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Erik Sine

I Need Your Input please

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I need your input.

I started this site just a little over 2 years ago now after noticing a lack of an online medium for electric signs, neon and commercial/architectural type signage where fabricators installers and manufacturers can communicate, exchange/share ideas.

As I expressed in another thread (Vegas ISA 2007) there seems to be a lack of either interest or organization in this industry. If your a Sign Painter, Pin Stripper, vinyl jockey, there seems to be a bigger structure and organization for that but why not this aspect of this trade? I can go to other sites and I see very little talk about our aspect of the industry, so it's not busier anywhere else, this has stumped me. I can only think of maybe 2 or 3 other neon sign based websites and those are less populated than this site.

I have often wondered about a couple of things and I always ask myself this:

A. Is the timing of a site like this, for this aspect of the trade the wrong time? Because benders, shop owners, journeymen and installers of this aspect of the trade much older where an online community is of no interest? I come to this conclusion because here locally I've even tried to get some friends and acquaintances who initially sounded interested but become a "no show", and the age group is usually above 47. Is online communication too far ahead of the baby boomer generation who seem to run the industry?

Is it fear of spreading ideas to your competition? Is it too intimidating getting involved?

I've never met a more "hush hush" crowd than those in this part of the sign trade, whether it's here or in my own backyard. One big tool I thought would be largely used is the "Live Chat room" and I'm shocked to find it never used.

With restrictive legislature on the horizons based on false information, power consumption, unfounded Mercury falsehoods closing our industry down I'd have thought more communication would be about and not a lack of.

So my question to you all is a two parter. Getting some input on my questions above and also, Is there something you would like to see more on/more of on this site? What may be changed? Is there a need for more separation? I've enjoyed having a more laid back site where you can enjoy yourself, screw around and still get to the serious discussions (Treated as if your in a pub). It's a little reflection of me. Some sites are too serious, is this site not serious enough.

So please, whether your a first time poster, the usual lurker who never posts and you enjoy this site and having it around, I'd like to get some real feed back (constructive positive/negative)whether it's here in this thread in the public forum, or sent to me as a Private Message. I'd very much appreciate it :thumbs:

Or click here to email me


You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life. - Winston Churchill

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Let me start out by saying I love this site. I think what your facing is a grp of people who in general had to grind their way to where they are. With the advent of the insta sign shop more are having the tendency to be guarded in what they know. The best example I have for this is neon. Ive been wanting to learn neon for over 10 years now. I finally get my shot and the guy who is supposed to teach me wants an ass load of cash to part with what he knows(on top of his salary since its during work hours) WE are a scared skeptical bunch by nature since at one point or another weve all been replaced passed over dropped for the cheaper non experienced guy. Does it makes sense ...not really but our transition from the old school letter writters to the led installers all radius construction fabricators we are today.

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I will probably have more to say about this later on when I have the time, but I did want to comment on your comment about the chat room. I don't like chat rooms in general, no matter what the subject is. And it's the format that bothers and confuses me. It's like being in a room full of people who are all talking at the same time. And the more populated the chat room, the harder it is to follow the line, or lines, of discussion. And that's the only reason I don't visit the chat room. I've got enough cobwebs floating around in my head as it is.


joemomma

I do it in the transformer box.

1946-2008

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I really like the forum, but purposely limit my input as I do not want to appear to be pushing my products. I monitor it daily and if there is ever a question on neon that I can contribute to, I will jump in almost immediately, or answer questions that are asked directly of me. Unlike some of the others, I don't make signs, sell signs, or really want to. However, I do consider myself pretty much of an expert on power supplies for lighting, and want to contribute wherever I can, without appearing to push my products. Hope you understand my backseat approach.

John Boyd

Ventex Technology Onc.

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First off, chat rooms have for the most part been very inefficient for me. When I get a chance to go in, in-between jobs, rarely is anyone in them. This has been the case of various chat rooms, not this one specifically. Therefore, I very rarely visit any chat rooms.

Secondly, I joined this forum to learn areas of the sign business I know nothing about. Since I'm a "vinyl jockey", I do not have knowledge to offer "upper scale" sign shops who offer work that tremendously exceeds my talents. With my limited knowledge, my posting would basically be a waste of time for most members of the forum because they are much more advanced than myself.

Thirdly, since we run a 1 1/2 person shop we stay relatively busy and I have less and less time to spend on forums or any other sites for that matter. We are currently covered up but I did want to reply to the request to respond.

