A Deep Dive into the Factors Affecting the Cost of Business Signage

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How much does the average outdoor business sign cost? A standard illuminated storefont sign can cost anywhere between $3,000-$5,000.

At first glance, the cost of a new sign can look extravagant. Why does a business sign cost so much? However, when you consider the work that goes into producing a sign which will last for years, and factor in the profit gained by drawing in new customers and displaying your signature branding, you’ll realize signs are worth far more than you’d first think.

To better understand where your money goes, we’ve put together an explanation of the costs that are factored into quoting a sign project.

This article will cover direct costs, overhead costs, and - we won’t shy away from it - profits, so you’ll know exactly what you’re paying for.

Direct costs: $1,350-$2,300

Usually when a customer considers business sign prices, direct costs are the first and only aspect to enter a customer's mind. Although there’s a lot more to producing a sign than this, direct costs are those that specifically relate to your project.

You may not need all of these services, so you should only count those costs which apply to your specific situation.

Project management

The project manager ties the design, manufacture, and installation workforces together, determines what production methods and materials will be required, and ensures that the production of your sign goes smoothly. Your project manager will work with you to keep you up to date on what’s happening and advise you of any potential issues.

Smaller projects are relatively inexpensive, while larger projects generally cost more. This is because coordinating design teams, legal teams, material sourcing, and manufacturing processes for a large project is more difficult and requires significant experience across multiple disciplines.

For smaller projects, project management costs could range between $250-$1000, while larger projects can cost up to $5000.

Permit management

At Sign Spot we’re familiar with the required permits and regulations required to install signage, which can vary from state to state and even county to county. When a permit from your local county or city is required, Sign Spot can do the research, fill in the paperwork, and arrange the payment of any permit fees.

Permit procurement costs could be between $600-$1200, and permitting fees are between $300-$950.

Design and engineering services

Our design and engineering services combine the artistic and mechanical properties of the sign. Our design team works with your brand to create eye-catching designs, while our engineering services ensure that your sign can resist any environmental stresses.

Design and engineering costs usually range anywhere from $1000-$2000.


The cost of manufacture covers the materials, machines, and labor required to create your signage. Many of the machines essential to the manufacturing process are costly to buy or hire and require ongoing maintenance by professionals. Our technicians also need to be trained in the operation and safety requirements of each piece of machinery.

To manufacture, materials range between $900-$3000, and equipment costs are between $500-$1000.


Installation services include all aspects of sign installation, including any required street closures, cranes, bucket trucks or scissor lifts. This can become quite complicated and often confusing for those with no experience, but at Sign Spot we know the process like the back of our hand.

The cost of installation can vary significantly depending on the complexity of the installation, how many signs are being installed, and the location.

Installation costs vary between $1000-$3000 depending on size of the project.


This covers the manpower required to create signage, such as machine operation, sign assembly, and other tasks which require human supervision or participation. The cost is calculated by the number of employees required per hour to complete the project, so again, the cost can vary significantly depending on the scale of work to be done.

The labor involved for each project ranges between $1000-$5000.

Overhead: $900-$1,500

If you’re a business owner, you’ll understand that there’s much more to costs than just the product. Overhead costs are necessary in order to maintain the machinery, location, and workforce required for sign manufacture, as well as pay taxes, arrange advertising, and other ongoing expenses. The cost of monthly overhead is usually divided between all projects that are being completed that month.

Some estimated yearly costs for a business of our size include our lease, insurance, utilities, operating softwares, and advertising.


Typically, the lease of a warehouse, depending on the location and size of the building, often falls between $5000 and $25,000.


Depending on the types of insurance necessary for the area and job types, costs are often in the region of $500-$2000.


The utilities cost depends on electricity, water, gas, and similar costs, usually about $500-2000.

Operating Software

Our operating software is the program(s) necessary for design, manufacture, and smooth operation for the company as a whole, which costs around $1000-$2000.


It's important to get your brand name out there. Promotional materials and market research costs approximately $1500-$5000 a year.

Profit: $750-$1,200

Every company needs to profit from their goods or services. Around 25-30% of the project is set aside for profit, business expansion, savings, and other necessary financial costs. This is a modest “mark-up” compared to many retail products, which can commonly have over 100% added to the price for profit.

The Lowdown

As you can see, many of the costs can vary significantly depending on a number of factors, so it’s hard to give a precise estimate on a business sign's price without knowing more about the sign itself. As a very rough guide, a first-time business can expect to pay around $3000-$5000 for standard illuminated storefront signage.

When it comes to larger projects, either with larger signs or more of them, the price can vary even more. Large scale projects often require significantly more planning, paperwork, and workforce organization. That makes it even harder to give an accurate estimate without specifying a particular project.

However, if we have to put a number on it, we’d estimate that larger projects can cost between $20,000 and $50,000. Remember that this can include services such as site surveys, design, permits, and installation, some of which you may be able to perform yourself or have previously organized.

No matter the size of your project, it’s important to note that the cost can change depending on many of the factors previously mentioned, such as size, location, and materials. That’s why it’s best to request a quote, so we can give you an accurate estimation of what your project will cost.

Contact Sign Spot for a quote today to find out more about how we can provide you with comprehensive, customized signs to boost your business, and bring your brand presence to life!