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Paula Fargo

This Is the Signmaker’s Key to Charging Higher Prices

Discover your “uniques,” and you’ll be on the road to bigger profits.



IN MY LAST COLUMN, we talked about charging a higher price for your signs and all of the positive results that veritably fall in your lap, like dollars off the money tree (how my children used to think I was able to buy them new toys). Hopefully, by now you’re sold on that concept.

We also went over the need to be able to back up your higher price – making sure you are worth it. Another way of phrasing this is to ensure that your “value proposition” – why clients and prospects should buy from you specifically – aligns with the prices you intend to charge.

There are lots of ways to charge more for an item than your competitor does. The key is to make sure everyone on your team knows why you are able to get a higher price.

For instance, if your production manager thinks you charge more because of your superb quality and attention to detail that adds days onto the timeline, while your salespeople believe you can get a higher price because you are faster than your competitors, you will have a conflict, and ultimately unmet client expectations.

Now that we’ve established why your entire company needs to be on the same page as to your value proposition, let’s talk about how to discover what your “uniques” are as a company. This involves a bit of corporate soul searching and asking such existential questions as “What are we best at?” and “Why do we jump out of bed in the morning to get to work?” and “What things are we doing that no one else does?”

This last question, according to the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS), looks like this: “If you were to line yourself up against your competition, you might share some of the same characteristics in terms of service and focus, but no one else should have the same Three Uniques that your business does.”


Once you have in mind the three things that set you apart, apply your laser focus to those areas, making sure they are as good as they can be.

Is one of your uniques that you have the friendliest team in the state? Clients are willing to pay more money to companies that treat them with kindness, so you’re off to a good start! Of your 10 employees, though, Sally at the front counter is kind of grumpy. The other nine are like Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, so that’s pretty good. But Sally needs a quiet word. If she isn’t super friendly to the folks coming in your shop, then you may need to either accept that maybe you aren’t the friendliest print shop in town or you need to retrain or replace Sally.

Perhaps one of your uniques is that you provide a service that few other signshops can. Maybe you have a deluxe bucket truck that reaches higher than any other shop’s truck in town. However, if your unique is dependent on one particular service, you’d better make darn skippy that you have more than one person who knows how to do it.

So, step one: Discover and name your uniques.

Step two: Make sure your team is on the same page as to what these uniques are.

Step three: Laser focus your attention on making sure you can always make good on that value proposition.


There are plenty of other ways to set yourself apart from your competitors, and we will look at some of them in our next column.

Paula Fargo is the owner of Curry Printing, a small commercial printing and sign company in Baltimore, and has managed tens of employees and satisfied more customers than that over the past 35 years. Contact Paula at



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