View Poll Results: What should be the forum policy as to price discussion and price posting?

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203. You may not vote on this poll
  • It's fine the way it is

    69 33.99%
  • It should be less restrictive

    27 13.30%
  • It should be more restrictive

    69 33.99%
  • It should totally forbid any price discussion or posting

    4 1.97%
  • It doesn't matter to me

    34 16.75%
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  1. #61
    PhD Replicator's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fred Weiss View Post
    For example, under more restrictive rules we would be saying to all merchants that they are not allowed to mention any actual price in any advertising announcement they make here.

    Replicator: In Premium Forum sections could be discussed openly without fear of google searches . . .

    Carrying it a step further, since there is also strong objections being expressed to website displays of any pricing that the general public can see, we would also have to turn away any merchant who displays prices on his or her own website.

    Replicator: That is solely at the discretion of that individual member, I am only concerned with what is expressed here . . .

  2. #62
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    As a merchant member, it would not bother me at all if pricing was restricted to the premium part of the forum.

    Jessica

  3. #63
    PhD Graphics2u's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlueRidgeFabrication View Post
    As a merchant member, it would not bother me at all if pricing was restricted to the premium part of the forum.

    Jessica
    Wouldn't that be seriously limiting the exposure you're getting as a MM? You are paying for that membership I would think you'd want the most bang for your buck.

  4. #64
    PhD iSign's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Graphics2u View Post
    Wouldn't that be seriously limiting the exposure you're getting as a MM? You are paying for that membership I would think you'd want the most bang for your buck.
    unlike the $3 a foot guys... Blueridge are selling custom dimensional work... I don't think there is very much of their work that can be priced "by the pound", so I think they benefit more from keeping people aware of there services & giving the kind of quality that kept guys like me going back for over 10 signs & raving here how great they all were. I try not to rave how great the prices were because I didn't want them getting any ideas ...but in addition to excellent work, I always made really good money on the signs they made for me too!

  5. #65
    PhD Graphics2u's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Replicator View Post
    That is solely at the discretion of that individual member, I am only concerned with what is expressed here . . .
    Rep, Please don't take this the wrong way, but why is here so much different than that pricing being out there on the web on another site? Perhaps a site that linked to from here? I think that's why Fred is saying "Carrying it a step further, since there is also strong objections being expressed to website displays of any pricing that the general public can see, we would also have to turn away any merchant who displays prices on his or her own website."

  6. #66
    PhD Replicator's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Graphics2u View Post
    Rep, Please don't take this the wrong way, but why is here so much different than that pricing being out there on the web on another site?
    For me personally it's a matter of proper etiquette and professional responsibility amongst my piers . . . JMHO !

  7. #67
    Digitall
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    Quote Originally Posted by Air Art Girl View Post
    Babies??? Give me a friggin break.

    What we want is to continue to see this forum grown into a great PROFESSIONAL network site. It's a question of keeping wholesale pricing private on the forum or not. It's not about retail pricing. It's that simple. We want to take this site one step at a time to continue to be a place where merchants and members network, not the general public.
    But obviously "the dude" you have not joined the CM forum and do not know the benefits. Yes, Fred has done a wonderful job as well as Stacy but we don't want to see our forum turn into a site like (no offense Josh) but, the tshirt forum where people that don't have clue one about the business can hop on there and get all the wholesale details they want.

    This last summer we had merchant members donate thousands of dollars to 2 network events that were made possible by this network forum. This forum is about learning, sharing and growing as a sign business. Let's keep growing it in that direction, professional. Don't post wholesale prices. Do that in the CM forum or via PM or email.
    Certainly no offense taken AAG. I joined as a MM for privacy and knowledge from pros. I think I know the forum you are talking about and I see your point.

  8. #68
    PhD Graphics2u's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iSign View Post
    unlike the $3 a foot guys... Blueridge are selling custom dimensional work... I don't think there is very much of their work that can be priced "by the pound", so I think they benefit more from keeping people aware of there services & giving the kind of quality that kept guys like me going back for over 10 signs & raving here how great they all were. I try not to rave how great the prices were because I didn't want them getting any ideas ...but in addition to excellent work, I always made really good money on the signs they made for me too!
    I realize their situation might be a little different than some MM's, I guess what I meant was I would think if someone is paying a fee to advertise most MM's would want to reach as many as possible not just ones who pay for a membership.

