What should your sign specialists know – the value of signs only vs marketing value

 

What should your sign specialists know – signs only vs marketing value

SignForce’s USP: Merging Sign Craftsmanship and design with Marketing Brilliance”

At SignForce we recognize that the expertise required for exceptional sign design and creation overlaps far into the marketing sphere, showcasing signs as pivotal brand assets rather than mere informational displays.

The combination of formal marketing qualifications and decades of experience in the design and manufacture of signage places SignForce at the forefront of signage design and implementation of effective ‘investment’ signage. SignForce has a deep understanding that for a sign to be effective and considered as an investment, each crafted sign is a direct reflection of the brand it represents within the specific area or context* of the sign, serving as a dynamic marketing tool that enhances brand visibility and customer connection.

* Context and placement of a sign often make a massive impact on both the impact and effectiveness of a sign. The best way to demonstrate this is the VEGAS strip. Everyone knows that the VEGAS strip is synonymous with FLASHING and SCROLLING large neon signs. Imagine how your new sign on the strip would be seen and perceived if your new sign is ‘smaller’ and does not illuminate, never mind it being neon and scrolling. The chances are your sign would become invisible in that context, even though in almost any other context your sign would be considered as MASSIVE and highly visible. This is where the phrase ‘horses for courses’ is appropriate. Regardless of how recognized and how well known your brand, if your brand is not competing at any specific location, your branding (signs) may be a waste of money.

Elevating Signs with SignForce’s Insight

SignForce’s experienced professionals are adept at transforming signs into strategic marketing vehicles. At SignForce we ensure every project undertaken stands out visually while also aligning perfectly with the client’s marketing objectives. This dual focus on aesthetic appeal and marketing potency underscores the unique value SignForce brings to every signage project we participate in, especially when we are involved with the design and installation of your signs.

Brand Identity and SignForce’s Role

Understanding and reinforcing your brand’s identity through signage is the cornerstone of SignForce’s approach. Our SignForce team meticulously crafts signs that echo your brand’s core message and values with the intention of creating a cohesive and impactful brand experience. SignForce’s commitment to this principle elevates our signage solutions, making them an indispensable investment tool in our clients’ marketing arsenals.

Maximizing Impact with SignForce Strategies

SignForce’s expertise goes beyond the limit’s of design and craftsmanship; our expertise encompasses a thorough understanding of marketing dynamics, including customer behavior, color psychology, and also strategic sign placement. At SignForce we leverage this comprehensive knowledge to create signs that attract attention while actively engaging customers, driving brand loyalty and business growth for your business.

SignForce – Where Signage Meets Marketing

At SignForce, we believe in the powerful synergy between exceptional sign making and insightful marketing strategy. SignForce’s holistic approach ensures that every sign we produce is more than simply a testament to high-quality craftsmanship but also a key player in our clients’ marketing strategies.

Through this blend of creativity, innovation, and strategic insight, SignForce continually sets new standards in the signage industry, helping brands shine brighter in an ever more crowded marketplace.

Contact SignForce now on info@signforce.co.za or call +27 (0)11 440 7525 or WhatsApp +27 (0)82 558 6413 to take advantage of SignForce’s experience and to get your brand out there so it benefits from SignForce’s input for greater visibility.

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

Why is My Sign So Expensive?

Printed Sandblast Effect Vinyl

Impressive Printed Sandblast Entrance Sign

The Value Behind Your SignForce Investment

When evaluating the cost of a sign, it’s natural to wonder about the pricing, and even if a sign is an essential business assets. At SignForce, we’re committed to revealing the true value behind every sign we create. More than a mere sign, it represents your brand, serving as a long-term investment in your business’s visibility and reputation.

