Faceshields, An LED Sign Saver?

First let me explain what a faceshield is.

One of the ways to manufacture LED Signs is to put a piece of Acrylic or plastic in front of the the LEDs to seal the LED Sign. Take a look at this illustration:

LED Sign With Face Shield

LED Sign With Face Shield

Manufacturers who use this method of sealing their LED Signs tout it as protection against vandals. Is this true? Should you make sure you invest in LED Signs with a faceshield? Let’s think about it.

If you were a vandal would you spend your time in front of a sign that was flashing, blinking, and attracting the attention of the all the drivers going by? I think you would be more likely to spend your time in dark areas where you could cause your mischief unnoticed.

Out of all the LED Signs my company has sold we have NEVER received a report of one being vandalized. Not one.

If faceshields don’t really help to protect the LED Sign why use one? I have only come up with one answer: cheaper production. Soldering the LEDs directly to a circuit board and then sealing the whole thing with a faceshield is the least expensive way to manufacture an LED Sign.

That should result in a price break for the consumer but somehow it never seems to work out that way.

My company brokers LED Signs which means we can sell anybodies products. We will not sell LED Signs with faceshields and here is why:

LED Signs with faceshields seem to have more problems. This is just observation on my part, driving around my town and seeing which signs seem to have problems on a consistent basis. My guess is that faceshields are an inferior method of sealing LED Signs as I notice the most problems during inclement weather.

The next problem is that faceshield produce glare. As the sun shines on the face of the sign a certain amount of the light is reflected back, off the faceshield, at the observer which reduces the apparent brightness of the LEDs behind the faceshield. If there are LED Signs in your town, drive around and take a look at them. Compare the brightness of a sign with a faceshield and one without a faceshield **during the day** (pretty much all LED Signs look good at night as there is no daylight to ‘outshine’).

So, in my educated opinion, faceshields are not the way to go. Find a brand without a faceshield and you will be happier in the long run.

If you would like to read more information on LED Sign technology, I have written a ‘technology summary’ at hubpages.com/hub/LED-Signs-LED-Displays. Or just wait and I will write more in depth articles on the technology side of LED Signs here on this blog.

If you have questions you can always send them to me at keith*at*icatchdisplays.com (just replace the “*at*” with “@”).

Will LED Signs Increase Your Business?

If you have been considering investing in LED Signs or LED Displays you might have heard a sales pitch from a salesman already, promising massive increases in sales. I have heard sales people quote anywhere from 10% to 150% increases. The question you have to ask yourself is “will a set of LED Signs REALLY increase business”. After all, the salesman makes his living from selling.

As I have nothing to sell on this site and have no way of knowing who reads this blog you can trust the answer I am about to give you.

There are a certain number of people who drive by your business everyday. Lets refer to that number as X.

Of the people who pass your business a certain percentage will notice your business. Lets call that percentage Y.

Now for the last part of the equation. Of the number of people who notice your business, there will be a percentage who actually pull in and buy something from you. Let’s call that percentage Z.

There is nothing you can do to increase X, it is what it is. That is why businesses put themselves on the busiest streets they can afford to be on.

Let’s take a look at an example (these numbers are made up and only for the purpose of illustration):

  • Traffic Passing A Business Daily (X) : 5,000
  • Percentage Who Notice The Business (Y) : 10%
  • Percentage of Y Who Actually Buy Something (Z) : 20%

Okay, if we do the math ( (X * Y)*Z ) this is what we find:

(5000 * .1) * .2 = 100

That is 200 people of the 10,000 passing everyday who actually pull in and buy something.

This is where LED Signs come in. Imagine an LED Sign in front of this business blinking and flashing highly targeted sales messages to that traffice.

There are 2 things which will happen. More people will notice your business (increasing Y) and more people will pull in and buy something (increasing Z).

Let’s assume a 20% increase in Y (the people who notice the business) and a 10% increase in Z (the people who actually buy something) and then rework the formula from above:

(5000 * .3) * .3 = 450

That is an extra 350 people who pull in and buy something everyday or 10,500 per month.

Now here is the magic, if this hypothetical business owner leases the LED Signs and has a payment of $1200 a month, they only need the extra people to buy an extra $0.11 in profit for the sign to pay for itself.  Every penny or dollar of profit the additional people buying from the business spends is pure profit. After the five year lease is up, it all becomes profit.

