How to Start a Framing Business from Scratch

Are you passionate about art, design, and bringing cherished moments to life? If so, starting your own framing business might be the perfect endeavor for you.

As a framing entrepreneur, you have the opportunity to blend creativity with business acumen, creating stunning custom frames that preserve memories and elevate artwork.

Whether you dream of showcasing beautiful gallery pieces or providing bespoke framing services to a growing clientele, this comprehensive guide will walk you through the essential steps on how to start a successful framing business.

Is there money in picture framing?

Is there money in picture framing?

Yes, there is money to be made in the picture framing industry. While the profitability of a framing business can vary depending on factors such as location, target market, competition, and overall business strategy, picture framing can be a lucrative endeavor for several reasons such as;

  1. Growing Demand: The demand for picture framing remains steady as people continue to value preserving and displaying their cherished memories, artworks, and photographs(especially family photographs). From personal keepsakes to professional artwork, there is a constant need for high-quality framing services.
  2. Customization and Personalization: Custom framing offers customers the opportunity to personalize their artwork and display it in a way that suits their style and preferences. This customization aspect allows framing businesses to charge premium prices for their services.
  3. Higher Margins: Picture framing can have higher profit margins compared to many other retail businesses. By offering specialized framing services and unique designs, framing businesses can justify higher prices for their products and services.
  4. Repeat Business and Referrals: Satisfied customers often return for future framing needs and also refer their friends, family, and colleagues. Building a strong customer base and fostering positive word-of-mouth can lead to a consistent stream of business and increased revenue over time.
  5. Upselling Opportunities: Framing businesses have opportunities to upsell customers on additional products and services. This can include offering premium materials, special finishes, protective glazing options, and other framing enhancements that can further enhance the value and appeal of the framed pieces.
  6. Collaborations and Partnerships: By establishing collaborations with local artists, photographers, galleries, and interior designers, framing businesses can tap into new markets and benefit from referrals and joint promotional efforts, expanding their customer base and revenue potential.

How to Start a Framing Business

How to Start a Framing Business

1. Knowledge and Skills

Knowledge and skills play a crucial role in the success of a framing business.

To excel in the framing industry, it’s essential to have a solid understanding of various framing techniques.

This includes knowing how to properly measure, cut, and join frames, as well as mount and secure artwork within them.

Familiarity with different framing materials, such as wood or metal frames, mat boards, glass, and mounting tapes, allows you to make informed decisions based on the needs of each project.

Understanding design principles, such as color theory, balance, and composition, enables you to create visually appealing and harmonious frame designs that complement the artwork.

Artwork comes in various forms, including paintings, photographs, prints, textiles, and more.

Each type of artwork requires specific handling and protection methods to ensure its preservation and longevity.

Knowledge of how to handle, clean, and protect different mediums is crucial to avoid damage during the framing process.

Factors like light exposure, humidity, and temperature control also need to be considered to safeguard the artwork from potential deterioration.

By possessing the necessary knowledge and skills in framing techniques, materials, design principles, artwork handling, and protection, you can deliver high-quality framing services.

2. Location and Equipment

Location and equipment are two essential aspects of starting a framing business. Let’s break down what each entails:


Choosing the right location for your framing business is crucial for its success. Consider the following factors when selecting a suitable location for your framing business;

  • Foot traffic: Look for a location with a good amount of pedestrian traffic, as this can attract potential customers and increase visibility for your business.
  • Accessibility: Ensure that your location is easily accessible for customers, with convenient parking options and proximity to public transportation if possible.
  • Proximity to potential customers: Identify your target market and choose a location that is close to areas where your potential customers reside or frequent. This can include areas with art galleries, photography studios, or interior design firms.

By strategically selecting a location with favorable foot traffic, accessibility, and proximity to your target market, you can increase the chances of attracting customers and generating business for your framing services.


