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Dealing with hostile competition

Discussion in 'Business Management' started by DynamicVinyl, Sep 4, 2012.

  1. DynamicVinyl

    DynamicVinyl New Member

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    Hi, I started my First Sign Studio this year, with my 8+ yrs of experience, and my college/trade school background of commercial printing.

    I got my experience in the sign business under 2 local shops. The first, I worked at for 2, almost 3 years exclusively. I stared at $150 bucks a week, an dmostly just hungout all the time. within a year I had surpassed his knowledge in the business and was running all of the business' operations, except for pricing and quotes. And built it from a kitchen-run hobby to a full-time shop with its own building, sponsored race car etc. and never got a raise once, just kept being told i would get the shop when he passed away. (I was young and dumb)

    Then I began a full-time position for his only other competitor, for $10/hr. All the while-still working for my old employer on an as needed basis, and told the later, that i would be doing so when i was hired.
    Within 3 months, i had absorbed the shop manager's job functions along with my own as lead application/weed/installation man. I eliminated his position, saving my new employer thousands a year, and organized a new filing and job tracking systems that they still use. I was teaching a guy with 20+ yrs of experience, how to be better, cheaper, and faster, without sacrificing quality. And after a year had saved the owner $50,000 a yr in expenses, and raised their average profit from $185,000 a yr (based on the 10 yrs prior to my hire date) to well over $325,0000 a yr in profits

    After 3 yrs there, with no raise at all since hire, I was asked to also take on the Web-Design work that he payed a local company $5,000 a year to maintian, update etc. And i also eliminated that expense, then i was suddenly asked to sign a do not compete agreement, which wouldve ended my other employment. I refused, with the basis that i was still being told it would be mine someday, and also given the fact that he had not given me a raise in 3 yrs.

    Needless to say, i parted ways with both employers a few years ago, and started my own this spring. Since then, My first employer merged with my second, and are both approaching my customers saying i stole their estimating programs (I designed and coded them myself from the ground up), their design program (signlab7 which i dont even use!), and saying that i'm stealing their customers. And often they are refusing to forward designs that they created and sold to their customers, just because im working on their new stuff.

    I only say great thing about them to my customers, i merely explain that i have less overhead, and can produce work for far less, with the same process' and materials. But its getting to a point where theyre telling people ive never approached, and now when i try to bring in new customers, im always forced to defend myself from these allegations. should i sue for slander? they are the only company for 50 miles besides myself, there's plenty of room for both of us, but not enough for their slander...
     
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  2. 401Graphics

    401Graphics Very Active Member

    :popcorn:
     
  3. Gino

    Gino Major Contributor

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    Take the high road and either move to where they can't hurt you or just stop talking about them.

    It's behind you, so get over it. Remember, sticks and stones will break your bones, but words will never hurt you.
     
  4. mudmedia

    mudmedia Active Member

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    I would recommend don't have customers ask for their files from your previous employers design something better and more marketable and set your prices firm and sale to your clients why you are better than your previous employers if what you say is true shouldn't be an issue.
     
  5. CES020

    CES020 Very Active Member

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    Take all their customers one at a time by being a better solution and put them out of business.
     
  6. 2B

    2B Moderator

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    the "pissing match" back and forth is not going to benefit you. it starts to look like a mud slinging political campaign

    you have all these attributes that are better then the competition let your work do the comparison.
     
  7. CanuckSigns

    CanuckSigns Very Active Member

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    that hurt my eyes to read, paragraphs are your friend.

    I also agree with Pat, quit lowballing!
     
  8. Coloradosigns

    Coloradosigns Major Contributor

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    I think your customers would take you more seriously if the "I" in Dynamic in your logo wasn't a number 1... just sayin
     
  9. signmeup

    signmeup Major Contributor

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    I couldn't be bothered to read it for the same reason. What's his beef?
     
  10. SignManiac

    SignManiac Major Contributor

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    No need to be cheaper. Price match your competition or charge more by offering a far superior product and shopping experience. Maybe throw in a box of girl scout cookies with every sale over $100.00
     
  11. Mike F

    Mike F Active Member

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    He started his own shop and the shops he used to work for have been dragging his name through the mud.
     
