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Made in the USA vs. .....

Discussion in 'Materials' started by FishnSigns, Aug 16, 2011.

  1. FishnSigns

    FishnSigns Member

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    Littleton, Colorado
    I’m having a dilemma… I’m proud to be an American and want to support all things made in the USA but when it comes to banner material in particular, I’m having a hard time justifying the much higher price to buy a product like Bantex. Their products are amazing, the quality is always good but their price is usually 2-3 times the cost of the Asian made materials. I’m able to buy banner material for .12-.13c in most cases if I’m willing to go with the overseas product. With the price of finished banners falling in the retail market, how are we supposed to keep our profit margins at an acceptable level? Thoughts
     
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  2. insignia

    insignia Very Active Member

    Some people will argue this, but in my opinion, banners are a commodity, temporary, budget product to begin with, using ultra-premium materials isn't doing you or your customers any favors.

    That's not to say that there are cases where using top-of-the-line material isn't warranted. I won't use anything but Bantex's 18oz double-sided material for any banner going over the road, or for boulevard banners, and that is high-end and expensive material. But for your typical 3'x6' sale banner or promotional banner, using Bantex's 13oz vinyl at $.50 p.s.f. is pointless, it'll cost you a sale.

    I'm all about a quality product, but you have to find the balance between using good materials and selling your customer what they actually want or need. In the thousands of banners we print, I have yet to lose a sale because we don't use the ultra-premium American made material. I use quality material (Ultraflexx). It's not the very best out there, but it's really good, very consistent, prints well, holds up as expected, and meets my customer's demands, and I only pay $.12 p.s.f. for it, which allows us to remain competitive (which, by the way and contrary to some people's ways of thinking, is not a dirty word).

    The same applies to just about anything. Why would I pay $90 a sheet for Dibond brand ACM board when I can buy generic Polymetal or MaxMetal for $55? $100 for a sheet of Alumacorr when I can buy Prime Panel for $70? The end result is the same, my customers are happy that we find ways to work within their budget, the sign will last as long as it's needed and then some, so everybody wins.
     
  3. WildWestDesigns

    WildWestDesigns Major Contributor

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    I have to agree there.

    With apparel I have a little more wiggle room with trying to get people to get made in the USA versus [insert country here]. Even then though it just depends on who it is going to. As much as I would like to get Made in the USA as much as I can, it really depends on the specifics of that particular sell.
     
  4. insignia

    insignia Very Active Member

    I think this applies to everything. I'd love to use all American made materials in our shop, I'd kill to, but that's not reality. You have to use the right material/supplier/company/etc for the job, and that's just not always the American made one.

    The only time I've ever had anyone ask what percentage of our product is American is if they're trying to quality for a grant or something, but even then half the time when the find out it's XX% more expensive they stick with the less expensive alternatives.
     
  5. FishnSigns

    FishnSigns Member

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    Littleton, Colorado
    Agreed. Banners are just one of those things that needs to go out the door inexpensively and in a hurry (sometimes in a BIG hurry). We try to support the whole “Made in the USA” thing when possible but I just can’t seem to justify paying 3x the price for USA banner material. Our clients won’t pay more and we can’t afford to cut our into our bottom line any more than we already do. Hey… at least I drive a Chevy!
     
  6. Coloradosigns

    Coloradosigns Major Contributor

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    I agree with Mike. Even though we do spend 19 cents a sqft on banner, its because the cheap stuff was getting strings all over our heads. Also they would come extremely warped. Gotta give your stuff a try, who sells it.
     
  7. Ghost Prophet

    Ghost Prophet Member

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    Be glad to give you our source on banners... They are made about 30 minutes away from us.

    Top quality and really good prices.
    http://www.bannerfactory.com/

    Ask them to mail you a color chart if you deal with multiple color banners.
     
  8. insignia

    insignia Very Active Member

    We buy it direct from Ultraflexx, if you go to their website there's a page called clearance items, then go to odd-size rolls and they have all of their products there, just oddball lengths (115', 99', etc.), heavily discounted. I just bought about 30 rolls of Jetflex 13oz today (which is normally up around $.24 p.s.f. retail). You need to buy a decent amount at a time, they only ship it motor freight so take advantage of it.
     
  9. Salmoneye

    Salmoneye Very Active Member

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    I wonder how customers would react if we said Your banner is $7sf on import material or $7.38sf for material made in the USA? I bet I would have quite a few takers.
     
