What minimum signs will make both YOUR City and its businesses
Signs Manufacturing™ sign company has been building
quality custom signs, shipping signs, installing signs, and
servicing signs world-wide since 1979.
Quoting U. S. Small Business Administration research, 89% of
companies that fail do so because of improper signs! Stated differently, good signs give a
company an almost 90% probability of success.
Is your City helping your local businesses, or unintentionally hurting their chances of survival?
company signs in front of your city's businesses are the least costly means of advertising available to a
company over time. It is the most targeted advertising a business can do according to the U. S. Small Business Administration (SBA), which also states that 85% of a business’ sales usually come from within a 5 mile radius. Local business!
Proper signs constantly advertise a business to a potential customer who frequents the area where the business is located. And with 18.6% of the entire US population moving each year, your city's business signs will be constantly seen by MANY new potential customers.
We are told by our suppliers that we are the largest custom sign company in the Metroplex. Because of this we talk to a lot of people who are contemplating forming new businesses. It is shocking the number of businesses that decide NOT to locate in a particular city when they hear about that city’s sign restrictions, especially the larger companies.
For instance, how important is a free-standing pylon sign to a business? McDonald's Restaurants says that simply changing a monument sign in front of one of their stores to a pylon sign increases their store's business by 15%. A Whataburger that was unhappy with their new store's volume removed their brand-new pylon sign and installed one 40% larger and taller. The store's volume increased 23% the day after installation, and sales have exceeded the previous month for more than 5 years now. Both the business and City revenues grow each year.
The SBA says that an LED Message Center increases store volume 15 - 150%.
Having the right signs helps a business survive by bringing higher sales volume.
Most businesses cannot survive with 15% less business.
The dual purposes of a good business sign ARE identification and communication.
City Signs Ordinances can doom a business, and stifle growth and revenue in a city.
"...See that Which-Wich business? He's going to be out of business in less than a year only because his sign is so small. Our City Sign Ordinance forced him to do this. But now because we don't want this shopping center to be a ghost town we're letting businesses put up pretty much whatever they need to stay in business regardless of what our Sign Ordinance says, if they know to ask the right people like you do. Unfortunately, our next mayor thinks that businesses do not need signs, so most new businesses that come here will also be doomed."
A City Sign Inspector who asked to remain anonymous, but one who cares
Sign Design Safety
According to Larsen Transportation Institute at Penn State University studies, signs that are too small to be read easily under existing driving conditions cause traffic congestion and accidents, in addition to not helping a business become successful. (Some cities have MINIMUM letter-size restrictions.)
Also, monument signs can potentially block traffic visibility and cause accidents at driveways and intersections. Moving them away from the street makes them more dangerous and less effective unless they are significantly larger so the lettering can be larger.
Externally lighted signs (ie: floodlights) cause traffic congestion and accidents on dark or rainy days, and at night.
Monument signs, because of their smaller lettering when compared to pole signs and pylon signs, cause traffic congestion and accidents, as verified by a different Penn State study. They are more distracting and less effective than pylon signs.
Electronic Message Centers do not cause traffic accidents or congestion according to two studies by Tantala Associates, a consulting-engineering firm. For a copy of the study email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Walgreen's Drug Stores changed all the changeable-copy signs they were allowed (they have one in front of every store) to electronic message centers because of the rash of injuries their employees suffered changing the plastic-letter copy with a 16' long pole every day.
An excellent place to learn about the critical, mechanical, aspects of sign design necessary for a safe and successful sign is at www.usscfoundation.org/USSCGuidelineStandards.pdf. You should read this before creating sign ordinances; there will be less congestion and fewer accidents in business districts.
Businesses in your City will be more successful, also!
The US Supreme Court has consistently upheld that:
Sign Ordinances cannot restrict a businesses constitutional guarantee of unfettered free-speech without narrowly-defined reasoning. Even the colors of a sign, in the case of a registered trademark, have been protected by the Court as free-speech in several cases.
Different aesthetic and/or safety standards cannot be applied to different classes of sign users. For example, a 50 square foot lighted pylon sign 10 feet tall cannot be allowed for a school sign, but disallowed for a church sign without exceptional overriding circumstances. Houston's total sign ordinance was voided by the Court because it differentiated between governmental and business signs. Houston businesses were then allowed by the Court to erect ANY sign without City restrictions.
Detached signs (i.e. pole signs, pylon signs, monument signs) are Real Property. The use of an existing sign cannot be denied by governmental authority without just compensation.
