my invisible text
Categories
  • TIMELINE

"It is our own fault"...

<<

User avatar

1 Star Contributor

Posts: 95

Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 5:49 pm





Post Mon Feb 23, 2009 11:58 pm

"It is our own fault"...

Just been looking at yell.com and noticed that 2 other sign companies have started up recently and it made me think about the forums.

After reading a few posts today its seems that we only have our selves to blame for this. In no way has uksb contributed to create the 1000s of sign makers out there but it certainly does seem like a technical helpline for start ups.

When I call my printer supplier up for a technical question and I have no warranty with them I expect that they will charge me, Likewise with sage accounts package, you pay for your support.

So does any soul out there think that we should have some sort of system in place to stop start ups using this as there first point of call when there new creation pcut stops working. Theres been some talk about this but nobody had actually done anything.
<<

User avatar

5 Star Contributor

Posts: 14363

Joined: Tue Sep 21, 2004 2:36 pm





Post Tue Feb 24, 2009 12:11 am

James its a well covered subject, and there is no real answer, apart from the obvious one, pay to join uksb before you can ask for, or receive advice.
We have no way to tell who is genuine and who is not when they first appear, but all to often a newbie signs up, grabs as much advice as he or she can, then is never to be seen on the boards again, or if they are, its to ask for more help. So yes in a way "we" are to blame.

I try not to give out advice until I can gauge if the recipient deserves it.

But at the end of the day, anyone who registers can find the answers on the boards, without even making a post.

I have no problem with new start ups, as long as they are doing it with commitment, and not with pirate software, and with the sole intention of making a fast buck.

Peter
<<

User avatar

4 Star Contributor

Posts: 309

Joined: Mon Jan 03, 2005 7:31 pm





Post Tue Feb 24, 2009 12:12 am

A neat alternative is to do what experts exchange do.. however I think this board is there for all sign makers (new or old) - its up to us whether we respond of course.

When I started doing LFDP a while back (Encad Novajet 1 ... oooh the pain) these places didn't exist and boy oh boy I wish they had!

Fast forward to now and technology becomes cheaper and more people can get involved - just be thankful that you are not in the web business like us, then you would really be saying "200 web businesses just started up today"!

And.... everyone that wants web stuff expects to get it for FREE!! Be thankful your (our) industry hasn't sunk to that yet.

Oo
<<

User avatar

Premium Member
Premium Member

Posts: 11113

Joined: Tue Apr 30, 2002 11:04 pm





Post Tue Feb 24, 2009 12:39 am

You've made a very valid point James -and it's something I have often questioned myself.

I wish this forum had existed when I first started my business - it would have prevented me from making many of the mistakes I made when I first started out.

When I first set up I applied to become a member of the BSA (now called BS&G) Organisation only to discover they would only consider membership to a company that had been trading for a minimum of 2 years.

Quite naturally this really p1ssed me off!

One of the reasons why I try and help out genuine "newcomers" to the industry is because of my earlier experience.

However, I do agree that in many ways we are making it so much easier for the newcomer. But these people will join the industry whether we like it or not so my belief is it's better to encourage the newcomer and offer advice that ensures they do things properly.

Where I object to questions is when the person seeking information is not an actual "would be signmaker" but someone seeking to reduce costs by producing their own signs "in house" when in reality their core business is something else entirely.

I don't think there are any hard and fast answers - it is a dilemma and as you say in the forum title "it's our own fault" (for training up our own competition).

But perhaps we should take the more inclusive approach as described by The late Mike Stevens (Author of “Mastering Layout”) who said:-

“Always look back, and always look forward. Improve your skills and product at every opportunity. You’ll not only be protecting your future, but you’ll be helping to create a better market for all sign makers. There is a natural phenomenon that takes place in a healthy economy – and that is that the more good sign makers there are, the greater the interest and demand there is for the product. In the final analysis we are in this together. Let’s keep the lines of communication open and intellectually honest, and the standards high!”

I am interested to hear what others views are on the subject
<<

User avatar

5 Star Contributor

Posts: 1966

Joined: Mon Mar 17, 2003 12:54 am





Post Tue Feb 24, 2009 12:45 am

Owen Lees wrote:And.... everyone that wants web stuff expects to get it for FREE!! Be thankful your (our) industry hasn't sunk to that yet.

Oo


I think we also passed that milestone a long while back! :roll:

As Peter said, I pick and chose whom I help. I know who are the real regulars and contributors here and help accordingly. My biggest bugbear is how freely people are willing to give artwork files away. The ones I draw from scratch stay firmly on my computer and my computer only. (hot)
<<

User avatar

Premium Member
Premium Member

Posts: 6589

Joined: Tue Nov 05, 2002 11:19 pm





Post Tue Feb 24, 2009 1:15 am

Phill wrote:Where I object to questions is when the person seeking information is not an actual "would be signmaker" but someone seeking to reduce costs by producing their own signs "in house" when in reality their core business is something else entirely.

But are they any worse than the signmakers amongst us who seek to reduce costs by working on their own vehicles, attempt their own plumbing, plus a myriad of other jobs which, it could be argued, would be better done by a trained and experienced mechanic, plumber etc.

I really struggle to see the difference.
<<

User avatar

5 Star Contributor

Posts: 1593

Joined: Wed Feb 13, 2008 10:34 pm





Post Tue Feb 24, 2009 1:22 am

Ive been here a year, and within a week I had a Gold membership, within another 3 months I was a UKSG member (would have been sooner but the boards switched server and Rob was stowed off). Im new to the industry and got involved as a hobby, then full time. However once serious about doing this for a living I paid my way and im now gaining enough experience where I can even offer (basic) advice to others.

