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Post Sun Dec 27, 2015 6:04 pm

premises, other half problems, and growth advice

Hi,
currently i work from a large wooden office at home, which for me and my small cutter was fine. i now have wide format printer and another cutter so space is very limited now.
work space is especially small, so large banners and signs is proving a little difficult.
i'd just like to ask how most of you started out, and how you grew.
I have dreams of a decent unit, with facilities to cater for wraps, and plenty of room for printers and benches etc, my other half however is very reserved and tries talking me out of it every time i mention it. she wants me to stay in a small office working from home. she see's taking on employee's as an unnecessary expense and would rather i stayed on my own. i know doing this will limit what work i get though, and i wont be able to expand and be respected as i should be.
so, my second question, how do i bring her round to accept its what i need to do in order to grow?
thirdly, most of my work comes from sales on the internet, i have a large following in car enthusiasts groups etc, however i really find it too stressfull and time consuming doing all these £10-£20 orders, i would much rather bigger jobs. but, transitioning from one to the other is proving difficult, i cant stop doing what i am, because its paying the bills. So can anyone recommend a good way to start getting in decent jobs, so i can cut down on the silly internet stuff.
sorry for the long read, and i hope this is ok to post.
Mark,
1st year of trading officially.
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Post Mon Dec 28, 2015 12:57 pm

Re: premises, other half problems, and growth advice

Mark
i really hate to say this but your wife is talking sense, you need to keep your overheads as low as possible for as long as possible many signmakers on the boards work as you do and i did for a long time. You need to find some of the bigger work and get a steady income from it before you commit to leases etc on property. Are you in a position to put a second shed up or at a push work on trestles in the garden we have all done it. A 3mtr shed with wide opening doors allows you to get half a 6mtr sign board inside to work on and the other stretching outside because you would only have the sign together for alignment purposes. Employees are another big headache Paye, Tax, Pensions are all a big problem nowadays for small businesses and are probably one of the biggest contributors of small businesses failing. I would say you are better to get a local tradesmen on an adhoc basis to help with installs although i have fitted 6 mtr light boxes on my own but a little help is always better. You need a revenue from large signs before committing to spend money on premises to make them easier because if a job comes along you can still do it set up as you are.

Hope this helps and don't tell my wife that i said your wife is right in this situation :D

Kev
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Post Mon Dec 28, 2015 7:13 pm

Re: premises, other half problems, and growth advice

My background isn't really relevant but as you have asked I will mention it anyway. I have always worked from a unit. Mainly because I never really had anywhere suitable at home. Reason I say it's not really relevant is because I started after being Medically discharged from the RN & I receive a service invaliding pension so I have an income each month before I do any work. I seriously doubt if I would be in this industry at all if it weren't for that pension because without it I would have looked for some sort of work I could do from home.

Kevin has hit the nail on the head, you need to find yourself a regular income from commercial work & build yourself a regular income from it first. Like he says there are plenty of forum members working from home so it does work. I would have asked the same question he has, can you extend your current workshop or build a second shed. It's surprising just how big a workshop you can build if you have the space.

I've never had employees of my own so can't comment but have used other local tradesmen for things like installations & friends & family to help out if things got a bit busy. What does your wife do? Is there any chance that she could work with you, that would make a big difference straight away with none of the problems of employing someone else.

If most of your work comes from the internet what have you done if anything to attract local businesses? Do local businesses even know you exist? Do you have vehicle livery & branded work wear? Do you visit local businesses, introduce yourself & leave a card or other info on your business? Do you attend networking events?

Don't think for one minute you need to be a big company to earn peoples respect, if you are good at what you do & provide for & look after your family that is enough to earn most peoples respect, if it isn't then personally I wouldn't want it anyway.
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Post Mon Dec 28, 2015 7:40 pm

Re: premises, other half problems, and growth advice

I couldn't agree more with what Kevin and Martin have already said. Sometimes you need the ear of someone to give you a more balanced view, and it sound like your other half has grave concerns about taking on more liability before you even have a sound business to build upon.