Acquiring the necessary equipment is essential for operating a framing business. Here are some of the key equipment and materials you will need for your framing business;

  1. Framing tools: Invest in framing tools such as miter saws, mat cutters, framing jigs, rulers, measuring tapes, and clamps. These tools will assist you in accurately measuring, cutting, and assembling frames.
  2. Cutting equipment: Depending on your business needs and preferences, you may need cutting equipment like a mat cutter or a computerized mat cutter for precise mat cutting.
  3. Mat boards: Stock up on a variety of mat boards in different colors, textures, and thicknesses. Mat boards are used to create borders around artwork within the frame, adding aesthetic appeal and protection.
  4. Glazing materials: Choose from a range of glazing materials such as glass, acrylic, or UV-protective glazing. These materials provide a protective layer for the artwork, safeguarding it from dust, moisture, and UV damage.
  5. Hanging hardware: Have a selection of hanging hardware, including hooks, wires, D-rings, and screws, to securely mount and hang the framed artwork.
  6. Computer and design software: Depending on your workflow and customer preferences, you may need a computer with design software to assist in creating frame designs, mat layouts, and visualizing the final product.

By having the necessary equipment and materials in place, you can efficiently and effectively provide framing services to your customers, ensuring high-quality craftsmanship and professional results.

3. Workspace Setup

Setting up your workspace properly is crucial for the smooth operation of your framing business. In setting up your workspace, these areas must be put in place in other to have an organized workspace that will lead to efficient production and a professional working environment;

  • Ample lighting: Ensure that your workspace has adequate lighting. Good lighting is essential for accurate measurements, cutting, and assembling frames, as well as for inspecting the quality of your work. Natural light or a combination of natural and artificial lighting can be beneficial.
  • Safety measures: Prioritize safety in your workspace. Implement safety measures such as proper ventilation, fire extinguishers, first aid kits, and safety protocols for handling tools and materials. This will help prevent accidents and create a safe working environment for you and your staff.
  • Cutting tables: Set up cutting tables where you can measure, cut, and assemble frames. Ensure that the tables are at a suitable height to minimize strain on your back and arms while working.
  • Design station: If you use design software or computerized mat cutters, create a designated area with a computer, printer, and other necessary equipment. This station can be used for designing, creating mat layouts, and printing design templates.
  • Storage Shelves: Install storage shelves to organize and store framing materials, such as frames, mat boards, glass, and mounting tapes. Categorize the materials by type, size, or color to easily locate and access them when needed. This will help streamline the framing process and ensure efficient use of space.
  • Display Areas: Allocate space for displaying finished products, such as framed artwork or examples of different framing styles and options. Having a visually appealing display area allows potential customers to see your craftsmanship and can inspire them to choose your services for their framing needs.

By setting up your workspace in an organized manner, you create an environment that promotes productivity, safety, and professionalism. An organized workspace helps you work efficiently, reduces errors, and enhances the overall customer experience.

Remember to regularly maintain and clean your workspace to ensure it remains organized and clutter-free. This will contribute to a positive working atmosphere and help you deliver high-quality framing services.

4. Navigating the Business Side

Navigating the business aspects of any enterprise requires satisfying key entities, including the government, customers, and suppliers. Let’s explore how you can effectively please these three stakeholders:

1. The Government:

To ensure compliance with government regulations, it is advisable to register your business with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC). Starting as an enterprise is a recommended initial step. As your business grows, both online and offline, it becomes crucial to protect yourself from personal liability by transitioning to a Limited Liability Company (LLC). Fortunately, operating a framing business in Nigeria does not require any specific licenses mandated by the government.

Read More: How to Register a Business Name in Nigeria in 7 Easy Steps

2. Customers:

In the framing business, the adage “Customers are King” holds true. Customer satisfaction is achieved when the value you offer aligns with your pricing, and you deliver excellent customer service.

To establish an appropriate pricing structure, conduct a comprehensive analysis of your costs, including materials, labor, overhead expenses, and desired profit margins. Consider market rates, the perceived value of your services, and the pricing strategies of your competitors. Striking a balance between competitiveness and covering costs with reasonable profits is essential. Offering different pricing tiers or packages can cater to diverse customer budgets and preferences.