Quality Materials: The Foundation of Excellence

The durability and impact of a sign depend on the quality of materials used. At SignForce we pride ourselves on selecting materials not just for their appearance but for their longevity and resilience. From weather-resistant materials to vibrant, fade-resistant original Roland inks, and energy-efficient LED lighting, our choices ensure your sign withstands the elements, even in the extreme South African sun. This focus on high-quality materials often leads to a higher upfront cost but results in fewer replacements and repairs, saving money over time, making the up front investment a better, more cost effective long term investment.

Custom Design: Tailored to Your Unique Brand

Your business’s unique identity deserves to be reflected in your signage. Custom design is a significant factor in the cost of your sign. SignForce’s team collaborates with you to craft a sign that encapsulates your brand and also distinguishes your sign in the market. This process, involving meticulous planning, creative design, and precise execution, demands time and expertise, which we at SignForce believe we are worth being compensated for.

Skilled Craftsmanship: The Essence of Your Sign

Each SignForce sign is a product of skilled craftsmanship. Our artisans, experienced in their craft, blend traditional skills with modern techniques to create visually compelling and robust signs that make your BRAND stand out and draw potential clients to your business. This human touch in sign-making ensures each sign embodies quality and character, making it a symbol of your brand’s identity.

Long-Term Value: An Investment in Your Business

A sign from SignForce is an investment in your business’s future. Beyond the initial cost, a well-crafted sign draws customers, enhances your brand identity, and signals your commitment to style and quality. The long-term benefits in brand visibility and customer engagement far outweigh the cost, especially compared to standard signs that do not elevate your brand and are not likely to last long.

Conclusion: A Partnership in Your Brand’s Success

At SignForce, we view our role as your partner in success. We focus on delivering signs that add value both aesthetically and also as effective business growth tools as your brand becomes recognized. Choosing SignForce means investing in a quality, durable, custom sign that supports your business for years to come.

Your sign often creates the first impression of your business, and with SignForce, it’s an enduring one. SignForce ensure your sign investment enhances brand recognition and customer engagement, affirming the lasting impact of your choice.

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 are you ‘buying’ when you choose a sign company?

What are you ‘buying into’ when you choose a sign company?

SignForce 'invisible' sign

Partially Invisible Sign  – do you notice how the top left seems unattached?

It seems the standard method used to purchase a sign (and many other high ticket items) is to decide what you want, or at least have a rough idea of what you want or are looking for, or what you want to achieve. This applies to signs as much as it does to purchasing appliances, cars or televisions, all considered high ticket purchases.

Well that is only partly true. While cars and the other listed purchases (especially in South Africa) are definitely almost always seen as high ticket items – even for entry level models, signs and SIGNAGE are very often seen as a cheap after thought – that is, until quotes are received.

But I am digressing so back to the standard method of purchase.

  1. Have an idea of what you are looking for

  2. Hopefully have an idea of what you want your purchase to achieve (I know this sounds obvious, as you purchase a fridge to keep your food fresher for longer, DUH, but not everyone knows or understands WHY they purchase a sign.)

  3. Look on Google for a possible keyword – lets use signage or pylons or cut out letter signs.

  4. Wait – generally less than 1 second – for Google to give you a list of suppliers you can contact. ** This is where the fun begins and will require it’s own paragraph

  5. Call, WhatsApp or email the suppliers listed on Google to give them an idea of what you are looking for and ask for a price.

  6. Copy and paste the same message to all the possible suppliers listed on the first page *** of Google. Not sure where to mention this but are you aware that the top and bottom (of every page) few sites listed or ‘recommended’ by Google are paid sites – what Google refers to as sponsored – also known as paid adverts. This is only a FYI comment but is worth noting as there are possible additional benefits and costs linked to businesses that do and do not use sponsored adverts.

  7. Wait for feedback from the potential suppliers you emailed or called, or follow up the email with a call to make the potential sign supplier aware that there is an incoming email.

  8. Get quotes from the potential suppliers who respond to your request for a quote

  9. Assess the cost from each supplier making the assumption that ALL quotes are for the same ‘thing’ ****, especially as you sent the same request to all potential suppliers.

