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The Big Survey: The Basics

To start, let’s find out where our respondents come from, their shop sizes and settings, sign types and industries served, their 2022 sales and more.

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1. In what state/province is your company (or headquarters) located?

87%
Portion of sign companies that sell window graphics, the most popular-selling item among our respondents. Banners came in second at 85%.


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2. Where is your company located by region?

3. Where is your company located by setting?

71%
Percentage of sign companies without their own working websites that have four or fewer employees.
53%
Portion of sign companies whose three-year trend with subcontracting is either increasing or greatly increasing, yet classify themselves as full-service.

4. What is the total square footage of your office and shop combined?

Less than 1,000 sq. ft.
8%
1,000-1,999 sq. ft.
13%
2,000-2,999 sq. ft.
10%
4,000-4,999 sq. ft.
9%
5,000-7,499 sq. ft.
13%
7,500-9,999 sq. ft.
8%
10,000-20,000 sq. ft.
16%
More than 20,000 sq. ft.
12%
N/A
1%

SPACE ODYSSEY. 5,000 sq. ft. divides our respondents roughly in half: 50% have less space, 49% have more. Is that remaining 1% mindspace?

5. How would you describe the market where your company is located?

Big urban market
20%
Suburban outskirts of a big urban market
21%
Medium-sized city (250,000-1 million people)
21%
Small city (25,000 to 250,000)
25%
Country town (up to 25,000)
7%
Resort area
3%
Other (rural, national)
3%

FULL HOUSE. Essentially as many full-service sign company respondents are located in big urban markets (28) as in medium-sized cities (27) and small cities (29).

6. Which description of your business do you most closely identify with?

Full-service sign company (including electric and installation)
53%
Specialized sign company (non-electric or non-installation)
19%
Franchise sign company
4%
Large-format printer
6%
Independent vinyl or vehicle wrap shop
9%
Sign designer, design firm or design agency
2%
Wholesaler (sell to sign companies only)
2%
Sign installation and maintenance company
0%
Other (please specify)
5%

MORE OR LESS. Full-service participants are up by 8% compared to last year’s Big Survey, while franchises are down from 8% to 4%.

7. How long has the company you own/manage/work for been in business?

Less than 2 years
1%
2 to 5 years
3%
5+ to 10 years
8%
10+ to 25 years
33%
25+ to 50 years
39%
More than 50 years
16%

SALUTE A CENT’ANNI. Check out the March issue for 11 sign companies that have already reached 100 years in business. (See St, March 2023, page 24.)

8. What were your total sales in 2022? (If you’re Canadian, please convert to US dollars).

Under $100,000
7%
$100,000-$249,999
10%
$250,000-$999,999
40%
$1,000,000-$5,000,000
29%
Over $5,000,000
14%

MO’ MONEY, NO PROBLEM. Our sign companies report making more money in 2022 than in 2021, bumping about 4% up each category at and above $100K. Nicely done!

9. Check all industries for which you offer signs.

10. Check products/services offered by your company:

Digital Imaging
63%
Electronic flat panel display
34%
Electronic message centers (EMCs)
46%
Architectural signage
72%
Channel letters
67%
Neon signs
33%
Non-electric changeable copy signs
55%
Screen printing
25%
Sandblasting
29%
Foamboard signage
60%
Billboard graphics
20%
Banners
85%
Vehicle graphics
77%
Floor graphics
73%
Window graphics
87%
Other
25%

FROM A TO Z. 3D graphics, acrylic, ADA/Braille, apparel decorating, architectural brackets and decoration, awnings, banners, billboards, bronze plaques, business cards, carved, casino specialties, CNC routing, decals, design services, directory, DTG shirt printing, dye-sub fabric, electric signs (cabinets, monuments, pylons), electrical contracting, embroidery, engraving, flags and flagpoles, flat cut outs, gold leaf, graphic design, installation, large format printing, laser engraving, metal art and cut signs, municipal, outdoor advertising, parking lot lighting, reprographic services, retail signs and decor, site signs, soft goods, steel sign structure fabrication, sign footing excavation and installation, stone entry, theming, trade show displays, traffic signs, wall graphics and murals, wayfinding and yard signs… OK, no “z.”

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Signs of the Times has been the world leader in sign information since 1906. Contact Signs of the Times' editors at editor@signsofthetimes.com.

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