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Don’t Try to “Sneak” Fees Past Clients, and 4 More Tips for Sign Pros in March

Plus, a design pointer for more creative ADA signage.




PRICING Fee Information

1 Be upfront with customers about “additional charges” like design fees, setup fees or install costs, cautions Sean Hughes, Signarama Clinton Twp., Clinton Twp., MI. “If you try to ‘sneak’ them into the costs or add them after, it’s harder for the customer to agree to them,” he says.

ADA SIGNAGE More Creative Room ID Signs

2 Designers, separate out the tactile message and install it separately from the visual message, suggests Sharon Toji, H Toji and Co. in Lakewood, CA. Doing that frees you up for a much more creative design for the visual section. “No more blue and white Helvetica uppercase for the part everyone sees,” Toji says. “Use larger, upper and lowercase fonts — even a serif font if it’s not decorative. Yes, go non-glare and high contrast for the main visual message, but shiny backplates, frames and headers/footers are fine.”

MANAGEMENT Software for Hard Facts

3 “Getting our company on management software has helped our organization and communication immensely,” says Rick Ream, Media 1 (Sanford, FL). “We have been using Square Coil for about a year and a half and we have seen an increase in sales and productivity.” Meanwhile, diagonally across the continent, Geoff Orlick, Quality Designs Ltd. (Campbell River, BC, Canada) is implementing SignTracker software. “We’ll keep you posted,” he says.


4 No need to buy those little cans of all-purpose lubricating oil, advises Jerry Clark, Sign Design of Westline (Westline, PA). “Every time you pour a quart into your vehicle, turn the container upside down into a pan overnight. You can get a tablespoon or more for your oiling can,” says our Signshop Without a Sign online columnist. “My 1900’s drill press loves this freebee.”


OPERATIONS Do-It-All Advantages

5 For the last decade or so, Derrick Weinbrecht, Creative Signs, in Topeka, KS, has adopted more of a concept-to-completion style of operation. “For instance,” he offers. “I work with a local school district. I meet with the client, complete the survey or scope of work for the project. I see it through sales, design, ordering materials, fabrication, assembly and installation. This helps eliminate miscommunication and mistakes,” Weinbrecht says.


6 Social media is full of strawman arguments — a logical fallacy that occurs when a person rebuts an argument by misconstruing it — that divide and enrage us … to the point that it’s sometimes hard to get work done after a dose of Twitter or Facebook in the morning. What to do? Flip the script. “Steelmanning,” according to a recent article in the Financial Times, describes the approach of using the strongest arguments possible to bolster your point of view and then using the same methodology to fight for your foe’s view (even points they might not have considered). While you might still not agree with their position, at least you will understand it better, which can help stave off our wired tendency to fall into tribal thinking — and allow us to get more work done.




Who’s Steering Signs of the Times?

We dive into the history of the sign industry’s oldest trade journal, highlighting some interesting facts about how it all started to where it’s headed. Did you know that Signs of the Times is nearly 120 years old?

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