There are two steps in the order process (1) getting a price quote, and (2) placing a firm order for a custom sign. These are described below.
Step 1- Getting a preliminary estimate or a quote for a custom sign or plaque is simple, even if you are not sure what you want your plaque to exactly look like. Just go to the Get a Quote page, fill out the form and click on submit. Or, you can call us at 951-698-8484 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and our friendly and knowledgeable Customer Service Representatives will be pleased to help you. Preliminary inquiries or requests for planning cost or schedule estimates are welcome. We need to know the sign size, whether it has one or two sides, the material (painted HDU, wood, metal-plated, or other), the the of carving/relief (flat 2-D, 2.5-D engraved or raised text & art, or 3-D scuptured bas-relief), number of colors or a picture/sketch, and how your sign will be mounted (wall, hanging, on a post or between posts, etc) before we can give you a firm price and delivery time. We do not need to know the details of text or artwork to provide you a firm quote. Providing you a detailed design for your approval occurs in Step 2 below.
Some customers want to view an exact proof which they approve before they place a firm order with a down payment. In general, we cannot do that. It costs us $100 to $150 to develop an exact proof with artwork, colors, etc, and takes several days. If we do this, and you do not order, we get stuck with the design cost, which can amount to several thousands of $$ every day for all our inquiries that do not result in orders, and we would soon be out of business. However, in certain cases, especially for larger orders, we will provide an initial proof or photo of a similar sign to give you an idea of what your sign or plaque will look like.
We will provide a detailed and complete design in Step 2 below after you place an order and make a down payment.
Asking for a quote on a custom costs you nothing and there is no obligation to purchase a sign. We typically make 25 to 30 quotes for custom signs and plaques every day.
Step 2- This step is initiated after you place a firm order and make a 50% down payment.
The first phase is to develop a detailed design proof that you must approve before we go into production (i.e., carving and painting). We develop an initial design and send it to you, which you can then review and can ask for changes in artwork or text, etc, up to 5 change cycles or iterations.This design proof has a detailed drawing, and specifications of colors, carving relief, hardware, etc .
The second phase begins after you approve this final design proof in writing (this can be an email). We convert your approved design proof into a production proof which then travels with your sign or plaque as it undergoes the 15 or 20 fabrication steps in our 6 different shops (router/carving shop, wood & sanding shop, spray paint shop, fine paint & finishing shop, metal shop for hardware, and finally, packing & shipping shop). We make your sign exactly like the production proof without deviations. We may give you in-process photos of your sign or plaque during the fabrication processes for larger orders, if you request them. When your sign or plaque is almost done with fine painting and finishing, we send you photos of the nearly completed sign or plaque, before we clear-coat it. You can request a few slightly different color changes at this time if we have misinterpreted your approved colors. After you approve the final photo, we clear coat the sign or plaque in our spray paint shop, and pack and crate your sign(s) or plaque(s). We must collect the remaining 50% before we ship it to you.
We usually arrange the shipper (UPS ground for smaller signs & plaques) and insure the sign or plaque for any shipping damages. We take great care in packing and shipping so there is very low risk of damage. If the sign or plaque is damaged during shipping, we will either repair it or make a new identical one if it is not repairable.