how to sell outsourced..

ucmj22

New Member
I was just wondering how everyone sells products that you outsource. It seems like whenever I get someone asking about something we dont actually make here in the shop ie; dimensional, cabinet, business cards, the customer always asks me "do you make those here?" and then when I tell them that we outsource the actual fabrication or printing of those products, they get turned off. should I lie and tell them we make them, and hope they dont ask more questions? what do you do?
:thankyou:
 

Bigdawg

Just Me
I tell them we partner with other professionals that offer their services only to shops in the industry. We don't do it all in house because we would rather bow to the experts in their fields, so we can concentrate on providing them the best sign possible.
 

CanuckSigns

Active Member
We have found most customers to be understanding that we can't make every type of sign out there in house. Stacy's approach sounds very reasonable to me!

i think people assume they are going to be paying more unless they buy direct from the manufacturer, they don't realize that we can buy for wholesale and resell for retail.
 

ucmj22

New Member
i think people assume they are going to be paying more unless they buy direct from the manufacturer, they don't realize that we can buy for wholesale and resell for retail.

This is the problem I run in to. once I tell them we have a supplier that produces these products, they think they aren't getting the best price and they want to know who the supplier is.
 

Locals Find!

New Member
Tell them the truth you outsource certain products because owning and maintaining all the extra equipment and supplies would increase overhead and you would have to charge them more.

I find once customers hear they are going to pay less by you outsourcing then if you did it in house they are a lot less turned off by the prospect.
 

VinylLabs.com

New Member
Same, (in the example of business cards) I say that I have partners that print gang runs of business cards, they deal with volume orders, which is why my price is so low, I have to wait till I get a minimum of 5 sets of cards which "usually takes me a week" to get, before I can submit them to print.

I print a minimum of 2000 cards. In multiples of 2000. almost EVERY client asks me for less, like "how much would 1000 cost?" I tell them it will cost exactly the same as 2000, but I'll give them a half empty box :p

the quality is great, the turnaround time is awesome, the price is cheap, but other then the design, I don't have much to play with.
 

CanuckSigns

Active Member
This is the problem I run in to. once I tell them we have a supplier that produces these products, they think they aren't getting the best price and they want to know who the supplier is.

Yeah we get this sometimes as well, I blame all the stores advertising "buy direct from the manufacturer and save!!!"

If you think that lying to the customer would work in your favour, I see no problem in doing it, I tell customers that "our designer" will do a layout, but I hire a freelance designer, not completely lying, but it is leading them.
 

mikefine

New Member
Don't use the term "outsource." It has a negative connotation to some. I tell people "we are affiliated with another larger company," or I tell them "our production plant/facility for this product is out of state..."
 

Custom_Grafx

New Member
"Trade agreement with a wholesale supplier"
"We have a contract with a national supplier"
"We are/act as agents for a large factory/manufacturer of those types of signs"

Or my favourite "I don't make them, but I can make you the file that you will need to order direct", and I give them the details. To be honest, I don't have the time nor the patience.

I make the file, make good money on it, and they are out of my life.
 

Gino

Premium Subscriber
As mentioned, no one can do it all, but you can be their 'One-Stop-Sign-Shop'.

Advertise as being capable of getting all of their sign needs met. Explain to them you don't do it all in-house per se, but have the ability to save them money in the long run.

Don't lie to them and tell them it won't cost them more going through you because any sensible person knows you have to turn a profit and that means higher cost to them... than you are paying.

That's why some of these discussions here on s101 and on the internet where people brag about doubling, tripling and making all kinds of profit to make sure they cover their costs in case something goes wrong hurts all of us. End-users can see certain information and get it in their heads that this kind of practice takes place in all shops and then become afraid to have you outsource for them. They feel they are being taken and just go on-line to find the absolute cheapest price.

We advertise as doing 95% of all of our work in-house, therefore assuring them the best competitive price they'll find for the work received.

You take a guy that's a broker and outsources everything.... if he doubled his/her costs on everything, he'd be making more than the guy manufacturing it for 1/2 the price. Wouldn't you want to go to the source... or at least try ?? That's why they have to be careful and only go 20% to 40% and hope that in the long run, they don't have any mishaps. The better notes and care they take to have everything hunky-dory, the better for all around.

Explain to them how it works and see how it turns out. Keep in mind, if you don't know anything about the new product, you'll be at the mercy of the wholesaler you choose, so make sure you're getting a reliable wholesaler. I believe your first line of defense to that would be contacting the wholesalers from s101 before going all around the world looking for price. That's what you're client can do, so look for legitimate companies to align with and keep your reputation clean and only use good people. Getting the cheapest one yourself will only backfire..... believe me. It would be better to turn it away then to have a disaster on your hands which will cost you in the pocketbook as well as your name on the street.
 

trik

New Member
If it's a box sign, channel letters, monument, I just tell tell them my fabricator will get that done for me, if they ask, I say he is in this city or that city, it really is none of their business.

