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can anyone advise on applying vinyl when wet and windy

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Roger Clements

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Post Wed Jul 15, 2009 3:00 pm

can anyone advise on applying vinyl when wet and windy

Well as some here know I am very 'new' to the industry and have just encountered my first problem....the British weather. :banghead:

Doing a courtesy car graphics (doors and boot) I just got into it when the heavens opened...not good. Graphic ruined and time to go home.

Today whilst applying the door graphic...about 3ft long, I was almost at the last letter or two and the wind got underneath it and ...bingo...the last letters were ruined...another trip home and recutting..

So my learned friends can anyone help with some pointers about how to cope with the windy conditions? I know you, I, we can not do anything about the rain but if I have to wait until we get a wind free day it will be sometime never before I get this car done. I do not have the option of dong this indoors unfortunately.

Apologies in advance to the more experienced amongst you if this is a 'basic'....'read... dumb' question but I am here to learn and most importantly do it right.

Thanks in advance.
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Post Wed Jul 15, 2009 3:04 pm

Not a dumb question at all.
In Pennsylvania we often have England's weather.
If I know I will be fitting a vinyl job outdoors, I often cut one additional set of decals just in case.
It saves time and money versus driving back to the shop.
When I am weeding, if there is an area of blank vinyl I will leave it on the roll in case I have to hand-cut an emergency letter or two.
I've also done that in a pinch.
Good luck.
Love....Jill
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Lynn Normington

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Post Wed Jul 15, 2009 3:56 pm

Roger as Jill says not a dumb question, it's something most of us have to battle with, one thing you can do once you have the graphics taped in place, supposing it's all text, you can split it down into more manageable pieces ie: something you can hold comfortably with one hand. It will take slightly longer but safer at the end of the day


Lynn
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John Harding

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Post Wed Jul 15, 2009 4:16 pm

If I know I will be fitting a vinyl job outdoors, I often cut one additional set of decals just in case.
It saves time and money versus driving back to the shop.
When I am weeding, if there is an area of blank vinyl I will leave it on the roll in case I have to hand-cut an emergency letter or two.
I've also done that in a pinch.


:yes1: done this many times too

also if you know it might rain use clear not paper app and apply wet in the rain :wink:

I do loads of vehicles outside, the rain doesnt last long normally, yesterday had a snooze in the van for 40 mins waiting for rain to go before starting, and actually overall it doesnt rain much in England so watch the forecast reshedule work in advance if necessary, then do indoor work on rainy days. Ive only not completed two vehicles on the arranged day in seven years so its not that bad.

good luck - John
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Graeme Harrold

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Post Wed Jul 15, 2009 4:49 pm

I applied to a large sign in horizontal rain an applied wet, no other choice. It was layered text on an arch (wish Id layered in the workshop but didnt). Stuck the base colour in place and cut into manageable chunks. The second layer went on 1 or two letters at a time................I was soaked, sign still standing and vinyl stuck fast :lol1: :lol1:

If I have the room on the vinyl, Ill cut spare if I need it otherwise i just take my time.
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Post Wed Jul 15, 2009 5:34 pm

One of the best bubble-free jobs I ever did was a trailer in the rain.
It was a "natural" wet app.
I do not use clear app tape ever tho, especially wet.
And like Lynn, I often cut stuff into manageable pieces.
Yesterday I applied Oracal 651 to the sides of an old (stinky) garbage truck.
The truck had been painted with a nappy roller and there was lint all through it. Yuck!
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Roger Clements

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Post Wed Jul 15, 2009 6:48 pm

Jillbeans wrote:One of the best bubble-free jobs I ever did was a trailer in the rain.
It was a "natural" wet app.
I do not use clear app tape ever tho, especially wet.


I think you just hit the 'stupid' nail on the head...mine that is. Through trying to better see the alignment marks I used clear tape. I have to admit I prefer paper as it works so much better for me....so I will have to work on my clear versus paper application tape techniques....

