“The Sign’s story is a saga of constant and near-fatal brushes with poverty, decay and outright extinction.”

This was posted fifteen years ago on the public information website of the Hollywood Sign Trust, the non-profit organization responsible for the maintenance, preservation, improvement and promotion of the world’s most famous sign, and Hollywood’s most beloved landmark. For over two decades, the Hollywood Sign Trust has actively protected and popularized Hollywood’s premier landmark, to ensure that this once seriously threatened monument survives and thrives. Their role: to physically maintain, repair and secure this 50-foot-high monument perched high above the Hollywood hills, to educate the world about its historical and cultural importance, and to raise the funds necessary to accomplish these long-term projects.

It takes hard work and intelligent planning to build an identity for a company, a building, or even a city. Memorable images, such as the Hollywood sign resting in the hills, are expensive to come by. Yet that important “first impression,” the sign displaying corporate graphics, is taken for granted with little concern given to its appearance after installation.

Every day, each impression made on those viewing it is a negative one when the sign is not operating or looking its best. The expense associated with major repair or replacement can often be avoided with proper care. To borrow an old adage, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” A sign maintenance program can simplify your work life, save time for business owners and purchasers, and save money. Here is an astonishing fact that comes out of a recent nationwide survey of nearly 1000 consumers, conducted by FedEx. Nearly 60% of consumers said that the absence of signs deters them from entering a store or business. Over 50% of survey respondents indicated that poor signage (e.g., poor quality, misspelled words) deters them from entering a place of business. Think about your monthly revenue. Now cut it in half. That is what could happen if your sign becomes cracked, faded, illegible, graffiti-marked, or has misspelled words!

Over 50% of survey respondents indicated that poor signage (e.g., poor quality, misspelled words) deters them from entering a place of business.

The Cost Effective Solution: Gain peace of mind and avoid losing thousands of dollars in business with a Preventative Maintenance program for your on-premise sign. There is a “preventative maintenance” contract to fit virtually any need.  It may not be as involved as the 2005 renovation project undertaken for the Hollywood Sign, but for your business, it is just as important.

Sign Maintenance is part of a complete sign management program, which includes the following:

· Site Inspection and Evaluation

· Design and Visual Presentation

· Planning Applications

· Manufacture

· Installation

· Maintenance

· Project Management

There are three basic methods of sign management that are used as follows:

rusty-sign1. Total Replacement Method

In this method, all signs in a building or section are replaced after a set interval of time, regardless of how long they have been in place. The length of time between replacements is based on the service life of the material.

2. Sign Inspection Method

In this method, a physical sign inspection is conducted periodically, preferably on an annual or bi-annual basis. Those that do not meet the minimums are identified for replacement. Since only those signs that are below acceptable quality are replaced, there is no salvage value (replaced signs cannot be reused).

3. Sign Management Method

In this method, all signs are included in a computerized database that contains detailed information about the sign and the sign installation. The sign management system predicts when a sign should reach the end of its service life. The list of signs needing replacement is then used to order/fabricate the necessary signs and perform the replacement. When this method is utilized, it requires the least number of personnel.

What services might a sign maintenance contract provide for your facilities?

1. All signs will be properly maintained and kept in good condition

2. A copy of all sign design and text should be maintained so as to be legible and complete.

3. The sign structure shall be maintained in a vertical position unless originally permitted otherwise, and shall be maintained in safe condition at all times.

4. All parts and surfaces shall be cleaned, painted or replaced as necessary to maintain the original permitted appearance.

5. Electrical systems shall be in a safe condition at all times.

In addition, signs that are replaced regularly due to excessive exposure to the elements, change of tenant information, or vandalism, are now inventoried by the sign maintenance company for a 72-hour turnaround.

A maintenance contract means a non-deductible, no cost service call anytime your sign needs service or repair. For you, a maintenance contract eliminates costly internal paperwork, approvals for repairs, as well as embarrassing delays for parts and service.

no-excuses-for-sign-neglectWhat sign maintenance services can you undertake for your facilities?

Professional sign companies will use the finest materials and construction methods to insure that your sign lasts as long as possible and requires the least amount of maintenance. There are few things you can do, however, to prolong your sign’s service life and retain it’s appearance. Here is a list of recommended actions to take:


For flex faces and awnings, you will need to pressure wash the vinyl material every six months using a manufacturer-approved cleaning agent. We suggest Cooley Clean tm, available from your local Sign Biz Professional. Most other types of signs do not normally require scheduled cleaning, but may be cleaned with a soft brush and a mild household cleaner on an as-needed basis.

Lighting Problems

If your sign or awning isn’t lighting properly, several things could be wrong:

  • If it isn’t lighting at all, there is probably a problem with the wiring, timer or photocell. In some cases, you can adjust the time and day on the timer or put your hand over the photocell to test those items.
  • If a large portion isn’t lighting or appears dim, there is probably a problem with a ballast (in cabinets and awnings) or transformer (in lighted letters).
  • If a small portion or single letter isn’t lighting or appears dim, there is probably a problem with one or more lamps (in cabinets and awnings) or neon tubes (in lighted letters).

In any of these cases, you will need to place a service call to a qualified sign company to perform the necessary repairs (see below).

Service Calls

If your sign requires repair work, you may call the local member of the Sign Biz International Network. As a member of an international network of sign professionals, local and long distance service calls are usually completed within three working days with the exception of replacement neon which typically takes 1-2 days longer.

Your signs can be covered by a comprehensive program of regularly scheduled preventive maintenance and as needed corrective maintenance. And unlike the famous Hollywood sign, you won’t need a trust fund to underwrite your investment!

To find a sign professional, use the Sign Biz Member Locator service and place your trust in a well-trained sign expert!