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Need Help Anybody know a good cut vinyl wholesaler?

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by Doug Allan, Oct 19, 2018.

  1. Doug Allan

    Doug Allan Member

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    I'm not exactly a new member, but I put this inquiry here because I am sorta new here...

    ...some folks here know me from Letterville, or from Gary's old Gerber Edge user site 4Edgetalk,com and briefly even that colorcut.com site Roland had before that. Some knew me as my evil twin iSign here for awhile.

    Anyway, by the time I hit 60, next February, I'm liking the idea of not doing signs anymore... at least not full time, & not the same way I used to.

    In the last 5 years, I've downsized significantly from 4,000 square feet of shop space, 2 or 3 employees, tons of shop tools, and sign equipment, and warehousing an extensive inventory of inks, thermal resins, vinyl colors, print & lam media & a plethora of sign panel & CNC substrates.

    Now I am a one man shop, I sold my CNC to the local "maker Space", so I can still rent time on it, and after 15 years of in house digital printing, I'm outsourcing all of that. I've always had others do my redwood glue-ups, and the actual blasting. I would even sub out more of my install work, if I were staying a little bit busier.

    Now, I want to find a source to sub out cut vinyl, because I've downsized so much already that I want to almost sidestep production work altogether, but without the headache of an employee.

    I've been far more satisfied with outsourcing my printing work, than I ever thought possible. For cut vinyl jobs, I used to have a huge wall full of color choices, but I've let that dwindle, and now I have so few colors & when I only need a small amount, the freight kills me, here in Maui!

    So that's my (sorta) new member intro, and my big ask.
    Anybody know a good cut vinyl wholesaler?
     
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  2. ChicagoGraphics

    ChicagoGraphics Major Contributor

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    Your best bet is to talk with a local sign shop that will cut your vinyl at a discount price.

    Although I'm not as old as you are I have done the samething, sold almost all my equipment and everything else and moved to China.
     
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  3. Kottwitz-Graphics

    Kottwitz-Graphics Very Active Member

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    Welcome back Doug. Glad to see you back active... I'd have to agree with Chicago Graphics... finding a wholesaler would be a way to go, but I'm sure the shipping would be a deal breaker...

    Perhaps, if you have the space, but some materials, a few different colors, and some application tape, and have another shop cut it, and you could weed and mask. Just my 2 pennies in the bucket.
     
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  4. Gene@mpls

    Gene@mpls Very Active Member

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    Good to see ya Doug- if you have a printer locally, do they cut their printed vinyl? I am retired but any color that is not worth stocking is printed and then cut. That is 80% of the work these days. Gene
     
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  5. Doug Allan

    Doug Allan Member

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    I see that SignCenter203 is a merchant here, that offers wholesale cut vinyl.
    Does anyone want to report back on their experiences with this company?

    I use Signs365 for most of my printing, but I really hate their stupid "round-up-yo-nearest-foot" policy, so I may have to shop & compare to find alternative sources for wholesale printing too...

    ...so I'm open to any feedback on print outsourcing too, from our merchant members, or any other sources... like 4over? I heard they offer sign vinyl printing now too... anyone here using them?
     
  6. 2CT Media

    2CT Media Major Contributor

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    Which vinyl do you order from signs365?
     
  7. Doug Allan

    Doug Allan Member

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    IJ-35C
     
  8. ChicagoGraphics

    ChicagoGraphics Major Contributor

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    I think most if not all wholesalers round it out to the next foot.
     
  9. kcollinsdesign

    kcollinsdesign Member

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    Hey Doug! Kevin from Illinois (back in the Hoffman Estates days).

    I am in the same situation as you. I outsource everything, but can't find anybody to do cut vinyl. So I keep an old 24" plotter and a limited supply of vinyl in my garage. It does get used quite a bit.

    I am moving my equipment to a friend's shop (not a sign guy). The local sign shops have always been friendly but un-cooperative. My attempts at directing work their way have usually not ended well. Fortunately for me, I am first and foremost an artist. All of the local shops are primarily crane operators or "quickie" print shops.

    I have zero problem finding all the work I want, but I find it is essential that I talk with the client myself. I have tried working with account managers (sales people) from other sign companies, but they generally are clueless when it comes to determining the real needs of the client. I end up doing stuff I don't want to do and is not in the best interest of the client. And when I go to the local sign shops with pre-sold fabrication and installation work, they want to charge me retail AND they try to steal my customers.

    I am fortunate to have a supportive business community and faithful clients. This model of working requires strong art and design skills and a deep "book". Youngsters getting into working this way will struggle. I advise them to go work for a sign shop for ten to twenty years first. Who knows what the sign business will look like then!
     
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  10. The Big Squeegee

    The Big Squeegee Major Contributor

    :welcome: 2 :signs101smilie: from OK.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  11. henryz

    henryz Member

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    Aprintco - Southgate CA.
     
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  12. Doug Allan

    Doug Allan Member

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    hey big squeegee... is that Dale? ..it's "iSign", from back in the day...

    ...remember my famous viral F-bomb testimonial of the big squeegee?
    hope all is well in OK
     
    • Like Like x 1
  13. Doug Allan

    Doug Allan Member

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    good to hear from you Kevin... I don;t think I've seen you, even online, since the Pontiac walldogs meet!

    yep, I don't have any interest in asking a competitor to do cut vinyl for me... I can already anticipate exactly what you found...
    oh well, looks like there may not be anyone doing that, on a large scale anyway. Might have to keep my 24' plotter too...

    will check a printco though
    aloha
     
  14. Doug Allan

    Doug Allan Member

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    YAY!!!
    THANKS HENRY!
    APRINTCO LOOKS LIKE A GOOD SOLUTION!
     
    • Like Like x 1
  15. henryz

    henryz Member

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    Hey Doug, an if you have something that they can't help you with let me know, I'm sure I can help you out. I have shipped stuff out there before.

    Henry Z
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  16. Jester1167

    Jester1167 Very Active Member

    No matter what, I think you would need a local source for the smaller one off jobs, or quit doing them all together. And what happens when you customer says " I messed up a couple of those, can I get 2 more?" Shipping would kill your margins and customer service even more than expensive local pricing??? Maybe try and source it from a different island to minimize the shipping and turn around and avoid them trying to steel your customers.

    We used to use Gregory for larger quanties of cut vinyl when we were busy. The also have a cheaper version of the 3M 7725 called Trendfilm 6500.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
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