Most large, established businesses have signs showing the city who they are. You’d think that installing signs would be easy, as a result, but that’s unfortunately not the case. The truth is that installing signs can be an odyssey of paperwork to file and unexpected costs. The following are three things you should expect to deal with if you’re setting a sign up for your business.

First is design. Designing signs isn’t as simple as graphic design. Unlike a website banner, you can’t just send your logo off and have it integrated into the whole scheme. Designing a sign requires working with different materials, making it an entirely different process from start to finish. It’s not crippling to anyone’s creativity, but it can be a challenge you’ll need to pay to overcome.

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Next up is permitting. Nearly every municipal district in the country has different laws about setting up additions to buildings. Signs qualify as something that falls within the notice of the city, with rules about how signs can and can’t work, what should be left of them if they’re taken down, and so on. The permitting process can be byzantine depending on where you live. You’ll want to look into what it takes to get a sign up before you try to make a move on actually getting it done. Too many projects have run face-first into difficult requirements and been driven into excessive expenses and eventual cancellation because requirements weren’t adhered to early on.

Finally, watch out for hitches in the installation process. Some groups go out of their way to make installation easy. Others unfortunately assume you’ll have that under control. Know what you’re looking at for installation requirements before you pay for anything. Look for a full-service company if possible that will simplify the whole process for you.

Signage is a necessity for any real world business that’s going to go the whole nine yards. Despite how commonplace signage is, it isn’t always simple. Keep these three things in mind before you jump off the deep end into the world of signage, and always go for an understanding group that’s willing to help you with your project. Don’t get bogged down in the minutiae and possible problems. Complicated or not, signage will remain very possible if you do your homework beforehand.