Top Property Managers Use This Tool to Keep Their Centers Looking Their Best
You work hard to create a great customer experience. The right tenants, well-maintained landscaping, and an attractive entrance pylon sign all help you create a great first impression. Curb appeal matters, right? Well there’s another important factor that you shouldn’t overlook and it may be the most critical if you want your retail center to look professional and attractive. It’s your tenants’ signage.
I can almost hear you now saying, “How can I control my tenants’ signs?” Well you can and you absolutely should. Not only will signage guidelines help you maintain the “look” you want for your center but they will also help prevent future disagreements with your tenants (and between your tenants).
These guidelines are called “tenant signage criteria.” The criteria document should be made as an exhibit in the tenant’s lease so that it is clear from the outset what the criteria are -- and also that the criteria are enforceable as part of the lease.
Effective tenant signage criteria anticipate problems before they happen, and explain the landlord’s perspective on all things signs with straightforward, clear-cut language. Your guidelines may address things like size, placement, materials, colors, and lighting.
Here are five keys to developing effective tenant signage criteria.
Details are key. Landlords must give precise parameters to tenants rather than general instructions. Often, this means providing measurements. For instance, instead of saying it’s OK for a tenant to have a sign in front of their building, the criteria should note specifically where in front of the building is OK and identify the acceptable dimensions for the sign. If landlords have specifications for letter sizes or colors, tenant sign criteria is the place to put them.
Law of the land – and of the landlord
Your rules aren’t the only rules that tenants need to follow related to signage. Make sure that your guidelines also adhere to local signage codes and regulations. Your locality may restrict things like size or hours the sign may be illuminated.
Coming and going
Of course many of the guidelines in a tenant signage criteria document will apply to when a new tenant is moving in and putting up their signs, but what happens when a store closes? Your signage criteria can spell out that the tenant will be responsible for removing signage and related parts if they close or move out of their space.
Keeping up appearances
Tenants should have a detailed understanding of your requirements for sign maintenance. And landlords should specify the required ongoing conditions of the signs. It may seem unlikely that a tenant would be willing to let their sign become rusted or faded, but a landlord must make sure it won’t happen.
Consider all the signs
Your signage guidelines shouldn’t just apply to permanent signage. Temporary signage like window clings, flags, banners, sandwich boards and inflatables are commonly used in retail but they may detract from your center’s appearance. Use your tenant signage criteria to outline how and when these signs can be used.
Just as a homeowner’s association creates neighborhood covenants for its residents to follow, your tenant signage criteria will help you and your tenants maintain the aesthetics of your property or community. Use your signage guidelines to prevent your center from looking like Times Square of the Vegas Strip but also remember to leave enough room for tenants to express their own brands and creativity.
--- Need help creating your tenant signage criteria document? Get our free checklist. ---
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About the author:
David Goodwin is the president of Ad Vice Studios, a Richmond, Va.-based marketing services and sign design company. David has built his career and his business collaborating with property managers, developers and architects to transform commercial properties into attractive destinations with unique brands and customer experiences.
Ad Vice Studios
David Goodwin is the president of Ad Vice Studios, a Richmond, Va-based marketing services company. David has built his career and his business collaborating with property managers, developers and architects to transform commercial properties into attractive destinations with unique brands and customer experiences.