Your Vision of the Future
Many cities in this area seem intent on eliminating future pole or pylon signs in business districts, in favor of monument signs, despite studies that show that this reduces a business’ sales by over 15%, particularly if older competitors still have the more visible signs, and increases accident rates. To eliminate all of the old signs, to level the playing field for businesses the city must buy them from businesses at fair-market-value.
A lighted monument sign encased in brick cost a business twice as much as a pole sign 50% larger.
Unless a city is also eliminating telephone poles, power poles, parking lot lights, street signs and street lights eliminating tall signs does little to “reduce downtown clutter.” It does, however, force businesses to build closer to the street, and severely trim trees and shrubbery, so that their stores are more visible with the loss of the taller signs.
Changing the size of allowed signs, or height restrictions, or set-backs from public property does nothing to “reduce downtown clutter” but does penalize the competitiveness of all new businesses. To require all old signs to conform the city must buy them from businesses at fair-market-value.
LED lighting is the future, because of energy-efficiency, yet many cities are trying to restrict it. Somehow they feel that a sign that automatically changes its message is a safety hazard, even in the face of studies that this is not true.
The Highway Department uses them to safely communicate with drivers.
Even if a sign were to change its message as often as every 8 seconds the only people on a business street who will view two changes are stopped for a traffic light. This does not create an aesthetic problem, other than these new signs being more visible than old-style signs.
It can even be argued that a full-color LED display is much prettier than a sign with changeable plastic letters!
Give businesses a break!
To read what USA TODAY Newspaper says about the cost of signs "click" on their logo to the left.
A good video on the importance of signs is available at http://youtu.be/KtyBFzGry7I.
Environmental "Lighting Zones" are being discussed more and more in some circles.
If your city decides to consider the issue, remember that lighted signs are NOT lighting fixtures. They are not designed to illuminate the areas around them.
Business signs must obviously be lighted, or they are not visible at night. But a sign that creates "Glare" would be useless because it could not be read. That is why signs that use visible light in their displays during the day (LED Message Centers as an example) automatically dim at night.
Signs were studied by The Pennsylvania Transportation Institute, Pennsylvania State University and they determined through actual testing that signs do not contribute to "Sky Glow."
During a "brownout" power shortage in the State of Oregon, the State ordered that all electrical signs be extinguished. For the period of time that this advertising blackout existed, business losses were staggering. Many businesses reported as much as a 50% loss in revenue.
A good reference on billboard lighting is "Digital Billboard Recommendations and Comparisons to Conventional Billboards" by Ian Lewin, Ph.D., FIES, L.C. (www.lightingsciences.com)
Your City's Businesses Dilemma
Advertising is tough for local businesses. Look at their costs, below.
The “Average” Cost of Advertising
Cost Per 1000 Exposures
Mailer (in Envelope)
Mailer (Post Card)
Average Channel Letter
Average Free-Standing Sign*
Average Free-Standing Sign w/
Electronic Message Center*
* US Small Business
Administration figures. Assumes 10,000 cars per day
– a very conservative figure for ANY business street, only
1 person in each car, and only a 10 year useful life for
the sign. ALL very conservative!
Most of the Newspaper, Television and Radio consumers reached are not in most businesses marketing area, a 5 mile radius of their store according to the US Small Business Administration. The actual cost of reaching a POTENTIAL consumer by these means is unknown, but much higher.
Mailing list costs are not included.
A Proactive Solution
What about Message Centers leading into your business district that your local businesses can advertise on?
Contact us, we will probably furnish them for FREE.
Signs Help Your City's Income
All detached signs, signs not attached to a building, also help the City by creating substantial income for the City.
To deny businesses, churches, and schools to benefit from use of these signs hurts the City's income.
Of course all signs are taxed for sales/use tax when they are installed.
But because detached signs are "real property" they are also levied property taxes.
In the case of electronic message centers, denying their use will potentially deprive the city of many thousands of dollars in income per year simply because the signs are quite expensive.
It is not uncommon for the combined property taxes on a single electronic message center to exceed $3,000 per year.
State Licensed Sign Installation and Service
Electrical sign companies operating in Texas must be State licensed. A
few localities have local licenses good only in their city, though.
a Texas recognized Master Sign Electrician, Master Electrician, or a design
professional approved by Texas statute must design ALL electrical sign and
installed in Texas. These are Texas consumer protection laws.
rule and regulation details contact Mr. Jerry Daniels at the Texas
Department of Licensing and Regulation (512-799-1489 cell.) (or
If you wonder if a "sign company" can legally install and
service electrical signs through-out Texas go to
enter "Electricians" in the "Inquire by License Type" box and the name of the
sign business or person in the "Inquire by Name" box. If they
are not licensed they can not.