I am of the same thought as Peter now, I try to get an idea of the member before helping them, however I do sympathise with complete newcomers as its only a short time ago I was in the same boat, albeit with a better cutter than the Chinese ones that alot of Newbie questions arise about.

As harsh as it sounds, I would like to see the search function turned off to all but UKSG members and also see alot more of the forum sections restricted to non paying members. I notice you are a non paying member, you come accross as an experienced Sign Maker and I think you should be considering a full UKSG membership as alot more of the board sections then become visable.
<<

User avatar

L-Gold Member
L-Gold Member

Posts: 7025

Joined: Sat Dec 13, 2003 4:02 pm





Post Tue Feb 24, 2009 1:29 am

As harsh as it sounds, I would like to see the search function turned off to all but UKSG members and also see alot more of the forum sections restricted to non paying members. I notice you are a non paying member, you come accross as an experienced Sign Maker and I think you should be considering a full UKSG membership as alot more of the board sections then become visable.


i will go with that, - good idea

chris
<<

User avatar

5 Star Contributor

Posts: 1647

Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2005 7:23 pm





Post Tue Feb 24, 2009 9:21 am

I think I agree with the thread generally. Without this forum, it would have been difficult for me to grow in my business. The depth of knowledge is fantastic and, more importantly, the fellowship is unknown on other forums I have visited. ( In and out of our industry). I think there should be a structure whereby advice etc is accessible to paid up members and not just anyone. If you are not prepared to pay a small fee for membership to the most authoritive group I know, how serious can you be?

Worth further debate I think

Peter
<<

User avatar

L-Gold Member
L-Gold Member

Posts: 2148

Joined: Wed Jan 14, 2004 6:29 pm





Post Tue Feb 24, 2009 9:31 am

I'm not a gold member and I'm restricted to where I can go which is fair enough but if what is suggested is implemented does that mean I won't be able to post answers to questions too? How will those rules effect other manufacturers and software personnel who answer questions here. As Peter said needs further debate.
Alan D
<<

User avatar

Premium Member
Premium Member

Posts: 11113

Joined: Tue Apr 30, 2002 11:04 pm





Post Tue Feb 24, 2009 9:34 am

Following James lead I looked up yell.com for my area and discovered 2 new listings for sign makers that have appeared since the last time I looked (less than 2 months ago).

Is this just a coincidence or is it a general trend across the UK?
<<

User avatar

5 Star Contributor

Posts: 1923

Joined: Wed Aug 27, 2003 10:13 am





Post Tue Feb 24, 2009 9:42 am

Maybe they just haven't advertised on Yell.com before.
<<

User avatar

Premium Member
Premium Member

Posts: 5192

Joined: Mon Apr 18, 2005 2:47 pm

Country: United Kingdom (uk)




Post Tue Feb 24, 2009 10:00 am

adopt adapt improve :roll:
<<

User avatar

L-Gold Member
L-Gold Member

Posts: 5172

Joined: Fri Jan 20, 2006 12:01 pm





Post Tue Feb 24, 2009 10:01 am

Phill wrote:Following James lead I looked up yell.com for my area and discovered 2 new listings for sign makers that have appeared since the last time I looked (less than 2 months ago).

Is this just a coincidence or is it a general trend across the UK?
No coincidence, I'm seeing that as well.
The 'core' players are all still there and a few that change their business name every few years...(lest creditors catch up with them). But a few new names popped up last & especially this year. Just small entries, but offering 'premium services' such as digital prints & wraps etc.and the obligatory football logos & "60 million clipart images for £2.50" collection on their website.
<<

User avatar

5 Star Contributor

Posts: 1984

Joined: Sun Aug 07, 2005 4:51 pm





Post Tue Feb 24, 2009 10:05 am

I've found that alot of the car clubs that I supplied decals too have bought a cheap plotter on ebay but saying that nearly a 1/3 of them have started asking me for decals again so either they find it too time consuming or the still can't get the cheap machines to work
<<

User avatar

3 Star Contributor

Posts: 242

Joined: Wed Oct 10, 2001 1:00 am





Post Tue Feb 24, 2009 10:29 am

I have to totally agree with James.

This site is better than any college in the world at teaching everyone and anyone.

Don't get me wrong this is a fantastic board, but what other place would teach its competition all its tricks and hard earned knowledge and give away so much.

Some of the older members may not mind teaching everyone as they don't have long to retire :lol1: but some of us have years left in this great trade.

In the past year I have seen numerous new sign company's opening up and that's only the ones in the Yellow pages in the Glasgow and surrounding area. Not to mention the number of signs on poles advertising Cheap Signs with Mobile no.

Most people have computers can buy cheap cutters on ebay with software and learn their trade here.

Whether they last or not they still take business away from established sign companys maybe like yours :o

Thousands of people go to Franchise Days looking for ideas to start up a new business, if they found this site before hand we would all be in trouble.

Food for thought!!!

Have a nice day :D

Vic
<<

User avatar

5 Star Contributor

Posts: 833

Joined: Sat May 19, 2007 9:58 am





Post Tue Feb 24, 2009 11:08 am

So, if all the the well trained/experienced signmakers 'pulled down the shutters' and stopped sharing their wealth of experience with others, how would the industry continue?

On the one hand some signmakers complain that inexperienced signmakers give the industry a bad name by not doing a good job and on the other, don't wish to share the experience they have.

