Welcome To Signs101.com: Largest Forum for Signmaking Professionals

Signs101.com: Largest Forum for Signmaking Professionals is the LARGEST online community & discussion forum for professional sign-makers and graphic designers.

 


  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Pricing

Discussion in 'General Chit-Chat' started by Scott Sneddon, Oct 27, 2018.

  1. Scott Sneddon

    Scott Sneddon New Member

    15
    1
    3
    Oct 24, 2018
    Layton Utah
    Pricing to me has always been a Challenge. With our photography print shop we have it dialed in after 4 years. But when it come to banners and yard signs I am a little lost. I thought $3 a square foot for banners was on the higher end. I called Alpha Graphics and they were $5.71 a square foot. Is there a good rule of thumb when it come to banners and decal vinyl?
     
    Tags:
  2. Christian @ 2CT Media

    Christian @ 2CT Media Major Contributor

    4,650
    724
    113
    Jun 15, 2009
    Mesa, Arizona
    Whatever your market will bare and keeps you growing.

    Every shop, locale, clientele, and end product is different. What works for you will be different for me. I suggest knowing your cost inside and out and pricing based on your growth rate based on your current and expected workload
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  3. TimToad

    TimToad Very Active Member

    2,568
    636
    113
    Jun 13, 2013
    CA
    If you're really serious about entering our craft and want to survive over the long haul as well as prosper, get yourself a subscription to SignCraft magazine and honestly use the overhead calculator tools available to figure out what your true overhead is and what your hourly shop rate needs to be to become profitable. Guessing and basing your pricing on being below what other people are charging is not a business model built for success.

    For all you know Alpha Graphics is undermining the market as badly as you appear to be doing. By you dipping far below them, you may be the leader int he race to the bottom, but its not a race you want to be in or win.

    All of our work has an intrinsic value built into the ROI it brings our clients. Ignoring that leaves an important component out of the pricing equation.
     
    • Disagree Disagree x 2
    • Like Like x 1
  4. unclebun

    unclebun Very Active Member

    Just remember when you are selling signs (which includes banners), the object is not to sell printed materials. Signs are not a commodity item. They are a custom marketing item. Their value is not in the materials from which they are made, but the advertising value they have to the purchaser. Prices in the sign industry have been ruined by outsiders like printers (or photographers) thinking they can come in and apply the type of pricing they used in their other industry to signs. That approach makes it so that nobody can make a decent living at it.
     
    • Like Like x 2
    • Agree Agree x 2
    • Disagree Disagree x 1
  5. Scott Sneddon

    Scott Sneddon New Member

    15
    1
    3
    Oct 24, 2018
    Layton Utah
    I haven't thought about that it that way at all. Thank you. We do indoor signs with our aquas printers already. I have charged a lot less then I would for a photograph to be printing. Photography is meant to last a life time where Signage to me is way more temporary. I know what I need to do to turn a profit from a material and ink stand point. I am more curious how you price a job? Standard by the square foot or would you charge one company more then a other?
     
    • Informative Informative x 1
  6. rossmosh

    rossmosh Active Member

    678
    187
    43
    Oct 9, 2014
    New Jersey
    Assuming like for like, something like 2x the wholesale value + art/setup & shipping. That will put you in the middle of the pack for pricing. There will always be someone cheaper and someone more expensive. Sometimes it's for valid reasons and sometimes it's not. At the end of the day, you should base your pricing on the market and your costs and come up something you can live with.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  7. Texas_Signmaker

    Texas_Signmaker Very Active Signmaker

    4,741
    1,744
    113
    Oct 21, 2016
    Frisco, TX
    I'm $5.75 on banners
     
  8. Scott Sneddon

    Scott Sneddon New Member

    15
    1
    3
    Oct 24, 2018
    Layton Utah
    That is about where the local Alpha Graphics is priced at. That is actually what made me start thinking more about how I I was going to price everything. I was planning to be at $3.50 a square foot because that is what some shops have offered me. Now I am thinking more in the Mid 4's
     
  9. mjkjr

    mjkjr Member

    75
    15
    8
    Mar 27, 2014
    MA
    I'm $8 /sqft for banners. If I'm going to bother doing them, I'm going to make it worth my time. I have bills to pay and kids to feed. Plus it keeps them from ordering banners instead just because they're so much cheaper for times when more permanent signage is appropriath.

    Ninja edit: I'd rather race to the top than the bottom!
     
    • Like Like x 2
    • Agree Agree x 2
  10. TimToad

    TimToad Very Active Member

    2,568
    636
    113
    Jun 13, 2013
    CA
    I guess the advice a few of us have offered has had little or no influence on you at all?

