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need some input PLEASE

Discussion in 'Business Management' started by onthego signguy, Mar 5, 2010.

  1. onthego signguy

    onthego signguy Member

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    I have been in the sign business for 10 years, I’ve used flexi sign/pro from day one.. I learned adobe, Corel, and some other programs over the years. I love flexi sign pro but I hate the company, I won’t jump on the bashing band wagon but I know the time is coming in the next 6 to 8 months that I will be upgrading the shop computers to vista or 7 and am not willing to keep poring money down the drain with flexi… I am spoiled with flexi as I can design anything in a vary short time… Times are tough, I want to switch to the best competitor I can IE Signlab but the investment AGAIN hurts. Knowing what I know the learning curve won’t be so bad but ouch ouch ouch. MY Question is to those of you that are experienced, would you switch to a lesser program or just give up all your extra income for the next 6 months to get the better software? I know this is an individual circumstance question based on life style but I am asking for some input so I can decide for my self.. Maybe some things I have not thought about to help me decide… I AM SWITCHING I just don’t know to witch program…… Thanks for your input… Don.
     
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  2. Rick

    Rick Certified Enneadecagon Designer

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    Every shop I worked at (8 total) designed in either Corel or Illustrator, we only used a sign program like Flexi, Gerber, Signlab, Sign Wizard and a few more for production.

    I never recommend working in a specific program that by default, would save at their specialized file extension... hopefully you made it a habit of saving a copy of the files in .eps or .ai
     
  3. MachServTech

    MachServTech Very Active Member

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    You can take a local college or online course for Illustrator or Photoshop....then you will be eligible for the student edition which is cheaper.....and you get up to speed quickly.
     
  4. onthego signguy

    onthego signguy Member

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    yes... moved 10 years of files to a terabyte drive from 3 drives last year files in flexi and ai format, so importing ai files is a must but most do, i do about 30 % of my design work in photo shop or illistratior but don't enjoy it as much as flexi
     
  5. onthego signguy

    onthego signguy Member

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    What I did not mention is that my shop is a mobile shop 40 foot trailer that I move around week to week going to county fairs, street festivals and craft shows and some times a gas station corner for a week, we are in Texas until late April then head to North Carolina for the spring and summer.. We are never in the same place for moor than 2 weeks. We love our life style and do well as income goes. I am not a big shop but I produce a lot of sign work in a short time
     
  6. Jim Doggett

    Jim Doggett Very Active Member

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    Hi Don,

    Do you have a problem you're resolving or are you just trying to stay current, because?

    XP has years of life left in it; plus, in a production environment, never change a working system. Training, equipment/software and production slow-downs during the change-over is why behemoth companies (with tons of cash) would never alter a funtioning workflow. If in-bound files demand newer systems/OS/programs, often they'll have a single system for file-intake.

    Yet smaller companies tend to always upgrade to the latest ... and I don't think it's efficiency; I think it's gadget-envy, which is cool, if that's how you want spend your money / enjoy your success.

    But needing the latest and greatest, is way over rated, IMO.

    My $0.02,

    Jim
     
  7. onthego signguy

    onthego signguy Member

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    This is a combo solve, my computers are only going to last another year or so in my environment my setup is hard on all the equipment and I do everything I can to make it last, I don’t buy $3000 dollar computers as a $1000 one has always worked (a little slower) as much as we don’t want it xp will go obsolete, when Shopping for computers it is getting hard to get off the shelf with xp, I do need to keep up but I am not switching just to have the latest greatest, my biggest luxury was getting a great software package and I feal that I am being sucked dry by sai I would like to skip vista as I have helped several sign makers that have vista computers and it’s a nightmare. Hoping 7 will be better. I will most likely never work for some one else as ni am 50 and way happy in my own biz, I was reading about vinyl master pro, any body use this software?
     
  8. kstompaint

    kstompaint Active Member

    I don't think you need to be constantly upgrading software, especially if you're only cutting vinyl. I've used nothing but Flexi and am still using a very old version on XP for cut vinyl. For printing we use Photoshop and PhotoPrint. Like you, I'm so used to Flexi that I have no desire to switch.

    As far as I know, the VM software is rebranded Flexi... or at least it used to be. 8 years ago, I had that and it worked the same as Flexi but it did have some quirks.

