Frequently Asked Questions
Take a look below at our FAQ section. Alternatively, please give us a call and we will be happy to help.
1. What makes Signs Express different to other franchises?
Signs Express is a franchise opportunity that stands out from the crowd, setting us apart from any other signs franchise business in the UK and Ireland.
Here a just some of things that make us different:
- Fully UK owned and run company with a dedicated UK support centre to match
- Entire franchise fee of £20,000 re-invested in to all start-ups
- 25 years of experience within franchising
- 47% higher turnover than an independent sign company
- Group buying discounts via preferred suppliers
- Minimum of 10,000 businesses within our territories
- National and local marketing activities from a team of experts
- On average our franchisees stay with us over 10 years
2. How does the franchising model work?
Business format franchising is the granting of a license by one person (the franchisor) to another (the franchisee), which entitles the franchisee to trade under the trade mark/trade name of the franchisor.
As a franchisee you make use of an entire package, comprising all the elements necessary to establish a previously untrained person in the business and to run it with continual assistance on a predetermined basis. Signs Express is a management franchise opportunity, which means that as a franchisee you are required to manage the running of your own business within the guidelines and adherence of the Signs Express franchise system.
For further information please visit our franchise opportunities section.
3. How do I apply?
We are expanding our network and looking for motivated individuals to join our lucrative industry. If you are interested in finding out more contact us and fill in a short enquiry form. Our dedicated franchise recruitment team will be in touch to answer all of your questions and find out about you.
4. What is the recruitment process?
After receiving your enquiry form, we’ll be in touch to determine if there is an available territory or a business for sale within your chosen area. This is also a chance for us to answer any initial questions you may have as well as us finding out more about you, your background and what’s drawn you to enquire. We will also ask for a up-to-date CV at this stage.
From here, we will invite you to attend a Discovery Day at our Franchise Support Centre in Norwich, UK. Held on the 3rd Thursday of every month, a Discovery Day offers you an in-depth view in to Signs Express, our opportunities and is a fantastic chance for you to meet the dedicated UK team and hear about our comprehensive support services.
After a discovery day, providing both parties wish to proceed, we will then ask you to complete a personality test and follow-up telephone interview. We understand this is a big decision and as such, then give you the opportunity to meet some of our existing franchisees in their centres.
You will then be asked to sign a letter of intent, giving you an exclusivity period on your chosen territory, while you conduct your due-diligence. We will help you create a comprehensive business plan, look at funding options and units along with you working with a franchising solicitor, to advise your on our Franchise Agreement, which needs to be signed prior to you attending our training course and ultimately, opening you centre!
Be sure to contact us if your chosen area is taken as a franchisee may decide to sell their business if there is interest from a third party. We also have a few areas where the franchisee is looking to retire or change their lifestyle after building up the business, please visit our franchise opportunities page to find out more.
5. How long does it take from signing to opening the centre's doors?
This is a difficult question to give a definitive answer on as this is dependent on finding satisfactory premises for a new centre and your own plans for establishing the business. After the initial training course, your light industrial unit will be fitted out, staff recruited and the business established.
On average this takes around three months but can be more or less depending on individual circumstances.
6. I already have an existing business but I want to expand, are there still opportunities?
Absolutely! In addition to our standard greenfield or resale franchise packages, we also have a re-brand opportunity enabling you to expand your existing business with the recognised and trusted Signs Express brand.
We understand no two businesses are the same, so work with you on a bespoke re-branding package. Please contact us for more details.
Rewards & Benefits
7. What profit levels should be expected?
After you have enquired and spoken with our franchise recruitment team, we will provide you with an illustration of projected budget figures, based on an average centre. Signs Express is a proven business formula and we have very high levels of success. These figures are provided as a guide, with many franchisees often exceeding projected levels, but your success will ultimately depend on your hard work and enterprise.
For more information please contact us for a prospectus.
8. What are the benefits of becoming a franchisee rather than starting a standalone business?
As a franchisee you are able to combine national best practice with local ownership. Customers will understand you will be offering the best possible value for money and service – although you be your own boss, running your own business, you are part of a much larger national franchise company.
Benefits of joining a franchise include:
- Proven Business Model: You don’t have to come up with a new idea – someone else has already tried and tested the business formula. Signs Express has been established since 1989 and has over 65 franchise territories allocated throughout the UK & Ireland. Click here to find out more about Signs Express.
- Recognised Brand: Larger, well-established franchise operations like Signs Express have national advertising campaigns and a solid trading name for brand presence and recognition. Read how you can get a share of 1000’s of leads here.
- Training Course: 95% of our existing franchisees had no prior sign making experience. Good franchisors will offer comprehensive training programmes in sales and indeed all business skills. Signs Express holds an initial four week training course for all new franchisees but also regularly organises training for franchisees and their staff.