  10. Choose a supplier based on cost and possibly on a picture they have provided. *****

  11. Delete all correspondence from the alternative suppliers

** When you get the list of possible, potential suppliers, you are doing a wide range, generic search. Your search has no specifics and doesn’t necessarily tell you much about the businesses you are approaching. A cursory search of the proposed supplier’s website should give you a little more information, but please always remember that we live in a world of INFORMATION, and not all information is necessarily true, so a general rule is to do a little more digging (formally known as due diligence), make a call and see what response and ‘feel’ you get.

*** How often do you search beyond page 1 of any Google search? How often do you look at the number of responses Google provides – and the time it took to get the list. For example, a simple search of cut out letters took 0.6 seconds – well under 1 second – to provide a list of 2,120,000,000 web sites that MAY provide a good match for the simple search. This is an overwhelming number and is why almost every business strives and pushes to be on page 1 of the world’s largest business directory – Google!

The challenge comes in that for this specific search only 2 of the listings on the front page MAY fulfil my requirements. As such I tweek the search to CUT OUT LETTER SIGNS. This search took 0.4 seconds and provided a list of 925,000,000 possible sites. A great reduction of over 1 billion sites, The refined search has made it simpler to find what I am looking for and thus made it very simple to find at least one supplier on page 1 that should meet my requirements, so why go to page 2? The reason is due to the limited retail territoryavailable on page 1. Only a limited number of potential suppliers can be listed on page 1 (or every page) so there is a high likelihood that good suppliers may also be found on pages that are past page 1.

**** making the assumption that ALL quotes are for the same ‘thing’”

When you contact multiple potential suppliers you will most likely assume that because they are listed on Google that they are capable of doing the job. What you have no idea of is if there is any additional service or benefit you can get from any of the suppliers. In order to find out if the suppliers can provide any additional ‘services’, a number of questions need to be asked. History shows asking these questions while TALKING to a person tends to give great benefit.

***** If you are making the decision of which supplier to use based purely on PRICE (and a possible picture) you may be doing yourself a great disservice, as you may be expecting to get the same quality and same sign from all the potential suppliers, but you would be shocked to learn how many different possible interpretations there can be for the same sign brief, and as such you may not be getting the full benefit of any or all the suppliers.

A case in point is a recent request by one of SignForce’s longest standing and largest clients. The request seemed a little strange at the outset, but made sense later on when all the elements fell together. The request was for photo’s of premises, information about staff, a list of machines on the premises and a few other VERY PERTINENT questions. It turns out our client’s client was requesting the information, possibly as a means of doing part of a due diligence. The other points that may be lost when only looking at cost is quality and cost of material to be used, expected lifespan of the signage, type and quality of paint and if the sign that you have requested is in fact the BEST sign to achieve your intended outcome. At SignForce we have the benefit of a number of years of experience (as well as the formal qualifications) to provide input regarding your marketing strategy and what signs would best suite your needs. This information is not charged for, although our signs may sometimes ‘cost’ more than a competitor, but the added value is definitely there to be taken advantage of.

Which brings us back to the question of what you are buying when you choose a sign company.

It goes without saying you expect the company to produce a sign. You may expect them to design and install the sign as well. It is possible that you know exactly what you need and how it should be made in order to get the most beneficial results from your signage, but it is highly unlikely that you would know as much about signs, their benefits and cots and the best placement to maximize your investment, as the sign producer, especially one who has years of experience, and possibly some formal qualifications in the field.

Trusting your signage manufacturer means you believe they have some knowledge you don’t have. In addition you are not only looking for a sign, but if the signage business is a decent one, they will make sure that your purchase is an investment so that your sign helps to generate more income than it costs. In order for this to happen it means that you also value the experience of your supplier, you value the expertise of your supplier and you are quite right to expect a level of after sales service. The question from the sign suppliers perspective is what is the commercial value of these additional – add on – benefits, and what, if anything, Is my client prepared to pay for these benefits.

