Spike Stories: YESCO Delaware Uses Spike to Work More Efficiently
While most sign shops concentrate on the manufacturing and installation sides of the business, New Castle, Delaware-based YESCO sets itself apart from competition by focusing on existing signage service, says General Manager Mike Hewitt. YESCO Delaware still offers new signage manufacturing and installation, but Mike finds that there’s more long-term business potential with existing signage service. A service-based model typically requires YESCO Delaware to visit a client’s site multiple times in a year, which allows Mike to develop better relationships with his clients than if he were to build a sign once and move on to the next project.
With such a large focus on relationship building, Mike believes it’s important to offer his customers quick turnaround times on estimates, but that can be difficult when the pipeline is filled with site surveys. Often these signs are located in hard-to-reach areas, so Mike would have to measure an object near the sign and then pull his designer off another job to scale the area. Although Mike could send a bucket truck to the job site to access those measurements, it’s an expensive and time-consuming move.
“Most jobs you’re measuring are for people who are not customers yet, so they may or may not even use you,” Mike says. “There’s nothing wrong with offering a free estimate, but if your estimate is free and you have to send a bucket truck, that starts to eat your profit margin big time.”
However, Mike found a better way to access those hard-to-reach signs when he discovered Spike, a laser measurement solution for site surveys and estimations, through the YESCO network. When Mike needs to measure a sign, he attaches Spike to his iPhone and takes a photo using the Spike app. The measurements are all saved within the Spike photo. Mike can then either take real-time measurements in the field or send the files to the Spike Cloud and measure on his office desktop, which is his preferred method.
“When you’re doing a lot of surveying, you need to find a way to be efficient, so when we saw what Spike could do, we knew it would save us a lot of time,” Mike says. “We can quote more projects without incurring the expense of additional equipment or involving other people at our shop, and we can provide quicker estimates to our customers.”
Since incorporating Spike into his workflow, Mike has used the device for a number of signage applications, including a recent project for Macy’s. To cut operating costs, Macy’s decided to replace its signs’ neon lighting with LEDs, so Macy’s contacted YESCO Delaware to get an estimate. Traditional measuring methods would have been difficult for this project, but Spike allowed Mike to quickly take the measurements without investing in expensive equipment.
“These Macy’s signs are large and not easily accessible,” Mike says. “You have to take your measurements after hours because mall management doesn’t want a crane truck in the middle of the parking lot while the mall is trying to conduct business.”
In order to retrofit a sign with LEDs, Mike needs the dimensions of the height, width and depth of the channel letters. To measure the height and width, Mike took his Spike photos from the front and then went underneath the sign to capture the depth. This allowed Mike to record all the measurements he needed with a couple of pictures during business hours and without disrupting his prospect’s business. Not only did this help Mike turn around estimates faster but it also elevated Mike’s professionalism.
“If you’re competing against a shop that doesn’t have the right tools for a big project but the client sees you show up with a sophisticated tool like Spike, it adds to your professionalism,” Mike says.
Now that Mike has implemented Spike into his estimating process, he finds that he uses Spike for almost every job. Spike has saved Mike valuable time and operating costs, and he believes Spike will help YESCO Delaware to continue providing the service his customers expect.
“The initial investment in Spike was absolutely worth it,” Mike says. “Spike easily paid for itself in about two or three jobs. I don’t think there’s a sign shop out there that couldn’t benefit from Spike.”