Sign Permitting

Why You Need a Sign Permit (And How to Get One)

One of the first steps to success that a new businesses needs to take is posting a sign to tell the world they are open. But what may seem like a simple process takes considerable planning– and not just in the design of the sign itself, but in obtaining a permit to install the sign in the first place. 

Securing a sign permit can be time-consuming and complicated. And since only licensed contractors are able to pull sign permits, our team of sign permitting experts will explain why a sign permit is required, all the necessary steps to getting one, and how we can help make the process a breeze.

Sign Permits Are A Requirement

New business owners who want to let everyone know where they are and what they are about will immediately want to install a sign. Your sign is the most prominent and conspicuous way to let people know your location and that you are available for business. 

However, exterior commercial sign projects are subject to a city or a town’s planning division or the body that awards permits. Interior signs, alternatively, are not subject to such restrictions and can be installed whenever you would like. 

Plans for commercial signs need to be submitted to the city offices. Every city has a different timeline for awarding permits. Some permits are approved during a quick one-hour session, while others require several meetings. 

Cities have the authority to make drastic changes to their sign programs, which can affect your sign’s fabrication, as well as costs. It is for this reason that many sign companies will not begin work on your sign until the sign permit has been secured. 

The sign permitting process should begin as early as possible to allow for plenty of time for approval of your permit. 

Filing an Application with City Offices

Each city has different requirements for sign permit applications, which may include any or all of the following: 

  • A paper sign application is usually necessary unless the city allows for digital submissions. 
  • Complete elevations, a site plan, and fabrication plans for the sign are also typically a part of the application process. 
  • Energy documentation forms, which are usually provided by your state, may also need to be submitted with the application. 
  • Proof of ownership of the property or written approval from the building owner will be needed in order to obtain a sign permit. 
  • Materials lists, structural calculations, and other engineering details of your unique design will also be required.  
  • Some projects will also call for a deposit, such as a “public works” deposit to install a sign over a public right of way and a hazard deposit to cover any potential damage during the installation. In most cases, these deposits will be returned to you later.

Project Review

Once the application has been submitted, the plans will be distributed to all of the necessary city departments, who will then assign a staff member to the project.

Each staff member performs their independent review and then submits that information to the primary contact in the planning department, who is responsible for addressing comments and resubmitting the revisions you make. 

This process will continue to go around in circles until each department’s comments have been addressed.

Approval and Inspections

After the city departments have given their feedback on the project, the sign company will be notified, final fees will be calculated, and the city will prepare the paperwork to award the permit. 

Once approved, the sign is ready to be built and installed. The city will send a staff member to conduct a final inspection after installation to make sure the plan has been properly implemented and that the sign meets the building’s health and safety codes. 

The city inspector will then sign off on the permit, which will need to be located at the sign installation location. As the sign owner, you are required to keep this paperwork on-site so that the inspector can see it when they need it.

Hire a Professional

If the sign permitting process seems overwhelming, it is because it can be. And in California, neither tenants nor building owners may obtain sign permits. Only licensed sign contractors are able to pull sign permits. 

Lucky for you, this complicated and burdensome process does not need to be your worry. Starfish Signs & Graphics are licensed sign contractors who will take care of the entire sign permitting process for you. Our team handles the process from start to finish by preparing drawings and permit applications, pulling any necessary permits, and scheduling final inspections. 

“We place a high priority on obtaining permits quickly and as submitted,” says Laura Reilly, Owner, Starfish Signs & Graphics. “We are very prepared when we go to get a city permit. We research the city requirements, then carefully prepare a detailed sign package. We strive to have a professional relationship with all city employees. Our goal is to get the permit quickly and without problems.”

We have experience pulling permits in most major southern California cities. And our long track record of success in expeditiously obtaining permits, even in difficult situations, will ease any concerns you may have about your rush project or historical property. 

Getting a Sign Permit Requires Patience

Getting your sign permit is just one of the many hoops that you will find yourself jumping through to run a successful business. At Starfish Signs & Graphics, we are experts in the matters of sign permitting and installation. We will take care of the sign permitting process and make sure your sign meets the standards and requirements of every governing body. 

Skip the hassle and contact our team of experts to handle your sign permitting process.