Thanks Jillbeans
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Post Wed Jul 15, 2009 6:56 pm

When layering vinyl I almost always put the first layer on dry.
Then I use Rapid Tac to apply the second layer.
Back when I started I thought the clear tape would be great.
I hated it.
You cannot use it on a wet app, the vinyl sticks harder to the tape than the substrate.
(at least for me)
With the paper tape, when doing it wet, it sort of gets transparent enough to see where to stick the second layer.
:wink:
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John Harding

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Post Wed Jul 15, 2009 7:20 pm

Hi Jill

Try experimenting with other clear tapes, had one to do yesterday supplied by client the clear app tape was smoothered in creases so had to apply wet and then remove tape and sort out on vehicle, clear tape came away ok.

also if the rain is pi$$ing down clear app tape (unlike paper) doesnt go soggy and out of shape before you get it on the vehicle :D

John
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Ian Muir

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Post Thu Jul 16, 2009 9:03 am

Same as Jill I'm afraid John, never ever used clear since cos in the wet it didn't allow vinyl to stick to surface, no idea why... perhaps they've altered the formula now though, that was some years ago.


A small tip for anyone that doesn't know... as well as masking tape keep a roll of duct tape in your kit, perfect for applying hinges instead of masking when it's hoying it down, sticks in the wet no probs..

Ian

:lol1:
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Gordon Forbes

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Post Fri Jul 17, 2009 1:06 am

whatever you do don't let the oracal backing paper get wet then try peeling it
A lot of it stays with the glue on the vinyl. Well did with me anyway.
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Post Fri Jul 17, 2009 1:11 am

If this should happen (saturated backing paper sticking to the adhesive side of the vinyl) and you happen to have some Rapid Tac (or even water if an emergency) You can spritz the paper and carefully peel it off with a razor knife. I have done this before.
Make sure to get every last tidbit of paper off of the adhesive or you will have lumps.
I have also used this method when I've accidentally dropped ready-to-stick vinyl onto a dirty floor, adhesive side down of course. Spritz with Rapid Tac and carefully pick off any debris.
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John Childs

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Post Fri Jul 17, 2009 6:15 am

We have all fitted vinyl in less than perfect conditions, in fact we did some outside yesterday, but I wonder whether we should?

On the one hand we like to pontificate on our professionalism, and about how much better we are than the fly-by-night cowboys and, on the other hand, we are discussing dropping vinyl on the ground, having the wind blow it back on itself, and how best to recover from those situations.

I hate fitting outside because I can't predict it, and can't budget for it. Say I have a nice little job to do six vans fifty miles away. Then when the fitter gets there, because it is raining/frosty/windy, he can only do four of them in the day and has to go back again to finish the other two. So what should have been a nice profitable job has suddenly had the labour and travelling costs doubled.

On top of that, the work that was booked in for that fitter on the second day doesn't get done, resulting in an unhappy customer there.

When you add together all the costs of running a service van it can easily add up to five hundred pounds a day (that's why your washing machine repairs are so expensive), so a customer who has taken a van out of service specifically for us to apply graphics isn't going to be impressed if we don't get it done, and will have much to say about it. Usually long and loud.

OK, so, in practice we usually get things done, but it is by muddling through and finding a way around problems as they arise, rather than by diligence and careful planning. My question therefore is how can we call ourselves professionals if we accept having to work in unprofessional circumstances?
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Phill Fenton

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Post Fri Jul 17, 2009 8:53 am

John Childs wrote: My question therefore is how can we call ourselves professionals if we accept having to work in unprofessional circumstances?


It is often the customer who dictates that we have to go to them to fit even though we may have premises to allow the work to be done indoors - often the client prefers not to have to deliver a vehicle as it is an inconvenience to them.

Agreeing to carry out fitting work outdoors does not make us unprofessional.
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John Childs

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Post Fri Jul 17, 2009 9:13 am

Phill wrote:Agreeing to carry out fitting work outdoors does not make us unprofessional.

In my mind it does if means that we agree to do a job on a specific day, and then don't get it done. The fact that the van might have been under six inches of snow is immaterial - we would have failed to deliver on a promise.

And don't forget that, six months later, in the height of summer, the customer will have forgotten all about the weather. All he'll remember is that that bl00dy John Childs let us down last time, and then go looking for somebody he thinks might be more reliable.

Phill wrote:often the client prefers not to have to deliver a vehicle as it is an inconvenience to them.

