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Report: #401985

Complaint Review: SIGNWORLD - Nationwide Hawaii

  • Submitted:
  • Updated:
  • Reported By: SanAntonio Texas
  • SIGNWORLD
    KEN KINDT AND JACK WERNER
    Nationwide, Hawaii
    U.S.A.

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THE FALSE PROMISES OF SIGNWORLD

Let's face it, what attracts people to the SIGNWORLD model is not to have the high cost of getting started in a business, which includes the time it takes to learn the business...THEY PROMOTE "No previous industry experience is necessary" because SIGWORLD is supposed to reduce the risk of failure. B.S.

It is bad enough that SIGNWORLD sell this lie by building up misleading statements on statistics (never see this in writing though) of low failure rate and cleverly hiding the awful truth of failure. I was told 5% in the 20 year history. I found out it's closer to 40% once I got in and they had my money.

NEVER SELL ON PRICE THEY TELL YOU...Gross profit is 75%

Yea right....you will never get any work!

It's a shitty competetive dog eat dog business. Your lucky if your gross profit ends up at 50% with this model. You have people working out of their garages with low overhead slashing prices, large sign shops that have everything in house getting the larger jobs because they can competively do it less expensive. Oh yea and all the really large companies that use a great deal of signage...HAVE THEIR OWN SIGN SHOPS! Don't forget the internet...any one can order the bread and butter business you want online for half the price you can do it for. One more thing.... CITY REGULATIONS are getting tougher and tougher to put up signs. You basically make a sale and go back and research wether you really have a sale or not. THESE ARE THINGS THEY DON'T TELL YOU!!!

YOU WILL LOSE MONEY EACH MONTH FOR 2 TO 3 YEARS

I was told like everyone getting in that you should cashflow in 6 months like most new owners. RIGHT!!! I'm a pretty good salesman and businessman (well I may have to re-evaluate the businessman part after bing suckered into this one). So from a salesman stand point I'm d**n good however how do you sell something you know nothing about! The amount of loss will vary from month to month, but it seems about 80% of new owners lose money for 2 or 3 years and they either close up or continue to work without a paycheck. This is true even though you do exactly what SIGNWORLD and Jack Werner said you should do.

I'm tired of typing and ranting....MY ADVICE-Rather than wait until your broke......STAY AWAY!!!

Dh
SanAntonio, Texas
U.S.A.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 12/16/2008 01:06 PM and is a permanent record located here: https://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/signworld/nationwide-hawaii/signworld-jack-werner-ken-kindt-signworld-not-a-franchise-but-a-huge-rip-off-all-smoke-to-401985. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year. Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report. READ: Foreign websites steal our content

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REBUTTALS & REPLIES:
0Author
6Consumer
1Employee/Owner

#1 Consumer Suggestion

Worst way to get into the sign business

AUTHOR: signgirl - (USA)

POSTED: Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Ok Ok Ok, SignWorld owners, i hear ya!  I work for a signworld company, not saying where, but have been there since the start up. My first question is this, why pay someone 150K-175k to start a business you know nothing about.  By the way, the total for all of that equipment is less than 60K, and it comes with all the tech support you could ask for, and did you really think a week in Hawaii would teach you how to make signs, simply weeding vinyl and masking it, and placing it on coro is not making SIGNS, it is making A sign (that you probably didn't design, you probably didn't send it to cut either did ya?) So... you are going to hire someone, one person, in the begining that is going to run the show for you right?  Why are you depending on one person to make your living, LEARN THE BUSINESS, you can't sell things you don't know about people... you will look like an idiot when someone asks for channel letters, and you think they are talking about window lettering.  Oh and the networking,  if they didn't buy a sign last week, they aren't going to this week!  Hobnobbing with the local self-important wanna be business people, with a whole lot of nothing to say, is not selling signs. Put on your boots, get in your truck (god I hope you atleast have a truck) and go see people that buy signs.  No contractor wants to buy a sign from a dork in a suit, get on the level of the customers. 


