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  1. Today
  2. I don't think it is just Signs and Digital Graphics. The engraving magazine has also been closed down, I think, and they have replaced everything with one publication or maybe newsletter that will cover everything from signs, digital graphics, awards and engraving and stuff like embroidery machines, etc. It's a disappointment to me. S&DG originally had me write their articles on ADA Signs and appointed me as their "Expert" but when I couldn't any longer afford to have a booth at the NBM Show, they dropped me, although i was still listed as their resident "Expert." I had a real fondness for that magazine, since I wrote my very first ADA article for them back in 1992 when they were called "Sign Business" and that really began my career as an ADA sign "expert." I used to write for Signs of the Times, but they pretty much dropped me when I broke with ISA. However, Awards and Engraving Magazine still had me write articles once in a while, and paid me a small stipend for each article, which was welcome. Now, I don't expect to see many ADA items in the new "one size fits all" magazine, which might be on-line only as far as I know. I am getting it on line, and it's mostly just small blurbs about advertisers that pass as articles.
  3. I am fortunate in that the three full time employees left in my business after the debacles of the Great Recession followed by the LAUSD IPad scandal which forced us to refuse to do work for our major client (i.e. Los Angeles Unified School District), are really good people and when we got 8 weeks salary from a PPP loan have readily given up unemployment that was actually more than 30 hrs EFT salary for them. And, they were willing to take 30 hours rather than 40 so we could use 25 percent for rent and utilities, and also so we could write small checks for our three part time "when needed" employees who did installation. We are doing everything we can think of to bring in business, but find it unfair that we shut down as directed, and now find many of our competitors stayed open under the fiction that "signs are communication and communication is essential." The fact is, I think we are lucky to have the governor we do in California, who is careful and listens to science. California was on its way to being a disaster, and because we shut down earlier than some other states, we escaped the worst. Even though we are a huge state, and consequently have more cases than some other states, our numbers are so much lower than New York and New Jersey, as well as a couple of other much smaller states. My own residence county, Orange County, has in some ways defied the orders and had some demonstrations, and is now experiencing a higher number of cases and deaths. We just had our worst day ever. Of course we want to reopen, and hope we will still have some clients. Because our income essentially stopped -- even was slowing greatly in January because building managers were hearing about the virus, and I think put projects on hold we now have built up debt we didn't have before. We were just hanging on, and now the cliff just got a lot higher. But we have been in business 64 years so I'm not giving up without a fight. The more of companies that stay in business, the more money that will percolate through the system, and the more of us will also stay in business.
  4. Yesterday
  5. Last week
  6. Happy Memorial Day weekend Erik! I don't know about you but I'm BIG TIME ready for some R&R! Thankfully, SDS Automation has not been impacted much by COVID. We have been fully operational the entire time and have continued to install and service machines with effectively no interruption throughout Q1 and Q2 2020. But I digress, back to the topic at hand. We just made the decision to pull our advertising from SDG. Just not confident that the ROI is there considering the direction they seem to be headed. We allocated those dollars toward increasing our presence with SOTT instead. Hopefully it proves to be a wise choice. Readers will be seeing some big improvements in our ad presence beginning in June. Looking forward to some positive feedback from the industry. Have a cold one (or ten) for me!
  7. We have invoiced them on two jobs and were paid within 45 days
  8. I would never have imagined in my life time I would have seen the entire Country shut down. It is so heart breaking to hear some of the stories we are hearing. I can't imagine being in CA or MI where the Governors are just not listening and are just keeping everything closed when they have seen that opening up slowly in other States has worked with no problems. Few people had enough money in the bank or savings to last a month paying bills with no income - much less 3 months or more. The one thing that is going to be hard is to get people to come back to work! Most are making more sitting home drawing unemployment than they did working. Got an e-mail from the Governor last week saying that if I offered my employees their jobs back and they refused to come back (I never let any of mine go - been paying them to sweep the floor and clean up the yard) I needed to let the State know and they would cut off the unemployment. Sad to say, but that's the only way we are going to get some folks to go back to work. Stay safe everybody and hopefully this thing will be over soon!
  9. So at the start of this I contacted my Ins agent and asked what I had coverage wise. I have coverage for loss of business. The only caveat was that in order for this to be covered I had to be non essential and ordered by the government. I am guessing a lot of people may be getting a settlement. Along with PPP and EIDL if you applied I am thinking a lot of folks may come out ahead. On the other hand a lot of retail stores and others were barely hanging on and this was the last straw.