I appreciate that Phill, we come across it all the time. My question is whether we should allow it to happen. As above, in six months time the customer will have forgotten that you did his job in his yard on a hot and windy day but, every morning when he goes out to his van, he will see the speck of dust underneath the vinyl and remember who did it.
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Phill Fenton

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Post Fri Jul 17, 2009 9:29 am

The thing is - if I go all "professional" on him and throw a hissy fit because the customer will not agree to bring the van to me - then he'll just go somewhere else and get it done.


I should know - I was that soldier :-?
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John Childs

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Post Fri Jul 17, 2009 10:02 am

Phill wrote:The thing is - if I go all "professional" on him and throw a hissy fit because the customer will not agree to bring the van to me - then he'll just go somewhere else and get it done.

Well, you're the one that is always telling us that we should improve the quality of our customers. :D

So, what we are saying, between us, is that if we won't go to the customer's premises then we lose the customer. And if we do go, but can't get it done for any reason, or can't do a good job, then we lose him as well. Sounds like a no-win situation to me.

We're off to put sunstrips on the windscreens of a couple of Jaguar XKR track cars today. That's on customer's premises, partly because they don't want them out of their custody and control, and partly because I don't want the responsibility of a couple of cars costing a hundred grand apiece, so it suits us both. And at least they have excellent facilities to do them - probably better than ours.

No, in the real world, we all have to do off-site application. I'm just saying that we should be aware of possible long term damage to our reputations and our businesses, and try to pick our battles wisely.
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John Harding

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Post Fri Jul 17, 2009 10:25 am

Phill wrote:
Agreeing to carry out fitting work outdoors does not make us unprofessional.

In my mind it does if means that we agree to do a job on a specific day, and then don't get it done. The fact that the van might have been under six inches of snow is immaterial - we would have failed to deliver on a promise.

And don't forget that, six months later, in the height of summer, the customer will have forgotten all about the weather. All he'll remember is that that bl00dy John Childs let us down last time, and then go looking for somebody he thinks might be more reliable.

Phill wrote:
often the client prefers not to have to deliver a vehicle as it is an inconvenience to them.

I appreciate that Phill, we come across it all the time. My question is whether we should allow it to happen. As above, in six months time the customer will have forgotten that you did his job in his yard on a hot and windy day but, every morning when he goes out to his van, he will see the speck of dust underneath the vinyl and remember who did it.


I do not see that either method of working is less professional than the other the difference is the target market

JC you are totally correct but IMHO only from your angle ie the average customer you service is often slanted toward the fleet market.

For myself and many others the reason we have our clients is that they come to us for a range of signage of which 1 vehicle is a part, dealt with by email and site visits so often they never come to our premesis, this in turn ables me to service a client base over a far larger area than they would otherwise travel to collect and deliver a vehicle, so hence I have a far larger range of single vehicle clients who prefer the convenience of on site service.

Also a good friend of mine from the boards who hasnt joined this debate services a large number of car showroom/forecourt dealerships would they bring all their vehicles to a workshop I doubt it they would just use another signmaker.

Of course this method of working has limitations, eg you cant offer on site vehicle wraps but clients know this (or soon get told :D)

So JC/ PHill I think your both right, ive gotta get off this fence my ar$e hurts :oops:

John :D
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Graeme Harrold

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Post Fri Jul 17, 2009 10:54 am

Gordon Forbes wrote:whatever you do don't let the oracal backing paper get wet then try peeling it
A lot of it stays with the glue on the vinyl. Well did with me anyway.


You may have gone a fraction too deep with the blade. Granted the paper will soften, but it should still hold together in one piece if only the vinyl is cut.
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Glenn Sharp

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Post Fri Jul 17, 2009 10:56 am

I would say a loose term for professionalism would be to do the very best job you can under difficult circumstances

I don't necessarily think being the ultimate professional means getting it perfect every time
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Graeme Harrold

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Post Fri Jul 17, 2009 11:00 am

Glenn Sharp wrote:I would say a loose term for professionalism would be to do the very best job you can under difficult circumstances

I don't necessarily think being the ultimate professional means getting it perfect every time


I would say a loose term for professionalism would be: being ABLE to do the very best job you can under difficult circumstances. Its also how you handle and cope when things when they don't go to plan.
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Post Fri Jul 17, 2009 11:13 am

I consider myself to be a professional and I do try to do most vehicle jobs inside a garage. I have even rented a garage for jobs bigger than my own will hold.