My take is that if you want to kill the signmaking industry stop educating others. If you can't exist with the competition perhaps you should consider doing something else.
<<

User avatar

L-Gold Member
L-Gold Member

Posts: 2148

Joined: Wed Jan 14, 2004 6:29 pm





Post Tue Feb 24, 2009 11:19 am

We would still educate others by taking on trainees who work for us not educate others who work for others as competitors. I'm playing devils advocate here but it does warrant some thought.
I was trained with the brush but I have no training at all with computers or software but I seem to manage ok and have done for the last 30 odd years long before this forum came on line. My point is that those who can succeed do succeed, this forum is a fabulous resource but don't over value it, put the shutters up - stop the advice but competition will still pop up, some good some bad.
Alan D
<<

User avatar

L-Gold Member
L-Gold Member

Posts: 2002

Joined: Mon May 19, 2003 1:08 pm





Post Tue Feb 24, 2009 11:19 am

The way I see it is that you have to take the rough with the smooth to an extent

You can find out how to do pretty much anything on the internet these days anyway but what makes this place so good is that it a genuine resource for the regular members

I suppose you can't avoid helping out the competition sometimes but I think the benefits far out weigh the negatives
<<

4 Star Contributor

Posts: 311

Joined: Tue Apr 27, 2004 9:03 am





Post Tue Feb 24, 2009 11:46 am

I don't think the competition is anything new, but with the influx of cheap Chinese cutters, its never been easier for people to get into the sign industry ( it wasn't that long ago that you'd need to be investing serious money into equipment to get started ).

But... the acchiles heel of the cheap cutter brigade is that the majority are very limited in what they can produce, i.e. unless its on BOTW or their clipart CD, or simple text, they are stuck. For most, unless the graphic is already made for them to cut out, they cant do it.

So what happens when a customer needs something a bit more than a badly designed basic sign ? They go to a proper signmaker, and when they need more stuff, they go back there.

I'd bet 90% of the Chinese cutters are either in peoples attics by now, or occasionally get used for hobby jobs, very few are making their owners a full time income.

If all you can do is produce exactly the same graphics as everyone else ( who all undercut each other until they are making pence on most jobs ), you are limited to a very small portion of the marketplace, and will never make any money from it - certainly not enough to reinvest into print & cut, better machinery, training etc...

I can understand the worries of some people who have a few companies that open up in direct competition in their local area, particularly if they rely a lot on local work, but just because a business opens near you doesn't mean they will still be there in 2 years when they have run out of money and customers realise most of their work is rubbish !

( As an example, there was a bloke opened up around the corner from where I used to live - big sign saying vans signed for £75 - I saw a few of the jobs he did as they were outside the shop, and all were pretty poor with just basic text - he lasted about 6 months and vanished overnight ).
<<

User avatar

5 Star Contributor

Posts: 833

Joined: Sat May 19, 2007 9:58 am





Post Tue Feb 24, 2009 11:58 am

I've got a cutter made in China - a Graphtec CE5000-60 :D :D :D
<<

User avatar

3 Star Contributor

Posts: 242

Joined: Wed Oct 10, 2001 1:00 am





Post Tue Feb 24, 2009 12:01 pm

If you work from home and have no employees then it shoulndn't effect you, much.

But if your'e a small, medium or large company with employees, premises, overheads not to mention heating bills etc.. then obviously your prices are more than joe bloggs working from home charging half the price. Who may or may not be paying the ''Man''.

Personally it doesn't really effect me as i work for someone and i can walk away and find anther job, but this is not the case with an employer with lots of staff to look out for.

I am not knocking people for wanting to learn their trade, just trying to stop others moving in that have no love for the job. Who are just looking to make a fast £ at our expense.

The site Moderators don't care who you are as long as you pay.

No offense intended Robert you have done a Great job here :lol1: :lol1:

Regards

Vic
<<

User avatar

5 Star Contributor

Posts: 2256

Joined: Wed Feb 22, 2006 12:05 am





Post Tue Feb 24, 2009 12:07 pm

The way I look at it,

A cowboy with a cheap plotter producing crap graphics on crap vinyl that pulls out or peels off as he wont have the knowledge or inclination to clean vehicles to the extent I do and also to apply it correctly, is just a great advert for my business, all my trade comes from word of mouth I never advertise except yellow pages and Iam getting a busier now, I have an industrial unit, and a retail shop so plenty of overheads but things are picking up, I see every bad sign job on a cheap plotter as just another job that will come my way in the end.
Give em enough rope etc.
<<

User avatar

5 Star Contributor

Posts: 1647

Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2005 7:23 pm





Post Tue Feb 24, 2009 12:23 pm

Vic it does affect you as if your boss closes down you can walk away, but to do what? set on your own with a chinese cutter. Many industries have professional bodies to attempt to police cowboys etc. They are not always effective but I think they are essential otherwise the industry as a whole becomes tarnished by a few sub standard operators. Next thing, we are in the same league as window salesmen or real estate agents.
Peter
<<

User avatar

L-Gold Member
L-Gold Member

Posts: 5172

Joined: Fri Jan 20, 2006 12:01 pm





Post Tue Feb 24, 2009 12:49 pm

Scenario:

Bakery / Signshop whatever...

Somebody sets up in business 50 yards from your front door wanting to do what you do as they see how good a reputation you have, how much money you appear to make and how busy you are...they want a bit of the action.

They have limited skills in both manufacturing and sales yet recon they can sell their wares at half the price of you...well, the ingredients are cheap...

