Are you looking to start your own sign business? If so, you’re in the right place!
Signs are needed by businesses of all sizes, and there is always demand for high-quality signage.
In this blog post, I’ll provide tips for new entrepreneurs who are interested in starting their own business.
This post may contain affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. Please see our disclosure policy for more information.
I’ll cover everything from choosing the right products to marketing your business effectively. So if you’re ready to start your own sign business, keep reading!
This post is for general informational and educational purposes only. You can read the full disclaimer for more information.
Starting a sign business is right for you if…
One important factor to consider when deciding whether or not to start a sign business is your level of interest in the industry.
Do you have a passion for design and creativity? Are you excited about helping businesses grow and succeed?
If you answered yes to these questions, then starting a sign business may be the right decision for you.
Another important factor to consider is the level of competition in your area. If there are already several established sign businesses in your local market, you’ll need to be prepared to offer something unique and differentiated.
However, if there are few or no other sign businesses around, this could be a great opportunity for you to get started.
Starting an online sign business is another option to consider. This can be a great way to reach a wider range of customers and to scale your business more quickly.
If you’re interested in starting an online sign business, you’ll still need to do your research and understand the unique challenges that come with this type of business.
What type of signs do you want to make
Now that you’ve decided that starting a sign business is the right decision for you, it’s time to start planning!
The first step is to choose your niche. What sign types do you want to specialize in? There are many different options available, from business signage to event and trade show displays to yard cards. The type of signs you choose to make will be determined by your interests, skills, and the needs of your target market.
Once you’ve decided on your niche, the next step is to start thinking about your target market.
Who will be your ideal customer?
For example, if you’re making business signage, your ideal customers will be small business owners who are looking for high-quality, professional signs.
What type of businesses or individuals will need your services?
If you’re making event signs, you’ll need to identify the types of events that are popular in your area. If you’re making trade show displays, find out which trade shows are coming to town and what type of displays they’ll need.
Research the market
When you’ve identified your niche market, it’s time to start conducting market research. This is an important step in all business ventures, but it’s especially important when you’re starting a new business. There are many different ways to conduct market research, but some of the most common methods include talking to sign shops, observing customers, and conducting surveys.
Talking to sign shops is a great way to get insights into the industry. You can find out about things like the average price of signs, the most popular types of signs, and the biggest challenges that sign shops face.
Observing customers is another great way to learn about the sign industry. Pay attention to the types of signs that people are buying and the reasons why they’re making their purchase. This will help you understand what potential customers are looking for and how you can meet their needs.
Conducting surveys is another excellent way to gather data about the sign industry. You can use surveys to collect information about things like customer satisfaction, the average price of signs, and the most popular types of signs.
Facebook is a great place to conduct your research. You can join relevant groups and ask questions about the sign industry. You can also post surveys or polls on Facebook and collect data from your target audience.
When you’ve gathered all of your data, it’s time to start analyzing it. This will help you identify trends and patterns that you can use to improve your own company.
Materials that are available for making signs
There are a variety of materials available for making signs. One of the most common materials is vinyl, which can be used to create both indoor and outdoor signs. Other popular materials include wood, metal, and acrylic. Each material has its own unique benefits and drawbacks, so it’s important to choose the right material for your project.
Vinyl is a versatile and durable material that can be used for a wide range of projects. It’s also relatively inexpensive, which makes it a great option for small businesses. However, vinyl is not as sturdy as some other materials and can be damaged by UV light.
Wood is a classic material that can be used for a variety of signs. It’s strong and durable, and it can be stained or painted to match their company’s branding. Wood signs can be expensive, however, and they’re not well-suited for outdoor use.
Metal is a durable material that can be used for both indoor and outdoor signs. It’s also relatively inexpensive, making it a good option for small businesses. However, metal signs can be difficult to install, and they’re not as versatile as some other materials.
Acrylic is a clear plastic material that can be used for a variety of signs. It’s shatter-resistant and lightweight, making it a good choice for outdoor signs. Acrylic is also more expensive than some other materials, so it’s important to consider your budget before choosing this option.
Choosing the right material for your customer’s sign is important. Consider the benefits and drawbacks of each material before making your final choice.
If this all sounds like a lot, I’ll describe an option to start an online sign business with less overhead in a bit.
Equipment needed to start your sign business
In order to start your sign business, you’ll need some essential equipment.
For vinyl signs:
- Vinyl cutter: Used to cut vinyl into shapes –
- Printer: Used to print designs onto vinyl
- Weeding tool: Used to remove excess vinyl
- Transfer tape: Used to apply vinyl to surfaces
For wood signs:
- Circular saw: Used to cut wood into desired shapes
- Router: Used to create custom edges on wood signs
- Paint: Used to add color and designs to wood signs
- Stain: Used to add color and grain to wood signs
For metal signs:
- Sheet metal: Used to create custom metal signs
- Bending tools: Used to create custom shapes
- Welding equipment: Used to attach metal sign components together
For acrylic signs:
- Acrylic sheet: Used to create custom acrylic signs
- Laser cutter: Used to cut acrylic into desired shapes and designs
- Drill: Used to create holes for mounting
- Polishing tools: Used to add a finished look to acrylic signs
Of course, the specific equipment you’ll need will vary depending on the type of signs you’re making. These are some of the basics you may need to get started.
You can get into some really cool designs that include lights and moving parts. Which is a great way to add an extra level of interest to your signs.
By offering unique and interesting designs, you’ll be able to set your sign business apart from the competition.
One of the great things about making signs is that you can really get creative with your designs. You’re not limited to traditional shapes and colors – you can really let your imagination run wild!
