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Thread: Sign Material

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Plainview, NY
    Posts
    2

    Default Sign Material Choice Questions

    Thank you all for your responses and insight.

    First, original specs were based on prior successes in nearby communities where 4' x 8' hand carved Welcome signs were installed. That set a baseline for comparison. Specs are not absolute, but if changed, the change cannot be so much to skew the comparison.

    Since the proposal request is from a government purchase from public funds, the government is required to seek proposals from qualified sign makers and cannot simply pick their favorite sign making artist if that supplier is not the "best" overall, considering all factors. Although not based on price alone, price is significant where there are multiple qualified suppliers. Here, quality of sign appearance and longevity of retaining that quality are also important.

    When one of the sign makers quotes signs made from Komacel with machine routed lettering, instead of HDU that is hand carved, comparison could be skewed. Since this is a competitive process, it makes sense to gain neutral opinions from professionals who do not have a possible self interest.

    The location at issue is in the center of the eastern end of Nassau County, Long Island. When looking on a map that is probably at about the 75% mark on the western end of all of LI. The potential bidders are all qualified veteran sign makers.

    Based on your comments, it appears that there is not a clear selection between the two options, so price may end up to be the determining factor.

    Thank you again.

    Tom

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    canton, ohio
    Posts
    428

    Default

    Tom,
    I like the approach you are trying to go in.
    maybe you can prevent some of the things i have experienced from happening to others.

    In working with parks and government i have found that they either give us a book size document with all the specs, warranties and hundreds hoops to jump through and contracts to sign or they just say how much for a sign like this and they attache a photo or drawing with no specs.

    the bids where we have to spend a day reading the specs and jumping through the hoops seems to much like gambling or speculation. it is easier to buy a house than bid some of these. and i find many of the written specs are in error for the real world but they refuse to change them. case in point is we looked at a huge job for National Park in Maine. probably over $100,000. they said 10 year minimum warranty. the manufacturer of the product they want me to use say ten year maximum warranty. Ten year maxiumum warranty means that it could fail anytime. they state if the sign fails at 9.5 years and i do not replace it then i have signed a document that states that they can have another company remake them and send me the bill. So i told them it was written wrong and nothing was done to correct it because the wheels are already rolling.

    On the other end of the scale the bids we do with just a photo are also speculation because there are no specs and anyone can quote anything and they often do not care because the person who is making the decision has to answer to someone else and they do not know the difference between 15lb hdu and 18lb hdu, the type of paints and many more things.
    so i send them an email and say "why dont you let me write the specs for you" and they say ok but normally the deadlines are so tight because that they want the sign installed within a month from bid. they just figured out at the last minute that they needed the sign.

    so we usually lose both types of bids for different reasons.

    You sound like a person who wants to try to do things the right way and i hope you succeed and present a fair package for those who bid so you can compare apples to apples.
    we usually see the lowest bidder win unless we have worked with them before.

    I love simple specs that show the exact material, sizes, thickness, type of paint and color that we can match, type of hardware and how installed, type of posts, if slotted then how deep, etc, letter styles, if a logo then hopefully they vector art or high res bitmaps, if wood is used they let us know what type and how they want the grain, etc. shipping addresses and info that shippers need if the sign is to be shipped, who pays and how soon will they pay.etc.

    we have had bids for parks that have said we would be paid sometime within 6 months. We have had shipments refused because the people in the office did not know the shipment was coming. color issues have been a problem as well.

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    A.G.M. Sign Company, Sapphire NC
    Posts
    104

    Default

    I had some questions about customers who wanted certain things when I started my sign shop .
    I like to work with HDU when possible to keep production time down, and avoid building boards from wood . But the bottom line is what the customer wants.
    If the customer wants a handcarved sign , it may be just for that reason. Some people love the art aspect as much as the message . In that case the chisel marks and hands on craftsmanship are the key.
    I will be honest and tell you that I have made 1 sign that I truly didn't like. But I made it exactly to the customer's specs.
    The most important spec to the customer is that it had to contain an angel that he gave me a photo of. He wanted the angel carved in by hand and only .250 to .300 " deep, and he wanted it done by hand ?
    When I was done I really wasn't crazy about the results ,but he was ecstatic and loved it , because it was just what he wanted.
    In the end that's what it's about .
    Don't get me wrong ! I still have tons to learn in the sign buisness and I can't hold a candle to the art that Joe and some of you others create ! But it is all learned by lessons , and that was one I had to learn.
    But the biggest thing I learned was there is always a reason. The reason for the sign with the certain angel was that his daughter had passed away and the angel was a sketch she had drawn before her death.

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Norman, Ok
    Posts
    3,251

    Default

    Mike,

    Thanks for the nice complement.

    We all have tons to learn. That's what keeps me going. When I take on a new project, no matter how big or small, I seldom consider materials or techniques at the start. And I try to stay away from, how much it will cost. Those are important issue but I don't let them get in the way up front. That comes later.

    My main concern is how to blow the socks off. When I wrap my mind around the final concept is when I start figuring how to pull it off. Some compromises may need to occur but the job is how do I pull off the concept.

    Every job I take on deserves to be consdiered for the portfolio.

    I encourage everyone to shoot high on every little step. It's the little steps which make a project sing.

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