How does one bill for your experience

How does one bill for your experience

1 Classie Africa

3D fabricated sign by SignForce

Selling ‘products’ is a relatively simple business model. One simply has to purchase your ‘product’ at the best price possible, calculate the cost of your fixed and variable costs to ensure you sell a sufficient quantity of your product and add on a markup – traditionally 100% – so yo can make a PROFIT on your sale.

The same basic process is required when selling a ‘SERVICE’, except that when selling a service the COST of the service can be a lot more complicated to value.

Lets look at two simple examples.

Example 1 – selling a product.

Cost to buy product – 100 (this value is obtained from supplier’s invoice)

Markup (100%) – 100

Selling price – 200

Example 2 – selling a service.

Input cost of service – 100 (**)

Markup (100%) – 100 (except more often than not prospects and clients will go mad when they believe the supplier is intending to make a profit)

Selling price – 200

(**) The input cost (equivalent to cost to buy product when selling products) is more difficult to calculate as it must cover all expenses including the time, cost and effort from attending the University of Live, as well as all other input costs – include the cost of training, experience, cost of any equipment used to provide service and insurance to name but a few of the input costs.

As the person responsible for keeping our small business alive and afloat, the task of costing can often be daunting and overwhelming, because among the many balls being juggled are (a) ensuring the continuity and sustainability of the business so the team keep their respective roofs over their families heads and food on the family tables, (b) keeping the cost low enough for the prospective client to find it attractive – especially in a difficult economic climate where it almost always seems prospects are more interested in cost than quality – and (c) making sure ALL input costs (including but not limited to those listed above) are accounted for – and with some prospects also ensuring there is sufficient wiggle room to give a discount they are compelled to negotiate.

With all these factors to take into consideration, how does one explain to the price over sensitive prospect that your offer, while possibly requiring a higher up front investment – would be in their best interests in the long term. And always keeping in mind that we don’t know what we don’t know – and this includes who we are competing against, which can influence no less than product, price and relationship.

At SignForce we tend to give the advise for free. It may be built into our costing but if so this is not intentional, because we are all about educating our clients and prospects so that they get the best signage to suite their stated objectives.

If you are in the market for signage, calling SignForce may be your best move yet.

Contact SignForce now on info@signforce.co.za or call +27 (0)11 440 7525 or WhatsApp +27 (0)82 558 6413

Find out more about SignForce at http://www.signforce.co.za

What is the VALUE of PEACE OF MIND

At Height Work

Working safely at height

Is there a price for PEACE OF MIND?

Lets talk about everyone’s favorite topic, INSURANCE, the commercial phrase for PIECE OF MIND.

I once heard a person say if you want to break up a party, simply walk in to the largest group and tell everyone I SELL INSURANCE! If you are lucky you may get as far as asking what they do before there is no one left to talk to.

While the story may not be entirety true, it does have some relevance, as does insurance, the major grudge purchase businesses have to buy.

Why do businesses need insurance – well mostly because of those pesky things called accidents, also sometimes referred to as black swan events, or simply unplanned – and unplannable? – events.

Accidents happen, and how prepared you are for them may have a massive impact on the future of your business, and possibly on your future too. Why, because if your business suffers a catastrophic event, and you do not have sufficient cover – whether it is money in the bank, insurance or a friendly banker – not only can the event destroy your business, if you are financially reliant on the business for your income, if the business has to close, your source of income will most likely immediately dry up as well.

Hence we purchase insurance.

Now what does INSURANCE have to do with signage. The answer is both A LOT, and NOTHING – yes, extreme contradictions.

Insurance for signage can relate to both insurance cover – as in the type of insurance you pay for to cover your sign in the event your sign gets stolen, or falls down in a severe storm and needs to be replaced, or the insurance you take out should your sign at the top of the building that was shaken by a storm, fall ON someone and injure or kill them. This is ALL insurance taken by the OWNJER of the sign to cover potential accidents.

