Need Help Backlit and/or Dimensional Sign - help needed

I've got a customer looking for a backlit sign, 1 sided, that would mount to a building. This is not a standard square backlit - which is fairly easy. I'm looking for a light box sign looking like this:

or

each piece of the logo as dimensional.

Thank you for any help!
 

TimToad

Active Member
I would suggest that you consider creating two separate cabinets to help on fabrication and maintenance costs.

The icon section seems to dominate over the name section.

If these are simple backlit cabinet components, I don't see where adding dimensional elements to them will really enhance the look unless you intend to push through acrylic on an opaque background.
 

Gino

Premium Subscriber
  • Approximately, what will the overall size be when finished ??
  • Is it a flat wall ??
  • Are you doing the work or sub-contracting it ??
  • Whose design is this ??
 
For a simple option why not a channel letter box? Attached is one we did a few weeks ago, subbed out to direct sign wholesale. Easy cheap and the customer is thrilled with it. Unless the customer wants to spend more, then I would look at push through style as others mentioned.
 

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KMC

Graphic Artist
you could get away with making this as one channel letter depending on the size
 

TimToad

Active Member
It is 4'x4'. I was planning on doing the work myself but contracting out the box.



This looks good. Where did you get that from?

Knowing what size it will be really helps. You could easily get a custom shaped cabinet with a trimcap face for that size pretty inexpensively. Then just decorate the face with a single printed decal on translucent media.
 

bannertime

Active Member
From Direct Sign Wholesale, we have used them quite a bit and they are reasonable, fast, and good to work with.

I see people say this a lot, but most the time I'm getting quotes higher than what my customers end up paying, including installation, from someone else. Boggles my mind. I've even gotten quotes for a local guy that were higher than what some customers ended up paying.
 
I see people say this a lot, but most the time I'm getting quotes higher than what my customers end up paying, including installation, from someone else. Boggles my mind. I've even gotten quotes for a local guy that were higher than what some customers ended up paying.

I have run into this as well, but for the most part these are the customers that go with the cheapest option they can find. Some of the larger area shops are selling channel letters way too cheap in my opinion. The customers that are not as focused on getting the cheapest possible option tend to be better customers to work with and long term relationships that value the service they get from a small local business. A good reliable supplier also helps keep me sane (for the most part).
 
That brings up another point, what wholesale channel letter manufacturers do you use and what has your experience been like? I am always looking for new/alternatives for supply.
 

petepaz

Member
+1 for Direct Sign Wholesale and i have also experienced my customer not going with the job after we marked it up but better to lose that job than give it away and not make any money or have headaches later on. used them for a couple jobs and the work is good. didn't have any issue with the install or their materials
 
If the customer can get it cheaper than they can from you using a good vendor like Direct Signs wholesale, they are either getting junk or your competition is losing money. Quality fabricators like Sign Builders, Quality Manufacturing, Sign Fab, Direct Sign Wholesale, World Wide Signs, and AI Innovations do great work, and because of scale they are cheaper and faster than any small local shop trying to do this. There is plenty of markup on these products (usually around a 40% margin). If you can buy something for $60.00 and sell it for $100.00 (with little overhead), why not? Save your shop space, employees, and investments for better sales, design, service and installation capability.
 

bannertime

Active Member
If the customer can get it cheaper than they can from you using a good vendor like Direct Signs wholesale, they are either getting junk or your competition is losing money. Quality fabricators like Sign Builders, Quality Manufacturing, Sign Fab, Direct Sign Wholesale, World Wide Signs, and AI Innovations do great work, and because of scale they are cheaper and faster than any small local shop trying to do this. There is plenty of markup on these products (usually around a 40% margin). If you can buy something for $60.00 and sell it for $100.00 (with little overhead), why not? Save your shop space, employees, and investments for better sales, design, service and installation capability.

I agree, I'd love to sell this stuff. My installer loves that kind of work and I don't even have to do production. It's like free money. However, I got guys going around selling 3x8 channel logos with digital prints, installation with no permits all for $1,500, I don't even bother quoting that stuff anymore when the first thing they say is "I wanted to see what you charge on..." It's like those guys just send these customers to me to show how low their price is.
 
What if something goes wrong....... anything ??

Then you take care of it, and expect your vendor to work with you just like anything else. If you work with people you trust you have less problems and the problems you do run into are easy to solve. If a supplier starts to cheap out and use no name components or cuts corners with quality they just wont get my business.
 

Gino

Premium Subscriber
Understood, but I mean something like you drop it while putting it up or something flexes and things come apart inside. Something that is not the vendors fault. With only 40%, you're really gonna be reaching far into your pocket, when you don't have deep pockets to begin with. Scheduling problems, the print goes on wrong, someone wires it wrong by mistake. Any number of things can go wrong. That's why they're called mistakes. Sure if the vendor does something wrong and you hafta re-do something, they'll cover the parts, but generally, not your labor the second time around.

We did a Chennai letter and free form sign for a customer about 2 years ago and the connections were all behind a fake wall with access from only the interior foyer. About 3 months after the job was installed 1/2 the letters stopped working. Vendor sent the replacement parts, but it was our on dime to fix it. However, doing it in-house, we had far more than 40% on top, so the trip there and back and the hours to change it out was more than covered. That all I'm talking about.
 
Gino: It is hard for me to fathom that you can make a set of channel letters cheaper than you can buy them (unless you are running a full-scale production business). By the time you add materials, burdened labor, overhead (specialized equipment like paint booths, exhaust and air replacement, automated brakes and notchers, routers, in addition to general overhead such as sales and office help, rent, heat etc.), most shops will be left in the dust when compared to wholesale suppliers. Big shops like Young Electric and Federal Heath can do this, but their production facilities are on par with (or even bigger than) the wholesale fabrication companies. Yes, a small shop can buy the equipment and train the operators, but you really need to be doing over 100 letters a day to cover the expense of even the most modest modern channel letter production line. If you are doing that, then congratulations, but I am quite certain most shops are not.
 
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