Revised and updated February 1, 2020.
While more and more businesses are operating entirely online, there are still plenty of brick-and-mortar businesses that need signs on and near their physical building or facilities. Entrepreneurs who want to make a living helping businesses remain visible in the real world can check out several options on this list of the top 4 sign franchises of 2020.
All the companies on this list were started in the 1980s or 1990s to bring new computerized technologies to sign making. And none of them limit themselves to just physical signs for business buildings. They all provide a wide array of indoor and outdoor signage and display solutions to serve a wide variety of needs. In this sense, they function more like graphic design and print shops than the sign-making companies of yesteryear. But instead of printing publications, they print a wide variety of signs, banners, and displays.
According to IBISworld, the sign market in the US is worth $16 billion and growing, though this includes billboards as well. The business world in general is enjoying the longest post-recession economic recovery in history, which has many of them upgrading their signage.
Here are the 4 best sign franchises of 2020:
FastSigns has been growing quickly in recent years, adding 27 locations during 2019. And the company just recently announced it has acquired Sign Me Up Signs & Advertising, a chain with six locations in Long island, New York and one in New Jersey, all of which will be converted to the FastSigns brand. The company is also growing its international footprint, with plans to open as many as 12 locations throughout France and Monaco.
The company is all about raising business visibility through visual communications. The offerings include all types of signs and graphics, exhibits and displays, digital and interactive signage, printing and mailing, promotional products, point-of-purchase signs, and interior décor. Additional services include graphic design, surveying and permitting for signage compliance with local codes and ordinances, signage installation, visual communications content development, and comprehensive project management.
Founded by Gary Salomon and Robert Schanbaum in Dallas, Texas in 1985 and franchising since 1986, the number of locations has grown in recent years to the current total of 710 (up from the previous year’s total of 683), of which none are company-owned and 86 are located outside the US.
Signarama can make a wide array of both outdoor and indoor signs for businesses of all types. For outdoor signs, options include building-mounted signs, freestanding signs, banners, lighted signs, wayfaring signs, and promotional signs, as well as vehicle and boat graphics (wraps, decals, magnetic).
Indoor signage options include all types of office signs and various signs for retailers, including digital displays, banner stands, floor decals, wall graphics, retractable banners, and so on. Additional services offered include graphic design, installation, project management, large-format printing, and financing.
Founded by father-son team Roy and Ray Titus in Farmingdale, New York in 1986 and franchising since 1987, the number of locations has been on the rise in recent years from 672 in 2013 to the current total of 709, of which none are company-owned and 308 are located outside the US.
Image360 is all about collaboration and consultation from imagination to installation to meet the graphics, signage, and display needs of today’s businesses. Products include illuminated signs and message boards, banners and flags, decals and custom appliqués, custom art printing, event signs, trade show signs and displays, engraved signs and products, all types of interior signage and graphics, regulatory and ADA compliant signs, monument signage, roadside signs, building signage, storefront and window signs, vehicle wraps and decals, printed marketing materials, and promotional products and gifts.
Additional services include installation of signs/banners, booth lighting, bulk sign orders, changeable sign letter sets, custom digital printing, dimensional letter installations, and much more.
Founded in 1986 and franchising since 1987, the number of locations currently stands at 311 (down by four from the previous year), of which two are company-owned and nine are located outside the US.
4. SpeedPro Imaging
SpeedPro Imaging offers a wide variety of signs and sign-related products similar to the other companies on this list, but one of its better-known specialties is producing dramatic large-format graphics for wall murals and large displays.
Other products include window graphics/clings, banners, event tents, vehicle wraps, decals, flags, tradeshow displays, digital signage, floor graphics, table covers and table toppers, directional signage, stadium-size banners, elevator wraps, retractable banner stands, event graphics, point-of-purchase displays, and more.
Founded by Blair Gran in Alberta, Canada in 1992 in Canada and franchising since 2005 in the US, the number of locations currently stands at 185 (up by four from the previous year), none of which are company-owned and 47 of which are located outside the US.
An Important Note About Our Methodology
The franchises on this list were ranked according to the number of units in the franchise system. If you are a prospective franchisee searching for franchise opportunities that meet or exceed certain performance benchmarks for sales, profits, and return on investment, please check out this list of America’s Most Lucrative Franchises.