Our Blog: A Sign of the Times

7 Factors That Affect the Cost of School Signs

When school board members and administrators start to look for school signs, one of their first questions is how much do school signs cost. Ultimately, the cost depends on the type of sign and features selected. Here's a look at the factors that affect the cost of school signs.

1. Type of Sign

The type of sign you select directly impacts its price. LED signs are more costly than other types of signs, but in exchange for their higher price tags, they offer a lot of great features. If you're on a budget, less expensive options include changeable letter signs and light box signs. Monument signs also tend to be cheaper, but if you integrate an LED display into your monument sign, that drives up the price.

2. Changeable Elements

Do you want a static sign with your school name and mascot? Then you can probably save money with a light box sign. If you want to change messages and are okay doing it manually, a changeable letter sign may be ideal. But, if you want the ability to pop up a variety of messages and graphics and rotate between different messages, then you need an LED sign.

3. Size

As a general rule of thumb, when you're comparing signs in the small category, larger signs are more expensive. For instance, a large light box sign is usually more expensive than a small light box sign, and a large LED sign is more expensive than a small LED sign. But this rule doesn't necessarily hold true when you compare different types of signs. To explain, a small LED sign loaded with great features may be more expensive than a large light box sign.

When trying to decide what size you want, think about the distance from which you want the sign to be seen. Keep in mind that, on average, a four-inch letter can be seen from 100 feet away, but it can only be read easily from about 30 or 40 feet away. Think about the types of messages you want to be displayed on your sign, estimate how large they need to be, and then choose your sign size based on those elements.

If the sign is going next to a road, you also need to think about the speed of passing vehicles and how long you want drivers and passengers to be able to see your sign. For instance, if the speed limit is 45 mph and you want people to see the message on the sign for five seconds, it needs to be visible from 42 feet away; for readability at this distance, your letters should be at least four inches tall. In contrast, if you only want people to see the message for three seconds, three-inch letters usually work.

4. Type of LED Sign

Within the LED sign category, there are a few different options:

  • Integrated LED signs feature an LED display that is integrated in to the same cabinet with a sign identifying your school.
  • Independent LED signs are standalone LED displays, but you can add an additional identification cabinet alongside the LED portion.
  • Monument LED signs refer to independent LED signs encased in a traditional monument-style stand.

These types of LED signs all have different price tags. Generally, an independent LED sign with a separate identification cabinet costs more, but that can vary based on the size of the sign and the features that are integrated.

5. Features on LED Signs

The features on your LED sign also affect its cost. However, if quality is important to you, you don't necessarily want to skimp on features. Here are some of the essential features you may need:

  • Commercial-Grade Display - These screens are far more durable than the consumer-grade screens you have on LED TVs in your home, and they help your sign stand the test of time.
  • Vandalism-Proof Cabinets - When vandals can't resist your sign, vandalism-proof coatings, cabinets, and materials keep harm at bay.
  • Media Player - To control your LED sign, it needs to connect to a laptop or some other type of media player. Ideally, you want a sign that can handle multiple inputs including video cameras and DVD players that you can switch between quickly and easily.
  • Easy-to-Use Software - Quality LED school signs come with easy-to-use software such as SignCommand that contains a built-in library of eye-catching media, lets you upload video clips and animations, offers special effects between messages, rotates messages on a set schedule as directed, allows you to schedule messages in advance, and hosts multiple users.
  • Cloud-Based Software - Ideally, the software should be available in the cloud. Then, you can update the messages from anywhere you have an internet connection, and you can also get real-time monitoring and reassurance that your sign is up and running.
  • Multi-Screen Support - When you have a video wall or a large LED sign, you need to be able to showcase multi-screen layouts and video-in-video displays.
  • Speaker Inputs - With indoor LED signs, you should look for speaker ports so that you can connect the sign to your speaker.
  • Scoreboard Software - If you plan to use your sign as an electronic scoreboard, you need software with tools that facilitate score and timekeeping for basketball, volleyball, football, and other sports.
  • Helpful Accessories for Sports - With LED scoreboards, accessories such as shot clocks, match times, and control consoles may add to the price of your sign, but they also improve its functions.

6. Costs Associated with Ownership

While looking at signs, also keep in mind how much you may spend while owning the sign. To keep costs down, you should work with a company that doesn't require you to sign any service contracts or maintenance fees. Additionally, look at the warranty that comes with the sign. Ideally, you want a lifetime warranty on the structure and the face of the sign. That way, if anything happens to those elements, you don't have to worry about replacing them out of pocket. A five-year warranty on the LED display is also ideal.

Finally, you need to consider the cost of running the sign. For visibility, you need a sign that has bright LED lighting that can be seen even in times of high sunlight, but to save on energy costs, you need to ensure that the display is both UL listed and UL energy verified. The LED school signs from Stewart Signs meet all these essentials to ensure your ownership costs are as low as possible. If you don't want to pay for any electricity for the sign, a changeable letter sign may be the right option for your budget.

7. Customizations

School signs are highly customizable, and the options you select can also drive up the price of the sign. If you have art ready to go for the sign, that can keep costs low. In contrast, working with an in-house artist to customize your artwork adds to the price, but it also enhances the beauty and professionalism of your sign.

At Stewart Signs, we focus on providing our clients with the highest quality signs, and our LED school signs offer great features and software integrations. To learn more or to get a quote on your dream sign, contact us today.

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