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If you’re in charge of buying a custom business sign for the company, this handy guide will help you gather the information you need before you begin shopping. You will also have a better idea of what details you need from your supervisor so the business sign is exactly what he or she expects. Follow this advice and you’ll be sure to make the boss happy.

1. Give yourself plenty of time for the process

Is this your first time buying a custom business sign? If so, you’re likely to be surprised at the lead time. Think a few months instead of a few weeks. From the first meeting with a sign company, to reviewing the design and completing the installation, the process takes more time than customers realize. It’s similar to constructing a new bathroom in your home. You may not know every factor involved at the start, but you certainly would expect the process to be more complex than, say, just painting the existing bathroom wall a new color, right? A new addition is quite an undertaking. So is ordering a custom business sign.

Keep in mind the complexity is due to customization and construction. Customization means you have numerous options to consider: size, materials, colors, logo, messaging, sign mounting, illumination and site selection. For construction, your sign needs to meet the location’s regulations and requirements. Permits are required in order to display exterior business signs in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.

We at Loumarc Signs have streamlined our system over the 25-plus years we’ve been in business, resulting in fewer mistakes and improving customer satisfaction. But we cannot rush the timelines of government leaders or property managers. The permit process can take 2 to 4 weeks, or longer depending on the township. So start preparing early and allocate plenty of time for the sign-buying process.

2. Figure out a budget

What amount of money can you afford for a sign? Knowing your budget is important, whether you work in a multi-million dollar company, a retail store or a start-up business. Why waste time shopping for signs that are not within your budget? Providing a dollar amount to the sign consultant allows her to recommend the specific type of sign that will fit your situation.

Working with a consultant in the beginning will also shorten your time spent gathering information. She can explain why one sign may be a better choice based on her knowledge of materials. She is qualified to share the benefits and drawbacks of various types of signs. When choosing between two signs, she can point out the differences so you can be assured you’re making an “apple to apple” comparison.

For new shoppers, stop by our office and view a reference binder showing pictures of a variety of custom business signs we’ve installed. The binder also provides descriptions, locations and costs (including installation) so you have a better understanding of the total sign investment. Check out three types of signs we’ve installed in the Northeast and their costs.

3. Be clear about why you need a sign

What are you trying to accomplish with business signage? In other words, what’s the purpose of the sign? What business problems do you need your signs to solve? The sign’s function determines size, design and materials – basically everything.

So clarify your “Why?” Ask yourself questions. Are you trying to be highly visible and attract more traffic to your business? Is increasing awareness of your brand a higher priority? Want to display and change new messages on the sign regularly? Do you simply want clients to be able to find you easily when they’re driving along the street? Considering directional or wayfinding signage to help people avoid getting lost and frustrated?

4. Make a sign wish list

Want to shave hours off the process? Browse online to get an idea of the types of signs you prefer. Jot down the ones that appeal to you. If you see a sign you strongly dislike, write that down too. While you travel to work or running errands, look at the business signs and notice the ones that stand out to you. Share your preferences with your consultant.

“When people definitely know what they don’t want and know what they like, it’s a lot easier to guide them,” said Laura Shreve, Marketing Consultant

The good news is there are plenty of options to create a perfect sign for you. The bad news is the process will extend if you do not narrow your options at the start.

You also want to observe how your favorite signs compare to the signs in the area where your business is located. Take pictures of the signs other businesses and organizations display.

5. Work with a sign consultant you can trust

If you are feeling overwhelmed at this point, enlist the help of sign consultants. They can make the whole process easier. Here at Loumarc Signs, our consultants have worked with hundreds of customers. Our company also provides maintenance services to keep business signs in high working order. We know firsthand the materials that ensure a business sign will be built to last.

Remember, you don’t have to be a sign expert, but when you do your homework, you’ll experience less headaches. At Loumarc Signs, all you need to do is approve the design and our team will manage the rest. Start by visiting our product page to view a multitude of commercial signs.