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Client Penny Wise, Pound Foolish, or just Plain Foolish?

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Post Wed Jan 20, 2010 2:21 pm

Client Penny Wise, Pound Foolish, or just Plain Foolish?

I dont know if I should be mad or laugh out loud......

Early October last year I quoted on 30 Chromadek signs, 1230 x 1230mm, with Aluminium frames and UniStrats for a "loyal" client. He said I should give layouts and samples with the job, since the value is more than $20 000 - which I did. My price came at $ 26 000, and I could deliver in 4 working days. (this was a VERY urgent job, since they had a looming safety audit on the mine)

I had all but forgotten about this quote, when the client rings me up this morning. They ordered the signs from a Windhoek supplier (about 400 kms away) because he was cheaper by $1000. All good and well......

BUT this idiot made ALL 30 signs EXACTLY as per the layout I emailed my client originally. The signs have numbered headings (Fire Station 1, Fire station 2 etc.) Now the client has 30 signs for "fire station 1, and nothing for the remaining 29 fire stations !!!

To add to my pleasure, the wording in the heading is reversed out on a solid red block, so the ENTIRE heading strip needs replacing.

I smugly pointed out the following points to my client, all in the name of $33 per sign:

a) My signs use 0.8mm chromadek, Aluminium frames, Overlaminate, and Unistrats. The ones they received is on 0.6mm chromadek, mild steel frames, no lamination, and they have holes drilled in the sign "for affixing to the posts"..... And only 8 aluminium pop rivets hold the thing on the frame. (The chromadek reacts with the ally rivits - you need to use stainless rivits....)

b) Mine printed from Vector artwork. Theirs from the 200 x 200mm layout I e-mailed at 72 dpi with lots of compression....Final Resolution? Appx 14 dpi.....

c) The heading strip I now have to print differs in colour from the rest of the sign. (They dont want to reprint the whole thing) I even tried converting my artwork to 14 dpi to get close to their "quality"

d) Urgent job, they waited from early October to Mid January. From me they could have had it by Mid October.......

e) They had to pay upfront for the signs before they were dispatched, and now the Windhoek sign co simply shrugs off their complaints. With me they have a 90 day account, 2 year guarantee, and local support.

f) Oh, and they now have to wait 2 WEEKS for me to repair the signs (I told them I'm swamped over, and since they waited almost 4 months already, another 2 weeks should be no problem.)

g) Price for this fiasco / "saving" of $1000 ? Transport from Windhoek (about $1500), My repair quote of $ 5000, and God knows how many $$ in penalties because they flunked out on the November Safety Audit they had!! Their financial guys should consider jobs in the Government, where you are SUPPOSED to waste money on "smart partnerships" !! ( I have to mention that the Windhoek sign company meets the criteria for "Black Economic Empowerment", in all probability the TRUE reason for their order going to them. But my company meets the criteria for Decentralization, so almost the same results for their BEE audits.)

Rant over. Come to think of it, I'm not mad. I find all this mildly amusing by now...
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Post Wed Jan 20, 2010 2:29 pm

:lol1:
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Post Wed Jan 20, 2010 2:37 pm

Yeah, things like that happen regularly to us Gert.

And it's always a pleasure when it comes back to bite them. :D
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Post Wed Jan 20, 2010 2:57 pm

or what is also normally the reason the kickback from them was too good to pass up :-?

I hate to admit I used to play that game in SA when I was in sales and hated every minute of it, then I grew up a little and stopped doing it "their" way and did it my way and was 10x more successful.

Hopefully they have learn though Gert and next time the work will be all yours (with a slight increase in price for the privilege :wink: ) :lol1:
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Post Wed Jan 20, 2010 2:59 pm

:cool:
You get what you settle for!
:P
Serves them right. I know I sound mean but who cares!
It's just a shame that you have to clean up the other guy's mess, but at least you get to charge for it.
Love....Jill
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Post Wed Jan 20, 2010 7:36 pm

Great story Gert, I love to hear these. Penny wise Pound foolish. Why did they not go back to the original company. (Having lived in SA I think I would be branded a racist because I know the answer to that) Jobs for the boys don't always pan out! Glad you did get some compensation for it though.
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Post Wed Jan 20, 2010 8:59 pm

Gert, I dont blame the client for trying to save a grand,
its fair play and I guess we would all do the same, the quote was not stupidly below yours, what obviously was, was the quality, why dont these people look at the specifications and compare like for like?

Perhaps next time they will realise that price is not everything!

BTW what is chromadec? cant say that I have ever heard of it

Peter
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Post Wed Jan 20, 2010 9:07 pm

Pete, Chromodek is a thin metal sheet usually painted white that is used for roofing. It it is a lot cheaper than aluminium and not so valuable to the recyclers :wink: I used to use it for all my signs.
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Post Thu Jan 21, 2010 7:09 am

Peter,

Like I said, I dont mind the fact that they gave the job to someone else, but keep in mind that the transport cost alone would increase the price to about $500 above my price. I know, since I have to transport all my consumables from Windhoek. (that likely explains my 4% price premium) I also believe in supporting local as far as possible, and maybe I expect the same from other people? This $1000 "saving", and the fact that they worked from artwork I produced, smells like the client shopped around with my quote in hand as well. No tears here - I always have enough work to keep all the staff busy 60hrs per week. I am definitely not going to review my quote system over one lost order!

What do you guys use to make roadsigns? I thought it was chromadek as well? It is Powder Coated mild steel sheeting, available locally in 0.6 / 0.8 / 1.2 / 2.0mm thickness, and in various colours. (Green, Yellow, Blue, White, Black) - The reverse side is usually dove grey or light green. It is rust resistant, and can be painted without using primer. (With QD Enamel, Enamel, or Duco paint) Vinyl adheres very well to it - Signs I made 15 years ago still look OK from a short distance away.

As Mike said, It is used as heat reflecting roofing as well, and the refrigeration guys use a cromadek/styrofoam/chromadek sandwich to build cold rooms etc.

Retail price for a 2460 x 1230 sheet of 0.8mm is about GBP 20.00 - You also get 3000 x 1230 sheets, or custom lenghts. I once ordered custom 6000 x 1230 sheets.

The sheets I get are made by ISCOR of South Africa, and also by MITTAL STEEL, which is Indian I think? Maybe an opportunity exists in the UK to market the stuff to your sign companies !! I'm sure a large manufacturer of coldrooms and the like will have a roll of it, but beware - they use the 0.6mm sheet, which is unsuitable for large signs. It wobbles when you try to mount it on a frame.

Can you see that I trained as a teacher before I got a real job?

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