Article by Mark Hackley, Holiday Signs Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
How much does a digital sign cost? Dave Elmore, owner of Bookkeeping and Management Systems in Central Virginia, says he has over 300 business clients and not a single one has a line item for signage. Similarly most of our customers have foggy ideas about budgeting for electric signs, especially signs with high-tech electronic message centers, so we tend to put quotation marks around the word “budget” when approaching the subject.
To determine sign budgets, sign buyers need to answer: “What type of sign is needed to project our positive image and broadcast ongoing messages that people will see and read?” From this starting point, sign specifications are worked out and the word “budget” begins to lose its quotation marks advancing toward real numbers.
To get started in figuring out sign project cost, customers need help with answering five basic questions pertaining to designing signs with message centers:
1) What is your desired image?
2) Will you use images/graphics/or just text?
4) What size should it be, determined by viewing distance & sight lines?
5) What type of communication technology do you want?
These are the variables that drive price and, once determined, can get you close to what a new electronic sign should cost. Then you can budget for it, and if appropriate, let any groups or departments who have to help pay for it know how much and why.
The chart below shows the cost drivers that help begin to answer the question, “How much does a digital sign cost?” Just like features listed on the price tag of a new car, different bells and whistles of signs add cost. For example, a small simple pole sign with a direct-wired 20mm monochrome message center would be less expensive than a larger full color 12mm sign with an architecturally customized base and decorative top. As far as average cost, lower cost solutions generally fall in the $15,000-$25,000 range, while more customized signs can exceed $50,000. Others fall somewhere in between. Some of our clients purchase digital signs outright while others choose leasing as a way to finance them.
Message centers should be viewed as revenue generators versus just marketing expenses. Since most applications of digital signs produce revenue, one should consider the positive impact on operating budgets. Because it’s so effective, on-premise digital sign advertising may end up replacing, reducing, or avoiding other ad expenses altogether, perhaps even shrinking advertising budgets from where they were prior to sign installation.
We have seen some companies divide sign purchases across multiple budgets. One client splits the cost of a new digital message sign between its facilities and marketing budgets to make it work. Many retail customers who advertise across multiple media channels sometimes place digital sign purchases in their operating versus capital budgets, making purchases possible by reallocating funds from other lackluster advertising categories for better results. A good example: clients who have reallocated Yellow Pages and other non-productive advertising dollars into new digital signage for much greater ROI. (Compare the National Averages of Advertising Costs Here.)
If an actual budget number is known and discussed as a max spend early on, our project managers usually tailor the best solution based on someone’s budget restrictions, but that doesn’t always mean it’s the best solution for the site. Don’t just look at equipment cost alone when shopping for digital signs. It’s more about what type of equipment and supporting signage and structural design fit best, based on the above factors. Plus don’t forget to calculate the revenue stream resulting from the sign’s normal operations! We think the best approach to purchasing a sign is making a comprehensive assessment of all the factors, designing the signage based on that assessment, and coming up with price parameters to provide the best solution possible.
Want us to assess your site for digital signage? Contact us anytime.
Advantages of Electronic Message Signs:
- Part 1- They Connect With The Community
- Part 2- They Can Be Paid For By Your Vendors
- Part 3- They Grab Attention of the Masses
- Part 4- They Allow You to Own the Media Channel
- Part 5- They Have a Long Track Record of Getting Attention
- Part 6- Use Them for Promoting Loss Leaders
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