Now, back to our original question: “will a set of LED Signs REALLY increase business”

The simple math says yes. The more you attract attention to your business, the more people will pull in and buy from you.

A Quick Follow-Up

Yesterday I wrote a blog post about how fast lube operators (oil change facilities) can use LED Signs to boost their car counts. I also wrote a similar articles on another site.

The content is similar but written in a slightly different way so maybe there will be some new nugget in there that will help you out. Here is the link:

Are You A Fast Lube Operator? You Need LED Signs!

Also don’t forget to check out my ‘commercial’ website which has a lengthy article on oil change facilities and LED Signs.

If you don’t own an oil change facility, there are some basic principals covered in my last post, my Hub Page, and my ‘commercial’ site which can be taken and used to help ANY business grow.

If you think you are interested in investing in Outdoor LED Signs, just follow that link to my commercial site and you can get lots of information or you can always email me at keith at icatchdisplays.com (just change where it says ‘at’ to ‘@’).

I will be back tomorrow with some brand new fresh content so keep your eyes peeled!

Do You Own A Fast Lube? LED Signs Are A Perfect Fit!

It has been a while since I posted but I have a good excuse…I have been sick. Not to worry everything is better now!


Today I am going to write a post about a specific industry: the fast lube industry. If you just a little bit of imagination I am sure you will be able to take this information and apply it to your particular industry.


I won’t name any specific ‘brands’ but I am sure you know what I am talking about, the places where you pull in and get you oil changed.


The economy is tough right now for everyone. People are spending less and going longer between oil changes. That means tough times for oil change facilities. Or does it?


The Perfect Industry For LED Signs


Oil change businesses are in a uniquely great position. Here is what I mean:


Everything Single Car That Passes Their Shop Is A Potential Client


That is huge. Very few businesses can make that claim.


The trick is diverting that traffic into the facility where they can capitalize on it. Many oil change businesses have an arsenal of advertising ‘tricks’ they use to try to boost their sales volume.


They will put out ‘Half Off’ coupons in the local papers. They will have a ‘Ladies Day’. They will put a dancing blow up thing in front of their shop. And on and on.


The problem is that people can bring in the coupon at a high volume time and demand ½ off tying up a bay that could be servicing a car at full price. The same thing can, and does, happen with ‘ladies day’. As for the inflatable dancing whatever, that is just tacky and makes the business look bad.


What these businesses really want to do is control WHEN they offer the specials. If the bays are all empty, put up a message that says ‘Bay Open – No Waiting” or “Half Price oil Change Ladies – No Waiting’.


I am sure you get the idea, don’t allow your ‘high volume full price’ times to be used by ‘half price’ customers. YOU need to control when those specials are available.


LED Signs put you in the perfect position to do that.   You can instantly create specials and you can instantly stop specials. Outdoor LED Signs allow you to have complete control of your pricing.


While you are at it why not advertise some of your hidden products and services such as wiper changes, radiator flushes, winterizing, etc. Remember, you can put out weather and season specific messages on your LED Sign. If it is raining, advertise wiper changes. Is it almost winter? Better advertise your winterizing specials!


LED Signs allow you display up-to-the-minute message to those hundreds or thousands of cars passing your facility.


If you would like to read a longer article on this topic, check out this link:


LED Signs for Fast Lube Operators

How To Increase Your Profit Margins Using LED Signs

I recently had a a prospective client tell me they were already doing as much business as they could handle. They said they didn’t have time for more work. Sounds like a good problem to have right?

Why would this person possibly want a business producing LED Sign  in front of their business bringing in more business when they are already swamped?

In their case the benefit is in changing the type of work they are doing.

Let me explain. This company is an fast lube/mechanic. They are currently doing a lot of engine and transmission rebuilds. I asked them if they had other types of work they would prefer to do, work that was less time consuming with a higher profit margin. They replied that they would prefer to do more, smaller jobs because there is a better margin and less time required.

From there the benefit for them became obvious to me (and probably you the reader as well). They could advertise their higher margin, less time consuming jobs on their LED Signs. That would drive in business for those jobs they would prefer to be doing. Suddenly they would find themselves in a position where they are making just as much or more money but they are working a lot less to make the money! Now that is a situation I would like to be in!

LED Signs allow you to ‘push’ the products and services you want. Using LED Signs you can increase your sales of your higher profit margin products and/or services.