As for business cards, I do the same thing. I usually say my vendor instead of fabricator. I don't use the word outsource if I can help it.
 

TheSnowman

Member
Most of my subs are so freaking fast, that when I tell them that they'll have it the same week, they don't give it another thought that it may not be coming from here.
 

Gino

Premium Subscriber
If it's a box sign, channel letters, monument, I just tell tell them my fabricator will get that done for me, if they ask, I say he is in this city or that city, it really is none of their business.

As for business cards, I do the same thing. I usually say my vendor instead of fabricator. I don't use the word outsource if I can help it.



  • So, you don't approve of labels on your groceries telling you where the food was grown... or how or anything ??
  • You don't care if someone puts things in your car's engine that are unacceptable at a regular garage ??
  • You're telling me, as long as you get something to an end-user.... they have no right to know what or how it's made in case something goes wrong ??

In my opinion, you might not have to tell them what you paid, but I'd want to know if a U/L licensed shop made my electric sign or if some hack just threw whatever he wanted into the wrong size box and under-sized ballasts with indoor lamps and didn't use raceways for protection and if everything is wired up correctly. Da heck.... you can't do it and don't know anything about it, but you expect your customer to respect you for saying.... it's none of your business how, where or what it's made of ??
Yep, that's what keeps this business moving right along. :banghead:
 

Pat Whatley

Member
We do like BigDawg, I simply tell them we are partnered with wholesale shops so we do the design and spec work, they do the physical labor. Most people don't question it after that.
 

EricRamse

New Member
We'll outsource anything, if a customer wants something done we just say "Yes" and get it done. In most cases, we don't bring up the fact that we're not doing it in house, there's no need to.

Do you care if your dry cleaning is performed where you drop it off? I don't!

If a customer presses or asks questions, we generally tell them that we have a network of wholesalers in the region that we work with to provide all types of services that we don't perform "in house" and that our purchasing power allows us to give prices to the customer that are not available to the general public had they pursued the project from the manufacturer. Also, we serve as the expert and intermediary, assuming all responsibility for the work being done on time.

We try to be a "one stop shop" and it works. Some months we outsource more than we do in-house, in this economy we'll do whatever it takes.
 

ucmj22

New Member
  • So, you don't approve of labels on your groceries telling you where the food was grown... or how or anything ??
  • You don't care if someone puts things in your car's engine that are unacceptable at a regular garage ??
  • You're telling me, as long as you get something to an end-user.... they have no right to know what or how it's made in case something goes wrong ??

I approve of them, I dont feel like they are required. If I really cared where my food came from I'd grow it or kill it myself.

I dont care what they use to fix my car, as long as it has a warranty, what the heck do i care.

I do not believe the customer has a "Right" to know anything about my business other than I provide a quality product at a reasonable price. Now it can be a selling point to divulge this information, but it is not a right to know it. if I give them a cabinet sign that blows up and burns half their face like phantom of the opera, they still dont have a right to know how I built it unless they sue me and subpoena the information.
 

signswi

New Member
The customer has an expectation that you will be honest about the source though. If you refuse or worse lie, they have the right not to do business with you. Why would you be duplicit when there are honest alternative approaches to the issue which build brand trust?

Your attitude is a really poor way to approach business ethics, especially now that we're in what Gary Vaynerchuck terms the "Thank You" economy. You may not care where your food comes from but the market forces do--which is why you see those labels (and the market cares so much that such labeling is becoming law in many areas/states).

I get the feeling you see customers as marks or suckers, which just isn't healthy.
 

ucmj22

New Member
I get the feeling you see customers as marks or suckers, which just isn't healthy.

really..., because i'd rather avoid telling them that I will order the sign from someone they could order it from, and then just up-charge them (I often do this anyway when I dont have the time to deal with a particular order). and let's not bring in the governments overreaching and burdensome regulations on business as a reason to do something. if the market is dictating it, then why do we need a law...? What I was asking about, was how do I answer my customers when they ask me if I make the product here (and then subsequently fail to order after they hear I dont). If you are saying, continue what I'm doing and dont worry about losing the business, then thank you for your opinion. But if you would just like to comment on my current attitude towards my customers, then good day sir.... I SAY GOOD DAY!
 

Fitch

New Member
BE HONEST !

Tell them that very much like a general practitioner and a specialist, many in the sign profession have a preferred tangent and set their business up accordingly to generate the best work flow, quality, style, all with minimal materials input cost.

Likewise, a Ford or GM dealer becomes very good at repairing the same make every day. The systems are in place to allow this.

Tell them that you have partnerships in place with wholesalers that deal only with trades people "like us" because part of their workflow protocol is to deal with only those that are knowledgable in the processes required to fulfil an order without hiccups.

"Like any retailer we add a small percentage as profit and offer the best price to you. If we did EVERYTHING ourselves we would actually have to charge more because we would forever be setting up for the next job and NEVER becoming totally proficient at any specific style."

Easy !!!

Cheers - G
 
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