Posted on Friday, July 8th, 2016
Though it’s important to know your production costs, it also helps to know what others charge for certain types of work. Last week in Trade Secrets, we asked readers what they would charge for two 3 x 10 ft. banners. Thanks to the hundreds of busy sign people who participated, we have some very helpful information to share.
It was a routine project: the owner of a neighborhood tavern wanted to advertise a Thursday special on chicken wings, and wanted two 3 x 10 ft. banners that he would install.
The average selling price for two 3 x 10 banners similar to this design by Justin Hare was $358.
The quote in the survey was for two banners, which apparently caused some confusion. Some of the estimates were under $200, and many of them stated that the price was for one banner. As a result, we treated all the prices under $200 as if they were for a single banner in our calculations, doubling them to arrive at the price for two banners.
Here’s how the prices for two 3 x 10 ft. banners broke down by price range:
Under $250: 16%
$250 to $345: 29%
$350 to $445: 29%
$450 or more: 15%
Those who participated in the survey were established sign shops, with 70% saying they had been in the business for 10 or more years. Very few, only 8%, had been in the business three years or less.
As for shop size, 62% had 1 to 3 employees, and the remaining 38% had four or more employees. Interestingly, though, the average price for the job for the larger shops was only slightly higher than the overall average, at $376 for the two banners.
Many of the respondents shared comments, from complimenting Justin’s design to noting they don’t do as many banners as they used to because banners are marketed online and by office supply stores and shipping stores. A few mentioned that they had an upcharge of up to $34 for banners with full ink coverage.
About half of those who wrote a comment said that they would charge a design fee plus costs for the banners. The design fees ranged from $40 to $100.
Here’s a sampling of the comments of the participants:
“Artwork/images/digital files would account for about $100 of the cost. Sales/administrative time would account for $35. Banners would be purchased through an online supplier we use for digital printing, for around $120 including shipping. That leaves a gross profit of $145 to cover salary and business expenses.”
“I do $5 a square foot on banners and then $75 design fee if required. I don’t charge a design fee if it is just a simple layout or good clean artwork is provided. If the customer wants to order six or more banners, I drop it to $4 a square foot.”
“I would design the banner, but since I don’t have a printer in house, I would send the file to Signs 365 and get it back in two days. I’d double my cost and add my hourly rate for the design.”
“This banner would have to be printed, and around here people (not necessarily sign people) are selling them for $3 to $4 a square foot. That’s why we avoid doing banners unless it’s for a regular customer, and even then I sometimes direct them to someone else.”
“We used to do over 75 banners a year, but the availability to get banners inexpensively by anyone from anywhere has deep-sixed that market.”
“I always address design separately. It is a common and costly mistake to give this service away, especially in today’s world of digital printing which has made the actual production of banners somewhat of a commodity. I charge between $85 and $125 per hour for design depending on the type of customer. Conversely, if the banner is basic and not full color, giving the basic design time as a discount is a good way to discount the project without giving away your margin.”
“If they have ready-to-print artwork, I charge $7 per square foot.”
“I farm out this work to a few different online banner companies that specialize in banners as making any banners is economically a loser product for our shop. The finished price (including shipping) from the online companies is usually less than my material costs. Sign shop prices/bids will all be higher than the online mass produced banner shops. So not using one of the online banner specialty companies then adding a little markup Is basically ripping off customers. Customers can find and order banners from the same online companies. I would mark it up double my cost. Shipping is minimal and the turnaround is pretty good. My design time would be minimal as banners are not money makers anymore. I would spend very little time on design or use previous created designs and just change the information.”
“We do several hundred banners a month with the artwork being supplied most of the time. Banner price includes sewn hems and grommets: two 3 x 10 ft. banners are $97.13 each, plus 1/2 hour for the artwork at $30.”
“Banners are getting more competitive. We used to get $8 per square foot, but not anymore.”