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Well the Community Organizer of Signs Of The Times Magazine is asking people of the sign industry to find a way and support it. What a good question, the Sign Hugger is all over this one too.

"....sign companies support vendors and product manufacturers who support the industry.

So, I suggest you put some feet to the fire. When you attend the Sign World show, ask the exhibitors if they’ve contributed to the sign industry. If yes, thank them. If not, ask them why. Yes, it’s been a tough three years, and charitable contributions have suffered exponentially. Association memberships are a very good start, but they’re not enough. If you can’t support the industry that supports you, what can you support?"

I wonder what he wants OTHERS to do, that of which he SHOULD be doing?

I know he thinks he supports the sign industry through his magazine, performs a platform of information exchange, but in the way the electric sign industry needs to be served, he fails to meet those needs. He serves/supports only The International Sign Association, his advertisers, and the large National Sign Companies. When it comes to the smaller shops, suppliers / Distributors, Neon & Fluorescent lamp manufacturers, all which is the larger makeup of the sign industry he either doesn't ask the tough questions, doesn't want to get involved, or chooses to purely only support what supports his interests and his magazine. Sadly to say and being quite frank, some of you may not want to hear this BUT, the majority I just named is faceless, voiceless, and isn't organized with each other and it's left to do nothing more but follow, and that's what they want you to do. It's easier that way, it's an easier crowd to sell to.


You see, they want you to believe you're the "Movers and Shakers" so you'll clap your hands at them, and feel good doing it. But that's just a marketing pitch for you to feel good about yourself, and that you're a integral part of what makes this industry work. It's true, but only if YOU believe and do what your nicely suggested, or believe what you're being told.

Now, they have to clap for themselves to get it rolling, that's marketing, that's the setting of the stage.

I think this site has done a very good job of supporting what is REAL in our industry, carving through all the misnomers, myths, and false marketing claims. Matter of fact, you merely support this industry in a large way by merely logging in and participating. BUT, YOU....have to participate. We have too many people "comfortable" riding in the passenger seats of this carriage, with too few horses actually pulling the cart.

We got some strong horses pulling, but too many people just enjoying the ride.

Maybe what the Community Organizer is talking about, getting "involved". I don't think you need to only support and buy from Vendors who spend money to be at a convention, or be an advertiser in a magazine. I think you need to support those manufacturers that sell based on Integrity, honesty, and real quality products that sell themselves, market with facts, THAT helps our industry, and THAT displays our industry in a great light to sign users, not ones who just "Market" We have too many marketers in our industry, I know our industry IS about Marketing, but NOT BAD marketing. Our Industry alone has too many people in key or leadership role/positions that are marketers, Marketing = Something executed but never explained. They just want to collect and move on, sort of like those fly by night sign companies who only sell on cheap statements. They just want to Bullshit their customer, throw up a sign and collect a check, never look back on what they sold or what will/can happen to in the next year.

I get emails and phone calls from topics and threads I start, or from topics others have started, but it's harder to get those individuals to openly express in the public what they tell me. Why?

Share something, Gripe about something, Rant about something, Tell US about the new project you did, Tell US worked for YOU and what didn't. You all are only going to get back what you put into it.

In the last couple of years this board has made a difference by "holding feet to the fire" as the Community Organizer put it, let's make a bigger difference now and create a bigger change. The Trade Magazines like the Community Organizer, and the empty suits in the Sign Associations won't do anything about the REAL problems within our industry because it'll hurt their pocketbook. One of our biggest issues when it comes to our industry has been the cheapening and the whoring of our industry. It's been caused in a couple of ways, In a lot of ways by our trade magazines and in a lot of ways by our associations. The thing they both have had in common is the Omission, to acknowledge or act. There are a couple of theads that have downgraded it, but let's focus for now on an integral part that WE can fix right now, something that can have a quick fix. But it requires "Participation" on a grand scale.


Starting January 1st, 2012. Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE demand a deposit or payment within 30 days of invoice from the National Sign & Service Companies AS WHAT IS REQUIRED BY MOST STATE CONTRACTORS LAWS.....or DON'T do the work. Stand your ground, have the fortitude and deny the work.

National Sign Companies, this goes out to you.

There are a lot of you that are good companies that pay on time, and there are a lot of you that abuse your suppliers and subcontractors. We know who both of you are. Let's have the best of you continue to pay on terms or pay a deposit at initiation. Let's look at who has good reviews on our National Sign & Service Review List

WHILE denying the worst of you OUR ability of hard work in a timely manner, to help you serve YOUR clients needs, your further requests will fall on deaf ears leaving you alone to complete something you probably shouldn't even have in the first place.

