Independent Print Operator Drives Growth through FASTSIGNS®

The following post was submitted by 2016 President's Conference sponsor, FASTSIGNS International.


In 2003, Richard Helmey transitioned from being a senior executive in the Coca-Cola Companies juice division to the owner of a local printing business in Houston area college campuses. With a finger on the pulse of industry advancements and the changing needs of his customers, Helmey parlayed his background into quick revenue growth. He changed his company’s name to truecolor GRAPHICS and began offering marketing communications services as well as more comprehensive printing offerings.

“My penchant for big growth led me to enter the wide-format market,” Helmey explained. “While we were in the wide-format business for some time, we felt there was a greater opportunity that we were missing out on. We evaluated expanding the product line internally, but knew we would need help to be effective in both production and marketing.”

Helmey looked at various franchise offerings within the print space, but given his desire to also keep his existing business in operation, he found that some were inflexible on how an arrangement could work. He turned to the signage industry expecting to find the same feedback, but was excited when he came across FASTSIGNS®.

The FASTSIGNS Co-Brand program helps independent business operators with print-related services add the FASTSIGNS brand and full-suite of solutions, while retaining control of their existing business. This allows Co-Brand franchise owners to maximize their businesses’ true potential by expanding their service offerings and effectively marketing and selling the new services with ongoing guidance from FASTSIGNS.

“FASTSIGNS was really the perfect solution,” he added. “The Co-Brand program made it possible to separate the businesses for royalty purposes, meanwhile providing access to the resources and tools we needed to effectively build out our wide-format offerings. This made it a natural decision to add the powerful branding of FASTSIGNS to drive incremental gross profit.”

He continued, “We added the FASTSIGNS franchise to our current printing location and the cost of entry was very affordable. We spent about $85,000 to purchase the franchise, necessary equipment, and complete the build-out at our existing location.”

Co-Brand franchisees  can join FASTSIGNS for a down payment of $10,000. The company also offers the leading brand name in the sign and graphics industry, as well as product and printer reviews and negotiated discounts on equipment and supplies among several other benefits.

“After becoming a FASTSIGNS Co-Brand franchisee, things really took off—it meshed well with my existing business, gave us the capability to provide a full range of wide-format projects, and injected a new level of sophistication to my company,” Helmey said. “Most importantly, wide-format sales are 20 percent of total revenues and are on track to double in the next two years.”

By using outside sales, his company has been targeting client verticals that are the best opportunity for growth. He said, “The printing and sign businesses have a lot of synergy, so using one product line to support the other has been a huge benefit.”

For information about the FASTSIGNS Co-Brand franchise opportunity, contact Mark Jameson ( or 214-346-5679) or visit

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