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vinyl vs printed banner

Discussion in 'Newbie Forum' started by tnawards, Aug 27, 2006.

  1. tnawards

    tnawards Member

    Aug 22, 2006
    Hello All,
    Another newbie question. Does the average customer, whether it be business, school, church etc. have a preference of the traditional banner with vinyl letting and graphics versus a printed banner? Are there big differences in price, if any?
    Thanks for the patience.
  2. Pro Image

    Pro Image Major Contributor

    Nov 28, 2005
    A printed banner is lower in production cost that a vinyl lettered banner........As for the customers, It all depends one what has been produced in you area the most. If they are looking for full color then printed is the way to go.............
  3. Pro Signs & Graphix

    Pro Signs & Graphix Very Active Member

    Apr 18, 2006
    The average person has no idea of any difference. Basically, when a customer requests many colors, or a difficult or impossible image, then you would turn to digital. It is not that the material side is cheaper, but the labor of the production process is considerably shorter. Should you have to turn to digital, then you have a reason for upselling to greater profits.

    Normal, text only, occasional image, no more than two colors - the old mainstay of vinyl is still present. Pricing will vary greatly on location.

    Digital is great for other things like mesh (see-thru) banners, polyester or other fabrics, etc. Those types of banners will bring you a premium.

    I hope this helps
  4. Ian Stewart-Koster

    Ian Stewart-Koster Active Member

    Sep 27, 2003
    Qld, Australia
    Here, they often don't care, either- they want a banner, and what it's made from or how isn't an issue, compared with the price. I've just finished another hand painted one, for a local mob who do rodeos- Rodeo was handpainted, shaded & airbrushed. the rest- the location & date - were vinyl, for changeability.

    Why did I handpaint it- partly because I can, because I wanted to, and because it will last, and it looks good, and to differentiate ourselves from some of the quicky-sticky-but-poor-designy shops here. In the end I spent 2 hours on the brush, and didn't 'waste' any vinyl! It was a 12 x 3 ft one.
  5. OldPaint

    OldPaint Major Contributor

    this is a problem to me,,,,,i dont do digital....and i have lost a lot of banner work to digital shops CHARGING WAY LESS per sq ft....for simple lettering.
    now they print full color......every sq ft for less then i get just for plain lettering....WHICH IS STUPID TO ME....they could still charge what i get.......per sq ft.....and make more money......with digital...but they figure if they do it cheaper they will make more...AND WORK MORE!!!
  6. Pro Signs & Graphix

    Pro Signs & Graphix Very Active Member

    Apr 18, 2006
    That is the stupidity of digital!

    Non-business people have tendency to give away technology. That is one reason people that own the Edge make money - they do not give it away!
  7. mystysue

    mystysue Active Member

    Mar 14, 2006
    Is my shop the only one on here that charges more for digital printed banners and gets it???
    It depends on the finished product the client needs what kinda banner they order, but lately we have been doing a bit more digital than regular banners. and i really dont see the differance in making them them time wise.. the applied vinyl we use ready blanks which are grommeted and hemmed so all we have to do is cut and apply which isnt really time comsuming.. the digital after printing we cut around it which required time in measuring and hem with hem tape and then grommet us.. both seem to take about the same ammount of time to me.. the cut vinyl one come from an older machine that cost 1/4 or less than the digital printer did when purchased. We have some excellent examples of what the digitals can do hanging in our shop.. and give the customer the option of vinyl if it is sumthing we can do that way.. at a cheeper price then the digital.

    One selling point we use tho is if they need a rush job then its digital at the higher price.. .

    We also offer the option of it being lamenated with clear shield on the digitals for an additional charge.. and once people see how nice that looks when they have a printed colored background alot of them go for that option.
  8. bob

    bob Major Contributor

    Nov 4, 2005
    Banners are banners. In my shop I get to choose the materials and method of execution, not the patron. Since it's not anyone's choice but my own, the price is the same regardless of how the thing is produced.

    In a more general sense, the basic rule here is the patron gets to define what it says, how large it's to be, how long it should last, other non-functional and inconsequential things. and gets to pay for it. I get to say how it says whatever it says and all else. This is the foundation from which I deviate on a case by case basis.

    Mostly I print banners unless there's a need for some special metallic or something. Even then I'll try to print the most of it and add the specialty material to the print.
  9. ENTDesign

    ENTDesign Very Active Member

    May 12, 2005
    To me this is a perceived value thing. It seems to me that digital print should cost more on a value basis assuming the digital is being used to produce full color graphics, not just plain colored text.

    Just a few short years ago, printed full color stuff cost around $10 - 12 per sq ft, compared to about $5 - 6 per sq ft for cut vinyl.

