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Angie's LIST Guide to
Business Signs

Whether it's a home office or your own public-serving company, if you have a brick-and-mortar business, you probably need a sign. Learn more about why you may need a business sign, types of signs available, what to look for in a company that makes business signs and costs to add a sign for your business.


Business Sign
If you have a business, having a well-designed business sign can attract customers. (Photo ©Thinkstock)

Reasons to consider a business sign

Did you recently start a business in your home? Perhaps you opened a new storefront business and need a sign? Or maybe your old, dilapidated business sign has seen its better days and it's time for an upgrade into the 21st century.

Whatever the reason, if you have a business, you probably need a sign to go with it. It will likely be the least-expensive form of advertising you'll ever have, but could easily deliver the best results on a dollar-for-dollar comparison. For many businesses, having a sign to attract customers is critical to their success.

And not just any sign will do. You want something that's clearly going to define what your business does and attract the attention of potential customers. It could be as simple as featuring the name of your business and nothing else. Or, it might involve the name, a short description of the services you offer, and your business's street address. Perhaps you want imagery to depict your business.

But your reasons for needing a freshly designed business sign don't stop there. You might consider a temporary sign or banner if you're hosting a special event, promoting a new product, holding a sale, your building has a safety issue that you need to alert customers to, or you're moving to a new location.

Types of business signs

There are literally hundreds of different types of business signs to consider.

Some signs work best for indoors. Some are meant for the exterior of the building. They can be mounted in the form of block letters, attached to the building so they protrude to catch the eyes of passersby or placed in the ground.

They can be made of glass, wood, vinyl, metal and other materials and can take on almost any shape. Own a bike shop? Consider a sign in the shape of a bicycle. Ready to start your own coffee shop? Make your sign look like a cup of Joe. Want to scream to the masses what your business does? Go neon.

Many companies that design business signs also create mobile graphics, which can be done as vinyl wraps on vehicles.

You might have something you've designed and want translated into a sign or maybe you want a professional to come up with the design for you.

The possibilities are limited only to your imagination, provided of course that you find a qualified company to meet your needs.

Finding a business sign provider

First, you want someone who can show you samples of their work. Ask for a list of local businesses for whom they've created signs and go take a look at their handywork.

Talk to their clients and ask what it was like working with them. Did they deliver on what the business owner wanted? Did they complete the job on time? Did they stay within the business's budget? If it's an outdoor sign, did they provide a quality product that has withstood the elements over time?

You also want to find a company that can handle your specific job. Many reputable sign makers have the latest digital imaging technology to reproduce the exact design you want. Many also carve or paint signs by hand.

Talk to the company owner about their design options and make sure they're in line with your needs.

Another important factor to consider is if the type of sign you want for your company requires a permit. Some municipalities require one be issued through their building services department or other permit authority. Installing a sign without first getting the proper authorization could result in a forfeiture of the sign and possible fine. Find a sign company skilled in securing the proper permits.

It’s always recommended to check in with the local governing body to find out if there are any restrictions when it comes to business signs. Some cities require signs to be uniform in size and style, while others may have height restrictions for displaying your business sign.

Depending on the size and location of the sign, you may also be required to have a site survey done. Many sign companies offer this service as part of a comprehensive package.

Costs for business signs

Pricing for business signs can range drastically, depending on the type of sign and its intended purpose.

For example, a temporary, removable sign promoting a special event could run less than $100.

A large outdoor company sign mounted to a building could run several thousand dollars, depending on the materials used for the sign.

Get multiple bids for the job you want done to ensure you're getting a fair price.