Own workshop for the production of illuminated signs and panels
This article will discuss how to open a workshop for the manufacture of illuminated signs and panels. For starters, it’s about money. You will need from 5 to 13 thousand dollars.
The investment pays off in a few months. “Lives” neon advertising for about three years. If the customer likes you, he will contact you again in three years. And you will also serve neon advertising.
Who are your potential customers?
- restaurants and bars,
- night clubs,
- luxury stores,
- shopping centers
- other public places.
Advertising of such places should be bright, catchy, cheerful, “expensive”, seductive – that is, pick up any epithets you like, but the main thing is what all your potential customers want: their establishment should create a feeling of “Broadway” or a night European capital in the consumer. That is, they need a fairy tale, or rather the scenery for a fairy tale. The most spectacular, bright and beautiful is the technology of neon discharge lamps.
Wizard Goodwin and his little candle factory
This production is called “One-Person Neon Plant” – that is, a neon plant of one person, because to make all this splendor, you just need a barn and from one to a maximum of three workers.
One, but essential requirement is presented to the room: it must be equipped with a powerful hood to remove gases that have escaped to freedom.
Now in the Russian capital, according to some reports, there are about thirty medium and small manufacturers of neon lamps. The most famous of them are We R. Signs, TrinityNeon, VIZANT, NeonArt, Reko, Helvetica, Neon Lux, Xstream.
how does a candle factory work
The main operation is bending glass tubes or banding. if you have ever worked with your hands and have an imagination in addition, you will easily understand that this is the most difficult operation. The glassblower heats a piece of pipe on the open flame of a gas burner, and then very quickly, before the pipe has cooled down, bends it by hand, checking it with a template prepared by the designer. Then electrodes are soldered to both ends of the tube – and the work is completed.
To implement this technological process, you will need:
- A table made of heat-resistant material with a height of at least 80 cm, a tabletop area of 2×3 m. In general, the parameters of the table vary, as they depend on the growth of the glass blower.
- You will also need three types of burners:
a) tape – for simultaneous and uniform heating of an extended section of the tube; b) cross – for spot heating and obtaining sharp corners;
3) manual – for fine work and soldering tubes together.
Propane gas is required to operate the burners, although it can be purchased in bottles, as most neon companies do.
- Pumping air out of the tube;
- Adding a drop of mercury to it to obtain the required brightness;
- Filling the tube with gas, and neon gives shades of red, argon – all other colors.
- Connecting the tube to the “exhaust post”. This is the most expensive equipment in the entire production.
- Connecting a high voltage transformer
- “Running” or turning on the lamp on a special stand during the day.
If the lamp glows with an unblinking, even light, does not flash with discharges, then the glassblower and the worker involved in pumping air have done a quality job. If problems arise, the tube is remade and refilled with gas.
Do you want to buy a ready-made plant?
In Moscow, there are several firms selling turnkey American-made neon mini-factories. The entire set of equipment is located on an area of 20 square meters. m. The cheapest imported kit can be purchased here for $9.2 thousand.
Nevertheless, it is most profitable to buy equipment from Russian companies, as it has a number of advantages.
The main thing: domestic pumping systems are made of metal, and not of fragile glass, like the Americans.
Further: unlike imported posts with manual control, ours are semi-automatic. There is no need to unscrew the faucets – just press the button. The cost of Russian posts is more than half as much – only about $4,000.
Burners will have to be bought in the West, since they are not produced in Russia.
- The price of a band burner is $600;
- cannon – $400;
- manual – $150.
All equipment for the production will cost about $5,000. To this we must add that this equipment has cheaper maintenance – only $300 per year – which is about the cost of a ten-liter oil canister. Repair of the pump or glass pipeline at the EGL post (American production) can cost you $1000.
Who are glassblowers
In order for your plant to work at full capacity, you will need only two people – a glass blower and a pumper. But try to find such specialists! You won’t become an ace in a few weeks or months. It takes at least a year to fully master the skill. The most expensive element of neon advertising – letters and capital letters – the glass blower will not master soon. Even a very capable person will spend several hours on each lamp. And profit, as you know, is done on the stream. Only after a year and a half, a beginner will be able to make 50 meters of simple lamps or up to ten meters of lamps of complex configuration per day.
All firms selling equipment are taken to train a novice glassblower. Usually, unnecessary trimming is used for training.
