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Posts posted by mac6986

  1. I've done orders of about 150-250, for around $2.5 - $3/decal. and can shoot those out in a day, but i have another full time job and i am building an apartment complex currently so i don't have time to do all these myself.


    but i have a guy who can shoot out some clean oval cut clear with white ink and so if they do it ill take some $ off the top.


    and dakotagrafx, i know i didn't respond to you. I felt like your response was a little harsh, but didn't want to argue with you because I do respect everyone's opinion and i appreciate the feedback. i do feel my time is worth $, and i don't think i should discount them, i just have a feeling that, being a large corporation, they would probably expect it, so i felt like it may be a no-win situation. i do feel like I could produce those numbers easily if I focused on that alone, but the margins are so low that it wouldn't be feasible.


    Thanks again.


    Seems pretty cut and dry.


    Don't price what the customer "expects", Figure a price that you can do it for at your current capacity. You're not gouging the customer, its a fair number that accounts for your time, overhead, and materials.


    Quote the job what its worth to you. If you get it, you'll have a nice paycheck coming your way. If they don't like the price, there's no use slashing prices because you're only taking money out of your own pocket. The materials will cost the same, its still going to take the same amount of time to do it. They don't like it, they can shop elsewhere and you can take the next job that comes in. No use stressing over a job that you haven't been awarded yet.

  2. I would be about $600 a truck, but the cleaning I would charge hourly. it looks simple and straight forward, but sometimes that old glue is tough to remove and you might have to go over it a couple times to get it all off.


    +1 on WD40


    Rapid Remover & a Scraprite works wonders too.

  3. Check out Shipstation, Mac. I think the prices are comparable to Shipworks, and it uploads tracking and sends emails automatically for a lot of different sites. Saves me even more time! =)  There are 4 of us all using the same shipstation account, and we can keep our orders separate but still streamline billing for postage. 


    Yea, I get their postcard in the mail once a month, I tried their free trial, its pretty much the same car, different color. Shipworks does intergrate across almost all major ecommerce platforms, and the major auction sites.


    I have it running my Shopify, eBay, Amazon, and Etsy stores.


    I don't know where you got your facts on the shipping prices on Paypal.  But all Labels printed thru Paypal  on my orders, are actually cheaper, than printing online thru USPS....USPS online prices ARE higher. Yes, Paypal does get a discounted rate.   And you cannot print FIRST CLASS thru USPS.   I also sell a lot of orders that are over the $50.00 insurance rate. So I do appreciate the up to $100,insurance....It all plays out for what works best for each business.   And Paypal does have the Multi Order/BULK shipping service also.


    So I pay $0 for my shipping secretary every month..and my shipping costs are discounted.


    the last time I used the on-website shipping platforms for ebay or amazon, they were charging me about 2.25 for a 3 oz first class package with tracking. I get the same thing through stamps for 1.93. It doesn't sound like much but compounded over thousands of orders all year, it adds up fast.


    just like you said, it works out better different ways for each business. I just find myself doing less steps and getting the same tasks done in less time, than the way I used to on each site and paypal.

    • Like 1

  4. it comes down to convenience and streamlining. If you have a significant volume of items to ship, its integration capability is amazing. Plus the other big auctions sites actually inflate the postage prices and give you a "discount" off that inflated price.


    I use, runs $15 a month + postage. I also use Shipworks, that runs $20 a month.  with the two combined, I can come into my shop in the morning, and I have a stack of order packing slips that are paid and ready to be shipped. Then with 3 mouse clicks, I can print off all the shipping labels for all the orders ( mine are usually all the same weight ) . A process that previously would have taken me an hour or two now takes 5 minutes. It will then mark all the items shipped on their respective sites, upload tracking information and send the confirmation emails.


    I have on average 40-50 orders, collectivley, across 4 sites per day. I look at it as I hired a shipping employee for $35 a month.

    • Like 6

  5. Thanks a bunch.  I really like this idea.  I am tossing around the idea of using some kind of lightweight plastic in a 4x8 sheet to apply the decals to.  This would be a very simple approach.  I will give these ideas to them and let them decide what they want.  The husband wants simple and cheap, the Wife wants the wooden sign.  So i assume i will be doing the pallet idea:)


    Be careful with the plastic!  low-energy plastic and regular vinyl dont get along. You'll put up the sign and a week later you have an angry customer asking why the graphics are peeling off the sign.


    I stick with hi-tack vinyl on plastics.