As your business grows, you may need to invest in additional equipment to accommodate your needs.
How much does it cost to start a sign business
The cost of starting a sign business can vary depending on the type of business you want to start. If you’re interested in starting an online sign business, you’ll need to factor in the cost of a domain name, hosting, and website design.
If you’re starting a brick-and-mortar sign business, you’ll need to factor in the cost of rent, utilities, and inventory. For a storefront, I found an estimate of $5,000 on the low end (source) and $16,700 on the high end (source).
The best way to get an accurate estimate of how much money starting your sign business will cost, is to actually price out the items you’ll need. Once you have a good idea of the cost, you can start planning your budget.
Plan your business
Creating a solid business plan is one of the most important steps you’ll take when starting your sign business. Your business plan will help get a clear vision of your business goals and objectives, as well as how you plan to achieve them.
When writing your business plan, be sure to include:
An executive summary: This is a brief overview of your business, including your mission statement and key objectives.
A company description: A more detailed description of your sign business, including what you do and what makes you unique.
A market analysis: Research the sign industry and your target customers to get a better understanding of the opportunities and challenges you’ll face. This includes research of your competition to get a better understanding of their strengths and weaknesses.
Organization and management: Describe your business structure and who will be responsible for what.
Service or product line: Describe the signs you’ll be making and any unique features or services you offer.
Marketing and sales: Outline your marketing strategy and how you plan to generate sales.
Financial projections: Include your startup costs, as well as your sales and expenses projections for the first year.
A business plan is a great way to get your thoughts organized and to communicate your business model to others. It’s also a necessary step if you’re looking for funding for your sign business.
There are a lot of resources available to help you write a business plan, so don’t feel like you have to do it all on your own. You can find templates and tips online, or you can hire a professional to help you write your business plan.
Here’s a checklist from the United States Small Business Administration for writing your business plan. Be sure to scroll to the end, it includes a list of resources.
Register your business as a legal entity
Once you’ve mapped out your business plan, create a business name and logo that reflects your brand.
Do you plan to form a sole proprietorship, limited liability company (LLC), partnership, or corporation?
If you’re not sure which business structure is right for you, check out this helpful post from the SBA.
Depending on your state you’ll need certain licenses and necessary permits to operate your sign business.
You can start here or check with your state’s Department of State office to find out your specific legal requirements.
You’ll also need to get insurance for your business. This will protect you in the event that something goes wrong on the job or with one of your products.
Other tasks include opening a business bank account and establishing credit for your sign business. These are important steps to take to keep your personal and business finances separate.
How to price your signs?
When it comes to sign making, there is a wide range of prices. Some sign makers charge by the hour, while others charge by the project. The price of materials also varies widely, so it’s important to do your research before you start making and selling signs.
One of the best ways to price your signs is to compare the prices of similar signs from different sign makers. This will give you a good idea of the going rate for the type of sign you’re interested in making. You can also use online sign calculators to get an estimate of the cost of materials and labor.
Here are some figures I found with a Google quick search:
Vinyl banners average costs $200 – $400 (source)
Wood signs average cost $100 – $700 (source)
Laser cut metal sign average costs $100 – $1,500 (source)
Acrylic sign cost $70 – $350 (source)
Hiring someone to install your signs is an option if you don’t want to do it yourself. Installation costs will vary depending on the size and complexity of the sign.
Start your sign business on Etsy
Etsy is a great platform for selling physical and digital items, including signs. Before you start selling on Etsy, it’s important to do your research and understand the platform. Etsy has a lot of great resources for new sellers, including a step-by-step guide to setting up your shop.
You can get started for free!
Check out what other sign makers are selling on Etsy and get an idea of what’s popular. You can also use Etsy’s search engine to research trends and see what people are searching for.
Once you have an idea of what to sell, you can start creating your signs using a free program like Canva. Canva is a user-friendly design program that’s perfect for creating signs.
With Etsy you can create ready made signs or accept custom orders. You can also decide whether to sell digital products or physical items that you ship all from your home-based sign shop.
Marketing your sign business
There are a lot of ways to market your sign business. It’s important to choose the right mix of marketing strategies based on your goals, budget, and customer base.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Create a website: A website is a great way to showcase your signs and reach a larger audience. Be sure to include clear photos and descriptions of your products.
Start a blog: A blog is a great way to share your passion for sign making and attract new customers. You can write about topics like tips for choosing the right sign, how to care for your signs, or behind-the-scenes looks at your sign making process.
Get involved in your community: Attend local events and hand out business cards. Sponsor a team, or donate promotional items (your signs) to a charity auction. This is a great way to get your name out there and show your support for your community.
Use social media: Social media is a great way to establish an online presence, connect with potential clients, and share your signs with the world. Use hashtags to reach a wider audience, and don’t forget to post photos of your signs in action!
If you decide to open a sign business using Etsy then the marketing is already taken care of to some degree.
You can choose to allow Etsy to run offsite ads which will show your signs to people who are not currently on the Etsy website.
Etsy also offers promoted listings which allows you to pay to have your listing appear at the top of search results.
Using keywords in your product titles and descriptions, and offering free shipping will also attract a lot of buyers.
These are just a few ideas to get you started. The most important thing is to get creative and have fun!
How to start a sign business takeaway
There’s a lot to consider when starting a sign business, but it can be a fun and rewarding experience. Use the tips in this blog post to get started on the right foot and build a successful business. And don’t forget to have fun!
Do you have any other tips for starting a sign business? Share them in the comments below!