Keys to success in this business,


First, learn what you are doing!  Build your relationships with your customers, BE NICE, NOT FAKE!!!  Be willing and able at all times, Be patient, (especially with your design/production, you don't understand what they are doing, and they can get it done a lot faster without your input, i promise, (never pull a designer from what they are working on to do something else, you should not have promised it to be done in 2 hours in the first place, LISTEN TO THE TEAM PLEASE!) Do not cut corners, buy only the correct materials for the job, really, the mark up on these materials is rediculous, don't try to get greedy and use bad products to make even more money... (that you would have, if you didn't give it to Ken for no logical reason) Make what people need, when they need it, and if you do not make THAT kind of sign, tell them who does. Do not try to do things you can't do inhouse, or if you do not know where to have it done. You will lose money imediately.   Also remember this, a niche doesn't last forever, you are only going to build so many monument signs in a certain radius, so do more than one thing unless you are lucky and know someone who knows someone who owns a retail chain that needs a sign maker!


Ken Kindt sells dreams, and many people have bought it, i wish i could sit down with the man, and ask him how he sleeps at night knowing he has reemed so many people, but you know, people like him would laugh if they read this, because money has taken over ethics and morals. My grandfather always says, bad things happen to people with bad intentions, sooner or later.  Now i will never wish bas on anyone, i just hope he has met KARMA...

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#2 REBUTTAL Individual responds

Signworld is a great opportunity!

AUTHOR: Jack Werner - (U.S.A.)

POSTED: Wednesday, February 18, 2009
There have been several postings on this site about Signworld, some negative, and some positive. So I thought it was appropriate for me to address some of the remarks made, as I am Jack Werner, the person mentioned in some of the postings.

I joined Signworld as an operator in 1995 after doing a lot of my own careful due diligence. I spent quite a bit of time talking to many of the Signworld owners as well as the members of the corporate staff. I was given the necessary tools from Signworld but it was up to me to utilize them properly. And, because I did utilize them properly, I did honestly break even, cash on cash, my first month in business, and wrote my first paycheck to myself in my sixth month after letting the businesses cash reserves build up. I ran my business for 10 years before successfully selling it for many times what I paid for it and I then joined Signworld's corporate staff because I strongly believed in the business model.

I do know of others that broke even, cash on cash, in their first month, some that broke even in their second, third, and fourth month, most broke even around their sixth or seventh month, and for some it took longer. Believe it or not, we actually did have an owner who did break even his first week in business. But that was a true testament to the hard work that owner put in securing a large order before his doors were even open. It is an owner driven business. Some people just get it sooner than others do.

As an owner, I was very involved in the Signworld community and I got to know almost all of the other owners. In many cases, I had helped train a great number of those that went through training after I did. At our conventions, I personally saw year after year the owners who were growing their businesses to bigger and bigger levels as well as a great number of successes with very few failures mixed in. At our conventions each year we give out a number of awards based on how the owners sales numbers were for the previous year. I know the number of awards we give out each year in accordance with the different sales levels, and it is very rewarding to see how many of them are doing so well. I also know those that have failed, and in most cases, why they failed. The failure rates purported are very low, but they are accurate.

Business ownership is not easy, and while many of us have the entrepreneurial spirit', not all are destined to be a success. Even some McDonald's locations have been failures.

I now work to help others go into the sign business for themselves. I help train new owners, offer continued support, but more importantly, I keep myself available to work with any of the Signworld Owners whenever they call. I am very committed to help each owner with whatever troubles they may be having, but it is up to each owner to take the necessary steps to be successful.

I recommend to all of the potential owners that I talk to, to take the information that I provide to them, and make as many calls to as many existing Signworld Owners as they want to talk to so that they can validate that what I have said is accurate. Those calls are the most important step that potential owners can make as those conversations are candid, one on one dialogues, and will provide the candidate with an unbiased view of the business because the owner has no vested interest in whether the candidate joins Signworld or not. In those conversations they can, and should ask about: ramp-up, hiring staff, getting market share, competition, challenges of the business, and whatever other concerns they may have. They have to realize that the success of others does not guarantee their success. It takes your ability to build relationships, turn your relationships into customers, and manage your projects properly so that you deliver what you promised. Then it takes your ability to have your happy customers be willing to introduce you to bigger counterparts beyond them. Not all of us are the same in our ability to do those things and sometimes our perception of our abilities is bigger than the reality of our abilities.

There is competition in every business, and if there wasn't it would probably be an indication that there is not a real market. Some operators are very intimidated by competition, while others see it as a non-issue and are able to find ways to accrue the customers that are interested in doing business with them, in spite of the competition.