The Sign Associations won't EVER help us in this matter because they've combined both Sign Suppliers and National Sign Companies in a annual summer summit and they're too worried about membership fee's based on employee count, these Nationals pay their lunches, and if you think an Association will EVER attempt to discipline their members with breaking their Code of Ethics/Conduct whether it's their high paying member or their Chairman, forget about it! You have a better chance of Magic Mouth forward thinking on honest marketing. You should ask, has a large national member ever been suspended or booted?

NOW, I've been doing my part by not even taking on calls from National Service companies in the last 3 years, as I believe this work should return to the local contractors, and I won't let them dictate to me how much to charge for gas and travel, or how much to charge for components and time

Anyone want to play the serious game of Chess, or do you want to continue to waste time with checkers and hound your money and BEG for it???

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

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Just looking at it from the other side of the fence...

If you are going to take this vow - one which i will support in my company - You need to also vow to do the following:

If you want to be treated like a professional contractor you need to be professional in every aspect of the word.

Show up on time as promised.

Stop making promises you have no intention of keeping.

Communicate accurately and honestly.

Take care of the product like its you would want someone to do for your product.

Get your paper work and photos in promptly without thirteen follow up phone calls.

Don't disappear once you get the deposit. Better yet put the deposit in an escrow account to prove good faith.

I think we all suffer from an industry that is plagued with sub par contractors - both locally and nationally. I just think if we are going to vow to do anything as a group we should first agree to make this industry the most professional trade on the jobsite. Instead we are often viewed as something less then the cable guys. That's a shame too - we really are the most multi skilled of all the trades that visit a job site.

Again Just looking at this from my side of the fence.

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Just looking at it from the other side of the fence...

If you are going to take this vow - one which i will support in my company - You need to also vow to do the following:

If you want to be treated like a professional contractor you need to be professional in every aspect of the word.

Show up on time as promised.

Stop making promises you have no intention of keeping.

Communicate accurately and honestly.

Take care of the product like its you would want someone to do for your product.

Get your paper work and photos in promptly without thirteen follow up phone calls.

Don't disappear once you get the deposit. Better yet put the deposit in an escrow account to prove good faith.

I think we all suffer from an industry that is plagued with sub par contractors - both locally and nationally. I just think if we are going to vow to do anything as a group we should first agree to make this industry the most professional trade on the jobsite. Instead we are often viewed as something less then the cable guys. That's a shame too - we really are the most multi skilled of all the trades that visit a job site.

Again Just looking at this from my side of the fence.

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You're right, and the other side of the fence must be well represented. A point I failed to bring up, but has been well stated in the past by a few nationals who had a few subs complain about them.

I think we've all seen the pics of national account signs that were installed by what looks like obvious hacks.

If I were to ship a sign out to be installed I would want pics of every single primary and secondary connections plus much more, anything that woe possibly cause an issue that my sub could alter

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

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Guest larry.presley

Although articulate, you seem clueless. Why not insist that the sign buyers adhere to the same terms? Have we forgotten who we all serve? This is why we use only reliable installers that get the sign up on time and provide all the required pictures and paperwork in a timely manner.

Our subs aren't necessarly the cheapest people to work with, they are just the best. It sounds like you are having trouble providing the service the national sign company has assigned to you. Because of the long lead times reqired to permit and manufacture signage (approximately 60 days) there is a longer waiting period between execution and payment. In short, we're more akin to the construction industry than a boutique industry. Are you underfinanced?? Why won't the banks lend you the proper capital necessary to run your business?

This is the business we're in. If you don't recognize this, you should open up a storfront and sell vinyl off the shelf--cash and carry. Don't take any orders from any company that doesn't pay within the specified terms. But, don't try to redefine the lead times and requirements of the end user.

Taking your suggested action will eventually result in no business. Only well financed quality installers can compete and suceed in this market.

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Larry, so you are of the opinion that subcontractors should be used and open their own line of credit for the primary? I can tell you in my state of California, the primary has 30 days to date of invoice. It's the primary contractors responsibility to secure a line of credit/or working capital to get their jobs completed assuring all suppliers and subs are paid fully even BEFORE they are fully paid by the end client. The end client is obligated to pay the primary within 30 days final invoice provided they are assured by lien releases that all subs and suppliers have been paid, however their terms were, deposits/progress payments. This is a measure often skipped by subs and suppliers (their fault)

That is law, this law applies in most states, liek WA, AZ, TX, CA, etc etc. Not only is it contractors licensing laws which can be mt with suspension of license but it's the business code too. Every license carrier who took the test, knows this.

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

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Once again, I find your aim and your target to be so misguided that it borders on shooting yourself in the foot, or head.

