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Six Tips for Better Stop Signs
6. Durability Matters
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How Much Does My Sign Really Cost?
The cost of the sign, itself, is actually a minor part of the overall installed costs. According to one study, the cost of the sign is only 15% of the installed costs.
Sign Installed Cost
Studies all show that installation and ordering costs are always more expensive than the sign itself. A product having a long life pays for itself with reduced labor. The total sign costs includes allocation of the following cost centers:
• Labor to specify, order, receive the sign
• Accounting cost for the payable
• Labor to drive to the location, install the sign
• Labor to inspect and maintain a sign
But, these are just the "hard" costs. They may vary, given your overhead rates and labor efficiency. But, also look at the indirect or "soft" costs. How about the sense of security, the accidents prevented? According to 3M, sign sheeting upgrades reduced crashes:
• 25% in Putnam County, NY
• 30% in Sioux City, IA
• 48% in Mendocino County, CA
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Better Signs Pay for Themselves
Sign Cost Per Year
From this chart, you can see that a sign that lasts longer in actually the far better deal. Called "Sign Life Cycle Analysis" this is the type of review that common with most professional sign buyers. In this example, a 10-year sign that cost $30.00 is actually cheaper than the 7-year sign that cost $25.00. The 20% more costly sign is actually 25% cheaper, when measured over the life cycle of the sign.
What is Durability?
Faded Stop Sign
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What are the points of failure?
In looking at a stop sign or other parking sign, watch out for these defects:
Sign Does Not Reflect
Sign Bends
Letters Delaminate
Print Fades
Sign Rusts
Spray Paint or Graffiti
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Good for Ten Years?
What does this mean? We are often asked this question. Unfortunately, there are plenty of possible answers to this. To some, ten years of durability means that a sign can still be seen at by day and the print, while faded, can still be deciphered.
We cannot disagree with this more fervently.
Stop Signs and other signs have a real purpose. They are about fast and clear communication – at all times of day and in all types of weather. A Stop sign that cannot be seen at night is a failure. A sign that needs an archeologist to decipher it is a relic and not suitable for public use.

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