Spike Stories: Scottsdale Image360 Finds Production Success With Spike
Before getting his start in the sign business, Brad Beller managed the logistics at a door-to-door advertising distribution company, but with his entrepreneurial spirit, Brad wanted something more. He began researching other business options when he discovered a franchising opportunity with Image360. Given his background in advertising, the sign market seemed like the perfect fit.
In August 2008, Brad and his wife, Sheri Beller, bought two existing Image360 operations in Arizona. However, the recession soon hit, forcing Brad and Sheri to close one location. For the next couple of years, Brad and Sheri ran lean and made some tough but sound business decisions that helped the Scottsdale center survive during this difficult time, he says.
Brad attributes much of the shop’s success to their dedication to high-quality customer service. Many customers see signage as a commodity-based business, which can make standing out in a competitive field challenging. To counter this, Brad takes a relationship-based approach to customer service. Sometimes that relationship piece is as simple as remembering a client’s name or previous order, but it’s enough to make an impression.
“Our philosophy is that sign companies all make the same products,” Brad says. “We have to do a better job in our delivery and how we interact with our clients. We embrace the client relationship, and that’s what separates us apart.”
Sheri primarily oversees the shop’s operations while Brad spends his days interfacing with clients in the field. This often includes conducting the initial site survey, he says. When measuring small interior applications, such as a lobby sign, traditional measuring methods work well. But for large exterior applications, the process can become more cumbersome.
“I would measure the exterior of a building the old-fashioned way, such as counting bricks or measuring something on the building and scaling it from that, but it wasn’t always productive,” Brad says. “When your tape measure is flapping in the wind, it’s frustrating and challenging. You’re not getting the measurements you need.”
However, Brad recently found a better way to measure those hard-to-reach areas when
he discovered Spike, a smart laser measurement solution for signage site surveys and estimations, through a corporate Signs By Tomorrow newsletter. Brad simply attaches Spike to his smartphone or tablet and takes a picture of the installation area or existing sign. From that photo, Brad can capture the measurements he needs for estimates. Rather than taking the time to set up a ladder or bucket truck, Brad can take a few photos and finish his site survey within minutes.
“With Spike, I can get in two or three extra surveys a day,” Brad says. “If I can conduct more surveys, it increases my odds of winning more jobs.”
While Spike is primarily an estimating tool, Brad recently used the measurements to also fabricate installation-ready channel letters on two hangars at the Scottsdale Airport, he says. The hangars are massive structures at 185 feet by 35 feet, and measuring a building this large would have been time consuming and required a costly bucket truck. Instead, Brad stood far enough back to capture the entire building in a photo and quickly took the measurements he needed using Spike’s online tools back at the office.
But before he could fabricate the 40-inch channel letters, Brad had to verify the accuracy of these measurements. One of the hangars was made of bricks, so Brad counted the bricks against his Spike measurements and found that the dimensions were accurate enough to move into production.
Once Brad measured the hangars, he sent Sheri the Spike files via Dropbox, so she could open the JPG in Adobe Illustrator to create the architectural layout for the sign. Sheri can also use those photos for submitting permit applications because all of the necessary measurement information is included in the files. If any required dimensions are missing, Sheri can always refer back to the photo for additional measurements. The channel letters were then fabricated and installed.
Since purchasing his first Spike, Brad has seen so much value in the product that he bought another device, he says. With the ability to conduct more surveys and turnaround estimates faster, Brad and Sheri can continue to focus on offering top-notch customer service that has helped them stand out in the market.
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