There is also the second type of ‘insurance’, that is the insurance gained from having PEACE OF MIND. Peace of mind is the ‘insurance’ one gets when using a reputable supplier who you feel you can trust to get the job done without any issues – delays, accidents, errors, or any of a number of potential issues that could you upset as a client.

Here is a story that is a great example of where peace of mind could be seen as insurance. SignForce were recently asked to quote to remove a number of signs from a five story building. Most of the signs, even though they were high, looked to be simple. There was however one LARGE (estimated 6 x 3 meter) sign that was in poor shape which could pose some safety risks, mostly as a result of the sheer size off the sign. The last sign however posed some potential visible threats. This sign stood about 6 meters high, going up from the third story of the building and the steel as visibly rusted. Now the rust may have been superficial which would mean it is not an issue, but when removing a large vertical structure, one would be ill advised to ignore such visible risks.

Now that you have the background, when the SignForce sales person followed up on the prospect to see if they were going to go ahead and use SignForce to remove the signs, the representative was told in very un-Christian terms that SignForce had quoted WAY too high as the prospect could get the job done for about 4% of the quoted fee. The prospect informed the representative that this impressive (potential) saving would be achieved by finding unemployed people looking for piecemeal work and giving them some rope (the cost of the rope was not included in the perceived, supposed 96% saving). One could argue about the time value of money in finding people who would be happy to do risky fork at less than minimal rate, but this blog is not about the wide range of competition SignForce faces.

Now it is probably true that using the unqualified, inexperienced , homeless people the prospect would exploit he would have a 90% chance that he would have been able to do the work at 4% (excluding the rope and anchors) of the quoted fee. He would have been happy and would later be able to recount the savings he made.

However, life being life, the unknown 10% – the possibility of the rope breaking (which could happen if cost saving, incorrect rope is used) or the sign falling (which could happen if rope fail or rope is not correctly secured to the wall anchors or rope is not correctly secured to the sign – this is an art that the qualified ropers are taught – or someone falls off the roof or the ladder or whatever lifting equipment they are using . . . the possibilities are close to endless.

IF the 10% happened the perceived 96% saving could vanish and be replaced by HUGE hospital costs, MASSIVE legal costs, EXORBITANT medical costs and laborious labour issues that no landlord wants to face. This is the PEACE OF MIND ‘INSURANCE’ that comes from dealing with reputable suppliers who are responsible, are qualified and have every intention of working safely to feed AND SEE their families on a daily basis, even it if the price to client is slightly higher than reasonable, similar competition.

While the SignForce quote may be perceived as high, it is all relative to what the cost is being compared to. Yes, SignForce cannot compete on price when comparing us to unqualified homeless people who are prepared to work for a meal, and SignForce do have the added costs of ensuring that the equipment we use and the suitably qualified people we send to site ensure the work is done in a manner which is safe manner so everyone can sleep peacefully at night.

If you are in the market for signage – whether to design, manufacture and install, or to maintain or remove, SignForce is available to assist.

Contact SignForce mow on info@signforce.co.za or call +27 (0)11 440 7525 or WhatsApp +27 (0)82 558 6413

Find out more about how SignForce can serve you at htttp://www.signforce.co.za

Why Sign and Why SignForce

Illuminated signs

Candice Berman shop front sign

Why Sign and Why SignForce

Many years ago this writer was taught to ask two questions of every client.

1. Why do you want a sign? And

2. What do you want your sign to achieve?

These may seem like stupid questions because everyone is supposed to know that a business without a sign is a sign of no business (well at least offline), but there are times when signs are not going to fulfil or achieve your desired outcome. This is one reason this writer has been heard telling prospective client’s he is a poor salesman, as I will tell you to NOT get signs if I do not believe they will achieve your desired outcome.

If you are looking for a sign to get feet through your door or to boost your visibility or to enhance your ego, SignForce is definitely available to assist.

Why SignForce?

