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Erik Sine

ISA Reception for National and Custom Sign Companies - Questions that need to be asked

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I thought I would bring up a good point here since it was brought up in a few other areas like The National Sign & Service Company Review List here


ISA Networking Reception for National and Custom Sign Companies

Friday, April 10, 4:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
South Pacific F


Custom and national sign company executives are invited to join us as ISA hosts its annual Networking Reception for National and Custom Sign Companies. This popular event brings together representatives from major U.S. national sign companies with custom sign company executives to discuss their specific installation needs. This is a great opportunity for both custom sign company and national sign company executives to meet, network and potentially develop new business relationships. A cash bar will be available. Bring your show badge to enter; no separate registration is required. National Sign Companies interested in participating should contact Alicia Auerswald at alicia.auerswald@signs.org.

Partnering with National Sign Companies - Do's and Don'ts

April 10, 3:30 PM

This panel discussion will allow several speakers from national sign companies to walk the audience through what they are looking for in their partnership with CSCs. The session will include an interactive Q&A portion to allow the audience to gain clarification and perspective from the speakers on issues like winning business and building positive working relationships. Moderator: Ben Ziglin, Ziglin Signs; Panel: Jeff Young, YESCO; Melanie Jech, The Icon Companies and Tim O'Donnell, Harbinger Sign Company




I would STRONGLY suggest those of you that attend this event to raise your hand and and ask some valuable questions that I'm sure will silence the room, and at the same time educate the person you're asking AND everyone else around you. I would also STRONGLY suggest your partner, friend, or significant other could video record while you ask this question to some of the National Sign Company panelists these valuable questions.

These questions apply in most states as you know most have contractors license laws especially here on the west coast, CA, AZ, TX, NV, WA, etc etc. A number National Sign Companies and National Service Companies who have national accounts can't even legally work in most states, let alone legally execute contacts. These are a few questions that ISA will NOT bring up or address. These questions help in assisting the states who have contractors licensing laws in place to protect the consumer, the primary contractor and the subcontractor AND even suppliers.

• Do you have a contractors license in my state to legally hire me as a subcontractor? After all, only a licensed contractor can legally subcontract, AND as you know ONLY a licensed contractor can sign and execute contracts of maintenance, improvement and modifications in my state with a consumer

• Do you pay your subs according to most state contractors licensing laws mandate of 30 days?

• Some National Sign Companies abuse the state mandated 30 day net terms subject to prosecution and use subcontractors as their own personal line of credit extending them out 60 to 180 days without payment. Do YOU do that, and if I front my own recourses, cash flow, and payroll can I expect to be paid according to the legal terms?

• For large jobs do you give deposits as you have received from the consumer


PLEASE, video, ask and report back here the days after the sign expo. Curious minds would like to hear and know.....most importantly send us the video.


Better yet, if there is a panel, as you record, ask each panelist from each company to answer the same set of questions so we can display here.

P.S. - After talking to a few GOOD National Sign Companies believe me when I say, they want companies like YOU to ask & address these concerns publicly because THEY aren't the low bidder who has to find way to cut corners, and most importantly, they pay their subs on time and everyone is happy, especially the consumer

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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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Keep the doors open so they dont knock you over as they run away from everyone.

Yes it sounds real good if someone will take them on and demand answers.

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Eric, you should go and ask the questions. I would, if I was going. Just don't have the time to go.

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I would but...

I have no desire to pay for the seminar as I don't look/do this sub work and the networking takes place at the the same time our meet is . :fnd (9):


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

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They want to meet and talk about their specific installation needs.Ha

This bugs me big time.

What about the small guys payment needs.

I wish I could attend but I can't.

We don't finance these people anymore.

I am a sign company not a bank that loans money.

I still get inquiries every week and I respond with it will be xx amount of money

send the check with the sign and we will install.

Not one of them has said yes to this.

I was having a good day till I read this.

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Hi All - I think that I need to chip in with my experience in dealing with national sign companies. When I was operating my Signarama business (sold to new owners in 2013) we averaged $250,000 annually in installations for national sign companies. This was business that we actively sought out and among the nationals that we did the most work for (Everbrite, Persona, Priority etc.) graded our performance and ranked us among their top installers nationwide for communication, timeliness, quality. In the nearly 10 years that I operated the business we only had one invoice that we couldn't collect on and that was an $1800 invoice to Imagepoint who went out of business the week after we completed the job. There were several sign companies that we did work for that we had to fight with to get paid (Regency was the worst) and our policy was that if we had a hard time with them once then the next time they called we explained that we would have to get paid up front. Most of the time they found someone else to do the work and they stopped calling us.

