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  • That could have been expensive…

    Posted by David Hammond on October 3, 2022 at 1:52 pm

    A few weeks ago we were approached by a company to produce some signage for a local shop, as part of a publicity campaign.

    With experience, from the initial enquiry, it just had headache written all over it.

    I first established who was paying our invoice, who was our client, and who’s instruction are we to follow.

    During the site survey the proprietor of the company was asking about making changes to the design. We hadn’t produced the design, and were just taked with manufacturing the sign from artwork supplied and installing it.

    At this point, I made my feelings clear, that I felt this was a can of worms, and we’re going to be the ones caught in the middle between our client, their client, a design agency and a PR company. A conversation and our client accepted our views, and agreed we’d proceed.

    Artwork supplied by our clients designer, and we query the sign, as initially we’d quoted on coloured tray, and the colour on the artwork didn’t match, and sought to clarify the colours they wished to use.

    After providing us with HEX colours, we then provided the closest options of coloured vinyl, and RAL colours or the signboard, as that was the specification we’d quoted on (ie not full colour print)

    All was agreed, and confirmed by the designer to our client, who confirmed it with us. We subsequently confirmed this on the proof (despite the artwork being provided)

    Fast forward to the day of the installation, the fitters removed the old sign, and come to install the new, removing it from their van, the proprietor looks suprised by the colour.

    It’s not the colour they expected, but is the colour that our client/designer had provided and agreed.

    Thankfully we’d –

    A) Queried the colour with the client

    B) Confirmed the colours with the client

    C) Proofed the artwork referencing colours
    D) Done most of that via email, with a trail

    Obviously there’s been a breakdown in communication somewhere along the line, but thankfully we’ve “covered our backside”

    Rather than posting “help my customer’s saying their signs wrong”, I’m hoping this is demonstrates to some, why it’s always worthwhile being diligent and crossing the t’s, and dotting the i’s. We could have easily found ourselves on the hook for several thousands pounds.

    Some would say I’m a bit pedantic, and there’s no need for some of the steps we follow, and 99.9% there isn’t but this .1% makes it all worthwhile!

    David Hammond replied 1 month, 2 weeks ago 5 Members · 7 Replies
  • 7 Replies
  • Hugh Potter

    Member
    October 3, 2022 at 5:26 pm

    Nice one David!! I’m certainly being more cautious these days, especially when dealing with designers and the client!

    • David Hammond

      Member
      October 3, 2022 at 5:33 pm

      I know it gets tiresome, and sometimes even I wonder whats the point.

      Some would even question what can go wrong, as proven it can easily go wrong, with the potential of becoming quite messy and expensive.

  • Chris Wilson

    Member
    October 3, 2022 at 10:21 pm

    Similar issue for us recently with a sign tray that was 250mm to long after a banister appeared at one end.

    Was told we had made the sign 5mm bigger than it was ment to be over 10m.

    Stood firm and billed for a new end section anyway but the passive aggressive email will always make we want to go for a smoke when I think about it.

    Do wonder how some get away with it.

    But yea. In that case sizes where checked and checked. Even printed it at 1.3m wide for print to be checked. Customer was on site when it was fitted and shown several times where it was going to end. Is the height ok? Yada yada.

    But it’s more fun to send and email the next day to tell me my tray is 5mm to be big and that’s why we are 250mm to the left of where it was ment to be.

  • Robert Lambie

    Administrator
    October 4, 2022 at 12:37 am

    You are not being pedantic at all, David. You are just becoming more professional with experience.
    Bad experiences are great lessons because we swear to ourselves, “f**k that, I won’t be doing that again!”
    But we can eliminate these mistakes by standardising our daily processes, and then periodically evaluating the process to see if we can improve on it. The real task is, to stick to the processes until they become unconscious daily business habits. Over time, you will find business tasks become streamlined with fewer mistakes. Then, when you employ someone and you have a standard business process to teach them, they automatically adopt your processes and teaching them is far easier.

  • David Hammond

    Member
    October 4, 2022 at 4:41 am

    Speaking with a few friends who have sign companies locally, it seems they too are becoming disillusioned by the industry on the whole.

    You’re right we do try to operate professionally, but still it’s like we’re expected to carry the can. There’s the pressure of deadlines on some projects, that become rushed to complete them.

    At the other end of the scale, there’s those who’ll bow to every request, let projects creep, work endless hours, sometimes for next to nothing.

    I’m never going to make millions, as I’m increasingly becoming more selective, and ask myself can I be bothered? Some jobs and customers just sound difficult and I’m sure there’s easier money to be made.

  • Mark Johnston

    Member
    October 6, 2022 at 7:18 am

    i dont think you can ever be too careful, David. we have put disclaimers at the bottom of invoices and emails, still you get customers trying to pull a fast one. all they want is cheap cheap cheap or fast and cheap until something goes wrong and you are to blame.

    • David Hammond

      Member
      October 7, 2022 at 7:17 am

      Exactly! I’ve had a week from hell, because a customer didn’t bother to read our welcome pack that explains the process. Openly admitted they hadn’t read two of the quotes, and complained about the price when it came to paying the invoice for the deposit.

      I’ve put all the processes and documents in place to try and make it clear, but alas, there’s always the one that get through the net.