Neighborhood Entrance Sign Costs

This article will address most considerations before anyone purchases a new neighborhood (or even commercial development) main entrance sign.

We are often challenged with both commercial and residential property projects where the property developer or construction crew did not take into account the main entrance sign. It’s the last item on a long list, but in many ways one of the most important as the main identity sign brands the development. Image is everything, and the main entrance sign defines how any retail or residential community looks in the community. This affects property resell values, rental or lease pricing – even the end-of-game closing price on any property.

Case One: Recycle Existing Signage

You have an existing sign marquee that was thrown together or is outdated. Example of a residential community entrance sign:

Outdated Neighborhood Entrance Sign Monument

Outdated Neighborhood Entrance Sign Monument

This sign had a wooden sandblasted sign (see this article about the issues with wooden signs), and the community felt it need an overhaul. Our solution was to update the structure with stucco top caps on the columns, and a new 3-D embossed sign plaque to replace the wood sign panel which had already deteriorated after only a few years. This was a cost effective solution that the HOA members easily installed themselves to save additional costs. Here is the final result of this re-vamped neighborhood entrance sign:

Updated Neighborhood Entrance Sign Monument

Updated Neighborhood Entrance Sign Monument

Case Two: New Neighborhood Signage

This customer had outdated wooden signs leading into their 55+ community. This coastal community needs a sign made in materials that not only withstand hurricane conditions, but also can withstand the daily abuse of light winds scraping sand across the material surfaces. Here is what this neighborhood entrance sign had:

Outdated Coastal Neighborhood Entrance Sign In Wood

Outdated Coastal Neighborhood Entrance Sign In Wood

And here is our solution – a complete replacement. Our product not only looks great, but will still look great for decades to come, even in the harsh environment.

Updated Coastal Neighborhood Entrance Sign

Updated Coastal Neighborhood Entrance Sign

Case Three: Start From Scratch

Do not fear approaching your neighborhood entrance sign project if you have nothing there to start. In most cases, this is the best case scenario for costs and longevity. If you will take the time to walk the property and take pictures on your cell phone of the housing architecture, any masonry elements you like, etc., you will be arming our design team with the tools necessary to design a neighborhood entrance sign monument that not only matches the development, but also looks as if it was constructed at the same time as the development.

Neighborhood Business Sign Match Existing Architecture

Neighborhood Business Sign Match Existing Architecture

We are able to match the exact stucco colors, dimensions of the existing building architectural effects, and add any graphics you like. This project had an electronic LED message board!

In conclusion, the costs of a neighborhood entrance sign are dependent on several factors. Our team will take into consideration what you have on site, what you want to accomplish, and will provide the BEST cost-effective solution available in the sign industry.

Contact our Sales Team with your project info for a proposal. We’ll make you look your BEST.

Eagles Landing Neighborhood Sign Monument

Eagles Landing Neighborhood Sign Monument

Endodontics Entrance Monument

Endodontics Entrance Monument

Changeable Message Options For Outdoor Sign Monuments

So you are in the market for an outdoor sign for your business, church, or other signage and would like the ability to update a message or promotion on a regular basis. What are your options?

There are numerous signage solutions to fit any need. As with any project, the solution is based on budget and what you are trying to achieve. This article will illustrate the various changeable sign solutions available in the sign industry, as well as their pros & cons.

Changeable Tenant Panels On Custom Business Park Entrance Sign Monument

Changeable Tenant Panels On Custom Business Park Entrance Sign Monument

The first thing to consider before purchasing a permanent outdoor sign is the ‘permanent’ factor. If you own the property, are you considering selling in the future? If so, you will want a permanent sign structure with the ability to change the graphics only, without damaging the sign monument structure. Our custom sign monuments can be designed with the sign panels as separate panels that are not only attached upon delivery (designed to your immediate graphic needs), but include the ability to remove and replace the panel without reinventing the project. In multi-tenant properties such as retail commercial business parks, we can integrate tenant plaques that are not only removable but flippable – meaning the same tenant slot uses the same plaque and new graphics are applied on the back side. In all cases, our signage has integrated stainless hardware that does not rust or leave corrosive drips on the graphics surface. We take into consideration spacial issues, meaning all equal square footage tenant leases get equal advertising space, the ‘anchor’ businesses with larger retail square footage get larger advertising space. While all tenants have different number of characters in their business names, they all need to have a unified appearance of consistency. Example:

