Undoubtedly, the cost is one of the key concerns when it comes to creating signs for your business. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Those money headaches can be a thing of the past with a bit of planning and preparation.
If you’re worried about the financial side of signage, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll guide you through critical aspects of calculating a budget with several examples to make it clear.
Why are sign budgets so important?
All types of marketing can potentially be a bottomless pit. Typically, there seems to be no end of products, projects, and strategies you can try to promote your business, products, or services. However, most owners won’t be able to afford it all. Nor is it always necessary.
So don’t blow all your money on signs. Yes, they can work miracles for your advertising and hence your business. But their impact doesn’t necessarily scale up with their price. It’s all about using and choosing them strategically.
No one will benefit if you spend more on your signs than you would get in return. Therefore, it’s crucial to focus on the average return on investment of each product. In short, this is a measure of the efficiency of any investment.
Generally, in the case of signs, it refers to the amount of exposure or business you generate as a result of each one.
Another reason to work out a detailed budget is that it helps you with your long term planning. Now you will be able to keep track of exactly how much you spend during a period on which products.
You can then assess your expenditure and make informed decisions next time you need to commission signs. This will clearly help you plan ahead and save some cash for the purpose.
Overall, one of the primary reasons to work with a budget is to reduce risk. Each time you forego this blueprint, you’re taking a leap of faith. You might accidentally spend more than you can afford to.
Unfortunately, this could result in you not being able to pay your bills or having to cut costs elsewhere. Particularly if you run a small business, you want to avoid this at all costs.
Calculating a sign budget
Above all else, don’t just pick a number out of the blue. Generally, this will defeat the purpose. Instead, you should take some time to calculate the figures carefully. Doing this could potentially help you cut down on costs, but make sure you still get decent products at the end.
It’s all about getting your money’s worth.
There are a handful of factors you need to include in your considerations and calculations.
Percentage of revenue
First, you should decide how much of your turnover you can or want to spend on marketing. On average small business owners spend around 1% while larger companies often spend between 7% to 11%. The costs scale up according to the business’ size and industry.
Remember that although they are critical, signs are only one part of marketing. You also need to allocate funds for social media marketing, events, and so on. Therefore, you should make sure that you divide this number proportionately.
The longevity of the sign or campaign
Besides your marketing cost, you should decide how long you would ideally use the sign. Do you want to use it mainly for seasonal content? Or do you want to use it for years to come?
If you’re going to replace it several times a year, your budget should accommodate this. In cases like this, you want to spend less on each individual product. But for long-lasting signs, you should typically consider the higher quality and higher-priced options.
Types of products
Another key factor is what signs you want to create and how many of each. All of the different products are available at different price ranges.
Usually, there will be some back and forth on this issue. You might need to adjust your ideas based on the money you have available and vice versa.
Content and design
Preferably, you want your signs to be unique and stand out from the crowd. This way, you can really get a one-up on your competitors. But sometimes these customizations come at a cost. The final price of a product could be affected by its design, for example, the color scheme.
So feel free to ask your sign company about this. Once you have more information, you can work this into your budget and decide on the best course of action.
Doing the math
All in all, then, you need to take multiple considerations into account to work out a suitable budget.
In the end, it will be the sum total of the following:
- Fabrication costs
- Possible design fees
- Installation costs
- Rent for an advertising space
- Any other additional services
Furthermore, it’s a good idea to allow for some flexibility in the case of unforeseen expenses.
Keep in mind that sign companies differ in the ways they calculate and structure their prices.
What can you get for your budget?
In the end, a budget can help you simplify things. But if you are still new to the sign industry, it will undoubtedly be more challenging to come up with a realistic one. Moreover, it could be quite a challenge to envision the results.
So to give you some guidance, here are examples of the types of signs we offer at different price ranges. However, keep in mind that you can get the same kind of product (such as banners) at different price ranges depending on the design, size, and material.
$100 – $400
Don’t fear if you only have a relatively small budget to work with. There are plenty of options for signs that you can commission between the price of $100 and $400.
For instance, for $100, we made these full-color vehicle magnets. The clients were two students from Avondale High School who were members of the homecoming court. They were looking for a way to arrive at the homecoming parade in style.
But what if you are looking for an advertisement that you can send home with your client?
One of the best options for this is fridge magnets. These nifty cards can double up as business cards as they are the perfect size for a wallet. For $200, we printed some for the owner of I Buy Houses… All Cash.
