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How Much Will My Sign Cost?

Answer: It depends!

Signs can be made from a wide variety of materials and substrates. All with different price points. The better question to ask yourself is how much should I budget for my sign?

First, we need to break it down into what type of sign you are looking for. Let’s start with internal vs. external. Typically, external signs will cost more due to the elements it needs to withstand. Does it need to be illuminated? Even though the cost of LED lighting is dropping, an illuminated sign will cost more than non-illuminated. Is it a permanent or temporary sign? The more complicated and complex, naturally the more expensive the sign will be. Obviously size matters – the bigger the sign the more materials are needed to make it, so it will be more expensive. The quantity of letters, sentences and graphic elements will make a difference in the total prices as well; a sign that says “Joe’s Place” is going to cost less than a sign that says “Joe’s Fine Dining and Wine Bar.” But the longer description would probably be a better investment in the long run!

How important to you and your business is this sign? What’s the purpose? Is it merely directional, or do you want it to attract passers-by? Maybe it’s to promote a special sale or event, or to fully explain the nature of your business. Signs are the least expensive and most affordable way to advertise your businesses, according to the Small Business Administration. J.C. Penney was reported to have said, “When I started my business I bought a $50 sign and $500 in inventory. If I had it to do over I’d buy $50 in merchandise and spend $500 on the sign.”

Manufacturing the sign is one cost, but you should also invest in good ‘design’ of the sign. A poorly planned sign may be hard to read or even see (which is why we like to visit your business before doing a quote). A sign that uses “cheap” materials is going to look cheap… is that how you want to represent your business? What kind of impression do you want to make?

Other costs to factor into your budget are permit fees and installation. Most sign companies will help coordinate all the variables. For example, if you have an outdoor illuminated sign, it will need to be hooked up by a Master Electrician. He may have to run conduit to the back of your building and install a new circuit breaker. Will there be construction costs to mount the sign on an existing wall or will it be on a pylon? You may need a general contractor, boom trucks, handyman services or even landscapers. It’s best to utilize a sign company that can plan for and oversee all aspects of your project, from start to finish, and has strong partnerships with these types of service vendors.

So, how much does a sign cost? Now you know – it depends. Here are some rough numbers as a starting point:

Internal Signs

  • ADA signs that require Braille – $1 to $2 per square inch plus installation.
  • Window graphics – plain white cut vinyl on a front door with the hours and a logo? Including installation about $100 – $200. Complex eye-catching graphics on a big store window? You could be looking at $500 – $1,000+.
  • Lobby sign to greet your guests – this can range greatly from very simply (vinyl decal) to very complex (multiple substrates, dimensional, illumination). It could be $200 to $15,000+
  • Digital monitors and displays – these are basically TVs that can play a static or repeated message or be hooked up to the Internet and play content from the ‘cloud’. $1,000-$5,000.
  • Dimensional letters on the wall – typically used as part of an environmental design and could be a quote, or mission statement, or just the name of your business. They will vary depending on the material, height, thickness and color. For example, a ¼” thick acrylic letter, 2” high, will be about $8 each vs. ¼” thick piece of brass at 2” high will be about $30 each.

External Signs

  • Channel letter signs – which are most common for retail stores. Again, depending on complexity, plan on about $18 – $20/inch/letter, plus other construction and installation costs.
  • Monument signs – so many options here as well. Size and materials really play a big part as well as if it’s illuminated and/or includes a dynamic digital display. Will it be a wooden structure, concrete, decorative brick or a combination? These can range from $3,000 to well over $100,000.
  • Post & Panel signs – depends on the size of course, most of these are for a leasing or construction company using 4” x 4” posts in the ground with a 4’ x 8’ sign face, and usually run about $500 – $1,500 depending on the number of sign faces and complexity of the installation.

This is just the tip of the iceberg – hopefully it helps you start to think about budgeting for your signage. For more information or to get a project plan and an exact price on your next sign, call KORT Sign Design at 763-432-7630. Check out our work on Pinterest!

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