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Erik Sine

A thought about U.L. and our Sign Associations

De-Regulation of U.L. SAM   

14 members have voted

  1. 1. Would you like to see a our Industry Leadership take a step at De-Regulating U.L. and it's SAM

    • Yes
    • No
    • I don't care

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Just a thought.


One aspect or movement our largest Sign Association (international Sign Association) can champion for the industry since they have at least tried to do it in other areas when it comes to "De-Regulation". 


I wasn't a fan in some areas of their De-Regulation movement where they have tried to please their large membership of franchise sign shops like Fast Signs who are mainly Non-Licensed Sign Shops to get into Sub Contracting Licensed sign shops in certain states like Texas.  (Don't get me wrong...some "Fast Sign" shops were in the trade prior and just converted over to these franchises).  Biggest reason, you can't walk into a trade and buy your way in, biggest flaw, it sells away protections to the consumers disrupts accountability of Primary & Subcontractors and all those who have investments in the field and trade.  That was one movement I cheered to fail.


A BIG gift ISA can at least attempt to give back to the trade it strives for, would be trying to De-Regulate U.L. and their SAM's strangle hold on us.  It's just pay to play, let's be honest.


When I first walked into this industry in the 90's it was perfectly okay to use Non-UL SAM specific listed products.  It could have been a product that achieved approval in ANY OSHA approved laboratory.  No need for a special niche "Marking".   UL Green...FAIL.  UL LED Retrofit/conversion....FAIL


Little by little this industry and it's leadership let a Environmental Product Safety Moment get out of control, and look where we are and what it has done. 


It's helped kill existing products in our industry with exuberant added cost to maintain business, and it's killing dreams or efforts to try or invent something new.  The costs to test and maintain is ABSOLUTELY.... ridiculous.  But to say it's there for the reasons of... insert a word like "Safety",... "The Environment", or "Children" to disguise the real reason (boredom & revenue), and people shudder.  To oppose the effort or challenge the movement....you're seen as "dirty" and "non-caring"


I'd like to see not only ISA and it's foundations "educate" city divisional services about aesthetics of signs, permitting issues, EMC Boards.... but how about educating building departments about the over-regulation of U.L.  Some states are still fortunate enough to not have the over regulated requirements and as long as they see a listing lab marking...You're Good!


I would like to see, and hope for some effort in this,  small baby steps even.


Bottom line, as shops we already pay to be a UL48 Shop or other listing lab because our city or state requires it....personally it's more for lazy inspections where they just want to drive up....look for a label and sign off.  Real inspection processes open everything up and look more for NEC code than UL.  To top that, we ALSO have to pay an additional UL Fee whether we see it/know it or not when we purchase these components covered by the SAM.  Who do you think pays the UL SAM Listing Fee, the MFG or the consumer (us)...?  C'mon... Like we pass on fee's to consumers (Insurance...wear & tear), the MFG passes on their fee's and costs to us.  As you know, if that product or partial product is just sitting in our warehouse, well....



How I miss those times in my neck of the woods.  Let's not even mention "California"



  • Like 1

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

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That's one of the reasons I am in the process of switching over to MET. UL just keeps raising their prices without giving us any more bang for the buck. MET is about $1500 per year cheaper and only require two shakedowns, interruptions, I mean inspections, per year. 

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That's awesome Tim, good to see you finally made that jump.  Now I have to stop by more often and find out from you what a lot of those differences/changes are as you go along.  MET sticks more to the OSHA guidelines and standards whereas UL goes on their own tangent going far and away and as told by one of their former inspectors "out of boredom".


The cool part is MET will also accept a wide variety of listed products from different laboratories, something UL does NOT do, which means you can get lower cost components and integrate them in your wholesale signs that you produce for your customers.  They will even accept expired listed products as long as the components are safe.


They will also be there for you should you have any issues of acceptance.


Good to hear! :thumbs:

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

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This is a tough one for me.  I see pics everyday of way over the top hack work. Yet with our volume we are I think at 16 or 18 UL inspections a year.  I have looked into MET a 1/2 dozen times and still get all the answers to make me comfortable to make a change.  I would be interested in feedback from any current MET subscribers.

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I am on board with everything you have stated.  sometimes what is obvious to some, is oblivious to most... We are UL shop and what a crock!  what a hassle!  what are we supposed to do about this only part that doesn't have a "recognized" e number that has worked for us the previous 30 years but - it don't have an e #.... 😫

  • Thanks 1

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Alright, so I've been thinking about this very topic the last few days as I've been simultaneously conversing with a component manufacturer from overseas that wants to come to the US market but, those damn UL SAM Fees, file fee's..inspections, more packaging costs...niche listing fees.  Why pay more fee's when they're already paying CE for Europe???


I just got off the phone with MET Labs, a VERY good conversation.


It's been a number of years since I've talked with them and I haven't had much conversation since their head guy left to go work with ETL.


So, with all this mowing over in my head, there is a HUGE advantage going with MET labs over UL that I doubt ANY shop owner has even thought about beyond saving in annual fees.


Not only will you as a MET Shop be saving money in annual fee's..BUT guess what..


You'll be saving huge against your competition in component costs.  I'll give you an example, Trim Cap, switches, wiring, etc.  I've been in discussions with a few MFG in the last couple of months.  The biggest road block for them to stay competitive is the UL Fee for SAM.  


As for the last couple of years being involved with sign supply sales, I know what the difference in cost some of these components have had to tack on to you the consumers just to maintain in the US Market.  Cut out UL SAM fee's and consumers (Sign Shops)will be saving very pretty damn good over SAM listed product, especially on large volume stuff you have to use with almost each job


Well, I'm going to bring over products that will save MET Labs subscribers HUGE in component costs.  Products that are equal and even better than what we use here currently.


If you're a UL48 shops, guess what, you're going to have to stay paying the high price of components because the MFG of that component has to pay that UL SAM listing. 


MET shops as per my phone call verification, something I knew years ago but had to job my old mind......can use ANY listed product other than UL.


The Sign Syndicate will cater to both listing shops in component sales.  But if you're a MET shop, you're NOT only going to be saving more money annually in fees than your competition, BUT you'll be saving in component costs too. 


This is BIG!


Believe it or not, not only does UL monopolize with the SAM, but some component MFG's also "Weaponize" the UL SAM to monopolize their products.  I remember a big ordeal with GTO years back, and did it ever wind up a huge shit show that cost all GTO MFG's big in not only retooling, but more testing,  more fee's...etc...all so a particular MFG could sell his products to sign shops.  So, if you used GTO and wonder why it skyrocketed, this was why



Stay Tune!

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

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