Profile: Scott Hoyt
By SignCraft Magazine
Posted on Tuesday, June 20th, 2017
1500 sq. ft.
Gerber HS-15 Plus cutter
Gerber Sabre 408 router
Gerber Omega software
On Facebook, search Hoyt Signs
This year makes 45 years in the sign business for me. It’s really about all I’ve ever done. After high school, I went to Butera School of Art for a year then transferred to what was then Williamsport Community College, now Pennsylvania College of Technology, for their sign program. After college, I moved back home and thought I would land a job in one of the sign shops in the area.
As it turned out, they were all one-man operations so there were no jobs available. I ended up starting my own shop from my parents’ basement.
I was 20 years old and single. I probably would’ve starved had I been married with a family, but I managed to get things going. After we got married, Ann, and I bought a home, and I moved the shop into the basement there. Eventually I built an adjacent 1500 sq. ft. shop next to the house.
At the outset, I was doing exclusively hand lettering. In 1989 I bought my first computer system, and my work gradually moved to cut vinyl. I added a Gerber Edge printer and a Saber CNC router so that I could do some printing and 3-D signage. For my large-format work, I use Signs365.com. It works really well. I send my files off to them, and the prints are here before you know it.
My work is about a 50-50 mix between 3-D and flat signs. I used to do more truck lettering than I do now, though I still do some. There’s more competition for the more routine sign work and that’s taken some of that work away.
My market area is northwestern New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania. We’re about 70 miles from New York City and 70 miles from Philadelphia. It’s a rural area with lots of small towns, so I work in many of the surrounding towns. After 45 years, I don’t do a lot of marketing.
I use a lot of PVC board for sign panels, often in conjunction with HDU graphics. It makes a very long-lasting sign, and that adds value.
The big challenge for me is trying to deliver a good product and stay competitive in today’s market. There’s always a less expensive way to make a sign, but it’s not always the best choice for value. Of course, customers don’t always understand that. You really have to explain that the same design can be executed in different ways, which really determines the cost of the sign.
For example, sometimes a person will stop by because they’ve seen some of my 3-D signs. We talk about their project and I may give them a ballpark price. Then a month later I see they have a new sign—a flat sign on aluminum composite material, often with a very plainlooking layout. I could have done the more appealing layout as a flat sign if they couldn’t afford 3-D, but they never came back to talk about that.
Educating customers about this is just part of our job, even if you get a little tired of doing it sometimes. A well-designed sign, with added interest from a graphic or some dimension, is more memorable to those who see it. That turns the sign from just basic identification into real advertising, which makes the sign a better value.
That’s why I like to add dimension to a sign when I can. It’s amazing how much appeal that can add to a sign. It may just be a 3D graphic on an otherwise flat sign, but it make people more likely to look at it and get the message. That’s my job—to make sure that they get the message.