New business owners have a lot on their plate, and it’s understandable that a few items here and there may be taken for granted. “Of course I’ll be buying a sign” a business owner might think, but what we see too often is that business owners don’t fully understand what goes into acquiring a sign and therefore haven’t fully planned for all that entails including the costs of said sign. Often the sign is one of the last items they purchase for their business, and that can lead to budget difficulties and the acquisition of a sign that doesn’t achieve the key goals of marketing their business effectively. In the past we’ve discussed “5 Steps for Buying New Sign(s) for a Business”, and today we’re going to focus simply on the budgeting of signage for a new business. We hope this article helps business owners understand why it’s important to budget at the start for your sign, the costs often involved in signage, and what you will gain by planning ahead and lose by failing to plan.

Costs of Signage

Signage costs, like most manufacturing costs, is primarily the sum of the cost of materials and labor. In addition though, there are also often costs involved for permitting the sign as well as costs involved with installing the sign. While all of these may vary by company, jurisdiction, sign type and sign material, all too often new business owners will underestimate these costs and think they can hold off on acquiring their sign till closer to their business’s open date. Alas, this can lead to a lot of sticker shock when we meet with owners and budget constraints when they realize their plan only allotted a fraction of the money needed for the sign they want. Therefore they are left with fewer options when purchasing what is one of the biggest marketing tools a business owner has when reaching customers – that is their sign.

Failure to Plan

While we do work within a variety of business owners budgets to help them find the sign that fits their needs and budget, oftentimes if we’re helping a business owner that failed to plan for signage we’re working within a constrained budget that will limit our suggestions to signs that may not be as effective as drawing attention as other signs potentially available to the client with a larger budget. Sign owners may think they want a digital LED sign; however, now coming late to the process they realize they’re lucky to afford channel letters. This is why we recommend contacting your sign company at the onset of your business plan so you can get a realistic estimate of costs at the start.

Benefits of Planning

When we get a call from a business at the start of their planning process, we’re happy to work with them to help the new business owner understand their array of signage options. Perhaps at this time they’ll learn that due to city codes they must work within a certain set of guidelines for signage, or their landlord’s requiring channel letters, and therefore they have set costs they must pay for their signage. This is great to know at the onset as it helps them understand what they must pay. Even if they don’t have such restrictions though, knowing their options gives the business owner a chance to plan for their signage. Should you have a monument or pylon sign? Would channel letters suffice? Would you like real neon signage? These are all questions that at the start of a budget plan, with the help of a sign company, you’ll be able to answer with ease. These questions are far more difficult to answer satisfactorily if the business owner left signage as an afterthought and waited till a month or two before opening day.

Check out our blog “5 Steps for Buying New Sign(s) for Your Business” for more helpful information!


What we ultimately suggest to make sure your sign is the best it can be, helps market your business, and serves as a successful investment, is to bring a sign company in at the onset of planning. In addition to budget headaches, we can help alleviate a number of surprises you may have otherwise had without a sign company partnered with you and your business. Like any part of your business, if you have to pay for it make sure it’s the best it can be for your business needs and budget. We can help!

Call us today at (423) 867-9208 to talk to our team to see how we can develop a sign that works for you and your business needs!