More than likely, purchasing a sign is not something you do very often. In many other rarely performed tasks in life such as purchasing a home or preparing for the birth of your first child we tend to ask lots of questions and spend hours performing research.
Although certainly not as important as the birth of your first child (hey there Charlie!), purchasing a sign can represent a large investment for your business.
When we take calls from potential customers, we find ourselves consistently asking them the same questions over and over again. Let’s dig into these 4 questions to understand what is going on our side of the desk. Hopefully, thinking about these questions prior to shopping for a new sign will make the process unfold very smoothly for you.
4 Questions to Ask Yourself Prior to Contacting a Sign Company
- What sort of location will the sign be used for? The needs for a CPA office on main street in small town USA are likely very different than the needs for a big box retailer with frontage on a major highway. Consider the audience that your sign will be performing for (it is a performance!). Cars driving 30 feet away likely don’t need (want?) to be inundated with 48″ tall lettering and glaring LED lights. Along those same lines, it certainly does not make sense to have 6″ tall lettering mounted to the back of a hardware store backing to a 6 lane highway. It simply will not be seen. Simply put, more traffic = bigger, brighter sign. Less traffic = smaller, more understated sign. Just because you lack 10’s of thousands of cars per day driving by your sign doesn’t mean you cannot have something great that stands out. It just means that the investment likely needs to be less.
- Will this sign be for short term or long term use? There is no sense in spending money on top of the line materials if your intended purpose for a new sign is to advertise a short term promotion. Also, is your business growing rapidly creating the potential that you could relocate to a new building within a few years? If you are purchasing a sign for general branding purposes and plan to stay put in your current location for the foreseeable future, the conditions are right for making a larger investment (custom painted dimensional letters, LED lit channel letter signs, etc.). Temporary locations and seasonal promotions tend to call for cheaper alternatives (think banners, corrugated plastic panels, etc.). These cheaper alternatives can look great but won’t break the bank.
- What is your budget? Nothing is more heartbreaking for a sign professional than spending hours and hours creating a spectacular sign design, only to find out that it costs twice as much as the customer is willing to spend. When we ask the “what is your budget?” question, we are not attempting to squeeze every last penny from you. We just want to recommend the very best product that aligns with your price range. If you have an idea or a particular design in mind, make this known up front. Very often, we can provide rough pricing estimates up front to make sure that we are both setting course down the correct path that is best for both of us.
- Is there another sign that you have seen that you would like to model your sign after? This partially ties back to question #3 above, however there are also other things to consider. Often times, customers will have a particular design in mind only to find out that their space for installation is not compatible with their desired sign or, even worse, City regulations will not allow what the customer wants. A solid sign professional can look for red flags on the front end to make sure that the sign you wish to purchase will be easily permitted by the appropriate municipality. They will also be able to provide feedback and suggested changes to make sure the design is compatible with the intended install location. This might seem obvious but, does your desired design jive well with your logo design? We also love it when customers have done some homework and are able to provide some guidance to get us moving in the right direction. Although, our graphic design team might disagree, as they love to deal with blank slates!
Asking yourself these 4 questions prior to beginning the process of purchasing a sign will make the process unfold much more smoothly for you. It will also help your chosen sign company perform efficiently and creatively in delivering your desired solution.
Devin Wanzor, President U.S. Sign & Screenprinting LLC