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What does you shop look like?

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Simon Polakof

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Post Sun Jan 26, 2014 3:23 pm

What does you shop look like?

Hi everyone,
It's been a couple of years since I've posted in the board, but it's nice to be back!
We Grown pretty steadily this couple of years and have outgrown our shop, so we are at the process of looking for a new and bigger shop.

Since we haven't found anything yet I though that it would be nice to see how you all have it at your one place, so that I get some inspiration as to what to look for.

It would be pretty nice to see some photos of your application hall and printing rooms.
There is tons of knowledge in between us and I'm sure that you guys have solved the different planing issues differently.
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Robert Lambie

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Post Sun Jan 26, 2014 8:37 pm

I have promised myself i will get round to converting our empty unit we currently fit vans in, into something good to work in, but haven't had time due to other commitments.

I think ideal scenario when it comes to a graphics installation room is :

Bright, Plenty ceiling and wall lighting.
this gives you a 360 degree light source. because its important to have lighting low down for the likes of vehicle wraps.

Clean dust free work space.
A clean Painted workshop floor helps. make it a grey as it also helps brighten the room as it reflects the light.

a preparation table/area for working with the graphics.
i dont mean trimming and finishing, just organising, keeping things off the ground.

metal cupboard to hold chemicals in. (health & safety requirement)

some form of heating. not space heater or the like in one area.
that kicks up dust etc and the room over heats. making application difficult.

some form of heat extraction unit fan fitted to regulate heat. i.e. a room at working temp quickly goes up with heat guns going constantly.

access into the unit. large doors are paramount to get vehicles in, but create issues when the only way in and out the unit. every time the door is open the room cools, dist comes in etc etc

if you do lots of vehicle graphics you generate allot of non-recyclable paper waste.
we have a compactor that basically crushes all the paper and card into bails that plastic strap tie together and make easy disposal of. you get loads of bin bags of paper into a single bail meaning less runs to the local dump or for pick up, where its much easier.


if you have limited space and would like multiple vehicles in your workshop you should look at getting car skates in.
cheap to buy, slide under each wheel. pump pedal and car lifts from ground.
you just push the car around your workshop, up against wall, spin it round etc.
makes working in tight spaces much easier.

if i can think i=of anything else ill post a reply.
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Brian Carey

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Post Wed Jan 29, 2014 12:24 pm

my new premises

Heres a pic of my new workshop, office upstairs with plotter and bench for regular signage and workshop downstairs for making larger signs etc.., note chute which sends waste straight to recycling bin, beats tripping over it carrying it down the stairs! and helps to keep a tidy work environment lol..
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Denise Goodfellow

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Post Wed Jan 29, 2014 5:18 pm

Re: my new premises

Brian Carey wrote:Heres a pic of my new workshop, office upstairs with plotter and bench for regular signage and workshop downstairs for making larger signs etc.., note chute which sends waste straight to recycling bin, beats tripping over it carrying it down the stairs! and helps to keep a tidy work environment lol..


Far too tidy LOL x

I do like the idea of the chute, very clever.
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Dave Harrison

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Post Thu Jan 30, 2014 12:53 pm

My advice would be think carefully about the space you need, then double it. Or you might end up having to work on the floor like me... :cry:

Guess there are some jobs that will never fit on the bench ( 5x 8x4 panels), oh well good job my floors clean.

As an aside note are there any of you out there that can run prints through a laminator with super human accuracy i.e a tolorance of -/+ 0.5mm over 2440mm.

If so fancy giving me some lessons... i'd pay good money ! best I can manage is 3mm on a good day which simply isn't good enough on tiled jobs meaning I have to get down on my hands and knees... I'm considering turning one of my walls into a giant easel.

best of luck with the new space !
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Dave Harrison

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Post Thu Jan 30, 2014 1:03 pm

Oh by the way I do have a work bench but its not much better :D

Another good idea is to put your benches on lockable casters so they can be wheeled around, allowing flexible use of space. I have two 8x4 benches with the surface the same height as my laminator. I have the laminator at the end of the bench most of the time ( as pictured) or if laminating panels I put the laminator in the middle of the two benches which saves so much hassle !
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Jon Marshall

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Post Thu Jan 30, 2014 1:40 pm

When laminating the panels, do you start in the middle?
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Dave Harrison

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Post Thu Jan 30, 2014 1:49 pm

Hi Jon,

No I don't. I carefully align everything first, then tape down the leading edge as if I were doing by hand then run through the laminator. Is that were I am going wrong ?
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John McCormick

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Post Thu Jan 30, 2014 6:16 pm

Dave Harrison wrote:Oh by the way I do have a work bench but its not much better :D

Another good idea is to put your benches on lockable casters so they can be wheeled around, allowing flexible use of space. I have two 8x4 benches with the surface the same height as my laminator. I have the laminator at the end of the bench most of the time ( as pictured) or if laminating panels I put the laminator in the middle of the two benches which saves so much hassle !


