The Importance of Sign Site Surveys

4 August 2023

Installing a sign might initially seem simple — survey it, make it, place it, secure it and move on to your next project. But what happens when you install it and realize the sign logo is the wrong size, hard to see at a distance or the text isn’t compliant with the local sign codes? What if you don’t buy enough materials or your equipment can’t reach the job site?

All signage, from business logos to banners to wayfaring signs, can benefit from site surveys that set the project up for success. These surveys will collect a wide range of information, like site conditions, building measurements and zoning requirements, to ensure a smooth, effective installation. They play a foundational role in signage projects, as errors during the survey can cascade throughout the rest of the job. Getting it right the first time is nothing short of crucial, especially if you want to cut costs and boost productivity.

The traditional approach works but can be cumbersome and slow. Modern measurement solutions like Spike offer fast, accurate surveys and better organization. The result is a site survey that can help you create consistency and reliability in your sign installations to meet a range of business goals, like improving quote-to-win ratios and reducing repeat site visits.

How Site Surveys Support Your Sign Projects

A site survey for signs has a crucial role to play, affecting everything from materials and installation costs to your ability to win bids. This keystone step eventually touches every aspect of the project, so getting it right the first time can pay significant dividends.

Some of the benefits of a comprehensive site survey include the following.

  • Improved organization and information sharing: With good data collected at the site survey, you can vastly improve the information flow across all steps of the sign-making process. For instance, Spike stores photos and measurements together in the photo to ensure consistent, accurate measurements you can rely on for other “downstream” tasks. You can better communicate with customers and partners, keeping everyone on the same page by saving information in a tidy, easy-to-understand package. You can see where your measurements come from and build a more complete picture of the project.
  • Better comprehension: Site survey technology can even help reduce confusion and errors. For example, Spike superimposes your measurements right on top of your photos. You don’t need to go back and forth correlating notes to images, navigating complex layouts and triple-checking whether you got the specs right. Your site survey can help you collect the full picture and avoid missing details. Improved information sharing also boosts collaboration for a more connected team.
  • Cost and time savings: Of course, a quality survey should help you avoid redoing any work and spending more money fixing errors — but being thorough takes time. The correct tools can help you achieve high accuracy the first time without extensive labor demands. You can reduce or eliminate time spent on redoing measurements, buying more materials, transferring data between locations, transcribing notes to shareable formats, printing and marking up photos and design files and even training new staff on the process.

Whether you want to win more bids, work more efficiently or meet another goal, a well-done site survey lays the proper foundation.

Process of Conducting Site Surveys

With the correct approach, a signage site survey is relatively straightforward and can prevent future headaches. During a site survey, you should take the following steps.

  1. Gather information: The first step is estimation, in which you take all necessary measurements. They must be accurate and complete, so you won’t need to come back and revisit the survey or scramble to fix an error later on. A high-quality laser measurement tool makes it easy to collect accurate measurements with nearly any mobile device. It’s a quick part of the overall site visit that provides invaluable details about the project. You’ll also want to ensure you fully grasp the customer’s goals, priorities and budget.
  2. Organize your data: After collecting your data, you’ll need to organize it effectively and package it in a way that supports the rest of the site survey process. For instance, combining measurements and photos minimizes the number of files you need to work with and can help avoid misunderstandings and lost documentation. Organization is especially critical for working with partners and customers. It also provides a paper trail so you can stay confident in your information sources and make changes more easily.
  3. Obtain permits and purchase supplies: With all the details in hand, you can obtain any necessary permits and approvals to start work on your project. An accurate, dependable estimate can ensure this step goes off without a hitch, and you won’t need to spend time or money making corrections.

Top Site Survey Challenges and Solutions

Many signage professionals struggle to finish site surveys correctly and quickly, but the right resources and techniques can help you solve this task’s biggest challenges. Below are some common problems you might encounter when conducting surveys and potential solutions.

