View Poll Results: Who's the Bigger Problem?

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132. You may not vote on this poll
  • The client who wants the cheapest sign

    22 16.67%
  • The sign maker who fills the need

    110 83.33%
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  1. #31
    Premium Subscriber Gino's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bigdawg View Post
    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 ) 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.

    Are you sure about that ?? I was always told that Mickie D's is kangaroo meat.


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


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  2. #32
    Merchant Member Correct Color's Avatar
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    To a client a sign that says 'XYZ' is a sign that says 'XYZ' It makes no difference to them whether it's knocked out on something flat and white with adhesive letters from Home Depot or a major work of art using the most exquisite materials. It's still a sign that says 'XYZ' and that's all that it is.
    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.
    Mike Adams
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  3. #33
    Premium Subscriber SightLine's Avatar
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    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.
    Ineptocracy - a system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing, and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed, are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.

  4. #34
    Merchant Member Correct Color's Avatar
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    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.
    If you're gonna go broke, go broke sitting down.
    Mike Adams
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  5. #35
    PhD OldPaint's Avatar
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    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...............

  6. #36
    College Sophomore decalman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by equippaint View Post
    Dont shoot me for saying this but Its noones fault that it happens but I do blame the business owner for not adjusting to changing markets. Every business deals with this, the ones who succeed are the ones who adapt because its not as if its a new problem. When vinyl cutters came out, it depressed pricing for hand painters, then the pc became affordable and started squeezing the vinyl guys, then large format printers came along and squeezed screen printing, the printers became cheap (todays market) and along comes flatbeds to print d2s. The businesses that are early adopters are rewarded. But its the early adopters that drive the market prices lower, not because theyre working for nothing but theyve increased productivity. You cant fairly blame customers or businesses for their pricing and cant point fingers at the guy that works out of his garage and grabs some market share. You have to look at your own position and what you need to do to stay ahead whether it be a niche, more complex high end products or equipment that allows you to produce at higher volumes more efficiently in order to be in the price game. Personally we scaled to do larger work and do alot of corporate work (were a painting company) we do decals in house because we felt it important to be a one stop deal and control workflow and quality. The corporations are great, they want decent work, are generally intelligent enough to be "sold" a proper product at a proper price and once you get setup they dont jump around as much. We get beat up by smaller guys to the point I dont even want to call them back, how much if i bring my own paint, how much if i sand it myself, i just want to throw some paint on it etc. im sorry we dont do that but theres a guy right next to me that does. Dont get me wrong i get annoyed with him and his half price work but we end up with alot of his good clients becuase he cant do the work fast enough usually or for some other quality issue. The key is to get to a point where the guys in their garages cant compete with you and not the other way around.
    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

  7. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bigdawg View Post
    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 ) 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.

    Yeah, what he said

  8. #38
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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 by Walter JB; 01-01-2017 at 07:40 AM. Reason: Word correction

  9. #39
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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

  10. #40
    Premium Subscriber Gino's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maxakarudy View Post
    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

    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.


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


    Merchant Member to the Trade



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