    You have to accurately calculate your entire overhead in order to determine what hourly rate and pricing you need to command. Even if a one person business working in your home basement, you still have overhead. Not to mention the intrinsic advertising value whatever you produce has. That doesn't even account for producing an income that covers your personal life expenses like healthcare, savings, retirement, etc.

    I realize you are in a smaller community in a low wage, right to work for less state, but that doesn't negate your need to make a living and profit from your work or its not worth doing.

    Let's just say you're not even printing your own material and the best priced wholesale printers out there are around $1.00 per square foot plus shipping on smaller orders. A 3'x8' banner is going to retail from your shop at $108.00. Its going to cost you about $30-35 including shipping. Its takes a couple phone calls, emails, counter time, etc. plus whatever time it takes you to layout and design the banner. Then it takes a few minutes to enter the customer's info into QB or other bookkeeping program and invoice them. Then you have to collect the money because the client shows up and forgot their checkbook or credit card ( which you'll pay a small fee to process ) and because you're new and know everybody in town, you don't want to alienate a new client so you let them walk with the banner. Yeah, i know you and every other hardass signmaker NEVER let anyone leave with the signs without paying. That's why QuickBooks doesn't have a "receivables" category for signmakers anymore. LOL

    Can you pay all your overhead, expenses and justify the total time spent for around $70 on that banner?

    I think if you paid really careful attention to every minute and process involved on that $108 banner, you'd be shocked at how quickly the minutes add up to an hour and a half or more.
     
    • Agree Agree x 4
  11. TimToad

    TimToad Very Active Member

    2,568
    636
    113
    Jun 13, 2013
    CA
    Given the per capita income and average cost of living there, you're probably in the right pricing range if commercial property rents are similar to housing costs.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  12. unclebun

    unclebun Very Active Member

    At $3/sf you are not turning a profit. You aren't even breaking even. $3/sf makes a 3'x6' banner $54. How long did you spend talking to the customer to take the order? How long did you spend laying out the banner? How long did you spend loading the material into the printer? How long does it take to run the print? How long does it take to move the print from the printer to the work table? If it's a solvent print, how long does it have to dry? How long does it take to hem and grommet? How long does it take to enter the customer into your software and create an invoice? How long does it take to call or email the customer to come get the banner? How long does it take to deal with the customer at pickup? How long does it take to enter the payment, batch the credit card, take the money to the bank? How much do you lose to the merchant processor? Then compare that to how much per hour it takes to run your business, pay all the salaries, all the debt obligations.

    Just doubling material or wholesale cost is not always the right calculation either. Banners wholesale for less than $1/sf. Even if you aren't printing the banner yourself, you cannot keep your doors open for $2/sf on banners. Not unless you're selling a ton of identical banners.

    To place banners correctly in the spectrum of sign pricing, you have to know how much signs are worth. A business's main identification sign is meant to be durable, and identifies the business, sets the tone for potential customers as to what kind of business it is, what it does, and depending on the sign's appearance, can mentally prepare the customer to willingly spend more money at that business than at another. At the low end, a durable 4'x8' sign may cost as little as $275, to $400 at the midrange, and up to $1000 at the high end--not including installation. An internally lit sign, channel letters, or fancy dimensional sign may be $3000-$30,000.

    A banner, on the other hand, may be for a single one day event, like a podium backdrop at a 10k race, or may be used in place of a proper sign by a business that is allowed by the sign company to misuse it that way. Nonetheless, even a banner for a 50% off sale may net the business a $50,000 increase in gross sales over the course of a weekend.

    Where your pricing should be for banners will depend on how badly pricing has been ruined in your town by people who don't know what they are doing. We used to get $8-10/sf for one color cut vinyl on white background banners 15 years ago. Customers didn't bat an eyelid at those prices because they were reasonable, the banner served its purpose, and everyone was happy. We made them with $4000 plotters. Now we have $25000 printers and people want to "corner the market" by selling banners at online wholesale pricing. That literally happened in our town a few years back. $1.75/sf was what one guy was selling them for. We lost a lot of banner business, and even had to drop to $3/sf to sell any banners at all. Then he found out once he got busy and hired some help that his prices were too low, and prices have rebounded somewhat, but every year or so another idiot buys a printer and starts the downward spiral on prices again. Or even worse, a guy who got laid off as a billboard installer starts taking orders for banners he has printed by a wholesaler and just doubles the price to make them retail, thinking he's making a profit--until he's lost his shirt and closes down.
     
