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Business Management

The Cost of Doing Business

How many times have you taken shortcuts?



Sometimes, you see evidence of quality control problems in your competitors’ work: peeling vinyl, cheap materials, or shortcuts taken to meet deadline. This isn’t necessarily a blanket judgement of their work; how many times have you taken shortcuts, or allowed a job to leave the shop that wasn’t absolutely perfect? Chances are, it’s happened at least once.

In this fiercely competitive market, you must demonstrate to the customer your commitment to quality and product endurance. The best way is solid workmanship; the worst way is following through with warranteed repairs that may or may not earn the customer’s repeat business, and will inevitably reduce your profits.

Vinyl is one of those materials which proves that all materials are not alike. Some vinyls perform better than others, especially in harsh conditions. Invariably, these vinyls are a more expensive cost to you than the budget lines. It’s sometimes difficult to justify these expenses when you’re operating on a low profit margin for a customer who’s successfully earned your business for the lowest price you can afford.

Using calendered vinyl is, for some shop owners, a better choice. The bottom line: it’s cheaper, and the uneducated customer wouldn’t recognize the difference anyway. However, be careful! Cast vinyl’s added expense may be well worth the investment. The difference is apparent after calendered vinyl has peeled or failed in some other manner.

The cost differential is as follows:

Calendered vinyl: 43 cents per sq. ft. Cast vinyl: 87 cents per sq. ft.


Obviously, this is a significant difference. Cast vinyl sells for more than twice the cost of calendered vinyl. However, look at the price difference in terms of a single job:

For a 60" by 180" banner using calendered vinyl: $16.12

For a 60" by 180" banner using cast vinyl: $32.62

Really, now… are you willing to stake your reputation on roughly sixteen dollars? If the vinyl fails, you’ll have repair it. Furthermore, you’ll likely lose the customer’s repeat business. The word-of-mouth advertising that is so valuable when it’s positive could be devastating. The price of one failed product goes far beyond this small price/quality differential.

If you really feel stuck, consider laying these facts out on the line for the customer to decide. By telling the customer he can save money at the expense of product life, you’re being honest and straightforward. He may decide to pay for the added durability. Remember that while customers don’t always agree with you, they’re always right – and if after choosing to save money, the customer’s product fails, he’ll probably still blame you. You may well consider the added expense of quality materials to be advertising dollars — a good product will win you business every time.




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