I am disappointed with those that have felt compelled to post negative reports and attack my integrity on this site. I pride myself in being honest with everyone I speak with regardless if they are a prospective owner or an existing owner. I also take a lot of pride in making myself available to offer continued support to our existing owners.
I question those that posted negative remarks if they have ever picked up the phone, dialed my toll-free number, and asked for the help that they apparently need.

One last item that really irked me about those that wrote negative remarks is that they didn't even have the decency to identify their true locations. I understand that when you are posting a complaint, you may want to remain somewhat anonymous and save face amongst your peers. But the unfortunate thing, is that they chose to identify their locations where we only have one operation, and by doing that they can cause some serious issues and alienation for the innocent owners in those areas that have nothing to do with these posts. We only have one operation in San Antonio, and I know that the owner in that area is happy with the organization, but more importantly, posting something like this is just not his style. Again, we only have one location in O'Fallon, MO. That owner has only been in business for a few months and is in no way interested in selling his business. There were also two postings from owners in Spokane, WA, but again we only have one owner in that area. It just so happens to be Bogie1of8 who wrote a positive post.

I wish that whoever is so unhappy with their experience within Signworld would contact me so that we can work together to help them attain the success they are hoping for. The challenge that I have is that I can give advice to help improve one's performance, but being willing to accept the needed changes and adapt to a different style can be very difficult for some. As I mentioned before, I spend hours every week working with existing Signworld owners to help them get from where they are right now, to where they want to be, but the advice falls on deaf ears if the owner is not willing to make some of the adjustments that are sometimes needed.

I encourage anyone that has read this string of posts to contact me or anyone within the Signworld Organization as we would like to address any of the questions that you may have. We would also be more than happy to put you in touch with any one of the owners in our organization so that you can address your questions with them as well.

Jack Werner
Signworld
877-430-7446
Signworld_jack@sbcglobal.net
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#3 Consumer Comment

I totally agree with DH from San Antonio - Signworld is a HUGE ripoff!

AUTHOR: Rk - (U.S.A.)

POSTED: Friday, January 23, 2009
Same complaint as DH.

* Signworld's break even projection is LUDICROUS at 3-6 months. They presented one owner in their sales meeting that claimed break even in his first week. Come on guys give me a break...

* Signworld says you can use 100% of your 401K to fund your venture without penalty. Did you hear this IRS? Sounds like a disbursement to me...

* Signworld says you only need about $20K in reserve capital for operations and that Jack Werner literally never tapped his reserve when he started his company. What? Jack, you grew your business to $1M in sales and never tapped your working capital? You should be a professor at Harvard Business school because that is not only good, but purely miraculous! (Er, read LUDICROUS)

* Place a significant ad with the Yellow pages it will yield $7K per month in sales. Did I ever get one call from a yellow pages ad? Yes actually I got 3 in 18 months. None of them produced a single order. Excellent advice Signworld you're really up to date with current marketing trends. (NOT)

Bottom line: If you feel compelled to spend well over $250K in capital, I recommend that you convert it to dollar bills, pile it up at a camp site, light it on fire, and gather the kids around for a good old fashioned marshmallow roast rather than waste your time with Signworld.

Seriously, if you really want to get into the sign business, just visit a few sign shops and they'll sell to you on the spot. Because the only thing that owner wants, is to get the bloody Hell out of his Signworld mistake...
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#4 Consumer Comment

I disagree with the author

AUTHOR: Signguy1 - (U.S.A.)

POSTED: Thursday, January 22, 2009
Signworld delivers what they promote: a business that has the potential to be a lucrative enterprise. They offer state-of-the-art equipment, ongoing training and sales coaching, tech support, a yearly convention with free admission to one of the largest industry showcases, a support network of over 260 other sign company owners, great buying power, and help starting and running your business. All this with no royalties, rules, or restrictions. You can choose to run your business by the book, or you can branch out and do business the way you see fit.

Ultimately, the decision is yours. I caution anyone who gets into ANY biz opp or franchise to do your due diligence properly. Honestly, the proformas given are weak and outdated, and you should be prepared with cash reserves on hand. However, read most articles on Entrepreneur.com or talk with your local SBDC and you will find that this is recommended for ANY business... make sure you have at least 6 months cash reserves for you personally and for your business.

