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Kgirl Kgirl


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jamesw001 last won the day on May 2 2016

jamesw001 had the most liked content!

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About jamesw001

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    Signs Manufacturing
  • Job Title
  • City & State
    Dallas, TX
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  • Company Type
    Full Service Shop

Quick Company Info

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  • Address
    4610 Mint Way, Dallas, TX 75236
  • Equipment
    Multiple lifting/bucket trucks up to 80'. Several crews.

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  1. We're a UL shop but lately, due to Covid-19, our UL Inspectors have stopped coming. Instead, they want us to go through and provide all of the photos, labels, product info, etc. for them. Send it to them (at their house, I'm sure), and that's their "inspection." But no discount. It's a tremendous amount of work for us, which makes them even more expensive to work with than before! Looking into MET and ETL now to see if that's a viable option.
  2. It is okay to bleed red ink all over their contracts before sending it back to them. I do that with almost every one. You've got to protect yourself and if their contracts are so one-sided that they put all of the liability on you, fix it before sending the signed contract back! Then, if it's a company that requires you to sign every single PO they send to you, save a copy of the marked up contract in a file so you can send it back (with a new signature and date) with the new PO they send you just to make sure they didn't add anything funny to it. That sure beats having to re-read every single contract every single time you get a little service job! Just because they send it to you that way doesn't mean you have to accept it. It's a contract and you need to make sure it is a fair deal for both parties. That includes their, usually ridiculous, "budget" amounts. Those crazy-low numbers are just a negotiation ploy designed to get you to work for pennies. That doesn't mean you have to accept it if you want the work. Change it to what the job is actually worth and send it back. You'll usually get it ... if you're a good company that they want to work with.
  3. Has anybody had experience with this product and can attest to the durability of the material used in it? I'm concerned that cutting holes in the material for all of these springs will result in early tears and failure of the product. We use F-clamps and are very happy with how well they work but I feel they are time intensive, especially if you're having to change out a face later. I'm looking for a better system. Any recommendations are welcome. Thanks!
  4. It can certainly be a huge headache. I recommend high turnover until you get the good employees you want to keep. Then give them a reason to stay with you. But you have to pay them what they are worth. That can be hard because there are so many "bargain bin" sign companies out there that routinely price themselves into poverty because they cannot figure out how much of their revenue should go towards paying their employees. I'm sure it's the same reality as any other industry. Charge what you need to charge in order to pay what you need to pay to keep those good employees you want to keep.
  5. Very good point. We stopped letting our people borrow the company truck for a similar reason. One of them never returned it and the police told us it isn't stolen because we allowed him to take it. That was quite the eye opener for me. I've also had problems with (former) employees that I allow to use the shop stealing things, or their buddies who come to help stealing things. We have everything on security camera nowadays, but it's still a huge hassle.
  6. I agree with you about companies that install signs without a permit. They are just hoping the check clears before the City notices it ... then they can start blocking the customer's calls. It happens. The City of Dallas Chief Building Official was talking to me about four weeks ago about a company that installed a big LED sign right off the highway without getting a permit. The City has restricted LED signs quite a bit (in a ridiculous manner, if you ask me) and this LED sign was not legal under the current ordinance. He wanted my opinion on what it would take to pull the sign down. I came across another one on the southern part of the City where we needed to change a face on the sign and I was shocked that they were ever allowed to install the sign so close to the property line. So I pulled an Open Records request (it's easy to do in Dallas) and found they never did pull a permit. Yet another time, in Arlington, I was called out to service a neon sign (this was a few years ago) and when I got there everything was exposed, no conduit, etc. Well, Arlington does on-site inspections so I called the Inspector (great guy, we've dealt with him for years and he's always been incredibly helpful) and asked him how this managed to pass inspection. He told me they never got a permit in the first place. The part that bothers me the most is if that customer came to me asking for a sign I wouldn't get the order because I know I can't permit it. The dishonest guy gets the order but the customer ultimately pays the price.