Trouble is - you are a nice, friendly, helpful chap who'll help any poor soul - but you baulk at the idea of giving him your business. So he pops round to your mate's business at the other side of the city, drinks his tea, eats his biscuits and picks his brains. Everything from "how do I work my machinery", "do you have any good recipes for free", "I can't get my ....... to work with my...........". He reasons "it's not on MY doorstep and won't affect MY business".

See where this is going....

In the END, your superior product may win out for the better customers...unless he's 'taught' so well in a free apprenticeship that you have to make some cutbacks (pay off staff / cheaper premises) to just stay afloat.


This isn't about healthy competition between established signmakers with established client bases - this is CREATING suppliers who's sole intention is to dilute the market.

I'm actually quite relaxed about having TWO established signmaking businesses right on my doorstep. One's been there for umpteen years, and in maybe 1/2 mile away...the other's just few hundred yards away...all three of us an basically on the same road. We don't tread on each other's toes...much.

Dave
<<

2 Star Contributor

Posts: 154

Joined: Thu Sep 18, 2008 12:54 pm





Post Tue Feb 24, 2009 12:55 pm

I'll admit I've never done signs before...

I was unemployed and had the chance to setup and manage a print business for an old boss... so I took it, then we were asked to do some van signs, so we started doing that as well.

But unlike a lot of start-ups/cowboys, we currently have over 60k worth of kit we use... So we aren't in it to make some fast money ripping people off with crap work.

I make sure the van is spotless before I apply graphics, and we use 7 year vinyl... if I'm not happy with something, then I'll take it off and redo it.
I also give customers a care sheet so they know the do's and dont's.

UKSB has helped me a lot, and I'm very grateful to all the members who have given me advice.
My boss is a full UKSB paid member, and I will be soon as well.

I don't pretend to be an expert. I've still got a hell of a lot to learn.
But if I can, then I try and contribute back to the forums in anyway I can.
i.e. Try and answer questions and my boss posted details and photos I did of draws I added to our table, to help other people.
<<

User avatar

5 Star Contributor

Posts: 8053

Joined: Tue Oct 28, 2003 1:22 am





Post Tue Feb 24, 2009 1:16 pm

When I first started painting signs in 1985 there was nobody around to help me. Hell, I didn't even know that trade magazines existed until about 1990. Then I discovered the Letterheads in 1993, and went to my first meet.
It was all about sharing info, which had been kept basically a secret by old school sign painters. In the old days you were apprenticed and spent a few years sweeping floors and cleaning brushes before you were actually permitted to wield one.

Of course, those are moot points now, because anyone who can afford a fleabay plotter is now an instant sign maker. Even if they can't spell, they can make stickers. I think that about 75% of them who start up thinking how easy it is soon find another "career" to move onto and the equipment gets resold.
But we can tell them how to fix the bug in their cutter, or where to get the best deals on vinyl in the meantime. Hell I can even teach them how to make better looking cheap decals and get them to buy the Mike Stevens book! I don't mind helping when it falls on fertile ground.

You can only tell a hack so many times (kindly of course) that their layout sucks or not to stretch fonts or use all-caps Brush Script. And they won't take well-meant advice and go on producing something that looks like sh!t on a stick, hoping to get a few high fives and atta boys.

I guess what I am trying to say is that we all started somewhere. Sign forums can be a Godsend to the serious newbie. I don't mind educating them and teaching them to price their work appropriately so as not to undercut. The others usually roll up into a husk and blow away. They are really no threat to me.

I do belong to another forum which has a strict intake form, so as to weed out the hobbyists and racers who are too cheap to pay a real sign maker to make their decals. It works well to keep those people away. Altho if they get in by mistake I like to tell them to always use Avery and yup, that distorted all-caps Old English with the diamond plate tru fire fill looks fab!

Love....Jill
<<

User avatar

5 Star Contributor

Posts: 7256

Joined: Fri Jul 15, 2005 11:32 pm





Post Tue Feb 24, 2009 1:23 pm

<<

User avatar

5 Star Contributor

Posts: 11423

Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2004 12:22 pm





Post Tue Feb 24, 2009 1:24 pm

John Cooper wrote:So, if all the the well trained/experienced signmakers 'pulled down the shutters' and stopped sharing their wealth of experience with others, how would the industry continue?

On the one hand some signmakers complain that inexperienced signmakers give the industry a bad name by not doing a good job and on the other, don't wish to share the experience they have.

My take is that if you want to kill the signmaking industry stop educating others. If you can't exist with the competition perhaps you should consider doing something else.


I see both sides of the argument. But I tend to agree with Johns sentiments.

I would have loved this resource when I went out on my own, but I learned the hard way. I'd have been a better sign maker a darn site sooner in my career that I promise.

I don't want any more competition either, but if I'm going to have competitors, I'd rather they be good ones.

Only last week I spent 1/2 a day with a guy that set up his sign shop about 5 months ago. He got himself in so much bother, the 3M wholesaler asked me to go out and show in some technique.

I finished up redoing the whole vehicle while he watched how I did it. The original vehicle took him and a mate 8 hours to do, and it failed in a fortnight. I did the job in under 2 hours, using the correct materials. I charged him for my materials at cost, and supplied my labour free. I also got to explain to him about working out profit margins, charging, material types and uses, laminating, blah blah. He is a really nice guy, and wants to do the right thing, which was refreshing under the circumstances.

Thing is, I could have let him flounder, to keep producing crap work, and waited till he went under. But, it would have made it harder for me to sell my own services because people would say 'I'm not having digital printing... saw a car the other day that was peeling and he'd only had it done a few weeks'. Its very hard to get round that negativity if they see enough examples of poor workmanship.