I suspect your biggest problem is the type of work you are doing. If you want to grow you will need to re-structure your business and start doing more profitable work - you said it yourself "So can anyone recommend a good way to start getting in decent jobs, so i can cut down on the silly internet stuff"

Sign making is a bespoke service - it's not like selling baked beans (e.g stickers on ebay) it's more like running an upmarket restaurant. Once you begin to offer a bespoke service you are able to charge "Restaurant" prices rather than "off the shelf (e.g Baked bean) prices.

First thing is to take Martins advice and get out there doing business with other local businesses - and stop wasting all your time with "silly internet stuff"

Only once you have a sound customer base should you start thinking about taking on extra liabilities like premises and employees. I suspect your better half will get behind you once you are in a position to demonstrate you have the makings of a profitable business.

It takes courage to turn down the silly jobs (especially when you're quiet), but don't make the mistake of being a busy fool

Having business premises will not automatically generate better types of jobs - but it will provide you with a little bit more credibility, and will enable you to grow and take on more lucrative work - but don't jump in too soon. Make sure you have the foundations of a solid customer base and profitable business on which to build.

Good luck - I wish you and your better half every success. :D
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Post Mon Dec 28, 2015 7:57 pm

Re: premises, other half problems, and growth advice

Hi Mark

I think Jason, in Australia, a member on here started by selling small stickers online from his bedroom. He's gone on to do extremely well I believe. Not sure how he achieved that transition.
I was in your position a number of years ago and went for it....rented a unit.
My house & my life was being taken over by signs so needed that split but also wanted to grow the business. Although I did move, I didn't employ anyone for 6 months and then only part time. So, if you can afford the rent, rates etc ??
You'll definitely be more productive to help cover some of those costs.

John
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Post Mon Dec 28, 2015 8:36 pm

Re: premises, other half problems, and growth advice

HI,
Thanks for all the replies its great getting some more perspective.
i should probably explain a little further though as I'm in a bit of a predicament.
My house is far too small, so my parents who live in the center of town with a big garden have let me have my office there, its ideal as its got parking, and was plenty of room.
they are selling next year and down sizing, so i am buying a bigger house (all going to plan) maybe with some room to work from.
this is why I'm torn to either stay working from home for another year or two, or get myself a unit.
overheads are low, and i have a full time shift job that's flexible so I'm fitting work in around it. My partner has her own business, but is also looking to downsize as her overheads are mega, and shes not making nearly enough for the work she does, she is a beautician though so not an easy feat.
i started out on eBay, and quickly grew to a very good income, however since then i came away from eBay and made my own website which is now doing pretty well on its own. i advertise all over the internet, and i do some local advertising by means of banners etc. I have a small amount of commercial work coming in, but the bulk of my income is from stickers, number plates, and gel badges. (most of which are small and fiddly) the amount of emails, questions, and stress i get for this is too much for my liking, hence trying to steer into bigger and better jobs, but still earning a living at the same time.

Visiting local companies and looking the part are very good ideas which i will definitely do, i do have t-shirts etc but they're really just for working in, not visiting clients.

My father and i used to own a sign company that went under at the announcement of the credit crunch, we had national contracts with barratt homes, kingsoak, taylor wimpey, redrow homes etc etc. unfortunately when they announced that, we lost every contract in less than 24hrs and then they all went in house. so we lost everything. He now runs a pet store, and i always wanted to continue with sign making, but on my own I've found it a struggle sometimes, juggling home, three jobs, and money. I will get back to where i want to be, and I'm prepared to work for it, just want to make the right choices along the way.
i can continue working from home, i just felt like I'm not getting the work i should because of that, so to hear there's others that do and work from home is comforting.
sorry for the life story, but now you may have a better understanding.
thanks again
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Post Tue Dec 29, 2015 11:41 am

Re: premises, other half problems, and growth advice

Dont let your quest for "respectability" make you lose sight of the real objective, to make money.

