Sign Questions and Things to Know About Signs

  •  20% of the population moves each year. That means that each year you will have many new people reading your message on the sign.
  • We can tell you how to do a simple traffic count in 15 minutes. Call us to learn how to know how many people your sign reaches each day.
  • Communicating correctly is a key to success. We've produced a "timeage chart" that helps you understand how someone relates to a time frame at a given age. Call us to learn more.
  • You can begin to read a 1" tall letter at 30' away. A standard 8" tall changeable letter can be read at 240'.
Before you call a sign company, know the following:
  • Your zoning
  • Your property frontage
  • Your county and township
  • Where you want your sign
  • Ask your sign provider if they are licensed and bonded.
  • Signs always appear smaller than they really are when viewed within their surroundings.
Advertising Media Duration Cost range per unit Cost range per month Cost range per year
Telephone Directory 1 year $84 - $7,440 $7 - $620 $84 - $7,440
Local Papers Weeklies 1 week $66 - $1,268 $264 - $4,564 $2,808 - $48,100
Local Papers Dailies 1 day $96 - $7,952 $317 - $31,806 $3,372 - $413,481
National Publications 1 month $430 - $64,500 $430 - $64,500 $4,128 - $681,120
Radio & TV 30 - 60 seconds $30 -$50 $300 - $1,600 $3,600 - $19,200
Direct Mail 2 - 3 days variable variable variable
Signs and On-site Ads 5 - 20 years $75 - $10,000 $1.25 - $41.66 $15 - $500
*Sign Business magazine

"Sign Estimator"

We developed this page to help you learn more about signs and graphics applications for your advertising needs. By clicking on the categories listed you will automatically be taken to that place on this page that describes it in more detail. We will help you arrive with an estimated price and give examples of uses for that kind of advertising. It is our intention and desire to make shopping for signs easy and informative with our Website. We do have a full time staff ready to help you further when you call us.

IMPORTANT: The prices and price formulas listed are guides only. They are provided to help you learn about the different costs and materials available for your advertising needs. We want to make shopping for signs as simple and efficient as possible. The information contained on this page will help answer some of your advertising questions and help you arrive at a reasonable budget.

There are many additional items available for your advertising needs that are not mentioned here. The following information will help you answer the most common questions we receive. Call or e-mail us with your questions and ideas.


Sign Categories

Architectural Signs: The architectural sign describes the sign that incorporates architectural elements of a designed structure so that the sign and the place it identifies compliment each other. Often these signs use multimedia such as masonry in the base and routed substrates mounted to the face of the sign that make the graphics dimensional. The signs are fabricated with smooth surfaces and no exposed fasteners if possible. Most of the time the signs are non internally illuminated and manufactured from aluminum.

Post & Panel signs are often used as architectural style directional or information signs and compliment the main identification sign. These signs are approximately $100.00 - $200.00 per square foot. The low end would be simple flat signs with vinyl graphics and high end would be dimensional graphics and perhaps masonry in the base.

Artwork: The beginning of any idea starts with communicating. Effective design will communicate your message and generate interest through unique and creative display. We can help you with designing your advertising or we can be the provider for the sign that your design will be applied. We can work with almost any kind of artwork you supply. We prefer digital computer files in .eps format. If you are unable to send an email or diskette you can get us camera ready artwork and we will scan it. Send us a photo of where the sign goes and we can show you what the new sign will look like to scale right over the photo. Our design rate is $100.00 an hour and scanning fees range from $30.00 to $100.00 depending on the project.

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Banners: Banners offer the ability to present a message that can be displayed in a variety of places and situations for a reasonable price. They can be installed almost anywhere. We have around a dozen standard banner material colors. Most banners have graphics on one side only and install to a wall and we use mostly intermediate vinyl. The common banner job prices as follows; $5.00 square foot for one color, $6.00 square foot for two colors, $7.00 square foot for three colors and a scanning artwork fee may apply.

