Cheap Signs are here to stay.
To hear a lot of sign professionals talk (maybe you are one of them) there is an ongoing problem with the people who want “cheap signs”. According to these sign folks, “everyone is only concerned with price” and there is a lot of frustration with clients who only seem to care about getting the cheapest thing they can find regardless of whether it is a good product or solution for their actual needs.
Guess what.. THIS WILL NEVER CHANGE SO GET USED TO IT!!!
FACT: Some clients understand the VALUE of excellent customer service, quality design, competent work and a responsive vendor. They want to get a great product and the peace of mind associated with dealing with a good reputable shop. These clients appreciate this type of product & service and are willing to pay premium prices to get it.
FACT: Other clients are only focused on the price. They do not care that the design is a cookie-cutter template, the print fades in six months or that the wrap is tenting and peeling off within a year. Oh, they will complain and bad mouth the company who provided the service but turn right around and make the same decision (based solely on price) again & again. It is not that are not learning from their “mistake” but, rather, they are deliberately & intentionally choosing price over value.
So, the question here for everyone is this… What type of customer do you want or, more importantly, what type of customer are you attracting?
Consider that there is money to be made with BOTH types of clients depending on your shop’s setup. If you have incredibly low overhead, an ability to purchase materials in large discounted lots, have inexpensive labor or are willing to use marginal materials then you CAN make a killing on offering low priced signs & wraps. There is obviously a market for this work so you can intentionally market your sign shop to capture this revenue.
At the same time, at the other end of the spectrum, there are those clients that abhor the thought of buying “cost-cutter” graphics. These clients want personalized service, top notch design and high quality products. Usually these are the folks who have no problem paying premium prices because they appreciate the value of the product. Don’t forget, there is always a segment of the market that makes it a matter of pride to buy the best they can find, regardless of cost. Consider those who buy 20,000 thread count (slight exaggeration) bed sheets when a nice set of bed sheets from JC Penny’s will work just as well. How about the individuals who spend $250,000.00 on a high sports car when a $50,000.00 car will still get them from point A to point B.
There is always a market for our signs and wraps but WE have to determine what market we are going for. Every-time we talk to a new person we communicate what type of clients we want by how we dress, how we speak and what we actually say. Every-time we advertise we are sending a call out to potential clients by the designs we use and the message in our ad copy. What fonts & colors are we using? Are we focusing our message on design? Do we put more focus on customer-service and quality? Does our marketing message simply call for those who are looking for the $19.95 special? What message are we sending out to our market area? Only we can know if we are actively (or accidently) looking for the price shoppers or have tailored our marketing message to appeal to the value / quality conscious.
So, in my opinion, it does us no good to complain about the low-ballers as they will ALWAYS be there to service the “price conscious” market segment. Those customers are there, they still want their signs & wraps and they still would rather pay $100 for lower quality & service rather than $500 for the improved solution, better design and best materials. This is an inevitable fact of life and will never change… period.
You have to decide…
Do you want the customers who are only concerned with price? If so, give them what they want and figure out the best way to make the profit margins you need to remain a viable sign company. Be aware; however, that being the lowest around is ultimately a loosing battle because there is always someone who can do it cheaper.
Would you rather have the customer who are focused on design & quality solutions? If this is you then tailor your shop to communicate to this market make sure that you are also making good profits and providing a valuable service. In this scenario be aware that developing this type of customer base requires much more time & effort up front to build. The return on your investment can take longer to see but is ultimately (in my opinion) much more profitable and stable for the long run.
Regardless of your particular “business vision”, the question is yours to answer as you see fit…