I only sell online, I turn away bespoke work because Im not set up to handle it, it would cost too much in pre production hours and my machinery has enough work to do. You say that you were selling well and making great money quickly on eBay, then you shut it down...why??

Become the best online seller you can be, take the money, put it away and make your choices further down the line, the more money you can put away the more choices you will have when you are ready to change direction.

Your head and bank balance/cash flow will tell you when it is time to grow.



Best wishes
Steff
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Post Tue Dec 29, 2015 12:03 pm

Re: premises, other half problems, and growth advice

i stopped because of a major disagreement with eBay. my monthly fees to them were several hundred pounds a month at the very least, so i was doing very well. they sanctioned me and banned me from selling due to a trademark dispute, i had previously proved the trademark didn't apply to this particular product, but this happened twice, and i was stopped from selling for 2 weeks. eBay refused to accept fault, and it cost me dearly to close for two weeks. so, i invoiced them, and they again refused to pay so i withheld the money from the fee's and came away from eBay. to this day they still refuse to accept fault.
being a very good customer i thought they would rather keep me, and settle the dispute but they really aren't bothered.
and secondly, i had so many people stealing from me through eBay i decided to leave and go on my own. since then the website has grown and now I'm back up to where i was before. and i only have a 1% failure to recieve rate so im happier with that. on ebay its more like 25%
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Post Thu Dec 31, 2015 10:06 pm

Re: premises, other half problems, and growth advice

Hi Mark
i was faced with similar problems a while back - Where abouts are you based ?

regards
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Post Fri Jan 01, 2016 3:26 pm

Re: premises, other half problems, and growth advice

Hi Iain,
I can't read messages as I'm a free subscriber on here, I'm based in Oxfordshire though
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Post Fri Jan 01, 2016 4:09 pm

Re: premises, other half problems, and growth advice

No Problems Mark
Have you thought about doing some freelance installing to generate some extra cash while you debate the premises thing ?
you can earn decent money fast and it can be fitted around your current Job and interests.
That was how i got started and generated the cash to take on premises.
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Post Fri Jan 01, 2016 4:32 pm

Re: premises, other half problems, and growth advice

No I hadn't really thought of that, I wouldn't know where to start with it really
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Post Sat Jan 02, 2016 10:19 pm

Re: premises, other half problems, and growth advice

Hi Mark,

I'd go for it and not let people talk you out of it.

If you base yourself on the outskirts rather than the centre of a town you can usually find smaller trading estates that will accept monthly payments rather than tying you into long leases. Also If the premises isn't too big you can usually avoid business rates too.

I started off in a converted shipping container and soon out grew it. I moved into a purpose built office around the corner and have almost out grown that too.

You've already proved that you can build and run a successful business so adapting to the larger jobs shouldn't be a problem over time. Good luck :wink:
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Post Sun Jan 03, 2016 6:59 am

Re: premises, other half problems, and growth advice

Hi Mark
When I first became self employed, I was lucky enough to have an office at home with a small garage sized workshop. It was sufficient for about 3 years until business grew and it was not practical (or safe at times) to continue.
I was like you, in two minds if to go for bespoke premises or stay put.
After much soul searching, I took the latter, and moved into a brand new stand alone unit of just over 1000sqft.
I'm not going to lie, it was a struggle at first, but once I got my branding up and people started to notice me, then the local work escalated quickly.

Do as previously mentioned, get something adequate for your needs outside of town. Mine is on a small trading estate 2 miles from the centre.

One thing I did find, once I got my unit, it made me even more determined to succeed :thumbup2: . . I'll post up a pic of mine when I first got it
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Post Sun Jan 03, 2016 1:32 pm

Re: premises, other half problems, and growth advice

Don't know James or Ian's personal circumstances which may be very different from your own. Has to be your decision at the end of the day but you need to think this through very carefully. This is a big step & you really need support from family & friends, if your other half is against this move how will that affect your relationship?
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Post Sun Jan 03, 2016 9:05 pm

Re: premises, other half problems, and growth advice

You need to sit down and work it out.

