Sales of For Sale boards slip to all time low
Wednesday 19th November 2008
As a sign of the times, orders of For Sale boards have reached an all-time low, while printing firms reliant on estate agency have also been hit.
Among the latter are Manchester-based Printing.com which prints material for its franchise holders around the UK. But the company said its franchisees are winning new clients as other small printers ceased to trade. Its shares are less than two-thirds of their value at the start of the year.
Meanwhile Kremer Signs, the market-leading boards manufacturer, has laid off 26 of its 64-strong workforce and says monthly production is down by almost 20,000 boards a month – and by 30,000 from peak.
The company, founded 25 years ago by Richard Kremer and Steve Gosney, was producing 80,000 boards a month at the height of the market.
However, it could be worse, says Steve Gosney: “Although sales are down, many agents have realised just how cost-effective boards are, and we are currently looking at updating designs for agents who are looking to be noticed in the New Year.
“And whilst we have seen hundreds of estate agency office closures, we have been able to keep our factories in Berkshire, Bristol and Lincolnshire running, partly because many agents have realised more than ever that buying a high-quality board with an eye-catching design is the most cost-effective way to promote their stock and themselves.
“The advice we give our agents is never to get to the stage where you cannot erect a board on a new instruction, and worst of all, never erect a board that is past its sale by date, as this will only help wreck a reputation that you have spent a long time building up.
“With the cost of 50 new boards, including having them erected, often costing less that a standard half-page newspaper advert, there really is no reason not to get new boards as your existing ones come to the end of their life.”
Gary Gosney, office manager and son of the co-founder, said: “Most estate agents used to order at least 100 to 150 a time, but that’s now down to under 30. We’re also seeing a lot of office closures – agents simply disappearing off the radar. Things have definitely deteriorated within the last three to four months.”
He added that although demand for For Sale boards has plummeted, demand for rental boards and slips is up by 100%. The company has also managed to pick up new agency customers at the rate of six or seven offices a week as its competition has either gone out of business or switched operations. One major agent in the south-east has also recently signed to Kremer, impressed by the durability of its signs.
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