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Never doing that again.

Discussion in 'General Signmaking Topics' started by mark in tx, May 9, 2011.

  1. mark in tx

    mark in tx Very Active Member

    Oct 25, 2005
    Harker Heights, Texas
    Long story follows.

    I print wholesale for a bunch of local small sign shops. One of the shops was sold and the new owners knew nothing about the sign business. They asked me to help them, and I did.
    I literally helped them learn how to use a squeegee to lay vinyl, how to cut vinyl, etc... I helped them deal with customers, "Customer says they will order more stuff in future if we give a discount now", etc...
    2 or 3 phone calls a day, 2 or 3 visits a week for 7 months. I am not exagerrating in the least.
    Yes, I admit, I have a vested interest, I want them to buy print media from me, but I genuinely liked them, and I really gave them the information they needed. I think I helped them avoid quite a few pitfalls, and the mistakes they did make were not costly, thanks to the advice I gave them.
    One fine day, I get the phonecall, which printer do you think is better? X or Z?

    I told them, I didn't know, I haven't kept up on new equipment, and then the conversation basically turned to how they wanted to buy a printer.
    I gave them a few things to think about.
    Honest things, cost of machine plus cost of learning how to use it, cost of media, color profiling, etc...
    I also told them they had only bought 3k worth of printing in the past 7 months, and asked is a 30k machine justified?

    Last week I was told that they are getting their machine soon, by a delivery driver.

    Besides losing some business, what really gets me is that I really helped them. I made an honest effort to help them succeed, I spent a lot of time, I gave a lot of knowledge, and they benefitted from that.

    A thank you would be nice. Nothing elaborate, nothing special, just a little thanks.

    How about, "Hey, we really want to get our own printer, but thanks for helping us out."

    That's all.
    Just a little thanks for 7 months of teaching someone how to wipe their *** in the sign business.
  2. WrapperX

    WrapperX Active Member

    Dec 18, 2009
    It's not personal its business.
    Unfortunately more often then not it IS personal. And I've been there, I've put myself out more often then I want to admit for the sake that someone succeeds and although I know I should've been getting paid for it or getting some sort of recognition, I wasn't. From that I learned that I won't do anything regarding business with out some sort of agreed payment. If it's for a friend then I might only charge a little but if its a friend of a friends then I get paid what I feel is fair to be paid. No more freebies. It's nothing personal - it's just BUSINESS.
  3. btropical.com

    btropical.com Active Member

    Jun 4, 2007
    Stear them towards a high end printer with big payments then give em the "Mosh" treatment
  4. phototec

    phototec Very Active Member

    May 23, 2008
    Hey Mark,

    Maybe they will need help with their logo next.

    Last edited: May 9, 2011
  5. astro8

    astro8 Active Member

    May 23, 2009
    Sydney, Australia
    Expect a call from them soon asking for some hands on how to run the new printer...
  6. TheSnowman

    TheSnowman Major Contributor

    Aug 28, 2007
    That's hilarious. It's like he's known for lowballing or something.
  7. Pat Whatley

    Pat Whatley Major Contributor

    Sep 29, 2003
    Wetumpka, AL
    It's because every owner of every failing sign shop I've ever talked to has convinced himself that the key to financial freedom and bags full of cash lies in buying his own printer. Seriously....every single one.

    Hate that you've been so good to them and they're just ignoring that. Astro is right, they'll be calling soon enough for some guidance.
  8. Craig Sjoquist

    Craig Sjoquist Major Contributor

    Jun 18, 2004
    When I started ..didn't get people to tell me the ways and means... I went to school.

    Curious why did you not just say go to school or at least since they knew nothing charge them.

    I sure like to learn Coreldraw alot more, can I call you every other day, so I can make lots more money and make it easier... just had to say that.
  9. Gino

    Gino Premium Subscriber

    Jun 7, 2006
    I wouldn't worry about the loss of their business or your time, but here's something to think about......

    How much information did you really give them ?? While explaining to them how you could save them money, time and allow them to do other things while you did their printing..... did you happen to mention how many other shops are using you for their printed needs ??

    Sometimes giving people too much information, just lights up a light bulb in their head as to how they can force you out. Loyalty is hard to find and in this economy, I'd be very careful of how much you brag.... especially to your competitors. Remember, you just trained your competitor and they must've seen or heard something in what you said that triggered a....... if he can do it.... why can't I ??