I just want to be sure that we don't discourage new or infrequent visitors to Sign Syndicate from looking at this work as being good valuable business. As long as everyone reports the problem companies in Sign Syndicate forums we can help our colleagues avoid the bad apples and see that the good ones get the credit they deserve.

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Oh I hope it's not taken that way. Subcontract work is great if you're set up for it, I know I made pretty good money on just labor back when that was part of my thing. For some companies it's their bread and butter, and for some companies they opened themselves into become too dependent on that work and when some big companies went like image point, well....so did they.

But for some reading this that might feel discouraged, or for those who are reading this that work for a great National that makes this industry great, here are some good threads that need updating.

http://www.thesignsyndicate.com/forums/index.php?/topic/6063-now-for-the-national-sign-co-hall-of-fame/

http://www.thesignsyndicate.com/forums/index.php?/topic/6449-national-sign-company-2013-hall-of-fame/

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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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Hi Erik, I have a "what if" type of question concerning the licensing laws in CA, TX, FL, etc. that require a state contractor license to do work on signs.

It seems in my experience that the National Service Comapanies that are in another state who contract with the Chain Stores are doing so with the Chain's Home Office in another state..

The only connection is with the independent service company (Us) that is local to the store that needs repair and is licensed in that state to do the work. In your state, does this still require a state license for the contract even though the contract is executed out of state?

And all this brings up another delimma, and that is Sales Tax. My local sales tax office is now telling me that I am responsible for sales tax on the repair (parts and labor) even though I didn't sell anything to the end user. I think this is battle I'm going to lose. In one of the contracts with a National, it specifies that I am responsible for any taxes

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My best educated guess based on some case history and personal experience is that should some thing ever go wrong (i.e. Here in CA) be it injury, property damage, abandonment, OSHA, injury....... the first person in deep dog shit is the subcontractor for knowingly accepting work from a third party who is not licensed to so. This is on the CA license exam in the law aspect. The contractors licensing board will fine them, and depending on the severity, they will loose their license, or both. The party posing as a primary will go to jail, and pay a fine.

The consumer is most likely left unprotected from any kind of recoup because the only licensed party was a sub, they won't be able to claim on a bond or insurance because they weren't the primary. How it plays off out of state with the unlicensed primary and out of state consumer is anyones guess, would be the same story for an in state consumer and out of state primary.

That's why there are strict contractors licensing laws in most states, there is a chain of accountability that protects all parties, even suppliers who supply to the job, and why their are preliminary lien notices, and lien releases at the end of each job/contract/project. Part of CA law is subs MUST be paid within 30 days, or the primary will be penalized by the state contractors board.

Banks won't pay until they have a lien release and releases aren't given out until they get paid, i.e. subs/suppliers etc. They sign away a remedy or tool that they should have or never use, well then...they can loose everything that can help them get paid or loose valuable tools in court.

None of these channels / tools get used when contractors here are accepting work from out of state contractors or facility maintenance companies who have NO license. In reality, their lien as a threat to get paid by the consumer isn't worth the paper it's printed on because well, how can it when their just a sub working for an unlicensed primary, or as our legal system will call them...person posing as a "licensed contractor"

When it comes to the golden state's business code / contractors licensing laws, believe me when I say "ignorance is not a defense".

Here in California we have CSA, California Sign Association. Anyone who's been reading this board's contents for some time knows I'm no fan of them either. This important issue like a lot of others gets swept under the rug because long time association board chairs and committee members who like to play "boys club" with one another and they see it as better to play along, get along, ignore the law and not make waves have some drinks toast to one another at the annual ISA expo boys club and play some golf and NOT do what's right and just ignore the 10 foot gorilla that's in the room. The only thing CSA wants to do with anything related to the CA contractors licensing board is have it's members download and fill out their BANDIT forms and send it off to the CSLB to report some poor shmuck who's not licensed out doing work, probably putting up some plex multi-tenant sign panels

http://www.calsign.org/2014/09/fight-the-underground-economy/

But completely ignore the conduit that's pouring in all the real problems (when it's a problem) that are larger than the poor shmuck in his 76' rabbit pickup with his lumber rack made out of 2x4's.

