Give Them What They Want

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Sometimes a customer wants something a little bit different.  Sometimes you may try and tell them your pride is on the line if you put up a message that looks like you ran out of letters.  And, sometimes they are just proving to you they have some creativity in creating their messages.  This message is one of those situations.  The customer is highlighting “IRS” and tax day in the middle of the month.  If there is any “sign code” here, it is an obvious one.

What if your customer wants a message that to you looks disjointed and lacking cohesion?  You can provide a little bit of guidance, but ultimately, it is there message.  If they mess it up, you can pull out the part of the sales pitch we don’t often broadcast, “If wanted, we provide one free message change during the month.”   Since the goal is a happy customer, you need to make them happy.  Next time they consider a message offending your sign logic, you can use some of those credibility points you one for not charging them for the message change.  (This customer has been renting for quite a while.   They knew what they wanted.)

 

Not Always A Perfect Time To Put Up A Sign

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Set up a new customer today with a rental sign.  We wanted to get them set up yesterday, but it was just to windy.  When the wind chooses to gust on a sign that isn’t anchored down, it is definitely not a one man job.  Whether it is the sign getting caught by the wind or the letters getting blown erratically as you attempt to attach them to the sign face, wind is typically not your friend.

Now, the sign is up and the customer is mostly happy.  We offer one sign change per month.  Her original message request did NOT have “Nails” on the second line.  We can add it, but we won’t offer her an additional message change later in the month.  (Rarely do customers ask for the message change.  We just use it as a benefit should they choose to use it.)

Take aways:

  • Avoid the gusty wind–when possible.
  • When the customer gives you a message, have them email it to you.  If there are any message errors, you can use there original email to compare against.

Specifications On Our Fluorescent Vinyl

The vinyl we use outlast any other vinyls we have tried.  It does cost more, but we believe its life span makes its cost well worth it.

We do stock 5 of the 6 standard colors:  (We do not stock the blue.  If requested, for a large enough order, we could also stock.  The fluorescent blue is really to dark to show up well on black, but it would work on white coroplast.)

  • Yellow
  • Pink (Fuchsia)
  • Red
  • Orange
  • Green

 

FluorescentVinylSpecs

PRODUCT DESCRIPTION

The Neons are a high performance cast vinyl fluorescent film series providing dynamic graphic accents for indoor and outdoor uses. It can be used for marine applications, automotive aftermarket windshield graphics and accent strips, retail window signage, trade show exhibits, and point-of-purchase displays.

APPLICATIONS

  • Automotive
  • Marine
  • Point-of-purchase displays

FEATURES AND BENEFITS

  • Unique colorant system for enhanced visual impact and exceptional opacity
  • 6 Standard colors

TECHNICAL DATA

  • Color and Finish 3.8 mil High Gloss cast vinyl
  • Adhesive Permanent Acrylic (528A Adhesive)
  • Liner 78# Kraft

TYPICAL CHARACTERISTICS

  • Average Adhesion Values 20 min. 24 hr.
  • (PSTC-1, 180° peel @ 10”/min., 73°F, on Stainless Steel) 50 oz. 72 oz.
  • Minimum Application Temperature 40°F
  • Service Temperature Range (peak values) -50°F to +225°F
  • Elongation 80%
  • Dimensional Stability (48 hrs. @ 150°F) .025”
  • Shelf Life (@ 73°F, 50% RH) 1 year
  • Outdoor Life 2 years for vertical exposure in a temperate climate. Exposures less than vertical or in hot climates or near sources of heat such as engines will reduce durability

CHEMICAL RESISTANCE

  • Distilled water (24 hrs) No effect
  • SAE 20 motor oil (1hr) No effect
  • Gasoline (10 min.) No effect
  • 10% HCL (10 min.) No effect
  • 10% NH4OH (10 min.) No effect
  • The above information is based on research believed to be reliable, but does not constitute a warranty.
  • All material should be tested by the purchaser to determine suitability of the product for their purposes.

 

Plastic Letter Sizes

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Over the years, a variety of sizes of black sign letters have been made.  The above image packs in LOTS of information.

  1. There are basically “two” sizes of letters.  There are the 8 inch (7 7/8″ letters and the 16″ letters which are approximately double the size.  The 16″ letters take up twice the height of the 8″ letters while “skipping” the track.) and 10 inch.  (Same as the 8″ letters, but the letters are 10″ and 20.5″.)
  2. When the letter sets are created, there are 3 sizes of coroplast that are needed.
    • The “R” size is used by almost ALL of the letters and most numbers and most symbols.
    • The “I” is used for one letter/number and a couple of symbols.
    • The “M” is used for only the M.  It is our widest letter.
  3. There is also a 4″ and a 5″ letter set on the list.  Those were used for our sidewalk signs and banners.  Unless your our TOTALLY duplicating our business, it probably won’t be of much need to you.
  4. On the image with the letters, the contrast is seen between the size of the letter panel and the actual letter.  (The letter panel is the piece of coroplast the letter is attached to.  The letter is the vinyl letter attached to the coroplast.)
    • On the 20 inch letter [actually 20.5 inches tall], the letter is 18 inches tall.
    • On the 16″ letter, the letter is 14 inches tall.
    • On the 10″ letter, the letter is 9 inches tall.
    • On the 8″ letter [actually 7 7/8 inches tall], the letter is 7 inches tall.

There is more of this detailed stuff to post, but hopefully this gets us a common set of terminology.