Some imported firms want $1,800 for four weeks of training. Firms selling domestic equipment will take up this work for $300 per month, including consumables – tubes, electrodes.
A glassblower-ace can, of course, be lured away from a competing company. In this case, he will have to offer a large salary. As a rule, craftsmen ask from $1 to $3 per linear meter of a lamp (if they work piecework), or at least $600 per month. The salary of a superprofessional starts from $1,000.
The labor of a pumper is cheaper – about $500. A glassblower can also pump air out of tubes. True, if you have only one glass blower, you become completely dependent on the human factor. Diseases, whims – and all production will stop. Our warning is quite sound, as almost everyone involved in the production of neon lamps has encountered this.
However, for every disease there is a cure. In our case, there are at least two of them:
- Need to have a spare master available
- Make a glassblower a co-founder of your company. This means sharing with him part of the profits. In another way, as practice shows, it is often impossible. Every good craftsman has a desire to open his own business and leave for free bread.
Income and investments
The complexity of the configuration of neon lamps is directly proportional to their cost. They are measured in running meters.
- The cheapest (straight) lamps start at $12 per rm.
- Slightly curved – $ 13 per m.
- Lamps that repeat the shape of a simple font – $ 14 per sq.m.
- And, finally, cursive letters cost from $15 per sq.m.
These are the lowest rates set by players for advertisers. For most firms, they are twice as high. Consumables (electrodes and glass) take up a third of the final price. The rest: rent of premises, salary, profit. In principle, you can save on rent: by placing in the basements of workshops, removable corners in factory areas.
About ten companies sell consumables in the capital. Among them there are those who produce themselves, and those who resell. A standard tube (1.22 or 1.5 m long) can be purchased from $1.5 to $7. The maximum price is given for a rare color or colored glass coated with one or another phosphor, on which, in fact, the color depends.
An interesting fact: some businessmen do not include the cost of materials such as mercury, argon and neon in the cost of a light bulb. Why, you wonder? Yes, it’s just that their consumption is so microscopically small that it can be neglected as a statistical error. Let’s take a concrete example. One canister of neon with a capacity of 1.25 liters and a pressure
of m at 1 atmosphere (at a price of $ 26) is enough for 300 meters of lamps. One liter of mercury is enough to fill 3 kilometers of pipes.
$ 2.5-3 thousand of net profit will bring you 500 linear meters of lamps per month. However, do not forget that some must be spent on taxes and advertising.
Who is a customer and where to find him
The scope of production depends on sales volumes. How many clients do you need to have to work stably?
So let’s guess. In order to make 17 signs with the word “Products”, you will need five hundred meters (500 m) of neon tubes. Cafes, cinemas and showcases in trading floors are waiting for their designer.
The province, although not Moscow, is also waiting for its neon wizards.
There are practically no streets in the style of “Broadway”, which in the evening should light up with frenzied illumination. With the exception of one or two central streets, on which the remnants of Soviet garlands still hang, the rest of the city is, as a rule, a dark territory of vandals. But trade is developing, so that even in small towns it becomes pleasant to go out in the evening and the layman even begins to appreciate it to some extent. And the cost of production is lower here.
Your main task is to find the glass blower. This was and remains the number one challenge.
2. Launching advertising; establishing contact with all local agencies that are engaged in outdoor advertising – they are potential consumers of neon.
If you sell your lamps directly to casinos that are hungry for you, the profit will be two to three times higher. So: not through agencies! The price of the issue: the presence of a team of installers in the state, which can be attracted temporarily, under the contract.
Subtleties of promotion
Most advertise in specialized magazines for shops and restaurants. Hire agents to make contact with potential neon customers. The agent receives 10 – 20% of the order value. Negotiations and control over the installation is carried out independently. To help an agent work, you need to have a beautiful and weighty portfolio. Some companies that are already promoted on the market today started by slipping other people’s works as their masterpieces to a naive customer …
Anyone, even a person far from business, understands that the most profitable customers are large companies. These are the hardest things to get into your snares. You need to charm the people who are the heads of the advertising departments of corporations and interest them in cooperation. How to “interest”, you ask? Rollback, rollback and rollback again – this is the main “engine of trade” for today’s rainy day.
In general, the manufacture, installation and maintenance of neon advertising is a business that the master is afraid of: it is difficult, interesting, and profitable. Now your task is to urgently start looking for a glass blower, because everything else is trifles and trifles, typical for any other business.