Welcome To Signs101.com: Largest Forum for Signmaking Professionals

Signs101.com: Largest Forum for Signmaking Professionals is the LARGEST online community & discussion forum for professional sign-makers and graphic designers.


  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Any advice appreciated!

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by SBowlerDesign, Nov 18, 2006.

  1. SBowlerDesign

    SBowlerDesign Member

    Nov 16, 2006
    I am looking to reinvent myself a little after a job layoff a year and a half ago. Graphic Designer by trade (no permanent jobs available in area - at least for an old guy - since when are we expected to retire at 48?) I have training in traditional art mediums, and have been carving for the last 10 years. I have done a few hand-carved signs for people and have really enjoyed it. Do you think it is possible to make a living at this? I have no desire to do any other type of signs (no vinyl or one-dimensional). Any advice, opinions or direction is appreciated.
  2. Pro Signs & Graphix

    Pro Signs & Graphix Very Active Member

    Apr 18, 2006
    Yes, there is money in it.

    Congratulations, on the early retirement (even though you still feel like 20 !LOL!)

    If you have the talent, put it to work for yourself, and not others. Sometimes it takes things like this to make us realize our destiny and purpose.
  3. Ken

    Ken Major Contributor

    Feb 7, 2005
    Welcome to S101!
    We have a local guy who is a world-class carver. His work mostly goes into log homes but he commands a very respectable commission for his work.
    So that may be another avenue you can persue with your carving.
    Good luck.
  4. Just Another Sign Guy

    Just Another Sign Guy Very Active Member

    Jun 19, 2004
    just like anything you can have all the tools in the world, an abundance of knowledge...but none of it will make you a dime if you can't sell the services or products you are capable of offering.

    Identify your target market, a couple that come to mind for handcarved signs would be, homeowners (family name/address signs), businesses that are concerned with having a sign that fits in with a more natural environment (golf courses, ski resorts/lodges, game reserves), businesses that want to portrait a "classic" craftsman type feel rather than the mass produced computer generated (artisans/glassblowers/potters, boatbuilders), restaurants. these are just a few ideas off the top of my head of course there are many more.

    this is a service that you can charge a premium for as there is very little competition compared to some other areas of the sign industry and it is a product that customers will pay more for.

    identify who you want to do work for, make samples that would appeal to them, and get out there and sell it.
  5. OldPaint

    OldPaint Major Contributor

    advice(from a 61 yr old)
    dont take wooden nickels,
    dont pee into the wind,
    dont mess witha nother mans wife.
    don't pull the mask off that old lone ranger
    dont tug on supermans cape........
    and that and $1.50...will getcha a cupocoffee anywhere....
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2006
  6. Pro Signs & Graphix

    Pro Signs & Graphix Very Active Member

    Apr 18, 2006
    Okay I'll bite
    Do you remember those?:smile:
    I guess that is an oops:Oops: :Big Laugh
    Why not?:rolleyes:
    Again, why not?:rolleyes:

    Now, in relation to this thread.....

    One of my old mentors taught me long ago that new technology eventually forces the prior generations out of most businesses. To an extent he was correct, when the transitions start to occur.

    What he did not know, because he himself was not really old enough (50 year old speaking to a 16 year old), was that the "old" stuff is rarely if ever learned by the newer cutting edge generations. After every technological transition is complete, a transformation occurs. This transformation turns what was once ordinary and competitive into something extraordinary that commands more money than ever.

    SBowler - if ya got it - use it!
  7. OldPaint

    OldPaint Major Contributor

    "Any advice, opinions or direction is appreciated."
    so i gave "any" advice.....most is from a jim crochee song..."dont mess round with jim"!!!! reworded a bit......
    as for wooden nickels....nooooo iam not that old, but i have seen wooden "round-to-its."
  8. iSign

    iSign Major Contributor

    Nov 29, 2003
    Kahului, Maui
    the title was "Bad, Bad Leroy Brown"
  9. PMG

    PMG Very Active Member

    Feb 1, 2005
    LOL Op must be token on a # and digging on the radio!!!!! O wait thats The CDB
  10. mladams7259

    mladams7259 Very Active Member

    Sep 7, 2006
    doug, Bad, Bad Leroy Brown was Another song. OldPaint is right. It was Dont Mess Around With Jim. Two seperate songs.
  11. OldPaint

