YESCO (Young Electric Sign Company) – Salt Lake City, Utah

January 3, 2024
YESCO (Young Electric Sign Company) - Salt Lake City, Utah

YESCO (Young Electric Sign Company)

Illuminating the Future: YESCO’s Transformative Journey into Signage Franchising


Explore YESCO’s journey from neon pioneers to signage franchising trailblazers as the company lights the way with innovation, resilience, and a unique approach to business growth and expansion.

YESCO, an acronym for Young Electric Sign Company, traces its origins to the early 20th century. It was founded as Thomas Young Sign Company and transformed from a humble sign painting business into a pioneering force in the neon sign industry. The company’s evolution coincided with significant technological advancements in signage, particularly neon, which became a defining feature of its work. The 1930s marked a pivotal era, with YESCO securing licenses for neon sign creation and engaging in notable projects like those associated with the Boulder (later Hoover) Dam and the burgeoning Las Vegas strip.

Sam Fisher, Senior Vice President of YESCO Franchising, LLC, narrates this journey with a sense of pride and historical awareness. Fisher highlights how YESCO didn’t just witness but actively participated in the signage revolution, especially in Las Vegas. The company’s proximity to these developments wasn’t just geographical; it was strategic, allowing it to leverage the growing demand for larger, more technologically advanced signs.

YESCO, once facing challenges during the 2008-2009 recession, particularly in construction and sign manufacturing, turned this adversity into an opportunity for growth and resilience. The company decided to diversify its business model, leading to the establishment of YESCO Franchising. This new venture, focusing on the signage industry’s servicing aspect, was designed for survival, adaptation, and growth. It aimed to empower other sign companies and individuals by building businesses around the servicing, repairing, and maintaining signage and exterior lighting, thus expanding YESCO’s reach across various customer segments.

Unconventional Marketing: The YESCO Approach

In an industry where visibility is everything, YESCO’s marketing strategy stands out as a masterclass in innovation and practicality. Fisher elucidates its unique approach, which is both proactive and highly targeted. YESCO’s “patrolling” method involves the company’s team actively seeking out potential clients by identifying signage needing repair. This hands-on approach lets YESCO directly engage with business owners, offering timely and pertinent services.

Fisher elaborates, “We take advantage of the fact that when someone needs our service, it’s very apparent. For instance, if we spot a sign with a few unlit letters, we photograph it, locate the business, and reach out with a solution.” This strategy turns every malfunctioning sign into a potential client, transforming the streets into a dynamic marketplace.

This approach contrasts sharply with more traditional, broad-spectrum advertising tactics. Fisher likens YESCO’s method to a “rifle approach” instead of the “shotgun approach” of general advertising. It’s a refined, almost surgical method of identifying and solving problems, demonstrating the company’s expertise, and building trust with potential clients.

Moreover, Fisher highlights the added value YESCO provides: free ongoing service checks. “We don’t charge for this initial service,” he explains. “If you let us do this work, we’ll include you on our route, ensuring regular checks and maintenance.” This offer of complimentary, regular maintenance checks adds an extra layer of appeal, positioning YESCO as a service provider and a long-term business maintenance partner.

YESCO (Young Electric Sign Company) - Salt Lake City, Utah

Brian Chase

Technology and Operations: YESCO’s Digital Strategy

YESCO’s adept use of technology, particularly in enhancing franchise visibility and operations, is admirable. Fisher points out that a significant portion of the company’s franchisees, about half to two-thirds, are from the sign industry itself. This fact speaks to the allure of YESCO’s business model, even to those already familiar with the industry.

“Our model has an appeal that draws in professionals from within the sign industry,” Fisher notes. “It shows the strength and uniqueness of what we offer.” This internal industry appeal is a crucial indicator of YESCO’s robust business framework, attracting those who already grasp the market dynamics.

Regarding technology, Fisher acknowledges that while YESCO’s marketing might appear traditional, the company innovatively incorporates technology in the tools provided to franchisees. He highlights franchisees’ use of custom mobile apps for lead generation, showcasing YESCO’s commitment to equipping its franchises with advanced business development tools. Fisher’s insights reveal a dual strategy: maintaining simple yet effective marketing through industry connections and word-of-mouth and empowering franchises with digital tools to improve service delivery. This balanced approach has effectively expanded YESCO’s franchise network and underscored its innovative use of technology to foster growth and operational efficiency.

YESCO’s Financial Blueprint and Ideal Franchisee Characteristics

In franchising, understanding startup costs and the profile of the ideal franchisee is crucial. YESCO, under Fisher’s guidance, approaches this with a strategy that balances upfront costs with long-term business sustainability. He sheds light on the significant financial commitments and the qualities sought in prospective franchise owners, painting a picture of what it takes to be part of the YESCO family.

Fisher outlines the primary financial requirements for starting a YESCO franchise. “The most significant outlay is the service vehicle,” he says, “potentially costing up to $150,000.” However, Fisher assures that this cost is manageable, “It’s typically a 5 to 7-year lease,” he explains YESCO’s efforts to ease the initial financial burden for new franchisees.

