The Survey Process

Dec 28, 2020

As a sign shop owner, are you performing your surveys correctly? That is to say, are you going to the site where you will install a customer’s sign and thoroughly examining the details of the site and how your sign will meet the customer’s needs?

Here, shopVOX is reviewing some of the key points that your sign shop should look out for when you go on your sign surveys so you can set all the proper expectations for your customers.

How Do You Perform Your Sign Surveys?

So that we are clear on what we mean by “sign survey,” we are referencing a sign shop owner’s visit to a job site either before or after a sale to inspect the placement of the sign. Many sign shop owners perform these surveys before completing a sale. This allows the owners to determine what kind of sign might be best for the customer’s preferred site. Other shop owners go on their sign surveys after making the sale to match up a site for what was sold.

What Should You Accomplish on a Sign Survey?

Whichever type of survey you prefer to perform, the point is to be thorough. You must gather all the details you can when you are at a customer’s location.

What are the different areas you will be discussing with the customer? You will need to cover sign types, colors, size, and placements. You will have to look at access and potential sign obstructions when the sign is finally placed. Consider permitting, locates, and the type of equipment needed for installation. Photograph everything on your site visit.

These are all issues that sign shop owners must go over with customers at the survey so the customers can be aware of what to expect when the sign is placed on their building or job site.

Collaborating with the Customer

One worthwhile additional step you should take is that, after you secure all your photos and measurements of the placement site, you should converse with your customers about what their expectations are for their sign and the area where it’s going.

What is their vision for the sign at their business site, their storefront? What do they want their overall appearance to the public to be?

Once you fully understand what the customer envisions, you should not fear voicing your own opinion on the matter.

As a sign shop owner and a professional in your industry, it is up to you to relay to the customer what you have seen work with previous customers. You can make certain suggestions, even if they run contrary to something the customer has said.

You will also want to ask about the customer’s branding, colors, logo, and interior décor. In this context, you can think of the sign survey as more of a free consultation you are providing to the customer to lay out what you think of their project.

Some sign shop owners might simply visit a site, take measurements and photos, and go right to the mockup stage. However, the extra step of collaborating with customers on the sign placement can go a long way to ensuring they are ultimately satisfied with your work.

Providing Options

Every bit of information a customer gives you during a sign survey should be considered gold to you. The reason for this is that you can then present the customer with options for signage rather than simply one mockup that the customer can either accept or refuse.

If you show customers sign options for $2,000, $5,000, and $7,000, then they have some diversity from which to choose. Customers can let you know at which price point they feel comfortable, and the two of you can progress from there.

Sign Obstructions

We must mention sign obstructions here for a moment. Most customers tell sign shop owners where they want their sign to be. It’s as simple as that. However, as a sign professional, you know that not all placement spots are considered equal. You know whether the site a customer has selected is clear or obstructed, or whether the size a customer wants is too large or small.

For instance, a sign shop professional would look at the location of the business to determine sign type and placement. Is the business located at an intersection with traffic lights? If so, then you know motorists will be stopping near the business at timed intervals all day, every day. That would help the sign professional to know where to put these signs and how many are needed.

The same logic applies to the speed allowed on the business’s road. Are people always zooming by the storefront? In that case, the sign must be larger or more vibrant, as these will earn more attention from passersby.

The point of all this is to set the proper expectations for your customers. If you know the sun will always strike the sign at a certain time of day, advise the customer that fading will likely occur if the sign is placed there. As sign shop professionals, we do this so that our products hold up to what we have promised the customers and so that the customers don’t come away from a sale feeling like they have been cheated.

Helpful Tools

At shopVOX, we recommend using a Stanley or Spike measuring tool to perform a survey. For sign shop novices who are not familiar, these measuring tools allow you to take photos and measurements of a sign placement site instantly.

The measuring tool’s cloud connects automatically to your back office’s print shop software, such as shopVOX. Then, you can simply upload photos into shopVOX and communicate with your team about the quote you just provided the customer.

Another helpful hint when planning a customer’s mockup is to place a 12’’x12’’ corrugated sign of your own near the placement site of the customer’s sign. You can photograph this and send it to your back office so your graphic designer can scale out the sign for a customer mockup.

Provide Exceptional Customer Service during the Survey Process

You can tell from this description of the survey process that the sign survey is a perfect opportunity to provide customers with outstanding service that will make them want to work with you. From advising them on their situation to providing them with options, the more you do for your customers, the more your shop stands to gain in return.

To learn more about how shopVOX can help to support the running of your sign shop, contact us here today.

28 / 12 / 2020
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