Is my pricing too high for printed vinyl?

Rualsignmaker

New Member
BTW it's not just the roundy rounders it's all of them. Friend of mine owns a dragster. I did a partial wrap, sponsors etc...on said dragster. All custom one off work. Did some bodywork and paint too. Charged a fair price and he paid it. Some years later he wants an updated wrap.

I bid the job then he says he can get one of the web for $750. Told him buy two so you'll have a backup. Plus there's a good chance you will see the exact same wrap at an event.

Here is all you need to know about him or racers in general. His rail runs on VP C16 race fuel at 24 bucks a gallon. It burns 1.5 gallons per pass.

I posted this before but it's worth mentioning again.
When Joe Racer says he will bring you a ton of business do what I did.
Give him a stack of business cards and tell him to sign the back then give them to his buddies.
I said if I get 10 jobs from your referrals your next wrap/lettering/whatever is free.
Crickets.

I rest my case.
In my early days I let a local dirt track racer take advantage of me in just this way. "I will bring you tons of work" next thing you know I'm doing a job for a fraction of what I normally charge. Don't be like me.
 

DSignKing

New Member
Don't mean to be rude, but if can't make some money on a deal it isn't worth doing. There's so much work out there you should never have to be the cheap guy. I don't print anything for less than $6.50 a square foot. With lam $8.50 - $12.00 depending on the product. We have a $300 minimum order for new customers. 6 man crew, everyone digs in and does their part. We choose the work and pass on the time killers, low end deals and time suckers (most times). Always wanted to be custom, we're about there. Make a buck, charge accordingly, and always chase the biggest bass you can handle.
Hey Look! A real answer with real numbers!
 

bob

It's Crackers to Slip a Rozzer the Dropsy in Snide
Set your pricing based on what you have to have to stay open, keep a roof over youir head, eat, that sort of stuff. If no one will pay it, shrug and find something else to do with your time. But never step on your own metaphorical dick just to get a job.
 

madone

New Member
I've had a request to print a prepared race car wrap file of 164 square feet. No laminate, just IJ35 on my latex. It was professionally designed so probably 30 minutes of set-up. I didn't get the job the second year in a row (which is fine) because I would not match or get within a little bit of $2.72 square foot. I told the customer that if I sent it to my lowest wholesaler (Signs365) I would paying more than per square foot.

Am I crazy expensive or is she crazy cheap? I would think pricing for this should be a minimum or $4 a square foot - of which I was higher than that.
Number 1 rule in sales:
Don’t price it too low, you might get it!
 

ProSignTN

New Member
I've had a request to print a prepared race car wrap file of 164 square feet. No laminate, just IJ35 on my latex. It was professionally designed so probably 30 minutes of set-up. I didn't get the job the second year in a row (which is fine) because I would not match or get within a little bit of $2.72 square foot. I told the customer that if I sent it to my lowest wholesaler (Signs365) I would paying more than per square foot.

Am I crazy expensive or is she crazy cheap? I would think pricing for this should be a minimum or $4 a square foot - of which I was higher than that.
Forget the RaceCars. They are poison.
 

ADVANCED DISPLAY

ADVANCED DISPLAY
I've had a request to print a prepared race car wrap file of 164 square feet. No laminate, just IJ35 on my latex. It was professionally designed so probably 30 minutes of set-up. I didn't get the job the second year in a row (which is fine) because I would not match or get within a little bit of $2.72 square foot. I told the customer that if I sent it to my lowest wholesaler (Signs365) I would paying more than per square foot.

Am I crazy expensive or is she crazy cheap? I would think pricing for this should be a minimum or $4 a square foot - of which I was higher than that.
For 3m CAL. I usually price it at $5.50/sq. For a large Job like that I'm just importing and running, I'd consider going to $4 but may or may not. Yea if someone comes to me with a price I can't DO for or get from a wholesaler as cheap, I enthusiastically tell them "go do it! that's a steal of a price! almost too good to be true...."
 

kcollinsdesign

Old member
I would gladly print a ready file for $2.72 per sq ft with no laminate. that's 50 cents materials/ink per sq ft. 164 sq ft = $300 profit for 20min of print time on my Colorado. On my Roland that's probably an hr of print time and a little more ink cost but still profitable.
$300.00 profit if you have zero overhead, no payroll, and got your equipment for free.