You could also invest in a banner at this price range. Just check out this sign for Ealain Ceime Irish Dance School that cost $300. They took the banner with them to any events in which they participated and even carried it in parades.
$500 – $900
In the intermediate range, you can typically create signs that are larger, more durable, and with more design options. But for the most part, you won’t be getting a sign with electronic or illuminated features.
If you have a slightly bigger budget, you could opt for vehicle graphics like these instead of magnetic signs. This sign was commissioned by Arctic Air, Inc. in Royal Oak. For $650, we applied vinyl to the sides and the back of the van in a minimalist yet eye-catching color scheme.
If you want a sign for your storefront instead of your vehicle, window graphics can be the ideal choice. One example is this stylish promotion of Breitling watches that we installed for Lucido Jewelers.
What you are seeing is Window Perf, which is 50% vinyl and 50% holes. Thanks to the way the light reflects, you only see a solid image from outside. And see nothing at all from inside.
In this price range, you’ll find more complex and three-dimensional signs. On top of this, it is also more likely that you will be able to afford illuminated options.
This next example is a fun take on old-school neon signs while using modern energy-efficient LED bulbs. To achieve this, we used the business’ existing channel letters and transformed them into a complete product. This cost UDetroit $1000.
The owner of Nafas Fitness was looking for exterior signs for their building.
Using their logo and other details that they provided, we came up with this design. The result was a dimensional routed board made from a metal composite Dibond, which is known for its durability. It cost $2700.
Aperam, a global player in the steel industry, commissioned this set of dimensional letters for $5000. We fabricated each figure using 18 gauge and 22 gauge steel with a satin finish.
Afterward, we printed and adhered vinyl graphic overlays to the board to create that fantastic color spectrum.
$6,000 – $10,000
Now we’re getting to the more premium products. Once again, these products are a step up in terms of several factors. It includes their size, content, durability, and the technology used too.
At this budget, you could also get quite an extensive package of different signs.
Generally, in this price bracket, you get a much more extensive range of customization options to choose from. For example, take a look at these channel letters for the small family microbrewery, Witch’s Hat Brewing Company.
You can easily see that this sign is a pretty high-end product that was made with high-quality materials, including LED bulbs.
Finally, we will now look at an example of how you can commission more than one sign in this price bracket. Mor-Tech Design, Inc was looking for ground signs for two of their new physical locations.
They wanted the boards to feature a relatively consistent design. Therefore, we fabricated one 4′(h) x 8′(w) x 9″(d) double-sided monument sign and another 3′(h) x 6′(w) x 9″(d) single-sided monument sign. Both signs were made from an aluminum extrusion kit and Dibond and without lighting.
In total, the two signs cost them $8000.
The next example is another type of board with lighting, which is known as an illuminated sign cabinet.
We fabricated one of these for Vito Anthony Homes in Rochester Hills for $10,000. They wanted the board to be a ground unit similar to a monument sign. And they wanted to use the product for years to come. To meet their needs, we built the sign with replaceable panels so that they could switch out the names of their tenants.
Tips on sticking to your guns
The following are several tips that can help you stick to your budget:
- Communicate your budget clearly and unambiguously with your sign company from the start. Let them know if there is any leeway or not. And whether it’s negotiable at all. Doing this will get them on board to assist you in sticking with your plan.
- Ask the sign company if they have any promotions or sales that you’re eligible for. This could be, for example, a seasonal special, or discounts on bulk or price cuts on certain products. You might just be able to save a buck or two.
- Check whether you’ll have to pay any additional fees. In some cases, you might have to pay for the installation, labor, etc. If you don’t include this, it can completely break your budget later on.
- Investigate the prices of different types of signs that you can use for the same purpose. For example, if you are looking for a building sign, you could use channel letters, dimensional letters, or lightboxes, to name a few.
Overall, the most crucial part is to choose and hire a professional and reputable sign company. At Signarama, we value your budget as much as you do and will do everything we can to help you stick to it.
New year, new signage
2020 is finally here. The new year is often the ideal time to turn a leaf on your signage and other advertising strategies. Kick things off right by commissioning new signs for your business while sticking to your budget.
But remember that winter is in full swing now. Believe it or not, this can take a toll on your signage. So check out how to protect your signs in cold, harsh weather and keep them in tip-top shape.