Profile: Roger Sammel
By SignCraft Magazine
Posted on Sunday, January 1st, 2017
Sammel Sign Company
3200 sq. ft.
Multicam 3000 CNC router
Roland VS540 digital printer
Roland 30-inch CAMM 1 cutter
Two iMacs and several PCs
My background is in furniture building and manufacturing, but I landed in the sign industry because there’s not a lot of money to be made in custom furniture and cabinets. For the most part, the benchmarks that people use for that work are massproduced products. A custom cabinet maker can’t compete with that in Vermont.
Beyond that, though, is the opportunity for creativity in signs. We may use similar processes and techniques on a sign, but every sign is somewhat unique. And signs are essential advertising and identification that every business needs.
I opened Sammel Sign Company in 2002 after working in a sign shop for four years. It’s been an adventure. We do all types of signs, including vehicles, windows and flat signs, but prefer 3D work. Because of my woodworking and manufacturing background, we get into a lot more display work than most sign shops.
I have three awesome people working with me full-time now. Ted has been with me almost 2 years, Austin just finished his first year, and Lissy started here last June. They’re all relatively young in the industry, and very energetic and invested in the work. A lot of good ideas get tossed around and there’s a lot of collaboration.
Our shop is 3200 sq. ft. About one-third of that is clean space for design and printing. The remaining space is shop space including a separate room for painting. We recently switched to the Matthews paint system [www. matthewspaint.com], which is giving us great results. We like the ease of application and finish options.
While there is a need for signs, you still have to deal with the same sales challenges on most projects. Most customers don’t buy signs very often, so if they have a price in mind, it may not be based on what signs really cost to produce. Besides coming up with a design that works, you have to explain to them the value of the project, too.
After you’ve been in the business for a while and you have the experience, it gets easier to speak with confidence. I know customers pick up on this. If you’re tentative and unsure of yourself, don’t expect it to build confidence in the customer’s mind.
The best sales tool is getting them to come to the shop. We have plenty of examples of different projects, techniques and methods for them to look at. Show-and-tell is a huge part of the sales process for me. They see the hundreds of different ways to make signs from digital prints on aluminum composite material to complex 3D signs and displays.
Once they’ve seen a lot of examples of what can be done, I usually explain that almost anything is possible, but it does come down to a matter of budget. As they look at the examples, I often throw out a few sales price ranges for the work they’re looking at and watch for their reaction.