    • Like 1

  6. Former BN-20 Owner


    Things to consider:

    • When printing, you do not get 20" of printable area. You only have 18.9" max.
    • Account for 4" added onto the front and back of a job so the pinch rollers have something to grab if you printed with reg. marks for print-lam-cut alignment. so a 30" print job will give you a 38" sheet of whatever you just printed.
    • If you're not using Roland Media, a lot of places don't carry 20" material. They will cut it for you but some places charge, others dont. another cost to consider.
    • Even if you don't ever print white ink, you will still have to replace that cartridge every so often. the printer will kick on every couple hours while its in sleep mode and pump a little ink into the waste tank to prevent the heads from clogging. the printer will not run without that cartridge even if you're not using white ink.

    The best way to calculate the price of each job is to make up an excel spreadsheet that you can change the variables of material cost and markup to calculate each job. There will always be an exception and a variable with each job. you cant really just come up with a general cost per sq ft, and apply it to everything. You'll be ahead on some jobs, and losing your shirt on others.

    • Like 1

  7. After operating a home based business, and moving into a retail space, I can say it boils down to one thing.


    Is your business dependent on walk-in customers?


    If not, and you have a decent space in your home ( like a full basement or garage you can devote to the business ) stay home as long as you can, until you actually outgrow it and have the income to support it.

    • Like 1

  8. If they left a negative review could you not post the pics to prove she was wrong and trying to extort you.

    On etsy, you can reply to reviews of 3 stars or less, but no pictures. You can make your point that the customer was troublesome, and that the seller was right, but you still have the low review, and that will have long-term effects. best to just get rid of the troublesome customers, without letting them leave bad reviews.

  9. In my experience with selling online, its a moving target. How much are you willing to help for the good reviews vs. taking the hit, and refunding the purchase.


    The customer may be extorting you because they feel duped (even though they weren't) but never the less, the fact is they have the power in this situation. You need to determine how much a bad review will have an impact on you. If you are a new seller, and have like 2 reviews, I would refund the purchase and move on. one bad review will drop your star rating significantly. In a market where there are 10 other sellers selling the same decal, a future customer will see "oh this seller only has 3 stars? I'll find someone else." and that's it. That's all it takes to lose a sale. Starting in the hole, is much harder to get your rating up than maintaining high ratings while your shop is in its incipient stages.


    On the other hand, if you have like 500 reviews and you're sitting on a 5 star reputation, Still make an effort to help the customer, but if they threaten a bad review, you can take the hit, and not be affected by it. You'll still be at a 5 star rating and the people that see the one bad review followed by all the other good reviews, will assume it was a fluke situation, or a fussy customer.


    I would re-write your shop policies and make them iron clad. "These decals are for interior use only. They are meant to be installed on walls that were painted by rollers or spray only. There is no guarantee that the graphics will adhere to special paint/brush effects and/or stucco style walls & ceilings. If you have any concerns, please contact the seller BEFORE purchase."


    Again, bottom line is the customer has all the power in this situation. you can do everything right, but there will still be customers out there that will misinterpret things and say its your fault. If your reputation isn't built yet, is it worth destroying it over the price of one decal?

  10. the sign faces are usually 1/8" - 1/4" acrylic.


    you can get the acrylic sheets from Harbor Sales, and they'll even cut it for you


    and you're going to have to figure in some sort of bucket truck. I assume that light box is about 20'-25' feet in he air? try lifting a sheet of 1/8" acrylic and then see if you want to be man-handling that 20 feet in the air on a ladder.


    bucket trucks can range in prices per hour or by the day. I don't know where you are located, but the few places by me will only rent it to you for a whole day. and that runs about $250-$300 for the day.


    your price is right for your shop if you accounted for all expenses and marked up accordingly.



    As far as how the payment is being taken care of, I would not have the customer pay the electrician separate. You are the contractor for the whole job. you get any outside resources you need, and you pay them yourself, then add a fee onto the end invoice and mark up each service. I contract an electrician, or a mason, I pay them, and add 10% onto the invoice that the customer pays. That's just how I do business.

    • Like 1

  11. I read this as one sale, not two.


    $2.55 each decal. the decals are close enough in size to charge the same price ( the more expensive of the two once you figure out cost )


    you said you know your costs, and they are your friends, you have to decide what you want to give away and what you want to charge for.



    that is just what someone coming through my door would get charged. what size material you cut on will change your costs.

    • Like 1

  12. .. I know my cost of material and have an estimate of how much time its going to take ...


    in this case, you would need to decide how good of a friend this person is. You have the rest of the information you need. 


    If It were a new customer walking through my door, on my 30" cutter cutting out of 30" rolls, $700, out the door.


    I don't put any value in my time because when I don't want to cut vinyl I don't, Its just what I enjoy doing right now.