Competition doesn't frighten me. What does scare me is having these guys that have no idea, and giving us all a bad name. More than once, I've been out and about and seen some sign maker showing his inexperience, so I've stopped and helped him.

I was invited, along will about 15 others, to a pre release trade show for a manufacturer here, and the fitter was making a total balls up of the demo. All the other sign guys let him get into more and more bother. I could see no value in that, so I showed him the best way to do the job.

I've never used the product before, but the principles are the same. The guy was totally out of his depth. To be honest, some of the other sign shops represented were too. But there was no value in not working together to solve a problem.

You guys in the UK are so much different to us here in OZ. You guys at least talk. To welcome me as you have is unheard of over here. The invitations and offers I've received when I come over brings tears to my eyes. I've been to jobs here at bus factories, and I've been working alongside 2 other sign shops, each of us doing a bus for different clients... and they will not even make eye contact with you, or give you the time of day. Opposition sign shops here are viewed by most as the enemy. Very sad..

Sure, I've got sign shops that will work with me, and we are mates, but nothing on the scale of your members. We have had several sign forums here over he years, and no one participated at all. I've seen that happen so often in the last 15 years that its not even funny. And yet, we have some really clever guys here, but no one wants to share.

Its important to remember that we are, or should, always be prepared to learn.

That said, its sad the a lot of the members are happy to 'take', but a relatively small number are happy to 'give'.

But I do think its a tremendous waste to have the knowledge and not share it. Its no good me going to my grave with all my knowledge, as limited as that may be, without giving someone else the benefit of my own experiences.

I'd like to see a trial period of the whole forum for say 3 months, then go back to reduced access if people don't think its worth the investment.

Its worth noting tho, that some of our most helpful members are those that don't have paid membership, and it would be criminal to exclude them from the process, simply because they don't have the funds or whatever to join.

Also, those of us outside the UK pay a fair deal because of the conversion rates. I know when I first paid up, I paid 3x the pounds value in $a. Our members from the African states would have huge prices to pay given the state of their economy.

In conclusion, the experience offered by members like John Childs, Jill, Rob, Peter Normington...... you can't buy that sort of feed back.

I'm a very small operator, and I don't have the opportunity to 'discuss' issues related to our industry with anyone else, so UKSB's is as much a tool in my business as it is entertainment.

Thats my 2c's anyway.

:D
<<

User avatar

*****
*****

Posts: 27242

Joined: Wed Dec 12, 2001 1:00 am

Country: United Kingdom (uk)




Post Tue Feb 24, 2009 2:03 pm

What I would like to ask everyone is “where on the sign experience ladder do you regard yourself?" you may have years under your belt, but to the next guy, "your a beginner".

James Langton… I will use you as an example mate but only because you began the topic, so please do not take me wrong here, I mean no disrespect…

You have began this thread and made some very valid points. But what makes you any different? You are a newcomer to this website with 4 years experience in our trade. You have no level of membership and you have been freely using the site for the past couple of months. Obviously you can see the benefits UKSB offers everyone as a resource and with that in mind you now feel the need to air your thoughts on it being restricted because it may in turn be viewed by your potential competition?

Time in the trade doesn’t always reflect on how good someone is at making signs, or how serious they take their business. I know of Sign businesses with over 10 years in the trade, yet I see them put up poorly designed, fabricated and fitted signage on a weekly basis.
I have started many employees from other sign firms. Some with long term managerial positions… yet some didn’t last even a week with me.

[Just for the record, I am no different, I may have 18 years under my belt but I still learn from UKSB on a daily basis]

My point is, where do we/I draw the line? Because time in trade can go for nothing as far as I am concerned. You are only as good as your teacher, as the saying goes… and because most of us start up in business ourselves, how are we ever to truly know if we are good or bad without any guidance?

Shutting many areas of the site off to full members will only slow the site down content wise but will solve nothing. Some excellent threads have been started by a newbie asking the simplest of questions. In fact, most threads are started because folk need help in one way or another, regardless to time in trade.

My view on it is that no mater how restricted things get here it is never going to solve the problem. I think it is better to have good advice and content for newbie’s to learn from and hopefully put what they read into practice, than do it blind.

Think about the positive not just the negative… e.g.
all those Rabbit Cutter posts… one after another the buyers are complaining of how they can’t get their machines work, no support from sellers and more. I would like to think having that content will deter a buyer of cheap kit before it will encourage?

At the end of the day, if a would-be cowboy is doing a Google search on how to make signs, he has already made up his mind to get into this line of work with or without our help. However, it has to be in our industries best interests that they land here to be given good advice to take on board, rather than some of the other cowboy sign sites out there giving very poor advice on how to price, fit, print or fabricate jobs.

Anyway, I could go on but ill shut up for now… :lol1:





.
<<

User avatar

5 Star Contributor

Posts: 11423

Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2004 12:22 pm





Post Tue Feb 24, 2009 2:09 pm

Robert Lambie wrote:What I would like to ask everyone is “where on the sign experience ladder do you regard yourself?" .


bottom rung for me :oops:

well said Rob..
<<

User avatar

1 Star Contributor

Posts: 65

Joined: Sat Aug 25, 2007 4:24 pm





Post Tue Feb 24, 2009 2:34 pm

We have only been in the sign industry for over a year and we couldn't have done it if we hadn't joined UKsign boards.
Besides learning from all the members here we also got to meet Shane Drew and Jason Xuereb. And although we haven't had the chance to meet Bill McMurthy, we are in contact with him by phone and email.