Track or Trackless?

I have seen both tracked and untracked sign out there.  Both of them have some advantages and disadvantages.  (If you buy your signs from us, we typically sell them tracked.  The trackless option would be if you would want to build your own signs.)

Why you should have a tracked sign:

  1. It keeps all of the letters running straight.
  2. It helps the letters have a little support against the wind.  If the letters are tucked into the track, the wind has to work a little harder to blow them off.  (We recommend a screw with a big head on the top right corner. [Sheet Metal Screws, #21500, #8-1/2″ screw.  They are in the fastener Aisle at Lowes. {Brand name: Teks Screws}])

Advantages of no track signs:

  1. Less work to build the sign.  (More work setting up the sign message.  Each letter will probably need at least 2 letters.)
  2. You can use any combination of letters on the same sign.  Our common sign letters are 8″, 10″, 16″ and 20″.  The lack of track will allow you to mix all sign letters on the same sign.  (Although you CAN do this, it doesn’t mean you should.  It is likely to create a sign that is excessively busy.  To many sizes may make the sign too hard to easily read–especially within the same word.)

I realize I am lean someone toward going with track.  My opinion.  I have sold letters to customers who built there own signs.  Usually if this is done, the customer is still making an effort to make sure the letters run straight on the sign.  When building a sign, you can make whatever decision you want on how you want to build YOUR sign.

Patent Issues

The question often asked, “Will I get sued if I build my own signs?”  A few years ago, the question might have been answered “yes”.  Now, however, both patents are nearing the end of their lives.  So, feel free to sort out the details yourself.  (I am not giving legal advice on what you should do.  Please review the patents and make the decision you think is best.  What I am saying is, “If it were me, I would not worry about the patents I might run up against.”

The links for both the black sign and magnet sign patents are listed here:

Magnet Signs

Black Sign Portable Sign

More Permit Issues

In some cities, they charge you a yearly fee to register to be able to get permits.  In Fort Worth, I believe this is $120.  (Hopefully, this is cheaper where you are at.)  Another town I have signs in does not charge any type of registration fee.

Without the registration, you can’t pull a permit for a rental sign.  So, it basically forces customers to rent signs and not purchase them.  If they purchase signs (in Fort Worth for instance), they could only put their sign out every other month.  However, there does seem to be a gray area when the sign is for a non-profit.  (Apartment complexes also seem to have some different rules.)  Regardless of anything I am writing here, it is VERY beneficial for you to pick the brain of someone who knows how sign rentals work in your local area.

So far, it appears the applications can be done via email.  Typically, their is an application and some type of map needed (Google maps and a graphic program) should set you up pretty well.  As long as you have a scanner/fax, you should be able to get most of this process done.  You may need to pay the fee via a website OR they will charge your credit card directly.  If all seems to work out.  (There was the time I received an email where I was charged for an unaccounted for amount.  It turned out to be a rather unsophisticated copy/paste with an email address-I got someone else’s email.)

If required, the permits are just a necessary evil.  If the customer’s have rented from someone else before, they know how it works.  You provide them an invoice with your sign rental charge and the sign permit fee on a separate line.  If you are going to do this, the paperwork is a part of the process!

Elegant Image Rental Sign

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We just put up a sign for Elegant Image.  They chose to have a different message on both sides of the sign.  Half way through the month they have requested we flip the message.  (This will allow both directions to see the a different message for half of the month.

Also, notice what reflective vinyl can do when it is used for arrows!  It is like you are receiving subliminal nudging telling you to go to this business.

Interested in renting in DFW OR interested in setting up your own rental business?  Contact us!

Are Portable Signs Allowed In My City?

The answer to this question is critical before you invest much in your portable sign rental business.

In the Dallas-Fort Worth area, the answer is mixed.  In Dallas, you are not supposed to have portable signs.  In Fort Worth, you are allowed to have signs with a permit.  Their are wrinkles to these rules though.  Some customers will choose to buy signs to use in areas where signs are not permitted.  They will put the signs out during the day, and they will bring them in at night.  If their business is in an area not often frequented by the sign inspector (or in a non-sign area, any public official who cares about such things), they might be completely okay using this method.  (I am told their are some areas on the outskirts of Dallas where this is the case.

To find out whether your city OR any of the nearby cities will allow permits, you can probably go to the cities website.  Their is usually a contact for permits or inspector.  If you give the phone number a call and ask for the correct person, you will probably have a pretty definitive answer.  If yes, you probably want to go ahead and ask if their are any fees to get a sign permit.  If “no”, you probably don’t want to read off of a list of “offenders” in that city.  It probably just means the city officials don’t keep a very close tab on things.

In the cities I have placed signs thus far, the fees have run from $10 to $75 per month.  A couple “cities” (more accurately 2 mile stretches on a particularly heavily traveled road) have no fees and no restrictions.  Restrictions?  Yes, some cities get into this as well.  Some allow one month of displaying a sign with one month off.  Others allow 2 months on, and one month off.  While the inspectors may not hold you to an exact 30 day month, it is best to stay on their good side.

Have you seen any other variations on fees, display options or anything else described here?  Please let me know!

Custom Headers

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This North Dakota customer should be happy with the surprise they will find in their order for a 4′ x 6′ sign when it arrives.  This pizza chain used to be a customer, so we had their logo stored on the computer that operates the plotter.  It took a little more work, but we are pretty confident the customer will be pleased with the result!