Gross and Company Changeable Tenant Panels

Gross and Company Changeable Tenant Panels

The next changeable sign solution is a reader board with individual changeable letters. These are common for restaurants wishing to promote daily specials, churches wishing to share messages in the community, and any businesses wanting to advertise on the fly. Reader boards are separate panels (typically in aluminum) that attach to the front entrance sign monument, marquee or facade. Reader boards have horizontal tracks to accept individual letters so you can write what you like, and at your convenience. Here is what a reader board looks like:

Reader Board On Sign Monument

Reader Board On Sign Monument

And all of our reader board sign solutions come with a box of mix-n-match changeable letters. We offer different sizes, colors, and fonts. They come with more vowels and common letters than the letter ‘Z’ for example. You’ll have plenty of what you need:

Changeable Reader Board Letters

Changeable Reader Board Letters

The last and best example of changeable signage is the electronic LED message boards. These are literally commercial grade outdoor TV screens that you program by computer. All of our electronic LED panels come with a new laptop computer, pre-programmed for wi-fi access, controller software (much like using Microsoft Powerpoint), training, and toll-free 24-7 tech support.

LED message boards are an initial investment, but pay for themselves in short time. LEDs offer the ability for any font, color, picture, image, animation – including all movie media formats such as QuickTime and Windows Media Files. Electronic LED message boards are sold by ‘pitch’ – meaning resolution. We take into account the distance from traffic and traffic speed to get the resolution you need for the right costs. Imagine being able to advertise in full color with animation!

Full-Color LED Cabinets on City Sign Monument

Full-Color LED Cabinets on City Sign Monument

Contact our Sales Team with any questions about our changeable sign solutions.

Wall Display with Back-lit LED Letters

This was a fun project for Lakeview Academy’s Robotics’ Team Lab – the Innovation Studio. We used a combination of brushed aluminum, mirrored acrylic and PVC to create the backboard. There is a high resolution digital print (laminated to prevent fingerprints) with a blueprint-style design and the work STUDIO in an architectural font.

The lettering is stud-mounted to the backboard, the the backs of each letter are hollowed out on our CNC router table. This allowed up to insert red led lights in the letters, and white LED lights inside the lightbulb. Rather than making the lightbulb as an internally illuminated sign “can” we made the side walls in HDU and brought the electrical through the back to one common power supply.

The teachers were concerned about students playing with display, and turning it on and off frequently. We build a James Bond style switch concealed on the side that only the teacher know about, and installed it high enough on the wall only the teachers can reach it. We used a retro-style dual spinning cord for the electrical service.

As you can see, it turned out fantastic! The red LED’s on the brushed aluminum almost look like a molten metal effect!

innovation studio red LED back lit letters

innovation studio red LED back lit letters

innovation studio white LED internal lit light bulb

innovation studio white LED internal lit light bulb

Lakeview Robotics Innovation Studio Sign OFF

Lakeview Robotics Innovation Studio Sign OFF

Lakeview Robotics Innovation Studio Sign ON

Lakeview Robotics Innovation Studio Sign ON

Do Not Use Wood For Signs – Protect Your Investment

Signage is an investment. Your sign represents your image, and you need to consider the long-term affects of how you look.

Traditionally, signs were made from wood, or a wood by-product. Such examples include:

  • Redwood – tradition material used in sandblasting wooden signs. For decades, old-growth redwood hasn’t been allowed to be harvested.
  • Cedar – the alternative to old-growth redwood. Clear-grade heart (center of the tree) cedar gives a lesser grain pattern to old-growth redwood.
  • Soft-Wood – Pine, poplar, balsa, etc. are easy to sandblast but do not give the grain pattern relief for dimensional effects, and are not materials that last outdoors.
Wood Signs Will Have Issues - warping, cupping, splintering, mildew, etc.

