Signs of the Times - September 2012 - (Page 78)
The Joy Theatre sign in New Orleans, originally built by Pelican Signs in 1947, was recently restored by the Big Easy’s Brightway Signs. It’s housed in a building that’s been declared an historical landmark. Similarly, the UL designation of neon as energy efficient kept everyone happy with both historical accuracy and a green initiative.
how long it will be before other light sources are hanging on the shelf at Home Depot, and your customer’s maintenance man is putting them in. Oops! That’s already happening. Although neon may be more expensive, and require a little more expertise to install, wouldn’t you love to get a referral or a repeat customer because they were satisfied with the last neon job you did for them? And not upset because the actual electrical savings didn’t make their house payment, as promised? For example, a firm marketing Lexus cars wanted to place a set
of illuminated channel letters on a billboard in Houston, TX. It was pitched that operating costs would be lower, and they would be “green,” if they used LEDs. After a short time, the end user wanted the letters redone. The letters had a gold vinyl face, and the brightness factor hadn’t been properly evaluated. The sign was redesigned to achieve acceptable brightness. This, in turn, drove up the cost to operate the letters at an acceptable brightness level. After the letters were reloaded with additional LEDs, the cost to operate (initial product plus operating cost) rose to $10,049.10 per year for a
two-year period. The same brightness level was tested, and could have been achieved with double-stroke, CL71 neon, with a two-year operating cost of $2,014 per year. Early in the process, an experienced sign professional should have stepped in to ensure the customer received what was needed, not just what was trendy. Here was a missed opportunity to demonstrate expertise and build a lasting, trusting relationship with the customer. Instead, after repeated failures from the other lightsource, the option to illuminate was simply terminated by the customer. Remember, don’t undercharge for neon products. The light source has proven value with nearly 100 years of reliability. Simply charging more for additional overhead raises the price by itself, but a premium should be charged on top of that because of the unique skills required. Proven longevity, obvious brightness, documented energy efficiency, huge color spectrum, environmental sustainability, and readily available universal parts for service, are some benefits of neon fabrication. Please take a long-term view. Be a knowledgeable sign professional, and present a truly green, win-win situation for both you and your customer. Don’t be the low-bid, order taker in a race to the bottom. Sell them a product that is not only green, but an excellent attentiongetting advertising medium. Help them become long-term, repeat customers for your company. Sell them neon; they get a more truly “green” long-term value, with a long-lasting, serviceable, energyefficient, sustainable, properly illuminated sign, and you get to be the better-paid expert. For additional information about the benefits of neon, visit www. theneongroup.org. n Loren Hudson is the president of Hudson & Hudson Neon (Houston, TX). The Hudson family has been producing neon tubes for more than 75 years.
78 SIGNS OF THE TIMES / SEPTEMBER 2012 / www.signweb.com
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