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Articles by Chris A. Paschke, CPF GCF

"The Issue is…Mounting"

January 1993

Over the past two years as a regular contributing editor to PFM I have written numerous articles on technical and creative topics, and regularly refer to both past and future articles in an attempt to create not only continuity but to develop a valuable source of reference material for you. With new trends for 1993 comes my new monthly mounting column "The Issue is...Mounting", in which I will continue to present technical information, tips and step by step procedures for many basic mounting projects and those fearful tougher ones you often wish never crossed your threshold in the first place.

Trends for `93

The "issue" this month is from the business standpoint of increased mounting profits for the new year, thus trends for `93 involve increasing your profits by increasing mounting sales. By assessing your current mounting procedures and possibly investing in a new piece of equipment it is often easy to increase profits simply through the additional services you may offer clients.

It has been said that only about 20% of all professional picture framers own a heat mounting system, and if that is true the mounting market still remains quite untapped.

Increasing Sales

If statistics are the trigger that stimulate you into action, and you currently sell graphics or poster art of any kind, then note that 90% of the artwork that leaves your store should be mounted prior to walking out the door! Whether you spray, wet or vacuum mount...that figure will remain constant. The key to selling a greater percentage of mounting is never losing control of your sale. Rather than trying to sell a customer "up" into mounting their piece, perhaps eliminate the option of offering it unmounted at all. If posters are shipped to you shrink wrapped on corrugated cardboard, repackage them mounted onto an appropriate substrate. Guaranteed, if the customer truly wants the print it will still sell!

Obviously visual examples of what can happen if posters are left unmounted are probably the best form of cinching a sale. I can't tell you how many customers have had an inexpensive $5 travel poster slated for use in the bathroom...unmounted! Granted I frequently received opposition to the $100. framing of a $5. poster, but if a picture is worth a thousand words than a sample of a rippled, buckled poster should help close the sale. Better yet, mount ½ of that thin inexpensive poster then dampen the unmounted ½ with a wet sponge to encourage the cockling, then mat and frame as usual. The contrast of the two halves are about the most convincing argument I've found yet.


If purchase of a new mounting press is in your future for 1993 the concept of mounting as many items that walk through your door as possible is constantly on your mind. Thus when a conservation or a limited edition slated for hinging is the issue you must shift into "creative mode" considering use of mounting fabrics or perhaps tiered matting (PFM February 1991). As a second generation framer who once made a capital investment, I know first hand the more you mount the quicker you pay off the equipment investment and the sooner the profits start rolling in. The fact is, that same mounting fever should have been there before! Anytime additional charges can be worked into a framing job the cost of the job increases and unless you operate a low profit high volume shop, increased per ticket sales means higher profits...the key could be more mounting.

It's a necessary practice when dealing with the process and price of mounting a conservation piece or limited edition, that the sensitivities of archival hinging and reversibility often need additional explanation. When approaching the "issue of mounting" in relation to most general custom framing, mounting paper, photos and fabrics may easily be camouflaged into the framing package as a necessary portion of the process.

Though economists and business consultants tell us we should calculate the completed price of framing and then present only the bottom line to the customer, my clients have always wanted a breakdown of the costs. By simply presenting the total price of say $150. then stating, "that breaks down to $60. for the frame, $40. for the matting, $20. for the glazing and of course that includes mounting and fitting"...many closed questions concerning mounting may readily be avoided. Group segments together like the entire matting cost, to simplify the pricing for the customer. By not breaking down each individual united inch matting item (ie : single mat + single mat + spacer + embossed line = $) it is less overwhelming to the customer and sounds less like they are getting charged for unnecessary items they might easily eliminate.


Never lose control of the sale. The customer has chosen you as the professional, whether a result of your ad in the yellow pages, your location or you just completed something for his sister, you were chosen by him as his framer. If that customer could frame it for himself he probably would, but once he walks into your store you are in charge, respect your customer and cater to him, but never lose control of the sale. Always be the professional the customer expects, look the part and be proud of what you do. Don't sound apologetic for what you may consider a high price and don't take it upon yourself to determine what is expensive to someone may very well be mistaken.

Never ask "closed" questions during the selling process. Closed questions are those requiring only a simple yes or no answer...such as "do you want this mounted?". Dealing with an objection of "what is mounting?" or "what's the difference between mounting and fitting?" or "does it have to be mounted?" simply refers you back to that framed buckled poster you have as that visual example on your wall.

As professionals striving to earn a living, we seldom turn any job away, even a mounting project we are

insecure of. There are many sources for mounting assistance as well as conservators capable of helping you solve fearful problems, and it is always better to contact a specialist when in doubt. So this year for you professionals I'll be one of your sources covering topics on wet, spray and dry mounting; more on laminating; photographs; fabrics; creativity; and profit potential too after all "the issue is...mounting".

Copyright © 1993 Chris A Paschke

For more articles on mounting basics look under the mounting section in Articles by Subject.
Additional information on all types of mounting is found in:
The Mounting and Laminating Handbook, Second Edition, 2002,
The Mounting And Laminating Handbook, Third Edition, 2008 and
Creative Mounting, Wrapping, And Laminating, 2000 will teach you everything you need to know about getting the most from your dry mount equipment and materials as an innovative frame designer.

All books are available from Designs Ink Publishing through this website.

Chris A Paschke, CPF GCF
Designs Ink
Designs Ink Publishing
785 Tucker Road, Suite G-183
Tehachapi, CA 93561
P 661-821-2188