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Price Posting and Discussion at Signs 101

Discussion in 'Polls' started by Fred Weiss, Nov 27, 2008.

What should be the forum policy as to price discussion and price posting?

  1. It's fine the way it is

    66 vote(s)
    34.0%
  2. It should be less restrictive

    25 vote(s)
    12.9%
  3. It should be more restrictive

    66 vote(s)
    34.0%
  4. It should totally forbid any price discussion or posting

    4 vote(s)
    2.1%
  5. It doesn't matter to me

    33 vote(s)
    17.0%
  1. Replicator

    Replicator Major Contributor

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    :goodpost:
     
  2. BlueRidgeFabrication

    BlueRidgeFabrication Active Member

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    As a merchant member, it would not bother me at all if pricing was restricted to the premium part of the forum.

    Jessica
     
  3. Graphics2u

    Graphics2u Very Active Member

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    Wouldn't that be seriously limiting the exposure you're getting as a MM? You are paying for that membership I would think you'd want the most bang for your buck.
     
  4. iSign

    iSign Major Contributor

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    unlike the $3 a foot guys... Blueridge are selling custom dimensional work... I don't think there is very much of their work that can be priced "by the pound", so I think they benefit more from keeping people aware of there services & giving the kind of quality that kept guys like me going back for over 10 signs & raving here how great they all were. I try not to rave how great the prices were because I didn't want them getting any ideas :rolleyes: ...but in addition to excellent work, I always made really good money on the signs they made for me too!
     
  5. Graphics2u

    Graphics2u Very Active Member

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    Rep, Please don't take this the wrong way, but why is here so much different than that pricing being out there on the web on another site? Perhaps a site that linked to from here? I think that's why Fred is saying "Carrying it a step further, since there is also strong objections being expressed to website displays of any pricing that the general public can see, we would also have to turn away any merchant who displays prices on his or her own website."
     
  6. Replicator

    Replicator Major Contributor

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    Nov 19, 2006
    Sun City, AZ
    For me personally it's a matter of proper etiquette and professional responsibility amongst my piers . . . JMHO !
     
  7. Digitall

    Digitall Guest

    Certainly no offense taken AAG. I joined as a MM for privacy and knowledge from pros. I think I know the forum you are talking about and I see your point.
     
  8. Graphics2u

    Graphics2u Very Active Member

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    I realize their situation might be a little different than some MM's, I guess what I meant was I would think if someone is paying a fee to advertise most MM's would want to reach as many as possible not just ones who pay for a membership.

    Don't get me wrong I don't think wholesale pricing should be posted either in a public forum. I'm just saying I understand the trouble with trying to police every post that has pricing in it would pose a problem to MM's who are trying to reach as many as possible and have their website in their posts. I just don't see the difference between talking price and having a link to where you can find the price.
     
  9. BlueRidgeFabrication

    BlueRidgeFabrication Active Member

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    May 11, 2007
    :thankyou:Doug! I really appreciate that. (and your business as well)

    I guess it might be different for us than for some other MMs, because we don't want our wholesale clients' customers to see our wholesale price. Our wholesale clients provide the artwork for their signs and should charge much more than what we are charging them in order to cover their time and cost involved in the project.

    We want our wholesale clients to make an appropriate amount of profit off of the signs. They may be more likely to drop their prices if one of their customers knew they were outsourcing a sign out to us and knew exactly what our prices were.

    We really stress quality and customer service in our advertising instead of price, so it wouldn't bother me at all if pricing discussions were limited. It doesn't matter if they aren't limited either--I just happen to agree that it probably hurts the sign industry more than helps for the end customer to see and have access and knowledge of what the wholesale cost of services are. Especially if they do not put as much value on the time involved in designing the sign, etc.

    Our wholesale clients can potentially make a good amount of profit off of our signs, and we want them to, we basically make our real money off of our corporate property projects and our wholesale projects give us a steady flow of work. We are hear to make our wholesale customers' lives easier, not harder, so we do not want to have their customers coming to them and asking them about their profit margin.

    We may be in a different boat than some other MMs on the forum, I don't know, it's just not an issue that would cause us to stop advertising on Signs101.

    Sorry for writing so much!!

    Jessica
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2008
  10. BlueRidgeFabrication

    BlueRidgeFabrication Active Member

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    May 11, 2007
    I see what you are saying. We do not provide our pricing information on our website, so maybe that's the difference.

    Jessica
     
  11. Graphics2u

    Graphics2u Very Active Member

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    I can understand that, and I agree it's more professional. But on the other hand what if you sold digital printing to the trade instead of software (which by the way is a pretty cool deal you have there), would you be willing to be a MM and not display your website in your signature?

    That's what should happen if we want all references to pricing kept out of the public areas. Or at a minimum any links in a MM's post's should only be allowed to go to the paid member area and then from there members could access a MM's site.

    Just my thoughts. And that ain't worth too much! :smile:
     
  12. BlueRidgeFabrication

    BlueRidgeFabrication Active Member

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    It's good to hear opinions from each side, because different people/companies might be affected in different ways. So, I appreciate hearing your thoughts on the matter.

    Jessica
     
  13. Fred Weiss

    Fred Weiss Merchant Member

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    Sep 11, 2003
    Olympia, WA
    I'm really trying to keep an open mind and listen to what is being said but I still don't see how to tell those merchants here or who may come along in the future who are focused on keeping their equipment busy and do so by offering highly aggressive pricing that they cannot mention the actual prices in their posts and announcements here.

    Without mentioning names, I can recall off the top of my head a widely respected merchant here who introduced himself with 99¢ per foot pricing on finished banners. Another offers 4 color coro signs at $4 each. Each of them has received any number of glowing reviews for the quality of product and service delivered and the aggressive pricing has increased the profitability of dozens if not hundreds of members here who have become their customers.