SignForce has been in the signage industry for over two decades under it’s current management, with many years of marketing experience before getting into signage. What this interprets to is we at SignForce can assist you to ensure your money spent on signage is an investment that will both achieve your desired objective(s) AND where necessary, your signage will increase your turnover, and hence your bottom line profit.

This is where I also mention that SignForce is not the cheapest but we do give value for money. Unfortunately , while this is the truth, we have certainly noticed that prospective clients are more swayed by short term price than they are by the prospect of longevity or quality or the benefit of advice. It is also worth mentioning that the vast majority of SignForce’s work is for on-sellers.

So why use SignForce?

At SignForce we focus on you, our client.

We know we have the experience and expertise to make great signs, and what we don’t know, we are fortunate enough to be able to tap into our local and international resource’s to find out.

It is because of this confidence in our experience and our network that we strive to make your experience when looking for signs a painless, seamless one, where you can tick one item off your list because SignForce will project manage the signs for you, ensuring our quality exceeds your expectations and that you can take a back seat and relax knowing your signage issues are being handled in a professional manner, with constant communication and updates because we know that your signage is most likely a very low priority, even though it is a high ticket purchase.

Why not be like our existing clients and some of our competition and give SignForce a call and see how we can assist you

Call SignForce now on +27 (0)11 440 7525 or WhatsApp +27 (9)82 558 6413 or email info@signforce.co.za

Find our all about SignForce at http://www.signforce.co.za

PERSPECTIVE – or an alternate (South African) view on Competition

Large Format print for www.artsolar.co.za

Safe installation of signs

PERSPECTIVE – or an alternate view on Competition

This was a very interesting week at SignForce

On Monday we assisted a competitor to install a sign they had manufactured. It was the first time I am aware of that we needed to use our block and tackle. The sign went up safely and our competitor and his client were all happy with the outcome.

On Wednesday we quoted a prospect. Part of the quote was to remove a number of signs from the building. A few were close to the ground, however many were more than three stories above the ground, and one was old, and from the brief inspection while on site, looks to be rusted through in more than one place. (I guess an article on the importance of maintaining signs for safety would be a good idea).

When followed up the prospect advised this writer that I must have lost my f@king mind because the amount was insane. He went on to explain that he could do the job for about 8% (1/12th) of the quoted amount. He went on to explain that he could hire some unemployed ‘casual’ labor off the street and provide them with the tools they need to remove the sign. I volunteered to provide a 51 foot ladder.

The difference between Monday’s client and Wednesday’s prospect may boil down to PERSPECTIVE.

The client on Monday appreciated SignForce’s experience, skills and understanding, and is willing to pay for the skills and experience.

The prospect on Wednesday may not have the understanding of the value of SignForce’s experience, and is certainly not prepared to pay for that experience.

That does not mean the prospect is incorrect. He may be able to get the job done safely at a much lower cost, and he will be responsible and accountable for the risk and any potential fallout that occurs.

One lesson of experience is being able to see the rust on the one sign – something which may be superficial, however, if it is not superficial – which is equally likely – the entire sign may fall apart when it is moved, which can become deadly very quickly. This writer has said multiple times, signage is an extremely simple industry, UNTIL IT IS NOT!

When a business complies and follows certain best practice norms, that compliance comes at a cost, which client’s should be prepared to pay for, as this ensures (or as close as possible) safety and successful completion of the job.

When a prospect is prepared to do the job himself and to say to hell with all safety norm, it is generally better to walk away, because if or when something goes wrong, that prospect will ,most likely be the first to throw the business under the nearest – and furthest – bus.

If you are in the market for signage – whether it is to manufacture, install, maintain or remove – SignForce is available to assist.

Contact SignForce now on info@signforce.co.za or call +27 (0)11 440 7525 or WhatsApp +27 (0)82 558 6413

Find out more about SignForce at http://www.signforce.co.za

Is there any value to Experience

Is there any value to Experience (and if there is, how can one bill for your experience)?

