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Rant Some Customers......

Discussion in 'Entertainment, Humor and Spoofs' started by 2B, Nov 30, 2018.

  1. 2B

    2B Moderator

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    Sales was telling of a resent and "interesting" customer.

    Real Estate Agent called last week for a price quote, they are getting Size: 18" x 24" 2S 2 color imprint on Alum 040. QTY 3 currently paying $56 a sign.

    sales gave a verbal lower than that.
    they came in yesterday, at which time they explained that they don't have enough money for the quoted $39 a sign.
    BUT they would be willing to pay $23 a sign.
    Sales said NO, we are already less than your current supplier. they replied that if we wanted their money then we would have to do their pricing.
    Sales asked if they used that same approach with their property listings? if so I'll pay $23,000 for a move in ready 3 bed / 2 bath with 6 acres.......

    apparently, it went downhill from there

    FYI we didn't get their money and sales didn't get a house :roflmao:
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2018
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  2. shoresigns

    shoresigns Very Active Member

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    Best response I've found for real estate agents when they ask for a discount is "actually, we charge double for real estate agents". They laugh and then realize that you know their game. Then they either pay full price or they leave – win-win either way.
     
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  3. TimToad

    TimToad Very Active Member

    I've never understood what appears to be the widely spread, mass cheapness of a profession that is only minimally needed to sell any property that isn't a complete dump or has complete freaks for sellers. We've owned multiple homes that each sold in less than 24 hours for list price, making us wonder if the advice we received from the "experts" was really well researched or not.

    On the other hand, we recently sold our former B&B property located in an area which was great for attracting guests, but not so good for resale values or prospects. Other than dropping the price until someone bit, it didn't matter what a variety of agents tried to do if a place is located in a poor location for appreciation or resale. Our original agent to buy it, only saw the immediate sale in his view, not what the potential pitfalls would be to sell it once we wanted out. They are trained to project maximum optimism and its the one investment decision we've ever regretted making.

    We have a few great realtor clients who never waver from wanting to project a super professional image in their signage, but most are either hobbyists, part-time or new and everything gets done on a shoestring. The phoniness and superficiality that they project to everyone is what I find most unappealing about dealing with them.
     
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  4. kcollinsdesign

    kcollinsdesign Member

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    Anybody with half a brain and an internet connection can get these printed and shipped for around Qty. 18/ $20.00 each. My price will have a 40% margin, so I'll be around Qty. 18/ $33.00 each. I tell the client that he/she will be able to find a better price on the internet, but if they want me to do the file prep and ordering, I have to mark the price up. I also offer straight design services, which is common for bigger companies that will do their own ordering.
     
  5. 2B

    2B Moderator

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    kcollinsdesignkcollinsdesign true, if you increase the QTY the unit price will go down.

    in this case, the QTY was 3
     
  6. kcollinsdesign

    kcollinsdesign Member

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    I thought I saw 18 up there, my bad! For 3, your $56.00 price is spot on. Like I said, they can get them for around $34.00 from a bunch of online retailers, but if they want you to do the file prep and order them, you need to charge for that.
     
  7. 2B

    2B Moderator

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    the size of the sign is 18x24.
     
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  8. Gene@mpls

    Gene@mpls Very Active Member

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    Most customers do not realize what you are doing for them, assuming the risk on the cost of the sign if you screw it up, making a design that will actually work for whatever purpose they need, ordering, paying for the shipping, etc. We have a new team member who is really good at this business and a great employee, who I over heard talking to a customer about the difference in cost for them to install the decals and for us to do the job. I butted in and said that if we install it, we guarantee it- he then understood and had us install it. And she learned one more thing that she had not thought about. I am now a mentor in my dotage.
     
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  9. TimToad

    TimToad Very Active Member

    All condescension aside, the bigger question posed in this and many other similar threads is what the intrinsic advertising value is of the products we sell as well as its value to us as local business community members.

    Even though products can be bought online from far off, wholesale vendors for less, is relying on them so we can play middle man and deal maker to our clients helping build a stronger local economy? Is it helping keep local people employed, stable and civicly engaged?