    Your business sounds quite unique. Being in a different market every week would certainly provide some unique challenges. While you avoid the overhead of a building and advertising, you add more vehicle expenses, fuel, etc. and I would imagine getting material is more difficult. Business licenses and local tax issues would be problematic to, I guess. Do you have any pics of your set-up? You've got my curiosity.
     
  9. Mosh

    Mosh Major Contributor

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    We stay up on software. If you fall behind you soon are left in the dust. We have used signlab since 1992 or so. I am seriously thinking about not upgrading. Since we have been digital printing for the last five years Corel has been used way more. I have been using Corel since version 2, it can do alot compaired to the $1500 to upgrade our signlab.
    Signlab is WAY superior for vinyl cutting, but I can't see what more can be done vinyl cutting that we can't already do. Thus not a need to upgrade signlab.
     
  10. GAC05

    GAC05 Major Contributor

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    What version of Flexi do you have?
    I have not tried it but it should run in "Virtualized Windows XP" mode under windows7 if it runs now in XP.
    Maybe no need to upgrade what you know if it is still working for you and will chug along under win7.

    wayne k
    guam usa
     
  11. Stealth Ryder

    Stealth Ryder Very Active Member

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    XP is at it's end, it will happen faster than most think...
     
  12. onthego signguy

    onthego signguy Member

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    That’s interesting about w7 running Virtualized Windows XP mode, you are the second person that said it will and if most or all of the software works then I will be happy to go to 7. My wife is due a new laptop as hers is several years old and I could go w7 on it and see if it can run the programs… Humm worth trying…..
    As far as being in a different market every week YES it has its quirks, as in all business you learn to adapt to the week to week needs but all in all it’s a super life, I am sitting in a small town about 50 miles from Laredo TX called Zapata, we are setting up later today for a 4 day festival that starts on Wednesday, we most likely will go to eagle pass next week for a RSE (Road Side Event) Sitting at a gas station for 5 days of selling, then a stock show then a RSE then I need to ask the wife as she does 90% of the booking or at least keeps up with it. We head to NC at the end of April. Ill shoot some photos of this weeks set up and post them. I do about 45% print and 60% cut vinyl and the niche we have is small signs 12x18 12x12 6x24 street signs we do stickers t-shirts and other stuff, we can produce most anything a regular small sign shop can but try to stay away from big stuff for obvious reasons when you see the set up…
    My window for making a change from flexi is 6 to 8 months, and I will change, I just need to decide to what. I have a option that has come to light but I need to wait a couple of mounts before I will discuss it, mean while I will continue to look at what’s out there, any suggestions and input are welcome.
     
  13. onthego signguy

    onthego signguy Member

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    as promised a few snaps of my set up....
     

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  14. onthego signguy

    onthego signguy Member

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    wayne.... are you running any programs that hook up to equipment? did you load drivers in to 7 or load drivers in vir. mode and is anything working?? just wondering before i mess up the wifes new computer that i am going to get her, i will be loading it up with all the programs she wants and then testing the vir. if one sign program works and runs hardware then most of them will, i noticed that you must have a profesional version of 7 as the home version wont work vir. ????
     
  15. iSign

    iSign Major Contributor

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    I've never advertised it, but if you decide on Signlab, I will sell my license, and all the original media, documentation & dongle.

    I bought it for an employee who had years of experience with it, & I thought his increased efficiency would justify the expense... but we ended up sticking with Flexi & I haven't used Signlab in 2 years. I honestly don't remember the version. I think I upgraded once, which would have been 2 years ago.
     
  16. shaunb

    shaunb New Member

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    I agree... stay away from VISTA. I down graded to XP for 6 months and around three months back purchased Windows 7. 7 is stable and never craches!!
     
  17. johnnysigns

    johnnysigns Very Active Member

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    I went from XP to windows 7 w/ Flexi several months ago at an older job and we had no issue w/ 7 supporting us.

    At home I use CS4 and the cutting master plugin (reads free) to output to my plotter here. I was a diehard flexi guy for about 10yrs and once I became more involved w/ designing for print, I've never looked back.
     
  18. UFB Fabrication

    UFB Fabrication Member

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    We just upgraded corel to the latest greatest but its cheap. We also upgraded omega a year or so and I have a ancient Flexi and a older Enroute pro 3 ithink. It would be cheaper for me to buy computors for everyone on my block than keep up with software. The last 2 putor's we bought came from dell with XP pro and windows only. no aol now virus no nothing. I think dell will still build a XP and get the commercial versions and they are reported to have stronger/tougher componants.
     
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