Tips & Advice
How long do signs usually last?
The lifespan of signs depends on the materials, the craftsmanship, and a little luck. Aluminum and other composite material signs can last for decades, especially if they are not directly affected by the elements. Neon and other lighted signs can also last for a long time if they are well made, well maintained, and things like Mother Nature or vandals don’t wreak havoc on them. Even cheap banners and signs can last for years, especially if they are indoors.
Do business signs require maintenance?
Yes, signs need maintenance. Most all need periodic cleaning, especially outdoor signs where weather and the elements can dirty them up. Lit signs might need bulbs changed, or the elements in neon signs can fail and need replacement. You can probably change the bulbs and clean the signs yourself with a basic cleanser, but broken neon elements should be professionally replaced.
How long does it take to make a business sign?
The cost of a sign is completely dependent on the sign itself. How big is it? What kind of materials and graphics? Does it light up? Is it neon? You have to reach out to a sign making company, one that specializes in your types of sign, to get a realistic quote on costs and labor times. Simpler signs will obviously take less time to make, and some projects can be turned around in 24 hours. An elaborate neon sign could take several weeks.
What is the most common material used in making signs?
The most common materials used for signage are Medium Density Overlay (MDO), aluminum, foam board, and acrylic. MDO uses plywood materials with a resin fiber so it is lightweight, but sturdy. Aluminum is ideal for flexibility and sturdiness, especially outdoors in the elements. Foam board is a paper product that uses wood veneer to prevent warping, and is not as strong as aluminum or MDO, but is cost effective. Acrylic (plexiglass) is another great alternative that is clear, making it especially effective in light boxes, while enabling it to resist heat and other chemicals that can damage signs.
How much do business signs cost?
Business sign costs depend on a variety of factors like size (square footage) and materials. Are you looking for a smaller inexpensive urethane sign? You can probably get a cheap one starting around $10. Or are you looking for lighted or neon signs? How big? How elaborate is the design? How many letters? All of these factors drive that price up. The best way to handle cost is to establish what you need out of your sign (square footage, location, indoor/outdoor, the text, lighted, etc.) and then determine your budget. Custom steel signs can run $20-$30 per square foot, while plastic or aluminum and can run $10-$120. Lighted signs will likely run $30 or more per square foot, while neon starts at $200, just as a starting point. A sign-maker should be able to give you a quote.
What are the best colors to use on a business sign?
The best color for your sign is going to depend on what you are trying to convey and the overall style of the sign. Color contrast, for enhanced readability, might be most important in catching the eye of the consumer. Color combinations, like black and yellow or red and yellow or red and white, can make your lettering really pop. Beware of using “trendy” colors that might go out of style. White backgrounds provide the most options, allowing the color of the text to really pop, whereas black can provide the same pop, but with a different tone. Or, you can go with your favorite colors. While there is no best color, there are combinations that can maximize your text and message visibility, and certain combinations can be seen better from farther away - typically dark colors on light backgrounds.
What types of food do caterers provide?
Different caterers provide all different types of food, and indeed one of the first variables to consider when looking for a caterer is their specialty and menu choices. Caterers almost always provide some type of canapé or passed hot appetizers menu, as this is a standard for most evening functions. Other standards include cheese/charcuterie displays, international small plates/tapas, sandwiches and wraps, raw seafood bar and classic champagne brunch with sweet and savory options. They also offer classic plated dinner menu with different preparations of steak/roast, chicken and fish. And many offer gourmet box lunches for a variety of settings and situations. If you are looking for a sweet table, make sure to find out out they employ a pastry chef or use a third-party vendor.
Typical international cuisine options include Italian, pan-Asian, French and Latin fusion. Many caterers will create offerings to accommodate culinary trends--for example, offering a slider bar, a make-your-own taco bar, a specialty bacon station, or a vegetarian buffet menu. It’s important to know that, while restaurants usually specialize in just one or two cuisines, caterers will often do a range, since they can adjust according to the client’s order and needs.
How much do catering services usually cost?
Catering services don’t have a “usual” cost, since the cost of getting a simple boxed meal for 10 people carries an entirely different average charge than the cost of getting a wedding catered. Here are a few standard ranges for common types of catering. Taxes and service fees not included, but are typically built into the bill:
Lunch, customer picks up:
Passed hors d’oeuvres for 20 people, 2 hours:
- Low: $150 for meat + cheese tray and grilled vegetable platter for 24 persons.
- Medium: $240 for boxed lunches for 24 persons + cutlery packs, no beverages.
- High: $400 for sushi and Asian appetizers for 24 persons, includes soft drinks.
Outdoor daytime social event for 30:
- $300 (light canapés and cash bar)
- $700 (heavy hors d’oeuvres, 10 items per person + beer/wine)
Banquet service for 30 for corporate function:
- Low: $330 for burgers and hotdogs with three sides
- Medium: $650 for Western-style BBQ with pork and chicken, sides
- High: $900 for fully catered pig roast with sides and serviceware.
- Low: $600 for Mexican or Italian-style buffet service including salad and choice of two entrees.
- Medium: $1,200 for plated three-course classic menu , choice of chicken/ribeye, including beer/wine.
- High: $2,800 for full-service multi-course plated dinner, including setup, beer/wine, tabletop and dinnerware rental.
What is residential catering?
Residential catering is the category of caterers who provide food in people’s dwelling places. These services specialize in providing restaurant-quality food, service and experience for private functions in spaces that don’t have residential kitchens or servingware and furniture for a large group.
Food service for hospitals and students who live on university campuses are non-commercial residential catering, but this is on the opposite end of the spectrum in scope, since these non-commercial services specialize in high-volume meal service for hundreds or thousands of people daily, and they usually do not provide off-site catering.
What is commercial catering?
Commercial catering, also known as corporate catering, is for-profit food service, mainly for business functions and companies. Commercial catering services might provide lunch service to businesses, all-day food service for corporate functions, or specialize in craft services on film sets or any other type of non-residential establishment. Restaurants and takeaway food outlets fall into the commercial catering category, since they have commercial kitchen space.