At SignForce the senior management have a depth of knowledge and experience in signage – as can be expected after more than 20 years in signage – but also have a depth of knowledge in marketing, visibility, design and project management, which means that when you use SignForce you are investing in a team that will gladly take on and supervise your signage project with the intention of making you look good, ensuring you signs work and your deadlines are met.

Contact SignForce now on info@sgnforce.co.za or call 27 (0)11 440 7525 or WhatsApp +27 (0)82 558 6413 for all your signage requirements as well as for advice on signage and what signage will work best for your unique business.

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

Will SIGNAGE survive the current AI revolution

3D sign

White, Illuminated 3D sign

Will SIGNAGE survive the current AI revolution

If you are alive and online – which we can assume you are if you are seeing and reading this post – you MUST have heard of AI (artificial intelligence) and how it is likely to reshape the workplace and employment in the future – both foreseeable and long term.

When asked if Signage will survive the current AI revolution, ChatGPT answered as follows: “Absolutely! While artificial intelligence is revolutionizing many aspects of business and technology, signage serves a different purpose entirely. Signage is a tangible and physical way for businesses to communicate their brand, products, and services to customers. Signs can be seen, touched, and experienced in a way that AI cannot replicate. Additionally, many signs are designed to be aesthetically pleasing, which is not a task that AI has yet mastered. So, rest assured that signage will continue to be a vital part of businesses for many years to come, even in the age of AI.

This writer tends to agree with ChatGPT, but not necessarily for the same reasons.

While there are AI programs and Apps available that can CREATE wonderful pictures, logo’s and pieces of art, all of which can be incorporated into modern signage, it is the physical creation (or manufacturing) that has yet to be repalced by a machine.

Yes, there are computer based tools such as 3D printers and benders that can help create a 3D sign, but at this time – and for the foreseeable future, it does not look likely that sign makers will be replaced by robots. Good news for sign makers, not necessarily such good news for customers as when items are not made by machines they tend to be more costly.

This is definitely the case when it comes to signage, especially since the vast majority of signs are custom – custom look, custom design, custom feel and custom size – there is very little chance of an affordable robot taking over the physical work that is necessary when making most, especially 3D, signs.

One can ask if signs will be required in the future, especially as the world moves to digital which can do so much and is fast becoming more and more affordable. This writer believes that digital signs will be used more and more to sell – lifestyles, products, services and time – BUT for the foreseeable future BUSINESSES will still be physical – people want to touch and smell and feel – which cannot be created online, and as long as people want to touch they will want to go to physical stores (or physical destinations) which will most likely continue to want signs to make customers, prospective customers and suppliers aware of where you are. People want to SEE your business.

To find out how SignForce can assist your business to make itself visible contact SignForce now on info@signforce.co.za or WhatsApp +27 (0)82 558 6413 or call +27 (0)11 440 7525

http://www.signforce.co.za

I need a sign and I have a DRILL

Drills and Signs

Using a Drill for a Sign

I have a drill!

But that doesn’t mean I need to, or should, use it!

Life is short. Life can be serious! Business or work is ‘serious”.

But life doesn’t always have to be serious, or at least some things can be amusing.

Life can be made funny when we try to be everything to everyone, or when we try ude the drill – because we have one!

I am all for training, and learning through trial and error, so please, go ahead and play with your drill.

That said, there are times when it is beneficial to allow what we term ‘professionals’ to do the work. What makes one a ‘professional’? Generally hours and hours and days and days leading to years and years of practice. It has been said that in order for one to be truly proficient in your work you need to put in 10,000 hours.

10,000 hours equates to just under 417 days. Broken down into eight hour days that 10,000 hours is 1,250 ‘work’ days- that equates to 62.5 months, or just over FIVE years! Five years of doing the same thing, day in and day out. It is for this reason we can watch a ‘professional’ ‘play’ with a grinder – a tool that must always be respected – as if it is nothing. It is normal for him as he works with it DAILY. And after 20 plus tears, it is second nature.