Sorry off topic i know but seeing your prints really makes me fancy a pint!
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Kevin Mahoney

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Post Thu Jan 30, 2014 7:50 pm

First one made me want to **** off to Brazil with the pension fund
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John McCormick

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Post Thu Jan 30, 2014 8:01 pm

Kevin Mahoney wrote:First one made me want to **** off to Brazil with the pension fund


Best go canoeing then disappear to Panama
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Brian Carey

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Post Fri Jan 31, 2014 10:45 am

Re: my new premises

Denise Goodfellow wrote:
Brian Carey wrote:Heres a pic of my new workshop, office upstairs with plotter and bench for regular signage and workshop downstairs for making larger signs etc.., note chute which sends waste straight to recycling bin, beats tripping over it carrying it down the stairs! and helps to keep a tidy work environment lol..


Far too tidy LOL x

I do like the idea of the chute, very clever.


lol. it wont be tidy for long! id recommend a bigger diameter chute if anyone is puttin in one, this blocks sometimes at 6". Brian
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Warren Beard

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Post Fri Jan 31, 2014 10:17 pm

Here's a link to my thread when I moved in to a unit

https://www.uksignboards.com/viewtopic.p ... light=unit

It has updates from when I moved in and 1 year on and 2 years on updates, it's nearly 3 years on now and will try make another update in a few months time when all our current bits and pieces are completed.

Cheers

Warren
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Simon Polakof

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Post Sun Feb 02, 2014 5:56 pm

Thanks for all the info!
Some good info in here.
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Post Tue Feb 04, 2014 1:36 pm

Been dying to put something on here about this.....

I found my workshop by mistake opposite my house, I was really looking for just storage space and asked the landlord opposite me if he had any, he showed me a rather run down workshop which was a complete mess to be honest.

Originally he said I could have about 300 sq ft for £100 a month if I cleared it up myself, so I got to work on it, as we where getting things sorted, he came to see me and said.. If you clear it out, you can have all 1500 sq ft for £200 for a couple of years then we can set a rent when its finished. (lots more terms than that but too many to mention)..

So... of I went and I have never looked back, been here nearly 3 years now and have done all the work myself, business has trebled since we have been here..... it's brilliant, and a rural village too with a big ind estate just down the road...

This is the pics before and after..... not quite there yet but on our way, slowly. Trying to fit maintenance around the orders... long hours but worth it!

This is basically the full evolution of the workshop to present day... and we are still working on it...lol

Pictures went in wrong way round so better off scrolling to the bottom and working your way up..... just in case anyone thinks we are demolishing rather than renovating!...haha
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Denise Goodfellow

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Post Tue Feb 04, 2014 1:57 pm

@ Mo - love the one of you lying down LOL
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Post Tue Feb 04, 2014 7:33 pm

Well your hard work has payed off. I particularly love how shops like your progress and grow. We will be buying one machine next week can't see myself owning as many as this and many of the people and businesses on here are so inspriring I only pray we do half as well as some of you. in fact any profit small it be will make me happy

oh and i like the manikin she hot!!!!! LOL

take care MIKE
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Post Tue Feb 04, 2014 7:50 pm

Michael Kalisperas wrote:Well your hard work has payed off. I particularly love how shops like your progress and grow. We will be buying one machine next week can't see myself owning as many as this and many of the people and businesses on here are so inspriring I only pray we do half as well as some of you. in fact any profit small it be will make me happy

oh and i like the manikin she hot!!!!! LOL

take care MIKE


That's Georgina Mike lol, I will tell her you said that, it will make her happy. I started with one 30 inch versacamm.... The only limitations you gave are the ones you give yourself !)

Mo
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Post Tue Feb 04, 2014 7:52 pm

Thats very true. Please don't tell the wife about Georgina she's on here too lol
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David Hammond

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Post Tue Feb 04, 2014 7:58 pm

Good effort Mo.

