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New Sign Shop in North West Ohio

Discussion in 'Newbie Forum' started by BDR Graphics, Jan 18, 2007.

  1. BDR Graphics

    BDR Graphics New Member

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    Jan 17, 2007
    Hi all i just started my own sign shop last september i am very small and it is not my main source of income right now but i hope it to be down the road. my question is how long does it take ball park to get a steady flow of business going i want to do it the right way not come in under cut ever body and have a fly by night sign shop. i am hoping in 5 years to be where i need to be do something i love to do and not have to clock in for someone else.


    BDR Graphics
    Brian
     
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  2. Fred Weiss

    Fred Weiss Merchant Member

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    Olympia, WA
    For some it takes a short time and others never get there. It depends on lots of different things like

    • how well people like your work and your service
    • whether you're starting at home on in a commercial location
    • competition and market size
    • Your sales ability
    • etc.
    I started at my current location in 2000 after having been in the business fulltime since 1983. We were in profit after 3 months but we also had made a commitment to paying serious rent in an Office Depot anchored plaza, had good equipment and the knowledge to get good production out of it. At this point, after 6 1/2 years, we are going to downsize and work at home with just a comparative handful of well established repetitive customers.
     
  3. BDR Graphics

    BDR Graphics New Member

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    Jan 17, 2007
    thank you for your imput i got i long term plan i just need to stick to it and keep up grading my equipment and go from there.


    Brian
     
  4. The Big Squeegee

    The Big Squeegee Major Contributor

    Welcome from Oklahoma!

    :Welcome: to :signs101: ​

    Starting out with good equipment will earn you the reputation that you want. Take a look around to see if there is a need that could be filled. Practic designing stuff and compare it with the what others are doing. Focus on those things you do best. Good luck!
     
  5. james2

    james2 Member

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    Nov 23, 2006
    Fred,
    are you downsizing because of competition from other sign places, mainly the franchises?

    just curious.

    You seem to have quite a history in the biz and just wondering if you have ever considered buying into a franchise.

    jim
     
  6. Bigdawg

    Bigdawg Just Me

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    Sunny Florida
    Brian - just keep the quality and service at a premium and word will get around. We have operated on mostly word-of-mouth for about 5 years now and you can't ask for better. It does take a bit to get established though.

    Fred - we are kind of doing the same thing right now except we are consolidating everything to the production location. The retail store just wasn't doing what I needed it to do in order to justify 2 locations and I like working with my solid base of customer more than spending an hour discussing a $30 decal the customer may or may not buy. Hope all goes well with your move!
     
  7. Fred Weiss

    Fred Weiss Merchant Member

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    Olympia, WA
    No, I'm in my mid-sixties and just reorganizing my life a bit. My clipart business is going very well and Signs 101 generates a modest profit. I nearly got heat stroke a few years ago doing a boat and haven't been able to tolerate working in the heat ever since.

    My sign-decal-label making business is totally debt free but we were unable to generate an acceptable offer on it in a recent attempt so we decided to keep what we've built and eliminate the retail store. The savings will be fairly dramatic ($60 to $70K a year) allowing us to do a lot less work for the same or greater net income. At the same time, it will allow more time for Signs 101 and for my clipart business.
     
  8. Jillbeans

    Jillbeans Major Contributor

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    Butler, PA
    This is my 22nd year in the biz, and it's still never been a steady flow.
    But things are looking up.
    Love....Jill
     
  9. Fred Weiss

    Fred Weiss Merchant Member

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    Yes I gathered that. We considered the same type of thing but in my area industrial rentals are as high as I'm paying for retail after 6.5 years. I have the same feeling about the time wasted with daytrippers and really am no longer looking for new clients.

    Example: We just turned away a girl that makes stained glass and has a running tab arrangement for tiny orders of 2 to 15 letters at a time with FastSigns. She's upset with them because they just bumped her up from 30 cents to 50 cents a letter.

    Example: We just received a $1,600 order for labels from a repeat customer. He has averaged $6K to $8K a year for the last five years.

    Good luck to you as well with your reorganization.
     
  10. THATgirl

    THATgirl Very Active Member

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    It depends on how hard you want to work. I used to want to work a lot harder than I do now. I have been at it for 30 years and have watched the changes. You learn which type of signs make you the most money and the happiest and concentrate on those. I found when I tried to do everything....installs, permits, old vinyl removal.....very high signs.....I wasn't happy. Now I just do the signs I like.
     
  11. BDR Graphics

    BDR Graphics New Member

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    Jan 17, 2007
    Thanks for all the comments it's nice to have somewhere to go when you need some help or just another's view point.

    Brian
     
  12. letsoren

    letsoren New Member

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    Nov 30, 2006
    Re. Signs

    Hi, where are you from in Ohio, I am from Paulding Ohio
     
  13. jdelbar1

    jdelbar1 New Member

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    Feb 22, 2007
    Great info

    After reading all of the downsizing going on, am I not understanding this business correctly when I want to buy an existing shop that has been not marketed at all and put a full time person in place so I can go out and bring business in. In other words, do more of running a business than working in it. Don't get me wrong, I am sure I will be doing plenty of inside work but I would like to spend the majority of my time having a free up mind to be creative on market concepts.

    What do you think, head in the clouds?

    John
     
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