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Sign Shop in Winter

Discussion in 'Newbie Forum' started by toucan_graphics, Oct 20, 2006.

  1. A question for the northern sign shops... This is my first year in business.
    What is the best way to get through your first winter as a sign shop? Business has come to a screeching halt since our first accumulative snowfall.
    How can I drum up business during the slow season?
  2. Geary

    Geary Very Active Member

    "Slow season"? In 35 years.... I don't think I've ever seen a slow season in the winter. And I've lived in a few cold states like Colorado and Washington. The holidays usually bring sign business in because all the stores are trying to spruce up for sales. :wink:

  3. skyhigh

    skyhigh Major Contributor

    Jun 16, 2005
    My first year was the same...screeching halt. The second year, jobs trickled in and I kept busy. The third year, things never slowed down a bit. The last couple winters I have been so busy I had to buy a snowblower cause I didn't have time to shovel.:Big Laugh
    Try looking for the worst signs in town, then stop in and introduce yourself.
  4. Marlene

    Marlene Major Contributor

    Jun 8, 2004
    Since Vermont has two nice days a year, no one here can stop doing business because of the cold. Installs in the ground are harder to do, but life goes on. The best way I can think of is to make sure that you build a customer list that you can call on when things get slow. It's a good time to check in with people to see how they are doing. When you get a new customer, try to be their one stop for all their business needs. Then you can call to see if they need business cards or stuff like that. A lot of times, your customer will be needing something, but they just haven't gotten around to giving you a call so it's a good way to keep in touch with them and pick up some work.
  5. James Chrimes

    James Chrimes Very Active Member

    Jul 4, 2005
    The more you offer the easier it is to stay busy. We offer business cards, screenprinting, and I just bought a cnc machine. Look around at your compition and figure out what they don't provide and figure out how you can. If you are the only one in your area who provides these services you will have all the business.
  6. kazoosigns

    kazoosigns Member

    Dec 12, 2005
    The biggest question that you're going to get from people in our area, Toucan, is the age-old "You can't install a sign in this weather, can you?" When I worked for a local franchise shop during their first winter (my fifth in the industry), that was a very common question we'd get, because a lot of shops in our area didn't want to/need to do any of that work in the cold. Get past that, and it won't be too bad, and like all the other pros have said, build your name and list of things you offer growing, and the second winter won't be nearly as lean as the first.
  7. Gino

    Gino Premium Subscriber

    Jun 7, 2006
    Great suggestions so far. Also, you might want to physically go after accounts that you know need signs year round themselves, like grocery stores, mall stores and all kinds of other businesses that do business all year long. Instead of waiting for customers to come to you, you go after WHO you want and start turning on the ‘Ol’ Charm’. What the heck, if you’re out of work, might as well be constructive and pound the pavements. Cultivate a customer base list for your so called ‘off season’. Also, go back to people that couldn’t afford this or that sign during the summertime and offer them a discount and be honest with them and tell them that you’re offering a nice discount to get some work going through your shop… you know, ‘You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours’. :unclesam:

    Good Luck.
  8. Whit

    Whit Member

    Nov 16, 2004
    Next time you're out,,, check windows,,,
    this time of year is temp window stuff !!!
    Go inexpensive vinyl,,, dose'nt even have
    to be squared on window,,, just there,,,
    "Trick R Treat,,, c'mon in 'n smell our feet"
    "Happy Christmas,,, Merry Thanksgiving"
    "Sale,,, Sale,,, Sale,,, Everywhere !!!"
    Quick layouts,,, cheap vinyls,,, quick installs,,,
    all add up to temp,,, but quick $$$
    Just let them know this is down n dirty but you
    do quality as well for future bizzz !!!
    Get your foot in doors that would otherwise
    be going somewhere else !!!
    Keeps you busy,,, keeps you in the public eye !!!
    Since you've got time on your hands,,, use it !!!
  9. Thanks a ton. Top of mind awareness..... Normally generated by ads, instead generated by face to face cold calls. When you put it like that I sound stupid for even asking lol
    Hmmm.... Time to charge the batteries in my digital camera, and take some pictures of crummy storefronts and window dressings, jazz 'em up in photoshop and go wow the pants off 'em. Show them what their windows COULD look like with minimal investment.
  10. by the way, would static cling vinyl be a novel idea for Holidays? Sell stores "Holiday Packs" of static cling vinyl of their logo, Cheery Holiday words, letters and art that they can dress their windows however they like? Could I even be competitive with the generic stuff you by at Craft stores and Walmart?

    Just an idea....
  11. jeph4e

    jeph4e Member

    Nov 7, 2005
    Sled Graphics?

    Snowmobile Graphics? Cold Weather Convex works great! :glasses:

    BTW: We love these guys for winter sports:
  12. WVB

    WVB Very Active Member

    Feb 25, 2005
  13. ahollow

    ahollow Active Member

    Dec 25, 2004
    The cling vinyl packages work great. I just created a grouping with the local vendor's products and logos for a Visual Merchandising presentation we are doing for the local businesses this Wed night. I even created a store "window" including the mullions for a demo, and plan to show them how to install and remove the cling vinyl. This is part of our "Main Street" series Design comittee program.

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