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When Is the Best Time of Year to Buy a New Sign Truck at the Lowest Cost?

We tackle this reader question in the latest “Ask Signs of the Times.”

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Any sign pro that has moved their shop to a new building, do you have any do’s or don’ts from your experience?

Our Shop Operations columnist Dale Salamacha, co-owner of Media 1/Wrap This (Sanford, FL), who reflects on his move to a newer larger facility (see page 42), also chronicled his company’s epic search and move to the new, larger location. The series of three columns from two years ago is both highly informative and majorly hilarious, starting with signsofthetimes.com/022205. You also may be interested in Dale’s column about preparing the new digs once they found them — signsofthetimes.com/022206 — as well as his YouTube series episode showing off the (then) brand new place — signsofthetimes.com/022207.

How can you lead people into being on time every day?

It’s important to note we are talking about “every day” here and not just people being late once in a while. There’s no good reason to be late every day, so, first and foremost, hopefully you lead by example by being at least on time every day, if not early. Next, you could consider using positive reinforcement for employees who are consistently on time, such as an extended lunch break (or another reward) for every full week of on-time attendance. (Someone will have to keep track, of course.) However, if these don’t work, you could consider negative reinforcement by tracking time missed and docking pay. For any problems persisting beyond that point, a final warning followed by termination.

When is the best time of year to purchase new sign trucks at the lowest cost?

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Please note this answer is from a crane truck manufacturer.] The short answer is right now as everything is going up in price from equipment to the chassis it is mounted on as there are shortages on chassis and materials, and dealers are charging accordingly.

The long answer is now is probably a good time so that you can take delivery in the first part of the spring as the sign industry normally starts getting very busy … better weather, national advertising picks up to catch the spring/summer crowd, more new construction starts happening in the spring so having a truck ready to roll at that time makes good sense to keep up with demand. As to pricing, most equipment dealers have a slight lull in the late summer and pricing may drop at that time because of additional incentives. [Another] good time to order is one month before daylight saving hits in the fall as service and repairs pick up sharply because of the earlier sunset hours … [It’s also a good idea to place] your order in fall, before the end of the year rush of companies ordering equipment to take advantage of tax write-offs/deductions. As to tax deductions, remember they apply the same regardless of when [equipment] is purchased in the year.

But the smart money is making the purchase when you have a demand to help pay for it and you can take advantage of the increased productivity, ability to expand your market or abilities and generate increased cash flow that new equipment can provide.

Want to see your questions featured in this department? Send your emails to: ask@signsofthetimes.com

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