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  • MDP fabrication services – tray signs etc

  • Martyn Heath

    Member
    February 18, 2020 at 6:24 pm

    Hi, just wondered if any of the smaller operations here use MDP for the fabrication of tray signs, fret cut letters etc.

    If so any issues to speak of?

    Prices seem very reasonable to me. Tray signs are supplied flat.

    mdpsupplies.co.uk


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  • David Hammond

    Member
    February 18, 2020 at 6:30 pm

    Ordered some flat cuts, with stand offs & template.

    Price was a couple of quid more than local supplier, however.

    Free delivery over £100, saved me a trip out to collect it. Ordered one afternoon arrived following day.

    No complaints here.

  • Robert Lambie

    Member
    February 19, 2020 at 11:57 am

    seems to be a trend forming on this type of thing.
    http://www.europoint.co started doing this about 6 months ago which I thought was a good additional service seeing as they are a sheet material supplier to the trade, but I never thought/knew MDP supplied/distributed sheet products.

    Not that I am referring to any of the above suppliers. But a particular trade supplier of sheet materials began supplying composite complete with channel rail on the rear including clips. I thought this was good for small sign companies as not all have the ability to fabricate this type of thing in-house. However, within a month I then heard "from one of my own customers" that the same company had approached them offering this too, but said, "all you have to do now is ask your sign company to apply the stickers!"

    we already have 3M offering DIY wrapping kits to our customers, avery dennison doing similar with stickers and labels, Halfords doing same with budget wrapping and window tint kits and more.

    My point here is, where does it stop?

  • Martyn Heath

    Member
    February 19, 2020 at 12:33 pm

    Thanks david thats very helpful i will give them a go.

    Robert to answer your question, it doesnt stop. Feels to me that everyone wants a piece of the pie and are making it harder and harder to make a living. But it shouldnt be coming from our suppliers!

    I found out last week that the two car valiting firms in town which already offered window tinting, are now offering wraps!!
    Seems everyone can do our job. Maybe we arnt as clever as we think.

  • Colin Crabb

    Member
    February 19, 2020 at 1:37 pm

    Perhaps its time to offer cars with the wraps, and shops with signs :bigsmile:

  • Kevin Mahoney

    Member
    February 19, 2020 at 2:46 pm
    quote Martyn Heath:

    Seems everyone can do our job. Maybe we aren’t as clever as we think.

    Not sure where I stand on this one. I worried about stepping on printer’s toes when we started offering business cards after outsourcing them for years. How many of us offer stationery or clothing as an add on? If a business decides to diversify into something else & it’s not done well, they soon back off from it.
    Wrapping is definitely not for the faint-hearted with the risk of damage to expensive vehicles, not to mention the cost of materials. I pick my battles now, if the amateur wrapper wants to undercut me, they can have it. I can put my feet up & earn nothing much easier than wrapping a van & earning nothing. Whenever I see a job we lost & it’s a mess, I just enjoy an evil grin.


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  • Chris Wilson

    Member
    February 19, 2020 at 6:23 pm
    quote Kevin Mahoney:

    quote Martyn Heath:

    Seems everyone can do our job. Maybe we arnt as clever as we think.

    Not sure where I stand on this one. I worried about stepping on printers toes when we started offering business cards after outsourcing them for years. How many of us offer stationery or clothing as an add on? If a business decides to diversify into something else & it’s not done well, they soon back off from it.
    Wrapping is definitely not for the faint hearted with the risk of damage to expensive vehicles, not to mention the cost of materials. I pick my battles now, if the amateur wrapper wants to undercut me, they can have it. I can put my feet up & earn nothing much easier than wrapping a van & earning nothing. Whenever I see a job we lost & it’s a mess, I just enjoy an evil grin.

    Ditto. And we have supplied vehicle graphics for fit by customer a few times and each time they call the next day to book it in and can you please re-cut the passenger side.

    Also used MDP for flat cut letters. It feels cheap compared to skybond.
    We had to get one sent again as locators had all fallen off in the post. We plaque that was squint to.
    We use someone local for trays, but for a the word "toilet" in 5mm acrylic they are very handy instead of ordering a sheet. Also as david said very quick.