You and I both share a distain for the lack of professionalism in the industry. But to attribute this character flaw on the Sign Associations is laughable. A contractor sting co-sponsored with the Calif. State License Board and the California Sign Association (CSA) earlier this year resulted in netting 8 unlicensed "sign contractors". More of these stings are planned for 2012. Then there's standardized engineering that is being adopted by communities around the state, brought to you (at significant expense) by CSA. Let's not forget how these "empty suits" as you are apt to characterize them, thwarted the City of Los Angeles' effort to pass an overly restrictive new sign ordinance that would have had significant impacts on the sign users and the industry. In the course of negotiating the requirements of the proposed code, CSA revealed to the City how most of the signs they cited as blight and the purpose of imposing new restrictions were illegal, and have since promoted a self-financing enforcement program.

Now if any of these efforts can be characterized as protecting the Big Boys, or serving special interests, then I have not witnessed it in my 19 years on the CSA Board.

I honestly don't understand your tirade against honest, hard-working volunteers who are only trying to improve what you claim is so wrong with the industry. I can tell you one thing, I've NEVER seen you contribute anything other than negativity. If that's what floats your boat, well you can post it here, that's your prerogative. But please don't malign those individuals and organizations that work so hard in the industry's behalf.

Wise up.

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I never tagged or "Attributed" the lack in payments to Associations. I have simply asked that Sign Associations help this industry by enforcing their own code of ethics and conduct on it's members.

IS that so hard? Should members enjoy the benefits of being an association member who can't pay their bills, or abuse subs and suppliers as a line of credit? Illegally in most cases?

It's obvious to me why Associations don't like this site, and would want nothing better to see it gone, let me amend that with Associations and certain companies. What is toxic, is business as usual. Collect membership dues from companies who shouldn't even be there in the first place.

Skip, yes sign codes and championing EMC's, blah blah blah, we know associations are there for that, after all board members are made up of those manufacturers. It's obvious you don't read much around here beyond this single thread. If you want to tell me the associations are full of volunteers that do and want nothing but the betterment of the sign industry unselfishly, pure at heart, then you must think everyone around you is stupid or YOU'RE that naive. I'm not here to sell sunshine like you, we get into the real issues. I suggest plenty of reading throughout the site, that would give you bigger feeling by the many members on this subject. Easier yet, visit the National Review Forum, and ask yourself which of those companies who "suck" at paying, abuse subs, are Association members and Assoc board member/chairs.

What has this site done to contribute to this industry? Is that a real question? We've done what the trade magazines and associations WON'T do, and getting to the truth about the marketing bullshit on light sources, something you claimed we "Shamelessly do" here. We have dispelled many, many articles with facts and figures that show the opposite of what's being claimed. We run the only benchmark light source testing for all who want to see and observe, again, something you all fail to do which can be used as a industry standard for your CEC and other meetings. We have the only review list of primary contractors. Most of all, it's a platform for all to speak their mind, give a loud voice to those who might not fit into the certain "mold".

Do any Associations provide any of this? Or does it get in the way of certain agenda's? Conflict of interests?

This is obvious finger wagging at all those who participate here, "how dare we question our leadership".

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

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Interesting thread... Man, I wish I had time to really delve into this site! We are a small service and installation company that started from the ground up 16 months ago. Got our state license, bought 3 nice sign trucks, tried to hire "a few good men" that knew what they were doing :crazy: and went after some business. We are doing very well in my humble opinion for only being a player for a little over a year. However, the longer I am in the sign biz, the more BS I am seeing and learning that I wish I didn't see or know. We, just like many small independent sign installation sub-contractors, are having problems getting paid in a timely manner from national companies or sometimes getting paid at all. We have a large project that we completed about a month and a half ago to the tune of $38,000 dollars worth of time and material that we have a PO for and the "sign company" ( I would love to drop their name but, since it's in litigation, I cannot) is refusing to pay. Period. The owner was onsite for the majority of the install, but "they can't justify the time we spent on the job and how do we know you had that many guys out there on the site?" REALLY? Are you kidding me? They put us together from the word go. So, now we are having to sue them to try and get some of our money back. Three weeks worth of payroll. A lot of it after hours time and a half and over $4,000 worth of materials used on the install not to mention the months worth of rental on the lifts.

I guess what I am trying to say is that our company policy has already changed, we won't be waiting until January 1st. If we have not done business with you before or you have paid slow in the past, we will be requiring 50% down and net 30 terms. We will have a contract for you to sign stating our terms just like you have a PO stating yours. I find it laughable how some of these companies want to dictate to us what we are going to get paid and how long they are going to take to pay us. AND, if you make ONE little error on their PO criteria... Good luck getting paid at all. Most of the national companies require full payment from their client BEFORE the signs even ship! Why can't we get our money or at least half of it upfront as well? Can you say hypocritical? We are very well financed but I have to agree with some other posts, why is our money getting used and tied up with no apparent line of credit from companies that do not pay on time? It affect everyone's cash flow in a negative manner.