While employing the professional to do certain work may cost a bit more than doing it oneself, it certainly can make life easier, even if it is less entertaining for the onlooker.

The advantage of allowing professionals – people who do the same tasks over and over and over on a daily basis – to do the work is that, because they do the same work repetitively, they learn what is generally referred to as the ‘tricks of the trade’.

Being a ‘do it yourselfer’ is admirable and great – and I believe is important, possibly because I am one myself – and it can even save one money when done correctly, but the university of life is not free, or even cheap, so expect to make some costly mistakes along the way. These ‘mistakes’ are the best way to learn, but they are often costly.

If you would like to manufacture a sign or install a sign save yourself time and possibly even money by calling #SignForce – the professionals.

For advice on signs or to order signs contact SignForce now on +27 (0)11 440 7525 or info@signforce.co.za

You can find out more about SignForce by visiting http://signforce.co.za

 

SignForce – supporting SMALL BUSINESS and COMMUNITY!

As SignForce is a small business, run along family nd community principles, while believing in community and in profits.

SignForce  need to make profits in order to support small businesses (we are fairly priced, but are not a charity), especially businesses in and around our community. The support SignForce can offer is especially relevant in theses tough, turbulent and uncertain times.

How we at SignForce support our community businesses is by offering small and start up (new)  businesses professional signs with exceptional advice and payment options that can assist them with their cashflow – generally by allowing the business to pay a deposit and then allowing the signs to be paid off, generally over a couple of months.

If you are a new or small or struggling business who believes that SIGNAGE will help improve your business, but you are concerned about the cost, you SHOULD be contacting SignForce NOW!!!

Contact SignForce now on +27(0)11 440 7525 or email arnold@signforce.co.za and mention SMALL BUSINESS SUPPORT in your subject line.

 

How do you Maximize & Measure the benefit of your signage?

Living in the world of the 21st century, it seems EVERYTHING is expected to be measurable.

While this is not always true and definitely not always simple – for example, even in 2019, how does one measure the level of LOVE – there are many ways to evaluate and measure the ‘SUCCESS’ of your purchases and investments.

At SignForce we see signage as an investment, and in order to measure the return on investment, we believe that four fundamental questions need to be answered, preferably BEFORE the sign is purchased.

  1. What do you want the sign to achieve?
  2. What is the correct sign for the objective to be achieved?
  3. What is most important to you in measuring the success of your investment :

    (a) the cost of the sign and / or

    (b) the quality of the sign and / or

    (c) the importance of your deadline being met.

  4. How do you intend measuring the success of your signage?

If your sign is located in the middle of an open field, with the only thing competing for the potential reader’s attention is the vehicle instruments, the possible people in the vehicle, the road and nature, and all you want the sign to do is capture attention, measured by the number of vehicles you can get to respond to your signage’s message, then the main focus should be the SIZE and ATTRACTIVENESS of the message.

If on the other hand your sign is located in a shopping mall where, aside from the landlord’s approval, you are competing with a number of LARGE, FLASHY, 3D signs, best you either make something even LARGER, FLASHIER, 3D or alternatively, something TOTALLY DIFFERENT in order to STAND OUT. If your measurement of success of the signage is to get a specific response from the viewer of the sign, then before purchasing the sign, one should look at what about the sign will lead the viewer to respond.

While the above two scenario’s are greatly over simplified, it should already be clear that not all signage is appropriate or necessarily the best signage to achieve a desired objective. This leads to the next set of questions, as to the order of which is most important: (a) the cost of the sign or (b) the quality of the sign or (c) the importance of your deadline being met.