    Don't get me wrong I don't think wholesale pricing should be posted either in a public forum. I'm just saying I understand the trouble with trying to police every post that has pricing in it would pose a problem to MM's who are trying to reach as many as possible and have their website in their posts. I just don't see the difference between talking price and having a link to where you can find the price.

  9. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by iSign View Post
    unlike the $3 a foot guys... Blueridge are selling custom dimensional work... I don't think there is very much of their work that can be priced "by the pound", so I think they benefit more from keeping people aware of there services & giving the kind of quality that kept guys like me going back for over 10 signs & raving here how great they all were. I try not to rave how great the prices were because I didn't want them getting any ideas ...but in addition to excellent work, I always made really good money on the signs they made for me too!
    Doug! I really appreciate that. (and your business as well)

    I guess it might be different for us than for some other MMs, because we don't want our wholesale clients' customers to see our wholesale price. Our wholesale clients provide the artwork for their signs and should charge much more than what we are charging them in order to cover their time and cost involved in the project.

    We want our wholesale clients to make an appropriate amount of profit off of the signs. They may be more likely to drop their prices if one of their customers knew they were outsourcing a sign out to us and knew exactly what our prices were.

    We really stress quality and customer service in our advertising instead of price, so it wouldn't bother me at all if pricing discussions were limited. It doesn't matter if they aren't limited either--I just happen to agree that it probably hurts the sign industry more than helps for the end customer to see and have access and knowledge of what the wholesale cost of services are. Especially if they do not put as much value on the time involved in designing the sign, etc.

    Our wholesale clients can potentially make a good amount of profit off of our signs, and we want them to, we basically make our real money off of our corporate property projects and our wholesale projects give us a steady flow of work. We are hear to make our wholesale customers' lives easier, not harder, so we do not want to have their customers coming to them and asking them about their profit margin.

    We may be in a different boat than some other MMs on the forum, I don't know, it's just not an issue that would cause us to stop advertising on Signs101.

    Sorry for writing so much!!

    Jessica
    Last edited by BlueRidgeFabrication; 11-28-2008 at 07:09 PM.

  10. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by Graphics2u View Post
    I realize their situation might be a little different than some MM's, I guess what I meant was I would think if someone is paying a fee to advertise most MM's would want to reach as many as possible not just ones who pay for a membership.

    Don't get me wrong I don't think wholesale pricing should be posted either in a public forum. I'm just saying I understand the trouble with trying to police every post that has pricing in it would pose a problem to MM's who are trying to reach as many as possible and have their website in their posts. I just don't see the difference between talking price and having a link to where you can find the price.
    I see what you are saying. We do not provide our pricing information on our website, so maybe that's the difference.

    Jessica

  11. #71
    PhD Graphics2u's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Replicator View Post
    For me personally it's a matter of proper etiquette and professional responsibility amongst my piers . . . JMHO !
    I can understand that, and I agree it's more professional. But on the other hand what if you sold digital printing to the trade instead of software (which by the way is a pretty cool deal you have there), would you be willing to be a MM and not display your website in your signature?

    That's what should happen if we want all references to pricing kept out of the public areas. Or at a minimum any links in a MM's post's should only be allowed to go to the paid member area and then from there members could access a MM's site.

    Just my thoughts. And that ain't worth too much!

  12. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by Graphics2u View Post
    Just my thoughts. And that ain't worth too much!
    It's good to hear opinions from each side, because different people/companies might be affected in different ways. So, I appreciate hearing your thoughts on the matter.

    Jessica

  13. #73
    Merchant Member Fred Weiss's Avatar
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    I'm really trying to keep an open mind and listen to what is being said but I still don't see how to tell those merchants here or who may come along in the future who are focused on keeping their equipment busy and do so by offering highly aggressive pricing that they cannot mention the actual prices in their posts and announcements here.

    Without mentioning names, I can recall off the top of my head a widely respected merchant here who introduced himself with 99˘ per foot pricing on finished banners. Another offers 4 color coro signs at $4 each. Each of them has received any number of glowing reviews for the quality of product and service delivered and the aggressive pricing has increased the profitability of dozens if not hundreds of members here who have become their customers.