I understand both sides of the fence, there are a lot of hacks out there that do a super crappy job, or maybe don't even finish the project at all or maybe take your money and become scarce, but we are not all that way and do not wanted to be treated in the same manner as some "wanna be" sign installation company. Hell, do the same research we do. Look on Sign Search, read the comments. Look thru these types of forums. I do. What's the first thing I do when I get an opportunity to quote an installation for a company I am not familiar with? I look on Sign Search and will be checking the National Sign, Service & Associations List on this site from now on.

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The message here is don't be seduced by large sales to big firms. Put your policy in place and enforce it. And until you put your foot down, your outstanding balance of debt and risk will continue to grow. A painful lesson learned.

You nailed it exactly!! They dangle the work because they know most contractors are not running at full capacity and that it will look inviting on the surface. But then the fun starts with the overdue invoices, the excuses and sometimes no pay at all in the end. This is the game and it is perpetuated because many continue to take the bait instead of holding firm as you suggest. Unfortunately, I think there will be many painful lessons inflicted and learned in the future. It is a shame that it works this way...........

"Don't be afraid to see what you see" - President Ronald Reagan

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The shame is that most sign installation companies won't actually put their foot down and say "WE'VE HAD ENOUGH" even though they talk about on this forum. They are scared that they won't get that call anymore and they "need" the business. It is going to take all of us acting together to make a change like that in this industry. It will not come easily.

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      Some are of the opinion that this will "Stifle" relations/eschange of information between government and the public sector. The OGE is quoted as saying:
      Under the new proposal another issue being addressed is the "Registered Lobbyist" or "Lobbying Organization". While trade associations are calling on the OGE to categorically exempt Trade Associations from this definition, many believe this exemption is NOT justified. The OGE is quoted as saying:
      The proposed rule did add some exemptions of lobbyists, and that's for Institutions of Higher Learning, Nonprofit Professional Associations, Scientific Orgs and Learned Societies. The OGE has said it acknowledges that certain WAGs provide educational and professional developments that may further agency interests, ” there is often a cozy relationship between these organizations and industry groups"
      More than 400 Trade Associations have sent their comments and concerns similar to ISA's Letter attached.
      Many business's are outraged with the Obama Administration for the proposal, "its a slap in the face" to business. This is odd, I thought Earlier in the year Lori Anderson of International Sign Association who wrote this letter to reconsider was orgasming over Obama's Apperance at Gelberg Signs, AND quoted as saying.
      What happened? Many that run this Association have been for government meddling in the public sector, OSHA, Cap & Trade. Why the outrage?
      What else does this proposal prevent?
      • limits on the amount of money lobbyists and their employers can spend on public officials
      • Gone are free tickets
      • golf outings
      • social trips
      • regular one-on-one dinners with lobbyists
      The Lobbying culture is upside down right now.
      What will this mean for our Sign Industry, for you and I?
      Well, if we look at the history of Associations and Legislation in the bigger picture outside our associations fighting signs codes and EMC's for their constituents fellow board executives. It might not mean a Damn Thing! It might be better for us as a industry, and as a country?
      If you think about it, what will it do? What have our associations done for us except the two points listed above when it comes to regulation? In the past our Associations like International Sign Association, California Sign Association just roll with CA Title 24, Demand Response, the Energy Commission Decisions, OSHA and have just about managed to turn all of those into programs and seminars. Now we see a promotion of UL-E or UL Green Leaf as something of Non-Fiction.
      You're all a bunch of children, get in line. They will make you a lunch, a snack, pat you on the head and send you off for schooling, and whatever else is to come.
      Maybe some distance from government and bureaucracy and undoing of some cozyness will somehow benefit US! I can't say for certain, but if these associations just attend meetings with government to figure out a way to turn it into a program instead of doing what's right and fighting for freedoms and liberties then this new proposal/law from the OGE, can't hurt. Maybe something they don't like is somehow a benefit for you and I? I mean, if you're not going to make useful, with the time and resources you have, what loss will it be?
      We live in an age where there it too much cozyness between public and government sectors, whether it be crony capitalism, Government and insider trading, bailouts. Just my opinion, but I think it will benefit us all not just our trade if we all just stay on a first name basis, and not cozy up.
      We live in an a age where money talks, and ethics walk. Sometimes membership money drives, program profit farming are more important that our own ethics of doing what's right when it comes to protecting the reason why you're there in the first place. Oh I don't know, disciplining board exec/chair members and assoc. members who are in ethics violations.
      Now, don't get me wrong, this new proposal may have some negative effects for us, but does it out way the possible benefits?
      Just my thought for the day, I thought I'd share
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