Actually, $2.72 sq. ft. would be a good price for a large scale print shop (factory) running the latest equipment with an experienced staff flat out all day long. Probably a bit high. A small, commercial sign shop (doing a little bit of everything, not just a digital printing specialist) doing less than $1M a year would not be able to touch that and still make a profit.
 

victor bogdanov

New Member
$300.00 profit if you have zero overhead, no payroll, and got your equipment for free.

Actually, $2.72 sq. ft. would be a good price for a large scale print shop (factory) running the latest equipment with an experienced staff flat out all day long. Probably a bit high. A small, commercial sign shop (doing a little bit of everything, not just a digital printing specialist) doing less than $1M a year would not be able to touch that and still make a profit.
I guess it comes down to volume, I print 6-8 rolls per average day, adding another 1/4 roll job won't even be noticeable, The $2.72 sq ft price is very profitable
 

Eforcer

Sign Up!
gino, that depends
THE MARKET SETS THE PRICE

you are, of course, correct IF STACY IS GETTING ENOUGH WORK.
keep in mind that she hasn't been in the business for 40 plus years and doesn't have your market share and name recognition

when i was in the commercial video business, (1980) and took on several chains of video stores, taking in repairs, (with our operation doing all the repairs) one used to brag to me that he charged almost double what his competitors charged AND HE GOT HIS PRICE.

we took him on as a reseller, and he had higher volume than everyone else.

(1) he had 6 declined estimates for each that was accepted
(2) a week later we would see the same repair, from another reseller (same customer) their price would be 1/3 lower and it would be accepted

point is, THE MARKET SETS THE PRICE just like it is with everything else

stacy may not be able to sustain the same rejection rate that you are comfortable with
Huh? Market? You are your own market. You set you own price. If I ever were to be involved in setting a market price. I am out of here. I haven't worked this hard to become a business where I have a set price. On average, we sell @$9 sq ft for printing. Lowest I will go is $4 sq ft. That pricing comes when we do golf signs 100+ That is my market price.
 

Stacey K

I like making signs
I can't recall where I left off on this but he did decline my offer. I told him what my price was and basically said he's getting a hell of a deal and he would be stupid to pass it up so he should keep going to the gal.

He thanked me for my time and said he will let me know again next year incase something changes.
 

AndyN

New Member
I figured out how to make money from the rally races I participate in and not the racers running it. I volunteer and do limited sponsorships of our local Car rallies. I do route books, door stickers, trophies, banners... But I rarely do any car graphics except in emergencies for people I know. I charge them dearly for rush work, and they can afford it, they just don't want to pay for it. "Really, tomorrow? And you want them delivered in 24 hours?" That's going to cost you! I also deliver my product to the rally and get to write off most of my travel expenses. I get to play with my hobby and stay in business. :)
 

kcollinsdesign

Old member
I guess it comes down to volume, I print 6-8 rolls per average day, adding another 1/4 roll job won't even be noticeable, The $2.72 sq ft price is very profitable
We all have different business models. I spend most of my time engineering complex installations, trouble-shooting electronic message centers, and running a trained crew of experienced service techs. Once in a while, I get to design some graphics, but it is getting rarer and rarer. There are two dozen shops in my area that print vinyl. I'm the only guy in town that will erect and install a digital billboard or hang 8' channel letters on a 162' tall building.

If I need printed vinyl, I just order it from a wholesaler. My overhead is just too high (and my volume too low) to try to do it myself.
 

Notarealsignguy

Arial is the only font you need
We all have different business models. I spend most of my time engineering complex installations, trouble-shooting electronic message centers, and running a trained crew of experienced service techs. Once in a while, I get to design some graphics, but it is getting rarer and rarer. There are two dozen shops in my area that print vinyl. I'm the only guy in town that will erect and install a digital billboard or hang 8' channel letters on a 162' tall building.

If I need printed vinyl, I just order it from a wholesaler. My overhead is just too high (and my volume too low) to try to do it myself.
Sounds similar to jburton. It's almost a different business
 

kcollinsdesign

Old member
The sign business has historically attracted creative sorts. Back in the day when you had to be able to draw and letter with a brush, there was a sort of weeding out process as the more clever sign writers generally attracted a good following. It's still that way, but the clever sign writer has stiff competition from the clever graphic designer (or the dreaded clever silk screen artist), and the edge in production the sign writer had is gone. Any clever person can now whip something up in Photoshop and outsource the production.

For the last 40 years, the commercial sign shop has disappeared, to be replaced by Digital Printers with limited installation capacity, and installation and service specialists with practically no art department. I miss the middle ground, that space where whenever everybody else had all kinds of creative ideas about how things should look, it turned out I was the only one around with the chops to kick it out (well, me and a few others... we knew each other).

