As with any major investment, buying a sign from a reputable manufacturer is important. Stevens' advice is to buy from
someone whose core business is LED displays.
Along with choosing a well-built LED display, operators need to assess their situation and find the correct type and
size of sign to meet their needs.
There are several factors one must consider when determining the correct sign size for a business: lines of display,
character height, traffic patterns and resolution are but a few.
Most LED signs are available with one, two, three or four lines of text, and each one is great for different situations.
But Stevens warns that for the fast lube industry, anything less than a two line display might not produce the anticipated
results because there is so much information that fast lube needs to display, and there won't be enough time to get the
"In the fast lube industry, the messages tend to be more word heavy; therefore, fast lubes need more lines of text on
their display," Stevens said.
When determining character height, an operator needs to consider the distance from the sign to the traffic it needs to
reach. Industry experts generalize that one inch of character height on an LED sign is visible for 30 to 50 feet (compared
to one inch for every 10 feet with vinyl signs). So, a nine-inch character will be visible and readable from 450 feet away
(using the 50 foot approximation). If that is not adequate, experts recommend installing a sign that can display a 12 inch
character, which would get 600 feet of visibility, and so on.
Also, take into consideration the speed limit on the road and assess how fast traffic will be traveling past the sign.
"Drive by the sign at whatever speed your road is," King said. "If your business is on a road that has a traffic light, stop
in front of one. We have a store that the cars drive by at 45 or 50 miles an hour, so we needed to get a larger sign there because
of the difference in traffic patterns."
King also recommended considering resolution, which is the size of each individual light in the sign. The smaller the light is,
the more detailed the sign can be. More detail usually equals a bigger price tag, so an operator needs to determine if the extra
cost is worth it.
For a fast lube, a full color sign with the resolution capabilities for photo and video, may not justify itself because most of
the fast lube products and services are not shown visually.
King add(s) that when it comes to choosing a sign, it comes down to cost versus size.
"Our signs are full color, two sided and three feet by eight feet," King said. "We were able to put our signs on a lease, so
we can take the payments out of our monthly advertising budget."
Hall once again echoed this message. He suggested an operator look at value and ask, "Will I get any more value from full color?"