This forum offers tons of knowledge, from my standpoint and over time I hope I can gain from some of the member's knowledge.

phishook

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I too enjoy this site. I like the more relaxed feel and lighter side of things compared to another site I go to as well where they act like it is a crime to help each other out, unless your one of the bigger dogs on there. I enjoy the arcade as a place to go to unwind and relax after a long day working. As for the chat room, It has been a long time since I have had time to enter a chat room, and then it was like said before seemed like everyone was trying to talk at the same time. As for this site as a whole I think it is great.

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Morning Everyone........ . Yes, tis the season - I have been really busy and have had no time to log on until recently.....Everyone has questions about the aspect of this trade... Why? Why keep all this information inside and not let it out... Not like this is all inclusive and it's my experience that have brought me to my thoughts on some of this....not to mention a short fast rant due to my time frame and customers.....Thank you for getting and keeping this going -

I was born into the industry and my Father learned how to bend glass from an employee in the mid 70's who was all to reluctant to give my father the information needed to bend and process glass. Back then (and even today, in all industries) tight lips were JOB SECURITY. My father being the stubborn, head strong individual he took to learning the Electrical sign trade like most people trial, error, watching, asking and getting the right person for the job.. Not too many answers from the asking area unless it was a sign supplier lending some words as a distributor of products...By having specialized experience in a trade and by making the process of creating and processing glass a secret makes the medium Ooo and Ahh just like fireworks or you can think of it as a magician and his secrets of his tricks.... My father had had a couple of benders in his shop. I remember that they were unwilling & unwanting to release any information of what they learned so that their jobs stay in tacked and in demand.. But one thing my father did was to have them sign a contract of employment.. Stating in the contract that the individual if they were to come on board and work in the shop would have to agree to NOT bend glass or process glass in a 50 mile radius of our shop.... This also went for the installers due to their knowledge,but it didn't take them away from working for another outfit, it only kept them from opening a shop down the street from your shop...From what I have seen, tons of shops do this. Job security for the business and it's staff...My father taught me how to bend glass. I have been bending glass since I was 19 until I was 29 took a hiatious to go back to college and got back in the neon game when I was 34 now 37 and have yet to see any shop or individual with a small shop trying to make it let loose of what they know.... They paid to learn this one way or another.. Blood, Sweat and Burns or with Cash at a Neon School..... We also have to look back to when this all first started and how long it took a Journey man tube bender to even get to the status of "Journeyman"... I built my shop. I put everything together, I bought all the parts. I learned through trial and error... I still learn something new every day I am at my shop....

Personally, I'm not about to teach someone my trade without compensation and a contract with at least a 50 mile radius placed in the deal so that the individual can go across town, open up shop and take away my lively hood by under cutting my prices just to get me out of the business.. Maybe this is paranoia on my part from years ago and from what my father handed down to me, but Planet earth if you haven't seen lately is full of 300,000,000 and the count is rising everyday with people wanting to get ahead one way or another... If you want to learn it, you'll pay the price or you won't bend glass....

Our industry is not unlike many others... Take Tattooing for example... Same thing.. I know a few tattoo artists around my area and they all ink with different styles, but they'll even tell you (friend or no friend) "It'll cost you this amount $$$$$$ to have me teach you, not to mention that a few of them state in the contract that you work for them for a year or two prior to going on your own... Example: Nursing school (a much broader industry)... Most hospitals will assist you in the learning process but if you want to go to college and learn how to be a Dr. RN or nurse and you don't have the money to pay for it or can't for one reason or another get a loan/grant for your SCHOOLING they will pay for it and state on the paper work and upfront that they'll do this for you but you have to work for them for 5 years before moving on... This works for the industries for two reasons I can think of off the top of my head.. More work force at the hospital of choice and the 5 year stent to make sure A) that you have the knowledge that you have been given to do the job correctly and B) that you stay within the community. By doing this unless you really screw up will they will keep you at the hospital to further enhance your career and assist the hospital at being the best they can. Retention .........