I started off in small L shaped shop, that we crammed everything into, and then I took a big plunge and moved to an 820 Sq/Ft industrial unit, whilst my dad stayed at the shop.

Low and behold, 12months later, I now have my Dad, a freelance designer, and an apprentice working with me... so it's very cosy (keeps the heating bill down), and I've my eye on the next unit.

It's taken a lot of hard work to get where we are today, and there's still a long way to go, but by investing in different parts of the business has made us more efficient and thus more profitable.
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Michael Kalisperas





Post Tue Feb 04, 2014 8:09 pm

Cheers David. I was doing ok before and unfortunately circumstance changed a lot. I now find myself coming back into this field because of circumstance again this time my disabled son (negligence I may add). This field will allow me to be nearer to the family and choose my working hours and control a little more than my previous placement. Obviously its never going to be easy but I am hard working usually working over 80hrs a week so think this will hold me in good stead. I also studied, trained and worked as a designer and my past experience with websites working at the BBC London I feel should help (for the web side of things). My biggest fault is to harden up and not be soft lol
I need to sort pricing out and stick to it, this for sure in the past is my downfall. Im planning to get a costing chart set up. shame there is no sign calculators out there LOL I joke but I bet there is :)

Mike
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Post Tue Feb 04, 2014 8:16 pm

Michael Kalisperas wrote:Cheers David. I was doing ok before and unfortunately circumstance changed a lot. I now find myself coming back into this field because of circumstance again this time my disabled son (negligence I may add). This field will allow me to be nearer to the family and choose my working hours and control a little more than my previous placement. Obviously its never going to be easy but I am hard working usually working over 80hrs a week so think this will hold me in good stead. I also studied, trained and worked as a designer and my past experience with websites working at the BBC London I feel should help (for the web side of things). My biggest fault is to harden up and not be soft lol
I need to sort pricing out and stick to it, this for sure in the past is my downfall. Im planning to get a costing chart set up. shame there is no sign calculators out there LOL I joke but I bet there is :)

Mike


One word...... Signvox..... Run a google search... That will really help with pricing, I kid you not.... It's done wonders for us... Anyone can quote!

Well dne Dave, I knew you could do it bud!
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Michael Kalisperas





Post Tue Feb 04, 2014 8:26 pm

Mo thats a great contact I just googled and its certainly what I need!!

The price of vinyl has more than doubled since I last brought some I'm actually quite in shock so more the reason to get my prices right and not be too cheap and weak as I want quality output and I think customers deserve a quality product. I just don't want to fall in the trap of the cheap churn out market that can get me in trouble with quality etc

Mike
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Post Tue Feb 04, 2014 8:54 pm

That will set the pricing for you, although you can add your own templates in, there are lots of pre loaded pricing templates, all on uk materials and suppliers, and it's really accurate.

Just pick your media, ink, substrate, even set your workshop time, pump in the area measurement, design etc etc and it will give you a price... Even shows you what your markup is and how much profit in the job... You get charts and breakdowns of profitability etc... It's really good. We gave been using it for 4 months and now I have loaded most of my own suppliers materials and prices in. My wife can do a quote in an instant..

Things like pvc banners are already in there... It really is great. Not that expensive either. It's purely for sign making so really focused.... Access anywhere too... I can get mine on my iPad. So I take it with me on client visits to quote on the spot. They are really impressed. I've saved in time what it costs me each month...

Highly recommended mike, wish I had found it 2 years ago lol... I'd certainly have a few more squids in the bank!
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Michael Kalisperas





Post Tue Feb 04, 2014 9:00 pm

Mo it sounds spot on! I think it will be worth the extra monthly outlay if its all in one place and organised etc.

I like the idea its a quoting tool as well as a accountancy tool to some extent.
Certainly be getting it.. wish it was a tad bit cheaper as I would rather like to be set up making money before i add extra monthly outgoings but I understand the whole point is to streamline my jobs for better profit so it will pay for itself etc.

Top stuff MO!!!

Legend!!
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Ewan Chrystal

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Post Wed Feb 05, 2014 1:18 am

I use the price it sign guide. Its not definitive but gives me a good ballpark
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John Mackenzie

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Post Thu Feb 06, 2014 3:35 pm

I'd like to show you my new unit but the landlord hasn't given us the keys yet despite us saying we wanted to be in on Saturday 1st Feb!!!

