The Sign Bracket Racket – Selling Brackets Increases Sales of Signs, Banners and Hanging Baskets

“Adding a bracket to a sign sale can increase that total sale by up to 50{ec262f9ea6fbbbcc1d0d947a4dbffc41c42380a9e12b8e040e7cc45e4f57ed59}.”   Patti House, Sign Design, Inc., Purcellville, VA

“The bracket added value for the customer and increased the amount of the sale as well.”   Nathan Folsom, Sign-A-Rama, Chino, CA

“About 50{ec262f9ea6fbbbcc1d0d947a4dbffc41c42380a9e12b8e040e7cc45e4f57ed59} of our customers are also looking for hardware.”   Patti House, Sign Design, Inc., Purcellville, VA

“Customers know their sign will work with their bracket.”   Robert Burnes, Mouse Design Studio, Cumming, GA

As a shop owner, you know them well: projecting signs, projecting banners, post signs, free-standing signs and even the most complex custom applications. You’re dedicated to helping your customers find the sign that best meets their needs.

But what do you offer when it comes to mounting and hanging your customers’ new signs? When they ask, do you send them elsewhere? Perhaps you’ve never given much thought to the sign’s supporting structure, or shrugged it off as someone else’s niche. Today, however, there’s more of a market than ever for many styles and types of sign brackets, including hanging blade sign brackets, light post banner brackets, hanging basket brackets, post and panel sign systems and A-Frame or free-standing sidewalk folding signs. In fact, common sign criteria now call for a blade sign –the vast majority of new shopping centers specify a blade sign over each door.

Why miss out on a perfectly good opportunity? You’re well aware that without the core functionality that enables the sign to be properly displayed, you have little more than a pretty picture. By letting your customers depart with just a sign, you’re sending them home with only half the package – or maybe to a sign retailer that does offer hardware, which could help a competitor snag your customers.

In general you may have always thought “Business is decent, and my customers seem happy enough. Why would I consider going to the trouble of expanding my signage business and carrying sign brackets as well?” Of course, that was then, before the 2007 – 2008 economy. Adding value to customers and income to you by offering brackets and attachment hardware is clearly a good idea to keep and grow your customer base.

Take Mouse Design Studio owner Robert Burnes in Cumming, Georgia, as an example. In the past 18 months, Burnes began to offer brackets and mounting hardware as an integral part of his overall high-end sign package. Last week a customer walked into Burnes’ shop with a complicated print-only logo that he wanted to turn into a dimensional sign.
“My only requirement is to keep the basic shape that’s part of my brand,” the customer told Burnes. When Burnes showed his customer the scroll brackets Mouse Design carried, it so happened that one of the brackets fit the logo perfectly. The customer immediately saw how the sign would look when it was completed and installed-and he loved it.
“Because of the bracket design, we were able to secure that business and the customer didn’t need to look any further,” says Burnes. “It really solidified with us that the decision to offer hardware products was the right decision because it truly made us a one-stop shop-and customers know their sign will work with their bracket.”
The Benefits of Brackets
Burnes’ decision to carry brackets is one that many sign shop owners are making, and for good reason.

“About 50{ec262f9ea6fbbbcc1d0d947a4dbffc41c42380a9e12b8e040e7cc45e4f57ed59} of our customers are also looking for hardware,” says Patti House of Sign Design, Inc., in Purcellville, Virginia. “Adding a bracket to a sign sale can increase that total sale by up to 50{ec262f9ea6fbbbcc1d0d947a4dbffc41c42380a9e12b8e040e7cc45e4f57ed59}.” House has found that her customers will even buy the sign to go with the bracket instead of the other way around, and they always appreciate being able to save time and buy the two in the same place.
In addition to increased convenience, selling brackets actually saves House’s customers money – ensuring that the signs are mounted on quality hardware to minimize wear and tear. “We did a carved oval sign for one family, and they took it home and hung it themselves,” says House. “Because of the way they hung it, after some high winds, the sign was almost destroyed. They came in with a sign for me to remake, but this time I sold them a bracket as well, and it became a success story.” House firmly believes the initial bracket purchase would have saved her customer money in the long run.

