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 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.