The Value of “Listed" Signs
Virtually ALL cities, as well as the State of Texas, adopt the National Electric Code as law.
The National Electric Code (NEC) requires that for electrical, structural, and installation safety all electrical signs be "Listed" (tested and labelled with an appropriate Listing Mark.)
Certification (testing and labelling) organizations acceptable in the USA to test to the multitude of Standards signs are required to meet are determined by OSHA.
For you the Listing Mark is insurance. It means that the sign has been tested to insure that it is structurally and electrically safe, and will be installed properly. You benefit from the knowledge that it is not solely us telling you that our signs are safe, this is what the testing laboratories and the US Government says also.
Has the sign been tested and approved for use in Wet (Outdoor) locations? Not if it is not Listed!
Underwriters Laboratories (“UL” Listing Mark) and Intertek (“ETL” Listing Mark – originally Edison Testing Laboratory founded by Thomas Edison) are the premier certification organizations and 80% of all things electrical are tested by them.
If the sign you are purchasing does not have a ETL or UL Listing Mark label the sign is probably not legal to install, anywhere in Texas. There are a few local city ordinance exceptions.
Intertek is over twice the size of UL, and has a greater global presence. UL is the largest in the USA. We have both companies test and apply Listing Marks to various signs.
Whether it's channel letters, a wall cabinet sign, a monument sign, pole or pylon signs, electronic message centers, video displays, neon or other electric signs Intertek and Underwriter’s Laboratory pose the toughest design, structural, electrical, and installation standards on the products they approve.
We are the 9th oldest UL Listed Manufacturer in North Texas. (File #UXYT.E149959)
To see if a manufacturer is a UL Listed sign manufacturer go to http://database.ul.com/cgi-bin/XYV/template/LISEXT/1FRAME/ccnsrch.html and enter "UXYT" in the "UL Category Code" box, replacing "%ccn%".
To see if a manufacturer is an ETL Listed sign manufacturer go to http://etlwhidirectory.etlsemko.com/WebClients/ITS/DLP/products.nsf/$$Search?OpenForm and enter "UL-48" in the search box.
We are the third oldest ETL Listed sign company in Texas. (One of the two older companies makes lighted scoreboards, the other makes lighted office door signs.)
There are many sign companies that pretend to be Listed, but are not!
Incidentally, ISO (International Organization of Standardization) Standards, such as ISO 2001, are NOT electrical Listings (similar to a UL or ETL Listing) that allow a sign to be installed in Texas. That said, components in our electronic signs also meet ISO 2001 standards.
Underwriter’s Laboratory and Intertek do NOT judge the appearance, appeal, or the longevity of a product. This is why our many years of experience serving international, national, regional and local customers, and our investment so that we can apply the knowledge we’ve gained, will give you a superior product which will impress your customers for years to come.
"Listed" Sign Information
In the spring of 2013 we sent a letter to the cities in the Metroplex providing information about needs and concerns regarding electrical signage.
The letter was well received, in fact we are aware that quite a few cities provide a copy of this letter with their electrical sign permits.
If you would like to download a copy of this letter, unprotected, so that you can modify it to meet your specific needs, click "HERE."
We are Willing to
If you consider this information helpful, we will provide you with any support we can.
We will even attend your City planning meetings.
We "...don't have a dog in the hunt." No matter what your cities sign restrictions are, we will still make your signs. But we do want our signs to help our customers become successful.
Credentials of Bill Watson:
Formed 5 successful retail corporations (I understand what
signs you need to enable you to be successful)
30 years in the sign industry (I am knowledgeable of sign ordinances through-out the US) Semi-retired.
Versed in the legality of sign laws (Commercial freedom-of-speech)
Versed in sign-safety issues.
Texas licensed Master Electrician and Texas licensed Master Sign Electrician.
Texas licensed Electrical Contractor and Texas licensed Sign Contractor.
Electronic Message Center knowledgeable.
University Graduate (BBA)
Credentials of Signs Manufacturing™:
Established 1979. Signs Manufacturing™ makes more than lighted and unlighted business signs. We manufacture, install and service church signs, school signs, apartment signs, park signs, governmental signs, architectural signs, etc. Interior signs as well as exterior signs.