And meeting the needs of the customer is what business is all about. “Customers thrive on choices. The availability of different bracket options is a way sign companies can add value to their clients” advises Laura Harvey, Sales Manager at, The Sign Bracket Store (by Hooks and Lattice) in Carlsbad, Calif., which supplies retailers with sign brackets.  

The Right Vendor for You

As sign shop owners like House notice increasing demand for brackets, many are turning to an outside vendor like The Sign Bracket Store by Hooks and Lattice. “Retailers should work with sign bracket vendors that offer a wide variety of choices to their customers, to serve them better,” Harvey says.

What if you are short of space, or don’t want to tie up money in inventory? You don’t need to stock brackets to sell them. We provide print and online catalogs that, combined with a few samples, will enable you to sell sign brackets quickly and efficiently. “And because there isn’t a tremendous cash outlay, it can help you keep your prices competitive,” adds Burnes.

There’s a slight downside of not having in-store stock.  “The primary problem is delivery time,” Burnes says.” The only way to overcome that is to seek a vendor that delivers what they promise.”
And if you know what to look for, this relationship can be as enjoyable as it is beneficial. “Find a vendor with a broad range and variety of attractive products, and don’t add an entire product line at once,” Burnes suggests. “Simply add two or three products that work with your most popular products, integrate them, refine the vendor relationship, and then expand.”

From her years of experience as a sign broker, working for a local sign company, and vending herself, The Sign Bracket Store’s Harvey has learned a few things about dealing with vendors. She says a good vendor has three essential qualities: 1) A wide selection of standard sizes and designs, 2) Unbranded catalog availability as a tool to help the retailers show the products to their customers, and 3) Fast-turnaround times, with orders typically shipping in two to three days.
“We’re committed to fast turnaround times, even same day if needed,” she says. “We know that our job is to make the sign shop be valuable to their customers.”

House agrees that vendor speed is what makes carrying hardware a breeze. “Some stores may think that carrying brackets will cost a lot of time and money, but that’s not the case,” she says. “Much of what you need is available in stock and can be ordered quickly, in just a couple of days. Even a custom bracket you can get in a week or two.”

Moreover, once you find a good vendor, the hard part is done. Burnes prizes his relationship with his longtime vendor. “We have been around long enough that we know our vendors on a personal basis. We consider them friends. We strive to do the same for others– that’s how we serve and keep our customers.”

Smooth Selling

If you keep these tips in mind, it will help ensure the bracket-selling experience is a positive one for you and your customers.

First, find sign bracket products you like and stick with them. “Product repeatability is key,” Burnes relates. “We offer a consistent product from sale to sale and from location to location. Offering a consistent hardware helps lock in your customer for future sales.”

Second, ensure that your online, catalog or in-store bracket presence is updated and truly represents your product offering. According to Nathan Folsom of Sign-A-Rama in Chino, California, this helps customers understand that they are purchasing a quality product even when they can’t see it or touch it.
As a result of offering hardware to complement signs and banners, shop owners like Folsom are finding customer satisfaction is continually on the rise. One recent client, a housing development in Pasadena, needed banners and wanted to create a classy look. The banners were going to be displayed on light poles, so Folsom recommended an ornate scroll bracket to impart the high-end feel they were looking for.

“The scrollwork in the bracket became an inspiration for the design and we even created some additional banners for them as a result,” Folsom says. “The bracket added value for the customer and increased the amount of the sale as well. Our client was very pleased with the job.”
“By offering mounting brackets and hardware a sign shop goes from being a product provider, to really being a full-service solution provider,” says Harvey. “It’s that kind of approach that will fuel a shop’s success.”

Experts’ Top 5 Hardware Don’ts 

Don’t go to a welder. They won’t be able to replicate what you want. Sign brackets are intricate and they may not understand how to design it for proper fit and installation.

Don’t plan the sign, then choose the bracket. Let the customer select their bracket, then pick a corresponding blank for your design.

Don’t ever use a bracket that’s not powder-coated. It may rust, stain your sign, fade or not otherwise be durable over time.

Don’t forget to recommend lighting if the business is open at night.

Don’t forget to note the distance to the power supply when you order brackets and lighting, to ensure that your wire leads are appropriate.

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