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Customer Types

Fred Weiss

Merchant Member
I've been thinking about writing a piece on customer types and have a number of them in mind, like:

The guy that's going to bring you lots of business in the future but needs a deal today.

Or the guy that can't describe his business or what to say about it and wants you to play advertising agency for him.

Get the drift?

So let's compile a list of both good and not so good types of clients and prospects we've encountered. Be descriptive and even humorous.


New Member
1) How about the customer who wants a Taj Mahal sign at a camping tent price.

2) "You cut the letters for me, but i want to save money by installing them myself" ... and of course the corralary... "I messed up some of the letters trying to install them... you'll replace them free right?
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Small Lettering

"My daughter did this layout for me. Really professional lookin', don't cha think? But she always was a wiz in art. You might have to adjust it just a bit, but the main work is already done for you. That much?? Whew!! I mean, come on, you're just stickin' letters on a board. Don'cha have anything cheaper? It's only gonna be up til the house is sold. Can you just sell me the letters & I'll put 'em on? I mean, how much work can it be? That much??? Just for the letters?? You got to be kiddin'!!! I can get the whole sign at Hohum Design fer that price! Well, I'll let ya know...."


Certified Enneadecagon Designer
The guy who has this big dream, say they have unlimited funds coming, want to "partner with you.....then jumps in a rusty Toyota never to be seen again, then a few months later you see him working at Ace Hardware........


New Member
You might be a redneck?

This sounds like those You might be a redneck jokes! I used to go in to the local bike shop on Monday after destroying my racing bike the day before and ask the shop manager If I could....and before I said another word he interupted with...get a cheeseburger today that I'll gladly pay for Tuesday. He was good to the racers especially me. This doesn't apply these days! So what type is the customer who wants a quality sign now but wants to pay when his loan goes through or when his partner sees the sign to approve or says he'll give you alot more business if you'll help him out on this one? Why is it that when a new business is opening they want everything plush for their biz until they get to signs then they think your the Discount King or Queen. A sign shop owner I once met told me he regreted having the word Budget in his company name because that was a draw for the worst customer type. Thank God there are good customer types!



New Member
I have a couple of great customers!
One month, they come in wanting vehicle lettering, business cards, yard signs, t-shirts. Name of the business, Bob's discount Construction.

Out of business by the end of the month.

Next month, they come in wanting vehicle lettering, business cards, yard signs, t-shirts. Name of business, Bob's discount Auto Repair.

Out of business by the end of the month.

Next month they come in wanting vehicle lettering, business cards, yard signs, t-shirts. Name of business, Bob's Discount Auto Detailing.

Out of business by the end of the month.

I just know next month, they'll have Bob's Discount Lawn Care.


Certified Enneadecagon Designer
Hey Sunny,
As long as they don't come in wanting to be Bob's Discount Signs and Graphics you will have to charge them a little extra..... ;)


New Member
my most favorite of them all:
they want their job finished in 4 hours
take 2 days to pick it up
then you don't get paid for 3 months


New Member
Ok, the customer that sends you a 50 pixel wide gif and asks instead of having it printed on a t if I can just make some of those iron-ons.


New Member
the customer who wants his sign yesterday but wishes to pay for it tomorrow...
My all-time fav "customer was a skanky broad up the street who bought herself a used sign cutter at a carnival and lost her program while installing a fax machine on the thing.
She had the balls to come to me and asked to "borrow" my $1000 start-up CD!!!!
Love- JILL


New Member
The customers that bug me more than anything are the ones that change their minds constantly. Like after you have already cut the vinyl.

And of course the ones who take forever to pay.


New Member
On the positive side, I do have a loyal customer that's in Real Estate. He keep bringing me dated signage that need to have the dates changed ever other week or so.
We give him a good deal since this will be ongoing work. It's really simple stuff, so we usually get it done within a day or two.

He ALWAYS pays us more than what we charge him and ever time he leaves the shop, he says, "I love your work!"

Mike Paul

Super Active Member
I have a customer who comes in about every 2-3 months to replace 1 of his magnetic signs he lost. This guy has the dirtiest van in New Jersey.
I explain to him every time he comes through the door that the signs need to be removed and cleaned, along with the van! .

oh well, good for my bottom line.


Don't forget about "Nephew art" or "I need to run it by my wife, She makes the final decisions".


My favorite customer was a guy who sells cellular phones, he wanted a pair of magnetic signs for his truck and wanted something that will last. He gave me an envelope with the image he wanted, imagine that!. I scanned, cleaned and designed a two color sign at his request because the original one was one color and he wanted to add some spice to it.

Well I brought the magnets to him he was impressed, I told him it would be a 100 bucks which I thought was cheap, I told him the artwork fee was $30 and the magnets $70.00. At that point he proceeded to tell me he could have purchased them cheaper on the internet, so I told him show me. He took me to a site that he had been looking at, here look at this $45.00 a pair see. I said yup your right now page down, 2 colors add $20.00 now I said click on the link for setup charge he did. $65.00 now I said add it up. $130.00 wow I guess I am getting a good deal. Don't forget to add the shipping I said.

Here is the deal this guy places a huge ad in the paper every week that cost him at least $100 and he is giving me grief for something that will last for years.

Well the best part of this whole story, he has called me three times to do more work for him and my reply as always, sorry too busy its going to be at least two or three weeks before I get to you!!

I love it!:thumb:


New Member
I LOVE customers who lost your new phone number and searched the internet to find you. Had it happen this week. They didn't just call the quicky sign shop right around the corner.... made my day!

Steve C.

New Member
A person who takes several years to learn hand lettering and then does it every day can make it look very smooth and easy. On a few occasions I've had a customer say something like, " Hey, where'd you get those brushes? I think I could do that if I had some of those brushes."

And I remember the first customer who told me he was going to make me rich. I belived him.

Steve C.

Ian Stewart-Koster

Older Greyer Brushie
I had a customer phone uptoday for a quote on six identical vinylon white metal signs. I gave himaprice, and he said "Than's no good, you're Waay cheaper than the other two quotes I just got, I want you to rethink the price, don't sell yourself short, and give me a new (higher) price" (and he was sincere, I added $60 and still got the job)
If only there were more of him...!