  • Wayne Fothergill

    Member
    February 22, 2020 at 12:42 pm

    Had a few bits from them, couple of cut letter jobs & trays and a few acrylic panels.

    Trays can be a bit fiddly as they arrive flat packed (thought looks like their illuminated ones are assembled) and depending on how careful the couriers are the corners can get a bit knocked, I had one where I managed to bend it back into shape and flatten it out, but it took a bit of time I could have done without.

    Cut letters were ok, I probably wouldn’t use them for anything too big but I’ve had a couple of smaller ones for internal reception areas that have been good for the price.

    Acrylic panels are great though, can’t imagine buying those from anywhere else now. Turnaround time is fantastic too and free delivery over £100 is a life saver for small bits as I can always just stick a roll of app tape on the order or some other consumable.

  • Robert Lambie

    Member
    February 23, 2020 at 2:27 am
    quote Martyn Heath:

    Robert to answer your question, it doesn’t stop. Feels to me that everyone wants a piece of the pie and are making it harder and harder to make a living. But it shouldn’t be coming from our suppliers!

    I have been hearing that Frank Feller who owns "Fellers" Vehicle Wrapping supplies, who claim to be the biggest wrap supplier in the world…
    Has now started his own vehicle wrapping company in Oklahoma, called "SpeedDWraps" selling budget type wraps at $900 using his own branded vehicle wrapping material called "Cheetah Wrap Vinyl".

    I do not have a problem with any trade supplier spreading their range of products and services to their customers.

    But, I do if they then step over us lot and sell directly to "our customers". Some may say that’s "just business!"
    maybe so, but why should we buy from that same company to help expand it and put us out of business? That, to me is stupidity and we should vote with our feet and buy from "their competitors" and that right there is "just business" 😉

  • David Hammond

    Member
    February 23, 2020 at 9:17 am

    So what are your thoughts on SignFab now providing a trade installation service?

    What about the fitters we already have?

    What will be classed a trade account? Design agencies? Marketing agencies?

    It’s easy to slip into an end user supplier.

  • Kevin Mahoney

    Member
    February 23, 2020 at 11:12 am

    If a trade only supplier decides to become an end user supplier, they are declaring themselves to be a competitor & I for one would never buy from them again. It would only strengthen them & they become more of a threat to the survival of my own business. I don’t know if its greed that is behind the change in direction or necessity but I wouldn’t think it’s a smart move for any trade only to target end users in the long term. If you lose the trust of your core customers it would undoubtedly cost them far more than the small profit gained from a few new one off customers.

  • Robert Lambie

    Member
    February 23, 2020 at 3:20 pm

    David, Signfab is a strictly "trade only" company. what they are doing is extending their trade service to companies that are either not big enough or capable enough to do certain installs, but tick all the legal installation requirements at the same time.
    I had a job not long ago that included the fabrication and installation of two 7m high, illuminated monolith signs within a large sign project we were working on. The monoliths are a big job in themselves and had I known at the time, I could have had complete fabrication, deliver "and install" ide have done it in a heartbeat had the money been right. It would have sped up the whole process for me and taken that area of concern away for me, but the big benefit would mean my small team could have focused on the rest of the installation process throughout the project. Yes, we did it regardless, but it is nice to know the option is there had the clock been ticking faster.

    There is a thin line to cross, but simplified, if your trade supplier is targeting the same customer as you are, then it is up to you to decide are you going to continue dealing with them?

    Kevin, I agree!

  • David Hammond

    Member
    February 23, 2020 at 5:36 pm

    I’m not disagreeing with you Rob, but where is the line?

    Is it just to sign companies, or will we see more printers, design agencies, and marketing companies jumping on the signage band wagon?

    The installation service takes them 1 step closer to crossing the line. Not saying they will, but the line is moving.

