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Vista Print another threat

Discussion in 'General Signmaking Topics' started by Angela, Jun 22, 2012.

  1. Angela

    Angela Member

    Oct 7, 2010
    Temecula, CA
    I've been in the sign biz for 10yrs. At the peak, 850k in revenue and 7 employees. Now two employees and about 120k annual rev. Margins seem to continually shrink, and large scale companies are moving in. Are we being comoditized. Four color offset printing has vanished on a local level. Will it start happening to sign shops.

    Vista Print is moving us down that road. ( now into banners and coro ) Not only do they compete against us, they are now asking sign shops to join them by ghosting there web site in and using them and their great economies of scale for our printing needs. Sure the old arguments of local customer service, great turn around, face to face....ect have been around for a while, but as printing becomes commoditized in the digital age, how long will we last?
  2. wildside

    wildside Very Active Member

    Aug 28, 2005
    just opened your eyes today did ya? been happening for years, but the pace does seem to be speeding up recently
  3. ChicagoGraphics

    ChicagoGraphics Major Contributor

    Feb 27, 2007
    You ever see the sh!t Vista puts out?
  4. Fred Weiss

    Fred Weiss Merchant Member

    Sep 11, 2003
    Olympia, WA
    Yes it has been going on for years and yes it is accelerating. Local shops will always have speedy delivery and the ability to install, maintain and provide personalized service on their side. Some of that is being eaten away by designers from other persuasions and companies in other businesses grabbing jobs on the side of a pickup and hang it yourself nature.

    The real threat is for the numerous products that can be produced and shipped as a ready to use product from elsewhere. Whether it's a few cases of printing or a bunch of banners, the local shop is going to feel the loss. The dilemma is how to respond. You can invest more in your ability to deliver these kinds of products from in-house equipment or you can shift to doing more outsourcing to legitimate, quality resources. In my view, neither option is without its drawbacks. Additional investment puts the burden of profitability and risk on you. Outsourcing feeds into the trend of mundane products and the risk that the prices from today's and tomorrow's mega retailers will drop until the price difference between them and the mega wholesalers will be indistinguishable.

    Yes we can all seek out those things we can do that can't be done profitably by the major players. You can go into CNC or hand done work. You can do small runs and up your level of service. But that only goes just so far.

    The reality is that your customers are going to have greater access to more products at lower prices into the foreseeable future. They may be provided through the internet or by your competition. How you respond and how well each option available to you will work is a topic suitable for many pages of discussion. Pointing out that Vista Print may not be your friend is the tip of the iceberg.
  5. GP

    GP Very Active Member

    Dec 12, 2007
    When someone comes into the shop to get a bid - and hands me a card from Vista print - I cannot end the conversation quick enough.

    We do not do Vista-print quality work - and we expect to get paid for that.
  6. Locals Find!

    Locals Find! Very Active Member

    Oct 17, 2010
    Fort Myers
    I never worry about Vista Print. I have gained many clients over the years from Vistaprint. I don't view them as competition but, my greatest sales asset ever.

    As long as they keep scamming people into joining their sales club at $29.95 a month on their credit cards. Keep turning out horrible product that isn't even trimmed properly on the worst paper stock ever, keep offering horrible designs and limited font choices & sizes, and keep charging extra for every little upgrade that makes a business card standard in my shop.

    I will be in great shape. They can keep trying to beat down the market but, at the end of the day my and others superior products (whether produced in house or subbed) will always win over the customers that matter in the end.

    Do your job right and keep producing quality products at a fair and reasonable price that works for everyone involved and you will be open for many years to come. You may never get Donald Trump wealthy but, odds are you will have a good roof over your head and healthy food on the table.
  7. ColoPrinthead

    ColoPrinthead Swollen Member

    Dec 17, 2009
    Donkeytown, Colorado
    I didn't realize vista print had started in on signs. The large shops are why I've passed on several opportunities to open my own shop (last was in Fall 2008, that would have been horrible).

    I think we will continue to see the trend of large companies in sourcing their large format like where I work. Hopefully they will learn to appreciate those with experience over designers fresh out of school who don't know anything about print and get trained by sales reps. Our company regularly has the marketing and design teams of partner companies visit and ownership likes to brag about the savings my operation creates. The visiting designers and managers always pepper me with questions about equipment and media.
  8. Locals Find!

