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TOPIC: Customers using designs they haven't paid for

Customers using designs they haven't paid for 6 years 3 months ago #275

  • Roger
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When I'm chatting to signmakers, one thing that many of you have complained about over the years is the time and effort you spend designing signs or vehicle liveries for customers who then go and get the job produced elsewhere, without having paid a fee for creation of the design.

Richard Rogers of TechnoSign in Leighton Buzzard recently contacted Sign Update on this very matter. He said what triggered this most recent grumble was a potential customer who came in with visuals and was quite happy to announce that he was looking for whoever would produce his van graphics at the cheapest possible price, using the design created by another signmaker. He said the potential customer commented that the most expensive of three estimates he'd obtained was the first company he'd gone to. Richard says he pointed out that this was probably because that signmaker had already spent an hour or two on the design and quite rightly was including that cost in his estimate. It won't be a surprise to many in the trade that this potential customer was fully intending to use the design without ever having paid for the creative work.

I've been hearing stories like this for years, we all know it happens. How many times have you been approached by someone with a design or layout that you know full well another signmaker's done, and the customer is just looking for the cheapest quote? But the design belongs to the person who created it, at least until they've been paid for it.

Has this become even more common now with customers almost always asking for colour visuals of possible designs before they've even agreed you've got the job? Do any Sign Update readers have ideas how this can be stopped, or at least reduced? Would it work if signmaking companies put a copyright symbol and their name on the design? Would cheeky
customers just blank this out?

I'd love to hear from anyone who has thoughts or stories on this topic, I don't suppose we will ever sort out the problem, but between us we could give it a try.
Last Edit: 4 years 9 months ago by Martin.
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Re:Customers using designs they haven't paid for 6 years 3 months ago #276

  • Neil.wood
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We have had a growing number of problems in this department and have recently implemented an outline of our pricing and artwork terms to give to customers.

We decided that before producing artwork there would be a charge of £50 in CASH which can then be deducted from the final quote for the job in hand.
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Re:Customers using designs they haven't paid for 6 years 3 months ago #277

  • Martin
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Do you get loose much business this way?
Even if you do, I guess it is business that you do not mind loosing anyway?
Martin Hinchliffe
www.signupdate.co.uk
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Re:Customers using designs they haven't paid for 6 years 3 months ago #278

  • Neil.wood
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You're right, although we don’t like to lose business we find that people who are genuine don’t mind paying for a service.

We have also seen an increase in people returning to get the job done.
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Re:Customers using designs they haven't paid for 6 years 3 months ago #279

  • Ross
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I always make sure that I do not send any vectorised work, but always send as images (jpg normally), and quite often low resolution if it is likely to be printed work rather than using cut vinyl.

Quite often though I do not invest enough time in the design for that very reason, so it is not always in the customers interest, unless they pay for the designs themselves which can be difficult to achieve.
I can think of one sign maker that is really a good salesman, he will always invoice separately for the design regardless of whether they use him to do the final job, but it really does take some good sales techniques to get the customer to do this. But alot of the role of the Signmaker is a sales role. You have to sell the product to the customer, and a portfolio of old work is important for this.

Ross
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Re:Customers using designs they haven't paid for 6 years 3 months ago #280

Hi Roger, noted your comment, in July/August edition, regarding charging for artwork………….simple solution -

· submit estimate to customer.

· if price is acceptable, offer to produce a design for a fee, say £50-100-150.00 subject to work involved. Payable upfront.

· inform customer design fee is redeemable, in full, against final invoice of potential order.

Firstly, this process encourages a greater commitment from the customer. Secondly, the customer is aware of the full cost before they commit to a design. Thirdly, should the customer not place the final order, at the very least, you have received some fee for your artwork.

Works for us.

Cheers,


Colin Pestell
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