Wood Signs Will Have Issues – warping, cupping, splintering, mildew, etc.

It’s common sense – wood is a product of nature and has no predictable longevity. When considering different areas have different climates that effect the expansion and contraction of natural wood, why would you want wood as the material for your expensive sign? Ask yourself – how often does the exterior of a wood faced house last before requiring repainting?

It is misleading to tell people that there is ANY commercial grade primer and top-coat finish, in any paint industry from local paint franchises to commercial grade sign enamels, that will prevent or protect wood from deteriorating from expansion and contraction. It’s simply a matter of time before it fails.

A CNC v-groove routed wood sign with the finish failing.

A CNC v-groove routed wood sign with the finish quickly failing.

While you may receive a wood sign that is primed and painted, keep in mind that the finishing system is compromised when you screw through it to mount to posts or your facade, thereby exposing the material to the elements.

There are other products that sign shops offer to reduce the wood failure. While these are cost-effective for the sign producer, they still fail. MDO (marine grade plywood) is a common wood product offered in commercial franchise sign shops. MDO is basically plywood. MDO does offer structural strength of cross-grain laminate layers like typical plywood, but instead of wood glue, MDO uses a fiberglass-style resin. Again, this wood product will fail in a matter of a few years.

Another wood substitute is High Density Urethane, or HDU. HDU is a synthetic wood product and is available in different densities and thicknesses. A typical HDU application is on a front entrance monument in brick masonry at 1.5″ thick and 15 pound (per cubic foot) density. HDU can be CNC routed or sandblasted in a variety of dimensional effects. HDU does not expand or contract, so the primer and top-coat finishes will typically last longer. HDU is a great product solution for exterior commercial grade signage. There is however an issue… HDU being a synthetic material has no natural grain structure for strength but rather is an open-cell foam product. This means it’s easy to break. A 2″ thick HDU sign between posts can be snapped in half easily.

Broken High Density Urethane (HDU) Sign

Broken High Density Urethane (HDU) Sign cracked and faded after short-term use.

The solution for signage substrate is a combination of more current technologies and finishes. Our Best Sign Monuments are made to order, not stock sheets of material pulled off a shelf. This means if you want a sign that will last the test of time, our product can be made (for example) to mount between posts at any thickness required. We can easily produce an 8″ thick sign on 12″ diameter posts that will not expand, contract, or snap on impact. Or better yet, for stand-alone solutions, a sign monument as an architectural form:

Solid Sign Monument Solutions

Solid Sign Solutions – Architectural Monument Forms that impress and last.

Fior more information on how our product is made, visit the how they are made section of our web site. To request a free quote on your next sign project, complete our online contact form with as many details as you can provide. Be sure to include a picture of the intended sign location, or even a rough sketch of what you have in mind with your quote request.

Our experienced sales team and award winning designers will be certain to come up with a cost effective solution that will impress, and protect your long-term investment.

A Cost-Effective Solution To Sandblasted Signs

Traditional sandblasted signs are beautiful, but expensive in the long run.

Sandblasted signs used to be made of old-growth redwood because the 100+ year old wood had a beautiful spaced grain pattern that blasted well, leaving a contrast between the wood grain texture and the raised graphics. They stopped the harvesting of old-growth redwood a few decades ago, which lead sign manufacturers to come up with an alternative solution, one of which was cedar. The more recent was HDU (High Density Urethane).

• Cedar – while similar in color as redwood, the grain pattern is tighter and doesn’t blast as well. Cedar is harvested young, and the seasonal expansion and contraction damages the finish. Regardless of what you are told, there is no commercial primer or topcoat finish that can withstand wood expanding or contracting. This means that just like the exterior of a wood house, a wooden sandblasted sign will have to be repaired and refinished every few years.

