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  • Do you charge for visiting a customer and fuel?

    Posted by Mark Johnston on August 1, 2022 at 6:48 am

    Hi troops.

    if someone is in the same town/area and wants their shop sign or factory done.
    we will pop out and see them or do it on the passing. measure up and give them a call back with a price.
    now that fuel is so expensive, it’s a tenner or more for the round trip and then there is your time which is an hour minimum!
    do you charge for a quote to cover the cost? we are thinking £25?

    the reason i am asking is we had to call a company to get a price and they said it will be £25 for the quote. we would probably just try elsewhere. how do you get around this?

    i am not sure if we are sounding tight but 3 or 4 of these each week, adds up! 🤨

    Pane Talev replied 1 year, 10 months ago 10 Members · 12 Replies
  • 12 Replies
  • Hugh Potter

    August 1, 2022 at 7:57 am

    If local and I can do it en-route to work / home or another job, then I’ll take a look and measure up with no upfront charge, though I will build in a site survey into the over-all cost.

    Typically I ask customers for a rough size, photo of the shop front / factory and guide as to what they’re looking for. From there I explain the following:

    1) We will give a ball park estimate.

    2) If they are happy with the estimate we’ll then take a fee to cover the artwork / design time, and come measure up properly. Usually around 2hrs.

    2a) This usually focuses them and you either don’t hear from them again (no loss), or they pay the design fee;- be clear that this is not a deposit on the job but a separate charge, and you’re pretty much guaranteed the job.

    3) Once approved, take as big a deposit against the job as you need and book them in!

    if they’re unwilling to provide the photo’s measurements etc, then it’s a paid for visit.

  • David Hammond

    August 1, 2022 at 2:19 pm

    We don’t do much signage work, and use sub contractor fitters for the installations. They are typically on a day rate – So we’re only really interested in ‘decent’ jobs. There’s no point us taking on a job, if the fitters are going to scoff almost 50%.

    In effect we have a ‘minimum order’ for signs that need to be installed. That’s weeds out some of the time wasters.

    As @Hugh-Potter said, do as much leg work as you can without going out, streetview, google maps, customer measurements, even if you throw an arbituory price at them (like your minimum price) and see what the reaction is.

    We’re doing a reasonable signage project now and to be honest it’s less effort, and far easier than some of the smaller shop front jobs.

    If you want to charge, charge a nominal fee, that includes survey, and an initial visual to accompany the quote.

  • Iain George

    August 2, 2022 at 7:55 am

    We never charge for a survey unless it is a fair distance. Most of the work is local and can be worked into a normal working day. For installations we put on our quotes that we charge for fuel after the first 30 miles @48p per mile or 1 hour of travel time. We do work for a storage facility with nationwide facilities so mileage can be high and travel time very long. Also as we are in close proximity to London we also now have to add ULEZ fees, which is suposed to be expanding and placing a lot of tradesmen in a very tricky situation as the vans they may have need to pay a daily fee or buy a new van. I know of a couple of firms who now refuse to work in the Ulez zones as the costs are to high and they just don’t get the work.

  • Jamie Wood

    August 2, 2022 at 7:58 am

    We use subcontractors for fitting. They charge us for surveys, so we charge our client.

  • David Hammond

    August 2, 2022 at 9:03 am

    I was speaking with another sign company owner the other week.

    They wanted some gardening doing at their new property. Ringing 3-4 gardeners how many do you think came out and looked at the job?

    0 – A couple declined the job just by chatting about what needed doing, and the others just threw a day rate at him, he ended up paying the best part of £350 for a gardener to clear his garden.

    I had the same when I needed a joiner at home, I enquired, and I didn’t see anyone until they’d given me an idea of price, again £350+ for a days labour, with materials supplied.

    Time is money, I’m a firm beleiver in doing as much as possible with as little effort as possible. I gave up chasing around surveying every enquiry we got years ago.

    • Pane Talev

      August 16, 2022 at 7:45 am

      Exactly. Some other trade specialist do not leave their house unless you paid up front. Optimize. Sign makers shouldn’t work for free. If you are not busy, go and play with your kids, go fishing, travel. Do not work for free.

  • Simon Worrall

    August 2, 2022 at 12:53 pm

    If we are quiet and need the work, Ill come out for nothing, measure up, quote and even draw up a rudimentary design.

    That usually gets the job, and I sink the costs into the quote.

    If its busy as, Ill let them know there will be a price to step out, job or no job. That sorts the time wasters.

    If its a good customer with history, Ill come out for nothing no matter how busy.

    Most of my ongoing customers dont even want a quote.

    They just want the job done, no mistakes, on time.

  • Leslie Anderson

    August 4, 2022 at 1:42 pm

    I think adding something to the quote to cover my travel and time is my best option.
    maybe i am naive but i think if i gave the caller a price to quote for a job, i wouldn’t get asked! 🤨

  • Peter Cassidy

    August 5, 2022 at 9:53 am

    I like some of what’s been said. But I also agree that if I told the customer there would be a charge before I even got the job, I probably wouldn’t get to quote for many jobs. 😅

    I tend to stick with local work whenever I can and any work i do get I lump the costs altogether.

    Some you win some you lose. But that’s business I guess.

  • David Hammond

    August 8, 2022 at 9:04 am

    Speaking to another customer last week, who’ve paid 50% upfront for their van before we did anything.

    They charge £50 for a quote, it gets rid of the tyre kickers, and he’s not making money on that with the time involved. When most of his projects are £20k+ what’s £50.00 to the customer?

  • Khalid Bashir

    August 12, 2022 at 10:09 pm

    Hi all,

    Two cents worth:

    I think your decision to charge should be “market led”

    Are other companies charging? If they are you could too

    If not, then you may be less called upon probably.

  • Pane Talev

    August 16, 2022 at 7:35 am

    Most sign companies in Switzerland will charge for a quote.

    Most sign companies in Switzerland have vehicle graphics design process / cost separated from actual vehicle graphics preparation and installation. Once you have approved / paid for the design of your vehicle graphics you can do the work in the same company, or go else where to have the work done.

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