Besides the subs who have some fault, the nationals who have some fault, forgive the consumers ignorance, a good question to bring up is....what are the Sign Associations doing or saying about it...anything??? The state associations have a bigger role to play than any other as it's happening in their own front yard, but it's not even been discussed anywhere.

Anywhere but here of course, like always :thumbs:

I don't do this kind of work, I use too and it can be good money and it can be scary when you've fronted everything yourself and you're depending on some out of state company who you can't see or have never met to pay you $30 to $50k they said they were for a job you've been doing or are in the middle of doing.

If some are happy with illegal 60 to 180 day net terms so be it I guess, but our leadership (Sign Associations), if that's what they want to call themselves should at least be taking it on, or at the least be discussing it at their related seminars to serve a warning or precaution for those who have never subbed before and looking to take on that type of work.


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

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Same old negative mantra this site has become known for; National companies = BAD, Smaller, Local companies = GOOD!

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Oh that's not true at all. If you were to read all the reviews of various companies you would see that there is a much larger content of praise for companies than there is negative.

There are more good National Sign Companies than their are bad ones. Here's a good example http://www.thesignsyndicate.com/forums/index.php?/topic/6996-signtech-electrical-advertising-american-dream-i/

There's also just as many bad apple local companies as their are Nationals, most likely more. But that's up to National Sign Companies to engage and discuss, so far to date there have only been very few instances.

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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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Absolutley not true. This site has brought many sign companies together to learn from everyone here. LEARN is the key word here. We learn how to do service and installs. We learn about different products and do they work. We learn about everything that relates to this business.

We learn about who is doing what for who. We learn about the " Good, the Bad and the Ugly " in the sign industry.

Everyone on this site has worked for every sign company out there. Some have great experiences and some have not. When everyone has issues with the same companies, then there must be a problem.

We all agree on this...........Everyone is happy when we are paid in full and on time, you and your company also.

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Same old negative mantra this site has become known for; National companies = BAD, Smaller, Local companies = GOOD!

Phil;

I have to heartily and respectfully disagree with you. This site brings clarity to the industry as it pertains to some Nationals. Some, not all, is key here.

As Paul stated, pay your bills on time and according to contract and your name will not be posted in a bad light. Everyone will be happy as he indicated. Don't pay and BS your way through the process and no one will be happy.

And just to be fair, the Sub should perform in a workmanlike and Professional manner. If not, then the National should be allowed to hold payment to the sub until the problem is rectified. But in many cases, the intent seems to get interest free financing for months as the bill is finally paid with no action other than just being late.

For the record, you company has been portrayed in a positive manner here. Maybe you should mentor some of the other Nationals who can't seem to have a check printed, signed and sent in a timely fashion.

Best


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

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I'm willing to stand corrected on my opinion, but when this post starts out with requests to ask questions that will "silence the room" and to have someone video the questions and responses it implies that the writer's goal is to ambush the national panel with "gotchya" questions.

I don't even understand the questions regarding contractor licenses. What do you care if a national has a license in a specific state or not. My company, AGI, has contractor's licenses in many states, but not all. Some states have reciprocal agreeements with neighboring states. I don't know of any sign company that holds a class A contractors license in every state. However, not every sign project requires a class A license so nationals are not committing an illegal act by contracting with a local sub. Besides, the license issue typically pertains to work done on site, not work done at a manufacturing facility located in another state.

As a national, my impression of the original post is that it reads like the same old "Us vs Them." I started working for AGI before some of you were even born (1980) and I can give you hundreds of horror stories about local installers.

I think the scheduled discussion at ISA is a great idea, but I hope it will be a friendly exchange of give and take and will be a learning experience for both the nationals and the locals. However, if some locals are looking to ask (and video) gotcha questions, then I don't hold out much hope for a good exchange of ideas.

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Here's what I did. The National Sign & Service Company Forums are completely open from now till the ISA Expo, maybe it will remain completely open after, we'll see.