    Locals Find! Very Active Member

    Oct 17, 2010
    Fort Myers
    I was typing my post as you were posting yours. While we know that prices are sliding. I have seen many of my customers willing to pay a little extra lately to go with someone local. (Even though I outsource) they know that the lowering prices kills the local economy and I think there is a movement albeit slow and quiet among people that lower is not always better. People are starting to feel the effects of the choices they have made to go for the lowest price outside their community. They see the shuttered foreclosed homes, they see their neighbors standing in the unemployment line and the boarded up shops. They know even though I outsource I spend my money locally, and support the community. Its really all about perception, you need make sure you community perceives your business as an asset and not just another commodity.
  9. Bly

    Bly Very Active Member

    Mar 9, 2004
    People shop around and check prices online.
    The fact they are contacting you means they are prepared to pay a bit more for your knowledge, skill and turnaround.
    It's up to you to convert their call into money.
  10. onlinestar

    onlinestar Guest

    Wake up and smell the bacon. As far as lovely subject of vistaprint producing crap I dare you to print same quality yard sign or magnetic sign. We did testing of their magnets and our premium beloved 30mil magnum cracked like crap and wasn't able to tear theirs apart + it is more user friendly (thinner, lighter). But yes banners from vista suck.
  11. john1

    john1 Guest

    I have NO PROBLEM getting customers to realize why vista is $10 for a set of cards vs my $99 plus artwork.

    Someone the other day asked "why is vista prints $20", i showed her my cards (14pt uv gloss, full color), she goes "oooooooooh i see, these are nice!"

    I have done probably 4 sets of cards in the past month or so from people going to vista print and hating the cards once they came in.

    It's all how you conduct yourself about what you are selling.

    Had another lady call for 14 total mags, she said "vista print has them for $10 each", I quoted i think $23 each (simple 1 color 10x21) and explained to her to stay away from vista's mags because they are just that, CHEAP. She said "alright, i will make a note of that and get the approval for your quote to the boss"

  12. wedosigns

    wedosigns Member

    Sep 8, 2011
    You need to eat your wheaties, if you can't tear vista prints magnets. All of vista print products suck in my eyes. I have had magnet material from rite-media crack, but that is why I now only use magnum magnets.

    Vista print will most likely always try to compete, but when you have samples of their shotty work the customers will ussually pay for a better product.
  13. Locals Find!

    Locals Find! Very Active Member

    Oct 17, 2010
    Fort Myers
    Vista print magnets are thin as hell and don't grip a vehicle at all. I know my own father thought he would be smart & cheap and order a set from them rather than from me. 3 days later they blew off the vehicle no magnetic properties at all. They weren't even laminated.

    If you think that is quality product. Quit now and sell someone your equipment. Save them all the time and effort of waiting for you to slice your own throat.
  14. Pat Whatley

    Pat Whatley Major Contributor

    Sep 29, 2003
    Wetumpka, AL
    I always wondered what in the hell sign shops were doing trying to be in the printing business anyway. Oh wait, not I remember....they were commoditizing the work of their local print shops.
  15. WCSign

    WCSign Member

    Mar 12, 2012
    Bay Area

    Im lucky enough to have a wholesale printer in my area that I can sub out cards/posters and brochures from and make a little design cash.

    The bottom line is that most customers want to speak to a person face to face and touch and feel certain things before they buy. Order some vista products for yourself and compare them side by side with your own for clients to see.

    hell, order some cards from vista for your own business that say, "This is an example of a crappy card ordered online! DON'T let this happen to you, call xxxx or visit us on the web.. etc" LOL

    remember, youre not selling your products, those products are just a means of selling your service.
  16. mudmedia

    mudmedia Active Member

    Aug 15, 2008
    I think Vista Print and places like that will continue to grow and try to take over online marketing. It has killed many industries not just signs and banners. We have to become sales people unfortunately and pitch and show them quality and revised designs do come at a cost but you get what you paid for.

    VistaPrint like most said is a great sales pitch. I got a call for 360 banners for a school district and at the time and their deadline I wasnt going to be able to turn them around in time so I ordered a sample from VistaPrint by figuring they could turn it around quick enough and at their price it was almost better for the quantity...Well I got one in the mail and it was enough for me to hang in my showroom and everytime a customer comes in and asks about vista print I point to that banner hanging on the wall and then show them one that came out of our printer that is sewn correctly and the prints look outstanding compare to something that looks like the colors faded 7 years ago and banded like crazy. The customers if they care about their marketing and their signage understand most the time when they see one side by side that you get what you paid for..Until you show them it seems they dont care or get it
  17. visual800

    visual800 Very Active Member

    Aug 4, 2010
    montgomery, alabama
    if your a sign shop and vista print is hurtin you, you need to go into another line of work. Vista print sucks! and I could care less if they are the next walmart of the printing world, we do not specialize in those types of signs and would prefer not to do them
  18. Farmboy

    Farmboy Active Member

    Feb 8, 2007
    Auburn, NY
    Do the best job you can for everyone that walks through your door.
  19. Fred Weiss

    Fred Weiss Merchant Member

    Sep 11, 2003
    Olympia, WA
    Even if it's Saturday and you're closed but forgot to lock the front door? :ROFLMAO:
  20. ThinkRight

    ThinkRight Active Member

    Nov 13, 2011
    Atlanta Ga

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