

air underpinner (joining equipment) - $1,030;

electronic underpinner - $1,100;

manual flexi gun - $450;

storage benches - $350 per unit.



Picture framing belongs to that kind of business where a plenty of raw materials are required. In this industry, handy tools are meant under materials. Here is a full list of all those a good picture framing start-up will need for sure:

·         A small hammer to drive brads into frame corners - $15 – 20;

·         Not less than nine wire strippers (cutters) to cut the corresponding wire - $56;

·         The same number of pliers - $235;

·         Roughly the same amount of screwdrivers - $22 – 36;

·         Small drill - $70;

·         Ten knives. You definitely must have a utility knife, X-Acto knife, single-edge blades, and dustcover-trimmer – various prices below $100;

·         Wrenches - $220 per set;

·         Framing vices - $50 per unit;

·         Stand-up joiner - $150.

Mind that a wooden frame fits perfectly into any style of interior, so there is a sense to purchase wood.

The cost of saws will vary in the range from $3,000 to $12,000.

In general, the purchase of materials and raw materials will result into $2,000 – 5,000.


Despite the business is mostly home-based, “the more space, the better” rule works here. As little as an 8 ft. x 10 ft. premise can be enough for private picture framing. But only simple, occasional framing jobs will be provided there. I think there is no need to remind you about the importance of excellent lighting in such kind of business. The chosen site has to be all-time climate-controlled with the help of reliable heating and cooling systems. It basically has nothing to with personnel, but with potential framing materials expansion and contraction. Appropriate ventilation is another clue while dealing with some potentially toxic glues and chemicals. Try to keep your production room clean and dry. Of course, the area should be kept clean and dry. It is important to get rid of any dust from every single frame during fitting.

Coming back to the question of size: ideally, your space should be able to accommodate a large table of approximately 36 x 48 up to 40 x 60 inches. 

Manufacturing picture frames is a rather noisy process. The costs per noise  insulation may be too high. The best option is to choose some basements to run this business. A good option is to take into account the proximity to local galleries, artists and photographers while selecting a place.

By having more space at your disposal, you can start thinking of creating additional order tables to expand. Actually, you will have to provide three basic premises:

-       The shop itself;

-       Raw materials storage;

-       Finished goods storage.

Before you arrange any type of company, you need to register a legal entity. As far as picture framing is that kind of business that deals with customer’s property, the owner is responsible for any damages done to it. Thus, certain legal requirements have to be met. Such documents as a vendor’s license and tax identification are obligatory. While talking about home-based activity, various zoning and environmental laws along with particular deed restrictions have to be obeyed. Harvard Law courses will help you learn more: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2442432

According to a Payscale.com survey, the average salary for picture framing business employee is $27,500 a year. Of course, unless you are able to provide the services on your own, you don’t need to waste that money.

PPFA (Professional Picture Framing Association) offers a certificate program to become a Certified Picture Framer (CPF), and a certificate as a Master Certified Picture Framer to help you with your farming store or home-based business. You need to pay a fee of around $300 and pass the exam.  

On the whole, it takes about two years to become a master of this craft. There is no single suitable position, but you might be interesting in hiring a carpenter, joiner, and restorer. As a rule, the staff consists of 5 - 6 employees:

a couple of multiple masters;

assistant inspector;

an accountant;

a consultant-designer, whose duty is to provide help with choosing the right colors, types, shapes, etc.

The total wages range from $400 monthly.

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