Do you need a permit for your outdoor banner?

Posted by Craig Zola on May 7, 2019

BannerWhen you’re promoting a special event, launching a product, or just getting eyes on your storefront, few advertising methods are as effective as a large outdoor banner.

Of course, you can’t just hang a banner wherever you want. Unless you own the property (and sometimes even when you do), hanging a banner in public will likely need approval from higher authorities. The purpose of this blog post is to provide a high-level overview of what to consider before designing and printing (and, most importantly, displaying) your banner.

When do you need a banner permit?

The first question you’ll have to ask is “do I own the building, fence, light pole, or other infrastructure where the banner will hang?” If the answer is yes, you might not need a banner permit (so long as your banner doesn’t exceed a certain size). However, if you have a local homeowners association, historic district designation, or similar independent regulatory organization, you may need to consult with them first. Depending on local codes, you still may need a permit for your banner — even if you own the building.

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If you want to mount your banner on public buildings, infrastructure, or land, you’ll need approval first. In some instances, local codes will prohibit banners and signs outright, but you can acquire a sign variance for special events.

Rules regarding what constitutes public use will vary among different municipalities. In many instances, the city may levy fines against your business for illegally displaying your banner, and reclaiming your banner if it’s taken down can be difficult. It’s always best to check with city hall before putting up your banner.

What you need to know before applying for a permit: a short checklist

𝤿 Size — The dimensions of your banner may influence the amount you pay for permitting (or whether you need a permit at all).

𝤿 Dates — In some instances, the dates you’ll be promoting with your banner matter. A lot of cities have specific codes that relate to holiday events, and your permitting process may change based on these local restrictions. In many instances, the city will regulate how long you can have a promotional banner or sign on display as well.

𝤿 Location — The placement of your sign or banner may affect the permit you need. Of course, the address where you plan on mounting your banner matters, too.

𝤿 Installation method — If you are using public infrastructure to display your banners (a light post, for example) you’ll want to make note of that as part of your application.

𝤿 Design — Some places won’t allow businesses to advertise on their banners, others will take objection to certain visuals. After all, your banner should be pleasing to the wider community. Having your design in hand will prevent miscommunication down the road. Also, be sure to source good quality banner materials to ensure you have the best visual effect.

Permitting restrictions will vary from city to city. Always double check with your local authorities.

How to confirm and secure permits?

The process for securing a permit for your sign will be different from city-by-city. The easiest way to get started is searching online — Google Search “sign permit” and your city name — or simply visit your local city office for more information and guidance. You’ll likely be redirected to the appropriate department, which could be community development, business improvement, or planning.

Before you apply, always consider possible application fees. The price of your permit will vary widely, and may depend on the size and placement of your banner. Permitting price could also impact your design decisions.

Finally, be ready for a wait. City government is city government, after all. Permits often get delayed or tied up in red tape. Avoid scheduling issues by getting the process started early. If you’re securing permits for an event, chances are you’ll want to submit applications a full 45 business days prior to your event at least (and double that for major events).


Large banners attract attention. In order to make sure that attention is positive, the quality of your design and print material is important. Select a print company that can source high quality outdoor vinyl banner material like Bantex for your sign.

Get started with Bantex for your next banner, find a preferred partner.

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