  • Robert Lambie

    Member
    February 24, 2020 at 1:45 am

    It’s already happening David, many businesses bleeding into other businesses territory… I think a lot of that blame has come about because of how the visual industry, on the whole, is evolving.
    we have no control over that from our competitors. But when it’s from your own supplier? well, then you have the choice to take your business from them to their competitors.
    What really gets me though is the Manufacturers over-stepping the suppliers and us lot, and targeting the end-users on the street. that just stinks…

  • Iain Pearson

    Member
    February 24, 2020 at 8:11 am

    Forgive me for sounding a bit thick, but im struggling to see what the real problem is.
    I agree that if I found out one of my trade suppliers was trying to undercut me directly to the end user, then they would be dropped like a hot stone.
    In my experience however, a trade supplier of materials is one thing, but DIY kits and end user supplied trays etc is another.
    can you honestly see an end user having the skill and experience to install a 15 meter sign tray, or a full van wrap ?
    Logically, if I was an end user, and I was looking for some branding, first thing id do is google local sign companies (unless I knew of one personally) – gives you a list in your area which you can then select at your leisure. I think far too many on here worry about what might happen instead on concentrating on promotion of their own business etc.
    |am not in the slightest worried about what a "trade Supplier" is doing, as there is more than enough work out there, and there always will be.
    if anything, id be more concerned with the wannabe "Sign & Graphics Business" which is nothing more than Joe Bloggs working out of his mums conservatory ( Which again, im not worried in the slightest)

    In my opinion, Be strong, have faith in your own business and ability, use social media to strengthen your name out there, don’t be a busy fool like Kevin says, but after all that, if you can’t believe in yourself and your own ability, then its time to put the scalpel away and take a shelf stacking job in Aldi.

    Mine is but one opinion, but ill never be afraid of competition, I welcome it, because it will inevitably show what a great Job we are doing :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

  • Martyn Heath

    Member
    April 6, 2020 at 11:23 am
    quote Martyn Heath:

    Thanks david thats very helpful i will give them a go.

    Robert to answer your question, it doesnt stop. Feels to me that everyone wants a piece of the pie and are making it harder and harder to make a living. But it shouldnt be coming from our suppliers!

    I found out last week that the two car valiting firms in town which already offered window tinting, are now offering wraps!!
    Seems everyone can do our job. Maybe we arnt as clever as we think.

    Update on this. Went ahead with the order. Was ordered 5am in the morning, the job was dispatched with courier by 11am!

    5days to get out to me here in scandinavia. Packed extremely well. Couldnt ask for a better job or service.

  • James Boden

    Member
    April 6, 2020 at 1:18 pm
    quote Iain Pearson:

    Forgive me for sounding a bit thick, but im struggling to see what the real problem is.
    I agree that if I found out one of my trade suppliers was trying to undercut me directly to the end user, then they would be dropped like a hot stone.
    In my experience however, a trade supplier of materials is one thing, but DIY kits and end user supplied trays etc is another.
    can you honestly see an end user having the skill and experience to install a 15 meter sign tray, or a full van wrap ?
    Logically, if I was an end user, and I was looking for some branding, first thing id do is google local sign companies (unless I knew of one personally) – gives you a list in your area which you can then select at your leisure. I think far too many on here worry about what might happen instead on concentrating on promotion of their own business etc.
    |am not in the slightest worried about what a “trade Supplier” is doing, as there is more than enough work out there, and there always will be.
    if anything, id be more concerned with the wannabe “Sign & Graphics Business” which is nothing more than Joe Bloggs working out of his mums conservatory ( Which again, im not worried in the slightest)

    In my opinion, Be strong, have faith in your own business and ability, use social media to strengthen your name out there, don’t be a busy fool like Kevin says, but after all that, if you can’t believe in yourself and your own ability, then its time to put the scalpel away and take a shelf stacking job in Aldi.

    Mine is but one opinion, but ill never be afraid of competition, I welcome it, because it will inevitably show what a great Job we are doing :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

    Have to say I’m with Iain on this. I’m not worried about the larger or smaller companies. I’ve put in the work and have found my lane. People keep coming back and coming back so I must be doing something right.

    The trade companies can never offer the level of service of small company. How many times have you had a proof approved by the client only to double check it and find a spelling mistake just before printing.

    It still amazes me how many people ask me for business cards when there are so many companies offering these for peanuts. But they do constantly, because they don’t want the hassle.

