Code of Ethics

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Roderick Treece
Posts: 1048
Joined: Sat Apr 10, 2004 8:04 pm
Location: San deigo Calif

Code of Ethics

Post by Roderick Treece » Wed Oct 16, 2013 4:24 pm

One of the first things I remember learning for my dad about being in the sign business was to respect other sign artists and the relationship they have with their clients. I grew up in a small town and back then there were maybe 4 sign artists in all. We were all friends and shared work all the time.

It wasn’t uncommon to be approached by a friends client about doing some work for them. Most of the time it turned out the friend and his client were having a bit of a rough time at the moment which led the client to go shopping around. We would help patch things up and they worked out their issues. If the friend gave permmission to take over the client then that was acceptable , so you would pass client along.

Forty years later with the advent of the internet I find this still happens but on a more wide spread scale. Just a few months ago I got a call from an architect that was looking for a glass sign artist to create this very large sign for his client. After talking to him awhile I find out he already has a long standing relationship with a sign company whom I am old friends with. I tell the architect that my friends are the best in the business in his area and to try and work it out with them. If my friends decide they don’t want the job and give me permission to do the job then I will. Of course I called my friends and alerted them to the situation. They were able to call the client and work it out. I felt the code I had learned so many years ago still worked.

An ongoing situation and recent event has made me realize that not all of the people I deal with ever learned this code of ethics. Over the last few years I have made friends with sign artists all over the world. When ever I have a client that needs something far away I offer to come do the work on site. Sometimes the client would like to have a local sign artist do the site work. If I know of someone I trust I refer them to my client with the understanding that this is my client and this referral is for this job only. If my client gets ahold of them again for another job then they should call me and let me know.

A few years ago I did a large project in my studio for a designer that works directly with a major US company. The designer was looking for a sign artist in another part of the country to do the on site work so I referred someone whom I had a working relationship with and thought I could trust. We finished the project and everyone was happy.

Later I find out the person I referred my client to was approached by the major US company to work on two other locations thus cutting me and my client out of the loop.I told this person I was not at all happy with the way he handled it but they didn’t care. On the latest project that I did in my studio I asked my client who was doing the onsite work and I was told it was this same person and he had nothing to do with it. That he was cut out of the deal again.

So in the future I know that I will have to have everything in writing . It’s such a small world these days ,I just want to try and treat everyone with the same respect that my dad taught to me so many years ago.

I do want to say sorry to Rick Jenzen in regard to the Denver Fluevog Project. If I had remembered you did their original store I would not have responded to their call for work on the Denver location. It turned out that Dan Seese got the job.

Cal Trauter
Posts: 13
Joined: Sun Mar 17, 2013 11:34 am

Re: Code of Ethics

Post by Cal Trauter » Wed Oct 16, 2013 7:19 pm

Hey Roderick,
Nice post and well spoken.

erik winkler
Posts: 1063
Joined: Sat Feb 23, 2008 5:48 pm
Location: Amsterdam Netherlands

Re: Code of Ethics

Post by erik winkler » Fri Oct 18, 2013 2:11 am

A name would be great, but that is me.
I hate non-loyalty
Realizing we are in the 2nd renaissance of the arts.
Learn, copy and trying to improve...
Still in the learning phase ;-)
Amsterdam Netherlands

Rick Janzen
Posts: 27
Joined: Sun Apr 11, 2004 11:42 am
Location: Calgary, Alberta Canada

Re: Code of Ethics

Post by Rick Janzen » Sat Oct 19, 2013 12:57 pm

No need for an apology Rodrick, you were only responding to a clients request. The funny thing about that job is I received a call from their designer, just wanting to say how much they appreciated my work, the same day I was notified by a friend that they had posted here, that they where looking for someone in the Denver area to do work for them. I thought the call was a little odd, as I hadn't heard from them in a while. But once I read the post, and it was mentioned I had painted the sign in the picture they posted, it made sense, they were doing a little damage control. I don't think they knew that we all talk. In the big picture, I understand that coming across the border to work can be a bit of an ordeal, not to mention the added expense to the job. In the end Dan got the contract, and did a bang up job. Dan communicated with me in regard to details and such, and it was nice to talk with him, and share some information. Things have changed a lot in our industry, and loyalty that we worked hard to get, seems to have fallen to the wayside. It's now more about bottom line, and playing one against the other to get the best price for their projects. I still have a great client base that wants it done the "Old School" way, and they pride themselves on standing out from the run of the mill work. And I'm happy with that. I have no problem sharing technical information, or suggesting other talented artists for jobs that are to far for me to do. That's just another service I offer to my clients. As for others poaching your work, there's really not a lot you can do about it, so why waste time stressing over it. If your good at what you do, someone else will take the place of the one you lost, hopefully.
Last edited by Rick Janzen on Sun Oct 20, 2013 12:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Roderick Treece
Posts: 1048
Joined: Sat Apr 10, 2004 8:04 pm
Location: San deigo Calif

Re: Code of Ethics

Post by Roderick Treece » Sun Oct 20, 2013 12:24 pm

Hi Rick,
Thanks for the response. You are so right about not stressing over it. I look at clients these days and just think how grateful I am to be able to do my craft for them as many time as I can. If it's once that's great.If it's over and over even better. We know you can't control that.
Having been in business for so many years you come across all types of people. You would always hope that when you meet a talented artist that you want to share work with they hold the same values of ethics but we know that is not the case.
In regard to clients,We are always being tested by clients when they go shopping around. Thats just the way it will always be. My hope in starting this tread was that certain people would read this and realize how small of a community it really is.

bernie clites
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun May 31, 2009 6:35 pm

Re: Code of Ethics

Post by bernie clites » Mon Oct 21, 2013 8:49 pm

Thank you Roderick for posting this ... such a valuable lesson in life as well as in business.


Dan Seese
Posts: 313
Joined: Tue Apr 13, 2004 11:29 pm
Location: Fort Collins, CO

Re: Code of Ethics

Post by Dan Seese » Tue Oct 22, 2013 2:16 pm


It's good to be reminded of the ethics of doing business. Sometimes a person unintentionally step on toes without knowing the ethics. At other times it's easy, especially when the bills pile up and a job looks enticing, to close one's ears to those ethics which can be summed up as - "Do unto others what you would have them do to you." So thanks for the reminder.

And let me take the opportunity, again, to thank both you and Rick regarding the John Fluevog Shoes project. You passed my name on to them and Rick was quite generous in sharing his knowledge as I approached the job. I'm sure with Rick's experience he would have been able to do a better job than I, and in retrospect there are some things I would have done differently. But overall, the client was thrilled with the results and that's what counts. I'm armed even better for the next time a similar opportunity arises. Couldn't have done it without both of you!
"The lyf so short, the craft so long to lerne."
Geoffrey Chaucer (c. 1340 - 1400)

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