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Who's the Bigger Problem?

Discussion in 'Polls' started by Fred Weiss, Dec 10, 2003.

Who's the Bigger Problem?

  1. The client who wants the cheapest sign

    22 vote(s)
    17.3%
  2. The sign maker who fills the need

    105 vote(s)
    82.7%
  1. Texas_Signmaker

    Texas_Signmaker Very Active Signmaker

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    Totally disagree. I dont have to be the cheapest. Having designs that "WOW" and turnaround times that are quick and a great attitude on the phone eager for the business can override a cheaper competitors bid. People want to give business to people they like.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  2. Home-based business cannot manufacture in most counties. How are they operating out of the garage? I have equipment at home too and would do something for a friend, but I sure wouldn't want to be doing uninsured installs and breaking the county rules. I believe as Americans, we should pay our taxes and do things the right way. Have at least some integrity, at least try. You might make a great sign, but if you are a scumbag on the inside, you need to stop leeching and follow the laws of the land. Once you are decriminalized, you may want to readjust your pricing. Now, what is your price again?
     
  3. nikdoobs

    nikdoobs Active Member

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    Definitely the signmaker's fault. You can't blame the customer for wanting the cheapest price. Most business who give into customer's demands for cheap signs won't be in business very long.
     
  4. equippaint

    equippaint Very Active Member

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    Youd be better suited to adapt to prices than to sit and whine about it and act as if this is some unique problem only seen in the sign business. And in all actuality its not a problem for everyone, its actually an opportunity for many that you want such high margins. Why is it that if someones price is lower than your theyre automatically a jack leg with poor quality thats going to go out of business? Whos the judge and jury saying that your designs, speed and work are superior? Its an entitlement atitude. You can get into this business with a VERY small investment relative to other types of businesses so honestly what do you expect. Its simple economics. There are few barriers to entry into this business and with that comes market saturation and pricing that has low margins. Is up to YOU to learn how to compete in this. If youre jealous of the plumber that gets $85/hr no matter what than become a plumber. Let me know when you do so I can check the forums to see you whining there about the handyman thats out there doing plumbing for $40/hr or you complaining that Home Depot shouldnt sell plumbing supplies anymore because only plumbers should be able to buy them and everyone else is too stupid to do that work.
     
  5. Oh this is gettin' good! Love to hear all sides of this.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  6. Texas_Signmaker

    Texas_Signmaker Very Active Signmaker

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    I am home-based. I am licensed in the two major cities I do installs in, I'm insured and bonded and do permitted work. Not all homebodys are under the radar
     
  7. Gino

    Gino Premium Subscriber

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    Since this seems to still be a rather touchy topic after first posting it over 13 years ago, I guess it would be safe to presume...... it's an overall problem which stems from lousy business-minded people trying whatever tricks they can to land a job here and there, til now, where it's became rampant in the ranks of just about all businesses out there. Someone mentioned plumbers and electricians getting their price, regardless of what it is...... Not here necessarily, I will shop, find out background, get referrals and then make a decision, based on what I learned.

    Also, as mentioned.... a sign, is a sign, is a sign. There is nothing special about any one of them, unless you are comparing lousy workmanship to a full bodied craftsman's work. Most people don't care what color you use, what style of lettering you use or what substrate you use, as long as they get their money's worth.... or at least believe they are getting their money's worth. That's where the education comes in.

    Why........ do your signs differ from XYZ's ?? Or from ABC's ?? I know my answer, but evidently, most of you are just getting by, by the skin of your teeth. Therefore, you have this endless game y'all play for over 13 years of what came first..... the cheap a$$ customer or the cheap-a$$ sign guy/gal.


    Personally, I don't care if you're home-based or have a 120,000 sq ft building...... Sh!t is sh!t, no matter where it's produced if that's your goal. You must first be honest with yourself and be sure you are worth getting the prices you want or at least have a gift of gab to land these accounts.
     