Here is what I recommend you do:

  • Look at all of your offerings
  • Figure out which ones give you the best return/margin
  • Figure out which types of services or products you would PREFER to sell
  • Advertise those products and/or services on your LED Signs

If you do that you start finding yourself with the problem of having to much time and money!

For more information on LED Signs, visit my commercial site www.icatchdisplays.com.

Do You Have ‘Hidden’ Products or Services? Use Your LED Signs To Promote Them!

Many businesses have ‘hidden’ products and services. For instance, most people know fast lube store can change your oil but maybe you don’t know they can change your wipers, or flush your radiator, or check your exhaust. Likewise everyone know you go to a travel agent for tickets but not everyone knows you can also get trip insurance, or savings on bundled travel packages.

These are types of products and services are hidden, not everyone know you offer them.

So what can you do to let them know? Put them on your LED Signs!

Using Outdoor LED Signs For Promotion

When you are considering what to advertise on your LED Signs, ask yourself these 2 questions:

  • What products or services does everyone “know” I offer?
  • What related products or services might they not know about?

If you own a restaurant that is know primarily as a dinner destination, advertise your lunch specials. If you are a church, advertise your small groups. If you are an auto dealership, advertise your mechanic services.

I think you get the idea. You want to let the hundreds and thousands of people driving past your location know about everything you have to offer that they might not have known about.

Using Indoor LED Signs For Promotion

Okay, you have people in your business, now what? Use an indoor display to keep advertising to them! You have a fantastic window of opportunity as they walk to your front door and once they are in your store to let them know about your ‘hidden’ stuff.

The last thing you want is for a customer to leave your business to go somewhere else to get something you offer, especially if the only reason they don’t get it from you is because they don’t know you offer it!

Once they are in your store (or walking in to your store) keep hitting them with sales messages! Tell them about your specials. Tell them about sales. Tell them about all your hidden products. Never stop telling them. Like the saying goes: “The more your tell, the more you sell”!

You can read my post on Maximizing Sales With Indoor LED Signs to read more information.

Get Your Outdoor LED Signs & Displays – For Free?

I don’t know any business owner who would not like a set of free LED Signs, do you?

The problem is most companies want you to give them some money before they will give you LED Displays.

So how can you get them for free?

OPM – The Path To Free LED Signs

Okay, for those of you who don’t know, OPM stands for Other Peoples Money. If you can use someone elses money to pay for your LED Signs than allow the LED Signs to work for you generating additional income, they will pay for themselves and you will not have to use your own capital to pay for them.

The question you should be asking  now is:

How do I get someone else to pay the initial bill for my LED Displays

There are a few ways actually.

The first method is to get a loan from a bank.

The second method is to finance the cost through an equipment lease. These are usually a 3-5 year lease and at the end of the lease you pay $1 and you own the equipment.

There are quite a few advantages to leasing LED Signs and it is surprising how few business owners know those advantages. I am going to hit on a few of the advantages and disadvantages to leasing as well as one of the biggest things to watch out for.

Advantages to Leasing LED Signs & Displays

One of the biggest advantages comes from the IRS if you can believe it.  When you get equipment leases you are allowed to write off the entire amount of the lease in the first year. That can add up to a considerable tax savings. Of course you will want to talk to your tax consultant to make sure this applies to your business.

The second advantage is that it does not tie up your working credit or capital. You never know when you will need a little extra money so it is best to leave your working capital available for emergencies. Leasing does just that.

A related benefit is that leases are unsecured meaning you will not have to give up the deed to your house to secure the lease.

The third advantage to leasing is security. Because the funding comes from a third party you can be sure the company you buy from will deliver and install your LED Signs because they don’t get paid until you sign off on the job! You are in control. Also, companies don’t want to jeopardize their working relationship with the leasing company adding another layer of security for you.

Disadvantages to Leasing LED Signs & Displays

There is really only one disadvantage I am aware of, the interest rate.

Equipment lease have a higher interest rate than bank loans because they are unsecured making them riskier for the funding company. But don’t let that slow you down.

Remember, LED Signs generate revenue. They are a profit center. This is not like leasing a vehicle that will never increase your revenues. LED Signs generate business for you. As they bring in new customers or get old customers to spend more, they are paying for themselves.

