C & S Signs talk to uksignboards.com

Steve & Carrie Brown
C & S Signs (UK) Ltd
Hereford, England

(Q) How long have you been in our trade?

(A) We are still relatively new to the sign trade, it has been almost three years.

(Q) What made you want to get involved in sign making?

(A) We are both creative & have a good eye for detail & design. Our original business plan was to create a company that would deal with branding and promotional products. We were going to deal with small signage items only, however, almost immediately we realised there was much more demand for signs.Every day would receive queries regarding signage and within a matter of months we were only dealing with signs. We were introduced into signs on quite a whirlwind basis and looking back now would have it no other way.

Jeff Byard Van: Vehicle Graphics created using Oracal 751 & Oracal 8510 etch vinyl.

(Q) If you were able to start over, is there anything you would do differently?

(A) If we could start again, we would look closer at the market areas, making signs our main goal. Doing this would make us aware of which equipment would better suit our needs. We would also have moved into larger premises to begin with, suitable of allowing access for vehicle work and larger sign work. It is surprising just how quickly you can expand and outgrow your premises. Having the larger premises we now have, allows us to look into new areas of in-house fabrication as we have the capacity now to deal with it comfortably. Originally we set up as C&S Designs (UK) Ltd. We began to realise that our company name was not getting the message across clearly enough to potential clients. We made the decision to re-name the company so as to get across our main area of service; sign making. In October 2004 we changed the company name to C&S Signs (UK)

Picture of Carrie & Steve standing outside their new premises

Pleasance Harper Jewellers: Built-up & flat cut stainless steel letters fitted to Corian marble effect backing.

(Q) If you had a choice just now, what piece of equipment would you most like to own & why?

(A) We are interested in the laser engraver/cutters and large format printers. Both offer a huge variety of sign options, areas we currently outsource, over time we want to bring as much of the manufacturing side in house.

(Q) How do you feel your business has developed, since starting?

(A) We feel our business has expanded quite considerably in the last two years. We are moving into more areas of the sign trade which from our original concept of small sign work we certainly have come a long way
in a relatively short period.

(Q) Do you have a chosen speciality?

(A) We do not specialise in one specific area, C&S signs covers all aspects of the sign industry offering an all round service to our clients from logo design through to installation and maintenance of any type of signage.

(Q) Is there a goal you aspire to?

(A) Our aim is to ensure C&S Signs maintains the professional and reputable manner it has become known for. We will always offer quality products and service.

(Q) Who is your favourite supplier & why? (Regardless of size)

(A) Our favourite supplier has to be Amari Plastics (Cardiff Branch). The overall service we receive is excellent, from customer service through to delivery it is smooth and hassle free, they have never let us down, never made an error, can not fault them on anything. In this line of work you have to be able to rely on your suppliers 100%.

(Q) What is your pet hate about the sign business?

(A) Customers who believe they know how to design and fabricate signs better than you, but unfortunately do not. e.g. Vehicle graphics, some customers will insist on red text on a navy background and refuse to accept or even look at alternative options. The customers that tell you what you should make their sign out of, insisting you use electrical conduit as a frame for their signs? Eventually, they accept we do know best, but it takes a lot of wasted hours to get there.

(Q) Do you find the internet helps your business?

(A) Without a doubt, we use email daily to submit designs, quotes and keep in touch with clients. Being able to access supplier information out of normal working hours is a bonus and without the internet we would not be part of The UK Sign Group where the information, tips and fellow members are invaluable. We also have our website which brings in a large amount of leads.

Monarch House: Custom made stainless steel Directory System.

(Q) Has registering at uksignboards.com been of benefit to your business & if so. Why?

(A) Most definitely, without the uksignboards.com we would not have progressed as rapidly as we have, the information and fellow members are invaluable. The UK sign boards have been and still is a 24 hour online sign makers tutor. Demos, tips, experiences, recommendations, general chat and friendliness, we are able to access this anytime we like. without it we would not be where we are today. We cannot thank the boards & its members enough.

(Q) What would be your advice to someone just starting out in the sign business?

(A) Visit the uksignboards.com, it really is an invaluable source. Look into the market you are targeting, do you have one specific area to hit? It is worth looking into every detail, fellow competitors for example; you can not assume that just because you could offer cheaper sign solutions that you will be more successful. Design, professionalism, quality and reliability are a huge factor in this line of business. You must ask yourself and be able to answer: Why would a customer come to me and regularly use me for their work?

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