The location of the franchise is the other significant expense. Fisher explains that high-profile retail locations are not essential for YESCO franchises due to the company’s focus on business-to-business marketing and patrol-led lead generation, allowing operation in more cost-effective areas like industrial zones. He also prefers franchisees with industry experience but notes a tendency among them to favor large custom sign projects over regular service work. Fisher stresses the need for a mindset shift to value consistent service jobs, likening it to scoring with singles and bunts in baseball rather than solely aiming for occasional home runs.

YESCO’s Comprehensive Training and Ongoing Support

The onboarding and training process for new YESCO franchisees is an intricate blend of digital learning and hands-on experience. Fisher explains this multifaceted approach, emphasizing the value of thorough preparation and continued support for franchise success.

“As soon as someone becomes a franchisee, we integrate them into our Learning Management System,” Fisher details. This recently upgraded system is the cornerstone of YESCO’s training program. It encompasses a range of courses tailored to the specific roles within the franchise operation: patrol, sales, and technician. “Each course ends with an assessment to ensure comprehension,” Fisher adds, underscoring the system’s effectiveness.

Fisher also emphasizes the innovative aspects of YESCO’s training and support. He notes the mobility of the company’s training platform, allowing technicians and patrollers to access materials in the field, which is crucial for adapting to the industry’s dynamism. Following digital training, franchisees attend a comprehensive, week-long session in Salt Lake City for deeper business model insights through role-playing and software tutorials. Additionally, YESCO provides ongoing support, including a business coaching team that helps franchisees with financial planning and role assignments, which are crucial for strategic growth and operational efficiency.

YESCO’s Accolades and Industry Recognition

As Fisher describes, YESCO’s journey in the franchising world is marked by significant recognition and rankings within the industry. This acknowledgment from esteemed organizations is not just a nod to their business model but also an indicator of their unique position in the market.

“We’ve been acknowledged in a rather unique and specialized category,” Fisher proudly states. ” Franchise Business Review and have recognized our niche in miscellaneous business services.” These accolades, including top rankings, highlight YESCO’s distinct role in an otherwise broad and diverse industry.

Fisher expresses a sense of humility and gratitude for these honors. “Franchising is a vast domain, contributing significantly to the US GDP,” he reflects. “Being a smaller entity in this expansive industry, such recognition is significant to us.” This sentiment underlines YESCO’s awareness of its position in the market and appreciation for the acclaim it has received.

YESCO’s Vital Partnerships

As Fisher elaborates, the role of suppliers and vendors in YESCO’s operations is pivotal. He unveils the strategic alliances YESCO has nurtured over the years, highlighting how these relationships contribute to the company’s success.

“We have a longstanding partnership with Glantz, a key distributor in the sign industry,” Fisher reveals. “They handle a wide array of materials for constructing and repairing signs.” This collaboration underlines the importance of reliable supply chain partners in maintaining business operations.

Fisher delves deeper into the significance of the relationship with Glantz. “There’s a historical connection,” he says, “We have an invoice from them dating back almost 100 years, signed by the founder of our company.” This anecdote illustrates the depth and longevity of their partnership, reflecting a shared journey of growth and evolution.

He highlights another partnership with Altec, the company’s key service vehicle vendor, whose leasing program is crucial for franchisees needing specialized vehicles. Fisher also underscores collaborations in the electronic display sector with Watchfire, Samsung, and Daktronics, which are essential for producing electronic message centers. Fisher notes that YESCO’s previous ownership of YESCO Electronics, sold to Samsung, now enables them to collaborate freely with these companies, illustrating YESCO’s strategic approach to supporting its franchise network through supplier relationships.

YESCO (Young Electric Sign Company) - Salt Lake City, UtahThe Future Vision of YESCO Franchising

As YESCO looks ahead, Fisher shares his aspirations and strategic vision for the franchise’s future. This glimpse into what lies ahead reveals a plan marked by expansion, innovation, and a unique marketing approach. “We aim to complete our build-out in North America soon,” Fisher says. “We’re nearing our target with 230 territories already established.” This goal, set against a carefully evaluated market backdrop, underscores YESCO’s strategic planning and understanding of the industry’s landscape.

Fisher shares that YESCO is eyeing international expansion, particularly in England and Australia while acknowledging the need for adaptability due to cultural differences in signage. He also sees opportunities for YESCO to diversify into light manufacturing or sign reselling, expanding beyond service work. Fisher emphasizes YESCO’s unique marketing strategy, focusing on direct, on-the-ground client identification and a sophisticated yet straightforward approach to sign fixing, leveraging technology for efficiency. He compares YESCO’s innovative methods to Uber, highlighting its disruption of traditional industry practices.

Fisher’s reflections paint a picture of YESCO as a franchise with a clear vision for growth, a commitment to innovation, and a distinct approach to marketing and operations. These elements combine to form a strategy designed to propel YESCO into the future, solidifying its position in the industry while opening up new horizons to conquer.

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YESCO (Young Electric Sign Company)

What: Leading sign company specializing in sign manufacturing, servicing, and franchising

Where: Salt Lake City, Utah, USA



Moreton & Company –

Founded in 1910, Moreton & Company is the largest privately-owned, independent Property & Casualty Insurance, Employee Benefits, and Financial Services agency in the Intermountain West. We are a “Top 100” agency licensed in all 50 states, and have regional offices in Salt Lake City, Utah; Boise, Idaho; and Denver, Colorado.


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