It’s hard to beat a sign for value

By SignCraft Magazine

Posted on Tuesday, October 25th, 2016

When it comes to long-lasting advertising, a well-made sign is hard to beat. Compare it to the longevity of other types of ads. Online ads? Gone on the next click. TV and radio? Now you see (or hear) it, now you don’t. Newspaper? Out with the evening trash.

But a sign is out there, 24/7, rain or shine, delivering its message. If you divide its cost over its lifespan, it often comes down to dimes per day. 

That $500 4-by-8 on the front of the body shop? If it lasts four years, it costs less than 35 cents a day.

The $3300 3D sign for the RV park? If it’s up for six years, it’s less than $1.50 per day.

The $250 routine truck lettering job you did last week? Over the four-year life of the truck, it will cost the landscaper 17 cents per day to keep his name in front of tens of thousands of potential customers.

And signs often last much longer than these estimates—often outlasting the businesses that they advertise. These signs at Snowshoe Mountain Resort, some of which are over 13 years old, are perfect examples of how long well-made signs last. Randy Carvell of Graphic Services, Manassas, Virginia, helped produce them. Gary Godby did the designs.  

“It’s amazing how well a sign will hold up,” says Randy, “especially considering the harsh environment up in the mountains of West Virginia. The winters are really cold and summers are hot. We used HDU and PVC to build most of these, and finished them with Matthews paints. PVC expands and contracts quite a bit, but the paint stays put. If you use quality materials, a sign can last for years.”

So the task is to help customers realize that this longevity makes their sign an investment rather than an expense. How can you do that quickly during the sales process?

Start by talking about the sign as advertising. It will shift the focus away from the sign being just letters on a board. Explain that the goal is for the sign to generate sales and give their customers an accurate picture of their service or products.

Tell them the estimated life of the type of sign they are considering. Give a round number price of such a sign, then show what that sign would cost per year, month or even day. (This is a great time to watch for their reaction and get a sense for their budget.) Point out that spending a little more to give the sign more impact can pay off in added advertising value that lasts for years.

Talk about the quality of the materials you’ll use to help maximize the value of their sign. Explain that there are materials that cost less but won’t last as long—even though the sign would look the same to them at first, the long-term durability would suffer.

Clients, of course, usually often see their sign just as an expense, like paying for a repair or a store fixture, rather than advertising. It’s up to sign people to help them see it differently. As Mike Meyer [Mike Meyer Signs, Mazeppa, Minnesota] often tells customers, “You’ll make more on this sign than I will.”

–You’ll find more great articles to help you sell your work more effectively in SignCraft Magazine.