• HDU (High Density Urethane) – this is a synthetic wood material that does not expand or contract, meaning the primer and top surface coats will stay intact for the longevity of the paint manufacturer’s specifications. HDU is an open-cell foam, without grain for structural support. HDU does last, and a faux wood grain pattern can be blasted into it, but there is a structural issue. You can walk up to a HDU sandblasted sign and snap it in two pieces (on post application).

There are other factors to take into consideration. Let’s say your sign is 25 feet off the street and traffic is going by at 30 mph, or if you sign is located above your entry door on the facade.

• Do you think viewers will see the dimensional effects of the sandblasting?

• Is it worth the added expense for the sandblasted relief?

Our experience in the field is that it is not worth the added costs of dimensional relief by sandblasting when looking at ROI (Return On Investment) when taking into consideration the maintenance costs and lack of distance visibility.

As with any technology, times change. We offer the ability to computer graphic design a sandblasted sign “look” that can be directly applied to a lifetime, maintenance-free product (such as sheet aluminum). It looks like a sandblasted sign with dimensional effects, but at half the cost.

This is an example of a church that had a dilapidated sign that needed replacing. Here are the before and after pictures:

Saint Gabriel's Church dilapidated sign that needs replacing.

Saint Gabriel’s Church dilapidated sign that needs replacing.

Saint Gabriel's Church aluminum sign panel to look like sandblasted sign, with changeable service hours and pastor name.

Saint Gabriel’s Church aluminum sign panel to look like sandblasted sign, with changeable service hours and pastor name.

As you can see, a little painting and minimal costs on new graphics makes this church look like new.

Contact our sales team with photography of your project and let us make a recommendation.

Commercial Sign Monument with Full-Color LED Panels

Orthodontist owned multi-tenant sign monument with full-color P-10 electronic LED panels.

Orthodontist owned multi-tenant sign monument with full-color P-10 electronic LED panels.

Commercial signage is going digital. Electronic LED panels allow the ability to change graphics as demand is needed. A multi-tenant property owner can change a new slot on the fly. Animation grabs attention of drive-by traffic. Promotional programs can be displayed easily and as frequently as wanted.

Getting a full-color electronic LED is a project in itself.

The first issue is getting the LED display approved in the community through the Sign Permit process. The way to battle this issue is to fully understand the problem. Our team speaks all current LED technology. Our staff includes technicians who have personally built electronic LED panels, repaired all major LED manufacturer damaged displays, and retro-fitted new displays with current technology. We offer our knowledge in approaching City Municipalities (and County Properties) with a game plan that satisfies all needs. In many cases, we have been able to get the Municipalities to update their own Ordinances.

The next issue is costs. Yes, electronic LED displays are expensive. It’s basically an outdoor television with a built-in computer, controlled by another computer. The ROI (return on investment) is a no-brainer once you consider the immediate payback on increase in sales and recognition in the community. The ability to promote and/or change information is a bonus that pays back immediately.

This project was for a commercial facility with multiple tenants. It was a County property (more difficult than City ordinance in most situations). We walked the entire project through Permit approval with a dozen Variance applications, which took nearly a year.

Keep in mind that our modular sign monuments are the Best because they ship directly to the job site. These electronic LED panels literally screwed to an integrated support frame in the stucco sign monument. The cost savings in our stucco sign monument, which perfectly matched the architecture and stucco color of the building, deducted from the costs had the client paid a local contractor (architect, masonry contractor, installer, etc.) took a HUGE chunk out of the LED costs. We are high-volume and represent numerous LED manufacturers, so there is savings there as well.

Here are pictures of the unit after delivered to the job site. The LED panels are a P-10 (Pitch 10mm between pixels – 1R1G1B):

Stucco sign monument being lifted in the air during installation.

Stucco sign monument being lifted in the air during installation.

