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Has the "Customization-of-Everything" produced a fussier client?

Discussion in 'Polls' started by James Burke, Sep 14, 2020.

  1. James Burke

    James Burke Being a grandpa is more fun than working

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    Now that we live in an ever increasingly world of custom this or that, do you find that clients are becoming fussier and harder to please when it comes to wanting a gazillion options for their projects? (This includes signage, and anything else members on this forum create)

    I just received a well known trade journal today, and it seems like the world clamors for products unique as their own fingerprints...much to the bane of any company geared toward high volume.

    Used to be, when I was on ball team, we all wore the same thing. Now, it seems coaches/parents demand the "razzle and dazzle individuality"...so each kid feels "special" in their own uniform (which, by the way, defeats the very purpose AND the name of said clothing).

    The question isn't so much as how you're competing or contending with major players (Ink Pixy, Tee Spring, etc...), but how are you combating persnickety clients who try to beat you up by dropping the names of these players if you don't give them what they want?


    JB
     
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  2. Christian @ 2CT Media

    Christian @ 2CT Media Major Contributor

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    Easy, tell them to spend their money with them by charging a high rate (Say no without saying no). All the hidden and addon fees will slap them in the face at checkout anyway.
     
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  3. James Burke

    James Burke Being a grandpa is more fun than working

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    Very good.


    JB
     
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  4. Christian @ 2CT Media

    Christian @ 2CT Media Major Contributor

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    It's something that was learned over the last 11 years of running my business. It's always easier to "over" price something, and make it worth it if you have to do it, than saying no. The same thing works for firing clients... If ever the need arises.
     
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  5. Notarealsignguy

    Notarealsignguy Active Member

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    Some of this comes from people not taking control of the sale and leading the customer. Playing devil's advocate, there are so many jackleg businesses out there doing shoddy work that many have become accustomed to micro managing every aspect of their projects in order to weed them out or get decent quality. Some of these picky people will lay off once you can prove that you are capable of giving them what they want without direction. Then they become very loyal.
     
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  6. Stacey K

    Stacey K Getting Back in the Game

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    I agree that regular people wanting "personal" items are very picky. With Pinterest and all the internet options, they throw a bunch of pics at you and expect one element from every pic to be incorporated. I usually say if you give me creative freedom it's XX price, if we go back and fourth then you get charged my hourly design rate. 9/10 times they take my advice and use my creative freedom. I've gotten screwed a few times but now I know better and I say that to everyone very firmly up front. I don't have too many issues with business customers. A few are very picky but I learned to charge them more and they never say a word. It's the everyday people looking for personal items that are a PITA. A lady with a motorcycle lately. Has to have chrome vinyl designs, etc ALL over this motorcylce and it has to be done NOW. Well, she began harrassing me before the date I gave her and I got mad and said I'm not doing it. I'm so busy right now, I have no time for that kind of harrassment. I am not putting local business needs on the back burner for motorcycle graphics...and these types are never happy with the outcome. It was a good thing to fire her.
     
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  7. Billct2

    Billct2 Major Contributor

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    yes
     
  8. 2B

    2B Very Active Member

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    Yes, Customers are expecting more and more customization WITHOUT having to pay for it

    the concept of "Etsy" combined with "Amazon" has created customers that want
    * Low QTY
    * Complete customization
    *** usually on each item
    * Same pricing for low as a high QTY order
    * Immediate completion
    * Expects any dissatisfaction to be "corrected" for free and also free replacements
     
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  9. James Burke

    James Burke Being a grandpa is more fun than working

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    THIS pretty much sums up my thinking.

    JB
     
  10. iPrintStuff

    iPrintStuff Prints stuff

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    exactly this, especially in the UK there’s a pretty big printers that has taken all the small format digital work. They offer design templates and naturally the customers can put their low res jpg logos all over their crappy design and get their cards in a couple days at “wholesale” prices.

    It’s driven the customers to expect a 1-2 day turnaround, lower prices (they’re not even lower once delivery etc is factored in!), and cheap/free design as they assume everything is just generic templates.

    I haven’t seen a single card printed by them that looks professional- big squares round any logos they threw in, random illegible fonts because they look pretty, horrible paper stock used (because cheaper) and people can’t get enough of them!
     
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  11. iPrintStuff

    iPrintStuff Prints stuff

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    So to answer the OP, I’d argue no. The availability of design templates etc online has arguably made a less fussy client (from my experience). All I need to do now is get rid of the white box around their logo on their business cards and they look at me as if I’m some sort of wizard.

    it’s probably decreased their expectations but made them a LOT more annoying with regards to pricing and turnaround times.
     