  • Graham Scanlan

    Member
    April 6, 2020 at 6:41 pm

    Theres an instance over in the northwest where a signmaker / Printer has decided to be a trade supplier of trays / digital printing / flat sheets foam, fluted polyprop, acm, banner media and digital vinyl. Making them a competitor and a supplier at the same time ( it’s bonkers)

    Buying most items from China thanks to LinkedIn, I wish them the best, but with all the other dedicated competition out there, it’s not going to be easy

    To be a serious suppler who can support customers through the good times and bad you need deep pockets

  • David Hammond

    Member
    April 6, 2020 at 7:02 pm

    I agree Graham.

    You know we’re lucky with where our unit is having two suppliers on our doorstep, one being Pyramid.

    We frequently get suppliers coming in offering to beat prices, but can’t beat the service we receive locally, pretty much a sameday service.

    Or suppliers promising their vinyl is just as good as another, and can save us a couple of quid. It’s not worth the risk.

    As a general rule, we keep trade work, with trade suppliers.

  • Michael Cunney

    Member
    April 8, 2020 at 7:51 am

    Just to give you my two pence worth from a trade supplier point of view, and a good bit smaller in size than the likes of signfab so can’t completely draw a comparison but gives you an insight into our intentions.

    We offer installation services, along with design, survey, even ongoing maintenance if it’s required although that part of things never seems to receive much interest. We’re a small company but we take on big projects and compete with larger companies that perhaps we have no right to, but it’ll always be kept as a small company as I think that’s our major uniqueness compared to other trade companies.

    Through my own experience trade suppliers from a projects point of view need it spelled out for them, they want to know exactly what is what, the design of the sign for example, what you ask for is what you get.

    We act as more of an extension to our customers’ companies (genuinely we do, rather than just being a bit of spiel of our website), if you send a job over we’ll look at it, understand it, question why you want say that tray depth or why you’ve chosen to go for that particular type of sign, if we think there’s a way it could be done better we’ll give you a cost for that too, with installation if you’re asking us to price to fit a single tray sign in Essex we’d give you a cost and break it down but we’ll probably suggest putting a hour aside to speak with some local joiners in the area who could help, as we want the customers to win the work, obtain their new client and grow their business, and if they’re paying for 10 hours of travel time then that probably won’t happen.

    Anyways, we offer the installation as many of our new customers are often getting into the larger type of signage for the first time, having previously only mainly done say vehicle graphics or vinyled fascia boards. They don’t want the risk or the worry in trying to fit themselves or work out what type of fixing they need, or whether it’s going to need planning permission, or how to go about closing a foot path, so they approach us, unload it all on to us and we get to work, educating them as we go so next time round they can hold a bit more of a conversation with their client and be more confident in their offering, without us offering install they wouldn’t be able to fit, and if they aren’t able to fit then they don’t get the work, so it’s a clear and obvious service for us to provide.

    The fitters arrive in plain vans and on that day they are employees of ‘X’ as far as the end client is concerned, they’re of course provided with an install sheet by us with contacts, fitting instructions, notes etc but never any reference to them being from our company.

    Just a word on MDP, you’ll see a note on their site that states everyone can buy at that same price, whether you’re trade or not, and any quote you put in referencing composite tray sign etc may well lead to your customer googling another company for a second price, at which point there sits MDP with their online calculator ready to go.

    MDP are very efficient and well run company, their fabrication department was an account of mine when I worked as an external account manager for a materials manufacturer, so I got to see their offering develop from day one kind of thing, and they’re fantastic at what they do with good guys working there. But what they do is online sales, and anyone can go and purchase instantly, which over time you have to question how viable that makes your business in offering those same products. It also makes it very easy for the likes of us to make sure our tray prices are justttt right :smiles: although no next day service I’m afraid :shake:

    Now the material companies making trays, Blackburn’s etc. is a bit short sighted in my eyes, I’d rather sell 25 pallets of composite a year to a large trade supplier than sending out individual trays here and there to that same companies customers, given the amount of conversation and admin that must take, along with leaving many sign companies unconfident in dealing with you through being seen as a competitor. Amari did something similar a few years ago, announced they were going to start doing lasering, they never did (to best of my knowledge) as that same week every major fabricator of theirs in the region threatened to stop using them.

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