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Carl Gerhardt

Business Sense & Sensibility

By Carl Gerhardt

About Carl

Carl Gerhardt is the chairman of Alliance Franchise Brands LLC, the parent company of Allegra Network LLC and Sign & Graphics Operations LCC, and a world leader in marketing, visual and graphics communications, linking more than 600 locations in the United States, Canada and United Kingdom. The company’s Marketing & Print Division, headquartered in Plymouth, MI, is comprised of Allegra, American Speedy Printing, Insty-Prints, Speedy Printing and Zippy Print brands of marketing, printing, mailing and Web services providers. Its Sign & Graphics Division, headquartered in Columbia, MD, is comprised of Image360, Signs By Tomorrow and Signs Now brands of sign and graphics communications providers.

Carl and his wife, Judy, owned and operated their own successful Allegra franchise for nearly 20 years before selling the $2.3 million operation in 2003. He is a PrintImage International/NAQP Honorary Lifetime Member and was inducted into NAPL’s prestigious Soderstrom Society in 2010 in recognition of his contribution to the industry.

 

The Deadly Law of Inflation...Revisited

 
A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog entitled, “Overcome the ‘Deadly Law’ of Inflation with Decimals.” It might be time to revisit this topic in light of some recently published information.

The latest figures from the Department of Commerce show the Consumer Price Index averaging 5.7 percent for the past six months and 8.5 percent for the last three months. So, even if you instituted a price increase on Jan. 1, 2011, it might be time to consider another if that first one was in the 3 precent range.

Following the previous blog post, I got an e-mail from a reader who owns and runs one of the best-managed shops in the country. Here is the message:


Carl,

I just wanted to say thanks for the reminder about raising prices. I have not done it in over two years and I finally got it done two weeks ago when I saw your article. I raised prices 5 percent on everything except paper. I already have those prices exactly where I want them. Not a single customer has mentioned (or noticed) it.

BTW, I think one reason I was putting it off is because of the time it would take me. But my estimating software makes it really easy by allowing users to select multiple services in a category and modify all prices at once with just a single command. (This feature has been around for a while, but I had forgotten about it.) The whole process took me about 15 minutes!

Thanks again!



I was not surprised to hear that it had been two years since the printer took an increase. We all know that the pressure on prices during the recession has been unprecedented, and many of our suppliers were forced to hold prices as well. But, to hold prices when your costs are going up can be a deadly practice and will severely hamper your lifestyle.

Don’t overlook the reader’s point that “not a single customer noticed it.” That 5 percent increase, or whatever you have the courage to do, should put another $XXX grand (annual sales x 5% = XXX) on the bottom line this year.

You’re welcome, my friend!
 

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