Metro Self Storage pylon sign with logo and phone number

The industry of self-storage continues to thrive, and more and more entrants are coming into the industry to set up their own self-storage businesses. At Ortwein Sign, we’ve had the opportunity to support many self-storage businesses with their signage, and in that time we’ve been able to use our expertise to establish some tips we recommend for owners purchasing signage for self-storage units. In this blog, we breakdown what you need to know about signage if you’re considering starting, acquiring, or growing your self-storage business.

Why is Signage Important for Self-Storage?

Storage Pug, an industry leader providing websites and marketing support for self-storage companies, recently emphasized that proximity is one of the key factors self-storage customers consider when looking for self-storage options online. They go on to say that for self-storage owners a strong Google My Business profile is essential as online queries will pop-up the nearest businesses on Google. A business with a strong GMB presence therefore will capture would be customer’s attention more successfully than a poorly managed GMB.

Much can be said that signage is important for essentially the same reason. A good looking, working sign will attract local passersby, especially if the signage stands out like a pylon sign. Whereby an unlit sign or a sign that doesn’t stand out means the would-be customer may drive right on by for a self-storage option just a little further.

What kind of Signage helps self-storage companies stand apart?

Though every municipality is different, and thus may allow or not allow certain signs, for our clients the bulk of our orders have been for a combo of pylon signs (or monument if pylons are not allowed) and channel letters.

Pylon Signs

Pylon signs are freestanding business sign structures with a custom single or multi-tenant illuminated sign box supported by one or multiple steel poles. The sign base and pole surroundings can be constructed of various materials. Pylon sign bases can be constructed of high-density urethane with a stucco finish, brick or block structures, or welded aluminum base primed and painted. Single or double sided, custom paint colors are available to complement your architecture or corporate identity. Most sign companies can incorporate a full color LED digital message board if desired. A digital message board can be programmed in a matter of seconds from a remote location.

Pylon signs are an incredibly effectively way to bring attention to your property or business. If you have a complex with many tenants, then pylon signage featuring business names and logos are an effective way to provide advance notice for the location of your tenants’ businesses. Often, the first impression of your business is a pylon signs. Pylon signs therefore offer high impact and low maintenance exposure for only a few dollars a day.

Custom pylon signs can help direct traffic to your business location, and they can help communicate the message of a single business or multi-tenant complex. Customized pylon signs are very popular when it comes to identifying shopping plazas and industrial complexes, car dealerships, gas stations, restaurants, mini-malls, hotels, and retail locations. By implementing a pylon sign into your project’s design scheme you can take your brand to new levels.

Monument Signs

Taft Hwy Self Storage monument sign with blue mountain sketched above lettering

Monument signs vary in size; however, they are often the approximate height of a person. They can be made of a variety of materials including bricks, sign foam or aluminum.

Though pylon signs are often taller than monument signs, there are occasions where a monument sign can actually be a pylon sign. The signage used to highlight all occupants of a strip mall calls for the services of a monument design with the height of a pylon marker. It is the best of both worlds and helps to give each merchant a chance at attracting customers, which of course benefits the other businesses as well.

Property owners usually favor a tall design that gives each occupant a signage spot of similar size. With a smaller marker, only top-billers get good-sized signage whereas the smaller businesses might have to make do with a crammed display of their name or logo.

Channel Letters

A typical channel letter is a three-dimensional graphic sign element. Its channel is fabricated from sheet metal, most often aluminum since it will not rust. A flat sheet of aluminum is typically cut on a table by a computer-controlled router. This creates the back of the channel and is the basis for the letter shape. The letter can is painted and fitted with any lighting components necessary such as neon gas tubes or light-emitting diode (LED) modules. When illuminated at night, channel letters draw the eye of passers-by.

Channel letters are a prime choice among for those looking for exterior business signs. The shape, size, and illumination of each letter ensures that your sign will stand out among other businesses, especially at night. The construction of these letters allows you endless options for custom signs. The letters are available in nearly any font, color, and size. As each letter is individually crafted, you can also incorporate your business logo in the design.

What kind of Signage is essential for the day-to-day operations of a Self-Storage company?

Once you’ve captured their attention with strong exterior signage, you also need to ensure the signage around your complex can help present and future customers navigate your storage units. This is where wayfinding signage especially comes into play.

Wayfinding Signage

Wayfinding signage systems consists of signs that let you know where you are, where you want to go, where you need to be, and sometimes even where you aren’t allowed.  When used in tandem, these signs should help direct customers and visitors alike right to their destination.

Directional Signage

Directional Signage is a valuable tool for self-storage units to help direct customers to their units. These signs often include arrows to help point more precisely in the direction of the destination.

Identification Signage

Identifying Signs at storage units consist of signage that helps label the key buildings, including the main office or offices, as well as the as names or numbers of the units themselves. If a self-storage unit has a group of units called Complex A and Complex A consists of Units 100-120, then identifying signs would be placed at the start of each complex and on the door or facade of each unit.

What will the sign company need from me as a Self-Storage Owner?

To be the most effective partner for your sign needs, Sign Companies will generally need three things:

Logo and Branding (Vector Format)

If your signage includes your logo at all, and it most likely should, then your sign company partner will need your logo art to help them design and fabricate your sign. Vector format is the preferred type of file sign companies will need as it allows them to scale the art to fit signs of various sizes.

Survey of Your Site/Conversations During Pre-Planning

Sign companies can help build a plan for your signage needs and how best to satisfy them. By providing your sign company early information on the site, both and you and the sign company will be better served as they help understand what signs will need to be fabricated and where they’ll need to be installed. This will also help the sign company permit the signs, which is a requirement in many municipalities.

By contacting your sign partner early, you’ll also help alleviate potential unknown headaches along the way that may crop up if you haven’t already built-in signage to your business plan.

Access for the Installation

Bringing a sign company in early is the best way to prevent access issues; however, whatever time you begin to work with your sign partner you should consider what access they will need to installing signs.

Cranes in particular are heavy and take up a fair amount of space. Therefore the surface on which they stand, and the space allotment, is important to consider. Storage companies also often have retention ponds too, and these can be often overlooked when considering access until the sign company is brought into the conversation. Be sure to mention to your sign company if and where you have a retention pond as early as possible, so the sign company can use this in their planning.

How to choose the right sign company for the job?

When considering which sign company to partner with, you want a company with a strong record of customer service, project management skills, as well as the know-how and equipment to develop, fabricate, and install your sign package.

We at Ortwein Sign pride ourselves on our fabrication, customer service, and project management skills, and we believe our 99 years in business can be put to great use to help develop and execute the best sign plan possible for your self-storage business.

Call us today at (423) 867-9208 or fill out a quote request form to see how we can help with your signage needs!

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