The Operations, Sales, and HR manuals are well put together. You MUST speak with owners before you sign on the dotted line to know what you are getting in. I personally am quite frank with prospects. When armed with knowledge, you can get into this business well prepared.

Three major changes which happened regarding the Signworld philosophy after we signed which are quite significant are:
* there was an upgrade to the equipment package (keeping up with technology)
* the emphasis on Yellowpages advertising is significantly reduced
* it is recommended that you find a light industrial, low-rent facility rather than a retail location

I do wish that we had these changes before we started, but part of business is adaptation. We have already upgraded some of our equipment, and we are working to get the rest of the equipment repaired which is under warranty (minor technical difficulties which can occur with technology, but with which Signworld has been very responsive).

Bottom line... Signworld is a great investment, but make sure you do your research. Use their business plan, but adapt it to your own and add cash reserves. Know the equipment package and check to see if there is something new coming up in the near future. Obsolescence is inevitable, but don't be caught with a "B" product out of the chute... keep with the Jones' at least. Start selling and pre-selling IMMEDIATELY... don't wait until you open your doors. It's a fun and profitable business IF you prepare yourself. CAUTION: if you are not a salesperson, be prepared to get one... the model relies on the owner to be in charge of sales, and the training is exceptional. However, KNOW THYSELF!
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#5 Consumer Comment

I Disagree with the author

AUTHOR: Bogie1of8 - (U.S.A.)

POSTED: Tuesday, January 13, 2009
I would have to disagree with the author.

I have found the SIGNworld opportunity to be exactly what I was looking for. What attracted me to the SIGNworld model was not avoiding the high cost of getting into business but rather:

1. No ongoing royalties Most traditional franchises extract 4%-8% of gross sales, whether you're profitable or not.

2. You can pick any name, brand & identity you choose.

3. Business to Business And the hours that go with it! Unlike retail, real estate, or service business (which I was in before), I'm home on evenings & weekends.

4. Employees Are comparatively easier to find than the industry I was in. Additionally the revenue per employee is higher.

5. Freedom to go into a variety of different markets as you see fit or find interest.

I'm sure there are more but these are my personal top 5.

I had no industry experience, additionally I had just moved to a new town where I had no personal or business contacts. It was also the right during the 911 crises, which created economic turmoil not dissimilar from what we are experiencing today. The No previous industry experience necessary' is based on the concept that you hire someone that does have the expertise. You do the managing and marketing.

I am confident that the failure rate is no where near the 40% claimed and is probably a lot closer to the 5% the author was told. Of the 16 companies that started the same year I did, I know of only one that is not still open. And that's after 7 years. I don't know how long the author stayed in the business, but they would have had access to the owners roster and would if they were paying attention know that the number he's claiming is erroneous.

Yes you will be competing with other local sign companies! Additionally many of the companies will be your vendors (as they will have equipment you don't), and many will be your customers because of the products & services you can offer The equipment package at start up is very competitive for current market conditions, however like all industries, technology is moving fast. The current equipment package was not available 7 years ago when I started. As you grow you get to add and replace depending on the course You set and the markets You want to go into. SIGNworld has put together an excellent group of suppliers that offer SIGNworld discounts, and are most helpful in assisting in your company's growth and changes in the industry.

I DONT SELL ON PRICEmy gross profit for 2008 as defined by SIGNworld is 72.3%. Selling strictly on price is a good way to end up out of business! As with all businesses, a bell curve exists. You will always have those working out of their garage all the way to the national conglomerate. SIGNworld positioned me to compete pretty far down the front end of the curve. Oh, and thank goodness for the internet! What a powerful tool for any business. Whether you are looking for a vendor or looking to become one, the internet is an opportunity for all of us. Many SIGNworld companies have positioned their companies to do almost exclusive internet sales.

Has anyone heard of a business or industry that did not have increasing government regulation and interference? I didn't think so. It's part of the game in any business. But being pro-active, the government buys a lot of signs. Various government entities account for over 20% of my sales.