Bills, water, electric, rent, gas, rates, phone, internet, plus a wage to live on.

Work out how much profit you currently make, and if you can afford it as you are. If you can't yet I personally would hold off until you can, taking advantage of your low overheads.

When I set off I took over a going concern from a family member, within 2 years I had moved but that was out of necessity as I wasnt paying more rent on inperfect premises.

I also had the same issues with my ex partner who wasnt very supportive. I cant offer much advice on the front...
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Post Tue Jan 05, 2016 8:53 pm

Re: premises, other half problems, and growth advice

i work from a home office, 2m x 5m , regularly people say to me that i will have to move out soon as space is so tight,

why would i want to give myself the headache of monthly rent, more bills etc, then employees i see as a headache, you end up taking on work just to keep them in a job, and the majority of them will leave u up the creek pulling sickies when you need them.

silly internet stuff has made you money so far, dont diss it. look at your experience of commercial contracts, they can dissapear in 24 hours as u say.

i am steadily gaining a wider customer base of local businesses, i would rather work for them than have a massive company who havent paid me for 30 days go bust.

thats just my opinion, best advice from me, do what makes you happy, happiness is key to everything, would rather be happy with a tenner in my pocket than miserable witha twenty!
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Post Tue Jan 05, 2016 9:08 pm

Re: premises, other half problems, and growth advice

Good advice David,

I remember meeting a client once, who was printing a whole manner of things for IKEA, I naively impressed and mentioned that to the client.

His response was the same... he'd happily swap places with us, as if IKEA went bump/moved printer, they'd be up poo creek without a paddle. They'd much prefer to deal with the little fish and reduce the risk.

At least with Ebay you're paid upfront! :thumbup2:
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Post Wed Jan 06, 2016 10:34 am

Re: premises, other half problems, and growth advice

I'm not a business owner but have certainly looked into it on numerous occasions, and every time I can't help but feel that taking on premises with increased overheads is a unnecessary risk in the majority of situations.

With so many trade suppliers now, unless your equipment is going to be in constant use, I can't see how owning bigger units and bigger (usually more expensive) equipment will be economical for most people.
You may be able to take on some quicker jobs, and sure some jobs will be able to produce cheaper than getting it from a supplier, but with parts, maintenance, ink etc so expensive, is the extra profit your making REALLY going to be profit, or is it just going to pay for the up keep of the machine?!

In-house equipment is great for quick turnaround jobs (i.e. someone wants a poster, comes in and as long as the printer is free, they can collect within about 30 mins) but the reality is that if the printer is free to do that job, then you probably shouldn't be having the equipment in-house in the first place as your clearly not setup to take on the volume of work required.

As for bigger clients, sure, the money they're willing to spend can sometimes be higher, but you usually don't get paid for at LEAST 30 days, if not 90 days. We also find that the bigger clients can also be the biggest pain in the bum sometimes. They can be incredibly disorganized with no one-point of contact. They'll want stuff with ridiculous deadlines, and will constantly hound you for samples and meetings and other things with you probably ultimately don't charge for.
The best clients we have are the small to medium sized businesses, who are willing to put money in the company (including sign and print), but are also down to earth people who will talk to you and treat you like a human (one of our best clients is actually a kebab shop owner, who constantly buys menus and signage for his shops!).
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Post Wed Jan 06, 2016 10:48 am

Re: premises, other half problems, and growth advice

It all boils down to pricing. We upgraded our printer in April, and this week so far it's printed 1 job. I'm not sweating it. Our pricing means our machine can afford to sit idle for a few days.

We're not in the market of selling cheap and having the machines running 24/7, clocking up miles, using ink and requiring more maintenance, we charge a premium for the service our customers receive, and when these 'rush' jobs come in we calmly turn it around, and the customer is confident in our ability to do that.