My intention is not to capture a "Gotcha" moment. This topic has been discussed here on the SS in extreme excess and I can't repeat everything that's been said in all topics but the bottom line is, this is a very important topic that should be discussed. I don't have time to go over the law aspect, but anyone who has a license and went through to qualify to get one will know exactly what I'm talking about, sadly, some may not.

I can't answer for all states, so I can really only answer for mine but I do know that TX and other western states are pretty much the same. The sites aren't in anyway aimed at National Signs Companies per say, a lot of the problems come from these pop-up over night "Facility maintenance companies" who just decided to open their doors and be a broker between a licensed contractor and the consumer. In my state, and in most, it's illegal. This would be like a Home Depot clerk deciding he can broker a deal between contractor and end user to have his house re-roofed, or have his water heater changed out. Because of the laws put in place by the state to protect both the consumer and contractor, the state requires contractors to have working capital in their bank account, secure a bond & insurance (liability). They also require the contractor to file preliminary lien notices and releases once the job is completed. When you have a third party brokering a deal, that chain of accountability and tools for remedy become lost. The broker has none of these and that's why when the broker executes directly with the consumer their looked at under the eyes of the law as an individual "posing" as a contractor. The chain is broken, and everyone has a lot to loose.

The only way this is to be legal binding contract in my state is to have the consumer sign a direct contract with the consumer, or the broker is a licensed salesman of the contractor, which they will have register with the state and they get a contractor license card naming them as a salesman or rep.

There has always been discussion on primary and subs here on the SS but when the right legal measures are in place then everyone gets paid, and everyone is happy. The sub gets paid, the primary contractor satisfies their clients needs, move on to the next project

The put on video I'm requesting isn't a gotcha moment, more of something I would just like to see because I'm curious on what the reaction would be and I'm curious on what they say back. That's learning and educating, and when you raise these questions in the conversation, the room will get quite and it will stump quite a few because they think that what their doing is legal when it's not. If most companies knew the state laws they wouldn't/couldn't be stretching out their payments beyond 30 days because they would be in violation. Most of the time this happens because the primary is waiting to get paid first and using the sub as an illegal form of line of credit. It's the responsibility of the primary contractor to supply a lione of credit for the job he's contracting for.

What's also helpful as a National is to know your own remedies as a primary should a sub not fulfill their obligations and or walk from a job. There are ways to recoup from them pretty fast. BUT, if your not a licensed contractor in that state that requires one, your SOL on any of your remedies and should you decide to take it ti court in that state....you just opened up a can of worms on yourself.

My intention is not to bring about a us vs them, because this industry no matter what side of the aisle your on it's all "us". The outsiders who are not from this industry but try to shape our industry into what it's not, a commodity and not a trade are the true "them".

I don't have a bone in the outcome, because it's not my type of work but it's an important issue here on the SS.

Since we've had a review forum I have to say, a lot of companies have improved. But that has only happened because companies have risked and sacrificed their own reputation to warn other by being vocal. This board would be nowhere if it weren't for those who risk to loose, or have already lost.

There are a bunch of subs who are good and bad, BUT we also have a subcontractor forum for Nationals to list out

http://www.thesignsyndicate.com/forums/index.php?/forum/180-subcontractor-review-forum/

But so far only 2 have been thrown in. Maybe you have some suggestions? They don't have to be bad apples to be thrown in, but any input for who to put in is appreciated and it help others to know who to call and trust then contacting blindly.

My biggest complaint is that the sign associations ignore this topic well because they network and they themselves don't want to draw any attention or raise any flags is my best guess. So they will never address this issue, and it should be discussed for the reasons I mentioned in my other posts above.

In another forum/topic on this board this was originally brought up to video because from my understanding one of the panelist is notorious for abusing subs and it was suggested they ask them about payment. I just simply took it a step further and broadened it. In all honestly I'm saying to "video" sarcastically, because I know it won't happen and how silly would that look.... but it brought some needed shock value to raise or elevate my point of all this. but if it does happen I look forward to seeing what happens in that room. It's mainly me trying to have a little fun with a serious issue, not all see my dry humor.

Sometimes issues don't become relevant or brought to light until you make a fuss about it. That's what I'm doing, and hopefully it makes everyone ask themselves something they never thought of.

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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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So......

