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Price per letter?

Discussion in 'Sales, Marketing, Pricing Etc.' started by showcase 66, Jan 6, 2011.

  1. showcase 66

    showcase 66 Very Active Member

    Sep 23, 2010
    Does anyone give out a price per letter. I have gotten 3 calls in the past hour from people who want to get some lettering and want to know how much each letter would be. I usually dont price this way. Usually take into account how much vinyl is being used and what the font is. All of them told me what they wanted printed and said they had the font they wanted but didnt want to give me the name of the font. I told them with out knowing the font I couldnt give them a price. This pissed 2 of them off and they hung up the other said they would have to call me back on the font name.

    Anyone price like this.
  2. WhiskeyDreamer

    WhiskeyDreamer Professional Snow Ninja

    Aug 6, 2007
    $35 for a yard of vinyl...can't be copy heavy, has to be off our font list.....if they just need a set of numbers (for a house, or boat), then i charge the shop minimum of $25
  3. Fred Weiss

    Fred Weiss Merchant Member

    Sep 11, 2003
    Olympia, WA
    That was how we priced in the 1980s. All the wholesale letter service companies sold that way. I still have a page in my price book to quote that way but only use it when it is a very small job.
  4. James Burke

    James Burke Being a grandpa is more fun than working

    Jan 2, 2010
    Mitten State
    Sounds as though it may have been your competition shopping you.

    Let 'em stay P.O.'d...you don't owen them anything. If they don't want to work with you at this stage of the game, they'll definitely be a PITA customer in the end.
  5. jiarby

    jiarby Major Contributor

    Feb 11, 2007
    "we do not price by the letter anymore... computers and digital equipment makes it possible for us to do artwork electronically rather than having to typeset everything manually like back in the old days.

    The best way to get you a quote for your job is to know what the font is, how big you want it, what you want it made out of, where you will be using it...etc.. Indoors vs outdoors, short term vs long term, on wood? metal? fiberglass? plastic?? We have different materials to match whatever the letters will be mounted on. The letters are not precut and in a box anymore... we use the computer to layout the job and cut each job to order. We give them to you ready to install... aligned and spaced right and together as one piece, not individual loose letters. "

    Then lead into your presumptive close...

    "So... you can see we are much better equipped now than when we used to have just ONE thing a price it by the letter... What color do you want it to be?"

    Then lead them through the questions
    What is the text? How tall should the capital letters be? Is there room for descending characters like "y, j, g, p"?
    Do you want to see a couple differnt font selections, or do you already know which one you like?

    Bam next thing you know you are a bazillionaire in the sign business.
  6. Malkin

    Malkin Very Active Member

    Feb 11, 2009
    Augusta, ME
    We still do the price per letter thing if it's just simple text RTA vinyl, and a standard font from our book.
    More and more though I price by area & complexity & other factors.
  7. Mike Paul

    Mike Paul Major Contributor

    Dec 30, 2003
    No. Unless your buying a reeeally big one.
  8. signcrafters london

    signcrafters london Very Active Member

    May 22, 2010
    London KY
    I've always thought the price-per-letter method is ridiculous, and have never used it. Other shops still do, apparently. I get several calls a month asking me how much I charge per letter.
  9. Farmboy

    Farmboy Active Member

    Feb 8, 2007
    Auburn, NY
    I wanna be a Bazillionaire!!!!
  10. tattoo.dan

    tattoo.dan Active Member

    Aug 3, 2009
    Southern Il
    I agree with the price per letter being kinda dated and silly nowadays. I have people come in all the time that have been quoted per letter from other shops though, so people r still doin it....

  11. night eagle

    night eagle Active Member

    Mar 9, 2009
    Crowley tx
    i price per sq foot or shop min...

    mark galoob
  12. Mosh

    Mosh Major Contributor

    Oct 19, 2009
    +1 on how it was done in the 80's! sounds like a tire-kicker to me!
  13. showcase 66

    showcase 66 Very Active Member

    Sep 23, 2010
    I had two more calls after posting this. The first I figured it had to be someone trying to get my prices. The second was a lady who I thought I had gotten a call from earlier about the same thing. I said pretty much what I said to the others, which is pretty much what jiarby suggested.

    Yes... I'm going to be the next Bazillionaire...
  14. wetgravy

    wetgravy Guest

    Those types are always fun, half the ones I get that ask for price per letter are ones that go to the local hardware or super store and get those mailbox numbers .. the others ... I think it's a combination of uninformed and/or competition trying to shop around. I tell them straight out that I don't price over the phone, we charge based on overall size, complexity, etc BUT if they want to come in, I can lay out something really quickly to get an accurate estimate on materials and price. 99% of the time they hang up on me and never come in. Sort of makes me sad that the 3-15 calls a day I get either asking for prices over the phone or what I charge per letter never come in since I can tell them what it will cost after about 10 minutes of quick design time to get a rough estimate of size, complexity, materials, etc.

