Sign & Digital Graphics

November '15

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72 • November 2015 • S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S Rock, Brick or Foam Monumental decisions for beer margins Since 1985, Ma Charboneau has owned and operated Charboneau Signs in Loveland, Colorado. He can be reached on the web at or by email at b y M A T T C H A R b o N e A u Designing Award-Winning Signs ARCHITECTURAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL The silence is almost deafening, and the only sound in the room is your boss' pencil tapping on the glossy black granite conference table, when suddenly he looks up and says, "Naw, that stuff is more work than its worth… anybody else?" And with that, the discussion goes onward to examine the way the crane operators log their fuel expenditures, etc. You bite your tongue and choose not to embar- rass the owner with your wealth of foam knowledge. Instead, immediately after the meeting you get on the horn and make some calls to a few suppliers. You request some samples that will hopefully illustrate just how good this stuff can look on a sign. In a lot of cases, foam is a better, easier and usually a more profitable way to build a monument signs' base, rather than using real stone or brick. Keeping as Much as You Can Let's say that you are estimating the costs to build the base of a monument sign and you realize that the masonry work will take up a larger amount of the client's budget than planned. What's worse, the mason is a subcontractor who is going to be sharing in the profits of your project and benefitting from all of the hard work you have put into coordinating, designing and managing the job. You should be asking yourself if the amount of markup you can add onto the masonry bid is really help- ing your bottom line enough. Is your markup falling short of margin? Yes, I completely agree that sometimes it's simply easier to use a good subcontractor to handle certain aspects of the job. In the case of building a monument sign base, if you have a choice or an option that you can explore, it may put more money in your pocket and provide you a wider variety of options during installation. S o, it's 4 p.m. on a Thursday and you are sitting in a meeting going over the pros and cons of how to improve the bottom line while reducing overhead (yawn). The accountant, who is usually quiet and only speaks up when the owner needs a number, pipes up and mentions that there was a lot of revenue spent on hiring masonry subcontractors. The room goes silent and nobody breathes, and nobody speaks a word. But for you this was like being hit upside the head with a wooden bat because you know for a fact that there are alternatives to the use of actual stone and brick for monument signs. You raise your hand like a fifth- grader who's got the answer to the question and you blurt out the words "Foam… why don't we look into using foam bases for our monuments instead of always hiring it out to a stone mason?" Here is a great example of how realistic foam can look on a monument sign base. (Photo courtesy of Peachtree City FoamCraft)

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