Welcome To Signs101.com: Largest Forum for Signmaking Professionals

Signs101.com: Largest Forum for Signmaking Professionals is the LARGEST online community & discussion forum for professional sign-makers and graphic designers.

 


  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Your Thoughts Are Welcomed!!!

Discussion in 'Newbie Forum' started by Razor Signs, Sep 28, 2009.

  1. Razor Signs

    Razor Signs New Member

    4
    0
    0
    Sep 28, 2009
    Hey everyone let me give you a quick rundown...I have been in the sign business for ten years doing design, production and sales. I have an equal proficiency in all areas and have made many good contacts along the way. Recently one of our print suppliers mentioned that I should be a sign broker and basically just sell, design and have him handle production at a fraction over cost. That got the wheels spinning a bit and really has me thinking that o could really get something going of I could put my all into it.

    I would not be looking to hit it big, so to speak, just residual income for my current job. I would still handle all of my layouts and design myself, just send the majority of my production to him. I don't have any kids yet, our insurNce is through my wife's company. I'm in a position that I feel like if I can build a decent amount of clients I would be able to go for it full force and eventually get a storefront. Any thoughts at all would be great!!!
     
    Tags:
  2. Just Another Sign Guy

    Just Another Sign Guy Very Active Member

    3,057
    0
    0
    Jun 19, 2004
    wow someone thinking about jumping into the industry with industry experience...what a rarity.

    i would encourage you to be very honest with your current employer so as not find youself in a compromising position...so to speak. if they are ok with you doing your own thing on the side by very careful that you keep the two completely separate.
     
  3. Pat Whatley

    Pat Whatley Major Contributor

    8,593
    86
    48
    Sep 29, 2003
    Wetumpka, AL
    Exactly what Dan said. If you don't clear it with them up front as soon as they find out you're going to be blamed from taking business that should have been coming to them. Also how are you going to handle the phone calls during the day to discuss projects? Do you work for one sign company while taking phone calls on your cell phone for your own company?
     
  4. speedmedia

    speedmedia Very Active Member

    1,392
    0
    0
    Aug 8, 2007
    And make sure he can hold up his end of the bargain. I personally hate relying on other companies and people unless you can find one that can deliver on their promises...

    Thanks,
    Kurt
     
  5. Razor Signs

    Razor Signs New Member

    4
    0
    0
    Sep 28, 2009
    Luckily, I am in a position where I will be able to handle most calls and messages through my brother-in-law who will be basically a "live" answering service through most of the day. He has sign experience as well and can help with basic pricing needs and things of that nature. The thing I am going back and forth on is the time I need to be able to put my all into it. There are chamber meetings, city meet & greets and all types of events that I feel would help business in general. Unfortunately, it's too much of a risky leap to just stop what I'm doing now and dive in headfirst. I'm trying to find a nice balance until it looks like things are off and rolling - at which point I would be able to devote my all. Until then, I feel like I'm treading water.

    I guess that's the questions that any prospective business owner faces in the beginning - no matter if they are selling signs or something else all together.
     
  6. Rick

    Rick Certified Enneadecagon Designer

    6,955
    389
    83
    Apr 17, 2003
    Valle Vista
    We had someone come here with 7 years experience a while back and he was lacking in some basic skills. Is it a good 10 years at a few shops or 10 years at one shop? What type of signs? Are you making a decent amount now? It is better to broker (can be very time consuming) or have you thought about designing projects and then sending them out to bid instead?
     
  7. Razor Signs

    Razor Signs New Member

    4
    0
    0
    Sep 28, 2009
    Rick,

    It's 10 years at 2 different shops. 8 with the one I am at now, spent a year with a competitor and now I've been back at my original store for about 18 months. It's a full service sign company - we are probably the highest volume store in our immediate area, and it's known worldwide. I just don't want to say which one. :)

    I actually have thought about going through the bid process, however, the great thing about the company which offered to do all of my production is willing to start me off with Net 30 credit which should help tremendously.
     
  8. Rick

    Rick Certified Enneadecagon Designer

    6,955
    389
    83
    Apr 17, 2003
    Valle Vista
    I would not say where I worked either....

    Net 30 in the brokering business may not be enough as some larger accounts I deal with want to go 60 - 90 days. You may be covered by a down payment, but here in California you have to have a contractors license to sign a contract with any building/installation involved so I design only, freelance design and network with architects and graphic designers.
     
  9. Pat Whatley

    Pat Whatley Major Contributor

    8,593
    86
    48
    Sep 29, 2003
    Wetumpka, AL
    By the way, I can't stress enough how big a difference there is in working in a shop and owning and running the shop. After 16 years of doing virtually everything to keep the shop I work in open I thought I was more than ready to go out on my own. It worked out that I bought the business I was working in and the change was the biggest kick in the balls I ever had to work through.

    It pretty much worked out that the work I used to do in 40 hours now has to be done in 30 hours, the other 10 are spent in sales, purchasing, and paperwork.
     