Illuminated Signs

Custom, old fashioned, illuminated signs

 

Becoming a more seasoned member of the signage industry – one with slightly over 25 years personal experience – I have begun to notice that there are certain things I SEE that are not always visible to others.

This is not clairvoyance but I do believe it comes from experience.

A simple example that showed this point happened recently. SignForce were asked to assist with the installation of a later large (6 x 3 meter) sign. When we went to the site inspection we noticed that the plan that the contractor was looking at was great, but flawed. The sign needed to be carried through three doors, however the third door had restricted access, so only half the sign could go through the door, and then – nothing.

I am pleased our client was not a blind believer, so he tried his method and then called me to tell me he had tried and it had failed.

Experience – defined by Google as “1. the fact or state of having been affected by or gained knowledge through direct observation or participation. 2. a. : practical knowledge, skill, or practice derived from direct observation of or participation in events or in a particular activity. ‘ is generally gained from the university of hard knocks. The hard lessons that come with doing something more than once, and failing often.

Experience is earned and while it can be passed on – which can be called advice, and, as a friend’s father kept saying. Advice comes from experience. When you receive the advice you have two choices, take heed or roll it up and shove it wherever it fits.

The value of experience tends to come from the little things. For example. When making a sign, how does one calculate the weight of the sign and the size of the fixings – bolts, nail in anchors, whatever – that will be necessary to make the sign stay in place once it is fixed to the wall?

This writer has inspected a sign which looks phenomenal. It creates a great impression and I am sure the client will be super impressed. As long as the sign works as intended, everyone will be happy And that will be perfect in maybe 95% of cases. In the remaining 5% when something goes wrong – say in the case of a light box when all or some of the lights stop working (which will happen, but it may, and hopefully will, take some time), or if a weld breaks (which is possible but low probability if they are done properly). When the 5% happens someone is going to have to spend time or money or both to make the sign good. This is where it can get complicated.

In the case of the sign mentioned above, the face of the sign has been fixed directly t the frame of the sign. This is a great way to keep costs down, however, if the lights inside stop working, or anything else inside goes wrong, there is an extremely high probability that the face of the sign will need to be removed, which means replacing the sign face. This can be a very costly exercise. The industry standard is normally to have an internal frame to hold the face. This allows for ease of maintenance without any additional costly spend, because the [maintenance] cost has been absorbed into the initial capital expense of the sign.

The difficulty with making the sign resilient, is it adds costs to the up front build which many businesses in South Africa are reluctant to do. They would rather take their chances on spending less upfront and then pray that their spend lasts as long as the higher investment (on invisible safety and possibly redundant features) that may save them money in the future.

At SignForce we call this the cost of peace of mind – like having an insurance policy you hope to never have to use.

When you are looking for signs that work, contact SignForce. We are happy to share what we do and why we do it as we believe in creating signs that work, signs that last and lasting relationships.

Contact SignForce now on info@signforce.co.za or call +27 (0)11 440 7525 or WhatsApp +27 (0)82 558 6413

Find out more about SignForce by visiting http://www.signforce.co.za

What is the cost of compliance

The Cost of Compliance

Or maybe the title should be how does governance help or hinder economic growth and employment.

As someone who is involved with running a small business in the current South Africa, I often look on with amazement at the number of requirements (you could read that as hurdles) that the business has to jump – sometime crawl, sometimes squeeze – through in order to be compliant.

Around 2010 we completed a survey which asked how much of the management teams time was spent on compliance. At that stage it was around 10 – 15%. To honestly answer the same survey today would be in the region of 130 – 150% of the then management’s time, meaning that an entire team of people had to be employed for no additional benefit to our clients of the business, other than to remain compliant. This can be considered a pure stealth tax.

