Behind every business, marketing strategy and business plan is a sign maker. While one of the less well-documented sectors, the sign making industry can be a very profitable industry to work in. If you’ve been thinking about becoming a sign maker, here’s everything you need to know.
The signage industry has been undergoing some exciting transformations in recent years. Whereas the digitalisation of many businesses was once feared to be the end of this sector, in reality, the opposite has happened.
With many businesses turning towards social media, being able to stand out has never been more important. This means that when a business is marketing itself, it needs to have appealing signs and logos that are all easily marketable. For the right franchisee, this can be a very profitable sector indeed.
What does a sign maker do?
Sign makers need to be creative and ambitious people as they’ll often be working with big clients to put together the pieces of a brand’s identity. As a sign maker, you’ll be creating logos and signs that represent all parts of a business. Each client you work with will have different requirements and ideas and in turn will each need tailored solutions.
You might be working on producing a logo to be used online, or you may need to design a business graphic to be painted at a business’ headquarters. Every day will be different and for the right franchisee, this can be a very exciting role.
More often than not, you will need to be doing the following:
- Meeting clients: Either in-person or virtually, you will need to be meeting your clients to find out their requirements and briefs.
- Organising equipment: As you’ll need a range of different software programmes and real-life equipment, you will need to have an organised set of equipment.
- Designing logos and graphics: Imagery is a key part of signs, so you’ll need the capabilities and machines to handle this.
- Attending and chairing meetings: Depending on the scale and size of your business, you may need a larger or smaller amount of staff. You will need to coordinate with your team to ensure the business is running smoothly.
How to run a sign making franchise
1. Decide what kind of franchisee you want to be
There are many different sign making franchises and they will each have their own ways of operating, specialisms, and working patterns. This means that you will need to decide what role you want to play as a franchisee and which franchise is the best fit for this.
You may want to be a more hands-on franchisee, playing an active role in the creation of signs and logos, or a less hands-on franchisee whose primary responsibilities are customer-facing and administrative.
Many franchises will operate in their own ways and, depending on what you want your responsibilities to be, you may be a better fit for some rather than others.
2. Consider the financing side of your business
Another point to consider is whether you will be able to finance the costs of running certain franchises. As a whole, franchising is a cost-effective way of running a business, with the average cost of setting up a franchise coming to £42,000 [British Franchise Association].
Signage franchises usually have fewer start-up costs than this average, making it an affordable option if you’re operating to a slightly smaller budget. It’s also the case that many high street banks are willing to lend up to 70% of start-up costs, so even if you can’t initially afford the costs of starting your franchise, there are options available.
3. Develop your skillset
Sign makers work flexibly. You could find yourself working on a logo for a local company one day and working for a big company the next. For that reason, you’ll need to make sure that you have a wide range of skills, but also a wide range of interests that will allow you to work flexibly across a number of sectors.
For this reason, you should ask yourself whether you have the following skills:
Your business will be varied and diverse, so you may find yourself needing more of some skills than others, but they will all come in useful throughout your franchising journey.
4. Get qualified
You won’t need any specific qualifications to get set up as a franchise and most franchises won’t need you to have previous sales experience to open your business. But, if you want to gain some qualifications to improve your mastery of designing, there are a number of qualifications you could look at.
There are courses from GCSE to Masters level that will help you develop your designing and creative skills. You could consider courses such as:
- Digital design
- Digital graphic design
- Digital production
- Graphic design
- Interactive media
As mentioned above, you won’t necessarily need any of these qualifications. There are many independent and freelance designers who don’t have these kinds of qualifications, for instance. However having some of these qualifications may help you stand out.
5. Put together a portfolio of work
Any designer will look to put together a portfolio of their best work, whether personally or as part of a business. When you’re in the early stages of producing a business plan or pitching your idea, having a portfolio may be a good way to help your idea stand out. This won’t necessarily make or break your business idea, but it can be the kind of detail some franchisors like.
Even once you’ve opened your doors, ensure you have a good portfolio of your franchises’ best work. This will help you gain new clients and will show the quality of your signage business.
Become a sign maker today
Becoming a franchisee with a sign making franchise could be the perfect way for you to start a profitable and creative business. You’ll have the freedom to be your own boss, have all the support of a big franchise, and be in a perfect position to capitalise on this rebounding industry. So, if that all sounds good to you, you could be the perfect sign making franchisee.
If franchising sounds like the right opportunity for you, but the signage industry isn’t quite right, you can see a full list of opportunities on the UK franchise directory.
Becky Martin, Point Franchise ©