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Charging too much?

Discussion in 'Sales, Marketing, Pricing Etc.' started by Dice, Jan 8, 2015.

  1. Dice

    Dice Active Member

    Jun 23, 2008
    I just lost a quote and i'm scratching my head a bit. 1100 4" x 5" white vinyl cut lettering with masking. Design is fairly easy to weed. 13 letters with a simple logo.

    I lost it to someone at $.62 each. I was more than 2x that, about 11 hours of weeding time was my estimate.
  2. HDvinyl

    HDvinyl Trump 2020

    Nov 20, 2008
    halfway house.
    China needs work too.
  3. MikePro

    MikePro Major Contributor

    Feb 3, 2010
    Racine, WI
    same materials?
    lose bids all the time, just to find out they're using $.26psf calendared vinyl vs. my $.80psf 3M cast.

    BIG EASY DOES IT Very Active Member

    Mar 14, 2011
    We loose quotes from time to time and this is usually the culprit. Either this or a guy at home only quoting for material and markup because he will sit at home and weed and doesn't care about time spent.
  5. Mosh

    Mosh Major Contributor

    Oct 19, 2009
    calendered and die cut, I don't even quote car dealer decals anymore, no way to compete.
  6. FatCat

    FatCat Very Active Member

    Feb 12, 2007
    Columbus, Ohio
    I don't think it's always about material, sometimes it's about the production method. For instance, flatbed printing vs. roll to roll printing is much cheaper overall and often times prices are less than half on the retail end depending on the product.

    For some shops they thrive on large volume cut vinyl, but they aren't doing it with a vinyl cutter, they do it with an old offset platen press. (See video below about 2 minutes in...) The key is that a die is made which is then applied to the press, heated and when the vinyl is put under pressure the vinyl is cut or more precisely, melted away. Weeding is almost effortless except for the small leftovers inside of letters. (O, A, P, etc)


    So in reality, you're probably OK on that price, and if you were competing with someone else that had the same equipment as you it would be closer. However, I would bet that price from someone like the guys above, or it is possible someone is working out of their garage or basement and just giving away their time.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 9, 2015
  7. Z SIGNS

    Z SIGNS Very Active Member

    Feb 14, 2009
    Trenton NJ
    It's hard to make money with a plotter since there is on on every corner.

    It's even harder trying to sell something that has no value.
  8. Gino

    Gino Premium Subscriber

    Jun 7, 2006
    When you calculate the amount of material, cutting time and your 11 hours of weeding and taping up...... you're running at about $115 an hour, plus materials. The other guy's price is more like $50 an hour plus materials. Doesn't sound bad to me. Not my cup a tea, but if you're interested in that work, you might have to lower your standards to compete, cause I see a lotta people on here going for $35 and hour and others seem fine with it.

    Wanna make big/bigger bucks/profits, then look for bigger jobs and use something like this as filler, then you can compete sometimes.

    The title of this thread is very appropriate...... and especially for the time frame we're in with our present economy. Yes, I think too many people, because they are hurting are raising their prices to make up for loses. If people were making a more even keeled living, the big ones and the little ones will just work out in the wash. So, if someone really needs the money, they tack a little extra on, but the next guy doesn't. Is that fair ?? Sure, it's all fair in business. That's why competing against lowballers, hacks and brokers generally is no problem for us. They can't do what we do, which is mostly quality and service. Just got a job today from a doctor's office over in the ritzy part of town to come look at a job. Sounds like it might come to about $800 or $1,000 to letter some doors and a window, but the other two shops dropped the ball several times. Therefore, no matter we come in at, we're gonna look like a White Knight.
  9. ddarlak

    ddarlak Trump Hater

    He probably was just trying to make a payment on his machine...
  10. Accelerated Graphics

    Accelerated Graphics Active Member

    Jan 11, 2005
    A run like that is when you need an account with Stouse. With the die charge that's about the correct price and you could pocket $290.00 profit and only write a PO and pay the bill..
  11. Dice

    Dice Active Member

    Jun 23, 2008
    Thanks Fat Cat, that was an very excellent video! It is very possible I am competing with a method like that, could be competing directly with that company. I had no idea there was another method like that.

    I knew you could do flexo but designs like we do in the sign industry are not compatible with the flexo weeding process, most of the time.

    Gino you could also be right on the money as well. I did not know we were down to $35 an hour in the industry. Very enlightening.
  12. Craig Sjoquist

    Craig Sjoquist Major Contributor

    Jun 18, 2004
    Of course I laugh at these kind of threads, Because in 19 85 when PCs & Gerber 4B, Spirit, & others hit the market I watched prices drop like a rock in water & quality of advertising also.

    After this the industry lost alot good sign industry people over the years to all this mess computer aided advertising brought with it & now it has been your turn for many years & will go on even more.

    I am waiting for the next generation of digital advertising to hit the market & wipe a good portion of ya out mainly because of cost & education needed.

    Yes it is sad about how price really defines the business of sign advertising instead of quality of advertising & I really do not know how or if it will ever change but in real ya just got to find your market & fight for fair & profitable prices.. No sale just move on & search out your market & fight harder, because in real people will have million dollar inventory & only want to spend $50 on advertising it.

    One big reason I just go after hand painted advertising & search & try new markets to sell my talent. Not going for all that stress of someone sold them to cheap to make a profit for me I have had enough of that even though I still get hit with it.