We can't thank Shane enough for the help and advise he has given us and we most certainly couldn't have managed without it. He even came over to our workshop to show us how to use the Ezy Taper properly and to a job to get us out of trouble!

We also want to thank Jason and Bill for their advise and support.
We have been so fortunate indeed.

Please don't stop supporting newbies because we are here to learn and grow.

:) Heng
<<

User avatar

5 Star Contributor

Posts: 793

Joined: Tue Mar 04, 2008 11:07 pm





Post Tue Feb 24, 2009 2:41 pm

Robert Lambie wrote:What I would like to ask everyone is “where on the sign experience ladder do you regard yourself?" you may have years under your belt, but to the next guy, "your a beginner".

James Langton… I will use you as an example mate but only because you began the topic, so please do not take me wrong here, I mean no disrespect…

You have began this thread and made some very valid points. But what makes you any different? You are a newcomer to this website with 4 years experience in our trade. You have no level of membership and you have been freely using the site for the past couple of months. Obviously you can see the benefits UKSB offers everyone as a resource and with that in mind you now feel the need to air your thoughts on it being restricted because it may in turn be viewed by your potential competition?

Time in the trade doesn’t always reflect on how good someone is at making signs, or how serious they take their business. I know of Sign businesses with over 10 years in the trade, yet I see them put up poorly designed, fabricated and fitted signage on a weekly basis.
I have started many employees from other sign firms. Some with long term managerial positions… yet some didn’t last even a week with me.

[Just for the record, I am no different, I may have 18 years under my belt but I still learn from UKSB on a daily basis]

My point is, where do we/I draw the line? Because time in trade can go for nothing as far as I am concerned. You are only as good as your teacher, as the saying goes… and because most of us start up in business ourselves, how are we ever to truly know if we are good or bad without any guidance?

Shutting many areas of the site off to full members will only slow the site down content wise but will solve nothing. Some excellent threads have been started by a newbie asking the simplest of questions. In fact, most threads are started because folk need help in one way or another, regardless to time in trade.

My view on it is that no mater how restricted things get here it is never going to solve the problem. I think it is better to have good advice and content for newbie’s to learn from and hopefully put what they read into practice, than do it blind.

Think about the positive not just the negative… e.g.
all those Rabbit Cutter posts… one after another the buyers are complaining of how they can’t get their machines work, no support from sellers and more. I would like to think having that content will deter a buyer of cheap kit before it will encourage?

At the end of the day, if a would-be cowboy is doing a Google search on how to make signs, he has already made up his mind to get into this line of work with or without our help. However, it has to be in our industries best interests that they land here to be given good advice to take on board, rather than some of the other cowboy sign sites out there giving very poor advice on how to price, fit, print or fabricate jobs.

Anyway, I could go on but ill shut up for now… :lol1:





.




Well Said Rob

Your advise has always been welcome along with all the other members that help to make this site a great place to be a part of, and BIG THANKS gose out to all, and any help that I may give in return is always more than happly given.

I look forward to every day with a new project to start and complete large and small for many years to come, and also invest as much as possable to make my life easy and my membership fee's are just a start to this trade which are more than welcome.

Paul :)
<<

User avatar

Silver Member
Silver Member

Posts: 1507

Joined: Tue Oct 19, 2004 9:36 am





Post Tue Feb 24, 2009 3:54 pm

I don't think people should be excluded from learning from here.

In the end they still have to physically do the job and if they can learn a little to help them on their way so much better.
Better that they learn not to use cheap/inappropriate materials before making that big sign.
Better that we can all communicate about bad suppliers and good suppliers, hopefully leading to them all being good suppliers.

I've learned a lot from here and still consider myself to be a beginner, been doing it now for 7-8 years and still learning but hopefully offering some useful advise as well based on my experience's.

I'll also add that I've learned quite a few trick and techniques from suppliers.

Steve
<<

User avatar

Premium Member
Premium Member

Posts: 6589

Joined: Tue Nov 05, 2002 11:19 pm





Post Tue Feb 24, 2009 5:47 pm

Robert Lambie wrote:you may have years under your belt, but to the next guy, "your a beginner".

Maybe that could be explained by the fact that "signmaking" is such a broad activity, taking in many different products and techniques, that most of us can be expert in one area, but hopeless in another.

I think that in my specialist area my company is as good as anybody and, without wanting to blow my own trumpet or take the risk of sounding arrogant, would like to think that we rate fairly well up the ladder.

On the other hand, once I get out of my comfort zone, I'm as clueless as the newest of newbies, and sometimes sit here amazed at the quality of the signs posted up by comparatively recent entrants to the trade.

Despite being involved for over twenty years, I learn something from UKSB most days. Some posted by long serving members, and some from absolute newbies.
<<

5 Star Contributor

Posts: 4225

Joined: Thu Dec 07, 2006 9:31 pm





Post Tue Feb 24, 2009 6:22 pm

Technology has become better and cheaper over the years thus making it very easy for most to start in this game.
Regarding this site......you can only regulate it so far before a newcomer who may be serious decides to jump off because of too much red tape.
Anyone who enjoys the site as much as I do most generally pay the fees due and I think most would agree quite a large friendly family has emerged over the years. What I'm trying to say is we know who the good guys are from the bad guys so to an extent not all newcomers are met with open arms.

Just my view.
<<

4 Star Contributor

Posts: 311

Joined: Tue Apr 27, 2004 9:03 am





Post Tue Feb 24, 2009 6:31 pm

I suppose the difference is with this being a web forum - there are people on here from all over the world, and being given advice on materials, methods etc... rarely steps on someone elses toes or takes bread from their table.

