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Anyone looking at their business differently now?

Discussion in 'General Chit-Chat' started by Stacey K, Apr 15, 2020.

  1. Stacey K

    Stacey K I like making signs

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    Just curious if anyone who is in "shut down" or doing work for just essential business is looking at their business differently? Since my door is locked, there are no more walk-ins...which means no more people looking for little jobs, no "personal" jobs. I am taking orders only electronically now and for the most part, for businesses only. What has this been like? IT'S BEEN GREAT. All of the jobs I've been doing have been a minimum of $100. I'm putting in less time and making more per hour. I don't go in every day, I go in for full days, get my work done and go home. I've had several calls for small jobs but I turn those down and tell them they have to wait until the "safer at home" ban is lifted (or maybe never). Going forward I'm looking at reducing my open hours, minimum $ for orders and adding basic and frequent items to my online store for pick up. I've really been utilizing my mail slot for payments and key/vehicle drop offs and my garage pick up area for pick ups. Not that I don't like interacting with customers but there are some times it isn't necessary.

    Has anyone else been finding this could make business different for them going forward? Would love to hear from larger shops with employees.
     
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  2. tony mansfield

    tony mansfield New Member

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    Market changes can definitely make you rethink your position. But remember if you change your business model, it may help now but long term, you may be doing more harm then good. The other side of the coin is, maybe you wanted or needed a change in you model. I know several businesses that have made the change, they work less but are more content..
     
  3. FatCat

    FatCat Very Active Member

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    I've been struggling as well with identity during this shutdown. We're not a big shop, we're not a small shop - but often times the bigger we get the more I wonder if it's really worth all the added stress and liability.

    Reminds me of this story...

    https://bemorewithless.com/the-story-of-the-mexican-fisherman/
     
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  4. Stacey K

    Stacey K I like making signs

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    That is an excellent story! Exactly the way this whole shut down has me feeling. Thank you for sharing, hopefully others will read it as well!
     
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  5. JetPress

    JetPress Member

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    Where I work at hasn't exactly gone on lock down. Schools, restaurants and barbershops are closed but everything seems to be running like normal. Business has slowed down for us but the people coming in are still ordering ordinary things such as NCR forms and business cards. Surprisingly majority of our sign orders have not been related to the pandemic. Hygiene wise my way of thinking has improved. Everyday before we open and after we close I disinfect our door handles, work stations, restroom, etc.
     
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  6. gabagoo

    gabagoo Major Contributor

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    I come in every day and do what little trickles in. My goal is to at least cover rent and utilities and I will be happy. I have worked for myself for about 35 years now and the most I ever took for a holiday was a week possibly twice a year. This shutdown and me coming in basically part time is sort of a glimpse into retirement. Can't wait to work full time again.
     
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  7. JBurton

    JBurton Signtologist

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    I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop. We have pretty much not been impacted. We only have 15 employees, but we do fab and install primarily, printing is really just for added elements to the fabrication side. Initially we had several jobs on hold, now all but 2 have been pushed ahead. Still we applied for the PPP loan, because if the gov is willing to make my payroll, I suppose I'll let them.
     
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  8. rjssigns

    rjssigns Major Contributor

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    I'm shut down for the most part. Not doing as much as before, but that will change once the Safer at Home is lifted. Regular clients know they can email/text and order and I'l set it outside or drop it off.
    Lots of my work got pushed into the future. As soon as the governor gives the okey dokey folks will exhale and push the order button. Going to be interesting.
     
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  9. greysquirrel

    greysquirrel Active Member

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    Never really advertised for walk in traffic...and family/friend jobs almost always become a headache one way or another. Recently been dabbling with social media. Who knew advertising actually works. Equipment and shop loaded for bear! But I am low overhead...its just me
     
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  10. johnnysigns

    johnnysigns Very Active Member

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    We've been doing the same thing although I'm coming into the shop roughly 30% of what is normal. I'm just trying to keep my head above water like everyone else until this ends. At this point, and I'm sure this is a shared sentiment, if I don't lose the business and can continue paying bills through this I'm happy.
     
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  11. StarSign

    StarSign Active Member

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    Our local business has slowed, however, our national business is still on track and we have work booked into next year (knock on wood).
     
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  12. Texas_Signmaker

    Texas_Signmaker Very Active Signmaker

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    When I was at a larger shop, having walks-in was a complete waste of time and $$. Now that I work from home I don't deal with that mess.

    Business has been picking up over the last few weeks. New business are opening and construction is moving forward. This month is actually looking like we'll be even with last year's April.
     
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  13. PapaT

    PapaT New Member

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    I have read several other versions of this story. What the story does not consider is that if the fisherman stayed out longer he could bring home more fish to sell to others who don't have any fish. He could then use the extra money to employ someone else who doesn't have a job. He could then afford a larger boat so the local boat builder can afford to buy more fish for his family, and then the fisherman can hire more locals who are out of work.

    My point is that if you don't want the stress and want to stay small that's fine. I made the same choice many times. But if you grow your business and serve the community, and employ people there is benefit in that too. It's not just about making money so we can retire rich. I am unemployed right now and would be very thankful for an employer who was willing to accept the stress to keep me employed.
     
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  14. Texas_Signmaker

    Texas_Signmaker Very Active Signmaker

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    I will say this that I've noticed since my work as been coming back.

    I rely on sign companies and small manufactures all over the place.. they are a lot more attentive to my requests now. Sign companies are itching to give me my bids back quickly and I just got off the phone of an engraver of ADA signs and they are ready to accept the work! Seems only a few months ago no one could be bothered with any new work coming in. Humbling to say the least.
     
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  15. JBurton

    JBurton Signtologist

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    You found a job that let's you spec engraved ADA?! I thought all them architects had gotten together to push thermoformed exclusively. "Signs to be of one piece construction..." just makes me bang my head on the desk!
     
  16. Texas_Signmaker

    Texas_Signmaker Very Active Signmaker

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    Never knew anything about thermoformed signs. Just Googled it and learned something.
     
  17. JBurton

    JBurton Signtologist

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    We go for the rotary engraved style in house, anything thermoformed is outsourced, and trying to get a call back from an architect on something so 'trivial' is impossible. Even when you tell them you can alter signs after the initial job for $25 each, two day wait time, vs $100 each and however long it takes to fab and ship.
     
  18. Texas_Signmaker

    Texas_Signmaker Very Active Signmaker

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    Doesn't even seem like visually there is a big difference. I have to correct myself, I'm not getting engraved, it's that rowmark plastic applique or however they call it, plastic over plastic with braille. I looked into a machine that does it but I'd be better to leave it to people that do that stuff all day.
     
  19. Zendavor Signs

    Zendavor Signs Member

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    Over the course of a number of years, I kept bumping up the minimum order to accomplish this exactly. I am now happy with where I am at (I have 5 employees BTW). I was very careful in doing this, because it did offend a number of customers. The key is to do it slowly and intentionally. You lose your bottom end of customers as you gain on the top end. This is assuming, of course, that you are building up your top end. We can't be choosy to take higher-dollar jobs just cuz. I worked my tail off learning creative design and how high-end signage is built, educated myself on ADA signage, etc. Gain as much knowledge as you can about what you want to go after. I stopped showing certain types of signs in my literature and social media. I may do those kinds of signs if asked, but I will not promote them. Good luck!
     
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  20. Jeremiah

    Jeremiah Member

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    Today at 1 pm pilot truck stop in van horn tx, sign company service truck and bucket truck 6 workers to clean bird crap off the top of the sign.
     
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