As custom signage is generally made or assembled by hand and thus labor intensive, the three questions above tend to be at odds with one another. If it is a ‘cheap’ sign one is looking for, that will generally mean a compromise on the quality of the sign, so the sign may be able to be produced pretty quickly. Being produced pretty quickly should not be confused with the sign being an ‘off the shelf’ item, and it should generally be understood that the speed of the signs manufacture will generally (but not necessarily always) have an influence on the quality of the sign.

If the deadline is the most important factor, followed by superior quality, then it should be fairly obvious (although it never is) that the cost of the sign is going to be higher, ESPECIALLY when the sign is ordered (in South Africa this includes the order being received, the artwork being approved and the required deposit being paid) at the last minute.

It seems that very few people who do not work with signage on a regular basis tend to understand the manufacturing process(es) that are required to get signs manufactured, decorated and installed, and thus often tend to have the erroneous belief that the wave of a magic wand will get the picture that they have in their mind, and possibly even the picture they have approved on paper, to suddenly appear in full life size. The best advise we at SignForce can give is if you have a specific deadline, and a budget, then make sure you get information on the time required to manufacture your signage, and give the supplier more time than they required, as this way there is less room for error – or surprises.

Measuring the ‘success’ of you signage could be by measuring how many viewers respond to the sign and / or it’s message. It could also be measured by an increase in sales or turnover, or the number of (additional) feet that come into your premises, or how much you paid for a sign that matched or exceeded your expectations.

Conversely the success of your signage could be measured by looking at what the sign cost and whether the sign is the correct sign for the task, whether it is what you expected it to be and whether what you got is what you were sold and how long the sign lasts and the total cost over the life of the signs. This is because in an industry where purchase decisions are generally made on a picture on a piece of paper, where the buyer seldom knows or understands the materials and processes that are used or whether the materials that were used match the materials that were sold.

As a buyer of signage, a purchase where price is ALWAYS a factor, often because the signage is the last item on the agenda which means the budget has long been blown, it is often understandable that what looks like the best sign at the best price is what gets purchased, especially when the buyer believes that all the signs that are being quoted are generic and identical, simply because the paper that holds the ‘picture’ displays the same picture.

It is more often than not important for the buyer to understand that unlike a purchase of a can of beans of a single brand which are all assumed to be almost the same, custom signs differ from manufacturer to manufacturer, with a lot depending on the integrity, design capability and professionalism of the sign maker.

It is for this reason that when a buyer of signage gets multiple quotes, and they are all ‘saying’ the same thing, but the prices have a great variance (in my personal opinion more than 30%), the buyer should be asking for samples of materials and probably asking for references. It is quite possible that the buyer is about to get a bargain of note, because there are many sign businesses who unfortunately, for their own good and long term success, do not quite understand pricing and margins, so the buyer could well get a bargain. On the other hand the buyer may believe that they are getting something they are not.

If you are intending to buy signs, and are interested in having consultants on what signs may best suite your needs, we at SignForce are available – simply call +27 (0) 11 440 7524 / 5 and ask to talk to Arnold or email arnold@signforce.co.za with the subject PLEASE CONSULT.

Secret #Signage

This post was sent as a newsletter on 27 May 2019. While it is already outdated – especially in light of South Africa’s poor performance on the international stage, the concept can still provide food for thought.

Sponsors are now, even at this late hour, threatening to pull out unless independent sign professionals act as sign umpires and declare the CWC signage free of ‘secret signage‘ or visual interference.

Whilst ‘secret signs‘ seems an oxymoron, ambush marketing is taking totally new direction with this new technique. Signage at events like the CWC form a large and important part of a sponsors investment in visual communications. So the possibility of having this offset by an ambush marketer is creating havoc behind the scenes..

The real nub of the problem is that the ambush signage can be done by a small ninja group who can do this in a very short space of time – even inside the sign company’s, or sponsor company’s, premises.