    One potential issue is longevity. Cut vinyl can go for years outdoors. Digital print longevity depends on the inks used, and might require lamination to get the necessary longevity. Need to understand what the customer needs in this regard.
  10. threeputt

    threeputt Very Active Member

    Mar 10, 2006
    washington state
    Geez, Bob, you said better than I could have. We print almost every banner we get, with the exception of ones that need some special look (like metallics) that I'm unable to obtain with printing.

    I agree, I could hand-letter the darn things if I wanted. I can use cut vinyl, I can digital print. They're my tools and my call.

    Customers are generally concerned with: How quick can I get it? At what cost? Will it look like I want it to?

    How we go about it is certainly not their business. Try telling the guy building your custom house you want every nail driven with a 22oz. "Arizona" framing hammer. Don't think so.
  11. firestorm

    firestorm Member

    Jan 12, 2006
    We probably do 95% printed banners. Now that our clients know that we CAN produce full-colour graphics, they almost always want a photo/gradient/some sort of design in the background, instead of cut vinyl. We also find that a lot of clients are really particular about colour, bringing in Pantone #s to match, which we can sometimes only do with printed banners. Plus we find that it is a lot faster to print - we just hit print, and trim. The majority of our banners are not seamed, and if they are, we outsource that. Grommeting doesn't take long.

    We do some cut-vinyl banners, but not usually on banner blanks. We've purchased them before, but it moves so slow it's just easier to use our regular vinyl we use for printing on. Typically we only do this if it's a line of text - otherwise it is faster for us to print.
  12. threeputt

    threeputt Very Active Member

    Mar 10, 2006
    washington state
    Not to stir the pot and create controversy, but I think that some persons have a notion that because something takes longer to produce, it's worth more money. To the consumer, that is.

    In my opinion, that is not necessarily so.

    Convince yourself of that by thinking about this. If I'm really, really slow at making a banner, does that mean when I finally finish it and want $400 for it, it will sell better than a banner of equal quality and look made by a guy who's faster (more efficient?) who sells for $200? As I've said before on this forum, it's the consumer who determines value. Or, put another way, it's the "marketplace".
  13. ChiknNutz

    ChiknNutz Major Contributor

    Apr 18, 2003
    I used to hate cut vinyl banners BP (before printing)...now I love 'em as I can make a really sharp looking banner in no-time with as many colors as I want. As others have eluded to, unless I HAVE to use cut vinyl, I will print given the choice. Price-wise, the cross-over point for me is 2-3 colors of cut vinyl....meaning 1-2 color cut vinyl is generally PRICED cheaper than an equivalent printed banner.
  14. thewood

    thewood Very Active Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    I agree with bob. We print virtually all of our banners. We charge the same for a one-color digital banner as we would for a one-color cut vinyl banner. We print it because it is much more convenient and cost effective for us. The ink cost is cheaper than vinyl. Plus, there is no cutting, weeding, taping, measuring or applying vinyl involved. Just chuck the banner material into the printer and push "send". Also, we can set it to print all night long while we are away from the shop. Try that with traditional applied vinyl.
  15. Gino

    Gino Premium Subscriber

    Jun 7, 2006
    Years ago, the rule in all sign companies across the country and pretty much around the globe was… everything was based on an hourly wage of a hand painter, plus his materials and overhead as was all the other signs being made in the facility. Yes, years ago we were referred to as sign companies, not shops. That term came along in the 70’s and 80’s, as more and more people went out on their own and couldn’t do it all. When silk screening took the monotony out of large runs, it was a welcomed sight and everyone jumped at getting this new technique into their shop. Later on, specialty shops sprung up and started specializing in screen-printing, neon, pylons, sandblasting and so on. In the 80’s as we all know, the computer came along and started a whole new way of thinking from the fabrication to the way we price things. The whole norm for everything for some 100 years or more was upset in a few short years. This is called progress [gradual improvement or growth or development] and I have no problems with progress. The computer has improved many areas and has saved countless hours in our facility and many others that I’ve seen over the years. There are people that have God given talents that need the computer to get their thoughts out and others that need them to help them get many jobs out the door faster. To whatever extent, the computer has been a real helpful tool.

    The area that I think most people at this site, other sites and all around the world have with this tool is, that a standard was set up over decades of how to price our work and this machine has fooled people into what signs are really worth vs. what they can get for a sign or truck lettering job… regardless of the method being used. We’ve lost sight of the true value of our profession and have let people totally unaware of these conditions make the rules.

    We used to figure what it would cost to do a sign, banner, truck door, etc. by hand, then the computer made up for mistakes, brush strokes, hair in the paint and many other incidentals and got the jobs out faster. Why would you charge less to get something done, when you paid a lot of money for the apparatus that did it ?? Well, back then, no one did that. We charged accordingly and made a better profit. We went from having a backlog of 3 three to four months down to about six weeks. We had seven hand-painters, screen printer and two of us were also wall dogs and pictorial artists. We still priced out based on our hand-level skill. As more and more fast sign shops and other backyard mechanics came onto the scene, undercutting everything, we had to adjust our pricing. The nice thing is, we didn’t drop our prices… we just added a lower end type of signs to our list which when people saw the difference, it wasn’t at all hard to up-sell them.