  12. J Hill Designs

    J Hill Designs Major Contributor

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    It's subliminal - dynam1c (1 cent - cheap)
     
  13. briankb

    briankb Active Member

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    Why did you go an entire year with the 2nd guy, who you did all the improvements and saved him $50k, without a pay raise? Then you take the website as another responsibility without a pay raise BEFORE YOU add that to your list.

    I smell BS or a know it all, who doesn't.
     
  14. MichaelAlmand

    MichaelAlmand Member

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    lol
     
  15. James Burke

    James Burke Being a grandpa is more fun than working

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    It's absolutely a no brainer - you've been on the "inside" of both of these businesses and have observed how they operated without your help. I surely hope you paid enough attention to learn their weaknesses.

    If so, your battle is already half over.


    JB
     
  16. DynamicVinyl

    DynamicVinyl New Member

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    finally, someone gets it. i was a marketing major in college. its not only a subliminal reference to cheap, but a reference to the dynamic part of my name. I not only do signage, i do brand imaging and minor advertising jobs.
     
  17. DynamicVinyl

    DynamicVinyl New Member

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    im not trying to be cheaper, but they charge astronomical prices because they had no competition for 20+ yrs, so people had no other option but to go to them. I charge according to the sign pricing handbook, and then add 15%, but i still have prices nearly half of what they charge lol
    and every one that has come to me says that i am a nicer guy, easier to understand, and that i explain every facet of the job to them before i give an estimate. where as my unnamed competition has a bad attitude, is judgemental towards customers, has a slow turn around, expensive, and 3 out of the last 5 people said that he charged nearly 1/3rd more than their original quote, a couple even said double!
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2012
  18. James Burke

    James Burke Being a grandpa is more fun than working

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    Whoa....that's only a starting point. You need to price according to your costs, not what somebody else says. You also need to plan for equipment repair / replacement...that'll make a huge difference.


    JB
     
  19. CES020

    CES020 Very Active Member

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    Then you should go back to school and get another degree in business. If you're half price of your competitors, you are leaving a ton of money on the table, which could be going into your bank account to allow you to grow or make more money to take care of yourself and your family if you have one.

    That's just not smart business.
     
  20. ProWraps

    ProWraps Very Active Member

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    im not understanding..

    if all this is true then what is the problem?

    if all this is true and your not swimming in THEIR customers and your own, then something is majorly wrong.

    so again, im not understanding. what is the point of this thread?
     
  21. Gino

    Gino Major Contributor

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    Well, Mr Marketing Major... you need some more schooling.

    While your competition saved 10's of thousands of dollars while you were there, you never got a feel for what is needed in business to stay in business. So, once you get a store front... or just a shop and you begin to experience overhead, do you think your subliminal cheap-Os are gonna keep coming around telling you how nice you are ?? Of course not.

    You're sucking up all this attention since you're now getting more than $10 an hour and they're stroking your ego to get lower prices. These people will tell you anything to get a lower price.

    Seems these other two guys had the town right where it should be and you come along and spoil all three of your businesses. They're not gonna sink just because you lowball. You'll get so frickin' busy, you won't be able to keep your head above water and your great customers will threaten to leave you if you go back on your word about being subliminally cheap and bragging about it. There's no loyalty when it comes to a customer paying money for something.... anything.

    Here's one reason out of many.... how I know you're talking out your bunghole.
    1/3rd more than their original quote, a couple even said double... your words
    You're either so eager to make them look bad or you don't have a clue as to what you're saying.

    1/3 more is only a third more than you.... hardly anything at all, while double is twice as much as you.

    So you charge $100. The other guy is getting $130. Nothing wrong with that, while your next statement says the other guys is getting $200. Again, for someone having everything going and you're lowballing, that doesn't sound like too much, either. Now, $100 compared to say $800 or $1,000, that would be worth comparing.

    We have jobs where we're 2 and 3 times higher than our competitors, but some people are willing to pay for service and quality and forfeit price to get those.


    Believe me, there's nothing wrong with making money and taking it to the bank, but there is something wrong with being the new kid on the block and upsetting the applecart to make an impression. You won't make any friends and it's no wonder they're bad-mouthing you. I mean listen to yourself, these guys let you work at one another's shops and you pay them back by lowballing them.... both. I'd make it a small point to try and put you out of business like they're doing, too.
     
  22. edgette

    edgette Member

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    Gino he's saying the quotes given from the other shop isn't what the customer paid. The final bill was 33% to 100% more than quoted, not the difference between his shop and theirs.
     
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