Having someone come along 5 minutes walk from your business doing the same thing is going to be more worrying, particularly if they have the cheek to pop in and ask how to do certain things because they cant be bothered to work it out for themselves, then go and undercut you and make money off what would otherwise have been one of your customers.
<<

1 Star Contributor

Posts: 58

Joined: Tue Sep 02, 2008 9:05 pm





Post Tue Feb 24, 2009 6:54 pm

I have been signwriting for over 20 yrs & applying simple vinyl designs and lettering for over 15yrs

I served my Painting/Decorating & signwork apprenticeship at Telford College under the guidance of Jef Brown and Alec Taylor, in total 6 years ( 3 painting & another 3 in signwork )

This site is a god send to keep us auld yins up to date with the industry you learn so much here thanks to all the laddies & lassie
<<

User avatar

Premium Member
Premium Member

Posts: 8556

Joined: Fri Jun 17, 2005 10:43 am

Country: United Kingdom (uk)




Post Tue Feb 24, 2009 8:24 pm

I know we've been over this discussion before, in fact I believe i began one similar from the opposite end of thought, ie, why were newbies frowned upon so much? however, having 4+ years behind me i can see both sides of the story. there are those who are new and want to learn, be good signmakers and earn a living doign good work (as I felt when i began), and there are those who wish to join the ebay 99p brigade who will never do anything more than earn a few quid for beer or ( oh i swore ) money.

In just my 4 years i've seen loads come and go, and the ebay generation of sticker makers bloom, I began with a top of the range laptop and summa cutter which cost me around £4k with the software, a lot of money to me, though admittedly it was 'spare' money at the time and i bought it to help make extra money on a part time business i ran (because my usual decal supplier was so unreliable).

Initially i had no plans to make it a real business or make signs, though inevitably, instead of drag racing decals and the odd set of car decals, i got asked to do a van, a shop, and more, soon I was well out of my depth and needing help, Letterheads was my first stop and I am very greatful for the help i received there, it wasn't much, but it allowed me to understand more about corel and how vectors worked, once i discovered what a node was i was well away. then i found UKSG,

well, four years on i'm still here, due to my personal circumstances a full time job is virtually outta the question, so i guess i'll always be here! , thankfully i normally do enough to keep ticking over. obviously i'd like to be bigger and earn more, who wouldn't!

I've seen plenty come and go, locally too, in fact i think there's about 6 more signmakers now in the area that are younger than me, no doubt i lose some business to them, but ethat's life i guess. thankfully i don't know any of my customers who've gone elsewhere (not for long anyway) because my work was poor. sure i've made mistakes, who hasn't, but they've always been sorted out, if anything i'm too honest with the customers!

i've been hit hard by the ebay brigade, especially since the influx of beer money cutters and 99p stickers, losing what was once a decent monthly part of my income, things i made and sold from a mtr of single colour 651 and sold for £20, soon fell by the way to those who felt it better to copy and undercut (sometimes by 80%!!) than to think up their own ideas. I now tell very very few people what i make to sell on ebay or to wholesalers etc, it's not worth the risk.

If i see someone new on here, of course i'll say hi and be helpful, I always try to put in what i get out of any resource, i'm just a little more diplomatic about how i go about it!

anyways, UKSG has been invaluable, not so much in big ways, but in little ways, simple little tips with my software being the most common, it's a bit like writers block, ya know, you just can't work out the next bit, but you know that once you do you'll be sailing over the horizon in the right direction! Thats what it's been like for me.

UKSG is a fantastic community, I reckon i'm probably at good year or so ahead of where i would have been without the help (just through having to read manuals instead of a quick answer!), Unless in a hurry I always prefer to try and work things out for myself, i've found so many little shortcuts and features of corel that i probably use daily now, but would never have found if just asking for a direct answer!

the community itself is amazing, I consider myself lucky to be a part of such a fantastic group of people, many of whom I consider to be my friends, whether I have met them or not. Some i use for sourcing my prints and other items i cannot make myself, some have physically helped on large jobs i would stuggle to do on my own and, others I have helped in return. the knowledge learned in recent years has given me the confidence to go in and visit other local signmakers when i need something, and i'm more than happy to help them out in return, after all, a good relationship with ones competitors is better than one filled with animosity!

one local i get on with very well, we often speak and to this day i don't think we've knowingly stepped on each others toes or deliberately undercut, in fact i can name at least two instances where we've seen each others names on artwork and declined the job, though in hindsight i wish he'd taken one of them off me!

as for people working from home being cheaper, i'm not sure that's the case, one thing i learned early on through meeting uksg'ers, was how to price work, i know i price differently to many but the end result is normally pretty close, if not more than some of the established businesses. I've always based my business on customer service, going the extra mile for them (when they're worth it!) and ensuring their business for the future, I don't have a big turnover, quite the opposite compared to most, but i have a nice group of regular clients who never even seem to consider going elsewhere, most of whom have become firm friends / allies!

so, to Rob (especially), Alan drury (for corel info, you're the man!), the Normingtons, Rich Urquart, Matt hards & Warren (who i feel i've grown up with!), Jill, Shane, Phill (you're insane!), and many others who have been a pretty big part of my uksg / business history, thank you for helping a once, very green newbie! long may it continue!

oh yeah, the ladder...

no idea, i'm learning all the time, always trying to push what i can do personally with vinyl or with print :-)

Hugh
<<

User avatar

Premium Member
Premium Member

Posts: 8556

Joined: Fri Jun 17, 2005 10:43 am

Country: United Kingdom (uk)




Post Tue Feb 24, 2009 8:24 pm

jeeez, that was longer than i thought!
<<

User avatar

UKSG - UK Sign Group Vinyl Media Supplier
UKSG - UK Sign Group Vinyl Media Supplier

Posts: 217

Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 2:25 pm





Post Tue Feb 24, 2009 10:11 pm

As a supplier I see things from a slightly different angle, I call into many different sized sign firms every week, from the "one man band" with a printer and plotter in a converted garage (many of these set ups are by far the most professional and well kept) to the "big boys" with 50 plus staff, also new start up businesses as well as firms who have been making signage for generations and nearly all are self taught, Smiths staff being no exception.

