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New sign shop woes. Suggestions?

Discussion in 'General Signmaking Topics' started by custom2k11, Jul 17, 2012.

  1. custom2k11

    custom2k11 New Member

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    We are a car audio / accessories shop that has recently started getting into digital printing / vehicle wraps. Right now we have the owner along myself and one other guy to run both sides of the business. Currently the owner pretty much just sells and answers the phone. The guy I work with does car audio installations, wrap installs and can do production. My job consists of all the design,some production, wrap installation, car audio installations, custom audio work and some sales. Its been very frustrating bouncing around and I don't feel like I get much accomplished, so today we had a new designer start. The only thing he currently knows is design. I showed him the rip today and he seemed to catch on fast. He seems like a pretty eager to learn so I think he can be taught production as well and said he would love to learn wrap install.

    So today my boss asked him to do a partial design for the side of an accord for a car dealership. He didnt like what he saw and said that hes too slow. He is used to me running around like a maniac doing everything. Secondly we currently only have 1 PC running our design software and the rip so the new guy and I were butting heads today waiting for the other one to finish so we could tag out. When my boss came to me and said that we weren't productive today I told him having 1 computer wasn't going to cut it. I said that we should have one dedicated to the rip software so it can be used at anytime by anyone for production and another for the designer to be on so hes not interrupted. He looked at me like I was crazy. Thoughts?

    My other question is how long does an average wrap design take? Worst case senario just given some copy and saying come up with something to a customer really knowing what they want. I'd like to hear from of the newer people in the sign business as this is new to us.

    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks
    Tim
     
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  2. briankb

    briankb Active Member

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    Not sure there is a fix for this as your boss is a moron. I would start looking for another job and just get by as best you can until you can leave.
     
  3. mudmedia

    mudmedia Active Member

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    There is no average time for a wrap design...Every wrap design is built specifically for the marketing of that company. A wrap design can take many many revisions and depending on after you meet with the client to get a visual of what their company is looking for could take 3 hours - 3 weeks.

    I see more and more audio places getting into wraps / window tinting / signs / banners / carpet cleaning etc. Why is this? Is it the import scene that causes it or just another people think it is easy to do and think they are gonna make a bunch of money off it.

    If your boss thinks your taking to long designing a wrap whats gonna happen when you got to install it? Gotta be done in 30 minutes? This stuff is not an off the shelf product..Everything is custom, every install is and can be approached differently .

    If I Was You I would:
    a) Tell your boss get in the chair and tie up the 1 pc you guys do have and design it and see how easy it is?
    b) Tell him to not go in head first and have him do research and invest in the 50-60k worth of equipment to do it right
    c) Tell him to stick to $1 Car audio installs
    d) Tell him to shove it

    This post is not meant to be harsh towards you...I just see more audio places getting into this stuff when they dont have a clue again its not you..Its your super productive boss!

    Good luck
     
  4. custom2k11

    custom2k11 New Member

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    We have been doing vinyl graphics and sign work for the last 10 years so the sign business as a whole isnt "new" to us just the ability to print instead of layering colored vinyl. For us it was a no brainer to get into wrapping vehicles since I have been designing websites and doing graphic design since 1998.We have an HP L25500 and Graphtec FC8000 along with a royal sovereign 60" laminator which were all purchased new, so its not like he half assed the actual production equipment we have, just the fact that theres only 1 pc.

    In our area there are only 2 other sign shops doing wraps and their wrap work is terrible. They are cutting corners and using cheap material. The dozen or so wraps we have done take us about 2 days for install but we remove door handles and all lighting and reflectors to make everything look perfect. We also only use 3m IJ180cv3 to make life easy.

    I think in general alot of audio shops are doing it because of the lack of audio sales because the newer vehicles are coming factory equipped with better audio systems.
     
  5. Pat Whatley

    Pat Whatley Major Contributor

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    There's a reason 99% of the wraps on the road today are atrocious.
     
  6. mudmedia

    mudmedia Active Member

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    Well with your experience with web design you can kind of approach it the same way...Is every website designed the same? Depending on client, their budget their look they want etc you design differently..No different in Vehicle Wraps. You say you have done a dozen wraps so you have built enough of a "inventory" to judge timing and what not...Has your boss been a hard a** about all the wraps you have done? If you have a 3-4 man operation then yeah obviously 1 pc aint gonna cut it and it appears he didnt cut cost on equipment so investing in a couple design computers shouldnt be an issue..