I would like some pointers for racking if anybody know of any, I am capable of making something but I have no idea where to get the poles from?
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Post Thu Feb 06, 2014 3:37 pm

John Mackenzie wrote:I'd like to show you my new unit but the landlord hasn't given us the keys yet despite us saying we wanted to be in on Saturday 1st Feb!!!

I would like some pointers for racking if anybody know of any, I am capable of making something but I have no idea where to get the poles from?


Broom handles or 25mm dowel... :)

Mo
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John Mackenzie

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Post Thu Feb 06, 2014 3:39 pm

Mo Gillis-Coates wrote:One word...... Signvox..... Run a google search... That will really help with pricing, I kid you not.... It's done wonders for us... Anyone can quote!

$139 per month!

Christ I'm doing something wrong if people can afford to pay out this much for a quoting programme!!!
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Post Thu Feb 06, 2014 3:44 pm

John Mackenzie wrote:
Mo Gillis-Coates wrote:One word...... Signvox..... Run a google search... That will really help with pricing, I kid you not.... It's done wonders for us... Anyone can quote!

$139 per month!

Christ I'm doing something wrong if people can afford to pay out this much for a quoting programme!!!


£20 a week? 3 packs of smokes? one takeaway?

It saves me more than that a week and keeps everything in order.. on line proofing, invoicing, pricing, sales..... the list is endless.

Waited 3 years to get it tho... we'd be lost without it now.
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Dave Harrison

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Post Thu Feb 06, 2014 4:14 pm

John, I just use bits of 2x1, they don't need to be round !

Mo,
I had a quick look at signvox thanks for the link.. I like the idea of a system that brings everything together ( quoting, online proofing invoicing etc )

I can see how it would be helpful if i were leaving someone else to do the quoting. i.e. a new member of staff or a sales team. But for your average independent sign maker, well I fail to see how any software would be as efficient and accurate as someone who's been in the trade a while with a solid and current product knowledge.

Where do you feel it saves you time, on the actual quoting itself or how it integrates everything together quotes, invoices, proofs and job management ?

I'm not doubting your statement about the software saving you time, We'd all pay good money to save a few hours a week but I want to know exactly how much I'm saving for $139 a month !

To be honest I am tempted to try it, because I guess I can't give a fair comment until I do. its a shame there is no trial version.
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Post Thu Feb 06, 2014 4:45 pm

Dave Harrison wrote:John, I just use bits of 2x1, they don't need to be round !

Mo,
I had a quick look at signvox thanks for the link.. I like the idea of a system that brings everything together ( quoting, online proofing invoicing etc )

I can see how it would be helpful if i were leaving someone else to do the quoting. i.e. a new member of staff or a sales team. But for your average independent sign maker, well I fail to see how any software would be as efficient and accurate as someone who's been in the trade a while with a solid and current product knowledge.

Where do you feel it saves you time, on the actual quoting itself or how it integrates everything together quotes, invoices, proofs and job management ?

I'm not doubting your statement about the software saving you time, We'd all pay good money to save a few hours a week but I want to know exactly how much I'm saving for $139 a month !

To be honest I am tempted to try it, because I guess I can't give a fair comment until I do. its a shame there is no trial version.


Hi Dave, fair comment and I agree. It's a one stop point for me.... i like tracking sales and targets, also it shows me what product areas are generating the most profit etc. I can see how much time i have spent in the workshop and how much i have charged for it.

That's just the tip of the iceberg really... it does so much, I am discovering new things every day. It's usefull for my book keeper and also if i'm out of the office for basic quotes anyone can do.

I can track leads, sales and pending quotes. I have templetes for stuff that i do on a regular basis, for example decals, i just enter how many meters and its all worked out and emailed as a quote to the customer. They can see the work progressing through the system.

A couple of great features we like, is the customer satisfaction survey after the job (via email) and also sending job pics of finished work direct to our FB page if we want.

It saves me time and money by keeping everything in one place and tracking the work flow. My mrs get allocated jobs through the system that she can do without having to ask whats happening.

It may not be suited to all, but for me its well worth the investment. I know there is no free trial, but I allocated three months to see how it would work (I knew one month wouldn't be enough) and after trying it I was happy to keep on paying.

I can access it anywhere too, so when visiting a client, I can quote on the spot and close the sale. Clients love it because it ad credence to pricing when your with a client, so doesnt look like you are plucking prices out of thin air. I get a lot more deals this way, and they can sign and approve right in front of me.

