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Retractable, Pull Up, and Roll Up Banners – What’s the Difference?


Information about Roll-up, Pull-up, and Retractable Banners – Fabric, Paper, Vinyl, Polypro?

In the last post I talked about the evolution of how and where to buy fabric or vinyl banner signs, particularly in the realm of color printing, and how we’ve gone from the sign shop as the middle man to the internet more or less cutting out the middle man, for better or for worse, and how to combat the “worse” part of this equation.

Other questions have also come in regarding cost of various items, and one we get lots of questions on is retractable banners, pull-up banners, and roll-up banners, which, by the way, are the same item. Different online stores and different areas of the country call them different things, but ultimately, the name describes a banner that rolls up inside of a cartridge.

Roll Up Banner Store Display

The cost of these cartridges with printed graphics will vary wildly with various printers or distributors, but as a general rule of thumb, I’d estimate the cost to vary between $100 and $500, depending on what type of material the banner is made from, the size of the graphic, the quality of the cartridge, and how many are ordered.

The material of the banner affixed to the pull up banner stand will affect the cost, though not as significantly with some suppliers as with others, depending on where the banner is printed more than what it is printed on. The actual cost of the material is fairly insignificant if sourced offshore for both cartridge and banner. However, the vinyl, paper, or polypro options will be slightly lower than the fabric option, although as you may have guessed if you’ve read my other posts on the subject, I think fabric is worth the few dollars more you’ll pay for it.

As with anything, the more you order, the more cost effective it will be until a cost-profit equilibrium is reached. In essence, at a certain level, profits are squeezed to the point where there’s not a lot left. Various companies will have various targets on this. One company may decide that 10% gross profit is as low as they’ll go, whereas another may decide that 20% is the minimum they’ll sell at.

One distributor may have a direct line to an offshore manufacturer (most of the retractable banner cartridges in the world, practically, are made in Asia due to lack of restrictive government regulations and the availability of cheap labor in developing nations) that actually is the manufacturer of the cartridges – unlikely, by the way – or to a 2nd tier supplier – whereas the competition may have a 3rd or 4th tier distributor, so therefore has higher cost than the first distributor.

Some companies buy and warehouse large quantities of pull up banner displays, so therefore have warehousing costs, whereas others have drop shipping arrangements with offshore suppliers. Both ways will probably yield about the same price to the end user, depending on what tier the supplier is at.

As far as where to purchase a roll up banner stand, there are many online stores that sell them. Again, the prices vary significantly, and many will discount the stands if several or more are purchased. Some websites offer online purchasing, but more “serious” websites, the type brokers or dealers approach, seldom publish pricing and prefer to work on a “per quote basis.” These companies are typically privy to close ties to manufacturers or at least 2nd tier distribution offshore.

Hopefully, this post has given you a good feel for how this market works and what you can expect – within a range – to purchase retractable banners, roll up banner stands, or pull up banner cartridges for, and where. Of course, you can always message me if you have other questions as well.

Find out more about printing of graphics for the discussed banners above: View Here.


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Barry K. Brown

Barry Brown has been in the Sign, Banner, Decal and Display Business for over 20 years. It isn't what he thought he'd do with his life, but he says he knows too much now to do anything else!

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