Making a Great Wholesale Custom Signage Relationship
At Viscom Graphics, we work every day to become a better custom, wholesale signage company. From conversations with you, our customers, the path is clear. Be a reliable partner. Provide speedy quotes, have our actions match our promises, and do so at a fair price. And when we cannot meet the timeline or a surprise happens, we want to communicate with you directly and quickly. We are familiar with the best practices for wholesale signage qualification.
How do You Influence Quote Quality and Speed?
The number one suggestion for improvement that we receive involves the speed of quoting. It is common that when a wholesale signage customer calls, their timeline is already under pressure. For simple and smaller quotes (e.g. ADA and less than $25k), we target a 2-business day quote turnaround. For medium complexity and scale quotes (e.g. ADA and wayfinding with some simple fabrication and less than $75k), we target a 5-business day quote turnaround. For complex, large quotes with lots of item types and ones involving fabrication, – we target a 10-day turnaround time.
A recent review of Viscom’s success in achieving these turnaround times provides some interesting insights. The number one factor that drives our ability to quickly quote is the quality of the drawings provided by the customer. For fast wholesale signage qualification, it appears high-quality drawings also come from customers who are more likely to purchase and who used a drawing “standard.”
What is a Customer Signage Design Standard?
While the design standard can be called many things, we refer to a standard drawing that meets our criteria as a Construction Drawing. This drawing calls out 100% of the specifications necessary to construct the signage, while defining the look and feel of the sign. It also includes seemingly mundane facts about how the sign might be lifted or installed. The design is presented with a title block that includes key references like customer project number and a drawing version. A great Construction Design standard is rare, but can be easily achieved with these obvious specifications.
The biggest debate seems to center around the definition of what specifications should be included in Construction Drawings and the file type. Here’s the list that we use internally:
Vector file to scale (preferably .eps)
Graphic Standard Page
Standards featuring logo, font, colors, etc. (if available)
For Each Item Type:
Top Left of Each Item
- Item ID
- Item Type Description
- Item Quantity for Porject
- Exterior or Interior Installation
Scale Call Outs
Note Scale in a standard method:
- Standard is in foot: Scale: 1” = 1′-0” (1:12)
- Standard is in inches: Scale: 1/4” = 1″ (1:4)
- Standard is Architectural: Scale: 1’ = 100’ (1:100)
Profile, side (sides if more than one visible), and top view with callout of all dimensions (no superimposed graphics, double sided called out)
- Square Footage (Exterior)
Materials Call Outs
- Material Composition
- Material Thickness
- Material Coating
Manufacturing Call Outs
- Weight (if being lifted into place) and lifting points and required bracing
- Drainage Points
Finish Call Outs by Surface
- Coatings and/or Graphics
Message Subassembly Call Outs
- Copy Call Outs
- Letter Heights
- Line weight
- Stroke Widths
Electrical and Illumination Call Outs
- Light Color
- Power Source Call Outs
- Whip Location and Length
- Power Switch Location
Installation Call Outs
- System of install (e.g. concrete pad)
- Mechanisms of install (e.g. tape and silicon)
- Points of install (e.g. screw holes)
- Ground and lifting conditions
- Mounting surface and structure conditions or assumptions
Access Call Outs
- Maintenance Panels
- Construction Minimum Access Dimensions
- Our Scope
- Scope by Others
Design Standards Let Us Help You
We are experts in signage, so we are happy to fill in the blanks where you may have limited expertise. These callouts clarify the process to help us quote faster and prioritize your request.
Strong specifications reduce the need to ask you questions. A single request for clarification typically costs a 24–30-hour delay – minimum. We like to stay busy. Once your opportunity has gone to estimating and been returned for follow-up, we lose the time getting the answer and we lose time because your opportunity starts at the back of the queue (unless you are a Tier 1 customer).
The second speed factor is that specifications allow us to use our expertise to better advise you of ways to value engineer. It allows us to help you avoid some the “lessons learned” from our years in the business, to give you better designs at lower costs, faster.
The third benefit of good specifications, is that it indicates the likelihood of you making a purchase. Quite simply, we don’t always have enough capacity to satisfy all the quoting requirements that we receive. This is predictably at the end of each month and at the end of the year as the large program contracts are confirmed. The better the drawings, the more likely it is that you have the work and it is worth our time to respond.
Use These Customer Signage Design Standards
We hope that this list is as useful to your teams as it is to ours for the best practices for wholesale signage qualification. Every day we “run the 11” which is to say we go down the list of Construction Drawing requirements to ensure that we have a quality design that can sail through estimating, release, manufacturing, and install without a hitch. It is one of the best ways that Viscom Graphics can be reliable to you and your customers.