  8. mmblarg

    mmblarg Member

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    Tricky - we don't have as much of a problem where we are. Clients come in looking for price-matching to what they found online and we just explain the difference in quality. The clients that choose the online path, they usually come back to us because the cheap option ended up breaking in one way or another. Equally, if another sign company is able to produce a product at a lower cost than us, we are perfectly fine with that because we end up using them on larger orders anyways. We have our niche in the market where we are fairly priced and produce quality work - other things we outsource - why make the client suffer higher costs when we don't have the means to produce something efficiently? So I see no need for blame on either end...
     
  9. Solventinkjet

    Solventinkjet DIY Printer Fixing Guide

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    Customers look for the best price it's as simple as that. Tell me one industry that isn't true. So it's not their fault for doing what every smart consumer should be doing. It's the sign shop that caves and devalues the entire market so they can steal a customer from the guy down the road. It's one thing to run a more efficient business and create innovative ways to cut costs without sacrificing quality. It's entirely different when you use cheap products and techniques to lower the cost almost to nothing. The sign will last about a year before it starts to fail but it doesn't matter because the business will be out of business by then anyway. It's the cheapo sign shop's fault, hands down.
     
  10. Bigdawg

    Bigdawg Just Me

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    I didn't vote because I don't think it's an actual "problem."

    I shop around for the best prices - I don't think we should blame a customer who does the same. Does that mean we have to match a low price? Nope. This ain't Walmart with price-match guarantees.

    Our shop is on the higher-priced end. (And yes bob, it's because we are special :smile: ) And we tell people that right off the bat in most cases. We will not match online pricing, and if we offer a discount it is as a courtesy to a good customer and not as a carrot to pull in more customers. If they ask "why?" we tell them. Each job - no matter the final bill - is given the time, consideration and effort it deserves to make our customers look the best they can. It's because we use the right materials for the job. It's because we stand behind everything we do. It's because if something goes wrong, we have the insurance and bonding and everything else required to help make it right. It's because even if the client views the sign as a commodity - we don't.

    There will always be the customer who wants only price. The ones that could care less how long the sign lasts (right now - they'll complain later when it fails, but to no avail. They got what they paid for.) There will always be shops that cater to them (not our shop). So I don't look at the low-ballers as competition any more than the Prime Rib Steakhouse views McDonalds as a threat to their business model. While they are both beef - there's a world of difference in the type and delivery of it.
     
  11. Gino

    Gino Premium Subscriber

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    Are you sure about that ?? I was always told that Mickie D's is kangaroo meat.:munchie:
     
  12. Correct Color

    Correct Color Member

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    Well, no...

    Anyone who buys a sign that says XYZ is buying it for some reason, and it can be pretty well assumed that that reason is to inform potential clients of a certain item they have for sale, or to entice potential clients to enter their place of business and spend some money.

    The trick when selling the sign to a client then is to present the sale to them in those terms. Sure, an ugly, crappy, cheap composition that is large enough to be seen will display the same message. But if it's ugly, crappy, and presents that image to potential clients, so that clients ignore the message, then despite a cheaper price than someone might charge for a sign that will entice a potential client of your client to enter his business and open his wallet, it's hardly a bargain.
     
  13. SightLine

    SightLine Premium Subscriber

    Like most I believe its the sign makers fault myself. The thing is, I also believe (depending on the customer and potential value) that it is the sign makers job to educate the potential client to an extent. The vast majority have no idea that there are different quality materials being used, and this pertains not just to vinyl but also things such as tradeshow display hardware. I've found that more often than not that once I show them some examples or photos of cheap calendared vinyl that has shrunk a quarter inch in a year or pull out a Marc Bric retractable banner stand and a cheap $25 generic one that they almost always are very appreciative and we get the work. Sometimes it pays to let them know that sure, they can save $300 on that wrap on the front end by using another shop who is going to use the cheapest garbage material money can buy and it quite possibly will look good for some time. But.... they will eventually need to remove that wrap to replace it or sell the vehicle and with a premium material (provided they are removing it during its rated life and not 10 years later) that wrap will be fairly easily removed for a few hundred bucks while the one doe with the garbage material might end up costing more than the total cost of the job to begin with to remove because it breaks into little pieces and leaves 95% of the adhesive which then must also be removed. That $300 you saved on the front end might cost you $1000 on the back end...