    In the end let him know this isnt cut lettering...although complex cut letter designs can take some time as well but he has to understand .. if not he probably should stay home and just write the checks and promote a employee to run the shop and stay away ... I understand as an employee your hands are tied though you are only as good as your equipment allows so dont feel your not fast enough or you need to speed up ...
     
  7. ColoPrinthead

    ColoPrinthead Swollen Member

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    I started on a GBC version of the laminator you mentioned and currently have the exact one you do (10 years and a lot of nicer equipment at other gigs in between), it's like a stock stereo from a 1994 Ford Taurus - tape deck and paper speakers. Sure it gets the job done, but it could be much more enjoyable.

    I'm sure you aren't as bad as people here will think simply because you are part of a car audio business that expanded it's range of services.

    Here is my advice on how to approach your bosses productivity concerns:

    1.You are tying up your RAM and HD space running both software and a rip on the same computer; this makes it take longer to apply those awesome filters in Photoshop that the clients love and longer to RIP files.

    2. Designs are only going to take longer when the designer is interrupted and can't get his flow going. Every time he stops it takes him that much longer to regain focus and get back into the flow of what he is doing. Neither of you are able to maximize your time at work because of this.

    3. Your production schedule is unpredictable as you are unsure when you will be able to RIP and print your files. When business picks up and customers want a faster turn around, how will they like the response to how long it will take being "uhhhh, 3-7 days"

    4. Go full retard with the whole you need a Mac to do design argument even though I don't feel there is a difference these days aside from price and preference/experience of the user.

    Edit: 5. It's going to be awesome when your designer crashes the pc with his filters and designs and ruins a box truck panel in the last 3 feet of it printing. Potential to create waste.

    Best of luck with everything.
     
  8. custom2k11

    custom2k11 New Member

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    ColoPrinthead you are the man! I just presented to facts and will have another i7 tomorrow!

    Thanks Guys!
     
  9. 4R Graphics

    4R Graphics Active Member

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    Well I see your getting a new PC great thats what you need for starters.

    I was going to say tell the boss you need another PC and at worst case get an off the shelf one from anywhere and use the least powerful one for rip. You should see a huge difference then try to get the boss to get better PC's in the future.

    You really need a design and a rip PC. I design and rip from the same PC but I am also a one man shop and I am looking at getting a second to run rip.
     
  10. Typestries

    Typestries Very Active Member

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    Computers are cheap. Go buy more than 1. Your biggest bottleneck removed. Of course, the software bill might not make your boss happy.......

    How can this "designer" get any work done if he/she is constantly being interrupted? Every interruption is 2 steps backward. You need to fix that first, before you blame the designer as being slow.
     
  11. MichaelAlmand

    MichaelAlmand Member

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    Agreed!
     
  12. 2B

    2B Moderator

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    Each person needs their own PC, there is nothing worse than waiting on a machine to open up so you can work.

    running rip/design on the same machine is a bad idea as it is the bottle neck and if that machine goes down you have no other option
     
  13. Gino

    Gino Major Contributor

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    :ROFLMAO: this :thumb:
     
  14. vid

    vid Very Active Member

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    ...and now ...Welcome to Management :thumb:

    My success in similar situations as a designer has been taking a proactive role and inserting myself as the design lead, new guy trainer, and production manager.

    As you've written the post, it sounds like you're the go-to-guy for anything in the shop. To justify your new position as the production manager, you'll need to use phrases with your boss like, "it would increase efficiency if we... got another computer, (for example.)" Then list benefits to why the computer would increase efficiency --- as per ColoPrinthead's post.

    Oh, and the term, "benefit," that's another good one to use around bosses. As in the phrase, "the benefit of that would be greater efficiency in the blah-blah department saving the company buckets of money in lost time."

    If there's any push back, use the phrase, "Hey, I'm just trying to make you rich, and the cost of buying a new computer, NOW, seems like a small price to pay so you can get that cabin on the lake next year... (or whatever hot button item works.)
    You need to dangle those carrots in front of bosses so they understand the goals of the company. Which, of course, is to make your life easy.​


    The other aspect I see that needs to be addressed is the training of the new guy. In my experience, it's made my life easiest when I've made it crystal clear to new hires what my expectations are of their performance.

    At the onset of their employment, they are guided through the shop so that they understand the workflow of the company. This is typically an element that gets missed with new hires... especially the end of the process. Some designers pitz-putz around trying to make something look cool when the end-game is to make something work... and work efficiently.