  10. P.S. Services is looking to add to our existing team by adding another Install Manager or Service Manager to our team headquartered in Anaheim, CA. The Install Manager will work with customers to estimate, sell and manage a portion of our install projects, as well as prepare a number of our install crews. The Service Manager will work with customers to estimate, sell and manage a portion of our service calls, as well as prepare a number of our service technicians. If you have experience, good customer service and communication skills, then we'd like to talk with you. P.S. Services (Signs, Lighting & Electrical) Anaheim, CA 92806 www.psserv.com mschmidt@psserv.com
  11. Awesome write-up, with that said, Signtech is top-notch in my book. You can tell by working with them they are trades people through and through. They are the best customer to work for as a vendor in my opinion. They produce quality signs, the PM staff is great to work with, and they are fair in all situations....even when things don't go according to plan as they do often in the sign business.
  12. Just wanted to see if anyone has any experience with this company? Opinions?
  13. The phone is ringing and customers are asking about sign removals Some are never going to open back up because of this shutdown. Some are giving up and know that they will not make it successful And some just had enough, early retirements. The question will be for many , Is how much money, time and effort do I want to put back into starting over ? Then there is the Employee problem.
  14. Earlier
  15. Curious about something. I'm in one of the worst states there is in our grand Union and there is no sign of Business Like Usual. With everything shut down, in just the last few weeks I've had about 3 phone calls from clients who have lost their business's because of $0 income, to quote them on Sign Removal. PPP, and Self-Employed unemployment isn't enough to pay bills and a lease. I've hated everyone of those calls, mainly because I've seen their venture from start to finish and excitement that was there on startup. We all know, starting something new there is risk involved. But whoever saw this coming. Anyway, it's gut wrenching at times. Was wondering if some of you have taken the same calls
  16. One day at a time here in Dallas, TX. I shut down for 1 day, the first day our State was supposed to shut down. I went to check the mail at the shop that afternoon. Everyone of my neighbors were open, and working. So I said screw it, we're working. With the exception of 1 job, all of our fab jobs were put on hold. So I decided I was getting into the Social Safety Barrier biz. Luckily with our contacts and customers, that has kept the shop somewhat busy. We're not building cheap double stick tape ones. We're fabricating like we do our signs. We still have our service/install biz that's been keeping the install crews somewhat busy. As far as seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. IMO that tunnel got a lot longer. A couple of our on hold jobs came back to life this week. But they're no longer what we originally contracted. Pole signs vanished, 1 instead of 3 signs for buildings, you get the drift... We got in on the PPP. So we've been supplementing hours with that. We'll use it when we need it to fill in any upcoming gaps. Positives? My shop is clean and organized, just like the recession times in '09-'10. Our trucks are clean, and serviced. Negatives? I won't spend my savings again keeping folks employed, covering insurance, and daily biz expenses. I've found peace with that decision if I'm faced with it. I love owning my own biz in the good and even bad times. However I'm done spending money in hopes that everything will go back to the way it was. I'm not giving up anytime soon. Things are kind of looking up, if you look real hard for the positives.
  17. This was such a huge inspirational story. Thanks for the sharing it with us Erik.
  18. This was such a huge inspirational story. Thanks for the sharing it with us Erik.
  19. Obviously I haven't been up on current events when it comes to our Brochure Magazines, and it might have gone unnoticed but apparently S&DG's is no more. The magazine like a the rest were getting thinner and thinner. They had a few good tech guys writing articles but for the most part S&DG's was the worst of the three with their advertisers writing nothing but infomercial articles and trying to dictate the industry to pass through their business and whatever they were trying to pedal.
  20. Well we can take solace in the fact that there is a market for COVID-19 pandemic related visual communications and protective gear. Floor spacing decals, POP signs, (one per custormer, etc.) and exterior "Wait in Line Here" signs. You can get an idea by just looking at all of the handmade signs in the stores and replace them with professional signage. Acrylic shielding. Acrylic boxes for ATM keyboards.Signs for buses and trains...etc. etc...
  21. We came through the recession, and although we had used all our cash resources and had finally seen our staff dwindle and had to stop providing most of our extremely generous benefits, we felt hopeful. Sadly, some of this hope was because many competitors who had badly underbid us to the point where they could not actually provide what was required to complete their contracts, went out of business. We were still standing although badly battered. Now, we hope to also survive, but again, it is sad to hear that some of our possible success in doing so will because we will have less competition. Competition always drives us to do better so we aren't happy to see good competitors close their doors forever. Because of other issues (mostly the IPad scandal at LAUSD), we have never been able to really rebuild since the recession, and have had to downsize to just a sliver of our former selves. That may serve to be a benefit now. We are down to a very small staff, used to making do, squeezed into a smaller space, nursing older equipment along and every member of our small team absolutely stellar. There is no "dead wood," no slack offs on our staff. Maybe that will save us. At 84, I wasn't really working up to my usual speed, but this has strangely energized me, and I am working as hard as I did in my "young years" of just 10 years ago, putting in long days. Yes, we do want to open up again, but we want everyone to be safe, and frankly, we don't expect a rush of business. This is going to be slow, slow, slow, and maybe 30 hours will become the new "full time" rather than just legal "full time equivalent." And maybe that wouldn't be such a bad thing. Maybe more time at home with our families, tending "victory gardens," taking walks, playing board games, zoom meetings with far flung relatives and friends, cooking favorite comfort foods "from scratch," taking personal part in our kid's education a bit more, even if they are back in class, and yes, making beer, would lead to a happier nation, overall.
