Signage Projects – Step-by-Step - A Guide for Houston Sign Buyers
Planning new or updated Houston signage in 2021? It’s not too early to start.
Signage projects can take at least 30-90 days from executed contract to installation. In addition, there is extensive planning and development time ahead of that from idea to proposal to contract. That can take weeks or even months, depending upon the situation.
What takes so long? Let me break down a typical new sign project:
I NEED A SIGN
Once you recognize the need for new signage to identify, brand and promote your location, its important to engage a sign expert to help you navigate the process. Getting them involved early can accelerate the process and ensure you get the most effective signage at the best price. You can call one of the 300 registered sign companies in Houston or you can contact Sign Advisors to help you find the best competitive deal. Sign Advisors doesn’t charge you a fee and there is no obligation to use any of the sign companies we recommend. You get sign expertise working on your side!
WHAT KIND OF SIGN DO I NEED?
Here is a basic matrix to help identify sign types:
Ground sign or building sign
Illuminated sign or non-illuminated sign
Static sign or changeable message sign.
A more detailed list of sign types can include:
Electronic Message Centers
Post & Panel Signs
You will also need to determine the best material type for your new signage:
Flex Face Signs
TURNING AN IDEA INTO A PROPOSAL
Here is where choosing the right sign company is critical. They will help to guide you through the process and ensure all the proper information is gathered up front.
Here is a list of information you will need to provide the sign company, even before your first conversation:
Physical location – exact address of where the signage will be installed. This will help determine the jurisdiction or jurisdictions (city, county, toll road authority, HOA, business district, historical area) that will regulate the signage for your facility
Branding – this includes the logos, images, wording and brand standards that will be displayed on your signage. Typically, you will need to provide any artwork in vector file format to scale to the proper sizing. The business name on your sign must also match the name on your official occupancy permit
Landlord requirements– unless you own your facility, you will need landlord approval to proceed with any building or ground signage in common areas. Often, signage requirements and restrictions will be outlined in your lease
Building construction details – for any exterior wall sign, the sign company will need to determine the exact attachment method and how to secure the sign to structural elements
Legal site plan – ground signs must be installed within the legal property lines and outside of any easements or setbacks. Legal site plans are often required to be submitted to obtain sign permits
Vendor requirements – before you begin working with a sign company, make sure they meet all the your vendor requirements, including insurance, safety, bonding or any other criteria.
CONDUCTING AN ONSITE WALK THROUGH AND SURVEY
Conducting an physical site survey is one of the most important steps in the new signage process. Even if your facility is not yet built, getting a lay of the land can be important in recommending the most effective and visible signage. It may also allow any necessary modifications to the building (including electrical) to be done before construction is complete.
During an onsite walk through a sign company will:
1. Sign types, counts and locations – evaluate the new signage based on street access, user visibility and physical barriers. Permit and landlord restrictions will influence this final sign package
2. Photos and measurements – take many photos and measurements of existing signage, nearby signage, the building and the property and where the signage is planned
3. Installation conditions, barriers and access – develop an installation plan to ensure all factors are considered when designing and fabricating the signage.
SOLICITING PROPOSALS FROM HOUSTON SIGN COMPANIES
Once all the sign information is gathered and evaluated, a detailed scope of work can be developed to send to one or more Houston sign companies to quote. Each signage manufacturer may take a different approach to design, material, fabrication or installation method. Therefore, it is important to provide as much detail as possible to ensure each sign company proposal is similar.
Each Houston sign company should provide a proposal that inlcudes:
Sign package drawing – provides sign design and detailed specification for each sign type
Sign package quote – specifies the price per sign type based on the sign specifications, count and other important factors
Each sign company may provide a deferent level of detail for the drawing and quote, so its important to review each carefully and make sure each proposal is comparable before any decisions are made. It can also be a good idea to do a shop visit to each sign company facility. Here you can further qualify the company and the project managers that will be working with your company.
FABRICATING AND INSTALLING YOUR SIGN
Once you decide which sign proposal fits your need – based on design, specification, warranty, budget, personnel, etc. – and you execute an agreement, your Houston sign company begins the pre-construction process.
Conduct pre-construction site survey (approximately 1 week) – often included as part of the overall price or as a separate line item in your proposal, the pre-construction site survey will allow the Houston sign company use their crane trucks and technicians to confirm measurements, site conditions and other necessary details.
Obtain engineering and permits (2-4 weeks) – depending upon the type of signage you are purchasing and your local jurisdiction, your signs may need to be engineered, permitted or both.
Fabricate signage (4-6 weeks) – most custom signage projects start with materials procurement and scheduling of the various fabrication departments. Your sign may pass through routing, graphics, welding, painting and assembly to be ready for installation
Install signage (1-2 weeks) – once fabrication is complete and installation is scheduled. The sign company may conduct hole drilling, foundation work, structural work or electrical work prior to the final sign installation.
SEEING THE BENEFITS OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE SIGNAGE
Signage is your most cost-effective form of advertising. It communications your brand, image and product 24/7/365. Signs are one of the most important investments for your business. Understanding the signage process will help ensure you get the best solution and value for your unique situation. Choosing the best Houston sign company is the starting point.