  10. Coloradosigns

    Coloradosigns Major Contributor

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    Cool, i check it out
     
  11. Rick

    Rick Certified Enneadecagon Designer

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    Let the client decide by giving them the optional upgrade...

    You are giving them the option of US made or competitive pricing while doing the best you can by at least offering US made products.
     
  12. FishnSigns

    FishnSigns Member

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    Littleton, Colorado
    I like the option idea. "Made in the USA" banners for $6.50/sqft or "economy" banners for $5.50/sqft. I agree, there would be some takers out there. We have purchsed direct from Ultra Flexx in the past and I like their material. The freight just kills the good deal on their clearance items. We worked with Denco Sales in Denver, they brought in a container from overseas of some economy 13oz banner material for us. As long as we order 10 rolls at a time, our price is .13c/sqft, delivery included. The material is good and has been printing well so far.
     
  13. Kentucky Wraps

    Kentucky Wraps Kentucky Wraps

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    My thoughts...If your cost is .12¢ per sq.ft. and thiers is .36¢ you're talking about a 24¢
    difference per sq.ft. So if you are charging $5.50 a sft. for a 4x8 your difference is $176 vs $168.32 That's less than $8 difference for the banner. Is that profit margin really gonna make or break you? Or do like they said...Market your products as USA made and they may feel ok with that $8 difference. Don't forget to make sure you find a Large Format Printer that's made in the USA as well while you're at it. And unless you buy a Daige or SEAL laminator...well you can see where this is going. It is a valid dilemma but the dilemma isn't really about the tiny margin on banner material, it's the Principle of the thing right. I for one think we should make more of a concious effort to support Made in America Products.
     
  14. Kentucky Wraps

    Kentucky Wraps Kentucky Wraps

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    Yeah, but 3x the price for banner material isn't anything like 3x the price for a banner.
     
  15. FishnSigns

    FishnSigns Member

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    Littleton, Colorado
    Valid points.
     
  16. Driving Force

    Driving Force Member

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    I only use bantex 18 oz banner. I cant see that the difference in price is going to break the bank. The fact that it is a heavier high quality banner is a great selling point. I usually explain that to the customer. Maybe the others are a bit cheaper but quality will usually win out even if it is slightly more expensive. Honestly, if your selling for $6-7 sqft, $.25 a sqft extra cost isnt that big of a deal. Is it?
     
  17. Donny7833

    Donny7833 Member

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    As with Mike and DF, I only use 18oz Bantex for street banners. I also like their 13oz curl free for certain applications.

    However, I've returned more Bantex stock for refund in the last 18 months than I have the previous 10 years. Actually I don't remember ever having to send a roll back prior to 18 months ago. Something has got to be going on with their quality control.

    For instance, I used to get 18oz that printed beautifully on both sides. I've sent back 3 of the last 6 rolls because one side prints great and the other side prints all muted and streaky, like it's 2 different materials. Now I do a small test print on both sides before I accept the roll.

    Also, had a trade show project where I had 10 systems, all the same, each had a 48" retractable in the center with a 36" retractable on each end. I bought 2 rolls of 37.5" 13oz CF and 1 roll of 54". Started with the small rolls and printed all the 36" panels, they looked fantastic. Started printing on the 54" roll and again, it's like it's a completely different material. Went round and round with my vendor as they contacted Bantex to get a different lot number (with the same results no less). I ended up creating a brand new profile for the 54" and tweaking the print settings to get it to print close to acceptable. It never did look as good as the 37.5, but time ran out and I had to use it. I ended up giving my client a substantial discount because of it.

    Then I'm required to send 2 samples from each roll to bantex before they'll consider wether to refund the roll. After 5 weeks, they offered to give me credit for 1/2 a roll, because after all, I did use the product. Stellar.

    Sorry that turned into a bit of a rant.

    I want to buy American as much as possible. You would think however, that if your going to ask a premium price for your product that you would have some consistency and back it up when there is an issue.

    Anyone else have these issues with Bantex? Anyone recommend a heavy weight 2 sided banner stock?
     
  18. FishnSigns

    FishnSigns Member

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    Jul 14, 2011
    Littleton, Colorado
    We have had the same issue with the 18oz. We ended up creating a new profile which oversaturates the material. Not ideal for ink cost but the finished product looks darn nice.
     
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