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Old 04-27-2012, 08:40 PM
Zariapatience Zariapatience is offline
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how do you determine cost of lettering?

i would like to know how you determine cost of lettering for hand done signage. A guy painted the letters onto the back of our boat once and he charged by the letter but i don't remember how much and can't find him. I was wondering if this is standard when you are doing a sign. I have been asked to do lettering on a window. I'm going to use One Shot and picked out some nice fonts and i want to give an estimate. i thought id do it by the hour but thought maybe i should consider by the letter too. is like 2 or 3 dollars a letter standard? looking for opinions! Thanks!
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Old 04-28-2012, 07:01 AM
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Diane Cutter Diane Cutter is offline
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Re: how do you determine cost of lettering?

You need to factor in cost of paint as well as your time. More letters mean more paint.

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Old 04-28-2012, 09:14 AM
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Horsa Horsa is offline
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Re: how do you determine cost of lettering?

Not many sign makers left who still do hand lettering.

Price the self stick letters at the hardware store and make sure you are charging at least 2-3 times as much.
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Old 04-28-2012, 11:29 AM
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DaveMak DaveMak is offline
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Re: how do you determine cost of lettering?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Horsa
Not many sign makers left who still do hand lettering.

Price the self stick letters at the hardware store and make sure you are charging at least 2-3 times as much.

Sorry, Horsa, but I totally disagree with this approach. Vinyl lettering is dirt cheap... even custom cut vinyl lettering done on a machine.

Hand lettering is becoming a lost art, as you pointed out. It takes a true craftsman to do this work well. If the sign painter is any good at their craft I think they should charge $ 60.00 to $ 100.00 and hour for their efforts... more if it entails any gilding.

Besides, if they can afford the boat, they can afford to pay for the lettering.
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Old 04-28-2012, 11:38 AM
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Horsa Horsa is offline
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Re: how do you determine cost of lettering?

What I meant was hat anybody who is doing hand lettering should charge considerably more than a sign maker or DIY using vinyl or other machine cut lettering.

There is a definite art to shaping the letters and to spacing them (the technical term, at least in typesetting, is "kerning").

$2-$3 per letter is about what I pay for 3-4 inch vinyl at the hardware store.

$60-100 per hour is closer to what I would expect to pay for good hand lettering.

Be sure to charge for your design time as well as painting time. That work is also part of the job.
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Old 04-28-2012, 11:42 AM
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Re: how do you determine cost of lettering?

When I had my shop sign painted I paid about $5-10 per letter. They weren't broken out separately. And I live in an area where the sign painter who still does it all by hand works cheap!
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Old 04-28-2012, 03:11 PM
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Re: how do you determine cost of lettering?

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Old 05-01-2012, 02:43 PM
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RobinZ RobinZ is offline
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Re: how do you determine cost of lettering?

Sigh. My husband used to be a sign painter and pictorial billboard painter. I still remember the day he came home and told me "a machine" had come out and could do what he did cheaper and in a fraction of the time and he needed to change careers. About 35 years ago...my son was a baby.

I didn't believe it. He did beautiful custom work and I didn't believe anyone would buy the cheesy vinyl.

How wrong I was! He still misses it.

Historically, so many artists were sign painters, too. It's one of those things that looks easy but is very easy to look amateurish, too.

Anyway, there is a site called the Letterheads, they are what's left of the trade and you might get some ideas of pricing from them. But they are pros, not doing this as a side.
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Old 05-01-2012, 02:47 PM
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Re: how do you determine cost of lettering?

You know, I just reread this. How much experience do you have in hand lettering? It's not that easy. In fact, when he did a lot of billboards in a row, my hubby would practice his hand lettering at night just to keep his skills up. And he was one of the best in town and started at 16.
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Old 05-02-2012, 02:15 PM
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Re: how do you determine cost of lettering?

I have done custom lettering of signs in festivals and market type shows and did quite well until the computerized machines started popping up at the shows. You need to charge for time and materials.
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