This ambush message will show up on fixed signage – particularly those large billboards that form an integral part of the stadium landscape. The technique has been to overprint the sign with a fluorescent ink that only shows up on the TV camera’s – in exactly the same way as the white cricket ball is treated to give it more visibility. The technology that was painstakingly developed for the white ball to solve the on screen visibility problems has now been hijacked. We are not yet sure what the revealed message will be – or was supposed to be – but you be assured that some sponsors are now very anxious. Stand by for some exciting viewing!

Calls have been made for all involved signage companies to stand by a new code of conduct that will ensure that they secure the signs from manufacturing floor through to installation.

You will be pleased to know that SignForce is a founder signatory to this new protocol. This was an easy decision for us, as we have always taken the greatest care of our work – from conception to installation.

Of course the above is just a spoof, but you never know . . .

Standing by to do some ‘innovative’ signage for you soon.

Regards

Thanks for reading, hope to see you soon.
The SignForce Team

Home

contact us on info@signforce.co.za

Tel: + 27 (0) 11 440 7524 / 5

What makes a #sign expensive? Signs as an investment.

What makes a sign ‘expensive’?

Expensive is a VERY subjective word, so lets look at the input costs and how that could, would or should influence one’s purchasing decision.

#SignForce, as all sign suppliers, work in a very competitive market. There are generally many sign businesses in a relatively small area, especially as #signage is a low entry cost business. Because of the high level of competition, each sign business needs to have ‘something’ that makes our business ‘stand out’. For the person making the purchase, the high level of competition means one SHOULD be able to compare various options and get the best solution to fit your requirements, although COST, OUTLAY or INITIAL INVESTMENT is often the deciding factor, very often at the sacrifice of long term investment or long term LIFE of the sign.

Because COST or INITIAL OUTLAY is such a HUGE determining factor for many buyers, one of the easiest ways to stand out  is on ‘price’. It is easy for clients to choose the lowest cost supplier, as, generally, all suppliers will quote to supply the same LOOKING sign.

Often how this works is the potential client (or buyer) will send out a ‘tender’, which consists of a picture of how the sign should look. Sophisticated buyers will also supply detailed specifications – which they understand and can check – but this is less common than only supplying a picture and sizes. Also too often the person supplying the specifications does not gave a great understanding of what they are specifying so their ability to ensure that they receive what was quoted could be limited.

Because EVERYONE is quoting on the same OUTCOME (read that as picture), when the buyer gets their three or more competing quotes, they naturally assume they are comparing ‘APPLES’ with ‘APPLES’, but because #signs are not standard, off the shelf items, the design, makeup and materials can (and generally will) differ from manufacturer to manufacturer. As such, although all the signs may (initially) LOOK the same when installed, they could, in reality, be EXTREMELY different.

In order to explain I am going to use the example of a modular, internally illuminated light box sign with an acrylic face that is illuminated using energy efficient LED lights. I am using a modular frame as we can then assume that everyone that is quoting is using the same external frame, so all the quotes would have the same (or similar) input costs for the frame.

Now lets look at the make up of the sign, starting with ILLUMINATION. There are a number of LED’s that can be used on a light box sign. The difference can be anything from in how much light the LED emits (lumens) to the size of the individual LED units (or modules) to the angle of the light emitted from the LED module (especially if the module has a LENS), the expected life of the units and the COST. Because there are so many variables, for the purpose of this article I will compare cost that can vary from about R35 (US$ 13) per meter to about R500 (US$ 186) per meter. It would seem obvious there are a number of variables that affect the cost, but for #SignForce the important differences are (a) the LED’s are the correct LED’s for the job (meaning they will give equal and sufficient light), (b) the expected life of the LED and (c) the LED’s are sure to do the job (preferably guaranteed) so that the business will not have any unnecessary call backs which can be substantially more costly than the cost of the LED’s.

