What every Pub Owner or Operator needs to know before buying an LED Sign

Running a Pub is a tough business these days. COVID restrictions and lockdowns, staff shortages and a general lack of desire for people to go out,  means publicans have to fight hard for every dollar they earn.

LED Signs are a fantastic addition to any Pub. Colourful and bright displays always attract attention and can make a big difference in the restricted markets most publicans work in. Taking the time to understand more about your LED Signs options before you purchase will help you make a smart decision to benefit your business.

1. Getting a Return on Your Investment

No pub owner or operator wants to waste money on things that don’t deliver a return. The good n

ews is that LED signs have proved their worth repeatedly over the years. They are so much better than the common old lightbox because, unlike a lightbox, they can provide an immediate message.

Having “Tuesday $12 Steak Night” blazing out on your LED screen, turns your once a month customer into a fortnightly customer. Promoting your live band gigs,  your meat raffles, or simply displaying an image of an ice-cold, gold schooner on a scorching day, drives people into your venue.

Screens that scroll through images also let people know your Pub is alive and an exciting place to visit.

In our experience, a well-placed LED screen can easily pay for itself within 18 months.

2. Can my Message be Seen?


LED signs abound along almost every business street or main thoroughfare these days; some big, some small. Some clear, some a little blurry. You want your sign to be clear. Not all LED signs (of the same size) are created equal. There are a number of factors that influence the quality and impact of your LED sign, including:

Screen resolution

Screen resolution is defined as the number of dots (pixels) that are on the sign. This is an important factor in how clear your images are to th

e viewer. The more dots (pixels) you can get per square metre the better the image.

In general, P6 or 6mm between the pixels is appropriate for most Pub LED Signs.


LED signs are not big TV’s. They are bright. Very bright. Up to 5x times the brightness of the brightest television screen.

Brightness on modern displays is rated in ‘nits’.

When your sign needs to be seen outside all year round, at any time of the day, then you will need at least an 8000 nits screen. By comparison, even the brightest big TV’s top out at around 2000 nits.

All LEDs become dim over time. If you start off with a really bright screen then it will still be nice and bright 5 years from now. If you start with an average brightness then the screen might look a bit dull in 5 years’ time.


Like real estate, it’s all about location, location, location when it comes to getting bang for buck from an LED sign.

Be super particular with where it goes. Physically investigate your location and visualise your sign. Understand your traffic flow and maximise the number of eyeballs that can comfortably view it. This is where a supplier with real life experience of placing these signs can be a boon to you. Lean on them because they will consider all the constraints that come with a particular site – power, install costs, ‘seeability’, regulations, etc. A competent display signage company  will understand this valuable information.


3. Regulations and Rules

Oh dear, you can’t escape it sorry! There is no part of a Publican’s life that isn’t impacted by government regulations and rules. Unfortunately, signs are no exception.

Unless you are replacing a similar sized sign you will need to submit a development application to your local Council.

If you have the opportunity to replace an existing sign, it can be a smart move.  Even if it’s smaller or located elsewhere, replacing a current sign often eases local Council restrictions.

4. Sign Limitations

If this is your first time purchasing and installing an LED sign, it is important to understand that your sign will always come with some constraints such as:

  • How fast you can change images
  • You can’t use video
  • How bright it will display at night and,
  • How many hours it can be running

Be considerate of your neighbours, especially residential ones, and make sure a light sensor is a part of the installation so you can dim the sign on dark nights.

5. Displaying Messages

The purpose of an LED sign is to get your messages in front of your existing and potential customers.

Creating the messages and then uploading them on the screen has to be dead easy. This is where your content management system (CMS), comes in.

A content management system provides a simple way to upload images and text into your screen; it’s essentially good editing software that converts to the shape of the screen (often not the same as a computer), so the message fills the appropriate screen dimensions.

You also need to develop a great scheduling routine to (for example) ensure your Friday Happy Hour messages turn up, on time, Friday lunchtime.

Finally, you and your staff need to be able to access this technology wherever and whenever it is convenient for you. Preferably not on one computer stuck in the back corner of the pub!

A secure and smart content management system always available from the internet is the best. You can see what is on the sign at any time OR get your staff to log in and upload new images.

6. Quality and Support

Your time is money and a blank sign is most definitely lost money. The last thing you want is to be tangled in problems with the LED sign. Smart operators avoid that as much as possible.

There is an LED sign retailer on every street corner in some countries around the world. Yes, you can get a bargain but tread carefully.


What sort of warranty is provided?

1 year suggests a dud. Look for a minimum of 2 years and ideally 5 years. Be sceptical of 10-year warranties unless the supplier offers guaranteed supply of parts for 10 years.

Experience and Track Record

Look for a supplier with a track record. A provider who has completed multiple pub installations and is prepared to name the locations and the publican so you can talk directly to them.

As a publican, you are most likely, a realist. You understand that problems can occur with LED signs – they are complex electronic beasts.

However, you can definitely minimise the cost and grief of any problems by purchasing your LED sign from a supplier you can trust. Someone who will respond and be pro-active.


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