Billboards: Today billboards are common and very effective advertising. We can help you with design and the providing of the graphic display. You would have to arrange to rent a billboard space and find a way to have the graphic installed in your area. The stretched on graphic is the popular graphic substrate. We can have any design, even full color, printed onto a vinyl that is stretched over the billboard structure. The rate is $10.00 a square foot. The design process would be additional. (See the section on design.)

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Church Signs: Generally, churches are zoned residential due to the surrounding homes where they are located. Ordinances for residential zoned property are usually more restrictive especially for signs; 32 square feet and under 6´ tall. We developed an attractive illuminated electric sign, one of our signs from our Modular Sign Systems. It is low to the ground and meets the ordinance criteria in most cases. You can install it yourself! It is available with options for changing letter boards and hinged locking protective covers over the message area. These signs range in price from $4,000.00 - $10,000.00 plus shipping.

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Corporate Signs: We understand that a sign is an important element of image for the people or place it represents. A business and/or corporation needs a sign for its customers, visitors, suppliers and employees. The design of a sign relates to how well others will perceive that place as a leading professional organization. The corporate sign is a solid investment into the overall winning image. Most corporate signs are custom built for that place. We use a variety of materials and fabrication techniques to arrive at a quality custom identification. These types of signs are often externally illuminated with spot lighting or have routed graphics illuminated internally. Sometimes we incorporate masonry into the base. We design dimensional features and often introduce something unique that reflects the building architecture or logo. $150.00 - $250.00 per square foot would be common for this style of sign.

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Custom Projects: The world of signs and graphics is a world closely associated with other forms of advertising. Advertising is being as creative as possible while giving information as effectively as possible. That is why so many sign jobs become custom. Knowing how difficult in can be producing a custom product, we have learned the value of good planning. We work directly with our customers every step of the process from design, manufacture, installation and service maintenance of their signs. We have a proven record of satisfied customers from all over the nation. We have the ability and know-how to accomplish custom jobs in ones, twos, threes or multi-locations. The main thing is this...our customers can count on us before, during and after the business of buying a sign from our company.

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Design: For most projects requiring our design capabilities we charge a rate of $100.00 an hour. In some instances we may have to charge a one time scanning/artwork file transfer fee of $35.00 - $75.00. Some projects are beyond the typical normal type. These custom jobs are priced separately. We can work with your design and designers. Our technical staff is equipped with the latest in computer generating hardware and software. All artwork and copy is approved by you, the customer, before any production begins. We take the team approach to design and recognize the importance of your ideas. We provide artwork for you to approve before production.

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Dimensional Letters: You can purchase individual letters in a variety of available fonts as well as a variety of materials such as plastic, aluminum, bronze, stainless steel, PVC and others. They available for installations with foam tape for interior walls or studs and pads for exterior walls. They are shipped with an installation template also. We can custom paint to almost any color. Plastic letters run approximately $2.50 - $5.00 per inch for each letter and metal letters $5.00 - $15.00 per inch for each letter available in aluminum or bronze. Custom letter styles and logos are quoted individually by the job. We build big letters for sides of businesses too.

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D.O.T.: DOT has restrictions and rules for many trucks and other traveling vehicles. One regulating feature is the visual outer identification numbers and letters which must be color contrasted from the background color and easy to read font with at least a 3/8" stroke thickness and be no less than 1 3/4" tall. You must also have the name of the company with the city and state of residence visible.

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Electrical Supplies: We recommend that you always call a qualified sign company to fix electrical problems with your illuminated signs. However, we have a full range of electrical sign products available here. Quotes are available upon request.

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E-mail: Email allows for quick responsive service as well as the ability to generate digital artwork often times ready for production. The whole design process is greatly enhanced. Our technical staff is equipped with the latest hardware and software needed for producing design and using files sent through email. Email is a great communication tool today because you can send a message along with a visual at the same time and accomplish it within seconds. If you prefer, you may use also our file upload tool on our website.