Bu that's how our company is set up to run, and I suppose our little niche, but we've kept overheads to a minimum staff to a minimum.
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Post Wed Jan 06, 2016 11:39 am

Re: premises, other half problems, and growth advice

I'm in a similar situation but don't do Ebay all word of mouth. I have to run from a large outbuilding at my house which is like a double garage / barn style thing. It's hard but in my case for the moment I feel I have no choice due to my son being disabled. I'm not looking to make it rich like a previous member mentioned above its what makes you happy that counts. Money is not everything although I appreciate it's important. I run ok but what is hard is doing it single handily. It's all about organisation. If I was you I would save save and keep saving then reevaluate the situation two years on. Good luck buddy
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Post Wed Jan 06, 2016 1:35 pm

Re: premises, other half problems, and growth advice

Hi was working on my own from home for 10 years before employing part time help 7 years later i jumped to a 600sq ft unit. 18 months ago i took on an apprentice. Ive just had a purpose built office built over christmas. My point is after 21 years in business i now employ two staff part time and work away from home. You will get there in the end but just do it slowly, no point in stressing about bills and staff if you can get by without. My first customer all those years ago still uses me and it didn't matter i was a one woman band working from home or the person i am today. I gave a good service thats all most customers want. Let the ones who think they have to be impressed with offices and given a frothy coffee go else where. Good luck
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Post Wed Jan 06, 2016 4:33 pm

Re: premises, other half problems, and growth advice

I just wanted to say I think this thread is great. A fantastic initial question.
I've been trading two and a half years, working from home in a purpose built workshop and often think about premises.
I have to ground myself, look around and see what I've got. Remember to take small steps to reduce the risk of getting burnt.
I think my only drawback I can see about where I'm at is not being able to do van wraps (which is something I'd like to do) but I'm sure in time things will open out to facilitate that.
Slow and steady.... I'm in no rush to make a million, I'm more into enjoying the moment.
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Post Thu Jan 07, 2016 12:53 pm

Re: premises, other half problems, and growth advice

I think there does come a time where you need to move to a unit but, don't be forced into it by wanting to do van wraps! While wrapping is big business, the vast majority of customers who walk through the door think it's a £500 job and - if they're not swayed into doing something more realistic with their budget, you'll never hear from them again once you put them on the right price track!

In the last 5 years I've done two part wraps, even with the 600ft farm unit I have now, I wouldn't do a full wrap here. Even you have a heated, draught and dust free unit you have to think of the time frame involved, there's A LOT of design work in a wrap, then the print prep, thats got to be a day easy. a New vehicle still takes hours of cleaning and prep (removing parts etc if need be), to wrap a transit size van is going to take best part of a day with two people, then re-assembly etc. I've heard a nearby shop is doing wraps like that for £1200, 2-3 days work, less materials and overheads can't leave much for the bank! Three reasonable cut vinyl vans can turn the same invoice totals with a much higher return in the same time and with less headaches.

That's obviously just the opinion of a small sign maker, but there's a good reason for so many shops popping up and disappearing again inside 18months, they spend fortunes to set up to do wraps, 64" printer, cutter, laminator, etc etc..


All that aside, when I moved into this unit, from a village shop (800sq ft) I cut down plenty of the crap stuff, all the bitty jobs that took more time than they were worth - in essence I stopped trying to be everything to everyone. After a very rocky 1st half of last year (due in part to invesment in this unit and building the new office) I concentrated on the jobs that make money, they're not glamourous but they pay the weekly wage and the future is a lot brighter, after ten years I still want my own printer but in reality, with the good trade suppliers I use, I just don't really need the additional expense / overheads at this time... (so the wife instructs me!).

Best of luck,
Hugh
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Post Thu Jan 07, 2016 3:00 pm

Re: premises, other half problems, and growth advice

Hi

There's two ways of looking at this.

(a) Passive - Let the business grow organically and when (if ever) you are already making enough to pretty much cover all the overheads of the new unit then look at moving and/or buying more kit. Slower growth & less risk.

(b) Proactive - Think of the new unit, or kit, as an asset that is going to generate more business, make you more productive, make it easier to achieve high quality, attract new customers, expand your product / service offering, improve your reputation / image etc. etc. Yes, you take take a hit for X-months but thereafter your investment pays dividends. Faster growth & more risk.