While we understand and agree with rules that DO make work safer, we also are of the opinion that you cannot legislate stupidity – or stupid away. We know that our team want to go home to their families on a daily basis, even when things are tough at home, so we don’t believe in treating them like immature idiots who are brain dead. If they are not up to the task they are encouraged to stay home or seek the necessary help, but in the opinion of this writer, creating rules that try make idiots into rocket scientists – or at least prevent them from putting their heads into a microwave oven that is on – is not going to prevent them from being stupid.

It was once said the principal difference between intelligence and stupidity is there is no limit to stupidity!

Compliance seems to be a world wide trend (although I do question how China still allow bamboo scaffolding or some African countries have not heard of a safety file – which, as an aside, may be more to do with political beliefs and control – as in communism – versus looking to create jobs and let the government do what they promise to do – look after the people of the cou

 

ntry and facilitate job creation. In South Africa the current ruling regime – also known as the anc – seem to believe that bums in seats, paid for by the tax paying citizens, is job creation. This writer believes this could not be further from the truth as when people are employed according to the Peter Principle and paid according to Ohm’s law, the result is low productivity, job reservation and artificial job security – the employed know they can never be fired or removed – and subsequent poor customer service, low motivation and an over burdened tax paying population.

At SignForce we believe in paying fairly for WORK DONE, we know the reason for meeting deadlines and working after our 16H30 closing time when the job requires it. This is one of the reasons our clients trust us to meet their deadlines – even when they are EXTREMELY TIGHT.

If you are looking for a sign supplier to team up with to make sure you and your business look GREAT, SignForce is the team to call.

Contact SignForce now on +27 (0)11 440 7525 or email info@signforce.co.za or WhatsApp +27 (0)82 558 6413 to get a fair, no obligation quote.

Find out more about SignForce by visiting http://www.signforce.co.za

How will my sign help get feet through my door

How will my sign help get feet through my door

Boosting Foot Traffic with SignForce: Crafting Signs that pull in Customers”

SignForce’s years of marketing experience allows us to specialize in creating signs that do more than mark your location – SignForce’s signs are a key element in your marketing strategy, designed to attract customers and increase foot traffic.

Here’s how SignForce crafts signs to ensure they become a magnet for your business:

Visibility and Brand Identity

At SignForce we strive to design signs to fit your location so your signs stand out and speak directly to your prospective clients while taking into account your corporate and brand identity. SignForce combines multiple (captivating) elements of design together with strategic positioning to ensure business is recognized, sometimes even becoming a local landmark which is both visible and memorable.

Clear Messaging by SignForce

SignForce emphasizes the importance of delivering your message with clarity and impact. This is done using various design elements as well as taking into account the positioning and location of your business. At SignForce we understand that not every brand is instantly recognized like Coke or AMEX, and as such, where appropriate, the SignForce approach ensures that your sign communicates what your business offers with the intention of making it instantly clear to potential customers why they should choose you.

Designing Invitations with SignForce

SignForce’s signs are more than information panels – the love and care that SignForce put into making your signa makes your sign into a visible invitation. Over and above the love and care that goes into the production process, SignForce uses appealing aesthetics, including colors and enhancing graphics, to make your sign welcoming, encouraging all who see your sign to step inside and explore what you have to offer.

Brand Consistency with SignForce

With SignForce, consistency across your signage and branding efforts is key. We ensure that every piece of your visual branding aligns, reinforcing your brand’s image and building customer trust and loyalty. Experience has shown that it is easy to neglect consistency in business branding, but the cost is high as when people see your brand and it looks ‘off’ they sub-consciously lose trust in your brand and business, and will then look for alternate suppliers.

Optimal Placement Strategies by SignForce

Location is everything, and SignForce’s expertise extends to advising on the best placement for your signs. We assess your location to ensure maximum visibility and impact in order to direct the flow of potential customers through your door.

Allow SignForce to enhance Your Success

SignForce is dedicated to ensuring your signage is an active participant in your business’s success. SignForce’s focus on standout design, clear messaging, inviting aesthetics, brand consistency, and strategic placement ensures your sign is seen and is effective in bringing customers into your establishment.