    OldPaint Major Contributor

    Uptown's got its hustlers
    The Bowry's got its bums
    Forty-second street's got Big Jim Walker
    He's a pool-shootin' son of a gun
    Well he's big and dumb as a man can come
    But he's stronger than a country hoss
    And when the bad folks all get together at night
    You know they all call Big Jim "boss"
    (Just because ...)
    (They say ...)
    You don't tug on Superman's cape
    You don't spit into the wind
    You don't pull the mask of the old Lone Ranger
    And you don't mess around with Jim
    (Ba-doo-da-doo-doo doo-doo-doo-doo doot)
    Well out of South Alabama come a country boy
    He said I'm lookin' for a man named Jim
    I am a pool-shootin' boy, my name is Willie McCoy
    But back home they call me Slim
    He said I'm lookin' for the king of forty-second street
    He's drivin' a drop-top Cadillac
    And last week he took all my money, and it may sound funny
    But I come to get my money back
    (And everybody say, Jack -- don't you know that...)
    Well a hush fell over the pool room
    When Jimmy come boppin' in off the street
    And when the cuttin' was done, the only part that wasn't bloody
    Was the soles of the big man's feet
    He was cut in 'bout a hundred places
    And he was shot in a couple more
    And you better believe they sung a different kind of story
    When Big Jim hit the floor
    (And now they say)
    You don't tug on Superman's cape
    You don't spit into the wind
    You don't pull the mask of the old Lone Ranger
    And you don't mess around with Slim
  12. Ken

    Ken Major Contributor

    Feb 7, 2005
    OK..OP.. hope it's not windy in Florida.. you might have to change those speedos..
  13. OldPaint

    OldPaint Major Contributor

    I LOVE THAT SONG....just so happens my wife was arrested in jackson miss. in the 70's her and her then husband had 2 joints in their possession. wife hate that song....
    I was takin a trip out to L.A.
    Toolin along in my cheverolet
    Tokin on a number and diggin on the radio

    Just as I crossed the Mississippi line
    I heard that highway start to whine
    And I knew that left rear tire was about to blow

    Well the spare was flat and I got uptight
    Cause there wasn't a filling station in sight
    So I just limped on down the shoulder on the rim

    I went as far as I could and when I stopped the car
    It was right in front of this little bar
    Kind of a red-neck lookin joint called the Dew Drop Inn

    I stuffed my hair up under my hat
    And told the bartender that I had a flat
    And ywould he be kind enough to give me change for a one

    There was one thing I was sure proud to see
    There wasn't a soul in the place except for him and me
    He just looked disgusted and pointed toward the telephone

    I called up the station down the road a ways
    He said he wasn't very busy today
    And he could have somone out there in just about 10 minutes or so

    He said," Now, you just stay right where yer at!"
    And I didn't bother to tell the darn fool
    That I sure as hell didn't have anyplace else to go

    So I ordered up a beer and sat down at the bar
    When some guy walked in and said, "Who owns this car
    With the peace sign, the mag wheels and the four on the floor?"

    He looked at me and I damn near died
    And I decided that I'd just wait outside
    So I laid a dollar on the bar and headed for the door

    Just when I wthought I'd get outta there with my skin
    These 3 big dudes come strollin in
    With one old drunk chick and some fella with green teeth

    Now the last thing I wanted was to get into a fight
    In Jackson Mississippi on a Saturday night
    Especially when there was three of them and only one of me

    I was almost to the door when the biggest one
    Said, "You tip your hat to this lady, son!"
    And when I did, all that hair fell out from underneath

    They all started laughin and I felt kinda sick
    And I knew I better think of something pretty quick
    So I just reached out and kicked old green teeth right in the knee

    Now he let out a yell that'd curl yer hair
    But before he could move I grabbed me a chair
    And said "Now watch him Folks cause he's a fairly dangerous man!"

    "You may not know it but this man is a spy.
    He's a undercover agent for the FBI
    And he's been sent down here to infiltrate the Ku Klux Klan!"

    He was still bent over holdin on to his knee
    But everybody else was looking and listening to me
    And I laid it on thicker hand heavier as I went

    "He's a friend of them long haired, hippy-type, pinko fags!
    I betchya he's even got a commie flag
    tacked up on the wall inside of his garage."