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Fabrication: Our experience in fabricating with a variety of materials gives us a unique ability to be very creative with your sign design. Our fabrication techniques combine steel, aluminum, bronze, plastic, lighting, paints and graphics. Custom jobs require expert "know-how" and our portfolio demonstrates that we do know how to build a sign or graphic that is specific to your needs. Our fabricators are among the best in the country building signs like our award winning signs. You can view these on our web page titled Award Winning Signs.

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Full Color Graphics: Yes, we can print full color pictures and photographs onto vinyl that will last outdoors. This ability opens the doors to your most creative ideas. Try a magnetic sign or a job site sign or a banner with fades and pictures and computer generated supergraphics on them. Or how about a vehicle...the greatest traveling advertising available. Full color graphics are similar to our other vinyl pricing at a range of $10.00-$20.00 per square foot.

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Installations: We have the staff and equipment to handle most types installations for signs and graphics. Many other companies and sign companies have hired us to complete installations in our region such as banks, hospitals, retail stores, malls, franchises and others. Our rates vary between $80.00-$250.00 per hour (Materials are quoted separately depending on what is required by us - usually concrete and steel and perhaps some electrical supplies.) Permits are additional and we will obtain them with each job we perform.

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Interior Signs: There are literally hundreds of different ways to create an interior sign. Custom jobs often require us to route the graphics out of a substrate like PVC or metal. Special letter fonts are more expensive than standard ones. A typical logo with letters to be foam tape installed to a wall runs about $500.00 for plastic materials and $1,500.00 for metal. We also provide a variety of room signs, with Braille if required, for around $55.00 per sign. Custom jobs are quoted separately.

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Job Site Signs: The job site sign is very important during the construction phase of a project. We are providing these types of signs to banks as well as contractors. The common sign is 4´ x 8´ or 4´ x 10´ MDO (MDO is plywood laminated with paper for outdoor use and color applications.) Here is a list of pricing for common sized signs:

  one color two colors three colors
4´ x 8´ single sided $400.00 $450.00 $500.00
4´ x 8´ double sided $500.00 $550.00 $600.00
4´ x 10´ single sided $500.00 $550.00 $600.00
4´ x 10´ double sided $600.00 $650.00 $700.00

* Installations are additional, remember - you can add full color graphics for $10.00 - $20.00 per square foot of graphic area.

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Leasing: We do offer a leasing program which can help you arrange a payment structure suitable for your needs. Call us for an application. The approval process only takes one day. The following can be used to help you arrive at an approximate monthly cost for a lease with a $1.00 buy out at the end. Multiply the amount by the decimal under the number of months you intend to lease.

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Advance 12 mo. 24 mo. 36 mo. 48 mo. 60 mo.
$2000-$14000 1 month .1001 .0507 .0359 .0288 .0241
  2 months .0982 .0500 .0355 .0282 .0239
$15000-$75000 1 month .0958 .0473 .0350 .0277 .0234
  2 months .0946 .0490 .0346 .0274 .0232

Logo Design: We can save you valuable time and money and at the same time you can be assured that you have a seriously dedicated design company at work researching for the right image that fits your needs. Why go to a full service advertising agency when we have the same technology and expertise? We can take the ideas generated with you as our partner to the next process which is producing what the design will go onto. A logo is as important as a name. They are interrelated. Coming up with the right one is a timely process. We have years of research available along with the talent to put together ideas into one unique effective visual message. Our design ability is competitively priced with jobs averaging between $250.00 and $500.00. Our quality products and service is hard to match.

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Magnetic Signs: This is the sign for you if you own a vehicle that you want to place advertising onto with the ability to remove it when you want to. We typically make them in pairs from $150.00 to $250.00 depending on the amount of color and if a logo is used. We can print full color on them now too for only an additional $50.00 - $100.00. You send us your ideas or pictures and we will generate design to scale for your approval.

