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Subcontracting Electric Signage

(May 2017) posted on Mon May 15, 2017

The good, the bad and the ugly.

By Darek Johnson

click an image below to view slideshow

Warren Sciortino, who wholesales channel letters, provided the following guidance for commercial shops that want to sell channel letters:
• Know your product, and what is necessary to sell, design, build, install and warranty in the channel letter set. Study other signs to learn more about types and methods;
• Permits are critical, thus you need to know all the laws and rules for the area in which the sign will be installed, and design signs that comply with the local regulations;
• Focus on channel letters because the fabrication and installations fall within a few basic parameters, whereas other electric signs may require complex installations, engineering studies and foundation work;
• Find a reputable channel-letter provider and specify LED lighting because you’ll experience fewer electrical problems;
• Find a knowledgeable and trustworthy installer (and determine who is responsible for liabilities);
• Include (sell) a maintenance contract with the sign (your sub-contracted installer should be able to maintain the sign).

By now, you know the permit and zoning rules, but the landlords are also influential, so know their rules, too. Do they allow direct installation or a raceway method? Investigate the installation wall and what is behind it, see the attic if necessary and also examine the electrical connections. (You’ll want an electrician to make the final connections.)

Robert “Boo” Olson owns Boo Doo Signs and Installation (Princeton, MN), has been hanging signs for at least 25 years and has vast high-rise experience for major corporations as well as that of hanging channel letter sets for small signshops. I asked his advice for signshops that subcontract the installation of channel letters and he had several specific suggestions, the first emphatic and quick: The signshop should talk to the installer when they’re considering the bid, not when a box of signs is in their driveway. A professional installer will offer survey advice and discuss possible problems. They’ll also talk to you about your charges for installation materials – wires, switches, grommets, pass-throughs and more. Olson says to not estimate the job until you have definite agreements – and a price – from your installer. If possible, have the installer survey the site because they may see things you don’t.


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