With SignForce, your sign becomes an investment as it is a powerful tool for increasing visibility and driving foot traffic, contributing significantly to your business’s growth.

Top of Form

Contact SignForce now on info@signforce.co.za or call +27 (0)11 440 7525 or WhatsApp +27 (0)82 558 6413

Find out more about SignForce by visiting http://www.signforce.co.za

You can also watch some of SignForce’s many video’s at:

https://youtu.be/2uJBSOly6wM?si=q4khxcCA9ocC_oRw

https://youtu.be/FW3arJbUK9U?si=WmuelgkOTp-sLCKE

The 5 steps to make signs visible

The 5 steps to make signs visible

The 5 main factors that make signs visible are color, contrast, size, distance and noise

Color

Color refers to both the color of the TEXT as well as the color of the backing of the sign – and also includes other possible ‘noise’ that can distract one’s eye balls from the main intended message of the sign – generally YOUR BUSINESSES NAME ad / or what your business does.

Contrast

Contrast refers to the difference between the color of the LOGO or TEXT of the sign as well as the color of the backing behind the sign. It is great to see subtle logo’s, for example a black on black logo with the backing being matt and the logo or text being gloss, or the other way around – when looking at paper or anything at close range. The low contrast does not always work as expected when the logo to text need to be expanded from a small logo on paper to a much larger sign – not necessarily even a massive sign.

For signage, the greater the contrast, the more visible the sign tends to be, especially from a distance, with the greatest visibility being black on yellow.

Size

The further away from the sign one wants the viewer to be able to read the sign, the larger the logo and text – and hence the sign – need to be.

See the previous blog on the SignForce blog (https://signforce.co.za/blog/big-must-sign/) which give an indication of how large your text or logo should be to be clearly visible from different distances.

The general rule is that the larger the sign the easier it is to read from a distance. That said, it is also possible for a sign to be too large for the available space, or for the sign to be too large for it to be easy legible from the available distance or for the sign to be spaced so far off a backing that it looks gaudy.

Distance

As stated above, the further away from the sign the viewers will be that one needs to read the sign, the larger the sign needs to be.

This is amplified when a sign is going to be installed at height.

The higher the sign the larger it needs to be as height tends to be a double whammy when it comes to visibility. It is quite simple to understand that the higher the sign the further it is from the viewer, (think of Pythagoras’s theory), the not so simple part is that the same sign at the same distance that looks large always looks smaller when the sign is installed at height. This writer has no explanation for this phenomena.

Noise

Noise or visual pollution or visual distraction all refer to anything that can challenge a viewer’s attention, distracting the viewer’s eye balls from the intended message – ‘polluting’ their attention. Noise can refer to a complex design that distracts from the intended message or it can mean the font is too sophisticated or too artistic to be read at a glance, or a number of other distractions from the intended message.

At SignForce we focus on getting your message across to your intended audience in a way that will add income to your bottom line – in other words making your sign an investment.

Contact SignForce now to get your signs that work. SignForce is available at info@signforce.co.za or you can call +27 (0)11 440 7525 or you can WhatsApp +27 (0)82 558 6413

Find out more about SignForce by visiting http://www.signforce.co.za


How can you assure your investment in signage is money well spent – or is Signage a grudge purchase?

How can you assure your investment in signage is money well spent – alternatively, is Signage a grudge purchase?

Signage Fails

When signs do not work as planned

Over the past week this writer has been called to two different sites to quote on repairing existing signage. There is little unusual about this.

What is unusual is that both the signs at sites have suffered ‘failures’ due to what we at SignForce would considered reject signs. Poor workmanship, poor quality finishes and thus failing once installed.

In both cases the signs are apparently less than 30 months old.

Now I am aware that at SignForce we make signs that are value for money. This does not mean cheap, and we are seldom going to be the lowest quote. This is something I have been grappling with for many years, especially as I see other companies coming in at prices that we could NEVER compete with. One such example is a quote we gave where the client showed us that he got the sign for less than OUR MATERIAL cost.