Did anyone get around to asking while they were at the show? Or maybe some just like going after that dangling carrot....lol


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

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Some interesting news to share and thought I would revamp/update this thread.

Had a "chance"lucky run in with someone who works at the California State Contractors Licensing Board, they handle/work in the complaints division.

I relayed this information and it stumped her, she had no immediate answer and I let her know what I do, also that I run this site that is filled with these kinds of complaints/issues. So she said she had to run this information by her superiors with all the various scenarios I had in mind and she will get back to me by the end of this month, she thought it was very interesting as well.

This will be even MORE interesting as she did say that an out of state hire by a primary who does not have a license DOES break the chain of accountability and responsibility between consumer and primary with a subcontractor left hired by an unlicensed contractor.

Stay Tune!


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

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You aren't holding your breath for a reply, are uou?

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Absolutely, this is the grand state of California we're talking about. Things are done VERY efficient here in this state. I'm most captured by the fact that government fixes and solves problems, so it with that that I'm without doubt this will get resolved with all due diligence with our hearts in mind!


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

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post-3-0-53047800-1445021813.jpg

Alright, so I did get an answer today and I'm going to try and get someone from the contractors licensing board to join The Sign Syndicate and chime in.

So what they said was, if ANY company, National or Service, broker or any Joe off the street who is out of state & subcontracting a licensed sign company here in California (Like most states) work to be done for their client here in California is ILLEGAL! (CA Business & Professional Code 7108.05)

The charges that the state will wage against the licensed contractor here in California is "Aiding and abetting" a person or entity that is not licensed, punishable by loss of contractors license, fines, etc

The company or individual contracting out of state and executing contracts in CA where they subcontract knowingly or not to be an unlicensed contractor in the state of California, will be charged with "posing" as a contractor, punishable by jail time, fines, etc.

This is big...

It's big not only with a lot of big contracts are illegal in the eyes of the law but big for the fact that legal contractors who are subcontractors NEED to get paid within 30 days (in most cases 7 days) of project completion, and they are NOT!

This has been a big complaint if you're an installer working as a licensed contractor for other primaries. The biggest problem is you're not getting paid mandated by the state which is the LAW, NOT however when a company or individual "Feels" like it, or pay you when THEY get paid using you as an Illegal "line of credit"


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

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Like a lot of things....it's not the knowing that there is a law, but more the question of whether it will be enforced. Obviously it has not been enforced.

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Honestly, I stumped them with the question.

I don't think they know about it, and our Sign Associations (primarily CSA for residing here & ISA secondary, but just as guilty) have done a Piss Poor job over the years of even making it public, I don't think they want it public because it steps on too many toes and interferes with relationships.

This would greatly change the relationship to their events and membership. Hell, this can get a LOT of people in trouble, a lot of FINANCIAL trouble because right now this very instant a lot of big companies are breaking the law! In a lot of ways, knowing doing that along with not even abiding by basic contractors licensing laws whether they have one or not

CSA knows this, any contractor knows this, we all knew about it when we studied to take the test, but i guess either not many payed attention to it, or didn't care to remember.

When it comes to the CSA (California Sign Association) their biggest goal when it comes to any relationship they have with the contractors board should not be about the "Bandit" program, reporting on individuals who are putting up signs illegally with no license but rather get the little guys paid and put the relationships with the big guys secondary.

I think the CSLB needs to start poking their heads around what goes on with subcontracting. Keeping CA money in CA, after all if CA companies have to pay for all the high regulation and overhead to do business here in this golden state, why should a company who pays nothing in regulation in comparison, doesn't even pay taxes as we do get the big contract and hire a CA company for the small fries? That's another way to look at it.

In reality it goes way beyond the sign industry but for all licensed contractors in general who are being hired as brokers

Has one of the biggest problems of this industry not been about companies NOT getting paid, or very late? And by individuals and companies executing illegal contracts? Or has the biggest issue been about whether a EMC board gets put up by a freeway or not?

Maybe that hammer needs to drop over a few big mis-aligned heads and others will get the picture.

This is the unspoken truth, and it won't end with this post. In fact it's probably going to be the beginning. The good companies whether their the installers or producers (Nationals) always get the shaft by those that cheat or chimp out.

I think those that participate in this line of work, working as a sub or primary need to get proactive with it, and I mean with the CSLB.


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

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