    Putting on my sign guy hat, I will say that I don't have any customers that question my costs and markups. I've certainly lost customers by quoting higher prices than they wanted to pay but I long ago concluded that these were not the clients I could afford to cultivate. In 25 years of doing this work, I have never had a prospect say to me "how can you charge that much when your materials only cost this much?".

    When I shop for printing, I shop for the best combination of factors from a prospective provider. Part of that will be the price and much of it will be quality, reliability, turnaround etc. Never in the course of selecting a printer does it occur to me that the markup is too high or how does he justify charging me 11¢ a page when paper costs less than 1¢ a page at Office Depot.

    So I'm left to weigh the responses here and to the poll as to providing a good value to all our advertisers including those who have business models based on aggressive pricing that benefit many members here and protecting those members who feel their businesses may suffer because a wholesale price may become known to any member or visitor to Signs 101.
     
  14. BlueRidgeFabrication

    BlueRidgeFabrication Active Member

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    What you said sounds very reasonable, Fred. It doesn't affect our advertising with Signs 101 in any way, either way, like it might for others, I just want our wholesale clients to be happy, so we will not post any pricing information on the forum.

    Now, having said that, before I even considered the issue--I put our pricing information on one of my first posts. When I realized that it could be an issue, I asked you to remove it, which you did so for me promply.

    So, even though I lean towards it being more restrictive, it's probably just a personal preference of mine. I wouldn't want to cause another MM to not want to advertise on Signs 101, as I hope this forum will continue to grow and prosper has it has already.

    Jessica
     
  15. vid

    vid Very Active Member

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    I don't think that signmeup is that far off base. I tend to share the same view. I won't discuss pricing in the open forums. I won't show customer art there, either. However, I still think it's rather Draconian to try and restrict free enterprise in the forum as it is now.

    Personally, I don't think it's anyone's business to tell me who and where I spend my money. It's my same feeling that an MM doesn't need to be told how to market their product. While I'm tickled that certain advertisers are no longer with us, they could have just as easily been placed in my ignore list. Both vendors, that I am aware of getting the boot, showed poor form and little respect for Signs 101 members.

    Still, I wouldn't know how to draw any sort of formal line on behavior or develop a concrete policy against the spammish posts. Then too, I see it as an administrative nightmare.

    Aside from a member's reaction on posts, strict policy directives can be counter productive to building Signs 101 as a knowledge base. But, that's the fundamental beauty of Signs 101. It's guided by a benevolent king who shows great repect for the forum as a member driven community.

    Heck, based on the cost, IMO, a rotating banner ad with a logo and tagline is still a great value for a vendor. If the advertiser is aware of the "rules" at the front end, they could be a great partner for the Forum.

    I can envision a PDF download of advertising guidelines for prospective merchants... with the "rules of engagement." But who's going to draft it? We know Fred's position. Still, I'd bet he'd be gracious enough to review a proposal. I'd guess it'd have to be fair to all members with a effective plan of implementation.

    skyhigh? isag? replicator?... by appearances, you three seem to be the most vocal proponents of a restrictive policy. Are you interested? There's poll results that support your opinion. There's discussion that supports your opinion. Heck, write it, see what happens.
     
  16. Bradster941

    Bradster941 Very Active Member

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    .




    So, 70 some POST Later, and 700+ Views





    and yet, not one Real World Experience.

    Wonder why that is :rolleyes:


    .
     
  17. signmeup

    signmeup Major Contributor

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    Thanks Vid. I didn't think what I wrote was terribly complicated. Also, just for the record Skyhigh, I am a CM.
     
  18. high impact

    high impact Very Active Member

    "More restrictive" pricing guidelines would be better. However, it is an industry issue NOT just a signs101 issue.

    One real world example (which does not involve signs101 though) would be approx a year ago a customer of mine did an internet search on a supplier name she saw when looking at a catalog picture of street sign frames in my shop. She contacted the supplier and received the exact price I was paying for product. Not only did she check on price but she was able to change the order via phone and charges were administered to my wife's credit card.

    This is an INDUSTRY issue but I applaud any efforts by suppliers or anyone else in the industry who aid in the issue of limiting wholesale pricing exposure. ANY wholesaler who protects my pricing structure is working toward a solution like other industries. IMHO - The sign industry is behind many others in becoming professional in it's perception and this issue is just one of many reasons. BTW - anyone who includes clipart, fonts and software in hiding it's pricing does not understand the real issue here. Those things are tools we need to perform the job - I could care less if my customers know what I pay for the tools. I don't want customers knowing what I pay for material or subbed out work. There is a big difference between the two.
     
  19. Doyle

    Doyle Very Active Member

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    I feel completely ignorant here...... I didn't think it was this big of a problem, and maybe that's why I didn't see a problem with people talking about prices in the open forum.

    I, personally, couldn't care less about my customers finding wholesale prices online. Why would I care?? If they have a problem with my prices, **** off. And ESPECIALLY if they are going as far as RESEARCHING to find out what MY COSTS of RAW MATERIALS are, then they have some serious issues.....

    When I call an HVAC contractor and get a bid for work, would I then go online and try to GUESS as to what the MATERIALS COST THEM???????? NO! Absolutely not!!! As business people, we should all know that cost of materials is usually NOTHING compared to equipment, licenses, insurance, etc etc.

    I guess that I can sorta relate to the fact that openly discussing wholesale prices makes it a little more accessible to anyone looking for the information, but I am sure that if someone REALLY wants to find out, they will have no trouble.....
     
  20. Doyle

    Doyle Very Active Member

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    But as for RETAIL prices. really, who cares???
     
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