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Lead Time

LEAD TIME (a.k.a. “turn-around time”)

How long will it take to receive my signs?

According to ASTO, the lead time for our signs is:

  • Standard MUTCD / DOT Traffic signs (regulatory, speed limit signs etc.):
    • slightly lower (faster) than the sign industry average for all traffic sign orders
    • Our traffic signs:
      • usually shipped within 2 to 3 business days
      • very large traffic signs and large orders often take longer
  • Custom signs:
    • considerably lower (faster) than the sign industry average*
    • * the national average for custom signs is 6 weeks to 3 months or more
    • Our custom signs
      • most are completed and shipped within 4 business days
      • very large orders are usually completed in about 4-5 weeks

Lead time is a combination of

1.  Designing and proof approval

  • Designing time applies to custom signs only; does NOT apply to standard traffic MUTCD/DOT signs which are already designed by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)
  • Proofs add time to the process, are optional and offered at NO ADDITIONAL CHARGE (please see below)
  • We can also prepare submittals of custom signs and traffic signs at NO ADDITIONAL CHARGE if desired (please see below)

2.  Manufacturing time

3.  Shipping time

  • Most orders (except extremely heavy or signs that exceed UPS’s maximum dimensions which are shipped via motor freight) are shipped via UPS
  • In addition to UPS Ground (the vast majority of our customers request this method), faster, more expensive “expedited” UPS shipping methods (3 Day Select, 2nd Day Air, Next Day Air etc.) are available

“Expedited Shipping” vs. “Manufacturing time”

  • We realize that whenever a customer pays the additional money for an “expedited” UPS shipping method, they “need the sign(s) yesterday!”
  • In most cases we are able to “RUSH” orders and ready for UPS to pick-up much faster than “normal” at NO ADDITIONAL CHARGE
  • However, if our production schedule will not allow us to “rush” orders, our “regular” manufacturing time remains the same
  • Therefore, “for the record”, we must state “Expedited shipping methods will not affect when your items ship”
  • In other words, we will TRY, whenever possible, to “Rush” manufacturing of all UPS expedited method shipment sign orders, but we CANNOT GUARANTEE that we can shorten our manufacturing time.


Additional info on the 3 “components” of the lead time

1. DESIGNING (custom signs only) and PROOF APPROVAL

  • The additional time required to design “simple”, text only custom signs is minimal; sometimes only a few minutes
  • More complex signs with logos, special symbols and multiple colors can add a few hours to the process.
  • If a customer selects “No” (on-line orders, or by phone orders) when asked if they desire a proofvia email (an image of the sign to review, make comments and approve before we proceed; “No Proof” recommended ONLY for simple, text only signs), we manufacture your signs without any additional delay
  • If, however, a customer selects “Yes” when asked if they desire a proof(always recommended for more complex custom signs, we email the proof (image of the sign) immediately after we design the custom sign, but there is often a delay before the customer gets back to us with their comments or approval.
  • If the proof is approved, we manufacture your signs without any additional delay
  • If, however, the customer desires changes, more time is required to re-design the sign, send the proof and wait for the customer’s approval or request for additional changes
  • There is NO CHARGE FOR THIS SERVICE (Proofs, revisions and changes are made at no additional cost). We, and our customers believe that the additional time needed to send / approve proofs and/or make revised proofs is worth it to receive EXACTLY the layout and design they desire.
  • Whereas MUTCD / DOT traffic signs (“Stop” signs, Speed Limit Signs, “Sidewalk Closed” etc.) signs are “standard” signs designed by the FHWA and approved by all 50 State Department of Transportation departments, there is not any time required for designing traffic signs
  • Likewise, there is usually no need to send proofs of traffic signs for approval. Some customers, however, need a proof / image of the standard traffic signs for their procurement process or any other reason. We can, however, also send proofs of traffic signs AT NO ADDITIONAL CHARGE.
  • Some customers also need SUBMITTALS which contains an image of the sign plus lists the materials used for approval by the local jurisdiction or end-user. We OFFER SUBMITTALS AT NO CHARGE


  • Standard Traffic Signs
    • We offer ALL of the 1000+ MUTCD / DOT approved traffic signs in all sizes (up to 5 different sizes, depending on the type) and in all 3 grades of reflective sheeting (Engineer Grade, High Intensity Prismatic and Diamond Grade). Some signs are available in Fluorescent Orange (road constructions signs) and Fluorescent Yellow-Green (school signs, pedestrian crossing and a few others).
    • Given the numerous different signs, sizes and sheeting options available, we offer OVER 9,000 “Standard” traffic signs; the largest selection of any sign shop
    • We would need a facility larger than Boeing or Detroit’s largest automobile manufacturing plant to stock a supply of each of these 9,000 products.
    • Consequently, we only stock a small handful of the most common sizes and grades of traffic signs.
    • The vast majority of the signs ordered by our customers must be made when an order is placed.
    • Smaller orders for traffic signs are usually completed and shipped within 1 to 3 business days.
    • Orders for large traffic signs and large order usually take a bit longer.
  • Custom Signs
    • “Simple”, “text only” signs in relatively small quantities are usually completed and shipped within 2 to 4 business days
    • Large signs, signs with special shapes or sizes, contain several colors or logos and special symbols take a bit longer.
    • Very large orders, including those that require more aluminum sign blank sizes than we keep in stock (and therefore additional aluminum must be ordered that can take several weeks to receive), can take 4-5 weeks to complete.


  • The vast majority of our signs are shipped via UPS
  • Most customers choose UPS GROUND; a very economical method for shipping signs
  • Other, faster, “expedited” UPS shipping methods are available including 3-Day Select, 2nd Day Air Saver, 2nd Day Air, Next Day Air Saver, Next Day Air and, for certain cities, Next Day Air Early AM.
  • Signs are heavy and large objects and therefore the cost of any of the UPS “expedited” shipping methods increase dramatically
  • We are located outside Las Vegas, Nevada. Consequently, many shipments to nearby locations including most of California, Arizona etc. arrive in one (1) day if shipped via UPS Ground. Any other expedited UPS shipping method is usually a “waste of money”
  • Shipments to most locations in the west and “west of the Mississippi” usually arrive within 2-3 days if shipped via UPS Ground (please refer to UPS’s “Ground Map” for estimated shipment time) and therefore UPS 3-Day Select is often a waste of money, but 2nd Day Air or Next Day Air might be options, but are expensive
  • Shipments to the extreme east coast often take up to 5 days to arrive if shipped via UPS Ground. For these locations, 3-Day Select or faster methods might be an option.
  • Although UPS is extremely reliable, they occasionally experience delays, usually due to adverse weather. UPS and ARA Signs cannot provide any relief for shipments delayed during transit.
  • Expedited methods usually eliminate any delays caused by UPS that are not weather related, but do not necessarily help during adverse weather.
  • As stated above, we will TRY (and are often able to do so) to “Rush” expedited shipping orders and shorten our manufacturing time, but on occasions our production schedule will not allow us to do so. Therefore, ‘for the record’, “Expedited shipping methods will not affect when your items ship”.
  • Extremely large and heavy orders, and all signs that exceed UPS’s maximum width X length dimensions are shipped via motor freight. Typically motor freight shipments are in transit for up to one week.
  • On some occasions, we are able to deliver signs to customers in the Las Vegas, NV and outlying areas using our truck
  • We can ship via FedEx or via the U.S. Postal Service, but the rate is usually higher
  • We can also ship using your UPS or FedEx account for billing purposes. There will therefore not be any charge for shipping on your invoice, but there will be a modest packaging fee.

Please click on the sign category images above to see the 9,000+ signs we offer