That's an interesting idea about the Vegas show. Hmmm. Probably can't afford it but as you say, it would be valuable to see so many examples in one place.
When I'd mentioned my local framer, that's what I actually have with her. She's basically charging me cost plus, as well as a cutting fee for the glass and mat. I get a case of 40x60" acid free foam core, cut that down and do the assembly myself, picking up from her the joined frames (which come joined from Larsen-Juhl) and the cut to size mat & glass. In exchange, she'd be getting a greater discount on her overall order which gives her more profit with her other customers. I just have no idea how much of a discount I might be getting and it changes with each order. My bill just comes as "custom framing, $4500". ...and its an hours drive each way, which means 4 hours total each time I make the order.
My December order with her came to about $4500 after tax which was for 15 pieces, pretty much based around getting the bulk discount on ordering 4 cases of 40x60 UltraVue glass (8 lites total). The moulding ranged in size from that for a 6x24" pano, to a pair of 24x36's. The six pano's (2 of each size with 2.5"-3.5" double matting) used a moderately expensive "ferrossa" moulding, and the rest were a moderately priced black moulding on 7, 16x24's and 2, 24x36's all with a single white or black mat of 6 inches.
3 of those 16x24's went out the door the day after I picked them up as they were for a commission, and 1 small pano and 1 large pano sold this month already, leaving me feeling a bit short on framed display pieces of my best seller. So i'm thinking of another order but perhaps not as large and so less of a discount. As well as my gallery, I still have 4 pieces three doors down in the cafe/restaurant which gets a tonne of exposure and send people to the gallery, as well as 1 medium pano down the street in a specialty deli with higher end clientelle.
Anyway, the online retailers looked roughly not far off price wise from what I'm getting, but I'd still have to get glass cut which I don't have the space for to do myself and Frames by Mail appears to have a silver metal moulding which seems popular that I had found initially over two years ago, but haven't seen since (it had come from Michaels then).
There is another ~300 square feet of office space here which makes sense for me to rent, but I just don't think I can carry the expense through the quiet time, and to rent that, it would make the most sense to then have a 44" printer and all the necessary framing tools. Which means more time framing.... and although I now have a large collection of framed pieces, my sales are still mostly loose prints, though that may perhaps be changing as my prices rise. This month in fact nearly all my sales were framed. 5 framed pieces went out the door (2 separate sales) to Calgary or local condos. All but 1 were 16x24" or larger. Hmm.... lots of decisions to make... and I'm still just scraping by... but I suppose i can drop everything on a moments notice if I want and go for a ski. Which i couldn't do if working for someone else.
The 4880's been churning out print after print for 3 years now and I think about the possibilty of it breaking down at any moment, so the investment in more space and a new bigger printer and some proper framing tools seems like the logical next step. Along with trying to generate sales online... lots of uncertainty though with quiet time coming up and uncertainty with the space too which is month to month at a low-ish rate in a building which may soon be sold. At some point too, I'll need to get more photos and a bit more of a life....
Profits? Not quite yet if I account for all my time. A meagre living though and my work is spreading and becoming well known. Maybe in a couple more
years... if i want to continue the time investment....