    Hope you didn't give away the WHOLE farm. You might have to sharpen your pencil if they go after the rest of your small shop wholesalers. :banghead:

    Damage Control is gonna have to go into full swing !!
  10. john1

    john1 Guest

    People just don't appreciate anything. That's the real factor here, You did well and they seem to be taking the valuable information you gave them and using it against you. Expect low ball prices and more headaches from these guys I'd guess.

    A guy up the road opened a shop about 2 years ago and he gets a fair amount of the business i used to get but his design skills, customer service and turnaround times are terrible. That's what will help set you apart from them if it becomes a pissing match.

    Don't help them anymore from this day on.
  11. rushworks graphics

    rushworks graphics Very Active Member

    Jun 29, 2010
    when they get there new printer, which they will know absolutly nothing about, who are they going to ring several times a day?..............you!
    i would lay money on it! a printer to a novice is going to be more trouble in the beginning than picking up the phone to you and asking you to print xyz prints for them and they will soon realise that!
  12. mark in tx

    mark in tx Very Active Member

    Oct 25, 2005
    Harker Heights, Texas
    Not really worried about any customer impact they might have, I've dealt with that kind of stuff before. Customers seem to come back to me after they try a few other sources.
    And I'm not cheap.
  13. ericmitchell29

    ericmitchell29 Active Member

    Mar 18, 2008
    I would say helping them to get better at what they do, which you did, is a good thing. Expecting that a company in business to make money wouldn't build on that knowledge and success is a bit short sighted on your part. You can't expect that teaching them the ropes would ensure that you get to keep them under your thumb so to speak.

    Doing something nice for someone is really good man. Thats good of you. I wouldn't expect anything in return. I say that being in the same boat as you in the past.
  14. rmtosh

    rmtosh Member

    Jun 2, 2010
    No good deed goes unpunished. Keep providing high quality products and service at a reasonable price and you'll be fine. In fact, I would double my efforts with the other shops you are partnering with. The better they do, the better you do.
  15. Techman

    Techman Major Contributor

    Jun 24, 2003
    This is a positive outcome. They will no longer take your time. You are no longer wiling to ENABLE them. Now you have extra time to think about your business more. And develop a more powerful marketing plan. Leave them to heaven and all will be well.
  16. Kottwitz-Graphics

    Kottwitz-Graphics Very Active Member

    Sep 25, 2006
    Ridgely, MD
    And will want to know all about ICC profiles, color matching, etc....

    I wouldn't sweat it. When they figure out that its a lot more work, the thing will end up sitting in the corner, and then will be put up for sale.

    I would worry more about them selling their printing for under market value, which in turn, will under value the digital market in your area. I hope in the past 7 months, you taught them to value their work.
  17. rushworks graphics

    rushworks graphics Very Active Member

    Jun 29, 2010
    kottwitz has a good point....one of the things that happens when a new stores gets a printer, the first thing they want to do is undercut everyone else in the area so they are making the printer run........
  18. UFB Fabrication

    UFB Fabrication Member

    Jan 26, 2010
    By his machine from the leasing or finance company in 6-12 months when he goes out of business for 20 cents on the dollar. Hopefully he does not lower the cost of signs to bad in effort to stay afloat.
  19. Mainframe

    Mainframe Very Active Member

    Next time DON'T train your competition!!!!!??? & you won't have the regret!!!!!!!
  20. Jillbeans

    Jillbeans Major Contributor

    Dec 24, 2003
    Butler, PA
    While I think it was nice of you to be so helpful, you can see how much it was appreciated by the other guy.
    I would cut off the help tit and make him wean himself into printing all by his lonesome.
    Some people are just so stupid that they don't realize what users they really are.
    They expect things to be handed to them on a silver platter, for free, with lots of hand holding in the meantime.
    Don't enable them any more.
  21. jiarby

    jiarby Major Contributor

    Feb 11, 2007
    The local UPS store near my house has a sign up that says "We make banners & posters". The sign is hand made on with sharpies and taped to a 42" (or so) HP aqueous printer.

    Here is the LOL...

    The printer is not plugged in to anything (no power, no ethernet, no usb) and it is parked in the front lobby up against the window, as if to advertise large format printing services.. They are just jobbing out prints to a UPS service center.

    Last time I was there I told the kid working the counter that the printer would work better if you actually plugged it in!