Whether you have a time-sensitive project, need additional coverage, or are looking to save costs, outsourcing graphic or signage installations can give a massive boost to your print or signage business. But, to fully benefit from the power of freelance collaboration, installation managers need to find new contacts and know how to build long-term partnerships with reliable graphics installers.
We know how much effort it takes to find the right freelance installer for your project, not to mention the risk of bringing in a new member to your team. Working with freelancers also requires a different working approach — they may not always be available, need to plan their schedule and require additional information to get work done having not been on the project from the very beginning.
We’ve put together this short guide to assist signage & graphics installation managers in building a reliable network of freelance graphics installers and sub-contractors for years to come.
1. Where to search for freelance wrap & signage installers?
There are many places where you can find a freelance installer for an extensive range of signage products — vinyl graphics, vehicle graphics, shopfront signage and banners, but some sources may be more reliable than others. Using a reputable hiring service can help you alleviate the risks of hiring a wrong-fit installer for your project.
One of the most trusted ways to find sign fitters is to search on industry-specific platforms, use recruitment services, or via the reference of your industry peers. For example, there are a lot of signage & graphics freelancers and sub-contractor companies available on Signage Installations Directory.
2. How to choose the right-fit candidates and contractors?
The quick selection process of freelance vinyl graphics installers and sub-contractors often leaves installation managers vulnerable to gaps in required skills, attitude or work quality. They often have little time for checking the necessary qualifications, and skill sets of graphic and signage installers for a specific project. On the other hand, choosing a candidate only for one or two projects should not be as time-consuming as hiring an in-house vinyl graphics installer.
Thus, you should establish a set of criteria for a potential candidate considering work scope, project duration and performance expectations. Do the interview, ask for examples of previous vinyl wrap installations if that’s what you need them to do, and consider giving them a small test job first. Also, remember that freelance installers will often be working alongside your in-house teams, so do not neglect the cultural fit check.
Finding the right balance between doing a quick general check and going into too much detail will be challenging initially. But with time, you will figure out which criteria are essential for you and which are not. For example, for large-scale architectural signage installations teamwork skills and the ability to work at hard-to-reach spots will be a must.
3. How to establish trust with sign fitters?
The primary step to mutual trust between freelance graphics installer and installation project manager is clear expectations and budget regarding the scope of work, timeline and deadlines. Communicate before the beginning of work the sign-off process and when the job is considered complete.
Provide your teams of freelance signage installers with a simple tool to share information and photos of completed signage and graphics installations to ease the project sign-off. You never know what information may become crucial for delivering the best result for you and your client.
4. How to organise your network?
Set up an active database of every freelance vinyl graphics installer you work with, together with their skills, tools, region, insurances, cards & certifications. By doing so, you and your colleagues will manage to find and book graphics installers for any project with a clear understanding of who is best for that particular job. And in case of a cancellation, you can quickly find a substitute.
There are signage project management software applications that, besides helping you organise workflow with sign fitters, also offer you to keep your entire network of installers and sub-contractors in one place. So you can send a job description to your freelance installers and sub-contractor network and check who is available in two clicks. At Vism, for example, your installers can add skills, tools and location info, as well as copies of their insurance, CSCS, PASMA, IPAF and other qualifications and certifications.
5. How to establish long-term partnerships with freelance sign fitters?
To establish a long-term partnership with freelance graphics installers and sub-contractors, treat them as part of your team. In fact, 83% of freelancers said they wanted to be treated as an in-house team member by their clients.
Communicate with them regularly during project assignments and check in to see if they have everything they need. Using a single platform to manage your graphic installations workflow will allow you to keep them updated automatically, helping them feel they’re a part of the team.
After the project sign-off, you should keep them in the loop regarding the results of their printed graphics installation work and ask them for their experience working with you — building a feedback loop is a good base for future cooperation.
For more on this, check out one of our previous articles, where we discuss more ways to build quality relationships with freelance signage installers.
Streamline your wrap installation workflow!
By maximising the performance of your network of freelance installers and sub-contractors, you will need to apply fewer resources to manage your projects in the future successfully. Our workflow management software Vism can help you speed up this process to reach the desired results and grow your business faster. It includes features that help you manage every aspect of all your graphics and signage installation jobs in one place.