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  • Mark up on Tray Signs your thoughts?

    Posted by Jean Oakley on September 9, 2021 at 9:06 am

    Hi all i use Ashby Trade for my tray signs and anything that needs channels to the back or is an odd shape. I don’t use them very often a few times a year but was wondering what sort of mark up do you put on bought in stock like this? Don’t want to be seriously under selling myself but at the same time want to make something on the product before adding my bit for the decals.

    Jean Oakley replied 1 year ago 7 Members · 11 Replies
  • 11 Replies
  • Jeff

    September 9, 2021 at 3:14 pm

    I tend to stick 50% minimum on what i buy in. more if i can get it!
    you then have your graphics and installation price to add to that.

  • Jean Oakley

    September 10, 2021 at 8:54 am

    Hi Jeff thanks for that, I was putting 20-25% as they’re soo expensive to buy in. 50% sounds much better but that does make them alot and i just didnt think people would pay it. Underselling myself yet again and still worrying about the customer 😣

  • Iain George

    September 10, 2021 at 12:23 pm


    I used to do the same as you and then went up to 50% and found I was losing jobs so went back down to 30-35%. My installation price I believe is reasonably priced and my marks ups on the other materials such a media is the same as others so I could only put the loss of jobs down to the mark up on bought in/ ready made goods.

  • Phill Fenton

    September 10, 2021 at 4:39 pm

    I always put a 50% mark up on any components I have to buy in. Then add on the cost of the signing itself and the installation. The end result should be more than double your cost for all the materials. Any less and it’s simply not worth doing. Overall, a typical sign shop should average 4 to 5 times materials costs over the year with some jobs being double and others 10 times material cost depending on the work involved. If I’m buying in anything to re-sell it gets a 50% mark up as a minimum. Ask yourself what would happen if something went wrong with the job and you had to re-do it at your expense? You would be immediately out of pocket. This is why I cannot understand some of the prices that are being touted for vehicle wraps for example. There are a lot of good sign makers out there that are poor business people.

  • David Hammond

    September 10, 2021 at 5:28 pm

    50% markup or 50% Margin.

    50% markup on £100 would give you a sale price of £150

    50% margin on £100 would give you a sale price of £200.

    50% margin on most stuff.

    I also look at the overall profit on the job, some jobs can be a bit awkward, more chance of a cock up, and some customers are just hard work. If you’re only making £100 profit and its taken you all day its really not worthwhile is it.

  • David Wilde

    September 10, 2021 at 11:30 pm

    50% Mark up on all materials, minimum. However I’m personally not a fan of marking up according to percentages.

    Any less than 50% though and I believe you are doing the customer a favour. They don’t have the time, inclination or the contacts to source the materials themselves so why sell yourself short.

    Sometimes we undersell ourselves in this industry.

    Just this week I had an enquiry for a plain sheet of foamex. I roughly doubled the price we pay (told him £40 . He also asked for a 1m vinyl logo cost, which I gave him (£30ish – was fairly simple).

    He then added the 2 prices together and offered us an extra £20 if we put the logo on the board for him.

    He wanted to pay £90 for an 8×4 foamex and a 1m vinyl logo. His math was reasonable. £20 to stick a logo on a piece of PVC isn’t unreasonable.

    I told him it was £160 because he was buying an 8×4 sign.

    He tried to negotiate, one of us hung up.

    You don’t walk in to a cake shop and ask for 500g self raising flour, 4 eggs, 250g of butter, some sugar, icing and a cherry, then offer them a tenner to throw it all together do you?

    You pay for the cake.

    IMO, the cost of a sign is significantly greater than the materials plus labour. If we continue to just use mark ups on materials and throw a bit on for labour then it’s a race to the bottom.

    Pick the price you think is fair and acceptable to you is my advice.

    • David Hammond

      September 11, 2021 at 7:46 am

      Correct, there’s a post on social media, something along the lines of.

      Cost for cutting wire £5

      Cost for knowing which wire to cut £1000

      Too many sign companies undersell themselves. “It only takes 5minutes” forgetting the fact its the experience and knowledge that enables us to do it in 5minutes. That is what they’re paying for not our time.

  • David Wilde

    September 11, 2021 at 10:48 am

    Biggest issue I have with strict mark ups is this:

    If you buy a sign tray at £100, and sell it for £150. The value of a sign tray becomes £150.

    When Pete down the road starts knocking out sign trays for £80, you only end up selling it for £120.

    For no reason whatsoever, the customer has made a significant saving on his sign, yet you and Pete made less. Rather than just saying a sign tray is £150 and you making the 20 quid saving.

    Plus, while this is all going on, the rest of the industry is becoming inundated with requests for 120 sign trays. So this becomes ‘standard’.

    It’s a bit like the roller banner situation. They used to sell for £100+, now everyone wants them for £35.

  • Leslie Anderson

    September 12, 2021 at 12:19 pm

    I do not make sign trays, yet! (had to google them) 😊
    but for someone like me that is fairly new to the “sign side” of my company, this is good to read. by that, i mean how others work out their prices.

    i do not know if i should be starting a new post with my question. “sorry Jean”

    if i buy a sheet of composite 8ft x 4ft and i cover the face in a digital print. then, the same print on a sheet of composite 4ft x 2ft. how do you price that, do you price by the square foot?
    (£1 for easy counting)😀
    8x4ft @ £1 per sq ft. = £32
    4x2ft @ £1 per sq ft. = £8

    is there another better way?

    • David Hammond

      September 13, 2021 at 11:28 am

      That’s the trouble with Square Meter/Foot pricing.

      We’ve switched to linear meter pricing as an example using 1370mm media. A 10x2ft print, uses the same amount of media as a 10×4, just uses more ink. It takes the same time laminate and marginally longer to apply.

      Same with sheet sizes, unless there’s a decent offcut that you’ve a chance to sell on, charge for the full sheet.
      You buy a 10×5 sheet in for £50, and someone wants a 10×2.5 board, you’re selling the board at £75 (going off some margins above), but they only want 1/2, you’re selling that at £37.50. Even if you doubled the cost, and only charge for 1/2 the board, you’re not making an profit on the board until you sell the other 1/2.

      This goes back to @david-wilde1 point, that a margin/markups aren’t perfect. You could look at the overall job, and what profit you’ve made overall and decide then if it’s worth the effort.

  • Jean Oakley

    September 17, 2021 at 11:00 am

    Thanks everyone, and going forward i will be looking at a bigger % on bought in stock. I’m trying to slow down and be a bit more selective on the jobs i do so upping the prices might by a natural selective way of doing that anyway 👍