As signage is your brand’s visual identity (often for years at a time), purchasing signs of any kind can be a major investment and choosing a sign company capable of producing a display of a high enough quality to last through the seasons could not be more important.
Here are a few tips to help your business choose a sign company partner:
1. Years in Business
Will this company be around to support my display for the full life of the signage?
When a signage display is the visual face of your brand, your best bet is to put your trust in a company with a proven history of success, and years in business is a great measuring tool. A company that has been around for 25+ years is always more likely to be in business for the life of the signage than a company only in the industry for a few years.
Signage displays are built (on average) to last 10-15 years, and even with using only the highest quality materials, all will require service or maintenance within their life-span.
Ensure the sign provider you choose will be able to support the parts and components in your display throughout the warranty period and after.
2. Professional Associations
Are they active in the sign industry?
In any industry there are professional associations in which businesses belong to, and the sign industry is no exception. From local to national associations, membership is a great indication that the sign company is not only credible, but also active and involved in the industry; dedicated to growing their business.
Specifically here in Alberta, these are a few professional associations your Sign Company partner should be a member of:
3. Experience – Manufacturing
Does this company have the experience to manufacture my display?
When a proposal sounds too good to be true… it usually is. Although the manufacturing of exterior signage is not rocket science, it does require industry-specific knowledge regarding best-practices, and current product offerings along with unique trade skills in order to produce displays that will last the test of time.
For example, the manufacturing process of a standard Freestanding Pylon Sign includes sheet metal, plastic, painting, CNC routering, vinyl application, wiring, and installation among other job-specific trades. All of these departments / processes require specific training, formal certifications and most importantly, experience to produce a quality sign.
4. Project Management
Will they work well with other trades on site?
Signage projects often coincide with new construction or renovation projects where multiple trades will be on site working alongside one another. Does the company you are researching work effectively and efficiently when dealing with the challenges that arise from working on a shared job site?
5. Tour Their Shop
Do they manufacture or import their signs?
The absolute best way to get a feel for a company is to visit their shop, tour their facility, and meet the staff you will be dealing with. Reputable signage companies would be more than happy to (safely) show you around their manufacturing facility and explain the processes and techniques at work, and it will give you a great opportunity to observe at how they operate on a day-to-day basis.
6. Online Presence
Is this company legitimate?
The very first place you should look when searching for a sign company partner is online; reading reviews, researching affiliations, and viewing their own website. A professionally designed and maintained site can be a great indication of a company that is with the times, just as an out-dated site suggests a business that is stuck in the past.
In addition to their own website, trusted organizations such as the BBB offer a fair overview of a company’s reputation, and are a great point of reference.
7. Check Their References
Do they complete work as described?
You would never hire an employee without first checking their references, so why would it be different when choosing a sign shop? In addition to checking a company’s reputation online and through organizations such as the BBB, contacting past customers is a great way to get a feel for the company you are looking at:
- Do they complete work when promised?
- What is their customer service like; are they responsive to questions and inquiries?
- Was the project completed on budget (as quoted), or were additional costs added at the end of the process?
8. Safe Work Practices
Will my signs be completed safely?
Exterior signage is located primarily above a storefront’s entrance, and installation of these signs requires working in close proximity with customers and staff coming and going from your business.
Any reputable sign company will take the safety of your customers and staff (not to mention themselves!) extremely seriously, so ask or check out their website for information on their commitment to safe work practices.
When searching for a Sign Company’s safe work practices look for COR or a Certificate of Recognition from Alberta Labour. As an un-biased system, COR is a great tool to gauge a business’s practices and safety:
“A COR shows that the employer’s health and safety management system has been evaluated by a certified auditor and meets provincial standards. These standards are established by Occupational Health and Safety (OHS).”
9. Capability / Capacity
Will this company meet my needs?
In any relationship, you and your partner (in this case your Sign Company,) need to be a good fit. Sign companies exist in all shapes and sizes, with some specializing in window graphics and vehicle wraps, whereas others only manufacture displays, and don’t have the resources to install their signs.
Before beginning the search for a company, sit down with your team and determine your unique signage needs to effectively research sign companies that will best meet those needs:
- What is the typical type of signage we will require? (exterior illuminated displays, pylon signage, interior wayfinding, POS, menu boards, ext.)
- Will we need installation or maintenance services?
- Do we require design assistance?
10. Local Market Knowledge
Do they know the trends and regulations of my area?
Market conditions vary greatly even between towns and cities only kilometers apart; from signage legislation to local trends, a company local or familiar with your area and with past experience will always be a better option than a supplier from another area.
Finally most importantly, don’t forget to take a look at their previously completed signage displays; if the paint is fading or the vinyl peeling after only a few years of use, the company may “talk-the-talk,” but the quality is not there.
Established in 1947, Blanchett Neon has the experience, capability and capacity to install all types of signage, and our comprehensive project management solutions have made us the trusted supplier for businesses big and small! Contact Us today to learn more about how the most cost effective form of advertising, exterior signage, will increase sales for your business immediately.