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What Is the Difference Between Performance Expectation and Warranty?

We take this question and more in November’s “Ask Signs of the Times.”




What is the reason behind certain vinyl manufacturers having no supply or suspending manufacturing?

The main reason stems from the worldwide scarcity of certain raw materials, such as those that go into making PVC, which is used in many vinyl products. In addition, the international supply chain is also facing transportation disruptions — all likely due to or at least coinciding with the ongoing worldwide COVID-19 pandemic.

What is the difference between performance expectation and warranty?

“Performance expectation” is the length of time a manufacturer thinks a product should do what it’s supposed to do, within the tolerances of its specifications. If the performance expectation of a wrap vinyl is “up to seven years,” then a sign company should have confidence that an application subject to normal conditions will likely last about seven years. “Warranty” is the length of time a manufacturer guarantees a product will do what it’s supposed to do — and if the product does not last that long, say “five years” for the same wrap vinyl, then the sign company can make a claim under the warranty for replacement or reimbursement.

Any good tips on reducing time spent on walk-ins? They often become customers but spending 30 minutes with them for a $50 sale is not profitable.

One tip is to charge more for your work — $50 for anything you do doesn’t sound like enough. Our “Business of Signs’’ columnist Maggie Harlow recently suggested to a young new signshop owner that she’s been mentoring that the new owner raise her prices to avoid wasting time on unprofitable minimum charges (see ST, September 2021, page 46). And, having done so, that owner is now posting better sales while avoiding small transactions (see page 38).

What’s the best way to get a large national sign manufacturer to pay extremely overdue invoices without damaging the relationship?

The word “extremely” in this question suggests that a reasonable amount of time has already passed from the dates of the invoices. In that case, the national sign company should expect some communication calling attention to this fact. To avoid damaging the relationship, stay polite and calm, but do include the facts of the matter in your follow-ups, without including qualifying descriptions. You might also consider using passive voice — remember that from grade-school English class? — where you rearrange a sentence from the usual, active-voice word order of subject-verb-object. “You have not paid the invoice and it is now 90 days overdue” is in active voice but can sound accusatory even though it’s completely factual with no qualifiers. “Your invoice has not been paid and is now 90 days overdue” is in passive voice and removes the reader (“You”) from being so directly called out. Passive voice makes it seem almost as if it’s the invoice’s fault that it hasn’t been paid. Who’d have thought that a lesson from Ms. Jones’ sixth-grade English class could help you collect all those overdue thousands of dollars? Good luck!

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