So it looks like the client is getting a bargain! That is until one compares what we are providing with what they, based on what this writer has seen this week, may be getting for their spend.

The first sign was poorly finished. When the prospect’s contact showed me the signs he pointed out that the 3D letters were ‘peeling’ – something similar to your skin peeling after you have been sun burned – and it is a great comparison as the sign is in the sun all day, and the ‘skin’ that was peeling was in fact the plastic protective cover that should have been removed BEFORE the sign was installed. It looked like the sign was made with Perspex – a great qualitty acrylic with a 10year outdoor warranty – but not removing the protective cover cheapens the sign while possibly also drastically reducing the life of the material. At SignForce we tend to remove the protective plastic BEFORE the sign leaves the factory, and if the cover is left on, it will be removed before we ask the client is asked to sign off as this devalues the sign in many ways – both practically and aesthetically.

Many of the joints on the 3D elements were visible – something that we at SignForce work to avoid as the joints are generally the weakest part of the fabrication, and also they tend t o have dark spots. Being mindful of where the sign is to be viewed from we at SignForce try keep the joints out of view. This helps extend the life of the sign and makes it more aesthetically appealing.

One of the signs had the electrical cord running over the top of the sign. This is not necessarily a bad thing, however the wire that was found was exposed to the African sun. Anyone who knows anything about the African sun knows it is TRECHEROUS! The wire not being encased in a protective pipe or UV resistant sleeve means that the insulation coating will soon crack which will (it is only a matter of time) lead to fraying and eventually is likely to cause a short – especially if the positive and negative wires touch. This can blow all the LED’s rendering them useless, as well as potentially damaging the transformer, which will result in costly maintenance or possibly even having to re-wire the entire sign.

The prospect pointed out that birds had made a nest behind the sign – this is dangerous for the birds and can easily result in the sign getting damaged. It is also possible that the birds can accidently pull the wires so that some or all illuminated elements in the sign stop working. The sides of the sign should have been closed off before the sign was signed off.

The wiring behind the one sign was visible and was exceptionally untidy. Untidy wiring gives the impression of laziness, and as my one mentor, Tony De Gouveia pounded into my head, How yu do anything is how you do EVERYTHING – in other words if the person wiring the sign and the person inspection the sign allowed for shoddy workmanship, the chances are the fabrication will be shoddy and the fixings will be shoddy so the sign’s working capabilities are likely to also be shoddy.

The second sight had a single sign with 3D fabricated letters attached to the face. One letter had moved and SignForce was asked to assist to straighten the letter.

As a side note, we, as human’s, all tend to get caught up in a very particular pattern of thinking. I do believe this is one of the traits of being human and it allows for different people to think differently. I mention this as, as the primary designer for SignForce, this writer sees the fabrication of signs in a particular way. It is (in SignForce’s view) the best way, but is certainly not the only way to make certain signs. That said, when faces with a photo of a failed sign, our first thought is that the sign would have been made according to industry best practice, so the repair would entail certain steps.

In this case because the skew letter was on a backing board spaced off the wall it was assumed that the invisible fixings located at the rear of the letters have come loose and moved. This can happen. It is not common and it can be costly to repair as to repair properly it is recommended that the entire sign be taken down, all fixings be checked and secured and the sign be replaced. When the sign is at height – as this sign is – the costs include lifting equipment – scaffolding or cherry picker or ladders (not always allowed) or rope access – which all (except long ladders) sound almost as costly as they are.

