TO REPLACE OR UPGRADE- THAT IS THE QUESTION
There are some electric signs around Virginia you just can’t replace: like Richmond’s pre-Depression era Hotel John Marshall’s historic rooftop sign, or the historic marquee at the Virginia Repertory Theater. In cases of historic signage, restoration is always the first option to consider versus total replacement.
But most signs don’t reach antique status before they need to be replaced or retrofitted. Such is the case with signage for most of our commercial customers: Among our wide-range of retail customers utilizing electric signage, we help banks and credit unions replace signs in single or multi-location image upgrades and acquisitions; lend a hand to healthcare customers re-imaging former retail and industrial spaces to new clinics; serve shopping center developers by upgrading their center’s street-appeal.
In lieu of complete sign replacements, we sometimes replace only certain components, such as changing out neon or replacing old manual or bulb-type electronic message boards with new LED technology.
Five big triggers for sign replacement:
1-Wear and Tear: Signs, like any exterior structure, fade and deteriorate given enough time and eventually need repair or replacement. You can compare an outdoor sign to your car. Since Holiday Signs uses quality acrylic polyurethanes like the auto industry, the time it takes your car’s finish to lose its luster is the same timeframe your sign starts going downhill.
2-Damage: Replacement may become necessary after a delivery truck hits a sign, or a severe windstorm blows out a face or knocks over a structure. Since most custom electric sign fabrication takes weeks or months to complete, don’t forget to ask the sign company to provide a temporary banner while the new signage is being fabricated. That way your customers won’t forget who and where you are.
3-Technology Changes: Older sign technologies like incandescent-bulb electronic signs, manual message boards, or neon signs are commonly replaced with newer, more economical technologies, like LED message centers and LED lighting.
4-Identity Changes: New logos, slogans, color schemes or building upgrades can spark the need for new signs at one location or multiple sites across a region in our service area. (See Pearson Auto Re-imaging Case Study.)
5-Entity Changes: When new companies move into spaces of previous businesses, all the signage needs to be changed out usually quickly and smoothly.
Levels of sign replacement:
1-FACE CHANGES: Depending on the condition and color of sign cabinets and structures, sometimes the only things needing replacement are the removable sign faces. Often, it’s a good idea to invest in re-designing or at least re-painting the cabinets and sign structures along with face changes to make the greatest impact. Professional sign companies will typically conduct a field survey to get the exact dimensions for new faces and measurements for any desired upgrades for the cabinets and pole covers. At the same time, they can check for any needed sign repair work such as lamps, ballasts, sockets, wiring, and light sensors. The average Richmond sign-service labor rates vary by company, level of equipment and workmen needed, but normally range from $100-220 an hour. Material and labor cost to make new sign faces depends on design level, size and height of sign, number of faces and type of face material. Updating cabinet or structure colors adds cost, and changing the design of the structure requires more investment. To get a feel of pure face-replacement cost, we recently replaced the faces for a Virginia retailer’s 2-sided average size pole-type electric sign with embossed polycarbonate graphics and pan-formed edges for $4,000 plus an extra $600 to straighten the existing poles and repair part of a concrete foundation damaged in a windstorm.
3-Complete Sign Removal and Replacement: We recently re-branded a former video store into a retail health clinic. We removed a fairly large pole sign, leaving the concrete footer below grade, for about $1,200, and then designed, fabricated and installed a comprehensive building-mounted sign package of channel letters and awnings, swapping out channel letters and recovering old awnings for an additional $23,000. Every building is different, and signage that fits one application won’t fit the next, so it’s hard to nail down an average range for such customized sign projects. Sign replacement projects range in the thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars in cost, depending on the scope of work. Contact a project manager for a more detailed quote to fit your exact application. (See Great Examples/Costs of Shopping Center Sign Upgrades and Replacements.)