    Putting on my sign guy hat, I will say that I don't have any customers that question my costs and markups. I've certainly lost customers by quoting higher prices than they wanted to pay but I long ago concluded that these were not the clients I could afford to cultivate. In 25 years of doing this work, I have never had a prospect say to me "how can you charge that much when your materials only cost this much?".

    When I shop for printing, I shop for the best combination of factors from a prospective provider. Part of that will be the price and much of it will be quality, reliability, turnaround etc. Never in the course of selecting a printer does it occur to me that the markup is too high or how does he justify charging me 11˘ a page when paper costs less than 1˘ a page at Office Depot.

    So I'm left to weigh the responses here and to the poll as to providing a good value to all our advertisers including those who have business models based on aggressive pricing that benefit many members here and protecting those members who feel their businesses may suffer because a wholesale price may become known to any member or visitor to Signs 101.

  14. #74
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    What you said sounds very reasonable, Fred. It doesn't affect our advertising with Signs 101 in any way, either way, like it might for others, I just want our wholesale clients to be happy, so we will not post any pricing information on the forum.

    Now, having said that, before I even considered the issue--I put our pricing information on one of my first posts. When I realized that it could be an issue, I asked you to remove it, which you did so for me promply.

    So, even though I lean towards it being more restrictive, it's probably just a personal preference of mine. I wouldn't want to cause another MM to not want to advertise on Signs 101, as I hope this forum will continue to grow and prosper has it has already.

    Jessica

  15. #75
    Master of Arts vid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skyhigh View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by signmeup View Post
    I voted "it's fine the way it is". I won't personally mention or ask for prices in an open forum because I don't want to risk any of my customers (however unlikely that may be)seeing that information. What others choose to do is up to them. I do wish the wholesale prices were kept in a premium or "trade only" forum.
    I'm sorry but did I read you correctly? You vote one way, but believe another? WTF???

    My vote (my compromise) is "More Restrictive". Buy a CM and talk price all you want.
    I don't think that signmeup is that far off base. I tend to share the same view. I won't discuss pricing in the open forums. I won't show customer art there, either. However, I still think it's rather Draconian to try and restrict free enterprise in the forum as it is now.

    Personally, I don't think it's anyone's business to tell me who and where I spend my money. It's my same feeling that an MM doesn't need to be told how to market their product. While I'm tickled that certain advertisers are no longer with us, they could have just as easily been placed in my ignore list. Both vendors, that I am aware of getting the boot, showed poor form and little respect for Signs 101 members.

    Still, I wouldn't know how to draw any sort of formal line on behavior or develop a concrete policy against the spammish posts. Then too, I see it as an administrative nightmare.

    Aside from a member's reaction on posts, strict policy directives can be counter productive to building Signs 101 as a knowledge base. But, that's the fundamental beauty of Signs 101. It's guided by a benevolent king who shows great repect for the forum as a member driven community.

    Heck, based on the cost, IMO, a rotating banner ad with a logo and tagline is still a great value for a vendor. If the advertiser is aware of the "rules" at the front end, they could be a great partner for the Forum.

    I can envision a PDF download of advertising guidelines for prospective merchants... with the "rules of engagement." But who's going to draft it? We know Fred's position. Still, I'd bet he'd be gracious enough to review a proposal. I'd guess it'd have to be fair to all members with a effective plan of implementation.

    skyhigh? isag? replicator?... by appearances, you three seem to be the most vocal proponents of a restrictive policy. Are you interested? There's poll results that support your opinion. There's discussion that supports your opinion. Heck, write it, see what happens.

  16. #76
    Banned Bradster941's Avatar
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    So, 70 some POST Later, and 700+ Views





    Quote Originally Posted by Bradster941 View Post
    Undecided at this point.

    What I would like to see is some real world examples where someone came in to your shop and said they saw such and such price discuss on Signs 101.

    Would love to hear how many people have come into your shop and said they saw your post on Signs 101 or I saw on Signs 101 a Guy is offering Banners for a buck a sq. ft..

    and yet, not one Real World Experience.

    Wonder why that is


    .

  17. #77
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    Thanks Vid. I didn't think what I wrote was terribly complicated. Also, just for the record Skyhigh, I am a CM.

  18. #78
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    "More restrictive" pricing guidelines would be better. However, it is an industry issue NOT just a signs101 issue.

