Posted on Monday, July 25th, 2022
Window lettering jobs like this are common in most sign shops—the business name and a graphic at a fairly large size on the storefront window. So what do others charge to letter a window like this one by John Deaton [Deaton Designs, Ages-Brookside, Kentucky]?
Before we tell you what others charge, though, jot down the price you would quote to design and letter a window with 30-by-60-in. graphics like this, using lettering and an illustration. The business is about 20 minutes from your shop.
Last week we sent a survey to readers, asking them what they would charge and for a little information about their business. The results are in, and we’d like to thank the nearly 140 sign professionals who took the time to participate. We really appreciate that, and we’re sure other readers do, too.
The average price to cut or print the graphics and install them was $431. As expected, most would use computer-cut vinyl though a few said they would hand letter it.
And also as you might expect, there were shops on the low end that quoted half or less than the average price. On the high end, there were a few that were double the average. But about 50% of the shops gave a price within $100 of that $431 overall average.
For comparison, if you estimated this job using our web estimating app, SignQuote Pro, with an hourly shop rate of $85, the price would be $429 plus $105 for travel time and installation. If you don’t already use SignQuote Pro, be sure to give it a try using your own shop rate.
A few years ago, John Deaton did an article, “What’s it cost to produce this window lettering” for SignCraft. In it, he tracked the time and materials involved in this window project—about $50 in material and 2 hours and 45 minutes of labor. Take a look. (You can get John vector art and illustrations at TheToonFactory.com.)
Along with the selling price, we also asked some basic information about the sign maker’s business, market and experience.
Most were owners of sign businesses. 60% were owners of commercial sign shops (primarily non-electric signs) and over one quarter, 35%, owned full-service sign shops (both electric and non-electric signs):
They were experienced. Almost 90% had been involved in the sign business for 11 years or more:
About half of them letter three or more windows per month:
Every type of market was represented. Here’s how they described their markets:
Two-thirds have employees. Almost half have 1 to 3 employees, and about one-third work alone:
Volume didn’t affect the average selling price much. Interestingly, the average selling price for the job didn’t vary much, depending on the number of windows the shop did each month. The averages were all within about $25 of each other.
Market size mattered, though. In large urban areas, the average selling price was $503. Among shops in suburban areas or mid-sized towns, the average was $447. For those in rural areas, the average dropped to $339.
What they had to say:
Many of the respondents shared their comments on the subject of pricing, and we wish we had room to share them all here. (Thanks, too, for the suggestions on survey improvements. We’ll put them to work on the next one.) Here’s a sampling of what they had to say:
“The cost is $480 for text setup, print, finish, and installation. Logo designing is not included, and images would be provided by customer.”
“I would charge $125 for the design, $225 for printing/laminating/cutting/taping and my minimum for me to walk out of the shop for a job is $175. I might charge a little more for the trip if this is not a regular client.”
“I have been in the sign business for over 40 years and I love every minute of it. Back in the day (1970s) of hand lettering we would have lettered this sign on the inside of the glass and made two trips to complete the work. We’d be lucky to get $150 for the job.”
“Love to do these fill-in projects—especially when they are local. They often lead to other work.”
“When the value of the job (or installation) is half travel time, I propose that I would charge half the trip charge and combine the installation when I go out to do another job. Rarely does anyone turn this down, even if it means waiting another week!”
“We have a flat rate for small scale windows or doors but it increases based on size and the distance from our shop. We add travel charges for jobs over 20 miles from our shop.”
“Making and applying the graphics would be $225. The other $75 is travel time. Around here, 20 minutes equals about 20 miles.”
“If the window has existing vinyl that needs removed, there would be an additional charge.”
“The price assumes that the illustration is one I have already. If I create something new, then there would be an additional charge of $160.”
“I would prefer to use both hand lettering and vinyl for a job like this. Painted windows have an undeniable flair to them as opposed to digital.”
“This price is for design and printed. The cost would increase if it was hand lettered and/or needed to include airbrushing or leafing.”