As sign manufacturers or dealers, we all encounter LED sign permitting issues on a daily basis. This process can be very challenging, especially if you are not aware of what you are getting into. It's easy to lose sight of the fact that we are all in it together. Municipal officials, customers, sign companies, etc. are all fighting for a common cause: ensuring any signage incorporated into a town's landscape enhances the community and does not pose a safety risk. At the same time, however, we must all remember that our main goal is to support local business and help the end user increase their profits.

Here are a few tips to help get you through the sign permitting process:

Do Your Homework!

It's not just a phrase your mother used when she wanted you out of her hair after school, its the reality of doing the job right for your customer every time. Understanding the sign permitting process and zoning regulations in your area is necessary to providing your customer with the service they deserve and the product they need. Look at the sign code. Look at the regulations for using the LED display. Talk to other business owners who have already been through the process. Look at the paperwork you will need to file with the city or county and prepare in advance. Don't think you will be able to walk in and leave with a permit. The process can take weeks, even months.

Choose a Good Sign Dealer

A good sign dealer will help you through the permitting process for your customer. Make sure the proposals you receive are representing a sign that is allowed in your customer's community. If they seem more interested in a quick sale, they are not the right company for you or your customer.

Choose the Right LED Manufacturer

A quality sign manufacturer and dealer has one goal in mind: making sure the sign is the right one for you and your customer and ensuring that it works properly. They also have a good deal of experience dealing with the sign permitting process and may be able to provide the necessary documentation to show how the sign meets (or can be modified to meet) the municipality's requirements.

Take Advantage of the Experts

Organizations like ISA have developed many great resources that you can use as well as pass along to your customer. If you are working in a community that limits signs to only alphanumeric characters, the American Planning Associations “Street Graphics and the Law” is a good resource that favors images over text on signs because they are easier for passing motorists to comprehend.

At the end of the day, working with the right partners and doing your own research will make a significant difference during the permitting process. Work with your local community to find common ground and ensure your sign enhances not only your business, but the community as well.

American Planning Association's Street Graphics and the Law:
International Sign Association's brightness recommendations:

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