    I can only speak for myself, but I am an artist and socially responsible human first. I understand that I and my community cannot thrive in a vacuum, so the more actual work run through my community, the stronger it remains.

    It is no coincidence that most wholesale vendors are mostly located in places where wages and labor are suppressed as well as efforts to reform those exploitative practices and voter access to thise needed reforms.

    It's recently been estimated that it takes 2.5 full-time, minimum wage jobs to afford a minimum standard of living. Over 50% of working Americans are a paycheck or two from financial distress in the event of a major life issue like the death of a spouse or major illness. A third of us lack any savings for retirement.

    As more and more industries, wealth and equity consolidate into fewer and fewer hands, should we really be encouraging and enabling that socially regressive trend?

    Some of you may feel great about saving your clients some money by utilizing those sources while skimming what you perceive aseasy money, but ultimately you are rewarding a system that is a well financed plan to drive wages and incomes down while maximizing profits for a very small minority.

    As a signmaker who has worked his entire 40 year adult life in the midst of a profound restructuring of our economic model with a steady decrease or stagnation in wages, wealth and equity for most of the working classes, I simply Can't justify enabling the decimation of communities and top down, voodoo economics while seeing our craft go from one of the highest paid and well respected trades just 50 years ago, to where it is headed.
     
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  10. Texas_Signmaker

    Texas_Signmaker Very Active Signmaker

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    Why are you not getting your money up front???
     
  11. kcollinsdesign

    kcollinsdesign Member

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    The primary value of a sign is not the paint on the board, it is the idea. What it says, how it says it, and how much attention it attracts is the most important aspect of a sign. That value is placed within a matrix of initial cost plus maintenance cost to reach a price. The customer will evaluate the perceived effectiveness of the sign in consideration of the offered price.

    While I like to wax nostalgic about the good old days when the signmaker was in control of the whole process, from creative through production to installation, it simply is not a sustainable model today for most commercial shops. The fabrication process has been commodified, improved logistics have made outsourcing more practical, and anyone with a computer is a designer. I blame the demise of the craft sign industry to the industry itself. For the last twenty-five years or so sign shops have been on a race to the bottom, just like so many other industries today faced with similar pressures.

    There is a market for well crafted, professionally designed signs. Most corporate clients don't mind spending the money, even if the graphic design was done in LA, the sign was built in Alabama, and the installation crew is in Baltimore. These big companies take advantage of commodity pricing and improved logistics to get the best pricing possible. They will hire the top design firms to get their message across. It is very difficult for a small business to compete with these efficiently run organizations. As a local commercial sign shop, you can help local and small businesses compete by taking advantage of the same systems the big boys do. Offer the best possible product you can, and if that means out-sourcing production and employing top-notch designers, so be it. Doing **** work and treating design as an unavoidable overhead expense will not get you there.

    PS: Most of the contributors to this forum are craftsmen/women and artists. But look around your local community, and you will see what I mean.
     
  12. TimToad

    TimToad Very Active Member

    I was painfully clear about factoring in the intrinsic value of the advertising in the context of what was being offered.

    We don't "wax nostalgic" about anything, we roll up our sleeves everyday and MAKE signs and we ARE in control of the entire process for the overwhelming majority of our clients. They come to us for our expertise, our fairness, our approachability, our reliability, our service and the lack of guessing about how their signs will turn out. They can come in, look, feel and sense what it is they will be receiving after we're done. Our customers don't need the same treatment or economies of scale as IBM might demand. This false dichotomy you keep referring to that its all an either or equation and if a person continues doing their own signs start to finish, they are doing lousy work or aren't able to be profitable is a insulting and condescending to the countless professionals who have dedicated their live's work to their craft.

    Blaming "the industry" for its demise? is a completely ignorant of the facts perspective that keeps tripping up your ability to feel camaraderie from me and possibly others. Our craft is experiencing a resurgence and influx of talent unlike any in the least 50 years. I suggest you expand your worldview, join some other boards and social media groups and see all of the enthusiasm and vigor being injected into our craft. Back to your severely premature announcement of the "demise" of our industry. Our entire economic structure, the meaning of work, the advancement of technology and automation, environmental concerns, regulatory limitations, etc. have had profound impacts on "work" as we know it. But there is still honor, self-respect and pride to be wrought and earned from designing and building things as well as deeper relationships with our clients.