What To Watch Out For

Some companies like to use leases as a way of increasing their profit on a deal. What they do is have the lease company add points to the deal. Here is an example of what I mean:

Actual Equipment Cost (Cash Price) – $15,000

Total Cost of Lease – $18,000

Cost of Lease with Points Added – $19,000

Additional Profit To The LED Sign Seller – $1,000

These are all arbitrary numbers I made up to illustrate what I meant by adding points.

Make sure you ask the company you are buying from if they are adding points onto the lease. They shouldn’t be. They have a right to a profit, but it should not be hidden in the lease, it should be in the equipment they are selling.

That about wraps it up. If you would like to learn more about the Advantages of  Leasing Electronic Signage, the Disadvantages of Leasing Electronic Signage or the Process of Leasing Electronic Signage you can click any of these links.

As always feel free to take a look at my business website to learn more about LED Signs and LED Displays.

Programming Your Monochrome LED Signs & LED Displays Effectively

Today I am going to spend some time on how to effectively program your Monochrome LED Signs and LED Displays.

There are two major categories for programming LED Signs, Color LED Signs and Monochrome LED Signs. Grayscale LED Signs follow the same basic rules as Color LED Signs.

The way you program Color LED Signs and Monochrome LED Signs EFFECTIVELY are different. If you want to get the most bang for your buck you need to be sure you are using the right techniques.

I will cover Color LED Signs in a later article.

Start With The Basics

This might seem to basic, but:

  • Make sure your whole message is visible

You would be surprised at how often I see LED Signs with letters clipped off. This not only reduces the effectiveness of your message but it makes your business look bad. Remember, not everybody is going to buy from you today so part of your purpose of your LED Sign is to create Top Of Mind Awareness (TOMA) so when they need your product or service they will think of you. If you have left a bad impression with them, they will not think of you the next time they need what you offer.

Next, make sure your message makes sense. Don’t be clever, be clear. Make your messages easy to read and understand. If your prospects can’t read and understand your message ** at a glance ** you have wasted a message and maybe lost a sale.

Mid Level Programming Steps

Your messages should be in ALL CAPS. You want to do this because it maximizes the size of the letters on your display which maximizes the readability of your message. Burn into your brain right now that your main objective is to get your messages read and understood. Anything you do with your LED Signs needs to be done with this in mind.

The next thing to do is use the boldest font you can and still fit your message on the LED Sign. Just like with the last tip this is to maximize your readability and hence your effectiveness.

Which font is best? I can’t give you the name of a specific font to use because people have different fonts on their computers. What I can do is give you some guidelines for selecting which font you will use.

First, NEVER use a script font. These are almost always hard for your prospects to read. Remember, make your messages clear and understandable for your prospects.

Second, use a Sans Serif font. Arial Black is an example of a Sans Serif font and Times New Roman is an example of a Serif font. I recommend this because it adds a slight edge to readability.

Third, make sure your messages stay up long enough to be read but not for to long. The rule of thumb I use is: read the message out loud, if you can read the message before the frame changes, it has been up long enough.

Top Level Programming Steps

To scroll or not to scroll, that is the question.

I personally recommend staying away from scrolling messages unless they are absolutely necessary to get the whole message out. Here is why. Can you read the following:

Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at an Elingsh uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht frist and lsat ltteer is at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae we do not raed ervey lteter by it slef but the wrod as a wlohe.

The human mind is an incredible computer and can figure things out faster than you would believe. Scrolling a one line message will take longer than using 3 lines to display the same message all at once. For the same reason your able to read the scrambled paragraph above your prospects will be able to read a message at a glance.  That means you will be able to get more messages in front of your propsects by NOT scrolling messages.

Make sure you include Time/Temperature and community messages. These types of messages are what train your prospects to look at your sign every time they pass. Obviously they have to read your sales messages while they wait for the time/temp and community messages. You should have a mix of (1) time/temp, (1) community message, and 6-8 sales messages.

To Sum Up

Here are my programming tips in a list (this is for the Anal Retentive people like me):

  1. Make sure the whole message is visible
  2. Make your messages clear and concise
  3. Use ALL CAPS
  4. Use a bold Sans Serif Font
  5. Do NOT use a script font
  6. Make sure your message is up long enough to be read
  7. Avoid scrolling messages
  8. Mix in time/temp and community messages

There it is, my top 8 programming tips.

If you would like to see some well programmed LED Signs and LED Displays check out these links:

If you would like more information on Outdoor Monochrome LED Signs, just click the link!

If you have any questions please leave a comment and I get you an answer.