    The only ones I find more ... grating on my nerves ... are the ones that don't think they should half to pay a deposit on their custom job. That one confounds me.
  15. Mosh

    Mosh Major Contributor

    Oct 19, 2009
    How much is a 3" letter? $2. Great I would like those letters you gave me a price on to be printed in full color and reflective with a crome outline installed over a trailer with rivets....but you gave me a price!!!!

    Chrome outline.. I berait people who want chrome so bad that they almost start crying in my shop! If you want chrome you need to first move out of the trailer park, then I might consider doing a sign for you. If not I send you down the road to Missoura. (spelled Missouri)
  16. iSign

    iSign Major Contributor

    Nov 29, 2003
    Kahului, Maui
    dude.. are you serious/ If you got even 1/3 that many calls dropping off the prospects list over that phone service... wouldn't you consider trying something different?

    I mean I don't buy in to that "customer is always right' crap... but I don't lay down my classic arrogant rants on them either, the way I like to here...

    The customer is just uneducated.. (and not in the Mosh trailer client kind of way... not that there's anything wrong with that :rolleyes:) but in the fact that many of them never bought signs, or cut vinyl before...

    consider for a minute that there are clients who are sorta ok with the way you talk to them, and that right now, they are calling your competitor, getting that same resistance, and then they call you... how can you change your tune, without giving away the store, and possibly convert more of them into at least stopping in to your shop?

    I used to spend too much of my time, trying to get every detail, and to root out every potential problem, discover every possible surprise, or need for an up-charge... and after baffling them with bullshit for 5 minutes, I might tell them, that their custom typeset, extravagant outlined, obscure colored, pain-to-weed font would cost $50...

    but I was losing those jobs until one day I realized if my minimum order for basic cut vinyl was $25, I could say "oh, you want cut vinyl? those jobs are priced from $25.. or "start at..." or "sell for as little as..."

    I think they hear what they want to hear, and if the other guy scares them away with too much information, and a high price... I can get them to come in & then in that same 5 minutes I would have wasted on the phone, I might have to let them know they are asking for some costly variations that could easily be left off to qualify for the basic price... OR I can even show them (if they are business people) that there are ways to spend more money up front on an effective advertising investment that won't really cost them anything, as it will pay for itself... and that the more effective variations will pay for themselves many times over...

    Let S101 be the place to rant about the frustration of uninformed clients, (or cheapass ones) ....but on the phone, try sounding like the guy who most wants their business... and you can still say "for a guaranteed price, I need to show you samples & discuss font choices in person, to make sure you are getting exactly what you need"

    try it...
  17. Jillbeans

    Jillbeans Major Contributor

    Dec 24, 2003
    Butler, PA
    I don't price per letter and I don't sell signs by the pound.
    I have a $25 minimum order, and if that's too expensive, you probably don't want to deal with them anyway.
    That's what CriCuts are for.
  18. wetgravy

    wetgravy Guest

    Well, I do ask for basics and try to help the potential customer as much as possible on the phone, but most don't know what size they need or what they actually want. We do have some things that are flat rate and the such and I'm more than happy to give out all the information they need, sadly when they want a price on something like a "company name in 3" letters" and upon asking them the name, area they need to fill, how many colors, etc. I get "I dunno" or "it's (garbled name) trucking & transport, INC and I want it all in one line and I have 15" of space and need to be 3" tall" ... After I give them a general price (ussually about 30% more than I might have to charge them to cover the unknown in every job if it's there) I also default to a nice "since the complexities of the job would probably require some design time for accurate pricing, you are more than welcome to come in for some design time which we do not charge for and I will be able to come up with something to better gauge the price and the demands of the job. ... also, if you would like me to proof something up I can also e-mail you if you are unable to come in." I learned this lesson couple years ago when someone asked for something like that, turned out not what they wanted (wanted A LOT more than that) and pretty much wanted it all for that price. So now it's just trying to be as kind as possible in asking them to come in for a free 15 minute design session where we can discuss colors, typography, sizing (and measuring if they have the vehicle with them) and helping them get to where they want without trying to blow smoke up their rear end.

    One of the good things of caller ID though ... I know half the calls I get about pricing are other shops. no prospects there.

    Edit: I should also mention that 99% of the jobs I do in this shop are big rigs. The ones that call are normally local hoping to find the cheapest job possible. since we aren't mentioned anywhere as a sign or graphics shop, and as a chrome shop really word of mouth gets us more jobs that I alone can normally handle at times.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 10, 2011

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