Effective customer service is paramount. Aim to provide a seamless and personalized experience from the moment customers inquire about your services until the completion of their framing projects. Train your staff to be knowledgeable, friendly, and attentive to customer needs. Clear and transparent communication, prompt responses, and reliable project completion timelines are crucial. Regularly seek feedback to improve your service and promptly address any concerns. Going above and beyond to exceed customer expectations can lead to positive reviews, repeat business, and referrals.

3. Suppliers:

To effectively satisfy your customers, efficient inventory management is vital. Keep track of framing materials such as frames, mats, glass, adhesives, and hanging hardware. Maintain optimal stock levels by monitoring sales trends, seasonal variations, and popular framing options.

Implementing a reliable inventory management system or software helps you track inventory, streamline reordering processes, and avoid stockouts or excess inventory. This allows you to please suppliers by having a well-planned budget to meet their supply requirements. Timely payments and placing orders before running out of stock (rather than making urgent demands) prevent your customers from seeking inferior alternatives and ensure a positive relationship with suppliers.

By successfully pleasing these important stakeholders in the framing business, you will gain a competitive advantage, garner high esteem from customers, and foster strong relationships with suppliers.

5. Marketing and Promotion

Marketing and promotion are crucial for attracting customers and growing your framing business. It can be termed the icing on a cake.

In marketing and promoting your framing business there are numerous strategies that can be implemented both online and offline.

But, among the various options available, here are the most effective marketing and promotional channels to utilize:

  1. Online Presence:

In today’s digital era, it is crucial to establish a robust online presence. Begin by developing a professional website that highlights your framing services, offers comprehensive information about your business, and showcases captivating visuals of your work.

To enhance visibility in online searches, optimize your website for search engines using effective SEO techniques. Leverage popular social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest to share stunning images of your framed artwork and actively engage with prospective customers.

Additionally, consider allocating resources to paid online advertising such as pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns, which can heighten your visibility on search engines and social media platforms.

  1. Local Listings and Directories:

Ensure that your framing business is listed on popular local directories, such as Google My Business, Yelp, and Yellow Pages.

These platforms make it easier for potential customers to find your business when searching for framing services in their area.

Claim and optimize your listings by providing accurate contact information, business hours, and engaging descriptions.

  1. Word-of-Mouth Referrals:

Motivate your satisfied customers to share their positive experiences and promote your framing business.

Offer referral incentives, such as discounts on future purchases or free upgrades, to motivate customers to recommend your services to their friends, family, and colleagues.

Strive to provide exceptional customer experiences that go above and beyond expectations.

By delivering outstanding service, you can generate positive reviews and testimonials that hold significant sway in the decision-making process of potential customers.

  1. Collaborations and Partnerships:

Forge partnerships with complementary businesses, such as art galleries, interior designers, or photographers.

Collaborate on joint promotions, cross-refer customers, or even offer bundled services to attract a wider customer base. This mutually beneficial approach can help expand your reach and tap into new markets.

  1. Local Events and Exhibitions:

Participate in local art events, exhibitions, or trade shows to showcase your framing expertise. Set up a booth or display your work to attract the attention of art enthusiasts, collectors, and potential customers.

Engage with visitors, provide information about your services, and offer exclusive event discounts or promotions to incentivize immediate purchases.

Remember, consistency is key in marketing and promotion.

6. Source Finance

Financial resources are crucial when starting a framing business. If you don’t have sufficient personal funds, you may need to explore financing options to secure the necessary funds. Some common options include:

  1. Loans
  2. Grants
  3. Investors (family and friends inclusive)

Remember to create a detailed financial plan that includes startup costs, ongoing expenses, and revenue projections. This will help you assess the amount of funding you need and demonstrate your financial viability to potential lenders or investors.


Final Thoughts on Starting a Framing Business

Keep in mind that launching a framing business demands dedication, meticulousness, and a continuous pursuit of knowledge.

Stay informed about the latest industry trends, explore new framing techniques, and be willing to adapt your strategies to align with ever-changing customer preferences.

By persevering through challenges, upholding a commitment to excellence, and nurturing a genuine passion for the art of framing, you can establish a flourishing business that brings delight, beauty, and enduring memories to your valued customers.

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