Accept or Reject: How to Deal with Urgent Last-Minute Graphic & Signage Installation Requests
Last-minute graphics and signage installation requests are distressing because they’re ill-timed and unexpected. You never know what to expect. There is no thorough plan to keep you ready when—at the last minute—you have to make changes to a project almost ready for delivery.
Such requests often do not have realistic deadlines or a smooth schedule to ensure you have the most stress-free workflow. Instead, they create chaos by forcing you to change your focus and priorities. They are stressful for everyone involved—the client, you, and your team. However, whether it’s a long-time loyal customer, or a first-time client, completing the job should guarantee that they will return for more in the future (hopefully with proper in-advance planning).
Last-minute requests are not uncommon in the wide-format printing industry. You should know how to overcome short-notice orders or changes successfully, whether it’s a window retail installation or a construction installation.
In this article, we aim to help you deal with any last-minute requests—like you knew they were coming.
Get the details right
When a new signage request comes into your inbox for a project that you’ve already said yes to, there’s no need to start stressing out because of tight deadlines. In such a case, it’s essential to step back and make sure you note all the job details correctly. If you cut corners at this early stage in the race to get the work done, you risk making mistakes or producing work that looks like a rush job.
Your goal is to take in as much information as possible. It will make the job for you and your team of signage installers much easier. For example, mentioning information about access to the site or how materials will get to the site will save the installers some hassle. This way, they will be able to focus on their job—completing the installation as quickly as possible.
Here is the list of information you should ask your client for so you can pass it on to your installers:
- Timeline with start and end dates
- The job’s timezone
- Type of job (event, exhibition, graphics, retail, signage, survey)
- Number of installers
- Client contact (someone you can reach out to get answers to your questions)
- Access instructions
- Delivery info
- Travel information
Prioritise and communicate
In case of last-minute graphic and signage requests, proper communication and prioritisation help you ensure that clients receive the expected results.
Sometimes it’s difficult to squeeze more jobs into an already packed schedule for signage installers. So before you agree to an urgent installation request, ask yourself, “Can I deliver this project by the deadline?”
When considering this question, also think about how comfortable you are with the type of work requested. If it’s a POS installation, and that’s your core business, no problem. However, if it’s a large-scale architectural signage installation and your team doesn’t have much experience or the necessary skills to install in hard-to-reach area safely, chances are you won’t be able to carry out the work as quickly as you would like.
Also, look at other jobs you’re currently working on. It’s a bad idea to accept an urgent brief to please a client if it will delay other projects and cause suffering as a result. Let a client know about your current workload and give them a realistic timeframe for delivering the requested job.
A sound installation project manager knows the limits of one’s team. If you push these limits too far, employee health, quality of work, and productivity go down. Remember, for your installation team to be the most efficient, you, as their manager, must understand when they are overloaded.
To prevent your team from carrying more than their weight, consider collaborating with sign installation subcontractors that can work along your in-house team and deliver urgent project requests. Outsourcing also brings more flexibility and cost-saving opportunities.
It’s also essential to know how to build long-term partnerships with reliable graphics installers. For last-minute requests when you might urgently need a subcontractor, keeping a database of freelance sign fitters is helpful.
There are industry-specific sources available for hiring freelance signage installers and subcontracting companies.
Utilise collaboration tools
Automation is a powerful tool to save time so that you can focus on other things. Installation teams should utilise collaboration tools to get everyone on the same platform, which allows them to communicate and respond in real-time and keeps everyone updated on work progress. This way, you can speed up the work process by organising communication. It makes dealing with urgent signage installations more straightforward and stress-free.
There are solutions available to help you automate the administrative work you and your team repeat daily — from workflow management software to artificial intelligence programs. For example, Vism is specially designed for signage & graphics installation project management. You can allocate jobs to your teams with one easy-to-understand viewing page and fix any scheduling conflicts before they happen. You can also store all the documents related to each printed graphics installation in one place, no matter the file format or size, and share the information that your in-house team, sub-contractors, and freelance installers need. And most importantly, no manual data sharing means less room for errors and more time to win new deals.
Accept or reject
You cannot avoid last-minute installations, but you can avoid the stress. You need to be ready to tackle them and know the strategies that will help you deliver. So next time, don’t forget the details, structure your priorities, and utilise available tools. You will get through urgent signage installations like it’s just another casual and easy job.