Become a Sign Maker and Create Your Own Business

06/10/2018 18:00 | Start a business

sign maker franchises

If you've always wanted to manage your own business and have an interest in marketing and signage, the franchising sector is home to some appealing investment opportunities. Here, we examine what sign making involves, what direction the industry is heading, and which franchises are attractive prospects.

Sign maker jobs

Signs are one of the most important means of conveying brand identity, marketing a business, and raising awareness of the location of a companys premises. They constitute an integral part of the visual language of business and advertising and are an incredibly useful means of attracting new customers and reminding older clients of a business existence.

However, a poorly designed sign can do more harm than good. A sign that doesnt live up to expectations can give the wrong impression of a business, contradict branding used elsewhere, confuse customers, or put them off visiting the shop altogether. Consequently, it's vital that companies employ the services of a qualified, experienced, and well-respected sign maker.

Ultimately, a sign makers job is to design and produce high-quality signs that represent the business and its brand in as appropriate, attractive, and accurate a manner as possible. In some cases, the customer will already have the basic sign design ready, and all that will be required of the sign maker is to realise the customer's creation. In others, the customer will need help designing a sign and creating an identity. This means that the sign maker has to be both a creative and skilled worker.

Business sign maker

Though the world (particularly the business world) is becoming increasingly digital, brick and mortar businesses still require signs and advertising materials on an impressive scale. Walk down any street in the country, and it's guaranteed that almost all of the businesses there will display some kind of sign advertising their presence and identifying themselves.

Sign makers are responsible for creating these many different signs and ensuring that they meet the requirements of the customer. Whether it covers the entire faade of a building, is a small A-frame advertising board, or an elaborate neon scrawl, a sign has to communicate precisely what the client wants to express. This means working closely with customers to understand what it is they require of the sign.

The sign making industry

It is estimated that the printed signage industry is worth £500 million in the UK. Though it has long been suggested that increasing digitalisation will make life difficult for sign makers, in many regards it has had the opposite effect. Powerful digital software has made the creative process simpler while also reducing costs. Similarly, advanced printing technologies have ensured sign makers can turn many more materials into signs.

While there are approximately 4,000 companies that offer sign manufacturing services exclusively, this figure increases to 13,000 when you include those general printing businesses that also produce signs. The vast majority of these are small businesses, consisting of just a few workers. However, many large-scale sign makers command an impressive market share and incredible brand reach. Franchises have only recently made an impact on the industry, though their influence is growing rapidly.

What to look for in a sign making franchise

If you're considering investing in a sign making franchise, you'll need to know exactly what type of business you want to operate. Is your primary focus going to be sign manufacturing? Or will sign making constitute a single revenue stream in a much more expansive printing business?

When looking for a suitable franchisor, it's also a good idea to consider what kind of support and training you'll require and whether you want to take on a management role or a more hands-on position. Contact each of the franchises you're interested in and have a chat with the franchisor. You need to make sure that you feel comfortable with them and that you're both able to communicate openly and honestly.

A good sign franchise will also offer ongoing support and guidance to their franchisees. Though the initial training is incredibly important, theres no way that youll be able to learn all you need to in a 1-2 week induction programme. Instead, youll have to learn on the job and pick things up as you go along. For this reason, continued support is vital.

What do sign making franchises look for in franchisees?

Franchises look for very different types of franchisee. However, for the main part, it's essential to make a distinction between those franchises that expect their franchisees to take a hands-on, manufacturing role and those who will mostly perform managerial duties.

All franchisees need to be hardworking, dedicated, and driven, while those that take a hands-on role will need to be able to learn on the job and pick up new skills quickly. All franchisees will need to be willing to follow the franchisor's business plan to the letter.

Top three sign-making franchise opportunities

Below, we take a look at three of the most enticing franchise opportunities and explore what they have to offer.

1. FastSigns

FastSigns specialise in selling and producing signs, graphics, banners, and vehicle wraps for businesses and individuals around the country. With over 675 franchise units worldwide, they've got a tremendous amount of experience to draw upon and impart to new franchisees. The total investment required for a FastSigns franchise is around £120,000.

2. Signarama

Signarama advertises itself as the largest sign-making company in the UK. Having originated in the US, the global franchise network now consists of more than 900 outlets in over 65 countries. They are renowned for their excellent franchise package. A franchise unit will set you back approximately £85,000.

3. Minuteman Press

Minuteman Press is one of the US most respected printing franchises. Having developed their signage services alongside their traditional print products, franchisees benefit from diverse revenue streams and the ability to appeal to a wide range of customers. To become a franchisee, a total investment of just over £80,000 is required.

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