    So, as OP and others have said, we still price out at what the product is worth, we just let the customer decide which level of signs they want.

    Stands to reason:
    1. 3’ x 8’ blank banner costs about $25.00
    2. Average paint and time to hand letter about $50.00 @65.00per hour
    3. Total about… $75.00 including labor

    1. 3’ x 8’ blank banner costs about $25.00
    2. Average vinyl, weeding, tape and time to apply about $65.00 @65.00per hour
    3. Total about… $85.00 including labor

    Not much of a difference in my opinion. Any decent off the brush painter can do a banner in under an hour and any vinyl jockey, about the same. If you have the talent for either way… it’s a no-brainer.

    A thimble full of paint or a pound of vinyl ??

    Digital is the same story, just more recent. They pay for the end result in most cases. :thumb:
  16. Checkers

    Checkers Very Active Member

    Jul 24, 2003
    The truth of the matter is most clients don't know what they want until you tell them. Once you give them a choice, they'll make a decision based on the info you give them and the amount of money they want to spend. However, it's up to you to give them accurate information to make an informed decision.
    I feel that the design should dictate the method of production, vinyl, print, painted, or whatever; mainly because that will effect the bottom line more than anything else.
    So, does the use or event really dictate a full color graphic? Or, will a simple 1 or 2 color banner get the message across? How long does the banner need to last, is it a one time, short term promotion or will it be up for several years?
    Hands down, vinyl and paint will outlast ink in almost every application. But, as the professional, the method of production is a decision that you need to make. You have to watch your bottom line, making sure the job is profitable; while serving the best interest of your client, making sure the product fits the client’s need.

  17. iSign

    iSign Major Contributor

    Nov 29, 2003
    Kahului, Maui
    I gotta head in to work, so as much as I'd like to comment on several points in this thread, I limit myself to one or two.

    Of course there are fools, undercutting the market & fooling themselves in any numbers of ways to justify that... but on the other side...

    What something is worth really does come down to what you can get, & while some of us can get more then others, for a variety of reasons, the laws of supply & demand has brought down prices as much or more then fools losing sight of "true" value.

    I don't mean to question the value of good signage, but if I wanted to hire a hand lettering professional around here I would expect to pay a premium price, because I'd be lucky if I could even find 2 signwriters to compare their prices. On the other hand, to find a talented sign designer with expensive technology at his disposal is much easier & these folks can ask the same premium price... but with dozens of competitors... nobody wants to lowball... but somebody gets the low bid & as the years go by, the bids get lower. If technological "progress" makes it possible to come down on price from "the good old days" & still be profitable ... then prices will drop. Not because we've lost sight of the value, but because the supply of people capable of producing the product has went up faster then the demand has risen. This has watered down the value to a point... just like a lot of products are cheaper today... but one guy can own several machines that make him a profit... so it should be easy to be more profitable today then you ever could have been with a brush... but only if you embrace change.
  18. tnawards

    tnawards Member

    Aug 22, 2006
    Wow! I thought I was asking a simple question with a cut and dried answer but instead I got a lesson in business philosophy 101. I really appreciate the time and thought that went into the replies. Thanks everybody.
  19. Pro Signs & Graphix

    Pro Signs & Graphix Very Active Member

    Apr 18, 2006
    aah... a little more to it, huh :biggrin:
  20. simpleprt

    simpleprt New Member

    Sep 9, 2006
    a new trend emerging ?

    Hi, I am a newbie, 1st visit to this site and my 1st thread, its very interesting reading how sign business evolved as described by some veterans / signs masters here.

    What I am wondering is - the internet web and lower communications cost and outsoucing to low cost regions, its inevitable that the trends set by multi-corps to outsource, downsize etc a decade ago.

    The same trend is practised by freelancer or newstarters using their own onlineshops or through ebay,yahoo,amazon or community sites to set the pace unrelentlessly and push the competitive edge in sign business just a touch further.

    Present established sign business with emphasis on service as key factor for sustainable ongoing viability is challanged by price competitiveness of these new trends not tied to high business overheads - eg business premises, equipment, HR, etc.

    For example, the field person (1 man band) taking the customer order is able to set a banner price (readymade + fontage design + stand) to below $75/-, say $50 or even lower, if they have the right outsourcing network, cutting out the local print shop, and wholesale supplier in some categories of business.

    This inevitable trend is happening, but hey what do you guys think, and at what rate is that happening. What you think is the next strategy? Join the trend to outsource or stay firm ignoring far away markets/services have no local impacts on sign businesses.

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