    Why would a 40 year veteran signmaker like myself who has spent time in both the sign and graphics design, printing, etc. world hire out the part of the process that I'm most skilled and best at providing? That defies logic.

    I think you underestimate the overall quality of talent in our field as well as the business acumen that many have built and practice.

    Your perception of what is sustainable and what isn't doesn't reflect the reality that I see among my peers locally and the hundreds I am friends with and part of a huge fraternity of sign artists with worldwide.

    In fact, I'd classify your business model as the outlier and exception, not the rule.
     
  13. Gino

    Gino Premium Subscriber

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    I'll have what he's drinking............:toasting:

    Good Grief, do some of you even read over the stuff you write, before you hit the send button ??

    Three weeks ago , you were b!tching about your competition and now suddenly, they're your friendly peers. Two months ago, you were b!thing about your help and now they're your loyal employess. For someone who has changed businesses more times than I can count on one hand, change opinions on competition and employees..... you sure throw a lotta nothing around.

    You should try politics next, you're always bringing it up, no matter how unhealthy it is.
     
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  14. Johnny Best

    Johnny Best Very Active Member

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    It started out as a story from the sales department on some real estate company and turned into extraneous detail, rambling and verbose explanations from Toad and kcollinsdesign. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed reading it all. Of course, I like reading about why Wombats leave distinctive squared feces all over the place.
     
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  15. GAC05

    GAC05 Major Contributor

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    I see you are a man of culture as well.
    https://www.poomuseum.org/
     
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  16. kcollinsdesign

    kcollinsdesign Member

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    There is no reason to hire out part of the process that you are skilled at and best at providing. I only suggest hiring out parts of the process where you have less skill and expertise.

    For example, I do not have a paint booth. Therefore, if I want to paint a sign, it would have to be brush painted with enamel or latex. I know that these hand applied finishes will not look as nice nor will they last as long as a proper acrylic polyurethane coating. So I feel I do a disservice to my client if I don't outsource my painting.

    Another example: It costs me about $15.00 in materials to make a 3' x 8' banner. Then I have to pay the employee to make it, and make sure that I include overhead costs (like the cost to own the printer). It costs me less to order the same banner from a supplier, freeing up an employee to do something else, and saving me the expense and bother of keeping an expensive production machine running. I can sell a quality banner at a competitive and profitable price.

    Another example: we stress design at our shop. We are known locally for design, and people search us out for it. We treat design as a revenue stream, and charge appropriately for it. This is how we make most of our money. This model works for us because most of our competition treats design as an overhead expense, and the less time spent on it the better. This is an example of an area where we have considerable skill and experience, and we do not out source. By my observation, if a local sign company cannot keep a competent artist on the payroll, this is an area many companies might consider out sourcing.

    I am not disparaging the industry with my comments. Many of the contributors on this forum are amazing artists and craftsmen/women. But poke your head out of this rarified world and you will see many sign vendors who deliver minimum quality and have zero design skills. They may have a crane and a couple bucket trucks, and competent installers, but their fabrication facility is outdated or minimal. They will likely have a low wage "vinyl person" that fiddles with stickers and does the art work. But the emphasis for these companies is usually installation and maintenance, they pay union scale, and they usually cannot offer in-house quality fabrication and design at a competitive price (once a company reaches a certain size, however, these trends start to reverse. I've seen incredible work from some of our larger sign companies.).
     
  17. Texas_Signmaker

    Texas_Signmaker Very Active Signmaker

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  18. Big Rice Field

    Big Rice Field Electrical/Architectural Sign Designer

    People that sell real estate are only one step up from used car salesmen. Despicable.
     
  19. Brandon708

    Brandon708 Very Active Member

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    We have all realtors pay in full when they order with the exception of a few long time customers that I know are good for it.
     
  20. Bigdawg

    Bigdawg Just Me

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