1. High Costs of Return Visits and Corrections

Most signage professionals jump at the chance to reduce costs without reducing quality. Improving your site surveys is an excellent way to do so. Every time you need to revisit a site or make corrections, you create more expenses, such as labor, fuel and equipment usage. Sometimes, you start from scratch, making your earlier site survey essentially useless.

Improved estimation can help reduce the percentage of projects that require a return visit. More efficient processes can even allow you to bid on more projects and boost your quote-to-win ratio.

Adding new technology often requires significant expenses, but estimation and surveying tools like Spike come at a low cost with a high return on investment. For example, the average cost of a sign job is about $5,000, but you can purchase the Spike solution for less than $500 with no additional maintenance. For less than the cost of one project or lost customer, you can vastly improve your site surveys and reap the benefits we’ve discussed, such as improved customer satisfaction and more bids, leading to a healthier bottom line.

2. Varying Jurisdictions and Codes

If you serve customers across multiple jurisdictions, you’ll have some homework to do. Some areas require permits in situations where others won’t. Others will need extra support for regional threats like earthquakes or hurricanes. Requirements like lighting, height restrictions and approved materials can vary widely. Local building codes may go hand in hand with requirements from the National Fire Protection Agency, while building activities will often require compliance with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Since different governments and authorities have diverse requirements, research them and stay abreast of any changes.

3. Accuracy and Efficiency

Accuracy and efficiency are non-negotiable components of a site survey. Without the right equipment, you may struggle to get accurate measurements or spend more time and money than you’d like on them. Inaccuracies can cause major headaches down the road, and inefficiency can hurt your profits and your ability to take on more jobs.

Set yourself up for success with laser measurement tools. Using sophisticated imaging technology, laser scanners can grab detailed measurements with an attachment for your smartphone or tablet. Our solution, Spike, also enables cloud connections, so you can automatically upload your images and access them later from a web browser.

Other tools you can use to boost accuracy quickly include drones and software. Drones can fly over a site and capture valuable images and data, while software can analyze the information and create reports.

4. Large-Scale Projects

Almost all sign companies offer surveys for their clients. Usually, this service is within their capabilities, but sometimes a more challenging project comes along, such as a pole sign, a multi-story sign or a pylon sign that requires bucket trucks or a team with ladders. These projects could become expensive or quickly overtake your capabilities. In these instances, ensure you have experienced professionals with equipment such as the Spike solution to help you do outstanding work for your clients.

Start Conducting Sign Site Surveys With Spike

Site surveys for signage projects are essential in ensuring the installation goes smoothly and the sign is as effective as possible. They have a pivotal role across an entire sign project and determine many aspects of its success. Information gathering is a significant part of the puzzle, and quality tools allow you to quickly take reliable measurements and photos with fewer resources.

Spike is a powerful measurement device that attaches to your smartphone or tablet to measure the site at the click of a button. It is lightweight and cloud-connected, so it’s easy to take along. Plus, ground-level capabilities allow you to take photos from the ground — no ladders or bucket trucks required, offering time savings of 40% or more on your site surveys. The International Sign Association even named Spike their Product of the Year. See why over 5,000 signage professionals trust Spike to support their site surveys by reaching out to us today!

icon Spike TV
Spike close up

About Spike

Case Study

Spike Stories: YESCO Reduces Survey...

For Ryan Cain, YESCO branch manager of the St. George, Utah office, conducting site surveys for signage work was traditionally an expensive process, … Continue reading "The Importance of Sign Site Surveys"

Special Offer

Spike ISA 2021 Members Only Sale

Celebrating six years of ISA Membership, seven years serving the sign and graphics industry, and over 50,000Spike users worldwide! Get the most valuable … Continue reading "The Importance of Sign Site Surveys"

Want to stay up to date on Spike news? Signup for the monthly Spike newsletter.

sign up
Spike Support

Please send us a message by filling out the form below and we will get back with you shortly.


WordPress Image Lightbox