The "sticky backed plastic" side of this industry is still only very young 25ish years and ever changing and evolving, and as for printers well the days of only having half a dozen to choose from are long gone so asking for advise somewhere like this is always valuable.

Vinyl and what can be done with it is ever changing but one of the main things I have noticed over the years is that this trade is a SKILLED trade and the best sign makers are TIME SERVED there in no course that can teach somebody to "read vinyl" which in my opinion for what its worth is the main skill needed to wrap.

Only today I have had a conversation with a customer who likened this trade to wallpapering "most people can manage it but doing it quickly without seeing the joints and bubbles is quite another matter" your only skilled once you know how to put a major c**k up right, and I'm sure that every person on here no matter how long in the trade is still "making mistakes"

I regularly point people in the direct of the UKsignboards both new to the industry and people who have been making signs for years as I think its fantastic that there is a community like this where people can get advice from experienced sign makers. I also pop on here to find info out when I just don't know the answer which is pretty regular.

To answer Rob as to which "run of the ladder" I'm on well its a little like snakes n ladders as just when I think I'm near the top there is another new side of this industry to learn so I slide back down, and after 23 years every day is still a school day but its all I know and a great industry full of fantastic people........
....... and most are pretty good at making tea :lol1: :lol1:
<<

4 Star Contributor

Posts: 495

Joined: Tue Oct 24, 2006 6:25 pm





Post Tue Feb 24, 2009 10:41 pm

My 2 pence..

I feel that the current format is the best compromise. By restricting access to certain areas to paid up members, but allowing the rest access to general topics you allow all a place in the sun. Paying does not mean you are serious, just as not paying does not make you a joker.

Shane put it well: "Its worth noting tho, that some of our most helpful members are those that don't have paid membership, and it would be criminal to exclude them from the process, simply because they don't have the funds or whatever to join.

Also, those of us outside the UK pay a fair deal because of the conversion rates. I know when I first paid up, I paid 3x the pounds value in $a. Our members from the African states would have huge prices to pay given the state of their economy.

I will use my own experience over the last couple of years on the UKSB as an example. I am not a paid up member, simply because the bulk of what can be gained would be fairly useless to me. I do not have access to the suppliers, nor do I need to get quotes from / subcontract or whatever from somebody in the UK. I simply visit the site on a daily basis out of my own professional interest in my chosen career. I offer help where I can, (and can back up that help with 15 years of dedication to the trade) and ask for it when I need it. If not for this site I would still solve my problems, just in another way. Also, because there is much less specialization in our domestic industry I have to build up a knowledge base on a very broad range of subjects. Signwriters here ( the good ones) can do the same usual artwork / repro / vinyl cut / digital as you guys. BUT we also need to be able to paint wallsigns, weld structures, build and wire lightboxes, do rigging of very large / awkward signs, fix broken printers /cutters / engravers , do screen printing, program LCD displays, weld banners, spraypaint, do vehicle wraps etc. etc. The result is that I am frequently required to do things that I am not very experienced in, because it is one of those "once a year" type jobs. By trolling this site I can pick up many useful bits of information that make those jobs easier.

I should add that I would be far more "cautious" of the site if there were hundreds of blokes near me with access to this site! As it is, the entire African Sub-region only has 3 contributors I can think of: Myself in Namibia, Rodney Gold in RSA, and Dane Reed in Botswana.

Oh, by the way, the exchange rate is currently in the 17:1 range for the N$ vs GBP. What may seem like a pittance to you in many cases represents a month's wages in my country.
<<

User avatar

5 Star Contributor

Posts: 11423

Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2004 12:22 pm





Post Wed Feb 25, 2009 8:34 am

Gert du Preez wrote:
Oh, by the way, the exchange rate is currently in the 17:1 range for the N$ vs GBP. What may seem like a pittance to you in many cases represents a month's wages in my country.


Ouch! N$1100 .... that's a lot of money in anyones language.... Its nearly $A200 here for Gold membership which is enough. It costs me $455 a year for membership to our sign association here, but I get much better value for my buck on these forums.

I've let my membership lapse for the sign association as I no longer see any value in joining.

Return to General Sign Topics



 

About
Contact
Board Rules
Membership
Terms & Conditions

 

Signapp - iPhone & iPad
Signapp - Android
Vehicle Wrap Training
Vinyl Application Training
Vehicle Wrap Accreditation
UK Sign Group
Site Membership
Advertising
Videos
ISA-UK

 

 

Who is Online

In total there are 55 users online ::
4 registered, 0 hidden and 51 guests
[based on past 5 minutes]

Most users ever online was
370 on Tue Aug 28, 2018 5:02 pm

Registered users:
Noel Kearney, Pane Talev

Copyright © 2000 - 2019 Robert Lambie