Other factors that can have a GREAT  impact on the cost include, but are not limited to, (a) the size of the sign (this has way too many variables to reference in this article), (b) the cost of the decoration (print versus cut vinyl versus ink versus paint) (we will only refer to PRINT where costs have a range difference that can easily exceed 500%, with the quality and life span of the print varying greatly), (c) the thickness of the acrylic face (this is influenced by the size of the sign and possibly the location of the sign, and will in turn influence the cost of both the acrylic (the thicker the higher the cost) and the beading that holds (supports) the acrylic face). (d) If the frame is to be painted the make up and application method of the paint can also have a great impact on costs, both due to the large difference in cost of the base paint as well the time and process differences between the various application methods which range from ‘dipping’ to using a paint brush to spray painting and powder coating.

At #SignForce we take our guarantee VERY SERIOUSLY, and as such we use materials which, while generally more costly, will have a higher likelihood of lasting and not creating negative comebacks from clients. This does tend to make the initial outlay slightly higher, (historically this is generally no more than 20%), but #SignForce’s logic is that having to redo a sign after three to five years could be substantially more costly than having a sign that does it’s job well for it’s intended life, which is generally seven years, even if the decoration needs to be replaced more regurarly.

For more information on why SignForce views #signs as an investment or on purchasing  quality signs that will consistently keep you in your prospective clients eyes for many years to come, please contact #SignForce at info@signforce.co.za

What makes up the cost of a sign?

What makes up a sign’s cost?

This comment could be viewed as a follow up to the article ‘Are All Signs the Same’, because it stems from a similar thought.

Not only are all signs not the same, even when they look the same, the materials used to manufacture the signs can vary extensively.

A client asked me to replace a fallen letter on a sign consisting of a number of cut out letters. He sent me a blurry photo (taken while he was driving past the sign) so I thought it would be best for me to go see exactly what needed to be replaced. I went to the site to take measurements and photo’s, and when on site I touched one of the remaining letters of the sign and it fell off the wall. I subsequently removed the sign to repaint and re-secure it. When I returned it to the factory the first thing that was pointed out to me was that the paint was pealing BECAUSE the Aluminium had not been primed. A simple oversight?

In general the cost of a sign consists of the cost of material plus the cost of labor plus a margin for profit plus a contribution to overheads and such.

While there are a number of factors that contribute to the material cost – one tends to pay more for longer lasting material, material cost is generally 30 – 40% of the final cost of a sign. That said, if the cost of material can be kept down – either by getting larger discounts from suppliers OR by using cheaper material OR by leaving out steps in the process (regardless of the long term consequences), the business can make larger profits.

Sadly the thinking of many (sign) businesses is that they need to sell one level of quality but deliver a lesser quality, and although the material costs are not the largest single contributor to costs, they are the first and possibly easiest to be cut back on, as the sign maker knows that generally, by the time the ‘omission’ has been discovered the guarantee (assuming there is one) would have expired.

While it is possible for oversights to happen in any business – the reasons for oversights varying from lack of supervision to lack of training to lack of time and many more – if the oversight is that, an oversight, then it can and should be chalked up to an avoidable error.

The difficulty for new clients is to determine how often ‘oversights’ happen, and if any necessary re-do’s have been costed into the original quote – if it is not in the original costing the chances are the supplier will never come back.

While oversights can and do happen, even with the best of manufacturers and processes, from the buyers side, while it is almost always tempting to choose the ‘cheapest’ supplier, the buyer should always be aware that when a sign seems like a bargain, as with almost everything in life, there could well be hidden costs that you will only become aware of later, possibly too late.

It can thus be seen that not all signs are necessarily created equal, not all costing methods are the same and not all material inputs are of the same quality. Here are an additional three reasons why sign buyers are encouraged to improve their understanding about the signs they require, and also to stick with sign companies that have a reputation, or at least one with references that can be checked, and one who is known to honour their guarantees. If a sign company is not prepared to offer any guarantee why are you even considering using them?

If you are in the market for professional looking signs that are made using the material that has been quoted, or simply require advice on what signs may best market your business, email arnold@signforce.co.zaor david@signforce.co.za using the subject line: ADVICE PLEASE

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