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FROM OUR FINDINGS, the state of the sign industry remains strong. Sales and profits — last year’s actuals and this year’s expected — continue positive trends. Responses further suggest that equipment investment, up a bit this year compared to last, may dip back down slightly. Last but not least, recruiting and retaining staff poses not only the top perceived threat to the sign industry, but also expresses a feeling shared by an increasing number of sign professionals.

40. For 2023, in what range was your company’s average net profit as a percentage of sales?

41. For 2024, in what range do you expect your company’s average net profit to be?

Under 5%
4%
5% to 10%
14%
10%+ to 20%
34%
20%+ to 30%
32%
30%+ to 40%
10%
More than 40%
6%

SCRAPING BY. While only 1 in 25 of responding shops expects a 2024 average net profit under 5%, most of them reported net profits under 5% for 2023 as well, with the others at 5% to 10%.

42. In 2023, what range represents your company’s investment in equipment?

FIVE-FIGURE GAINS. Those spending a combined nothing to $10K were down 31% in 2023 vs. 2022 — meaning they spent more. Meanwhile, the same portion invested $100K-plus last year compared to two years ago.

44. In 2024, what range represents your company’s expected investment in equipment?

$0 — Expect to spend nothing
13%
$1 to $10,000
24%
$10,000+ to $20,000
15%
$20,000+ to $50,000
21%
$50,000+ to $100,000
16%
More than $100,000
11%

EQUIPPED. More plan to spend a bit less this year than last, with those expecting to invest more than $100K dropping 56% versus 2023’s planned spend.

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45. At present, which of the following do you think is the greatest threat to the sign industry?

Increasing number of other sign companies (market saturation)
5%
Increasing competition from other sign companies on pricing
21%
Increasing competition from non-sign companies
14%
Recruiting and retaining staff
42%
Not diversifying or keeping up with changing demands
8%
Other (regulations, rising costs, all of the above)
10%

ALARM BELLS. We’ve been following ‘recruiting and retaining staff’ and how it’s growing as a concern every year: 19% in 2020, 34% in 2022 to 38% in 2023, and now 42% in 2024.

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