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Need Help Unethical Competition!

Discussion in 'General Signmaking Topics' started by Mastermatt87, Aug 10, 2017.

  1. Mastermatt87

    Mastermatt87 New Member

    May 25, 2016
    There is a man who claims to be a "Guerrilla Wraps" franchise. He was in the city next to us, got ran out of the city by officials for doing bad business. Now he has relocated his shop in a hidden area of the our city. Having another sign shop isn't the problem. Its having someone local giving the sign industry a bad rep. We have only been open for 2 years, we are working our asses off and getting jobs is not easy for our 3 Man shop. But when we see this guy he is doing jobs we dreamed of, he is robbing other locals pictures of signs off the internet and claiming as his own, he's posting videos of printing copyrighted material for pete's sake!!!! According to some people who know him they dont even think he bought a guerilla franchise to begin with, he just stole the already credentialed name! We are good friends with everyone at city hall, from pulling permits and such, but they can't even verify that he had a permit to do business in the city! I filed for a public records report with the city clerk, hopefully an investigation will be done. Anything else we can do? We have been turning the other way and focusing on branding ourselves and our integrity for the past year and a half now. But I can't help but to think we must not be doing something right. How is it this guy is getting jobs from people we have stopped in to see and never heard from, even after follow ups.

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  2. Pat Whatley

    Pat Whatley Major Contributor

    Sep 29, 2003
    Wetumpka, AL
    Guerrilla Wraps is a franchise?
  3. We had a couple of guys like that in our town. Both of them were offering ridiculously low prices. They used the cheapest ink and materials they could get their hands on, and provided their customers with nothing more the rubbish. Both went bust and got their equipment lifted with he leasing company. They reopened a short while later using a slightly different name only to go bust a second time. While they were messing about we pushed our business as hard as we could advertising facts about the quality of of Inks and materials that we use. The skills and talents of out staff. We are now due to move premises for a 2nd time in 2 years as we've expanded so much. It's still a struggle to stay in business but we work on the theory of worrying about ourselves and letting the muppets get on with it. They'll destroy themselves eventually without you having to stress about them ;-)

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    • Agree Agree x 3
  4. visual800

    visual800 Very Active Member

    Aug 4, 2010
    montgomery, alabama
    in time this he will be gone again, be patient
    • Like Like x 1
  5. bannertime

    bannertime "You guys do banners, right?"

    Sep 8, 2016
    They'll be gone soon. People like that don't last long. We've got customers that used a cheap guy driving around in a bucket truck, a year later something is wrong with their sign and they can't find him. Now we get the customer and a free job fixing stuff. There are a few local sign shops that have been around about 5-10 years now, but we've never seen them as competition. One guy has been here about 30 and recently retired, we think. He's only a block away, but we've never been in competition. We also offer a lot of unique outdoor advertising services that most sign shops couldn't do. So that may be apart of why we hadn't ever butt heads.
  6. Joe Diaz

    Joe Diaz Very Active Member

    Like most things in business, consider you time. Is it going to be worth your time taking action against your competition? Or will spending that time focusing on your own business yield better results? I personally like what Mysticalvibes had to say about advertising and promoting high quality materials and services. I feel like that is time well spent. You are focusing on your own business but you are also addressing all of your competition, not just the one shop. And when products made by your competition begin to fail prematurely, those people might remember your advertisements about high quality and finally see the value in that. If you provide higher quality services and products, customers that value high quality are the best types of customers you can ask for. This type of competition may be a blessing in surprise if you play your cards right. It could be worst. What if your competition was better than you?
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2017
    • Like Like x 2
    • Agree Agree x 1
  7. Billct2

    Billct2 Major Contributor

    Mar 12, 2005
    New England
    Give Guerilla Wraps a heads up that someone is misrepresenting themselves. You've brought him to the attention of the city department so hopefully he's on their radar now. But other than that you have to just keep on running a quality operation and hope he implodes sooner than later.There will always be hacks in any trade. And remember there are are companies that were there before you two years ago who may not have been happy to see more competition.
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2017
  8. 2B

    2B Moderator Staff Member

    May 5, 2011
    they are everywhere, focus on your reputation and ensure that what leaves your shop you are confident in and know it is the best you could do.

    We had (still have if the rumors are correct) a complete hack locally and this guy is a know scammer even before started doing signs.
    clipped one company close to $20,k.promised the moon and delivered then delivered a grainy out of focus photo of the moon.

    The part that really made us say WTF is when these businesses / customers that have used us before and praised our quality, time-frame, etc... would get a quote from him then come to use and say "he will do this for XXXX amount, if you beat his price we will use you" to which we asked, them you know who you got this quote from correct? they all knew his reputation as a scammer but still wanted the better pricing.
  9. Mastermatt87

    Mastermatt87 New Member

    May 25, 2016
    Well you all have definitely made me feel more confident about the whole situation. I appreciate the feedback and will continue to put out the best product and quality for out clients. In our area the sign making community is very close, always helpful to one another and we all want to see each other succeed. We just hate to see a guy running around screwing our clients and fellow business owners over. But Joe you're right, this could be a blessing in disguise! Thanks everyone.

