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Subcontracting Electric Signage

(May 2017) posted on Mon May 15, 2017

The good, the bad and the ugly.

By Darek Johnson

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Crested Butte News writer Adam Broderick, in a three-part January 2016 article on industrial manufacturing – “Locals Making Waves in an Entrepreneurial Age” – tells of LetterFab, a wholesale manufacturer of LED-illuminated channel letters and its owners, Warren and Trea Sciortino, who started the company “from scratch” in 2007. Prior to that, Warren was a large-shop sign guy and Trea worked in construction and carpentry. Broderick wrote that LetterFab has fabricated wholesale signs for installation in every state, including Hawaii, as well as in Canada, the Caribbean and the Cayman Islands. I called Warren, figuring he would have some great suggestions for commercial signshop owners who want to subcontract electric signs. “Do it,” he said.

I agree, but first want provide some points to ponder because any change in business practices adds a new risk, as entrepreneurial ideas in action will also pilfer shop time, staff attention and money. Such assessments are standard – sensible – considerations that every business person should make before they invest time and money in a new proposition.

My point is to question which investment will produce the most real money at a future date, keeping in mind that inflation and devaluation will affect the true value of that future money. However, you’ll also want to consider how shop equipment investments or business expansion efforts may add to the overall value of your company and lead to other valuable growth factors. Meaning, like so many business ventures, it’s partly a crapshoot and the future purchasing power factor of your profits is the only valid consideration when forecasting investment gains. In this deliberation, remember that most businesses operate best – and survive economic downfalls – by offering diverse products.

One commercial sign shop notion is to broker channel letters and electric signs – channel letters being the most mainstream and easiest to sell, survey, design and install. Channel letters aren’t rocket science, but the process is meticulous and, as with any venture, there are risks. Once you enter the electric sign field you’re taking on specific liabilities, most of which can be covered by insurance, but know that liabilities exist because any electric item can be hazardous, especially those installed outdoors.


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