I was in college when Compugraphic came out with the EditWriter, and then a few years later came the Gerber plotter (which Compugraphic marketed under their own name). I knew we were doomed.
 

Stacey K

I like making signs
The few cars I do letter they pay full price and they come in January so I can get a start on it when I'm slow. I have some set prices for number sets with some stock numbers and set prices for smaller things like pit crews, etc. I think that's the only way to do it...and payment upfront if it's a new customer. Two of the cars have sponsorships for the lettering through a foot doctor who pays the bill asap. The other one pays me cash the day he picks up his stuff and I'm friends with his Dad so I'm not worried about payment. Anyone else pays upfront. Period.
 

Notarealsignguy

Arial is the only font you need
The sign business has historically attracted creative sorts. Back in the day when you had to be able to draw and letter with a brush, there was a sort of weeding out process as the more clever sign writers generally attracted a good following. It's still that way, but the clever sign writer has stiff competition from the clever graphic designer (or the dreaded clever silk screen artist), and the edge in production the sign writer had is gone. Any clever person can now whip something up in Photoshop and outsource the production.

For the last 40 years, the commercial sign shop has disappeared, to be replaced by Digital Printers with limited installation capacity, and installation and service specialists with practically no art department. I miss the middle ground, that space where whenever everybody else had all kinds of creative ideas about how things should look, it turned out I was the only one around with the chops to kick it out (well, me and a few others... we knew each other).

I was in college when Compugraphic came out with the EditWriter, and then a few years later came the Gerber plotter (which Compugraphic marketed under their own name). I knew we were doomed.
I agree but would probably say the lack of people installing and the rise of independent installers is due to the headaches involved. All of the hoops you have to jump through today can make it a very losing proposition for a sign shop and there are easier ways to make money in the business. The local governments have managed to make even the most basic of installations a gigantic PITA.
 

Geneva Olson

Expert Storyteller
The sign business has historically attracted creative sorts. Back in the day when you had to be able to draw and letter with a brush, there was a sort of weeding out process as the more clever sign writers generally attracted a good following. It's still that way, but the clever sign writer has stiff competition from the clever graphic designer (or the dreaded clever silk screen artist), and the edge in production the sign writer had is gone. Any clever person can now whip something up in Photoshop and outsource the production.

For the last 40 years, the commercial sign shop has disappeared, to be replaced by Digital Printers with limited installation capacity, and installation and service specialists with practically no art department. I miss the middle ground, that space where whenever everybody else had all kinds of creative ideas about how things should look, it turned out I was the only one around with the chops to kick it out (well, me and a few others... we knew each other).

I was in college when Compugraphic came out with the EditWriter, and then a few years later came the Gerber plotter (which Compugraphic marketed under their own name). I knew we were doomed.
a lot of what you are saying is based on technology and how that techology has changed an industry.
I was at the dr a few years back and he was dictating notes into software while we were meeting. I asked him if he no longer has medical transcriptionists. He said, "no, I've got this cool software now called dragonspeak and I can just dictate and it goes into your file immediately." I responded with, "that software just put a lot of people out of a job." He looked at me stunned for a moment. It never hit him that as technology advances, we lose parts of industries. They aren't needed anymore.

The sign industry is no different. We no longer need "painters", we need graphic artists and installers. The technology caused a shift in demand. It becomes necessary to adapt and change to fit the needs of the business.
 

Gino

Premium Subscriber
Good insight.

Back in the days kcollin is talking about, ya had a few sign shops. If you were small, ya did the local grocery stores, movie theaters, small businesses and sh!t like that. If you were larger, ya did A L L the other stuff. Therefore, they could afford to hire welders, electricians and installers and keep them all under one roof. Their pricing was much higher and reflected all that stuff they hadda have to be in business. The rest of us small fries, just kept plugging away. As you mentioned, when or as..... technology changed, so did the business minds and the small guys could appear bigger and take away from the bigger guys. Move forward to today and other than wholesalers, most of those big shops have dried up. They couldn't compete any longer. Now, the little guy rules, as long as he/she can lowball everyone else. Competition is totally different today, as we're all competing against equipment and what technology we have and not on the knowhow needed. Advertising views have also changed. No one stays inside the box. With software, your imagination can land ya jobs. Now ya just hafta figure out how to make it and put it up.
 
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