In fact we got a new lesson in signage – well not quite new and definitely not a lesson we would need to learn or would copy – but we did soon find out WHY the sign failed. A little technical background may be helpful here. In years gone by in order to keep costs down some larger fabricated signs would be fixed to the backing board with what we in the industry refer to as L brackets. The bracket is fastened to the backing – wall or whatever – and the fabricated element is fixed to the opposite side of the L. Industry accepted fixings would mean that the sides of the 3D element would be SCREWED to the L bracket. This sign was ONLY attached with double sided tape. While this in itself may not have been an issue, if the business are in such a rush to get the sign out that they are not prepared to coat screws, drill and countersink the acrylic, the chances are they are also not using double sided tape that is made for purpose. That aside, double sided tape can be extremely strong when used for the correct application, however, when mixing materials – acrylic and Aluminium – and placing the sign in direct north east sun in Africa, the chances are that the expansion and contraction of the double sided tape on a regular basis will result in the double sided tape failing, which will result in the 3D element becoming loose, and possibly even falling off the sign. This would not only make the sign look aesthetically unappealing, it would most certainly damage the 3D elements (this one was over 6 meters above the ground) and could possibly damage vehicles or people driving or walking under the sign when it chose to fall.

Back to topic, How can you assure your investment in signage is money well spent – alternatively, is Signage a grudge purchase.

The latter question is more rhetorical as most business’s understand the need for signage, yet many see it as an after thought and are SHOCKED at the cost when they eventually get around to requesting quotes. While we at SignForce view signage as an essential tool in a business’s marketing strategy – we believe a business without a sign is a sign of no business – we can understand that there are business’s and people who feel that signage is not worth the cost. This may be for a number of reasons, some of which may be the high cost of an effective sign, a bad experience with previous signage, not knowing where to go to get signs or not getting signs that do what the client intended the sign to do. This can often be overcome by simply stating what the sign is for when asking for quotes. Also any decent signage sales person will ask this question when interviewing the prospect, as it is dangerous to assume you as the sales person KNOW WHY the prospect wants a sign.

The former question – How can you assure your investment in signage is money well spent – is a little more complex and difficult to answer.

I suppose the short answer is to do one’s homework BEFORE placing the order. This may include talking to past and present clients, looking at the prospective sign companies’ track record – although this may be unfair to excellent new start up’s.

One could also use standard accounting practice of getting at least three quotes. Notice this is standard ACCOUNTING practice which comes with a MASSIVE BUT when referring to signage or any custom designed products. When looking at 3 quotes it must be assumed that ALL companies are using the same material and the same production processes – think of a tin of your favorite canned beans It does not matter which outlet you buy the beans from, you are buying X brand and you trust the brand, so supporting the cheapest outlet saves you money. Because signs are custom made, and material prices vary insanely, it could well be that the lowest cost supplier is using lower cost material. Sadly the opposite is also possible – that the lowest cost supplier is in fact using the highest quality material but has forgotten to include costs of labour or other costs in the quote, or the highest cost supplier may be using the poorest quality materials and making a killing. It is near impossible for the purchaser to know, no matter how astute you are. I guess signage – like many other purchases – require a high level of faith and trust.

One could ask to see sample materials, but once again this is pretty useless if one does not know the technical specifications of materials. If you visit the SignForce factory you will find one or two rolls of ‘cheap’ vinyl. These are for specific client’s and are appropriately marked. Not because we enjoy the process but because we are VERY aware that it is extremely simple to make an error and use the incorrect material when making signs.

If you are in the market for signage that IS an investment, SignForce have been a supplier in the South African (and global) market for over four decades. We take pride in our work and believe our prices are fair so that your investment in signage IS an investment!

Contact SignForce now at info@signforce.co.za or call +27 (0)11 440 7525 or WhatsApp +27 (0)82 558 6413

Find out more about SignForce at http://www.signforce.co.za

Custom 3D letters for ANY event

Sometimes in life you want to stand out from the crowd. Whether it be for a special personal or function.

Seeing one’s name in lights can have a massive impact on your audience.

These 1,200 mm high letters form an excellent, sturdy table that can be remembered – and catches the viewers eye.

Get your own custom table stand – illuminated or not – from SignForce by contacting info@signforce.co.za or WhatsApp +27 (0)82 558 6413

Find out more about SignForce at http://www.signforce.co.za