Just one benders aspect of and babbling. I might have gone of topic but we are not the only industry that does this "Tight Lipped"

But I do agree that we need to have a voice.. Secrets of your shop and how you do things don't have to come to the fore front when you are talking about the state of our industry and what we as benders and/or shop owners need to do to open the individuals/groups eyes on subjects such as mercury safety, shop safety, legislation the whole bit..... When my father brought his shop to Winchester VA we had to go to the county building, look over their permit applications and teach them about what we do and how the industry standards work.... Before us there were no Electrical sign shops in the area. WE had to invite them to the shop and have many meetings with the county reps so that everyone was on the same page and their knowledge that was gained was proper for all aspects of code. We even had meetings with our UL Guy and the counties reps.. By doing this or UL Guy (rest his soul) who was amazingly knowledgeable in the sign industry helped them create and put into action county wide standards....

Well back to work I go.. Weeding some vinyl and getting some glass done....

Just one Benders opinion on SOME of what I've seen and been through.........

Kirk

Edited by Mr. Neon

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There are number of reasons why I feel that this site hasn't done well yet. You've addressed the competitive nature of this part of the business, but there are some other things to consider.

Fist is the site is still relatively new. The other sign related sites I frequent took 3 to 5 years to get established and active.

Second is the lack of marketing. I've been in the sign business for 15 years and on the net for 10. It wasn't until just recently I discovered this site while participating in another sign forum. This site doesn't show up when I use the various search engines using typical search terms. I haven't seen any ads or read about it in any of the sign magazines I subscribe to and none of the other sign makers I associate with have ever mentioned it.

Third is the lack of participants. The rules that apply to electrical signage here in the USA are a lot different than the rest of the world. So, you're limiting your participants there. And since building codes even vary from region to region within the USA, your demographic gets even smaller. So, of the 35 thousand or so sign companies in the US, I would estimat that about 20% of all US sign shops have registered with or participated in a sign related forum. I also estimate that about 25% of those shops are manufacturers and installers of electrical signage. So, if you do the math, you're trying to cater to a group of about 1,750 participants.

Finally, not all of the sign sites are really that active. If you actually look the participation levels of some of the other sites, you'll see that participation by real sign companies is quite low. The rest are spammers, sales people and people just learning the trade.

Checkers

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It takes a long time to learn this trade and I agree with Mr NEON ( thats my liscense plate here in Jersey). I have a few calls a month about people wanting to set up shops, Haveing no clue what is involved in learning they say they can learn from a video or a book like they learned how to use thier router or theier Gerber edge. There are a few that will eventually learn it but most will either loose thier shirt or not even get into it. The worst thing is the ones who jump in and start putting out SHIT work. This gives a bad name to the industry. THis happens when someone doesnt want to pay someone to do it and thinks they can do it and keep the money. I do get a kick out of people that call and fresh out of school and complain about our product.

I love this site and have to agree with John on not trying to use it to promote our products but will help anyway possible. I dont have much time at night to post cause I get home around midnight almost every night from bending. I cant spend to much time during the day but frequently check it out while I'm doing emails.

Keep up the good work WCSG and Kgirl and I'll see everyone in Vegas. They grouped all the neon people together so it should be interesting and not have to walk far. We are about 15-20 feet from the Connecticut people.


GOOD things happen for a reason......

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I think you have a pretty good site going here, even thou I am one of the lurkers , I still like to come over and read the new post.

As for your questions, and these are just MY opinions.( and do not reflect the opinions of the management, etc...............)

1. There are way more people in the vinyl aspect of the industry and when you have more people you have more involvement in forums such as this one

Anybody can open a vinyl shop and with minimal knowledge of the industry operate it. ( not that they are going to be profitable) We compete against these

type of businesses all the time just to watch them lowball an electrical sign job and then have to sub it out because they don't have the expierience to

complete it.

2. The timing has nothing to do with it, this is the only medium that people can communicate without knowing the other person and freely and quickle exchange

ideas and information instantly. As far as the age factor, I don't think it really plays into it nowadays, young and old use the internet (some more freely than others). BTW I'm 48 and could not operate my business without the internet

3. Fear of spreading ideas should not factor into not participating , I for one like to show others in the industry what our company can do. Time constraints are

what keeps me away from forums such as this one.

4. I don't enjoy or have time for chat rooms ( just my opinion)

5. This industry has been around way to long to worry about anyboby closing it down, yes, there has and will continue to be changes in it but most are for the

good of the industry. We (the legit companys) need all the protection we can get from the fly-by-nighters, bootleggers, or whatever you want to call them and

a good majority of them are the vinyl jockeys who think they can make a quick buck by building a set of channel letters.