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Metal Signs: There are numerous metal substrates available for signs. The advantages are a longer lasting signs and attractive surfaces to apply graphics onto. We often provide metal sign panels to go over existing billboard types of signs. You simply install them over the old panels. For instance, if you owned a 4´ x 12´ single sided wood billboard, we could provide three new aluminum panels with graphics for you to install for around $900.00 if you design was two colors. On a smaller scale, we have metal poles and different sized aluminum sign blanks for parking or street names or whatever else you need to identify. These types of jobs price between $75.00-$150.00. Custom fabricated metal jobs are quoted separately.

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Monument Signs: Also called ground signs or low profile signs, these signs take advantage of lower visibility when driving. We are finding that many cities are actually creating ordinances that call for these types of signs for certain zonings. The low to ground sign lets you stay smaller with your design and allows for nice base concepts like masonry or fabricated cladding. We often use dimensional features on these signs and you can light them up externally with spot lights. Monument signs usually price within $150.00-$250.00 per square foot.

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Modular Signs: We have modularized some basic electric signs allowing you mix and match components to customize a sign for you at reasonable prices. Now you can buy a freestanding electric sign and install it yourself. The sign comes to you ready to install with the lamps and posts. Check our Modular Signs page on this web site.

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National Projects: You or your company may need signs and graphics in multiple locations. We have the experience. We will provide references to very satisfied business people who have contracted with us when they needed product and service in numerous locations, often at the same times. Our company belongs to national associations. We have built a network that allows us to complete surveys, manufacturing, installations and service so you don’t have to worry about it.

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Neon Signs: Neon illumination is about as vibrant and bright you can get. Neon is available in different colors. The method of bending glass tubing allows unique design shapes for logos and copy. Neon is used in channel illuminated letters and exposed designs and border tubing such as outlining a roof line or windows. Pricing differs depending on the installation environment, colors used and the amount of lineal feet needed per project. Most neon jobs fall between $10.00 to $20.00 per foot installed. This is not the formula for channel letters.

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Our Rates:

Crane - $180.00 hr
Bucket - $80.00 hr
Pick Up Truck - $60.00 hr
Surveys - $250.00 hr
Permits - $150.00 - $250.00 hr
Variances - $1,500.00 hr
Computer Time - $100.00 hr
Shop Rate - $60.00 hr

*Materials are charged with sales tax in addition to hourly rates.
*Any job requiring an additional person in above rates add $30.00hr.

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Permits: Every exterior sign needs a permit granted from the city or county where it will be installed. Every business or institution has a zoning with ordinances that rule what is allowed or not allowed. Sometimes when circumstances prevent a business from having a sign that they want due to some kind of hardship which causes problems in conforming to the ordinance, a variance is applied for to ask permission from the local board to amend the ordinance for their particular use.

We are experts with the permit process. This important step is often overlooked when in fact it should be the first to consider before even designing a sign. You should have a site plan of your property and know the zoning before a sign company begins giving a quote.

We pass along the actual cost of the permit to our customers with a nominal fee for the time involved.

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Plastic Sign Faces: If you already own an electrical sign cabinet, we can simply provide new Lexan (polycarbonate) faces with graphics. The following square foot prices can be used to determine an estimate of your cost for new faces;

$15.00 sq ft - flat lexan faces with vinyl graphics
$20.00 sq ft - flat lexan faces with painted graphics
$25.00 sq ft - pan lexan faces with vinyl graphics
$30.00 sq ft - pan lexan faces with painted graphics
$35.00 sq ft - pan embossed faces

*Installation would be additional charge.