    One real world example (which does not involve signs101 though) would be approx a year ago a customer of mine did an internet search on a supplier name she saw when looking at a catalog picture of street sign frames in my shop. She contacted the supplier and received the exact price I was paying for product. Not only did she check on price but she was able to change the order via phone and charges were administered to my wife's credit card.

    This is an INDUSTRY issue but I applaud any efforts by suppliers or anyone else in the industry who aid in the issue of limiting wholesale pricing exposure. ANY wholesaler who protects my pricing structure is working toward a solution like other industries. IMHO - The sign industry is behind many others in becoming professional in it's perception and this issue is just one of many reasons. BTW - anyone who includes clipart, fonts and software in hiding it's pricing does not understand the real issue here. Those things are tools we need to perform the job - I could care less if my customers know what I pay for the tools. I don't want customers knowing what I pay for material or subbed out work. There is a big difference between the two.

  19. #79
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    I feel completely ignorant here...... I didn't think it was this big of a problem, and maybe that's why I didn't see a problem with people talking about prices in the open forum.

    I, personally, couldn't care less about my customers finding wholesale prices online. Why would I care?? If they have a problem with my prices, **** off. And ESPECIALLY if they are going as far as RESEARCHING to find out what MY COSTS of RAW MATERIALS are, then they have some serious issues.....

    When I call an HVAC contractor and get a bid for work, would I then go online and try to GUESS as to what the MATERIALS COST THEM???????? NO! Absolutely not!!! As business people, we should all know that cost of materials is usually NOTHING compared to equipment, licenses, insurance, etc etc.

    I guess that I can sorta relate to the fact that openly discussing wholesale prices makes it a little more accessible to anyone looking for the information, but I am sure that if someone REALLY wants to find out, they will have no trouble.....

  20. #80
    PhD Doyle's Avatar
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    But as for RETAIL prices. really, who cares???

  21. #81
    College Sophomore mikefine's Avatar
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    I predict two things are going to happen in 2009 with regards to the digital sign printing industry.

    1. Digital printing prices are going to continue to drop. This is due to the sluggish economy, more people getting into it, and the larger shops developing better capabilities to print cheaper and better than the mom and pop's.

    2. Customers will make more decisions based on cost and low bidders.

    As a result, I think it is a poor choice to restrict discussion on price -- on either paid or unpaid memberships. It is all getting too confusing! Can I post this here, can I not post there?

    The power of signs101 is communications. By restricting communications in any fashion, you're cutting your throat and hurting the very people that you are trying to help.

  22. #82
    Digitall
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikefine View Post
    I predict two things are going to happen in 2009 with regards to the digital sign printing industry.

    1. Digital printing prices are going to continue to drop. This is due to the sluggish economy, more people getting into it, and the larger shops developing better capabilities to print cheaper and better than the mom and pop's.

    2. Customers will make more decisions based on cost and low bidders.

    As a result, I think it is a poor choice to restrict discussion on price -- on either paid or unpaid memberships. It is all getting too confusing! Can I post this here, can I not post there?

    The power of signs101 is communications. By restricting communications in any fashion, you're cutting your throat and hurting the very people that you are trying to help.
    I agree here that the entire industry is going to dramatically change almost overnight. As always, in a recession, small shops tend to get gobbled up by the big boys. We're going to start seeing alot of this.

    Finding a solid niche market seems to be the way to go, where pricing is indifferent because of the uniqueness.

    In the month or so since I joined, I have yet to encounter conversations about wholesale pricing where it has been an issue, except the Lowen vs Signs101 case, and another issue where it shouldn't of been an issue anyway.

    Today, I got a call from one of my workers that saw a rolling billboard truck at one of our malls. I am in Cleveland, Ohio. I called the number on the truck and it was from New York City. Not going to mention the price that they charged to come out here with thier truck and advertising of a local company, but it was so low that I don't even see how they could of paid for gas, let alone the driver, truck, insurance,perdiam, printing and evertything else involved. GOOD GOD.

    So glad we have a couple of niche markets. We'll see what happens.

    Everyones comments on both side are quite understandable. It is definately a tough one for the administration here.

    Anyone know if this forum is a 501c3 charitable organization, if so our MM, CM are a nice write off, let alone advertising expense.

    Josh

  23. #83
    SignTech
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    Quote Originally Posted by Digitall View Post
    As always, in a recession, small shops tend to get gobbled up by the big boys. We're going to start seeing alot of this.
    Expand a bit on the "gobbling" process in your experience. We are probably in the small shop category, although I have no idea where we are in comparison to the big boys.