Don't know if this is what kind of answers you were looking for but I would like to see you continue with the site as it can be informative.

Keep up the good work

Rightone

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Hey there,

Yeah, it's been my experience that most electrical guys in this trade are pretty "to themselves" about their part of the industry. Most are really cool dudes. Some are complete self righteous jerks and know-it-alls that hate designers. One of the favorite sayings of a formerly well known Tubebender in Seattle: He used to shut off his burners and walk toward the "head" and say, "Well, I gotta go create a Signhanger."

Oh.....And ALL of them hate architects. :P

~Gear

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Boy, ERik---you ask alot of us!! First off, I agree with Joe about Chat rooms. Timing of chat rooms for a general session, are difficult because of time zones. And then its like being in a crowded room and everyone is talking away------------not my style.

As for the issues you raise about the industry. Ours is not that more difficult than others-------sure letterheads have parties and get togethers, but I'm sure they have the same issues. No industry goes out of their way to teach their competition, and everyone feels that they have a "secret" way of doing things that's a bit faster, cheaper, better, etc. Way back, the industry was set up to apprentice someone into the trade----------and actually teach them a trade as a career. The trade off was that the company had a good, well trained individual, the worker had a decent job, benefits, paycheck, etc. Whoops, things changed. Unions became megapowered dynasties, owners became cheap, and workers became, well, instant know it alls. For those of use that can remember back to learning the business back then------------we feel ashamed of the individuals in the industry now because they weren't willing to pay the price to learn a career---instead, most today, paid little to get a job, paid little to get little knowledge and education, and worst of all, they are content with their level of incompetency. Now I'm sure that some will feel that I'm getting on my high horse---------sorry bout that. For every person taht asks a question to learn something---------correctly----------there are 100's that ask questions to just get a cheap answer so they can go on with their life. There is no reason to get better.

Trying to respond to these issues by typing is tough. When I speak of paying the price---its not money that I speak of. I used to hold seminars in my neon shop in Phoenix, closing my shop to business for several days-----to hold seminars on neon, testing, procedures, etc----------for my competition, for shops that I didn't even know. I had major mfgs come in---------and they were no holds barred question and answers periods. Sessions that were scheduled for 3 hours lasted 8. We had a great time----and it truly changed the look of neon in the Phoenix area. Why did I do this?? To help the sign industry that had given me so much.

We attempted, on another neon list, to start the International Neon Association. We had the backing--------albeit the support of the mfgs, great neon minds, etc. Hence, everyone also brought their fears and personal agendas, and the typical watch from the background and let someone else do the work. It finally died. I think its called apathy. Same as when questions are asked on the board---------and answers are given and totally ignored because---------well, my way is easier, and the product I use is cheaper, so I'll keep doing it my way. THis apathy is why the UL is making things difficult. This apathy is why merc rules are positioning themselves to cause major ripples in the sign industry. Apathy is why most sign companies don't CARE whether neon gets kicked out. It doesn't bother them. They will use LED's, FL's, cfls's or something else. This apathy is not just our industry----its everywhere.

For those of us in the neon trade, that grew up in the trade----------its a crying shame. I hurts to see pics on that other web site of that fuck and heart sign--------------its not the wording that dismays------------look at the neon!! Its atrocious---and this guy is teaching others!! Everyone is a professional arteeeeeest. Bender, installer, serviceman-------------experts, all. Think---going to a doctor. Another professional expert---------and they don't have a clue, and have as much apathy as us.

Years ago, I was asked why I care so much about the industry when the industry doesn't care about itself. Didn't have an answer. That's alsos why, like on this board, I have no problems stepping on someones toes----------and Mark and Joe do the same. My answer is I don't really care what others think of me, since most don't have a clue who I am or where I'm coming from. Its not the money that people have to pay, its the price that most aren't willing to pay to acquire the professionalism of learning a career.

So-----didn't answer your question because I don't think there is one. Getting a concensus of opinion to start a serious change to the industry------------ain't going to happen cause its too splintered.

Why do folks lurk??? Because its easier . For the ones that do reply to questions----------personally I applaud you all for the efforts given to give forthright answers for the newer folks. For the newer folks I would hope that you'll learn as much as you can from this board, and any other-------------BUT, remember, to take what you learn with a grain of sand----you have no idea who's on the other end of the typewriter and what his or her qualifications might or might not be. Would you ask money advice from someone who makes less that you??? So, why would you ask neon, or install, or service related questions from someone who knows less than you????