This is a picture of a bright white smile the Doctors wanted on their new full-color LED display:

Bright White Smile picture on P-10 Full-Color LED Panels

Bright White Smile picture on P-10 Full-Color LED Panels

And this is the picture of on the full-color P-10 LED displays after installation and electrical connection:

Orthodontist P-10 Full-Color LED Panels on Stucco Sign Monument.

Orthodontist P-10 Full-Color LED Panels on Stucco Sign Monument.

Break Away Faux Stone Sign Monuments for Beehive

Beehive is a national assisted living franchise with numerous locations. The entrances to these facilities typically have real brick and mortar block stone monument column marquees with suspended embossed sign panels under wooden post arms that welcoming incoming traffic.

There is an ongoing issue with sign monuments and liability for businesses (and all other entrance-style sign monuments including city municipalities). The monument owner may be liable for driver injury and vehicle damages incurred by vehicle impact, especially in fatal incidents. So if an elderly driver hits your sign and is injured – the facility owner may be liable.

There is a simple solution to this situation which is referred to as a “break away” style sign monument. This means on impact, the monument itself will literally break off the ground and move out of the way, causing minimal vehicle damage and preventing fatal injury.

All of our sign monuments are a break away solution, and in our company history there have yet to be any injuries on impact.

Beehive Homes franchise owners wanted to update their existing entrance marquee signs to a break away style solution, which we easily matched in our faux masonry (foam core base). Here is a picture of the original block stone (real masonry) column-style monument:

Beehive Block Stone Sign Column Monument

Beehive Block Stone Sign Column Monument

And here is our break away style sign monument column in faux masonry before it left our shipping docks:

Beehive Break Away Faux Block Stone Sign Column Monument

Beehive Break Away Faux Block Stone Sign Column Monument

As you can see the faux masonry is a fantastic match to the real stone and mortar. We attached the embossed sign panels we fabricated in a permanent method (versus hanging from chain) to prevent theft or wind damage.

 

Wentzville Missouri Sign Monuments

The City of Wentzville, Missouri has numerous highway entrances. These entrances typically had real brick and mortar block stone monument marquees with cast aluminum oval plaques welcoming incoming traffic.

There is an ongoing issue with sign monuments and liability for city municipalities (and all other entrance-style sign monuments). The monument owner may be liable for driver injury and vehicle damages incurred by vehicle impact, especially in fatal incidents. So a drunk driver hits your sign and is injured – you may be liable.

There is a simple solution to this situation which is referred to as a “break away” style sign monument. This means on impact, the monument itself will literally break off the ground and move out of the way, causing minimal vehicle damage and preventing fatal injury.

All of our sign monuments are a break away solution, and in our company history there have yet to be any injuries on impact.

The City of Wentzville wanted to update their existing City entrance marquee signs to a break away style solution, which we easily matched in our faux masonry (foam core base). Here is a picture of the original block stone (real masonry) monument:

Wentzville, MO real masonry City entrance sign monument

Wentzville, MO real masonry City entrance sign monument

And here is our break away sign monument solution before it shipped from our docks:

Wentzville, MO break away Cirty entrance sign monument

Wentzville, MO break away Cirty entrance sign monument

As you can see we are a perfect match in faux masonry and signage style. Please note the City shipped us the cast aluminum plaques to attach to our product before shipping to the job sites. This ensured a more perfect overall match as we do not cast aluminum.

Sign Monument Re-Vamp – Primrose Schools

We are often asked to update an existing sign. To save costs, our sign design team uses as much of the existing structure that is in place, repairing any damaged areas as needed.

This example shows the “before” of a brick & mortar sign monument with recessed concrete area for lettering, and the “after” where we made a specifically sized insert panel to fill the area and cover the damage. We added a 3-D embossed “coin” with the logo up top to modernize the overall appearance.