    Good luck people wait till ya see what will replace ya.
  13. Gino

    Gino Premium Subscriber

    Jun 7, 2006
    After seeing this again and again and again, I need to make/voice an observation.

    I see many people here, young and old alike, put down the computer age people doing this stuff. I come from the era of a can of paint, brush kit for a bench and letter away with a cigarette hanging out my mouth and getting paid for a talent not many others could do. However, there were their fair share of hand painters who were rather lousy at what they did, but still got paid, cause they were cheaper, so in that sense, nothing's changed.

    If I was doing this the way the old timers did it.... do you really want to mix your own paints ?? Did you ever use a real air brush with a foot pedal or hand held bellow ?? Everything was created from your head to your hands. As progress progressed, our tools got better and better making everything easier. Heck, they went from horses to cars to jets, why not let us have better tools, too ?? In the 80's the computer came out as a tool and for those of us that still use it as a tool, I see nothing wrong with using a tool to it's fullest capacity. In fact, I have all kinds of tools making life easier. I have air conditioners, microwaves, electric heat and hot water. 100 years ago, those were considered luxuries, now everyone has them. Now everyone.... in the sign industry has computers and lots of gimmicks and toys. If you use them well, price accordingly, why not make a buck ??

    Just because someone has bigger bucks than you and can get the latest toys, does not instantly equate to them lowballing or spiraling the industry downward. I sometimes look at not having paint under my fingernails all week long, my pants standing up in a corner with no one in them and not smelling like a turps rag is nice. Heck, I don't even stink the house up anymore. Do I miss the old days ?? Nope, not really. I'm not working near as hard, just smarter. I miss some of the people and fun times, but it's a new day and a new time and if you don't wanna roll with the punches, then roll out-of-the-way and make room for those of us who do. I'm getting longer in the tooth, but I still want to grow and expand.... and I'm not gonna get there mulling over the old ways of doing things. Sure, the old ways give one a good eye and a head on their shoulder for working this industry, but it's like that anywhere.

    Now, for those who can't draw a stick figure or color coordinate anything..... read and learn or also get mowed down as the rest of us shakers will run you the heck over and won't bat an eyelash.
  14. Jillbeans

    Jillbeans Major Contributor

    Dec 24, 2003
    Butler, PA
    I have pretty much stopped doing cut vynull for this very reason.
    There are so many hacks with plotters that it just isn't profitable. I also don't really enjoy doing it.

    I have had a shop rate of $75 per hour for about the past 15 years or so.
    Vynull costs me more to produce and takes a lot longer for me to do than paint, and everyone and their brother can puke it out for pennies on the dollar.

    Yes I know the economy sucks but I am not lowering my prices. That just further devalues a once-proud industry. Not knocking on computers at all. I love using one for designing, and cutting masks and such. But it did make it possible for anyone who could afford a plotter to become a "sign" maker.

    I have a big place just down the street from me that makes very cheap ugly signs and apparel. I lost my one big contract to them a few years ago, I bid at $750 and they did the entire job for $250. I can't compete with that nor will I.

    Right now I am working on a vinyl job for a manufacturer. (decals for their machines) They did get quotes from others, and they used to use someone else, comparably priced. But they love my services and opinions, so they chose me. They are one of the few clients for whom I'll still turn on my plotter.

    People these days usually only care about price. You can specify that you are using a better brand of material, or have better design skills, but most people just want it cheap. In the long run, this costs them money because they have to replace things more frequently than if they had gotten something of quality in the first place.

    I would never sell something that size for 62¢. It costs me the same to make one or 100. If someone is that dumb, let them have the job. I do like the idea of subbing it out. I do that with prints. But don't beat yourself up.

    Out of every 10 inquiries I get, I might get 1 job. It used to be about 8 out of 10.
  15. stickercuttingcom

    stickercuttingcom Member

    Oct 4, 2005
    Yea I remember the days when lawnmowers used to not have motors on them, now that they do, it's really sad what the industry has turned into...you don't even need muscles to mow the grass, back in the day, I used to have the biggest muscles, now I'm just watching my neighbor ride his lawn mower without any muscles and it's really sad what the industry has come to. I'm really waiting on the lawn mower industry to see it's next development so everyone will go out of business. I really hope they bring out digital mowers to cut the grass, where real skill and maybe some muscles are required to mow the grass again. This post made as much sense as the post above. :popcorn:
  16. Bly

    Bly Very Active Member

    Mar 9, 2004
    There will always be somebody cheaper... just move on.
  17. jtinker

    jtinker Owner

    Mar 30, 2012
    Here here,
    You will always lose a percentage of your bids. A good way to tell if youre pricing is accurate too.
  18. thewvsignguy

    thewvsignguy Active Member

    Feb 21, 2008
    Grantsville, MD
    This is so true....

    Attached Files:

  19. houseofgrafix

    houseofgrafix none

    Dec 27, 2007
    Really, 11 hours to weed?
    Maybe thats the problem
  20. Speedsterbeast

    Speedsterbeast Active Member

    Feb 1, 2010
    Thunder Bay

    Very Well said!
    And possibly a material difference- it's your job to educate the customer- and just because you have done it a million times does't mean you should expect to stop.
    And 11 hours may have been high- but then again I haven't learned yet how to properly estimate larger jobs

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