Now, how's that for a long rant??? Teach you to ask me to respond.

gn

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Just like to say I think this site is great. It's the best one I have seen. You are doing a great job, but it just takes time. I am from the the old school. I have been in the trade 32 years now. This communicating on the computer is new to me. But I am getting better at it. Keep up The good work your doing. By The way we will be in La Vegas, Maybe we will seen ya.

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Go Gary Go - Now tell us what you really think,lol,lol,lol,lol.... I stand behind Gary!!!

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LOL

Mr. Neon, Checkers, Geary, Phishook thank you all for finally posting. You should now have full board access, enjoy.

Mr. Neon you were a hard one to find, there is a second "Mr. Neon"

:beerchug:


You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life. - Winston Churchill

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I was born and raised in the electric sign business been around it my whole life. Ten years ago I got away from it, but it is still in my blood. Now I am looking at getting back into the electrical side of the business, and have found some information on this site useful. I have been elated since I found this board a week ago, I have enjoyed going back through the posts in the forums and reading the posts.

I like the lighter side of the forum, compared to others. As for the time we are in, many of the baby boomer's are not comfortable with on line chatting, or chat rooms. I myself have a hard time in the chat rooms and tend to stay away from them and focus on the forums. I like this site its layout and hope it continues for along time to come. :beerparty:

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LOL

Mr. Neon, Checkers, Geary, Phishook thank you all for finally posting. You should now have full board access, enjoy.

Mr. Neon you were a hard one to find, there is a second "Mr. Neon"

:beerchug:

And when a bunch of you are in Vegas, sitting around having a cocktail, before the serious partying starts---------this would make a great table top discussion------far better than typing on a keyboard.

gn

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Damn, had to type this twice--------------.

I think that too often we confuse "teaching someone our trade" with the concept of "teaching how to better our trade" It is the former that sends folks into the closet trying to protect, and the latter that is killing our industry. So, we hide what we know to avoid saving what we love. Kinda ironic isn't it??? I do not proclaim that we should all rush out and volunteer to teach, and waste or time, trying to teach those that have no legitimate reason for learning this trade. If someone eveer told me that it looked like easy money---I'd say "bye". I'd be the worst of all to jump on that dream. But I dare you to tell me that you have a secret that I, nor lots of others don't know. I dare you to tell me that you are a "master" of neon------------if, in fact, you're not willing to teach for the sake of teaching. Now, again, I'm not saying that you have to teach someone your trade------------but, instead teach how to better our trade. TAke the time to offer a workshop in which you traing the servicmen and installers---------how to wire, properly load, how to service, what info you need to better serve them, i.e. tube color, kva, ma, etcetetc. Put yourself in the position of being able and willing to offer advice to your local suppliers when questions are asked of them--------knowing that they in turn can ask of you because you're willing to "teach" and better the trade. Put yourself in the position of taking a day, having your competitors over, getting to meet your competition, and seeing that you're all facing the same shit. I've had 14 competitor benders in my shop-----------having a great time learning, and asking stupid questions that we think we know--------------only to find out that, well, we weren't even close. Did I worry bout them stealing my customers---------not a chance. Did it open up a line of communication, absolutely. Could we discuss pricing issues, absolutely. And some found that they were going to put themselves out of business cause they thought they were making money by doing it so cheap. Thru talk they learned that pricing of the product is only one part of the equation. Thru talk they learned that the quality of the product only benefited the industry. Thru talk they learned that we can compete as frinedly competition. It's wholesome living when a competitor could call, and have a need of a dozen sticks of a certain color to finsih a job-----------and know that it was available.

A legacy is when you're dead and others say "well, he took all his secrets to the grave with him". When you look at your past, and you remember those around you--------------you will always remember the ones that taught you everything you wanted to know, without asking in return if you were going to screw them when its over.

Or, a legacy is when you're dead and others say "well, he died after teaching and sharing with so many that his art lives on.

Tough choice.

gn

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Gary,

I like your last post best. As a person looking from the outside in, with little to no electrical sign experience whatsoever, I have to say that it is a completely overwhelming endeavor to even consider learning the trade. Being a hands-on person, the task seemingly becomes further unobtainable considering that I'd like to be able to learn how to do all of the differing aspects of everything I do, myself :dizzy: These things coupled with the fact that obtaining the proper state licensing to be able to legally conduct such business is a feat in itself. Also, many sign shop owners have not worked several years under another owner who can vouch for their competency becomes a hurdle in itself. Many of these signshop owners are 1 man operations that don't do installs, and therefor are not familiar with sign codes and the dealings with landlords, property managers, and city officials.

