Signs for Business: 4 Things to Consider

Written by J.T Gonzales
Updated September 20, 2012
blank signs in a yard
Having difficulty getting your businesses' message across? A professional printer can help create signs. (Photo by Angie's List staff)

Signage is an important element of any business because it serves as another way to effectively communicate with clientele. Discuss these four topics with sign makers before deciding which one to hire.

Effective signage is one of the most basic ways for a business to communicate its mission and message to prospective customers.  Here's what to look for when hiring a service to produce your business signs.

1. Experience

Signs for business are an important investment, so you want to ensure that you spend your money wisely. Before anything else, verify that the sign maker you are considering to hire has extensive experience producing the type of sign you are looking to buy. There are many types of business signs, such as exterior, door, window, and regulation signs, so make sure you know which kind you want.

Don't just take the sign maker's word for it; ask for samples and references. Any sign maker who stands by her work will gladly let you see the work she has done and provide numbers of previous customers who can give you an idea of what working with that business is like.

2. The process

Ask the sign maker to clearly detail the steps taken to make your sign. If you provide the design, verify that the sign maker can work with a file from the program you used to create it. Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe InDesign, and QuarkXPress are among the popular programs used, but most sign makers can work with other programs too.

If you don't have a design, does the business have a graphic designer who will help you create one? If it doesn't, it's likely you will be referred to an independent designer.

Ask if a proof is provided before the sign is produced. If so, will the proof be a digital image or a hard/physical example? The proof is your last chance to catch any discrepancy.

For a large sign, such as a main exterior business sign, determine if it will be delivered and installed or if you'll have to make other arrangements.

In addition, don't forget to ask how long it will take for your sign to be made. Ensure you get it in a timely manner that works for you.

3. Cost and fees

When quoted a price, verify that it includes all other potential fees. If the sign maker helps you design your sign, is the fee for this service included in the quoted price? Even if you supply your own design, some businesses will charge a fee for having to convert your file into one that it can work with or if changes are made to your design.

Also make sure that the quoted price includes the cost to produce the proof and any changes that may come after.

If the business is delivering and installing your sign, make sure it is included in the quoted price. The last thing you want is to receive a second invoice after these services are provided.

4. Warranty and maintenance

If the sign maker provides a warranty for her work, be aware of anything that will void the warranty. Some require a form of maintenance, so make sure you follow it to extend the life of your sign and warranty.

If no warranty is available, ask about ways to maintain the integrity of your sign. While you may be able to use a harsh cleaner on some signs, others are best washed with mild soap and water. You do not want to inadvertently ruin your sign.