  12. Notarealsignguy

    Notarealsignguy Active Member

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    I'll have to be the one to disagree. It is very rare that we run into problem customers and honestly, I feel like most of the people we work with are much more lenient than I would be if the shoe was on the other foot. Don't get me wrong, every year one of these aholes will get past me but I'm usually good at picking who we work with. If this is an ongoing issue then you need to look at your sales approach and try to be more proactive in who you go after. Another thing to consider is how you react when confronted with an issue. I often find that people will get defensive when called out for a mistake rather then own it. It will immediately put the customer on the defense and turn them into that pita. You can see it in people's approach when they want to confront you on an issue. They are ready for you to get mad and have their guard up. Usually when you just say yeah, you're right how would you like to proceed then they let it go. There will always be that one ***** but all in all most business customers are easy to work with.
     
  13. visual800

    visual800 Very Active Member

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    I think humans are more exposed to EVERYTHING too often. more crap, more junk and more fonts and more bling. I hear a lot of "I saw this or I saw that and it looked cool." Its just like that stupid script font I absolutely despise...Bromella or whatever other 50 names it goes by. People see and people mimic, they do not want to break out of the norm. They want blingy and obnoxious. I try to make it my job to get them looking classy and clean, sometimes it works sometimes it doesnt. If you want loud , trashy work you need to go somewhere else. I dont want that portayed in my name or my portfolio
     
  14. Stacey K

    Stacey K Getting Back in the Game

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    One thing I just thought of in regards to apparel (which I assume you are talking about). In my city there are 2 of us who offer apparel. I have a heat press so I do htv and A LOT of screen transfers. The other gal in town operates from her home and orders everything, she does not even have a heat press. I have inadvertently stole quite a bit of business from her. Biggest reason? I can customize...

    I cannot tell you how many people have brought a tshirt into me from my competitor and asked for their name and number to be placed on back because they signed up late, forgot to order, tore their shirt, etc. Customers can order online from the places you mentioned, but it's very costly to place an order a week later for just ONE item with name/number on it. This is the BIGGEST complaint I hear about my competition.

    I also have standard pricing for names/numbers and a few different options/combinations to choose from. They can add little do-dads for xx amount, an american flag on the shoulder, etc. If you have all this stuff set-up ahead and priced out, often they will go for it instead of their own ideas. "These are the options you have for standard pricing, if you want something more there are additional set-up fees."
     
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  15. Christian @ 2CT Media

    Christian @ 2CT Media Major Contributor

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    But the question I have for you is, is your time well compensated for those customizations? The problem with the 1-off custom model is often times the unaccounted for labor costs far outweigh the value when you have a steady stream of standard work. If those customizations become a focus and not a pipeline filler, most companies lose significant money on uncompensated labor.
     
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  16. Notarealsignguy

    Notarealsignguy Active Member

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    While you are correct, you also have to take into account that many people enjoy doing some of this work and aren't in business to maximize every dollar. To me, there's a line between the 2 and I try to stay in between them. Make enough money to where you are comfortable but not push so much that it turns into an obsession and not take on all of the projects that you really enjoy doing to the point that you go broke. Both are the fast lane to getting burnt out and hating your business. I think that you would be surprised at how many people are not driven by dollars.
     
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  17. Stacey K

    Stacey K Getting Back in the Game

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    I totally agree with you. The standard names/numbers are in my computer program and I'm just changing them, it's a quick and easy job. When I say "do-dads", I have about 25 different sports emblems, school names, etc that are screen transfers cut apart and separated so it's super easy to add them. I have a manequin with a hoodie on it with about 30 different items on the hoodie. I have Class of 2020 shirts, general school shirts. There is a sample of each design. Pick a shirt style and the price includes any design. Prices are clearly marked on my "standard" items. Pinned to the back are shirt colors I can order them in for my other customers not looking for school apparel. I keep purple and gray in stock. I have heat transfers for the popular designs and just do vinyl as needed for the others.

    Personalized shirts example - "You had me at Day Drinking" in a script font on a tank top. Again, I can match the font pretty close but if you give me creative freedom, I'll only charge you xx. If I'm busy I will REFUSE to match the font exactly unless THEY tell me what the font is and I can download for free. NOBODY takes the time to do this. I say I'll order the tank top along with the next big order I place. These are the 3 options I offer, if you don't like them, here's the book. They pick from ONLY the HTV colors I have in stock. If they want something more then it's an automatic $10 additional fee. (I have quite a few in stock to choose from).

    Usually once a week Thursday or Friday morning I pound out all the little orders. And you can pound out a lot of heat transfers in just a few minutes at $15 a shirt or $25 a hoodie, I can make several hundred bucks in under an hour on a good week!

    I am a one person shop, if you have 4 different employees touching the above order, it does not make sense. From a labor standpoint, I'm probably breaking even on one shirt but if they order 6 of them with this method or 20 orders of in-stock heat transfers and tshirts/hoodies, then it's not a bad gig for a few minutes of work. You have to be as organized as possible for this. These are the shirts I can get. These are the colors I have. These are the design options I have. The more you control the options, the less labor you will have.

    Take it or leave it...pay design fees or come back in January.
     

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