- Supplier Discounts: Signs Express has excellent supplier relationships and can help negotiate good discount levels for franchisees. In fact, we save our franchisees over £2M a year on vinyl alone!
- Dedicated UK Support Team: An experienced support team at our Franchise Support Centre, act like extra members of staff for your business, skilled in business areas like operations, accounts, business development, IT, technical support, sales and marketing.
- Comprehensive Marketing: Dedicated marketing and PR support team focused on marketing strategy and planning to ensure Signs Express and all 65 centres, remain the market leading sign company in the UK and Ireland. They work with you to tailor make campaigns – locally and regionally
9. How much investment is needed?
We’re investing our franchise fee of £20k into all new franchisee’s businesses (both greenfield and premium sites) making the start up costs for establishing your own Signs Express significantly more affordable.
This, along with supplier discounts we’ve negotiated, means that start up costs are just £45k + working capital. For further and more detailed information please visit our Rewards & Investment section.
If you are interested in buying an existing centre, your level of investment will vary dependent on the asking price. Visit our dedicated resales page to find out more.
10. What fees are involved?
For all new centres, a franchisee fee of £20,000 is paid and is something we actually invest straight back in to your business in order to help you hit the ground running from day one.
Those purchasing an existing centre will pay the agreed upon price for the centre, plus a £8.5K transaction fee and half our Signs Express Ltd legal fees associated with the sale.
Once your centre has launches, or re-launched, you will pay a monthly management service charge fee of 7.5% of your turnover and a 1.5% national promotional fund levy. Visit the Rewards & Investment section for more information.
11. What does the national promotional fund levy cover?
Our national promotional fund is a dedicated marketing fund held in a separate, audited account. This fund is used for all marketing activities focused on building our brand, generating business and providing our franchisees with practical day to day support. For example, online marketing activities such as national, regional and local pay per click advertising are all managed and coverage by the NPF fund.
In an ever moving market place we continually adapt our marketing approaches to maintain and grow our market position
12. Who is best to contact for financial or legal advice?
Before going ahead with a franchise, you should always seek legal advice from a franchise specialist to ensure you are happy with all parts of the franchise agreement. We can recommend some to you or alternatively you can visit the British Franchise Association website or Irish Franchise Association website to find recommended franchise solicitors. Signs Express is also well known to all of the franchising departments of major banks, visit our Rewards & Investment section to find out how this can help you.
Training & Support
13. What training and support is available?
Signs Express offers excellent training and support in all areas you will need to know to successfully run a Signs Express centre. Each franchisee receives a three-week training course when they first join us and are then regularly invited to attend training sessions and regional meetings to ensure all our franchisees are kept up-to-date with developments within the industry as well as business skills and practices.
With a dedicated team of 20 individuals based at our Franchise Support centre, we assist with ongoing support and advice in all areas of the business. Visit our training and support section to find out more.
14. How many staff are needed to set up?
When the business first starts, you will employ an experienced sign maker who is generally referred to as your ‘number 1’. Signs Express will help you advertise, review CV’s and interview suitable candidates alongside you.
Generally, in month 4 of a new centre, you will then employee a senior sign maker / fitter and finally in month 16, a junior sign maker / fitter. You will also hire a part-time book-keeper to work approximately one day a week.
Franchisees do not need sign industry experience as sign makers carry out the majority of manufacturing work; although training is provided to give you an understanding of the industry during the Signs Express training course.
Franchisees are required to manage the running of the business and will be involved in all aspects of promoting the business, especially within the start up period.
As the business gets more established, franchisees often take on more sign making staff and the Franchise Support Centre can advise on when and how this process should take place. Hear from our franchisees about their experiences here.
15. Is sign experience essential?
No. In fact,95% of our existing franchisees had no experience of the sign industry before joining. As a management franchise you will employ experienced sign makers to carry out work, whilst you manage and promote the business.
As part of our training programme you will also be given an overview of all aspects of the sign making trade so that you are able to confidently talk to customers. Visit our franchise opportunities section to find out more.
16. What is the sign industry like?
The market for signs and graphics is very buoyant and growing year on year as more businesses realise the importance of image and first impressions, with us seeing over 400 signs a day on average. Signs are used in all walks of life and can be temporary or permanent depending on client needs.
Signs Express provides a one-stop shop to businesses of all different sizes and industry types – from a single van to a national re-brand coordinated via our national accounts department. Every single business needs signs from shops to schools, hospitals to offices, the market place for signage is truly vast.
There are a wide variety of materials available and Signs Express has excellent supplier relationships to achieve preferential discount structures to ensure the best value and service for our customers. For more information visit the British Sign & Graphics Association website or contact us.