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Extreme Vinyl: Matt Richart

How PSPs Should Prep for Pent-Up Spending

Potential increase in customer demand means print shops will need to communicate more frequently.

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HAVE YOU RECENTLY felt the light switch turn on for your business? Most of the people I know in the industry have been slammed – conquering deadlines and trying to hire new employees – and are booked up for weeks, if not months. This is a very positive sign that things are starting to get back to normal. But what’s the new normal? It’s what we’ve all been asking each other since the beginning of the pandemic.

My family and I went out to eat together for the first time in over 13 months last week to celebrate my younger son’s graduation. I had gone out to eat before for business lunches and a few special occasions, but this was the first time all five of us were together. I ordered the steak, appetizers, a mixed drink, and then followed up with a dessert and coffee. This is not my usual routine when at a restaurant; I rarely order appetizers, let alone dessert and coffee. It’s the perfect example of Pent-Up Spending. I was tired of being stuck at home, being careful, and living my life in the safest way possible. It’s time to get back to living our lives, enjoying the little things we’ve missed so much, and spending a little more money than we usually would at dinner. This same mindset is carrying over to the business world and the economy we live in today.

Over the past 14 months, companies have still stayed busy. Some of our best clients have had record sales numbers that have allowed them to purchase new equipment, new vehicles, and even new buildings to help with their growth. All of these purchases by our clients give us more work to complete and allows us to have new clients that we’ve never done business with before.

I told our entire staff, including our sales reps, to get prepared for pent-up spending. Too many of us have been in a semi-isolated world living lives we’ve never lived before. Not only are we dealing with pent-up spending, but most of us are dealing with shortages of material, inks, substrates, and even the trucks that we wrap on a daily basis.

Two of our largest fleet accounts have been having issues procuring trucks from just about every manufacturer. They’re locating vehicles from six states away just to fill the quota of what’s needed. In order to prepare for this onslaught of business, we’ve been purchasing every roll of film that’s available to us, as well as bringing on some part-time help. A few other good friends of ours who are in our industry are not only booked out weeks in advance, but months.

This is a good thing, but you also need to make sure you can handle the amount of work coming in along with any potential growth that may come your way. Since day one, we’ve always set our customers expectations, but when business becomes almost too much to handle, communication becomes crucial.

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We’ve increased our weekly team production and scheduling meetings so we’re all on the same page. Our sales staff has also increased the communication with our clients to convey their deadlines, due dates, and especially who can make their scheduled appointment and who can’t. The more business you have scheduled, the more likely some may not be able to make their appointment. When you have one or more clients trying to reschedule when you’re already a month out on work, it can cause a lot of problems and issues. It’s a good problem to have, just be prepared to let your client know you want their business, but in order to continually produce the quality product your company provides you still need the right amount of time to fulfill that job the correct way.

Make sure you can handle the amount of work that’s coming in now, allow yourself to stock up on material and any other goods you need to produce, make sure your staff is adequate to fulfill your workload, and communicate with your team constantly to be prepared for the pent-up spending. I’m keeping my fingers crossed this continues throughout this entire year!

Matt Richart is the co-owner of Digital EFX Wraps, a full-service, one-stop shop in Louisville, Kentucky. Matt leads country-wide demos and training sessions on how to sell, market, design, and install for the wrap industry. Follow him on Twitter @digitalefxwraps. 

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