    "He's a snake in the grass, I tell ya guys.
    He may look dumb but that's just a disguise,
    He's a mastermind in the ways of espionage"

    "Would you believe this man has gone as far
    As tearing Wallace stickers off the bumpers of cars.
    And he voted for George McGovern for President."

    They started lookin real suspicious at him
    He jumped up and said "Now just wait a minute Jim!
    You know he's lying I been living here all of my life!"

    "I'm a faithful follower of Brother John Birch
    And I belong to the Antioch Baptist Church.
    And I aint even got a garage, you can call home and ask my wife!"

    Then he started saying somethin bout the way I was dressed
    But I didn't wait around to hear the rest
    I was too busy moving and hoping I didn't run outta luck

    When I hit the door I was making tracks
    And they were just taking my car down off the jacks
    So I threw the man a twenty and jumped in and fired that mother up

    Mario Andretti wouldda sure been proud
    Of the way I was movin when I passed that crowd
    Coming out the door and headed toward me at a trott

    Now I guess I should of gone ahead and run
    But somehow I just couldn't resist the fun
    Of chasing them all just once around the parking lot

    I had them all out there steppin and fetchin
    Like their heads was on fire and their asses was catchin
    then I figgered I had better go ahead and split before the cops got there

    When I hit the road I was really wheelin
    Had gravel flyin and rubber squeelin
    And I didn't slow down till I was almost to Arkansas

    I think I'm gonna reroute my trip
    I wonder if anybody'd think I'd flipped
    If I went to L.A., via Omaha
  14. iSign

    iSign Major Contributor

    Nov 29, 2003
    Kahului, Maui

    I guess I got my "junkyard dog" mixed up with superman & the lone ranger. :rolleyes:

    ...but anyways, while we're at it...

  15. iSign

    iSign Major Contributor

    Nov 29, 2003
    Kahului, Maui

    well, before anyone cries :thread
    ... both them songs are about "carving" ...sorta :tongue:
  16. Just Another Sign Guy

    Just Another Sign Guy Very Active Member

    Jun 19, 2004
    and the most legible thing OP has ever posted, maybe he should copy and paste everything :) still love you OP but if i splurge on a Xmas present for you i dont know if i should invest the money in huked on fonics or a dictionary...
  17. Checkers

    Checkers Very Active Member

    Jul 24, 2003
    LOL Dan. The scarry part is you can still understand what he says(types).

    Hey Bowler,
    Dan's original comments were on the right track. Do your self a favor and put a business plan together to see if it would be a worth while investment of your time and resources.
    Making signs is easy - as you can tell by the popularity of this board. However, running a sign business is a definite challenge.

  18. SBowlerDesign

    SBowlerDesign Member

    Nov 16, 2006
    Thanks, everyone, for your advice. My main worry is the business side of making signs. Any special advice on that? Books or anything else you all might recommend to help with a business plan? That has always been a weakness of mine (definitely work from the other side of the brain!)
  19. gROUND cHUCK

    gROUND cHUCK Member

    Jun 10, 2005
    Have you ever thought of doing Arts and Crafts festivals. Doing this, you can carve what you like and when ever you want. Then just sell it all in one place. Though, you may need to keep your day job for a little while, in order to have a steady cash flow.
  20. Just Another Sign Guy

    Just Another Sign Guy Very Active Member

    Jun 19, 2004
    well Sbowler at least you are thinking about this in the correct manner in my opinion. Any business who fails to write a business plan is planning to fail in my opinion...of course some get lucky.

    I would start by writing your goals for your business, financial and other. The types of products you are going to offer and to whom. I would do some research on your local area and make sure that it can support the type of work that you want to do and reach your goals or if you are going to need to increase the area in which you need to offer your services and if so how you intend to do that. from there look at your goals and outline how you are going to achieve them. this is a brief outline of how to get started there is much more to be added and literally many books have been written on the subject so i will save you the space.

    in addition almost every community has a organization (sometimes more than one) that will help you with the startup planning of your business (often at no cost to you) and i would recommend that you search them out, they can be a incredible resource.

    beyond clarifying your thoughts and outlining your goals a business plan is a great tool for keeping you focused on what you want to achieve and how you intend to do so, from initial start up to actually being in operation. if you are going to need additional funding from outside sources make sure to include all of the pertinent information, if you are doing this only for yourself and to give yourself a realistic plan there is alot of technical stuff that you can simplify...however, at the very least give all of those items serious thought.

Share This Page