Listen up: You will learn three valuable lessons after the custom sign company installs your business sign.
Lesson one: You budgeted more money than you had originally planned because in the beginning, you didn’t know how much a custom sign costs. And two, the right sign has definitely helped your company be more visible to customers and potential customers. And finally, three, the sign company you chose was more important than the sign you bought.
The third point bears repeating: The sign company you choose is more important than the sign you buy.
Yes, design matters. And, sure, the sign is ultimately the product your customers and prospects will see. Price is a huge factor. But if you focus on price over the quality of the sign shop, you may find yourself wishing you had checked out the sign shop more carefully.
Here’s your personal guide to evaluating custom sign companies.
1. Does the sign company offer the products and services needed for my project? Can they handle it all?
You may be looking for a light box sign, an illuminated channel letter sign or a simulated stone monument sign. Every product requires different materials and skills to manufacture. Is the sign company capable to do the project from beginning to end?
Loumarc Signs is one of the leading New Jersey custom sign companies because we offer the widest selection of products and services for businesses like yours. Check out how we serve you:
- Learn about our process when we inspect the site of your proposed sign and obtain all the necessary permits to ensure your sign complies with municipal codes
- Read about our designing an attractive sign to your specifications and producing your sign with the highest quality materials in a timely fashion
- Understand how our trained professionals install the finished product
- Learn more about how we maintain and service your sign in the years to come
2. Get their list of customers and references
Talk to the people who have been in your shoes: Their customers. If the sign company has been in business for a few years, ask to see a list of customers and references. Review the list and choose five or six to interview. Look for customers who have similar businesses to yours. You may think, ”I don’t have time to talk with them,” but remember, you’re investing in an asset likely to represent your business for ten years or more.
Here are some suggestions on what questions you should ask:
- What did you enjoy about the process?
- What was least enjoyable?
- What would you do differently?
- What sign and options did you choose?
- What were the problems and challenges? How did the sign company handle them?
- Would you recommend the company?
3. View pictures of their projects
Ask the sign company for pictures of signs they’ve installed in the past year. Even better, request a list of signs installed near you, so you can view them in person. Compared to products hidden behind walls, signs are visual and everywhere. You don’t need permission to go and see a business’s sign.
What’s your first impression of the sign? We recommend viewing signs installed five to ten years ago. The design and style may not suit today, of course, but you can judge the sign’s condition. How does the sign look? Is it faded? Keep in mind the sign may not appeal to you because of its budget and specifications. For example, local regulations may restrict size or lighting options. That’s why it’s helpful to view signs of businesses similar to yours.
After viewing signs onsite, you’ll probably have questions. Go ahead and ask the sign company’s staff. It’s a way for you to determine their level of responsiveness and how knowledgeable they are. By observing how they have worked with other customers, you will gain insight on how they’ll work with you. You could be working with the sign company for up to 3 months, so compatibility is key.
4. Have them explain every stage of their process in sales, planning, design, permit, manufacturing, installation and maintenance
Buying a custom sign is a journey of many moving parts. And even if you know exactly what you want, your business goals, budget or local regulations may disrupt your dream. We talk about the complexity here. So find out how organized they are. Ask about their processes. Loumarc Signs has fine-tuned to a seven step system.
You may not know if the process is good or not, but you can (1) find out that they have a process and (2) ask them to share the steps from the first meeting to approving the design, making the product to installing the sign.
The initial contact with the sign company may give you an inkling. How soon did they reply to your initial contact? Did they show up on time for the first appointment? Have they explained what will happen during the first appointment? Learn what to expect in a free consultation with us.
5. Is the installation crew experienced and reliable?
Not all sign companies possess the right equipment and employ a trained crew to install custom signs. Their installation team may lack the skills to make electrical connections to illuminated or EMC signs. Understanding their limitations, some sign shops hire subcontractors to install complex custom signs.
Loumarc Signs is the exception.
Our installers are Loumarc Sign employees with 23 years of combined sign installation experience. We have our own bucket trucks and equipment, allowing us to install any kind of sign project on schedule. We’re not relying on outside service providers, which means our calendar stays on track in fulfilling customers’ needs.
6. What are the company’s quality standards?
A successful sign project is the culmination of a high quality design, manufacturing and installation operation. Does the sign shop have reliable quality checks at each stage? Talk with them about what they do to ensure customer satisfaction. Do they offer a warranty to stand behind their work?
Loumarc Signs uses only the highest quality, environment-friendly products on the market. And we have a team of sign consultants that have 20-plus years of experience, so you know you’re working with knowledgeable professionals. They specialize in recommending a custom sign suited to your business needs as well as answering your questions.
7. What is Loumarc Signs’ 3 year sign warranty?
We are the only sign company in New Jersey to offer exclusive written 3 year guarantee on every carved or internally lighted sign. Loumarc Signs guarantees your sign(s) to be free of defects in quality, construction and installation for a period of three years.
- Paint against fading, chipping and peeling
- Material against warping, cracking and deterioration
- Electrical components such as neon, LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes) and LED displays, transformers, ballasts, and power supplies. Note: High output lamps carry a two-year warranty.
If any item fails during the guarantee period, Loumarc Signs will repair or replace the affected components free of charge.
8. Do they have a process for securing required permits and certifications?
Ask how the sign company handles permits and certifications. Some may offer to install the sign without a permit. Alternatively, the sign shop may request you obtain the permit before they work with you.
Obtaining the required permits and certifications can be confusing, time-consuming and frustrating. Each township’s permit process varies, so the timing of approval are unpredictable. If you do it yourself, expect to read and retrieve various pieces of information to complete several forms.
Understanding the forms you’re filling out are tough. Want to save yourself from the headache? Check to see if the sign company will handle this chore. At Loumarc Signs, we do all the permit-related work for you. We ensure your signage conforms to local regulations.
9. Do they have a professional to meet with me at my office?
If you have enough projects on your to do list already, you need a sign company who treats your time as more valuable than their own. At Loumarc Signs, we are happy to come to your business to discuss your sign project.
If you’d like to read more about choosing the a high quality custom sign shop, then click the below.
Shannan Seely is a NJ writer for Loumarc Signs. She writes about choosing the right business sign, how the permit process works, sign costs and other business signage topics. Loumarc Signs is a NJ custom sign shop in business for over 24 years. Once a customer approves the sign, Loumarc Signs handles the rest — from permits to plans, fabrication to installation.