Business Overview

From business street signs to vinyl prints for local events, sign businesses manufacture and sell custom-made signs to the public. Some customers provide their own creative design. Others come with a vision, relying on the manufacturer’s artistic background and knowledge regarding images, placement, and size. Since signs can be manufactured a number of ways, most sign businesses specialize in a couple different methods, outsourcing the rest to trade-only suppliers.

Who is this business right for?

Individuals who are talented creatively and enjoy regular interaction and collaboration with the public are best suited for the sign sales and manufacturing industry. Like most business ventures, success requires hard work and dedication, but is very rewarding. Industry leaders indicate they’ve had the unique opportunity of watching long-time customers grow their businesses from small start-ups to million dollar enterprises.

What happens during a typical day at a sign business?

In addition to routine administrative duties, a standard day in a sign shop includes the following activities:

  • Meet with current and prospective clients to discuss their needs, questions, and vision
  • Create design and layout of signs
  • Manufacture product for client
  • Ship out necessary design, instructions, and paperwork for outsourced work
  • Network with suppliers and outsourcing manufacturers
  • Reorder supplies when necessary
  • Plan and execute marketing strategy

This industry is continuously introducing new techniques and technology, so it is important that business owners strive for innovation for long-term success. The International Sign Association is a great resource for business ideas, industry research, and networking.

What is the target market?

Your ultimate goal should be to serve the needs of anyone who requires a sign, banner, or billboard. Since you will most likely not manufacture all of these things in-house, however, this will not happen overnight. Start out targeting the specific niches you wish to be a part of. Once you’ve built relationships with individuals you can outsource work to, then you can begin to add to your buyer personas.

How does a sign business make money?

Each client will require something different from the next, and are charged according to time spent on the project, material costs, and services rendered.

What is the growth potential for a sign business?

Industry leaders indicate high profit margins and stability are two great advantages to being a part of this profession. Technological advances afford greater opportunities for expansion, with marketing and growth opportunities only limited to your goals and drive for success.