    So share your knowledge of the gobble process during a recession. Maybe we can learn something and avoid ... the gobble.

    What's a small shop?

    What is the gross income per year that makes a small shop?

    How will that small shop fail during recession?

    Thanks.

  24. #84
    PhD iSign's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Digitall View Post
    Anyone know if this forum is a 501c3 charitable organization, if so our MM, CM are a nice write off, let alone advertising expense.
    it's not

  25. #85
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    membership here falls into the legal and professional fees arena.

  26. #86
    Digitall
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    Quote Originally Posted by isag View Post
    Expand a bit on the "gobbling" process in your experience. We are probably in the small shop category, although I have no idea where we are in comparison to the big boys.

    So share your knowledge of the gobble process during a recession. Maybe we can learn something and avoid ... the gobble.

    What's a small shop?

    What is the gross income per year that makes a small shop?

    How will that small shop fail during recession?

    Thanks.
    I am not insinuating that we will close our doors, what I am saying is the larger Standard Oil companies, that can get better price breaks will be able to drastically reduce thier prices due to volume. they feel thecrunch too and are able to cut back by lay-offs and drop shipping.

    The $3.00 sq ft was a good example> if they were doing fine with thier current pricing, why would they undercut.

    We are gearing towards our niche markets so we can focus our purchasing efforts where we can get our best deals to be the most competitive.

    I am personally more upset with the manufacturers and distributors who sell to some at so much lower prices then they do to others. It;s the industry that keeps the manufacturers alive, not just a few larger companies.

  27. #87
    SignTech
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    November, December and January are normally slower for us predictable each year. We promote our online nationwide sales to augment us during this time.

    However I have notice a 20% drop from the norm this year for local sale. No drop from online sales.

    We'll see what 2009 brings.

  28. #88
    Premium Subscriber Gino's Avatar
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    I’m not sure I’m quite getting a grasp on what everyone is saying here. I see some saying they don’t care what their customers might see here at 101, others saying they’re not sure what to think of any of this, while still others could care less what anyone sees here or anywhere else.

    I guess anyone not caring could just take a frickin’ leap into the unknown of business and get lost because they don’t give a rat’s behind about business and what gets things accomplished in their own backyard let alone anyone else’s. Those that seem to care could keep on discussing in the premier section, but the little group that doesn’t have an opinion and thinks that total discussion on a totally open forum….. should probably just stay to their own stamp collections and scrap-booking hobbies and leave the real business of making signs to the real sign makers that know what they’re doing.

    Not sure I have enough input here yet as to what makes some of you tick or not, therefore don’t have a specific answer for those that don’t know what the heck they’re doing in this industry. However, I’ll vote soon, but only after reading a little more of these interesting studies of some of the more intense replies.


    Everybody should believe in something.... I believe I'll have another drink


    Merchant Member to the Trade



  29. #89
    PhD Techman's Avatar
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    ya.. me too. I am not omnipotent enough to make this decision alone...

  30. #90
    Digitall
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gino View Post
    I’m not sure I’m quite getting a grasp on what everyone is saying here. I see some saying they don’t care what their customers might see here at 101, others saying they’re not sure what to think of any of this, while still others could care less what anyone sees here or anywhere else.

    I guess anyone not caring could just take a frickin’ leap into the unknown of business and get lost because they don’t give a rat’s behind about business and what gets things accomplished in their own backyard let alone anyone else’s. Those that seem to care could keep on discussing in the premier section, but the little group that doesn’t have an opinion and thinks that total discussion on a totally open forum….. should probably just stay to their own stamp collections and scrap-booking hobbies and leave the real business of making signs to the real sign makers that know what they’re doing.

    Not sure I have enough input here yet as to what makes some of you tick or not, therefore don’t have a specific answer for those that don’t know what the heck they’re doing in this industry. However, I’ll vote soon, but only after reading a little more of these interesting studies of some of the more intense replies.
    I think people care more about thier industry than some might think. It is12:30 sunday morning and 5 people are up reading through this subject. There is alot involved here and i believe people are putting some serious thought into this. I know I am, but I also worked Thanksgiving, Friday, today and tomarrow. i also think there would be alot more imput, but from what I gather, there are numerous people out there who might be alittle intiminated to post.

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