By SignCraft Magazine
Posted on Wednesday, April 18th, 2018
Not long ago, we asked Trade Secrets readers to tell us what they would charge to do a 4×8 real estate sign on aluminum composite material, similar to this one. Over 300 of you responded, and we really appreciate that. Thanks, too, to Randy Howe who did the sign that we used as our example.
Before we share the results of the survey, though, take a minute and jot down what you would quote for a 4×8 like this, and what you would charge to install it on two 4×4 posts about 20 minutes from your shop. Then you can compare your numbers to the estimates of hundreds of sign shops like yours, from coast to coast. It’s real pricing data that is hard to find anywhere else.
For all respondents, the average selling price for a 4×8 sign like this one was $419.
Here’s how the estimates broke down by price range:
13% would charge $200 to $298
27% would charge $300 to $398
34% would charge $400 to $498
12% would charge $500 to $598
11% would charge over $600
Interestingly, market size made little difference in the estimates. Shops in small towns and suburban communities all averaged about the same selling price.
The volume of 4×8 signs that the shop produced did matter, though. For shops that typically made one to three 4x8s per week, the average price was $362—almost $60 under the overall average.
Those who participated in the survey were established sign shops, with 79% having been in the business for 10 or more years.
As for shop size, 46% had one or no employees, 33% had two to four employees, and 20% had five or more employees.
Here’s a sampling of the comments of the participants, grouped by topic. First, let’s start with production issues:
“This would be a print-and-laminate job. It’s just quicker and easier for me, and the difference in price between cut vinyl and print is made even by the difference in the production time you save.”
“We usually have an installer for these signs so that our graphics people don’t spend time digging holes.”
“My $400 installation cost assumes the posts need to be purchased and post holes augured.”
“I’d charge $350 to install, because 3mm ACM remote install requires two 4x4x10s, two 2x4x8 stabilizers and a 4×8 backer of OSB or plywood.”
“We would do a direct print on 3mm material. If it is to be installed on 4×4 posts, we would use 6mm material, and the sign would be $525.”
“Our price is based on $15 per square foot, though some folks around here still charge $12 per sq. ft.—or even less. The installation is based on three hours at $150 per hour.”
“I’d print this. Cost: 4×8 ACM = $75 plus markup x 2.25 = $170. Vinyl print: $2.47 per sq. ft., plus markup = $175. Design: $150 minimum = $150. Apply graphic = $40. Total = $535.”
“At $500 to install, I would also charge for renting a post hole digger, and any city permits or fees. I would also look at where the sign is being placed. I have had a few real estate signs like this that ended up being on a steep hillside and 20 yards from my truck at the street.”
“I’d use intermediate material and laminate at $10 per sq. ft., plus $50 for design time, with one tweak. The price sounded better at $385 than $370! Installation would be $150 for unpainted salt treated posts, plus $60 if they wanted them painted.”
“We charge an hour minimum for an install like this, though most locations are less than 10 minutes from our shop. Because of our remote location and high cost of living, our shop rate is $150 per hour.”
“Not a lot of businesses moving in the area, and the ones that survived the recession don’t spend the money like they might have done before. Very tight economy around here still.”