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Pole Signs(Freestanding Signs): The fabricated freestanding sign is one of your most beneficial sources of advertising. The sign should be designed to take advantage of the best possible placement for viewing and readability. Some signs are best placed up taller and some lower to the ground like a monument sign (see monument signs). In most cases the larger the sign the less the sign will cost you per square foot. The price of a sign will range usually between $150.00 - $250.00 per square foot. Features like pan painted faces and decorative cladding over the steel structure and unique logos will cause a sign to price in the higher end of this price range.

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Post & Panel Signs: These signs have class and character. They are also very universal and durable. The post and panel system is mostly used for non illuminated signs as a directional or informational unit and sometimes designed for a larger purpose like a main identification sign. The posts are available as squares, rectangles, radius and triangles. The faces are usually aluminum. The smaller signs range from approximately $500.00 per unit to $1,200.00 per unit painted and ready for installation. Larger signs are available also. Call us for a custom quote.

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Sales Reps: If you are interested in becoming a sales representative for our company simply call or email us your mailing information along with return phone number. We will interview you by asking some industry related questions. There are opportunities everywhere for signs and graphics. Some of our standard products like the Modular Sign make selling them easy and the customer will appreciate receiving a quality product at reasonable prices. Call us for more details.

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Sandblasted Signs: We produce sandblasted dimensional signs using cedar and foam and at times redwood. We prefer cedar or foam due to the rapidly rising costs of redwood. The typical sandblasted sign is approximately $80-$100.00 per sq ft.

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School Signs: Our Modular Sign System is perfect for schools and churches that are usually zoned in a residential area with sign ordinance restrictions. We designed this sign system with ease of installation and well versatility of use in mind. You can purchase options that allow you to have changing messages with visual custom graphic inserts. Visit our web page on the Modular Sign System.

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Silk Screening: Silk screening is most efficient method of production for many graphic projects in quantity. Banners and yard signs are among the most common requests we get. Call for a quote today. Standard yard signs with common messages available.

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Service: Service and maintenance of your signs are very important. Proper care will ensure longer lasting signs and enhance your image in your community by the fact that you take care of their appearance. We offer a full range of sign service including service contracts.

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Vehicle Graphics: If your business requires the use of vehicles then you have the excellent opportunity to advertise on them. Traveling advertising. Today’s technology allows us to produce almost any visual image and apply it to the exterior of a vehicle. The more creative the better. Why not say something about your company and its products or services in a unique way that will be seen and remembered. Our graphics department is staffed with excellent designers with the skills and equipment to produce quality advertising.

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Vinyl: Vinyl can be applied to a variety of substrates. It is also very cost efficient. It is easy to work with. We have a full range of vinyl products and services available. Many of customers purchase vinyl from us and we simply mail it to them. Set up fees and scan charges are one time costs in addition to the vinyl prices. Standard colors go for $2-$5.00 per square feet. Full color vinyl goes for approximately $15-$25.00 per square feet.

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Wall Signs: (Or facade signs) Electric signs generally run between $45-$65.00 per square foot. Non illuminated signs generally run between $25-$45.00 per square foot. Very large signs and custom projects can be quoted separately. Check with your local sign ordinances before designing.

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Wholesale: Call us if you are established to buy our products for resale. We have discounted pricing available. We also have a unique "finder’s fee" system in place where we pay you for simply recommending our company to your customer.

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Yard Signs: The price per unit is lower for larger quantity orders where we can have the design screen printed for approximately $8.50 each for 100 units with two colors. The frames are sold separately for approximately $2.50 or $5.50 each depending on which style is preferred. For orders of fewer than 30 units we would use vinyl for the graphics and the unit price would be approximately $25-$45.00 each.

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Zoning: Check with your local public planning department before making any exterior sign related decisions. Every property is zoned and governed by ordinances that explain what is legal or not legal. Before a sign is installed the property owner and sign company must have a permit granted by the local planners. The permit process may take a day or up to two weeks. Sometimes a variance is needed which can slow the process for up to two months. We are established to take care of this for you. Call or email your questions or concerns.

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Sign Questions and Things to Know About Signs

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