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Newbie Sign Maker

Discussion in 'General Signmaking Topics' started by samuelh2003, May 2, 2017.

  1. samuelh2003

    samuelh2003 New Member

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    I'm just starting working with HDU to produce a few signs, I made this sign for a customer which is my first real dimensional sign. Size is 84"x32" with MDO and combination of 1" 15 lb HDU and 2" 18 lb HDU, I don't have the remote idea how much to charge the customer, just to clarify I have a long business relationship with him he didn't required a quote from me. I just need some reference. Thanks
     

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  2. Johnny Best

    Johnny Best Very Active Member

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    Nice looking sign. Charge whatever you think is fair for your time. How many hours to fabricate and design, material cost and installation all has to be considered. How's $650 sound to you.
     
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  3. Billct2

    Billct2 Major Contributor

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    How's three or 4 times that sound?
     
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  4. rjssigns

    rjssigns Major Contributor

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    At a 100 bucks a "square" $1866.67

    Do I get a prize?
     
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  5. Marlene

    Marlene Major Contributor

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    that's a lot of layers and a lot of work. how much material do you have into it? use your usual mark ups. how much labor at your shop rate? design time, how much at that rate?
     
  6. Jean Shimp

    Jean Shimp Member

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    I would say $100 to $150 per sq ft for all that 3D work involved. At 18 sq ft that's $1800 to $2700. Getting someone to pay that much is the question. Making a sign without an agreed upon cost is a dangerous thing considering someone may lose big time causing bad feelings.
     
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  7. Johnny Best

    Johnny Best Very Active Member

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    Thats why I said $650, the guy would freak at $1800. He is a friend who might even think he might be getting it for free. But like someone said, doing work without knowing how much it will cost causes problems for both parties.
     
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  8. samuelh2003

    samuelh2003 New Member

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    Jan 8, 2016
    Vero Beach, Florida
    Thanks guys for your answers, I ended up charging $1400 since my customer give me over 100k a year in business, but never the less this is a lot of work, nothing compare to printing posters, car wrapping and cutting vinyl. Now I have a base from which I can quote new dimensional signs. In the other hand being this my first dimensional sign I would like to hear some critiques of the design and finishing that can help me improve in this new product. Thanks. Sam
     
  9. equippaint

    equippaint Very Active Member

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    If you never said it was your first go at it I would have never guessed. Keep making dimensional signs that look like this and you wont need to bother with printing posters anymore.
     
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  10. tbullo

    tbullo Superunknown

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    Is this going to be outdoors? If so, make sure the MDO is edge sealed good since that's the area for rot. Maybe you did, It kind of looked like raw edge painted over in one pic. And for me, I try not to do too deep of a inset letter. It will hold water and turn that pretty white green and start running out. That's if its going outdoors. Other then that it looks great for a first 3D sign.
     
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  11. samuelh2003

    samuelh2003 New Member

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    Jan 8, 2016
    Vero Beach, Florida
    equippaintequippaint: thanks for the encouragement words, I really enjoy creating this sign, but I didn't know what I was getting in to, however the final work was gratified and the customer was pleased with it.

    tbullotbullo: yes It was MDO, beside 2 coats of the black paint I coated 4 times with Minwax waterbase SPAR Urethane, I hope that was enough to seal the edges, if there is another technique to seal the edge let me know. The sign was intentional to be outdoor I guess I will be call upon to touch up those letters, I'll keep in mind what you said about the inset letters in future signs. After delivery the customer mention to keep it indoor I hope that is the case. One more question, what kind of paint and clear coat compatible with that paint to use over HDU do you recommend.
     
  12. customquint

    customquint Member

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    If it's a long time customer you probably know what you need to charge. Should have had a price before you made it. Just because you can deliver a sign with all the bells and whistles doesn't mean you can charge for them.

    If you had an agreed price 1500 would be fair. But without a agreed price you may have to cover your materials to to keep you customer happy and use this sign in your portfolio and let future customers know what you can do starting at 1500.
     
  13. rossmosh

    rossmosh Member

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    Ball park, I come up with $4-500 in materials alone. Multiplying that by 2 gets you to $800-1000. Are we seriously suggesting that he only has about 6-8 hours in design, machining, and finishing? Assuming those guns are CNC cut, I'd guess there's close to half that time in just cutting them out.
     
  14. Johnny Best

    Johnny Best Very Active Member

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    You do not sound like a newbie sign maker since you are making a $100k a year off one customer. And I assume this sign was all hand made and no CNC was involved. So you must have had an idea of what signs cost and your time to make one and had an idea you were going to charge $1400 for this. My thinking was you were a newbie and this was your first project breaking you out of the hobby department. You were doing it to add to your retirement and SS from being a cop for 40 years. See what happens when I assume something.
    To help us all next time you are looking for answers, a little more background such as material cost and time spent on project.
    I lowballed it to keep in line with The Price is Right game so as not to be too much, because prices went from $650 to $2700.
    Again, nice work.
     
  15. samuelh2003

    samuelh2003 New Member

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    Jan 8, 2016
    Vero Beach, Florida
    When I mention I was a newbie it refer to the 3D and dimensional signs, I do have a Shopbot CNC 8' x 4' with Aspire V3.1, and like I said before my main business is with wide format digital printing and I use the CNC to cut DiBond and pvc for menu boards I create for my customer, I was fortunate to grow with them from 4 restaurants to 50. The sign was made with left overs HDU pieces that I cut for another customer (2D cuts) that never claim the rest, I use 1" for the wood, 1.5" for the letters and 2" for the guns. I was fun doing it but scare at the same time since don't have the knowledge and expertise of signs like this.
     
  16. Johnny Best

    Johnny Best Very Active Member

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    The newbie part was my understanding as being new to the sign industry. But you have all the bells and whistles. I also thought you made the whole sign by hand with no CNC invoked. Wow, was I was off the mark all the way around.
     
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