Owning a small business is an exciting venture and one that requires a lot of energy and resources. Even if you’re lucky enough to secure grants to help your business develop and grow, upfront costs can still add up well above what might have been originally budgeted. Therefore, you need to pinch every penny you have, especially when advertising your business to the public.
In general, you can place a yard sign ad for your business outside your home. However, every state and even city ordinance is different regarding yard signs or signage of any kind on public or private property. It’s best to check with your local government, and home owners association, to determine those rules and regulations for signage.
Billboards and ads in the newspaper or a magazine can undoubtedly put a dent in your wallet. A simpler and more cost-effective option could be to put a yard sign ad for your business outside your home, but what are the legalities? Let’s look at what criteria you may consider when developing an ad sign to place outside your home.
Again, it cannot be stressed enough that any rules and regulations your city may have on ads or signage outside your home are based on city ordinances. The great thing about that is that a simple search engine inquiry, and all that information can be accessed. It may differ slightly from state to state or city to city, but typically you will come across similar overall criteria.
Here are some factors you will want to consider when creating an ad for your business to be placed outside your home:
- Private property versus rented property
- Size of the sign
- Placement of the sign
Let’s delve deeper into each topic to understand what kind of ad signage is appropriate.
1. Private Property Versus Rented Property
Most cities will have different rules regarding signs or advertisements based on if the property you are placing them on is rented or private. Most residents are private property, so homing in on that (no pun intended), you can place an ad outside your home if you have the consent of the person or persons who own the property.
Consent is necessary if you are renting a home or apartment. If you are renting a home, it takes a simple call or email to your landlord to ask permission to place an ad outside the home, according to city ordinances. If you do not request authorization, the homeowner has the right to take down the advertisement at any time and without notice. If you have a homeowner’s association your property is a part of, you may also have to contend with their rules and regulations.
Similar to renting a home, if you rent an apartment, your building may have specific rules for what can or cannot hang outside your door, be it in the hallway of the building or outside your window. This information can typically be found in your lease agreement, but contact the company that owns the property and request permission when in doubt. Again, the building owners have the right to remove or request the removal of any signage that has not been approved. If any consequences were laid out in your lease agreement, they might also impose fines.
2. Size of the Sign
The sizing of your sign that is permissible may be different from state to state or city to city. Check your local government ordinances to determine the size limitations before creating your sign on a site like Placeit.net. Typically, there is no regulation for a minimum size, but there will be a cap on maximum size.
Seattle, for example, states that a sign may not exceed eight feet in surface area. More specifically, the sign can be no more than 36 inches in height (measured from the street or driveway) and no more than 24 inches in height (measured from the street or driveway) if it is located within 30 feet of an intersection. It’s crucial to abide by these restrictions to avoid citations from the city.
3. Placement of the Sign
Once you look up your city ordinances on signage on private property, it will likely dictate the sign’s approved placement(s) outside your home. Referring to yard signs specifically, the majority of the time, the regulations will say that signs are to be placed in the planting strip of your property. Regulations may dictate a different placement if you want to get more creative and create a flag advertisement.
There are also criteria for how you place the sign. For a flag, they may require that you pose it in a stationary flagstaff on your home. In the case of a yard sign, they may have restrictions on how deep you can place the support stakes. In Seattle, for example, the support stakes may go no deeper than one foot into the ground.
One of the biggest concerns for ad signage and why there are regulations on size and placement is safety. Now, you may be wondering how a simple ad sign could present any risks of danger, but be assured, the rules are there for a reason. Most regulations will request that any signage you place outside your home must not obstruct pedestrian mobility or interfere with traffic mobility.
Pedestrian mobility means that individuals should be able to walk by your home or up to your front door without a sign encroaching their path. Sign placement is especially poignant at night when pedestrians have less visibility to see the sign. Traffic mobility means that vehicles and other modes of transportation must be able to pass your property without your sign interfering in their ability to see traffic lights or signs or their ability to maneuver about on the street or up and down your driveway.
In the end, it is worth a couple of minutes of research to find out what your city allows in order for you to take advantage of this inexpensive method of advertising your business. Be sure to get all parties involved, including owners and home associations, to avoid penalties.