Estimating Sq. Footage

When a whole seller say's $1.99 a square foot, I understand it to be exactly that, cost per square foot printed. I have run into this before with a couple of vendors here on this site and magazines.
I'll send them a file and they want to charge you for the drop material which to me is not what they advertise. Am I missing something here? When you try to explain to them that they're advertising a price per square foot, that's what it should be, per square foot and not the excess material they're losing.
Somebody set me straight. When I bid a job with square feet, that's what I charge and not some add on for losing drop material. Correct me if I'm wrong.


It's just a marketing ploy. Sure, sometimes companies really do charge extreme low prices, but they have to rely on crazy volumes and low skill/labor to attempt to pull this off. I've competed in different industries with "low cost leaders," and 9 times out of 10, it's a pure marketing tactic where they try to "up-sell or down-sell" after they get the hook into the potential customer.
We (as you do) advertise our real prices. It sucks loosing business to a competitor who hooks an ignorant customer who ends up paying more than they would have (if they'd used a quality sign company.)


Very Active Member
As a wholesale printer, we charge for what we print, not for what we don't. Since it's general, no price posted here, but anyone that needs pricing can email or pm me.

If you send us a 3'x8' print, and we print it on 54" media, you still get charged for a 3 x 8. What we do with the drop is our issue-not yours. usually we fill it, sometimes we trash (or recycle) it.

If it's a wrap print-and you build bleed into your design, there's gonna be PRINTED waste that's just part of the process of a wrap. That you would pay for-just the printed parts. So if your template calls out 300 sq feet actual vehicle surface for the job, but your files are 340 with your bleeds, you'll pay for 340, unless you tell us you don't want the bleed printed.

The only exception we make to this is gang run small decals-where, say 1/4" of extra media is required for spacing between each unit. Of course, because were talking small-eg hard hat decals, that extra cost is usually just a a few pennies.

At first our wholesale pricing appears to be "higher" than others, and to be honest that hurts us from time to time. Customers will go to another vendor advertising a price significantly lower than ours, and it winds up being the same cost or more, after all the games are played.

We offer cut and dry pricing with no hidden agenda. I keep getting emails from one co in particular offering to print coroplast for half of our price, however when you add file, setup, and cutting fees, their price is actually higher!

Buyer beware gimmicks are everywhere. (hey, that rhymes)
Thanks for the input. It amazes me how this goes on all the time. I have stopped using a couple of vendors just for that reason.


Major Contributor
when i do sq ft pricing, i charge for the full size of the sign. dont care about what goes on it. 4x8, 2x4, 2 x 16.........however you want to call it, i get paid for size of the sign.