  22. I have been getting some of the same replies when I send e-mails. It's really sad. Hopefully we can get this economy going again and get back as close to "normal" as we can. If we continue to stay closed we are all going to be in a mell of a hess!! If you survived the recession you may survive this.
  23. Hi Sharon, We're just south of you, deaths and cases are low over here. In fact, many who have Covid don't even know they have it, many have Covid with minor symptoms, and those who had a case of it were just sent home and recover. The ones hit the hardest which wasn't much were the elderly or those with susceptible conditions. Right now our Urgent Cares and ER's are empty, my wife who works in the ER has been pretty idle with Covid. This is a good thing because we need to open up, live life and open up our economy, those who have health concerns should of course resume behind closed doors On another note.... I've gotten a lot of newsletter bounce backs from complete companies who are now out of business along with emails with auto-reply's of "This person is no longer employed here" In platforms like LinkedIn I've seen a lot of familiar faces with "Looking for my next opportunity" on their employment title It's been sad to see. So our industry has taken a pretty big hit
  24. We have been shut down since March 20, but since we just got a PPP grant, we are officially working, mostly from home, to do what we can to pay bills, as well as more to employees. We are always slow starting in December, after the ADA work in schools and colleges is over for the year pretty much, and businesses are thinking about the tax bill due in April, and then we pick up in late April. But we had been doubly slow ever since rumors of a possible pandemic appeared in January. Frankly, I'm glad our governor in California had the sense to close down quickly. Although we have a high number of cases and deaths, that is mostly because we have such a huge population. Our percentages look much better. I don't actually think business is going to rebound quickly for us and for many other businesses. And for any business like ours that is not providing something absolutely essential, and many signs are not, or at least people don't think they are (until they get an ADA lawsuit!), it's going to take a lot of time and work to build back up again. We had never recovered fully from the recession! I think that first, businesses are not going to have money, so they will spend carefully and slowly on anything not absolutely essential. Second, I think people will be fearful of too much contact until the deaths come almost to a halt or until there is a widely available vaccine -- and of course without one, it could all come roaring back in the late fall and winter. If schools and colleges are going to be closed again, unless there is bond money to spend, they won't be doing capital improvements, including ADA signs. I now have (down from 21 before the recession) a tiny team of 3 full time employees and several part time, or "as needed" employees. I and a great guy who wanted his own company were just in the process of merging when this hit, and now that has been put on hold, since he can't get his SBA loan. He would have provided some much needed expertise and a lot of wonderful contacts in Northern Cal. My staff has a huge amount of hard to replace ADA sign knowledge, among the best in the whole country, frankly. I don't want to see that lost, but I'm just hoping and working to try to find ways to keep us going (after 66 years!) and able to pay them and our rent, utilities and vendors. Good luck to all of you out there, with pretty much the same problems and the same hopes and dreams for your companies! The ADA Sign Lady
  25. I let both of my guys go and will not be bringing them back on board when they say this is finally over. With what they are paying out on the unemployment side of things here in MD no one is going to want to come back to work and the state will slam me with asinine premium increases to cover the losses like they did back around 08. I have worked every day and plan to continue to. I have modified my business so that I can do everything I take on by myself. I will no longer do national work (other than 2 that have been great so far) since they have all said basically we are not paying you on time if at all. With all that said, not much work is coming in as of late, but with it being just me now, it doesn't take a lot coming in to pay the bills.
  26. We have done this type of work. The customer contacted the cell phone company and arranged it.
  27. Hello All, I am considering taking on a sign job which would entail working from a hanging basket ten stories up the side of a hotel building. There is cell phone company emitter and receiver equipment on top of this building, and I believe that normal procedure for workers accessing the roof is to schedule a shut down of this equipment while work is ongoing. I haven't worked around this kind of equipment before and am unaware of the dangers of approaching it. Does anyone have any advice about this or know of a good source of pertinent information I can access? Thanks.
  28. Hello All, I am considering taking on a sign job which would entail working from a hanging basket ten stories up the side of a hotel building. There is cell phone company emitter and receiver equipment on top of this building, and I believe that normal procedure for workers accessing the roof is to schedule a shut down of this equipment while work is ongoing. I haven't worked around this kind of equipment before and am unaware of the dangers of approaching it. Does anyone have any advice about this or know of a good source of pertinent information I can access? Thanks.
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