    Of course you are also selling yourself and your shop so making sure they are aware that many years of experience and proven design and installation work is to their benefit. These are another place where examples can make the difference such as showing them an amateur wrap install versus a highly experienced install. Or showing them terrible design work versus good design work. Or showing them an amateur shops wrap setup with 6 inch overlaps printed in 30 inch wide panels.

    That being said some customers just do not care or do not want to hear any of that. I will flat out tell them that if price is the only thing they care about then we are probably not the best shop for their needs. There are always exceptions to any of this as well such as one off small cut lettering jobs or cheap short term usage things where spending the time and effort to educate would not be worth it. How far you go with selling yourself or educating a potential client depends greatly on the potential return on the investment of your time.... I see it more as a potential customer (lower cost one time thing) or a potential client (one that has very good potential as coming back for other things or repeat orders or much higher value jobs). For example - at some store I'm just a customer, to my accountant I'm a client. Each has very different acquisition costs and revenue potentials.

    On just price though - there are a number of shops around our area who compete solely on price and will continually reduce prices. The old race to the bottom of the pricing barrel..... that is not a race I'm interested in participating in and certainly not one worth winning. I know of one shop in the area who is a franchise place that has told local contract installers and even customers that they will drop prices every time to beat their competition and that his goal is to put every other shop out of business.
     
  14. Correct Color

    Correct Color Member

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    If you're gonna go broke, go broke sitting down.
     
  15. OldPaint

    OldPaint Major Contributor

    iam 71.......not competing with the shops racing to the bottom of profit....i have a few old accounts i wok for mostly RTA now as my legs dont work like they did 10 years ago. i charge accordingly ..........not getting what i would if i did the application........most of the time i help the client install the vinyl........and i sure as hell never wanted to be a wall paper hanger...............
     
  16. decalman

    decalman Active Member

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    No offense, but
    It's hard to read this comment.

    Do you think that maybe next time you can throw in some spaces, and start additional paragraphs
    Thanks
     
  17. TimToad

    TimToad Very Active Member

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    Yeah, what he said
     
  18. Walter JB

    Walter JB New Member

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    Neither, since there will always be the two. Nothing wrong with trying to get a decent price nor in being competitive. However, my experience has taught me (sadly) that some people will push getting a deal too far. And catering to the customer with the "get it free or steal it" mentality can suck the life out of any company. They can become nightmares to deal with: extremely picky, critical & needy. And since so many are rarely satisfied, they complain to their friends and other people of any service with which they aren't 100% satisfied. So, in a way, I am glad for the few companies who cater to them. The way I see it, it keeps them away from me. I politely will not cater to them. I prefer they go elsewhere. They may complain about me for a moment, but they'll complain about the company who deals with them for hours.
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2017
  19. maxakarudy

    maxakarudy New Member

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    This scenario is mainly a problem to those shops competing in the quick low cost/disposable signage level, this is where new shops start and those shops with limited skill level stay.
    Unless you get out of it this market place, by getting into products with a higher price ticket with better margins, then you will always be moaning about this situation.
    Improve you skill level, offer a more quality niche sign, make you competitors your customers, move on
     
  20. Gino

    Gino Premium Subscriber

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    Okay, I'll bite.

    You mean when we're bidding out on $80k jobs and $260k jobs we won't have the competition cause the unskilled guys can't do it ?? I just got one a little bit ago when one guy was at $300,000.00, the next guy was at $260,000.00 and we were just under that by a least little bit and was awarded the job. A few years ago, we bid out an entirely different kinda job for $410,000.00 and we got the job. We beat the old shop who had them as a customer for 35 years by almost 1/2 and we still made a killing and did the job faster and far better and all fabricated in-house. In fact, the customer didn't think we could do it for the price we quoted, but they've been happy ever since and haven't looked back.

    The only difference between someone who as you claim is unskilled or limited vs. someone with a niche or higher price tag is the amount of commas in front of the decimal point. Otherwise..... we all have the same proportional costs for everything, but at different levels. Same game, only more overhead or costs involved. Skill level in today's sign world means absolutely nothing. Look around here...... all that's here anymore are hobbyists and wannabees. They are in this business because it is so easy to get into anymore and without any knowledge, but some bucks backing them up.... can compete on any level against anyone in any arena.
     
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