These things may all be deterents to bringing fresh blood to this site, or similar sites that are specific to electrical signs, and may be correlated with the low involvement factor.....However, it may be these very things that keep this area of the industry free from many of the hacks that inhabit the vinyl and digital printing phases. The commitment level just to learn it is obviously higher, and hence the price to be paid by those who are interested in learning and being successful is also higher. I'm certain you'd see a lot more doctors in this world if it only took a 4 year degree to become one. Instead, doctors must endure some of the most rigorous training in any industry, anywhere. Therefore, the numbers are fewer, and in some terms they become an elite group. I believe that you guys are part of a similar "elite" group whether you want to believe it or not. When I talk to Erik about some of his past experiences in the industry, I am practically in awe of his knowledge, as well as his commitment to keep on keeping on in the industry. I realize that every industry has its hacks, but from the outside it seems to be less of a prevelant issue here.

As for teaching outsiders, or potential competition, I like to look at it in a more optimistic way. Commitment level is pretty easy thing to evaluate. IF you find someone in your area that has displayed significant committment to learning the trade, then by all means I feel they should be embraced. It goes a long way into building a power team, and who knows when they may be able to contibute back to you in some other way in the future. If you go into a realtionship with distrust and skepticism, then thats probably what your going get back. The old saying "to think is to create" is ever prevelant in such dealings with others.

Anyhow, I thank all whom I have gleened nuggets of knowledge and wisdom from on this site, and especially thank Erik for his contribution in running the site, as well as teaching me lots of new things in an niche of the sign industry I know very little about.

Guido

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Erik,

Started this early this morning and never finished till a bit ago - mostly repetive with what has already been said.

Other areas of our industry such as Vinyl have more cohesiveness amongst its members because of the low barriers to entry. Looks at the membership of these sectors, it is huge. The neon sector of the industry is no longer a closed door but open wide. Knowledge transfer is wide spread, but spread poorly.

Generations: Compare the two generations. One works hard and earns what they have – the other generation has a different work ethic and expectations. Granted this is a generic statement and there are exceptions but people are simply lazy in the X generation. You have more input from the Baby Boomer generation because they take pride in what they do and care about their livelihood.

Is it fear of spreading ideas to your competition? Is

I doubt it since modern day competition appears to be price driven. Who needs quality when the expected life span of a small business is less than five years and large business “modernizes” about every seven years? In my opinion too many what they do is simply their job and it is viewed as just that. When the end of day bell rings they go home and forget about their livelihood since what they have accomplished during the day is “acceptable.”

I've never met a more "hush hush" crowd than those in this part of the sign trade, whether it's here or in my own backyard. One big tool I thought would be largely used is the "Live Chat room" and I'm shocked to find it never used.

Have you ever met a neon bender that did not carry a large ego? Even the amateurs consider themselves master benders! They know it all!

With restrictive legislature on the horizons based on false information, power consumption, unfounded Mercury falsehoods closing our industry down I'd have thought more communication would be about and not a lack of.

Well stated but look at the population size of the neon industry as compared to vinyl or LED’s. Cabinet making, glass bending, processing, installation and other aspects of our industry require years of practice and expertise before an individual may be labeled as a craftsman. Yes, many of us can weld aluminum together but there is no way we can achieve the level of craftsmanship that an experienced welder can attain. The problem is the level of “adequacy” that our industry accepts. I met with an owner of a large cabinet shop the other day and a comment he made was “Freddy, all I have is helpers, I can not find experts.” I believe this statement sums it up.

Additionally, the components of our industry are becoming commodity based. When was the last time you saw any advancement in the fabrics of our industry? We haven’t, thus the threads of an old reliable industry begin to ravel. Even if a revolution was on the horizon, it most likely would not be implemented since the membership of our industry is small, preventing fast large profits (American mentality). Just look at our manufactures and suppliers…. Instead of banning together to support a common cause they are diversifying their product lines to increase their longevity amongst the marketing and profitability curve.

