Connect with us

Dale Salamacha

We’re Losing Money on a Giant Project – But We Know Where We Went Wrong

Even with 38 years of experience in the industry, seasoned sign pros can still bite off more than they can chew.

mm

Published

on

Lots of folks at the ISA International Sign Expo in Atlanta were asking how best to expand their companies. Lots of folks at the ISA International Sign Expo in Atlanta were asking how best to expand their companies.
Catch all the action of the final assembly of the SunTrax entry sign, courtesy of the Media 1 Wrap This YouTube series!

Catch all the action of the final assembly of the SunTrax entry sign, courtesy of the Media 1 Wrap This YouTube series!


RICK AND I RECENTLY attended the 2022 ISA International Sign Expo in Atlanta, the 75th year for the convention, and it was absolutely amazing! Since Media 1 has a YouTube show, we arranged press passes and our film crew tagged along with us. We shot enough footage for a whole bunch of episodes, and to our surprise, we ran into a ton of people who are fans of our show! Well, Rick ran into a bunch of groupies, anyway…

But seriously, we talked to a lot of sign people who asked us about running a successful business. And while we, by no means, are experts, we do have, in certainty, a massive amount of experience — 38 years and counting — that we do not mind sharing.

A lot of questions involved how to grow a company. How to make more money. Because, let’s face it; that is the reason we are all in this business. While it’s nice to contribute to the community, make beautiful pieces of art, etc., if you own a business, your primary goal is without a doubt, to make money. Your family depends on that, as do your employees.

But … never think that even after 38 years in business you’re not going to have problems! And be careful with growth. Usually the bigger you get, the more intense those problems become!

A Giant, Killer

Our goal has always been to get bigger, do cooler projects, make more loot. And Media 1 does not shy away from risk (sometimes to our peril), but if you want big rewards, you have to take big risks. Period. Emotional risks — the kind that steal your sleep, threaten your financial security — all that and more. Ain’t no other way to get there.

Advertisement

And I’ll admit; I do have a “questionable” habit of convincing clients we can do a perfect job on something we have never done before. Thank God I have “a Rick” to ensure that’s exactly what happens!

As you grow your sign company, add equipment and expand your talent, it is tempting to accommodate larger projects. Usually, once a year, we take on a $500K-$1M project that’s outside our general scope of work, but also super cool and high profile. Though big visibility might help boost business, sometimes those bigger projects result in far less profit (as a percentage, compared to your bread-and-butter services).

We are in the midst of a half-mill project that is absolutely eating our lunch. Locked into contract two years ago, materials costs have escalated more than 200%, labor costs have risen even higher, and we are now losing money on a job that has taken a full year to accomplish. That means we are robbing profit from all our other jobs to “pay” to finish this one. It is absolutely no fun, and has been a very difficult road for us.

So while the Force for growth may be strong within you, please take a beat and concentrate on your wheelhouse — what you do best. When you stray from that, make sure that big project isn’t large enough to blow you straight out of business. If you lose money, the “exposure value” is rarely worth it. Take risks. Grow your company. But make them calculated risks so that you, and your company, can sleep well at night.

Dale Salamacha is the co-owner of Media 1/Wrap This (Sanford, FL). Contact Dale at [email protected].

Advertisement

SPONSORED VIDEO

SureColor R5070 and R5070L | Consistent, High-Quality Signage Printing

Achieve consistent, repeatable color for high-quality signage, including banners, adhesive vinyl, wallpaper and more, with the robust, reliable SureColor R5070 and R5070L 64-inch roll-to-roll resin signage printers. Learn more.

Promoted Headlines

Advertisement

Subscribe

Advertisement

Facebook

Advertisement

Most Popular