  7. There are several Cities around here that require landscaping with monuments. The problem, of course, is that we aren't landscapers and have no interest in discussing different types of plants and arrangements with our customers. So, we leave the landscaping up to them. But then the City holds our permit hostage, and ultimately our license, until the customer gets their landscapers to do the work. But, since they alrady have their sign, they aren't very motivated to pay that landscaper just because we tell them they need to. Same problem with electrical. The City holds our license hostage until the Electrician finals out their part of the job, and there's nothing we can do about it. I don't really have a solution other than subcontracting the landscaping and electrical, which is a hornets nest of problems. Either that or just don't bother getting a permit in the first place (which is what an increasingly large number of sign companies are doing).
  8. I remember a seasoned Inspector from a big City around here, who I generally like and respect, telling me we had to put a J-box on the front of the wall next to flush-mount channel letters in order to meet these requirements. We had a long conversation before he finally allowed me to put a lockable switch on the back of the wall. Then again, this is also the Inspector who told me their City won't red tag an illegally installed sign, that was put up without a permit, because "it has already been installed." Figure that out... That's par for the course for almost every City in the DFW metroplex anymore.
  9. I'll 2nd Paul and Steve. I find that repossessing the sign goes a long way, but be sure to charge them for all of your time to repossess and re-install the sign. I always make that clear before I remove the sign that if I have to send trucks out to repossess it, they're paying for all the work I'm putting in to collecting. It works. Liens sometimes work, and they're fairly easy to do. Always, always, always collect at least 50% up front. If they don't have money in it, they don't care about what happens. Be wary of customers who tell you that price is no object. That's what a scammer will tell you. Sometimes that's true, but half the time price is no object because they don't plan on paying you anyways. ALWAYS collect 50% up front. It's not just a deposit, it's earnest money ... their commitment to you that you're not wasting your time doing drawings, permitting, etc.
  10. I would love to know what the best way to build a sign with a flex face, both economically and mechanically. We have used F-clips for years and really like them except that the retainers have to be so big to conceal the clips. We've run into CTS clips before but never built a sign with them. Are they reliable? Reasonably priced?
  11. Great article. I've had issues with LED retrofits in lighted sign cabinets because the LEDs will cast shadows on the faces if there is anything at all between them and the face, even a frame for a flex-face sign. That's not a problem with fluorescent tubes because of the way they cast light in all directions.
  12. I reported an exposed neon sign here in Arlington, Texas that was wildly out of code and the City told me "well, they got a permit so there's nothing we can do about it." This is in a City where they do a final inspection ... so how on earth did it pass?!? How do companies get away with this? I can't imagine, if I ever had the inclination to try this kind of thing, that I would get by unscathed. Heck, I just got hit with a red tag because the drain holes were not big enough! (FYI, they actually were big enough but a metal filing on one of the letters was laying on top of the hole so it looked too small.) Only those that follow the rules are affected by them. If you don't follow the rules are then it doesn't matter how out of control they get.
  13. Every year I go on the hunt for software to keep track of our production, and of a large number of projects at the same time, and I always come up empty. I'll keep on eye on this thread...
  14. Regarding sign products from China, the issues we have always seen is quality control. Every company says they have "best quality" but in reality they have zero quality control. Every product you order has problems, and every one is different from the last making them incompatible. Chinese companies will change what you order without telling you and just expect you to be okay with it. Their warranties are worthless, as you can't ship any "used" products in to their country, so it's impossible to take advantage of their warranties. There's a tremendous time delay when dealing with China. You ask a question, they respond the next day (usually not even answering your question but instead asking you something that you've already answered in a previous email). If you have a liaison that speaks the dialect and can be a middle-man that is great if your middle-man knows the product and problems and can ask the right questions. Otherwise, every time you want to talk to them you have to set up a midnight meeting and pay your middle-man to translate for you. It's really hard to provide a quality product if you're ordering it from China, and it's near impossible to do it in a timely manner and keep your customer from being furious at you!
  15. They don't expect to actually find anybody for $1000. That's just where they want to start negotiating. If you start at $2400 or $2800, you'll meet around $2000 and they'll be happy because you're doing work without being adequately compensated for it. If you give them your $2400 or $2800 price, stick to it. Tell them you're sorry you can't hit their number but you know your price is a good one and you're not going to do the work for less. They'll get it, you'll get it, and everybody will be happy.
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