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Maggie Harlow

6 Ideas for Better Sign Installers

Don’t be afraid to pay well or charge accordingly for this high-demand service.





THE CENTER SNAPS the ball, the quarterback deftly takes it and moves into the pocket. The offensive line pushes, the left tackle defends and the receivers run their routes perfectly. The ball is aloft, spinning, perfectly placed. As the receiver opens his hands in front of his chest to receive it, he turns his head a microsecond too soon, and takes his eyes off the ball as he steps into the end zone. Ball bounces off his chest and skitters out of bounds.

Like a football team that must have a great receiver in the end zone, a sign company must have the best possible installer in the end zone of project management. Unlike any other performers in the company, an installer can destroy whatever you’ve built: sign products, client relationships and your reputation. We’ve seen $20,000 projects that we’ve worked on for months get slammed into the ditch by an installer not able to keep his eyes on the ball.

Is your installation team up to the task of landing in the end zone, hands wrapped tightly around the ball?

Here are some key things we’ve used in the last two years to build the greatest and most profitable installation team we’ve ever had!

  1. HIRE CORRECTLY. Hiring a good installer isn’t cheap. Don’t be afraid to pay more than you feel is reasonable. Just be sure to read item two.
  2. CHARGE ACCORDINGLY. No one wants to install signs. Hiring someone to do it well is and should be expensive. The more complex the installation, the higher the rate. Travel should be paid for. Ladder work should cost more. And if an installation takes the entire day, do not give a discount; charge a premium. If a project takes eight hours or more, it is complex and demanding!
  3. TRAIN AND COACH! Just like the receiver on a team, get ahead by coaching and training more than your competitors. Visit job sites. Review techniques. Share praise and give corrective feedback. Watch for weak areas and develop them.
  4. MEASURE RESULTS. How many hours does a job take vs. what were quoted? This helps the sales team know how to quote better and encourages your installer to try to “beat the time” they’ve been given. Incentivizing productivity, even modestly, can help everyone dial in the effectiveness of the department.
  5. THEY ARE SALESPEOPLE. Your installer is often the only person in your company the customer meets in person. Hire good-natured people and encourage pride in their work. Show off their installation work and recognize their critical contribution.
  6. GIVE THEM THE TOOLS THEY NEED. Good installers need good tools. Be sure you aren’t stingy with tool investments. Whether they need a new step ladder that fits better in the truck, a bulk box of drill bits or a new truck that doesn’t leave them stranded on the side of the road, invest in the right tools and have a matching expectation they will be taken care of. Good tool investments save you time, and time is the most valuable thing you can save with a good installer.



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