House for sale sign

How Much Does a Real Estate Sign Cost?

Frequently, the first question a customer asks us is, “How much does a real estate sign cost?” That’s a bit like asking how much a house costs. It’s a simple question, but the answer is somewhat more complicated. The price of a house depends on many factors — location, size, build quality, materials, etc. Similarly, how much you pay for a real estate sign can vary quite a lot.

In this article, we’ll talk about several factors that can impact the cost of for sale signs or other types of realty signs. We’ll also look at what’s worth spending on, and what you should skip when you’re shopping for a custom real estate sign.

Factors That Affect Real Estate Sign Cost

Material

The material you choose for your signs will likely have the greatest impact on the overall cost you end up paying for them. Some materials have a higher cost than others because the material is more expensive for the manufacturer or more labor-intensive to work with.

One thing to keep in mind as you shop for signs is that sign retailers will often refer to the sign material as the “substrate.” Don’t be intimidated by vocabulary. “Substrate” is just a fancy word for “the thing you’re printing on.” This could be plastic, metal, composite, or a range of other options.

Cardboard

$5–$10 for an 18”H x 24”W sign, depending on quantity

Cardboard is rarely used for realty signs. It’s a material that can really only be utilized indoors. If used outdoors, it won’t last long. Cardboard is best used for high-quantity orders when a low price is your highest priority and durability is not a concern.

Corrugated Plastic

$10–$20 for an 18”H x 24”W sign, depending on quantity

Corrugated plastic is a time-honored, economical material choice for real estate sign printing. Like cardboard, corrugated plastic is an option best suited for when budget takes priority over durability. However, corrugated plastic is vastly more durable than cardboard. Its structure is similar to cardboard, but the base material is water-resistant. Consequently, it’s preferable to paper-based substrates as a sign material for outdoor use.

Wood

$20–$70 for an 18”H x 24”W sign, depending on quantity

In addition to corrugated plastic, wood is another inexpensive option, but most sign suppliers have moved away from wood materials for real estate signs. Wood can work well for short-term signs in dry climates, but in the long term, it will absorb moisture. Moisture leads to swelling and problems with the printed design chipping or peeling off of the sign. Because of this, wood has fallen out of favor for use with real estate signs.

Composite

$20–$70 for an 18”H x 24”W sign, depending on quantity

Composite materials, Like Dee Sign’s Durabond, combine different substrates to produce a sign that has the benefits of both. Additionally, using more than one substrate can cancel out the individual components’ weaknesses. A composite material like Durabond provides the best of both worlds. It won’t bend and dent like metal, or bow like thin plastic panels. It’s impervious to rust and other corrosion, but it’s less costly than standalone aluminum. In addition, composites are generally less expensive than any material with similar benefits.

Steel

$25–$75 for an 18”H x 24”W sign, depending on quantity

Steel is strong. Using steel for your signs is a bit like driving an armored car — it’s sturdy, but its benefits come at a cost. Along with being sturdy, steel signs are also heavy. Steel signs weigh almost three times as much as their aluminum equivalents. In humid, coastal climates, steel signs may rust.

Aluminum

$25–$75 for an 18”H x 24”W sign, depending on quantity

Besides steel, the other metal commonly used in real estate signs is aluminum. Aluminum has quite a few advantages. Foremost among these benefits is aluminum’s resistance to rust and its light weight. Unlike steel and many other metals, aluminum doesn’t need a special coating or additives to make it resistant to corrosion. Aluminum naturally forms an extremely thin protective coating on its outer surface. Because of this, even if scratched, aluminum will not rust.

Reflective Materials

$30–$80 for an 18”H x 24”W sign, depending on quantity

Like Dee Sign’s Durabond, some materials can be coated with a material that reflects light. This is particularly valuable in the case of signs that don’t have supplemental lighting and rely on headlights of passing vehicles to illuminate them.

Size

The size of the for sale sign, or other real estate sign, that you’re purchasing will have a significant impact on the overall cost. The price increases you will see charged for different sign materials tend to increase in proportion to the size of the sign. That being said, it’s usually cheaper to purchase one larger sign than two signs that are half its size.

Quality

In addition to size, the craftsmanship that goes into your sign affects sign cost. Two signs might appear almost identical right after they’re made, but after a few months, it becomes clear which sign was built to last and which sign was not.

In general, custom-made signs are made from higher-quality materials than cheaper, mass-produced alternatives. Manufacturers typically create custom sign frames out of steel or another strong metal. They most often make sign panels from resilient polymer materials or metal.

Customization

Depending on your sign manufacturer, the amount of customization you select for your sign may or may not affect the sign cost. Suppliers that maintain a large number of signs in stock will offer “standard” signs cheaper than made-to-order signs. However, if you buy directly from a custom real estate sign manufacturer, they will likely be able to produce any custom sign you need without much, if any, additional charge for customization.

Colors

The number of colors you wanted to be printed on your signs used to be an important factor in determining cost, but the number of colors has recently grown much less important. The reason behind this shift is digital printing.

In digital printing, images are printed directly on a variety of surfaces. It does not require a screen like screen printing or a plate like offset printing. Digital printing allows custom real estate sign manufacturers to rapidly and cost-effectively produce short-run products on demand. They can also use digital printing to more quickly customize your designs, as they can readily alter images and text.

Advances in digital printing have nearly eliminated its earlier drawbacks, and digital printing equipment has caught up with screen printing and offset printing’s quality. For massive quantities of certain products, offset printing can be more efficient. However, digital printing is making those situations increasingly rare. Digital printing is the most cost-effective method for printing real estate signs.

Content

Much like we saw with the additional cost associated with printing multiple colors, additional charges for special sign content are becoming less common. For example, it used to be more complex to add an agent’s photo to their signs, but this is not an issue with digital printing.

Design

It is reasonable to expect that a real estate sign company will provide design services as part of its service package at no additional cost. Your project should be handled by a professional artist who is experienced in designing real estate signs. Designing house for sale signs and other real estate signs is a unique field that requires specialized knowledge. Avoid relying on a generalist graphic designer.

Shipping Costs for Real Estate Signs

Sign companies often claim to offer “free” shipping. Unfortunately, there is no such thing. When a company tells you shipping is free, they’re saying they’ve included the shipping cost in the cost of their signs. You’re always paying for shipping, whether it’s listed as a separate charge or included in the price of the product.

Conclusion

The cost of a real estate sign depends on several factors. A typically sized house-for-sale sign will cost around $20–$80 depending on the number you order. With newer printing methods, the number of colors and other sign content elements have little, if any, impact on price. In general, the sign material you choose will influence your signage costs more than any other element, and design services should be included at no added cost.

Dee Sign is the world’s leading producer of real estate signs. Whether you’re part of a national franchise or operating independently, we’re here to support you every step of the way.

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