New Member
We recently sent out a quote for a regular client for 24 @ 24"x36" prints on Corex. Our price was $28 each. Got a call back today they found someone in town to do it for $9 each!!! I mean common how in the hell do you make any $$ at 9$ each. I know the company and they do silk screening, I can't see making any $$ doing full color signs for $9..

I told the client that I wanted to see one when they get them. I want to see what $9 gets you..


I'm so sick of this stuff...but what can ya do. The lowballer gets the job...everytime anymore. I've lost so many jobs lately because I refuse to let the customer name my price, it's not even funny. Even the loyal customers aren't loyal anymore.


New Member
You know the worst part is that it's like comapring apples and organes. We've lost so many jobs to low ballers just to see the products later and say " Thats no even what we quoted on" Or someone comes in and wants a complete vehicle wrap then calls back later ands says I found it cheaper somewhere else, then you see then drive by with Pink lettering on thier truck..

Thats why I told him I wanted to see what he's getting.

mark in tx

New Member
All you can really do is have samples of your work to show them, and aquire samples of other peoples work to compare with.
Selling quality is a little tougher sometimes.


New Member
That's lower than my EXTREMELY SHARP wholesale pricing to sign shops. $36 a sheet retail to the public=ridiculous.

So many people dont even care about who you are anymore or how good your work is, it's all price anymore.
i agree with Mark. this is when it is really important to have your portfolio up to date and full of a good sampling of various products and materials for a large variety of applications.

when you encounter this make sure that we are indeed comparing apples to apples, in my experience most of the time we are not. the client goes to another shop to get a quote for comparison and the other shop prices a different substrate, doesnt include art charges, etc etc.

take a look at the other quote and explain to the client the differences and if the new shop's quote meets their requirements bid the job using similar materials and job specifications.

if the other quote is truly apples to apples as far as specifications go and price is the only issue. it is time to sell yourself and why you are worth the difference in price...we all make custom products and not all things are created equally in this industry.

show them why you and your products are worth more than the 'other guy' my opinion you do not want to get caught in the trap of selling signs for the price of materials and labor. my goal is to sell products and services based on the value of that product to the client...if i am working on a wrap for instance i want to show them why my design meets their advertising goals, how it portraits their company to the public and how much more exposure it will get them versus a television commercial, radio ad, yellow page listing, etc.

it is a different ballgame when you have earned a reputation for selling advertising that generates results versus signs for the price of materials and labor...people will pay for results.

the goal, in my opinion, is to have your clients come to you saying 'i want to advertise to this group of people' 'i want to increase sales of my xyz product' 'i want to increase traffic through my business on weekdays'... versus clients that come to you saying 'i want a 3X6 banner that says Ladies Night with some graphics on it'

when you prove to your clients that you can generate results for them. when you prove to your clients that you understand their business and their advertising goals...they will pay your price for your services.


New Member
$216.00 total? not even worth the labor / time / effort. Sounds like they sold your client on a one-color silkscreen - but even then it's not worth the labor, materials, etc.

Fred Weiss

Merchant Member
Dan is absolutely right in what he says providing the signage being ordered has something about it that the client perceives as advertising and you can point to a way you can do a better job. OTOH, if you are unable to do so then it's a whole different thing.

If what the client wants is the cheapest way to neatly display FOR SALE then the client has made it into a commodity and you must compete on that level unless you can demonstrate how what you will do for the client will help meet the goals of the client in a superior fashion.

We went through an evolution many years ago with our business. We were the third company to acquire vinyl cutting capability in Palm Beach county in 1983. That was a unique capability which put us in a "toll position" to cut letters for the other shops in our part of the world. We were able to do very well for a number of years because we had little or no competition. But we always knew it was a temporary position and competition would eventually erode the toll position we had placed ourselves in.