It did take us 6 months to get to where we could pull a paycheck. Sales have increased every year, obviously some years more than others. I have the numbers to back up my comments, unlike the authors seems about 80% type comments. Has my SIGNworld investment been a license to print money? Not even close, like all businesses it's a lot of work. However the rewards of having more time with my family and growing my retirement and future are well worth the investment.

Ken Kindt has been great to work with. Jack Werner, before going to corporate, owned a SIGNworld location when I started. He was one of the owners I visited when doing my due diligence. And to this day 3-D Signs is a vendor on at least a monthly basis. The technical training both at start up and ongoing has been invaluable. However, the most valuable part of my SIGNworld experience has been the relationships and rapport I have built with other owners.

Thank you SIGNworld!
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#6 Consumer Comment

I AGREE WITH THE AUTHOR

AUTHOR: Anonomous - (U.S.A.)

POSTED: Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Similar complaint here. They underestimate the capital required for start up. The performa's they provide you with are erroneous....plan on an additional 100k over what they tell you if you want to stay in business. I asked for help trying to sell mine and JW's comment was..."it would be against our best judgement to try and sell a failing business to a perspective client" How ironic!!
Good luck to those who are still working hard at it.
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#7 Author of original report

SIGNWORLD, JACK WERNER AND KEN KINDT... MUST READ BEFORE YOU SIGN UP...NOT A FRANCHISE BUT A HUGE RIPOFF NATIONWIDE

AUTHOR: Dh - (U.S.A.)

POSTED: Tuesday, December 16, 2008
THE FALSE PROMISES OF SIGNWORLD



Let's face it, what attracts people to the SIGNWORLD model is not to have the high cost of getting started in a business, which includes the time it takes to learn the business...THEY PROMOTE "No previous industry experience is necessary" because SIGWORLD is supposed to reduce the risk of failure. B.S. It is bad enough that SIGNWORLD sell this lie by building up misleading statements on statistics (never see this in writing though) of low failure rate and cleverly hiding the awful truth of failure. I was told 5% in the 20 year history. I found out it's closer to 40% once I got in and they had my money. Approx. 5% of 250 store owners are at least profitable & happy about their business. The rest of the stores are suffering to compete with other local sign companies since the most of the owners do not have any experience in sign industry and are set up with the same general equipment most small sign shops have.





NEVER SELL ON PRICE THEY TELL YOU...Gross profit is 75%



After some months of doing everthing by the SIGNWORLD book I was still suffering very slow trading and ongoing losses, I asked for help to try and kick start the business but was told I need to put my prices up and don't sell on price. Yea right....you will never get any work! It's a shitty competetive dog eat dog business. Your lucky if your gross profit ends up at 50% with this model. You have people working out of their garages with low overhead slashing prices, large sign shops that have everything in house getting the larger jobs because they can competively do it less expensive. Oh yea and all the really large companies that use a great deal of signage...HAVE THEIR OWN SIGN SHOPS! Don't forget the internet...any one can order the bread and butter business you want online for half the price you can do it for. One more thing.... CITY REGULATIONS are getting tougher and tougher to put up signs. You basically make a sale and go back and research wether you really have a sale or not. THESE ARE THINGS THEY DON'T TELL YOU!!!





YOU WILL LOSE MONEY EACH MONTH FOR 2 TO 3 YEARS



It all seemed like a license to print money, after talking with Jack Werner, Ken Kindt and some of the other franchise owners they told me to speak to.



I first smelled a rat when I was in LasVegas for the convention about a week after I signed the contract and another at my 2 weeks training which had little or no technical content but was predominantly marketing and Ken Kindt reading from the SIGNWORLD books (what a joke). It was too late by then to back out.



I was told like everyone getting in that you should cashflow in 6 months like most new owners. RIGHT!!! I'm a pretty good salesman and businessman (well I may have to re-evaluate the businessman part after being suckered into this one). So from a salesman stand point I'm d**n good however how do you sell something you know nothing about! The amount of loss will vary from month to month, but it seems about 80% of new owners lose money for 2 or 3 years and they either close up or continue to work without a paycheck. This is true even though you do exactly what SIGNWORLD and Jack Werner said you should do. I'm tired of typing and ranting....MY ADVICE-Rather than wait until your broke......STAY AWAY COMPLETLEY!!! YOUR MONEY IS BEST SPENT ELSEWHERE! Dh SanAntonio, Texas
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