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Franchise Deep Dive: FASTSIGNS Franchise Costs, Fees, Profit and Data

The 750-plus-unit sign and printing brand offers an easy runway to ownership, with reduced first-year royalties and lower fees for veterans and first responders.

LAST UPDATED: December 21, 2022

FRANCHISE WEBSITE: https://www.fsfastsigns.com › own-a-fastsigns

NUMBER OF LOCATIONS: 750+

REPORTED COST TO GET IN: $96,906 – $324,489

REPORTED ROI (Item 19): $121,187 


FASTSIGNS has been a prominent player in the franchising space for over 35 years, offering graphics, signage and printing solutions to consumers in 10 countries across the globe. Businesses in all industries rely on the services provided by FASTSIGNS owners to help market, advertise and communicate their messaging. The company’s largest competitors in the space are PostNetProforma and Signarama.

How Many FASTSIGNS Locations Are There?

The brand’s 2022 Franchise Disclosure Document reports that as of December 31, 2021, FASTSIGNS had 760 locations around the world, 89 of which were in other countries and 671 domestically in the United States. Of the 648 U.S. units that were in continuous operation throughout the calendar year, 604 were "Full Service" centers, 15 were "satellite" locations, and 29 of the franchises were "Co-Brand" units. 

The largest concentrations of FASTSIGNS are in Texas (16%), California (10%) and Florida (9%), according to Rentech Digital. These states have a location for every couple hundred thousand residents. Houston is the city with the most franchise units in the U.S. 

FASTSIGNS was founded in Texas in 1985 and began franchising the following year. The brand has grown its operations significantly since then, expanding to international reach in 1991 and now offering services in Canada, the U.K., the Cayman Islands, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Chile, France, Spain and Australia (operations are under the brand name Signwave.)

The system continues to add locations each year, but the rate of growth has slowed. VettedBiz data shows FASTSIGNS added 31 locations in 2019, 24 in 2020 and 2021. There were also 26 locations closed over that three-year period.

In 2003, the brand was purchased by private equity firm Roark Capital Group, and in 2014, FASTSIGNS was acquired by Levine Leichtman Capital Partners. 

What is the FASTSIGNS Business Model?

FASTSIGNS has three models, two of which are currently available for franchisees to invest in and open. The main difference between the two models is the location, size and scope of product offerings available at each.  

  • “Full-Service” Center:  A standalone FASTSIGNS business with production equipment. This are the most popular type of agreement the brand does.
  • “Satellite” Center: These FASTSIGNS units do not have any production equipment, and are a complementary business for owners of “Full-Service” centers. They are no longer a franchise option.
  • “Co-Brand” Center:  These are complementary businesses that operate inside of another retailer. 

How Much Can FASTSIGNS Franchise Owners Make?

The financial performance representations in FASTSIGNS’ 2022 FDD list the system-wide gross sales for the 648 U.S. units that were in continuous operation throughout the previous calendar year, as well as for the 604 “Full-Service” centers only. 

Average Gross Sales: 

  • All Centers: $879,944
  • “Full Service” Centers Only: $904,213
  • Performing At or Above Average: 209 units

In the FDD’s Item 19, the brand also states that 301 FASTSIGNS franchisees provided expense data that lists out profits and losses and gives an estimate of what the average owner pockets at the end of the year. These figures are based on the gross sales average of that group, which is $1,063,802.

Expenses:

  • Costs of Goods Sold:  $307,908
  • Labor Expenses (including Franchisee Principal):  $381,753
  • Advertising Expenses:  $32,678
  • Auto Expenses:  $12,795
  • Facility Expenses:  $57,949
  • Equipment Expenses:  $9,080
  • General and Administrative Expenses:  $140,452

After these costs, this leads to an average EBITDA of $121,187, which is 11.4% net profit of sales.

How Much Does it Cost to Open a FASTSIGNS?

The estimated total investment necessary to begin operations of a FASTSIGNS location ranges from $96,906 to $324,489, depending on the type of franchise agreement that is signed and what model the investor chooses. 

  • “Full Service” Center: $234,317 – $324,489
  • “Co-Brand” center: $96,906 – $217,367
  • Conversion: $108,523 – $236,951

The following are part of the upfront costs included in the initial investment, as detailed in Item 7 of the FDD. It is a range for all three models:

  • Leasehold improvements: $7,383 – $46,085
  • Furniture and fixtures: $8,645 – $11,593
  • Deposits:$0 – $5,000
  • Telephone and networking: $0 – $6,080
  • Decor and graphics: $1,897 – $1,947
  • Tools and supplies: $0 – $9,121
  • Production equipment: $0 – $62,745
  • Commercial display: $1,496 – $1,618
  • Computer: $3,383 – $5,108
  • Signage: $250 – $4,798
  • Inventory: $350 – $2,370
  • Engineering: $0 – $6,700
  • Advertising: $10,500 – $14,500
  • Travel and lodging: $2,300 – $11,865
  • Administrative supplies: $383 – $2,307
  • Licenses and permits: $0 – $730
  • Insurance: $569 – $1,471
  • Professional fees: $0 – $8,700
  • Additional funds: $10,000 – $70,000

Ongoing Costs and Fees include:

  • Reduced initial royalties: FASTSIGNS requires owners to pay 3% of gross sales as a royalty to the brand for the first year of operations; all following years will have a 6% royalty.
  • Sliding fees: For the first year of operations, franchisees pay a 6% Service Fee and 2% Ad Fee. The rate for each year after will be based on gross sales from the prior year; fees go down as sales increase.

What is the Franchise Fee for FASTSIGNS?

The franchise fee to open a FASTSIGNS is the same for all models and types of centers, regardless of “Full Service,” “Co-Brand” or a conversion. New franchisees pay $49,750 to FASTSIGNS to get started.

FASTSIGNS is part of the International Franchise Association’s VetFran Program and offers a 50% reduced franchise fee of $24,875 for veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces and First Responders.

Who is the Leadership of FASTSIGNS?

What Helpful Articles Can I Read to Learn More About FASTSIGNS?


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