Primrose Schools Sign Monument Before

Primrose Schools Sign Monument Before

Primrose Schools Sign Monument After

Primrose Schools Sign Monument After

Sign Research Foundation – The Economic Value of On-Premise Signage

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

In 1997, the University of San Diego released a landmark study for the sign industry. It was the first time statistical analysis was used to determine the economic impact of on-premise signage to

a business. The research used data from three case studies—a large fast food chain, a national home décor retailer and auto dealers in a metropolitan city—and the results are still widely quoted today.

In 2012, the University of Cincinnati’s Economics Center deepened the examination. Leaning heavily on the original work, the University of Cincinnati’s updates included numerous additional case studies: a national lodging chain, a national banking business, a specialty store small business and a car dealership.
Both reports are called “The Economic Value of On-Premise Signage.” They show how signs act as “silent salespersons”—branding businesses, providing information about products and services, and pointing customers to exact locations. In short, an on-premise sign’s economic impact on businesses—directly and indirectly—is significant.

Researchers tackled the topic by exploring how changes in on-premise signage affect business performance. Also part of the studies was the impact on consumers and the surrounding community.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

1. SIGNS POSITIVELY IMPACT CONSUMERS AND COMMUNITIES BY MAKING IT EASIER FOR SHOPPERS TO OBTAIN THE INFORMATION THEY NEED TO MAKE A PURCHASE.

■ Sign visibility and conspicuity are especially important. In the case study of eight San Diego auto dealers, for example, 68 percent of people surveyed said that the sign had been an important factor in finding the dealer’s location. In addition, 18 percent reported being aware of the service department because of the dealer’s sign. And when one of the dealers was forced to move a sign to comply with a new code, 21 percent of that dealer’s customer base reported that the business was hard to locate without the sign.

■ Researchers determined that the addition of one sign at every fast-food outlet in Los Angeles would raise business revenues by $132 million; those businesses would in turn pay an additional $10 million in sales tax revenue to the local municipality.

American consumers who have driven by a desired business without finding it due to insufficient signage

American consumers who have driven by a desired business without finding it due to insufficient signage

2. CHANGES TO SIGNS DI2RECTLY IMPACT BUSINESS PERFORMANCE.

■ The studies proved that changes such as adding signs or replacing outdated or inoperable signs had positive effects on sales, number of transactions and profits. Roughly 60 percent of businesses studied reported average sales increases of 10 percent.

■ Just one additional sign yielded sales increases of 4.75 percent, an impact greater than that brought on by a larger building, longer hours of operation or location longevity.

■ Lower-performing stores benefitted the most from changes to signage, such as the addition of a sign to a building that previously didn’t have one.

■ Updates and improvements to existing signs led to a 5 percent weekly sales increase for many stores; underperforming stores saw weekly sales increase by 15 percent.

3. POSITIVE BUSINESS PERFORMANCE IS ASSOCIATED WITH EFFECTIVE SIGN DESIGN, PLACEMENT, AND DIVERSITY OF MEDIA.

■ In the 2012 study, the car dealership found that adding a digital sign board increased not only service department revenue and customer traffic; it also created goodwill as a place for community-related public service messages.

■ A key aspect of effective signage is proper regulation. Ideally, sign regulations balance community design objectives with full knowledge of how sign design and location impact business success. When sign codes are overly restrictive, businesses can be directly affected—as can consumers who have trouble finding those businesses due to inadequate/ineffective signage.

WHAT’S A SIGN WORTH?

North American shoppers who associate sign quality with store and product quality

North American shoppers who associate sign quality with store and product quality.

North American shoppers who make store choices based on the information communicated by store signs

North American shoppers who make store choices based on the information communicated by store signs.

Increase in weekly sales for one business that combined a major building sign modification with two additional minor changes

Increase in weekly sales for one business that combined a major building sign modification with two additional minor changes.

Researchers

University of San Diego (1997): Seth R. Ellis, Ph.D. Robert Johnson, Ph.D. Robin Murphy, M.B.A.

University of Cincinnati (2012): Jeff Rexhausen, Principal Investigator Henry Hildebrandt, Co-Investigator Christopher Auffrey, Ph.D., Co-Investigator