Budgeting…sucks. I don’t think any of my accounting or finance peers read these blogs, so I feel comfortable enough to make the assumption that virtually none of you who are reading this enjoy the process of budgeting. But alas, unless you work for a company whose looking to blow some dough at the end of the year to meet their spending quotas, chances are that you’re confined to a budget on virtually every business purchase you make. Outfitting your new office with signs is no exception.
That being said, one of the beauties of the sign industry is that we are a flexible group of fabricators, and are willing to bend to meet your budget. All you have to do is know some of the ins and outs of the industry – and I’m a pretty open book. In this month’s blog, I wanted to go through some of the various ways that you can save money on your next sign purchase.
#1 – Take advantage of all the FREE you see
On the front-end of your sign purchase is a long stretch of time devoted to surveying your location, designing your content, and proofing your signs. Companies in our industry are becoming more and more savvy to this, and are highlighting these FREE perks (such as surveys/consultations, designs/proofs, samples, etc.) as a means to entice prospective customers. Though larger corporations may still have agencies they like to send all creative work to, the benefit of having graphic help and digital mock-ups sent directly from the printing company cannot be overstated. If you’re looking to add office number signs to your suite and need a surveyor to come over and take measurements, or if you’re wishing to format text on a metal name badge and are stuck on what the best layout should be, make your office sign company work for you. The beauty is that, at least in the case of our company, you won’t be charged a dime until an order actually gets submitted. Take advantage!
On the back-end of your purchase, try to negotiate deals such as “free shipping” with your sign provider. I’ve seen companies that charge as much as $100.00 to ship a sign order your way. This is a consumer-driven market, so demand more, and take advantage of free shipping or reduced cost freight options when they’re made available to you. If they’re not made available to you, every company has a price. Just try to find it! These small free benefits help immensely in the long run, and are great ways to save some dollars right off the bat on your next sign purchase.
#2 – Ask for alternative materials
Don’t be shy. We have a lot to offer. If you’re caught off guard by the expense of the flat cut metal lettering, we can offer you metal-laminated PVC letters instead. If the expense of a vehicle wrap seems too high, see if you can use a lower-grade material for the vinyl graphics. In virtually any sign situation you find yourself in, there is always a less expensive option for the material. Seriously.
With that in mind, you have to understand the potential repercussions of stooping lower in quality of material. The phrase “you get what you pay for” typically comes to mind, but perhaps that’s okay! One of the reasons that I always ask customers what their budget is when I meet with them, is for this precise reason: I don’t want to blow you away with some overly expensive material, ‘nor do I want to risk underwhelming you with a lower-grade sign substrate. By having an understanding of your budget, a sign manufacturer is able to make a recommendation that won’t hurt the bottom line, but will still achieve your goals for the print job.
#3 – Be willing to install it yourself
There’s a reason people flock to HGTV. It’s not the southern charm of Chip & Joanna Gaines (okay, maybe a little bit); rather, I think there’s a resurgence of people who want to know how to do things themselves. Why not transfer that DIY vigor over to your business signage, as well? If you have some knowledge of tools, a semblance of skill with your hands, and patience, you’ve probably got what it takes to install your office signs.
There are a variety of installation videos online that show how to apply vinyl, you can ask for guidelines or tutorials from your sign company that would display how to stud mount a sign, and paper templates and other helpful tools can be provided upon request. Sign installation fees are some of the most hefty portions of an invoice, with install rates varying from $70-$200 per hour depending on the company, the amount of installers present, and the difficulty of the project. By choosing to install the signs yourself, you may be saving your business thousands of dollars. Worth a consideration, nonetheless.
#4 – Re-purpose what you’ve got already
Ever since watching Toy Story, I’ve always personified inanimate objects, including sign substrates. You can’t help but feel bad for the worn out vinyl peeling off a company’s window, or the aluminum parking sign falling off its post. Rather than discarding these items as trash, there are ways to re-purpose your signage to both save costs AND save the material. We all win!
To identify sign materials that may be able to be re-purposed, here are a few helpful pointers:
- Is there vinyl text that can be pulled off the substrate? (or, is it printed or lasered directly on the material)
- Is there the possibility of utilizing the backside of the existing material? (not too much in the way of damage?)
- Can the existing sign be painted or printed over, to start anew?
If you’re needing assistance in answering any of these questions, please feel free to send a message to our customer service team directly by contacting 701-526-3835 or emailing email@example.com. We’d be happy to give it a look over for you, and see how we can save you some extra bucks on your upcoming order.
#5 – Buy in bulk
Our machines take a long time to get up and running. Your designs take a long time to format for printing. Our customer service reps spend a long time entering your order. I’m spending a long time, currently, trying to make this point. And the point is: the startup costs involved in getting your sign order going can be a bit high. For that reason, whenever you have the opportunity to link up with another division within your company, with a subsidiary brand of yours, or Joe Schmoe from down the block who needs a sign, too: do it. You will save immensely (per piece) by ordering signs in larger packages.
Even if a quantity discount isn’t broadcasted on a page, seldom will you run into a sign company that’s unwilling to work with you on pricing for ordering in bulk. Sometimes, a quantity break can even come by simply ordering (2) of an item (as the setup cost is then being transferred between 2 pieces, instead of just 1). It’s an age-old trick, but buying in bulk will certainly save you dollars (and ensuing headaches).
For any other tips or tricks that we can provide you to help you save on your next sign order, feel free to contact me directly at Jack@officesigncompany.com to learn more! It’s our mission to help outfit your office with the best signage possible; I’d hate to see you settle for anything less, just to meet a budget.
Written by: Jack Yakowicz
Marketing Manager, Office Sign Company