But sometimes you must fit outside, whether you want to or not.
Being a professional is being able to satisfy your customer's demands and do the best possible job every time. Even if they are a cheap-ass b@stard.
I would never leave a job with grit under the vinyl.

But if the piece of vinyl I dropped on a job 50 miles from my shop is going to be applied to a sign that is 20 feet in the air, and if I can fix it up without tearing it, I will stick it. The customer is not going to be up there on a ladder smelling the sign every morning.

As I said in my initial post on this topic, I usually cut a whole nother set of decals or even bring plain vinyl with me for hand-cutting if I am to do a job far from home, or even 10 miles from home. I will sometimes even bring my sign kit filled with matching paint just in case.

And what about the times when I am all set up to letter something and the customer never shows, never calls? Luckily last Monday when it happened it was just to do some on-premises measuring, which I was able to do alone without being stung by bees.

If someone would tell others that I am not a professional because I could not do the job on a certain day (say some snow storm happened) they probably also whine about every other instance in their lives and nobody listens to them anyway.
:wink:
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Roger Clements

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Post Fri Jul 17, 2009 11:30 am

Being professional...

Sorry to have opened a can of 'professional' worms folks. I know I am new here and have a lot to learn however in my previous 'existence' I dealt with clients spending $millions to charter our aircraft. In that life professionalism was doing what needed to be done to satisfy the clients needs relative to the contract despite the vagaries of the circumstances....weather, overloads (theirs not ours), cargo not prepped properly etc etc

In my 'new' life I, like many I suspect, do not have the luxury of a nice big unit in which to work on vehicles indoors. However if I take on a job I will approach it as I did before and aim to do the job well and on time....as well as turning up when I say I will. To me that is 'professionalism'.

Many thanks to those replies to my initial question. You have been most helpful. :thumbup2:
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John Childs

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Post Fri Jul 17, 2009 12:15 pm

The voice of reason John. I hate that, just when I'm slowly winding up Phill. :D

I know it works for you, but I've never quite understood the economics of working on-site enabling you to work over a larger geographical area. I couldn't do the wider area thing without the co-operation and working in partnership with a few on this board.

The facts are:-

1. The travel costs need to be covered whatever the arrangements.
2. To work on-site I need to send a qualified and experienced fitter that costs £30 per hour.
3. If they send the van to me, they can do it with a £5.75 an hour minimum wage driver.

So, for a single van job, surely it is better for the van to come to us.

I know my market is more in the fleet area than most, but surely that makes it easier for me. If we have to travel fifty miles to do six vans then the cost of that travel can be divided by the number of vans, whereas the single van job has to bear the total cost on it's own.
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Gwaredd Steele

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Post Fri Jul 17, 2009 1:14 pm

Whatever happened to 'you take the rough with the smooth'?

I travel to 90% of my customers premises or wherever they're working. Some are round the corner, some are 30+ miles away, but they all appreciate not having to arrange another van or time off. I get my job done, they still get their done - indeed, I've 'won' many a job because of this whereas other companies refuse to travel.

Obviously I tell them beforehand that if it's raining or excessively cold or windy, we'll have to re-schedule. Not one has had a problem with this.

It costs a few quid in fuel which is easily incorporated into the job & doesn't take that long to get there & back - verses waiting for the customer to turn up with his van at your place & is often late! You also get the added benefit of getting more work from other people whilst on site. I've lost count of the number of people that have come up to me & asked for a card or quote for their vehicle.

Cheers,

Gwaredd.
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John Childs

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Post Fri Jul 17, 2009 1:43 pm

Gwaredd Steele wrote:Whatever happened to 'you take the rough with the smooth'?

Like I say Gwaredd, we all do it.

But the theory is that by taking the rough with the smooth you must be charging the smooth customers more than necessary to help pay for the rough ones. That can't be right.