We manufacture road signs and building signs including channel letter signs (lighted with neon or LED), neon signs, wall sign cabinets, pole signs,
pylon signs, monument signs, message centers, plastic and metal lettering, plaques and more.
We perform metal, plastic, brick and masonry construction.
serve and have installed signs in the Texas cities of
Athens, Aubrey, Avalon,
Blue Mound, Bonham,
Burleson, Caddo Mills, Canton,
Cedar Hill, Celina,
Cleburne, Cockrell Hill,
The Colony, Combine,
Desoto, D/FW Airport, Dido,
Duncanville, Eagle Mountain Lake,
Farmers Branch, Farmersville,
Flower Mound, Forest Hill,
Greenville, Gun Barrel
Hillsboro, Hudson Oaks,
Irving, Italy, Itasca,
Kennedale, Kleberg, Krum,
Las Colinas, Lawson,
Little Elm, Longview,
Mineral Wells, Mount
Pleasant, Mount Vernon,
North Richland Hills,
Parker County, Pelican
Plano, Ponder, Princeton,
Red Oak, Rendon,
Richland Hills, Rice,
Sansom Park, Sanger,
Sherman, Silver Creek,
Stephenville, Sulphur Springs,
Trophy Club, Tyler,
University Park, Van
Alstyne, Valley View,
Westover Hills, Wheatland,
White Settlement, Whitney, Wichita Falls,
Please use and enjoy this 400+ (always growing) page website with over 2000 images, the largest information resource about signs on the internet, created in part so you can learn about all types of signs and how you can control their affect on your
image in your community.
If you click this "LITERATURE
DOWNLOADS" tab you can download "Sign
Buyer's Guide" ".pdf" files for your
records and/or to give to your fellow planners. They
contain all the specific design, manufacturing, and
installation information for each type of signs.
We champion energy-saving signs
solutions that save our customers money while
protecting our environment. No matter
what type of signs your City is considering, please explore our "Lighting
Choices" tab for that product, with its own "Energy Savings" tab to learn
about electrical efficiencies and related costs and savings.
We are the "greenest" sign company in
Texas. Click the "Our
Environment" tab on our "About Us" page to learn about our environmental
Visit Our Unique Sign Lighting Laboratory and Demonstration Showroom
with LED Video Displays
Unique in the entire sign industry, Signs Manufacturing™ built an 85’ by 50’ (over 4,000 sq ft) indoor sign lighting laboratory for testing the longevity, visibility, and effectiveness of all the lighted signs we manufacture.
We have opened our laboratory to the public, for FREE, adding a Sign Showroom that includes LED Video Displays because we realized how important one would be to consumers.
If you are considering purchasing an LED Video Display or Digital LED Message Center sign this exclusive opportunity will be particularly important. You must determine which LED spacing is best, so that your sign will be successful, considering how you will use it. Therefore, 6 mm, 8 mm, and 10 mm 481-trillion-color LED Video Display signs are always available for you to compare to monochrome or 4-thousand-shade display signs.
invite you to observe all types of signage, viewing them up close as well as from a distance, under varying light conditions (and stay out of the weather while doing so!)
In addition to digital signage we also display channel letter signs, both neon and LED lighted. Reverse channel letter signs. Cabinet signs, fluorescent, HID, or LED lighted. Neon and LED building accent lighting. Pinlights™ signs. Letterlites™ signs. Pole, pylon and monument signs. Color-changing signs. Signs with wall-wash lighting. Routed sign faces. Digitally printed and cut vinyl decorated sign faces. Push-thru lettering. And more.
Will your Sodium Vapor or Metal Halide parking lot lights affect the colors of your sign at night? How visible will your pylon sign’s border neon be during the day? Should you consider PinLights™, LetterLites™, SpectraLites™, or Trembler™ signs? Brighter Signs™ neon or Solarbrite™ LED lighting for channel letter signs? Fluorescent or HID lighting for your monument sign? Do Daylight or Cool White fluorescents make your sign’s colors look best? What are the differences between a flex-faced, a Lexan, and an acrylic-faced sign cabinet?
How will shadows affect my sign's readability during the day? Should the wall behind my sign be light or dark colored? Would a different type of sign look better on my brick wall? Should I consider a routed sign face with push-through letters?
No one else, can offer you this unique opportunity. Be sure to take advantage. Your
city will be better because you do.