I think its really cheap for what it is. Its slow in the beginning because some input is required. But now i have that under my belt its really simple.. even down to ordering materials. Fill in a PO form and email it direct to the supplier.

I can file assets and images online and online approval is a "buck stops here" solution. The job cant proceed until its approved...

I really recommend giving it a try, but like i say, it may not suit all..

Great comments tho, gotta look at all angles!

BigMo
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John Mackenzie

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Post Thu Feb 06, 2014 5:03 pm

What sort of turnover do you think a business would need to warrant the cost of this?

I love the sound of the integration it offers and because I am starting this new business from scratch it would be easy enough to incorporate but the cost sounds prohibitive to a start-up company.

I think I'd need to see it in action before I'd be willing to spend the money on a sub, especially seeing as I could make my own quotation file using Excel.

EDIT: Almost forgot, thanks for the tip Dave I'm not sure why I didn't think of just using 2x1 or 2x2 myself, I'll put it down to too much Yamazaki last night!
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Dave Harrison

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Post Thu Feb 06, 2014 5:23 pm

Thanks for the reply mo. I was thinking along the same lines really. That I'd have to give it a go for a three month trial as the first month would be spent getting to grips with the software.

Anyway back to the topic of workshops, here you go John.
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Vinyl racking close up.
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Post Thu Feb 06, 2014 5:38 pm

Dave Harrison wrote:Thanks for the reply mo. I was thinking along the same lines really. That I'd have to give it a go for a three month trial as the first month would be spent getting to grips with the software.

Anyway back to the topic of workshops, here you go John.


Good point Dave.... Needs a new thread......

Mo
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David Hammond

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Post Fri Feb 07, 2014 11:00 am

I notice the question why would an independent sign maker need software?

Here's a post I made about Clarity (similar to signVOX)

For example I sent a quote to a customer on tuesday 10 minutes after they enquired, I've given quotes on the phone that are accurate, and emailed it to the customer before I've put the phone down. All the time I know exactly how much profit is in each job.

Some of our prices have come down, some have gone up, but we're busier and making more profit.

I really need to make a rack for our vinyl...
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Vic Adair

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Post Fri Feb 07, 2014 12:03 pm

Dave Harrison wrote:Thanks for the reply mo. I was thinking along the same lines really. That I'd have to give it a go for a three month trial as the first month would be spent getting to grips with the software.

Anyway back to the topic of workshops, here you go John.


Hey, I never thought of using the ceiling to store vinyl!! Thanks Dave :lol1:
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John Mackenzie

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Post Sat Mar 01, 2014 6:42 pm

Finally got the keys to our unit, now to start the task of balancing our new business alongside an existing full-time job and family time, of course with also trying to fund any improvements!
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Our laminator also arrived today but won't unbox it until we have the place sorted out.
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And here is the view, nothing brilliant but at least there is some greenery!
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Ian Johnston

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Post Sat Mar 01, 2014 7:26 pm

Dave Harrison wrote:My advice would be think carefully about the space you need, then double it. Or you might end up having to work on the floor like me... :cry:

Guess there are some jobs that will never fit on the bench ( 5x 8x4 panels), oh well good job my floors clean.

As an aside note are there any of you out there that can run prints through a laminator with super human accuracy i.e a tolorance of -/+ 0.5mm over 2440mm.

If so fancy giving me some lessons... i'd pay good money ! best I can manage is 3mm on a good day which simply isn't good enough on tiled jobs meaning I have to get down on my hands and knees... I'm considering turning one of my walls into a giant easel.

best of luck with the new space !


start in the middle and work out the way, you'll only be 1.5mm out :o
Seriousl;y though it's the easiest way,
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John Mackenzie

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Post Mon Mar 10, 2014 5:08 pm

Getting it painted, one coat done on the wall and started the second coat on the floor...


...it doesn't half cost some money this setting up from scratch!
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Phill Fenton

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Post Mon Mar 10, 2014 5:20 pm

Hope you didn't go and paint yourself into a corner :-?
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John Mackenzie

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Post Mon Mar 10, 2014 5:34 pm

I don't know about painting myself into a corner but I am starting to question my choice of white!!!

Luckily our mezzanine will be up in a couple of months so we'll have somewhere different to work, for some reason I feel like throwing some scrubs on and doing more than cutting up vinyl with my scalpel!

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