Surely we want to give the smooth customers the best deal possible to encourage them to come back. If that means charging the rough ones the true cost of their job, then so be it.
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Post Fri Jul 17, 2009 2:50 pm

Interesting thread.

I hate applying onsite, but I do a lot of it.

My approach is different.

I tell the customer if I do it onsite, and they don't have somewhere undercover, then the job will be totally dependent on the weather.

I keep an eye on the forecast, and the day or two before, if the forecast is for rain, I ring the client and suggest we rearrange a time, and/or they can come to me so I can do the job undercover.

As long as I give them a few days notice, I've never had an issue.

I never apply in the rain.... ever. I don't care who they are... I am a professional, and as such, I don't think a professional would or should do a job in conditions that would undermine the quality of their work. Plus, our rain storms can be downright deadly as they are often electrical storms too.

As a professional, the client is paying me to be quick, efficient and using the correct materials. No amount of money will cover me working in a gale or rain storm. You look desperate and unprofessional in my opinion.

However, if I've traveled 50klm's and the weather turns nasty, I'll do whatever I can to finish the job, within reason. In 15 years I've only had 2 occasions that I've been caught out. So, its not really an issue that I have had to deal with or worry about I guess.
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Phill Fenton

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Post Fri Jul 17, 2009 2:56 pm

Contrary to how it sounds - I am in agreement with John.

Only today I have been doing a van that the customer wanted me to go out on site to fit. I had explained to him that I would prefer to do it here and that he would get a better job done because I would be indoors in a clean environment with the ability to re-cut and re-size if there were any unforeseen problems.

My persuasive powers convinced him the bring the van here - but I would have gone on site if I thought I was going to loose the job otherwise.

I much prefer working at my own place where I am able to deal with new enquiries and take calls.

The point I was trying to make was that it was unfair to say that working outdoors was "unprofessional". Often circumstances dictate that we have to work outdoors whether that's because of our own personal circumstances or because of the clients request.
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John Harding

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Post Fri Jul 17, 2009 3:05 pm

Shane - thats wot I sais only put more eloquently

oh careful
Contrary to how it sounds - I am in agreement with John
phils backpeddling :bike; :D
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John Childs

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Post Fri Jul 17, 2009 3:50 pm

Phill wrote:The point I was trying to make was that it was unfair to say that working outdoors was "unprofessional". Often circumstances dictate that we have to work outdoors whether that's because of our own personal circumstances or because of the clients request.

Sorry Phill, but I stand by my view.

And I do include ourselves in that when we have to work on-site. Like today. And yesterday. And the day before that. And next Monday. :D

When the wind gets under a bit of backing paper and blows it across a customer's yard, we look really professional when frantically chasing it all over the place, and you can see their staff looking out of the window, laughing and taking bets with each other on whether we catch it before it gets to the perimeter fence.
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Gwaredd Steele

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Post Fri Jul 17, 2009 3:52 pm

John Childs wrote:But the theory is that by taking the rough with the smooth you must be charging the smooth customers more than necessary to help pay for the rough ones. That can't be right.


Of course it's not right, but that's the way the world works. I remember having a conversation with a guy from Anglian Windows about this. He quoted a standard fitting fee for new soffit & fascias at my house. I remarked that my house was easily accessible & had flat ground, whereas for the same price, if my house had steep banks etc they would have to hire a scaffold or a boom lift to do the job? Correct he said. Sling yer hook said I.

I think you have to use a lot of common sense when pricing these jobs too. Also, with the glut of signmakers now, pricing to fit a job 50 miles away usually makes you more expensive than the signmaker in that town, so to keep the job, you just have to make less profit on that particular job.

As for fitting in the rain, it's a no from me too. Takes too much time & too many problems can arise meaning you have to return to the job anyway. Best to just cut your losses & go home or sit it out. Builders have it far worse than we do!
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Post Fri Jul 17, 2009 4:58 pm

Hi All,

Yes the weather seams to be getting worse for the sign maker. I've been looking at pop-up tents, like the ones they use at race meets. Sling it in the back of a van or car and put up over the van or car that's having the graphics. Van will need the pop-up to be little higher so the legs have to be extended. I was going to print banners to shield me from winds as well. Still need to get round to buying one though.

Mark

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