2004 Started off great...
Then June-July stunk. August-September were OK, nothing great. October-November were lousy. December was OK too so I ended on a somewhat positive note.
Overall, same time last year, about the same in sales. I use much cheaper materials now (new vinyl and a great banner vendor). Everything went great in 2004 until about mid June. The week of Monday-Saturday, June 21-26 was the first time in the 4 year history of my company of $0 sales for that week.
I also had a week of negative sales if you coun't the PayPal fraud of October 18-23. I had about c. $200 in cash sales and got hit for just under $300 in a fraudulent PayPal charge. I didn't discover this until about a week after the job shipped to a place 1,500 miles away.
This time last year everything was going great. Then a moment later it turned to complete trash. Overall not a good year. Neither was 2003. 2002 was probably my best year. I had a weird bid, I thought I wouldn't get. I got it. It was sweet. I should have put more of it back into my shop, but my wife said "take it as income, we need the money and we can't afford you not making money". I had three nephews and neices working for me that summer almost day and night for four weeks that summer to complete that work. It was a springboard to a fairly successful fall of 2002. I started in late 2000. My first year and a half totally stunk. Actually that was moonlighting until spring 2002.
I find it impossible to see what waits ahead. I hope for another "freak" $40,000 order in 2005. I hoped for one in 2003. That same client spent only about $5,000. Last year the same. As he said, the days of $40,000 spending sprees are over for him, for this I am truly sad.
Although I am still part-timing it here, YTD has been about double of what it was last year. Granted, it still isn't enough for me to live off of yet, but the way things are shaping up, this may be the year I go full-time. My wife and I had planned on waiting until all the kids were in school (we have a 7, almost 4 and almost 2 year old kids), which would be a couple years yet. However, I am getting a huge increase in both volume and bigger jobs to the point that I can't hardly keep up. I am chomping at the bit to get a digital printer, but just can't quite pull the trigger yet. Soon, I feel, soon.
Last years gross sales were about $8,000 ($150-160 most weeks, consistent). So far this year they have been about $2,500 at the end of 14 weeks, which puts me about $15 a week ahead of the average, and I'm just starting to get "busy"... Even if my sales doubled, I'd still not be making a living!
Good thing I still work 20-24 hours a week at my night job and my wife has a good job with benefits!
I started in '99 with my business, and every year have grossed more than the last. It was a long, cold winter, the kind I like. But as soon as the warm weather arrived, I've lettered skidders, log trucks, pickers, some magnetics, some signs that were fun to put together using paint and vinyl. I guess I'm saying the year is off to a real good start.
The only downfall are the sleepless nights. Wish I could get over my fear of paint and/or vinyl failure, and delaminating MDO.
I just checked my sales totals & was very surprised to see 40K already. This week I'm invoicing 18K to the county for an ADA job that only cost me about 6K & was mostly paid for in January. As of the secong half of last year I hired my stepdaughter for 15 hours a week after 9 years of flying solo. This month I took on my first full time helper fresh off the boat from 3 years sign work on the mainland. Signs are flying out the door now, so I'd like to shoot for 200K. Last years was the first year to break 100K by more then a few thousand. I did 129K last year (now that I'm working on my taxes tonight, I see I did even better then the 120 figure I quoted from memory on another thread)
Our company's last four quarters have been incredible. 2004 was a great year for us. We ran through much of the year with work backlogs worth $500,000 or more. A good amount of that was electronic message centers though.
I'm not sure if we'll outdo 2004's numbers in 2005, but we're off to a great start. Our employees have been working really hard, in part to hit those earnings targets to nail down some good bonuses.
Still, I do have some concerns for the long-term. High gas prices, rising costs for health care, insurance, housing and other cost of living things could put the economy into a slow down. The unfortunate thing is advertising-based industries like the sign industry can often feel the hurt well before an actual recession begins. The last nationwide recession didn't officially start until 2001. We started feeling the pain at the end of 1999 and it took a long time to dig out of that.
Memories of those hard times are an additional incentive for the folks at my company to work hard. We intend to build up a healthy "war chest" to have an easier time riding through the next lull. Part of that has been getting notes on vehicles paid off, eliminating other debt loads and doing a lot of other things to improve positive cash flow.
The sign business is a pretty odd animal. You can be going along at a good clip and then immediately hit a bad dry spell. Gotta try to stay positive, work hard, but plan ahead for those rough times.
still tryin to get hurricane damaged stuff and new stuff(insurance money paid to people)price seems to be not the real concern its more of when can you do it? iam way ahead of 2004, got so much work its constant....and i cant finish my 24' x 30' x 16' shop/garage. gona have to hire some metal sheeters to finish it.
as for my mobile sign shop its become a "shop material hauler"...and sign delivery vehicle. havent done one car show this year...and dont see me makin any this year.
I expect my net income to increase 2x or 3x, add some help and reduce my hours!
My gross may not even double.
Possible? Not only possible, finding each day that is easier to do. How so?
By becoming more efficient, going more in depth with my accounts, selling them new products, utilitizing reduced labor costs of intern / helpers / family.