For me the first question should be what you want out of the business. Different scales of business have a ceiling as to the rewards you can receive; whether financial, a nice modern place to work in, 'toys' to play with etc. etc. Some people will be happy to work from the home office, others will want a nationwide mega company. Sounds like you want to grow and your mind is made up on that point - just a question to what level.

We have moved to bigger units on three occasions and once the dust had settled each time we would never go back. In each of the years we moved our growth was more modest due to the business interruption but each year following a move our figures hugely jumped up and stayed up.

I'd say go for it and don't look back! Good luck!

Cheers
Macky
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Post Thu Jan 07, 2016 10:14 pm

Re: premises, other half problems, and growth advice

Hugh Potter wrote:I think there does come a time where you need to move to a unit but, don't be forced into it by wanting to do van wraps! While wrapping is big business, the vast majority of customers who walk through the door think it's a £500 job and - if they're not swayed into doing something more realistic with their budget, you'll never hear from them again once you put them on the right price track!

In the last 5 years I've done two part wraps, even with the 600ft farm unit I have now, I wouldn't do a full wrap here. Even you have a heated, draught and dust free unit you have to think of the time frame involved, there's A LOT of design work in a wrap, then the print prep, thats got to be a day easy. a New vehicle still takes hours of cleaning and prep (removing parts etc if need be), to wrap a transit size van is going to take best part of a day with two people, then re-assembly etc. I've heard a nearby shop is doing wraps like that for £1200, 2-3 days work, less materials and overheads can't leave much for the bank! Three reasonable cut vinyl vans can turn the same invoice totals with a much higher return in the same time and with less headaches.

That's obviously just the opinion of a small sign maker, but there's a good reason for so many shops popping up and disappearing again inside 18months, they spend fortunes to set up to do wraps, 64" printer, cutter, laminator, etc etc..


All that aside, when I moved into this unit, from a village shop (800sq ft) I cut down plenty of the crap stuff, all the bitty jobs that took more time than they were worth - in essence I stopped trying to be everything to everyone. After a very rocky 1st half of last year (due in part to invesment in this unit and building the new office) I concentrated on the jobs that make money, they're not glamourous but they pay the weekly wage and the future is a lot brighter, after ten years I still want my own printer but in reality, with the good trade suppliers I use, I just don't really need the additional expense / overheads at this time... (so the wife instructs me!).

Best of luck,
Hugh



I have much respect for you Hugh. True wise words and I remember yours to me a long while back. I don't think sign industry is glamorous anyway by the way. Lol
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Post Fri Jan 08, 2016 11:53 am

Re: premises, other half problems, and growth advice

Michael Kalisperas wrote:

I have much respect for you Hugh. True wise words and I remember yours to me a long while back. I don't think sign industry is glamorous anyway by the way. Lol


I'm not sure why but, I'll take it as a compliment, thank you!

I do think some people go into signs without really knowing what they're doing (me included I guess), they see wraps, and £££ signs, spend all the money on top gear to realise than 99% of the work is run of the mill van lettering, builders boards etc.

Mark is in a good position as he's catering for a market that makes money for him, I look back and see a few things I've let go due to 'hassle' but in reality, they made money, those gaps are filled now with cheap repros and its hard to once again rebuild it with higher than beer money prices.

I've found you need things that turn a quick profit more than things that turn a big profit, the bigger the job the more headaches there are likely to be, the more likely you are to do unpaid for work too. Those £200-400 vans you turn around within a few days of meeting the customer are the things that are usually the least hassle, it doesn't happen in real life but I could probably fit 10 of those into a 5 day week, 10 lots of £300 is better than one £2k fascia that probably only turns a 50% profit. Maybe my pricing is out, or I still don't get the perfect customers with a £5k budget to cover the signs they want but at the end of the month, I know where most of my income comes from!

