As the old saying goes, “A business with no sign is a sign of no business.” You’ve all probably heard that one a hundred times! I’m sure I’ve said it at least one hundred times in the past twelve years of selling signs. Signs of all types are the first point of communication that many businesses have with their clients or potential clients.
Not everyone can afford a million dollar per minute commercial during the Superbowl to grab the consumer’s attention. I can’t state how important it is that you spend a good deal of time putting some thought into your on-premises sign package before signing a lease or spending any money on signs. It is a key decision to the success of many types of business, especially consumer oriented businesses. This important part of your start-up or new location requires a detailed thought process and most importantly a BUDGET!
There are many things to take into consideration before deciding what type of sign is the best investment for your business. Part of your decision will be dictated by local sign ordinances, your landlords requirements/preferences, and your location. It is a good idea to enlist the help of a local sign company with your decision making process.
Look for a sign company that is experienced with manufacturing and installing the types of signs you think you might be interested in first.
Then ask them if they have knowledge or expierence with the local sign code. An experienced sign company can speed up the process for you by eliminating sign types he/she knows will be rejected by your town, city or even landlord. If you don’t know what type of sign you are looking for, a sign company like Express Sign & Graphics, Inc. is a great place to start and learn about different types of signs. We have a lot of photos and information on our website as well as a beautiful showroom full of samples. We are also experienced in dealing with sign permitting in many towns and cities throughout Massachusetts and Southern NH.
Here are some items to start thinking about when selecting a on premises sign or sign package:
Your Business Location
Are you on a busy road? If so, at what speed are cars driving at? The faster the speed, the larger the lettering that is needed to be readable. If you have a lot of foot traffic, for example in a mall or a downtown area, you may be able to get away with a smaller sign or different colors than someone on a road where cars travel 30 miles per hour. Color also has a direct impact on the readability of your sign. Be sure you have enough contrast between the background and the lettering or graphics.
What is available currently for lighting? For example are you in a well lit parking lot, on a main road where street lights shine on your property, or inside a well lit mall? Or, are you a sole business with little exterior lighting, or in a business condominium where there are not many lights? Take into consideration that you may need to provide external lighting for your signs, or purchase internally illuminated signs such as channel letters or a lightbox to make the sign visible at night.
Does my landlord or location allow for enough signage for my business? Many towns and local cities have Historical Districts where illuminated signs are not allowed and sign ordiances are very specific. Talk to your local Building Department to see what is allowed in the location you are considering. Also, in some cases landlords have specific requirements or only allow/provide an onsite directory for your sign. Check with them to be sure you understand what options are available to you.
Sign Location on the Premises
Where on your premises is the best location for your sign? Consider whether you want a street sign such as a monument style, post and panel sign, or pylon style lightbox. Is there room in the parking area or lawn for the sign? Do you have enough setback from the road for this type of sign?
If you are thinking of a sign on the building, understand the structure of your building and check if it will support the type of sign you are considering. Also take into consideration how you will bring electricity to your sign from the building if needed. Keep in mind that in Massachusetts as well as other states, electrical work must be completed by a Licensed Electrican and separate permits must be pulled for this part of your sign installation.
Sign Type Allowed/Permitting
Your next step, or your sign vendor’s next step is to check with your local Building Department to find out what the time frame and process is for permitting for your sign. Many cities and towns are now doing permitting with online applications, others use both online and in person and some towns deal strictly in person. Check with them to see how long it takes to get a permit as you want to plan enough in advance to have your sign permitted, ordered and installed before you are scheduled to open. Again, an experienced sign company can help you with the process. Express Sign & Graphics offers partial or full permitting services for you and we are happy to answer your questions on permitting.
In our next blog, we’ll take this discussion a bit further an discuss other considerations such as:
Width and Height of Sign
Your Logo/Colors Will They Work?
How Much Information to Include on Your Sign
And more…tune in!