When that trend began, we prolonged our letter cutting business by staying ahead of what our clients could get elsewhere. We offered more colors, larger sizes, more letter styles, vectorizing of logos, faster turnaround and less obvious things that made our lettering a superior product. Still, ultimately, we lost the business we once enjoyed. It's just the nature of the toll position business model.

What kept us alive and well was in taking what we had learned and moving on to a higher level. We made a conscious decision to not concern ourselves with competing on commodity work ... although we will still do it. But we're never the lowest price for doing so. We made a conscious decision to be known for the things that make us better and to be willing to let a client walk who only cared about price. That might be a better design, or a better choice of materials, or a better execution of some technical aspect of production ... but it's all based on choosing to deal primarily with clients who place getting what works best as a higher priority to getting what costs the least.

So stop lamenting the loss of a client to a low baller and start working on how you can get some exposure to a broader base of clients among whom you will find some new clients of a better caliber.

Check out the motto I use in my signature. It says it all.

Big House Signs

New Member
My Dad, a sign painter used to say the sign business was a whores business...don't be a cheap a relationship and have a good reputation. That's what I try to do to this day.


New Member
Good posts Dan and Fred and true.
If you want a future for your business (although it may seem easier just to charge less to get easy work) you have to think this way.
We turn away customers that want cheap all day long...don't want them. We're known as a pricey shop and yet we're not taking any more orders and booked out until February and customers will wait, because we have learnt to sell them our service, not just our signs.
It's not like there aren't any sign shops around here...this is 'SignCity' there's a half dozen sign shops within a couple hundred yards of me right now.
I'm still here and it's 3am.


New Member
I agree with what saying guys. We've been in business long enough to see many shops open and close thier doors. We've managed to stick around because we not only have good quality products but we have great clients who see the extra added value that we provide to them along with those products. All we can do is just sit back hold our own and wait for the lowballers to close thier doors.
We get told all the time that our prices are higher then other, Then I explain to them why and let the customers decide. We can't compete with 1 guy with a printer working out of his Garage and and we won't try.

I just found out we got a job that I didn't think we were going to get for 1500 11"x14" on Styrene.

You win some you loose some.

Fred Weiss

Merchant Member
I just found out we got a job that I didn't think we were going to get for 1500 11"x14" on Styrene.

You win some you loose some.

And there you have it. So now instead of doing $1.50 per sq. ft. coroplast, you can spend your time doing work you'd prefer to do at prices you like better.


New Member
That's a lotta sign for $9. If someone is stupid enough to give their work away like that they deserve to go broke. Amen to Paula!


Premium Subscriber
I really don't like doing this out here in the 'Peanut Gallery', but $9.00 each for 24 pieces is a price that certain shops would be completely happy getting... whether wholesaling or retailing.

When some of these guys buy in quantity and have the proper equipment, they can produce stuff for next to nothing to what you guys need to get... and still make a good profit.

Listening to some of the salespeople down at the Atlantic City sign show were trying to show off by telling us how this is all done and who is doing it and making it work. It takes a little guts, but it can work. I know of a guy that is buying almost all of his supplies from overseas... China, Korea, South America and gets banner, vinyl media and substrates for next to nothing. He's asked me if I want to go in with him, but I refuse to go that route.... yet.

With the world being so close with internet, delivery and other machinery, it's getting harder and harder to stay ahead of your competition if you don't grow with technology and the times. Of course, you have to be able to afford it, too.

It is scary. It's kinda like when Lowes and Home Depot move into an area and run all the little hardware stores out of business. How about the Sam's Clubs and WalMart's that have replaced so many stores. If ya can't keep up and ya don't get out of the way, prepare to be run over.


New Member
I agree with you Gino, Some shops can go that low and thats acceptable. I've recieved prices that low from a Wholesaler on this site before, but we're talking a very large shop with very large equipment. But not in my neck of the woods.

I agree also about it being harder and harder to stay ahead of your competition. Times they are a changing, if you don't keep up with the technology you'll end upbeing left behind.