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I have enjoyed reading what items have been posted. I was lured here from another forum site and have very much enjoyed my stay. I am new to the electric sign industry, basically I did not want to turn work but also wanted to learn the electrical side. Probably know enough to be dangerous. Have several question but little time to devote to learning. Locally maintenance and repair shops are not open to their "secrets" so why not joina forum where that is the discussion. Maybe I am stupid, but I love learning new things. This site has helped me a lot, mainly relaxing in the arcade. I just think more members who are not afraid of sharing tips and tricks.

As far as lowballers in this industry, I guess a lot of people are afraid of Electricity and don't want to bother. The other thing is if you can buy a plotter for 1500.00 and cut and stick some vinyl your a sign shop, but the same joe can't think several years down the road and purchase a bucket truck, crane, and other tools along with insurance. So I don't believe the market will ever get flooded. But from experience it is hard to get in a market where one company has a monopoly and has had one for decades, but slowly I am getting a few jobs here and there, just have not quite found the competative edge.

By the way Spent ten years building traffic and Highway signs throughout the Southeast - went to work for my self in 2001 (Traffic Signs and Vinyl) - Bought a Bucket truck in 2004 under a separate company with a partner to help with maintenance and installs, became sole owner in 2006 - Began some web development in 2006 to hopefully help our industry and of course eventually make some money - Currently run a retail sign shop, produce traffic signs for municipalities and other DOT contractors, got into Large format in late 2004. Just lost of thing to look after.

Long a short of it - I enjoy the site, wish much success for all who try to better the industry.

I love the USA - Capitalism rules

Lots of rambling - one day I may have another real question mater of fact may post one know.


Tony

M.S. Industries Inc

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I have not read some of the more lengthy post all the way through.

I grew up in the electrical sign trade, I am a Florida State Licensed Electrical sign Contractor.

I have many friends that work in the electrical sign trade. The vast majority either don't have any computer skills or have no interest in learning the trade beyond what they know now.

We have 11 field people employees. I am the only one who carries the codes (pdf on my pda). 3 of us know how to use a computer. I am by far and away the most advanced in the company.

Shop people use computers. But, they never go to sign sites...

I spend a decent amount of time on forums. I am an admin at vBulletin forums. I never see much productive conversation in the chat feature. I post or PM.

As far as teaching others. As a teacher of many I have never had to worried about my students. I have met a couple of people with that attitude though.

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Gary and Freddy have shared many points that, in my opinion, are right on the head. At the same time I could offer my kindest viewing of my two middle fingers for some of what was written, only because I know of my journey to were I am in my life and career. However I cannot disagree with what has been said either, as I get to see on a daily basis the ignorance, lazyness, unwillingness, non common sense, etc, etc.

The questioning of industry support was brought up, the lack of industry support in Vermont supprised me. Who knows how many shops are screwed because they dont have the means to go through all the red tape to be able to keep making their product. I am sure that some were members of sign organizations. They were let down and left to hang. Betcha those companies are happy to have spent the money to become members (active or not). And what about the suppliers and manufactures, where were they? If those organizations were involved, they might consider getting better debaters. But you know, the ignorant get to rule the world if the knowlegable dont stand. Maybe Vermont is just not a big enough market to worry about

As for the site,,,you damn well that this is probably the best site running right now. Because of the way you run it, it is free flowing, infomative and sexy.

I have found through my own personal experience that if you can come across as really wanting to learn folks will open up their arms to you and let you in. So I dont think there is a big problem of retaining trade secrets (I guess for me anyway). I have found the neon trade specifically to be one that you cannot sit on your ass and expect to 'get it'. You have to move and ask and try and screw up and on and on.

Ok it is getting late and I am losing my train of thought. So in short, you have a good site that from what I see continues to grow. The chat room I did not think to take off well. Personally I rather to use the different sections to post. For the most part things are replied to fairly quick. Plus Gary had a valid point of time zones. As for the sign committees and organizations, I have never been one to count on anyone else to take care of me. I am accountable to myself alone. I think it comes to the younger and new people in the industry to get things done. You either do your part or you sit back and watch it go away.


TEastin

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Gary and Freddy have shared many points that, in my opinion, are right on the head. At the same time I could offer my kindest viewing of my two middle fingers for some of what was written, only because I know of my journey to were I am in my life and career. However I cannot disagree with what has been said either, as I get to see on a daily basis the ignorance, lazyness, unwillingness, non common sense, etc, etc.

Travis, my man----you lost me on what you were proffering your two middle fingers for???

gn

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