    • Agree Agree x 5
    • Like Like x 1
  13. Texas_Signmaker

    Texas_Signmaker Very Active Signmaker

    4,741
    1,744
    113
    Oct 21, 2016
    Frisco, TX
    I forgot to mention, that I am $5.50 sq ft. on banner, but I'm not accepting new orders.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  14. rossmosh

    rossmosh Active Member

    678
    187
    43
    Oct 9, 2014
    New Jersey
    Banner prices are basically the equivalent to the hamburger. Hamburger joints count on volume and a reasonable price to turn a profit. This is basically your wholesale/online model. Your average bar/grill uses it as almost a loss leader. You make a profit on it, but at the end of the day, you have no intention of selling burgers all day. This is the model you see at most sign shops. Then you have the price it high because we're using high quality ingredients and putting out a great product. If people buy it. Fine. If they don't, I don't really care. This is the price model you see at some sign shops.

    At the end of the day, you have to pick your battles. If all you do is sell banners all day long from a B&M location while giving customers custom designs and face to face customer service, you have to charge a bunch of money to make it work. Otherwise you're going right out of business. If you're dealing with a few banners a week, you charge the "market rate" for the banners, which is about $3psf for crap or $6psf for decent stuff, and $8-10 for high quality stuff. Then you tack on the additional fees. Art, setup, design, shipping etc. There's not enough meat in banners to hide those fees so you just have to tack them on and move on with your life.

    Also, the market value is not set by the guy down the street as much as the online banner sites. You can sit down at your computer on a Monday evening, design something using their site, place an order, and get something shipped to your door for next to nothing. Sometimes they put out a decent product and sometimes it's garbage. Well known brands like Vistaprint control the market value way more than ABC Signs and Banners with their $600k a year revenue.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  15. visual800

    visual800 Very Active Member

    3,956
    283
    83
    Aug 4, 2010
    montgomery, alabama
    all my banners are subbed out and I charge to customer what the situation calls for. I never know what Im going to charge and I do not have a set price
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  16. Gino

    Gino Premium Subscriber

    33,958
    2,509
    113
    Jun 7, 2006
    PA
    According to your profile, you're in this business less than a year. In that time, how many banners have you sold ??
     
  17. Scott Sneddon

    Scott Sneddon New Member

    15
    1
    3
    Oct 24, 2018
    Layton Utah
    My print shop has been open for only 3 years. Right now we do only a couple banners a month. Last month we combined forces with screen print shop and have a lot of business to business clients. That is the niche we are going to capitalize on with our current customers. Banners, stickers and clothing. We also have a hand full of sign shops that outsource printing locally and want to capture that as much as we can. I really appreciate all the feed back everyone has given.
     
  18. Jester1167

    Jester1167 Premium Subscriber

    Size, quantity and waste are factors too.

    Small banners don't use a lot of material but they do take the same number of steps. Those steps equate to time so small banners cost more per square foot.

    Large quantities create savings in repetitive mass production. You don't have to get the grommet machine and grommets for each one. You don't have to measure where the grommets go, they are marked on the table after the first one... And, at some point it may make sense to outsource.

    And don't forget about waste. What happens when they want one 12 inch by 12 foot printed banner? They get to pay for the waste or buy a banner or three at a reduced cost (material size on hand).

    If you have determined a profitable square foot pricing, it's still just a guide...

    It is always good to protect yourself by creating a minimum charge for a product line. Think about every step and its associated minimum time it takes to make the product multiplied by your hourly rate (see unclebun's post). Then see where it crosses your square foot pricing. Now you need to add your material costs plus markup based on that size and adjust your minimum.
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  19. Fine Designs

    Fine Designs New Member

    22
    2
    3
    Aug 28, 2013
    Mesa Arizona
    For us, our banner prices do fluctuate. There are many variables. Sizes, quantity, full color or if there is a lot of white etc........We usually start out at $4.50 per SF and then go no lower than $3 per SF unless the quantity warranted doing so. Sometimes someone will want a 2ft x 4ft banner and then we have to charge them $5. Many online retailers will do banners for $2 per SF and some even $1 per SF such as eBay but We would not go that low on banners because they would not be worth our time. Some of those places also take a long time to produce and they do not help with artwork at all. We find that because of our turn around time and that we do help or create artwork for our SF pricing people would use us over any online retailer most of the time. At the end of the day it has to be worth your time doing any said order. Luckily banner material itself is cheap!
     
  20. ddarlak

    ddarlak Trump Hater

    I do have a general idea of a sq ft price, but every job goes through my what do i think i can get filter before it becomes the official price...
     
    • Like Like x 1
Loading...

Share This Page

 


Loading...