    Then just charge him for the roll of material. The value of the product is your time and knowledge of how to make the end product.

  13. heck I can't get a sale on etsy - thinking of shutting that down again


    Etsy is great during the holidays. I just sell mugs there. average maybe 7-10 sales a week, but come Christmas, I had 1100 sales in the 6 weeks leading up to the 25th. then back to less than 10 a week until valentines day then, it was another 200 in the 2 weeks leading up to V-day.

  14. I'm dealing with these very issues on a weekly basis. I know this has been the norm for a while now, but it still infuriates me.


    Typical case of blaming the victim. We (the sellers) get screwed over with harassing emails, "no show" packages ( even when the tracking number says Delivered), charge backs, & ebay customer service cases opened against us. So when we leave negative feedback on a buyers account, now we are the a$$hole.


    So ebay cuts you off at the knees and wont let you warn the other sellers that this customer is nothing but trouble.


    Product of this "everyone is a winner"  generation.


    I have been migrating to Amazon and having a much less stress than on ebay.

    • Like 1

  15. I just mess around for the most part in my garage at night.  I make decals for friends and do some shirts and hats for local businesses.  I recently made a few vehicle decals for a local outdoor sporting goods store.  Now they have a laundry list of more things they want me to make.  One is a large say 4'x8' sign for the side of the building.  Very basic with their name and list of items for sale.   Ammo, Guns...Bows...Gunsmith...   The building is old Brick.  I want to hang a sign but not sure what to use?  They dont want anything fancy, just simple and effective.  What would be a good base to start with?  I said something about using old barn wood or old pallet wood to create a rustic sign with vinyl lettering on top.  They loved that idea.   Any input on going that route?


    To answer your question, If you don't have good painting skills, you can use the vinyl as a mask and paint your sign onto the re-purposed palette boards. a few simple techniques and you can create a very good looking, vintage distressed painted wood sign. Might take you a little more time to make, but not much more in materials, and you can charge much more for it than vinyl on aluminum.


    as far as mounting goes, i would use french cleats top and bottom, blue concrete screws to hold the brace to the wall, and you're done.


    here is a quick example I did for a friend. Base coat of blue, a little grey and red dry strokes around the edge, then a layer of crackel, placed the vinyl letters down, painted over the whole thing with brown, and removed the vinyl lettering while the paint was still wet. let it dry, then a few more passed with the grey and red dry brush for more depth.

    • Like 2

  16. ...  Do you guys think the 631 or 651 would work with the heat and/or the wet application.

     CAST! CAST! CAST! for wrapping only!   Heat only for wrapping!!   adding moisture under something your wrapping is asking for trouble.


    Cast is thinner, easier to conform, and has a lot more give and stretch built into it. Most wrap vinyl will have air release channels. Makes life much easier.


    Calendared is already pre-stretched due to the way its manufactured. Its more brittle and tears with moderate stretching.



    Using calendared to save a few bucks will be outweighed when your customers dont come back when the graphics peel and wrinkle because calendared is not designed for wrapping.

  17. The main thing is each mug/coating manufacturer is different, and the different combinations of ceramic compound and coating will affect the way heat transfers and dissipates, therefore the image quality.


    Bottom line, if you have a mug you like, you'll have to experiment with your press to get the quality that you want. Every different mug brand I have tried, I had to change the settings from the suggested time/temp, and no two brands have the same time/temp/pressure.


    Main areas of concern:

    1: adequate press pressure

    2: make sure your transfer and substrate are clean (sounds like common sense but very easy to overlook )

    3: transfer is tight against substrate ( I've never had an issue using heat tape on mugs )

    4: making sure your press temp is actually what it says on the dial (a cheap temp gun will tell you if it is or not.)


    With the mugs I use, I can take them out of the press, and leave the transfer on till they cool to the touch. If you decide to hot-peel, you have to make sure that you peel it right off. The ink is still off-gassing and the mug coating is still able to accept the ink. if the transfer happens to touch the mug again in a different spot, you'll get a ghost image ( which is kind of what it looks like in your picture)

  18. I've read many of the horror stories on here from Mz. Skeeter, Bill and Scott so i figured why not add to the pile Package is 10 day out on a 2 day mail and it finally made it to the right state. Still not delivered but at least it made it to the correct state and I'm hopeful with another week it'll get there.

    you think this one is bad, check this out:


    Priority mail 2-day shipping from NJ to NC

    order placed on 12-17-14

    packed and shipped on 12-19-14


    The Package didn't leave NJ until the day it was supposed to be delivered 12-22-14




    over a month later, nobody knows where it is.


    The picture below was captured today 1-29-15