  10. Just Another Sign Guy

    Just Another Sign Guy Very Active Member

    3,057
    0
    0
    Jun 19, 2004
    wow ONLY 10hrs ... you are one efficient mofo. i know many one man businesses that would die for a 40hr work week.
     
  11. StopSignGraphics

    StopSignGraphics Active Member

    553
    0
    0
    Jun 2, 2009
    I wasn't in to dissimilar of situation. I worked for one company while trying to start my own shop. The other company produced mostly billboards, large mesh and printing wraps for box trucks for a few major grocery stores.

    They did very little locally, so there really wasn't much of a conflict of interest. It still made for some awkward moments occasionally. I personally bid on one job for my business and then wound up quoting the other business for the same job they were interested in subbing out to me.

    Recently I started at my shop full time and that's made a huge difference in how much business that I have. In my experience I probably cost myself more by working at the other job rather than jumping in feet first.

    I've worked with brokers when I was with the other company for over 10 years, net 30 probably want be enough on many of your accounts. Generally speaking we had to wait 45 plus days before we ever saw anything from the brokers we worked with.

    Waiting that long really sucked but it made sense for the amount of work the guy was sending us. It wasn't like he was holding onto the money either. He was usually waiting for the customer to send the payment.

    Best of luck,
    Chris
     
  12. SignPainter

    SignPainter Member

    52
    0
    0
    Nov 15, 2006
    I'd be careful if they say, "fraction over cost". If they are not making hardly anything off the job I'd be worried if the job gets done on time or at all for that matter.
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2009
  13. HeavyHitter

    HeavyHitter Member

    289
    0
    0
    Oct 6, 2009
    I recently sold out my business. (in another industry). As an owner of a business it is your responsibility to take care of and provide for your employees. As a business owner you do everything possible to make sure your employees get paid. If they can't cash their check, their bills don't get paid, and more important their families don't eat. Good employees are an asset to a company. They bring balance. As a entrepreneur / business owner I believe our days are spent seeking balance. Balance can be many things including but not limited to: employees, covering overhead, finding reliable suppliers, dealing with good and bad customers, and so on.

    From an owner's mentality I might think you would be tipping the scale of balance by seeking to pull possible business from your current employer. You might find yourself seeking clients as your main source of income faster than you may think.

    I agree with some of the above posters. I would talk with the company you work for. Explain it a way where it can also benefit them. If you can show a benefit then there would be very little reason they would say no. Also explain how this would not take away from your current duties to the company.

    I hope you don't take my post as a rant or saying not to do it. I am just posting the view from the other side of the check book. If you are wanting to go out on your own I say go for it. Make an educated choice and move forward. Sounds like people like your work, vendors want to work with you, and you have a desire to go it alone. Being an entrepreneur is a difficult road. Long hours grinding it out everyday will become your life for a while.

    If I can ever answer any questions feel free to PM me.

    Dan
     
  14. Checkers

    Checkers Very Active Member

    2,698
    3
    0
    Jul 24, 2003
    Here are several things to consider...

    Conflict of interest - Whether you tell your current employer or not, it's up to you. But, if you do tell your current employer, be prepared to be handed your walking papers.
    Can you afford to be without income while you establish the business?

    Cash and cash flow - Do you have enough cash to get the business going? As you may or may not know, starting and running can get quite expensive. When I started my home-based business a few years ago, it still cost me about $12,000 even though I already had a lot of "stuff".
    Also, as the others mentioned, having to "float" your clients for 30-90 days. Do you have enough cash in reserves to cover, at least, 90+ days of operating expenses and overhead?

    Commitments - Are you willing and able to commit to your business? It's one thing to run a business for someone else. But it's a whole new ballgame when it's your business. I was working 60-80 hours a week for quite a few months just to get to the point where I was able to run the business.
    Even though your vendor says he can deliver, can he? Also, do you have a back-up, or 2 or 3, if he should not deliver what he promises? Also, do you have any commitments from any clients? It's one thing for a client to promise you work. But it's a totally different story when it comes to delivering it.

    Finally, do you have a business plan? I though running a home based business would be "cheap and easy". Boy was I ever wrong.
    When I developed my plan, I quickly realized that I needed to generate about $80,000 a year in sales just to break even and draw a (very) modest paycheck. While I managed to bring that number down somewhat through outsourcing and a part time job with health benefits, I still have a helluva nut to crack when the bills are due at the end of the month.

    Do a search here and you'll find a lot of interesting stuff about starting and running your business. One thing I would highly recommend is reading at least one of E Myth books from Michael Gerber. From there, just about anything can go.

    Checkers
     
  15. Billct2

    Billct2 Major Contributor

    7,488
    651
    113
    Mar 12, 2005
    New England
    There's a big differenece between doing some side jobs for extra cash and setting up a business that will be in "competition" with the place that gives you the income to pay your bills.
     
Loading...

Share This Page

 


Loading...