    I use the questioning phrase, "what's the best way to get this done?"
    • This makes them think about what they're doing and why.
    • Builds their self-esteem by making them think they are part of the solution.
    • They take some ownership in the project. (...and accept more of what you'd normally do as part of their job requirements.)
    • ..…annnnnnd, they might actually come up with a good idea.
    Fairly quickly, you'll be able to see where their seat on the bus is.

    From there, make a list of the tasks that need to be done and go over it with the guy... If need be, make a flow chart of the process that has timelines to meter the workflow to the best efficiency of the equipment available.
    For example, tell the new guy "Get this done by 10:00 so we can run it with that"
    That way, the designer knows your expectations, and... and, when the boss comes to you to find out the status of the job --- you've got a plan you can explain to satisfy his thirst for knowledge. Do that enough times, and he'll start leaving you alone and stay in his office all day.​


    Oh, and for the new Design/RIP computer all the really cool sign shops have this one. It's liquid cooled!... and typically paired with the cintiq.


    Yeah, that's the other thing with bosses, ask for the stars, settle for the moon.​

    Good Luck!







    .
     
  15. john1

    john1 Guest

    Good gosh, Buy another computer. You can pick up a computer anymore for a few hundred bucks or get our Merchant Member sign burst to put together a nice package for you.

    To me, A car audio shop that also does signs and possibly even gardening (joke) looks unprofessional. Stick with one profession and do that really well :)

    Had a local audio place start to do window tinting too, Yeah that didn't work but for a few months.
     
  16. custom2k11

    custom2k11 New Member

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    Thats funny that everyone here bashes car audio shops for doing window tinting. In our area the only places that do window tinting are car audio shops. There were a few tint only shops here but they closed years ago.
    Our current window tinter has 20 years of experience and we've always given a lifetime warranty on the film and installation. Our previous tinter is one of the best in NYC and tints cars directly for Manhattan Motor Car before they are even delivered. http://www.theartoftint.com/photos.html


    I would have to assume that alot of you are used to seeing alot of younger guys running car audio shops putting our garbage work. We have been doing this for more then 20 years, not a fly by night shop like alot of them.

    By the way, our new designer rocked out today with more direction and much less interruption.
     
  17. heyskull

    heyskull Very Active Member

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    I would walk out and find another job (I did).
    Good Grief I have 3 members of staff with 6 computers and still I could do with an extra one.
    Ours is set for 1 main RIP, 1 RIP,Cut and output, 3 Design, 1 that does all sorts!!

    Designing Wraps, Signage or Vehicle Graphics is a whole different kind of design.
    Designers still think in flat images and most of the time take no consideration whether a certain design will work due to panel lines, shapes & gaps.
    It will take at least 12 months to break in a new Designer so that he is able to design wraps.

    Your boss sounds just like my previous employer...... He is expecting this new guy to work straight out of the box and when he doesn't he is biting your arse! It wasn't you that employed him!

    SC
     
  18. heyskull

    heyskull Very Active Member

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    I would walk out and find another job (I did).
    Good Grief I have 3 members of staff with 6 computers and still I could do with an extra one.
    Ours is set for 1 main RIP, 1 RIP,Cut and output, 3 Design, 1 that does all sorts!!

    Designing Wraps, Signage or Vehicle Graphics is a whole different kind of design.
    Designers still think in flat images and most of the time take no consideration whether a certain design will work due to panel lines, shapes & gaps.
    It will take at least 12 months to break in a new Designer so that he is able to design wraps.

    Your boss sounds just like my previous employer...... He is expecting this new guy to work straight out of the box and when he doesn't he is biting your arse! It wasn't you that employed him!

    SC
     
  19. john1

    john1 Guest

    Who's bashing audio shops that tint?

    I don't care if you have 2 or 20 years experience, means nothing to me. Look at unique autosport and what happened to them. Experience doesn't mean success.
     
  20. slappy

    slappy Very Active Member

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    sounds like our shop. goood luck. we sale truck accessories and have a sign shop. think your pulling your hair now bouncing around feeling unaccomplished and frustrated of tasks, just wait. and your just getting into the signs......i feel for ya. i've been at it since 04.
    your defiantly going to need another computer though. I have one for design (laptop which is nice to take home to finish things) and a mac for cutting. Then we have 3 others in the shop (one for invoices in office, 2 on counter for looking up parts) and we are also considering a ipad
     
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