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  10. Rick

    Rick Certified Circle Designer

    Apr 17, 2003
    Valle Vista
    I agree with Mystical, Joe and the others, you really have to concentrate on yourself. By putting all your energy on mastering your skills and building a good reputation, you will see a return... it will serve you better than worrying about the hacks... worrying about hacks could be a full time job by itself. We all deal with them. Just do better work that's reasonably priced.

    Quite a few of us have had our work pinched and used on other sign makers sites... I'm sure shops would appreciate a heads up. I have had sites and Facebook pages removed when the shop did not comply with my DMCA request. Many shops do this by the way, we have had a few here... they say they are not marketing these signs as their portfolio but for "inspiration" The 2 latest shops to try this ploy are out of business.

    What kind of jobs do you dream of doing?

    I went to your site and the offending site. I can clearly see work they didn't do - not cool... but I also saw work with copyright you clearly do not own on your page too. As minor of an infraction as it may seem, it's still the same thing. If I may ask, you say you have been doing this for 2 years... what other training or experience do you have in graphic and signage. From what I have seen, you need to develop an eye for design, your work is "typical" sign work of someone with little experience and no formal training. I ask this of newbies all the time... "how can a business trust your expertise if you have no experience"... well I usually get "you have to start somewhere" and it's a fair response. But is the work you are now doing going to get you to the dream work you want to do? I'm thinking this guy is getting it because of his unscrupulous tactics... well, it will come back to bite him in the arse... he's not impressive at all so it's not going to be hard to be better than this guy.

    Just because people purchase your services and signs does not mean you (or your competition) are any good.

    If I were you... make you're website impressive... your Facebook should have only the best work... it does not to have to be award winning, but the bad work you have on there reflects on you... your business... and your brand. If there is work you want to do, design it and add it to your portfolio and say that it's a concept design. If you have no formal training, get busy learning it... there are plenty of books and tradeshows, ask here, show your work and ask for advice.

    I highly suggest the books:
    Sign Craft Magazine....
    Building a Small Business Brand: How to Turn Your Brand into Your Most Valuable Asset - Dan Antonelli
    Mastering Layout: The Eye of Art Appeal - Mike Stevens

    Now I may catch flack for this recommendation because the guy was on this site and totally lost his chips - but I think you would get a lot out of learning presentation - it's not the best writing and has a lot of inaccuracies but well worth the read.
    Inside Sign Design - signdesignbooks.com

    I just finished a book... mostly about traditional graphic design, but still inspiring...
    House: The Process is the Inspiration: House Industries

    Another favorite and I dig his videos:
    Draplin Design Co. Pretty Much Everything - Aaron James Draplin
  11. Johnny Best

    Johnny Best Active Member

    Dec 9, 2015
    buffalo ny
    I think everyone is giving you great advice on your situation and how to handle it.
    My only thought is not to criticize, condemn, or complain to others about your problem because it won't help your situation. Competition is good for you. As others said, make yourself a better businessman, sign maker and salesperson. If you complain everytime you are up against a sign competitor you will look like the critic, and people do not respond well to that and will resent it.
    As far as the "cheap" thing everyone is saying and pretty soon they will be gone. I heard that when I was a kid years ago about "Made in China" meant it was cheaply made. Well, China learned and now almost everything we buy has something in it from the Far East, printers, materials, inks, laminators etc, etc.
    They did not complain, just bowed, smiled and studied and worked hard to beat out the US in manufacturing.
    • Like Like x 2
  12. night eagle

    night eagle Active Member

    Mar 9, 2009
    Crowley tx
    I'd say refer all your real cheap *** or problem customers to him.
    • Like Like x 1
  13. ams

    ams Very Active Member

    Oct 28, 2010
    Any chance the guys name is Kenny Harris?
  14. Bly

    Bly Very Active Member

    Mar 9, 2004
    Ditto all the above especially Johnny Best.
    Focusing on lowballing competitors is counter productive. There will always be someone cheaper.
    I had a budget conscious customer complain about our prices for ages.
    He had one of his trucks done with some sailtrack banners for a fraction of the price we quoted to wrap it.
    He came back a few months ago saying the banners shredded after 6 months while the wrap we did on another truck still looks great years after.
    People will work out if you provide value or not. Might take a little time but it will happen.
  15. Geet Faulkner

    Geet Faulkner New Member

    Nov 11, 2005
    or you could go burn down his place and break his fingers.... you might get some respect that way.

    After close to 40 years in business I can tell you this...
    Never worry about the other guy... how he prices, who he dates or his hair cut.
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