Everyone is different in what they do and what is more profitable for them I guess!
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Post Fri Jan 08, 2016 2:24 pm

Re: premises, other half problems, and growth advice

You know what I would do in your position? Find the best job opportunity you can with an established Sign Manufacturing firm, companies are always looking for good people with experience. If you choose the right people to work for, you'll have job security without all the headaches. If you think your current situation is stressful, try running a competitive sign company in full flight.

This is a tough economical environment to come in to now if you want to compete with others who are established and already competitive in the type of market you want to move in to, in some ways I would say it's too late, unless you have the luxury of having no real competitors local to you, which is a rarity these days.

It can literally take years and years to get a decent size business in this market to run nicely and profitably, so you either have to have money to see you through and fund that, or you have to have zero overheads to survive.

This is why I say you're better off working for someone who has gone through all this. I know everyone likes to look at doing their own thing but a lot of people fail at it and it can be a painful draining experience. If I was starting again from scratch, I wouldn't start my own business now, I would look to bring what I could to someone else's business and let them deal with the day to day hassles. The 70's, 80's and 90's were all good times to start a business of this type, not so much now though.
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Post Sat Jan 09, 2016 12:41 pm

Re: premises, other half problems, and growth advice

thanks for all the great replies, i think im just going to go with it and see what happens.
im not out to be the next biggest sign maker, but i also wouldnt be happy with the income im on now and the level of stress it brings.
i now have to diversify, following a trademark dispute with ford. they have taken a disliking to some of my products, i disagree but that's another story.
to save hassle ive decided to try moving into van graphics more as a few have mentioned. i have done a number of them and i agree the time it takes and profit are far greater than smaller jobs.
I have actually been pleasantly surprised with the success of my number plate website, its still being developed but its already paid for itself.
with all due respect, i would never go cap in hand to another company and ask for a job. yes you get the benefits of less stress, and holiday/sick pay. but you dont get the rewards, i really dislike working a 40 hour week to make someone else richer. Plus i have now invested £20'000 in machinery for my own business. I do have a freind that likes to help now and then when im busy, but hes unreliable so not the best but i do get my parents, partner, other friends to help when i have big orders.
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Post Sat Jan 09, 2016 1:16 pm

Re: premises, other half problems, and growth advice

Go for it! best of luck with it!


As an aside, if you're looking at units, consider smaller industrial estates or even farm units, I pay around £5k a year for a 600sq ft unit on a farm, right next to a busy road. The equivelent on the road in the main industrial estate is £11k+.

Hugh
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Post Sun Jan 10, 2016 12:01 am

Re: premises, other half problems, and growth advice

I started out with my business working from my garage and making larger signs in the garden part time, whilst working for a large sign company.
It was obvious to me that for the business to progress the working conditions needed to improve. The odd client that come to the house didnt seem to mind meeting my kids or ducking under the washing line but it was not exactly what i had envisaged for the business, I take my hat off to people that work from home if you can make it work then its a great option.
The moment i took the plunge to go for premises it become a 'real' business overnight, Somewhere decent that clients could come and visit etc etc but we now had overheads, building costs etc after 3 months we were loosing £1000 a month, I could not afford to let it fail for the sake of the family. This in itself brings problems if you are anything like me it become an obsession to make it work.
This can put a strain on your relationships be careful, its better to have the family On board.
Luckily we turned it round, Its still tough but we have moved twice since that first unit and we are just about to refurbish our current unit.

My views have now changed about having a 'real' business 99% of my clients never come to my premises, what they see is our work, and our service, what they hear is our good name the premises is really just a bigger and better place for us to produce more work at a higher quality.
Would i move to premises again, absolutely but for very different reasons to the first time round.
Ensure that you have enough work or the ability to find new business within a reasonable timescale. Be honest about your abilities and knowledge ive been in this industry for nearly 40 years and still learn something every day.
Protect the downside-i steered clear of long leases, finance, and any major committments until it was clear that we were good,allowing yourself an exit strategy.

Good luck with whatever you finally decide

Colin

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