Nothing gives you a sense of patriotic pride quite like seeing commercial flagpoles flying flags in front of your business, office or place of worship. And nothing sends a more positive message to your customers and potential new customers. People love seeing a large American flag flying in the wind. And whether they realize it or not, it creates goodwill toward your organization.
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If you’ve never purchased a commercial flagpole before, the process can seem scary. There are a few decisions you'll need to make. And it seems like all the internet flagpole dealers assume that you know exactly what you want and need. We’ve learned over the years, that most people aren’t sophisticated purchasers and need a little help here and there. So, in the next few paragraphs, we’ll cover some of the most important points to keep in mind when you buy your pole. (If you don't feel like doing a lot of reading and just want to get started now, you can speak to a consultant M-F, 9:00 am to 6:00 pm ET at: 1-404-409-9737. We love helping our customers find that one, perfect flagpole for their situation.
Step 1: Choose An Installation Location
This step is the pre-requisite for the other steps. If ou can't find suitable location for your pole, there's no need to go any further. Following are some tips on selecting the best location.
For many businesses, the optimum location will be a prominent one, often front and center of a building. For others it might be beside the building. Whatever your choice, there are a few things to keep in mind as you decide where to place your symbol of this great country.
Flagpoles naturally look good on hills and rises. Placement in these areas also tends to increase the apparent height of your pole. Flagpoles are best placed in open areas where there is a good chance of a breeze blowing through. Obviously, if you place your pole too close to a stand of trees or too close to a large building or cluster of buildings, then there is going to be very little air flow and you won’t get to see your flag flying very often. Related to this is choosing a flag pole height (If your budget and local regulations will allow it, see step 2, below.) that is taller than your building. This insures that any wind will be able to reach your flag and provide you with a patriotic and inspiring display on many days of the year.
You don’t want to place your pole so close to a building that the flag will hit the building either when it is flying or when you are raising and lowering it. Hitting concrete or brick repeatedly will destroy a flag in short order. The same consideration goes with placement too close to trees. We’ve seen poles placed near trees in the winter time when there were no leaves, only to find that in the summer when the trees are full of leaves and the branches are growing that they begin to encroach on the flag and pole. In general, you should place your pole at least as far from any potential obstruction as the length of the largest flag you intend to fly, plus 20 feet. That will make sure that your flag has excellent clearance in all wind directions.
We recommend that you choose more than one possible location that you would be pleased with. Why? Because of the last, and in some ways, the most important step in site selection – making sure it is safe to dig a deep hole where you want to plant your flagpole. Digging a hole and hitting a power line, gas line or cable line is one of the most costly and potentially dangerous mistakes you can make. Fortunately you can call “Call Before You Dig” for free and they will come out and make sure that your chosen installation site is safe. Just call “811” and ask them to come out. Before they do, it’s a good idea to mark the area where you want to place your pole with a stick or with white spray paint.
Once you've chosen a location and verified that it is safe to dig there, you are ready to move on to the next step... pole selection.
Step 2: Choose Your Flag Pole
One of your main considerations is going to be deciding what size flag pole to buy. This is one of those areas in life where size does matter - the bigger the pole, the bigger the flag, the bigger impact. But, of course, choosing the proper pole height isn’t as easy as deciding, “Hey, I want one that's 80 feet tall!” As with everything, there are limiting factors. The most important of these are usually a) municipal regulations, and b) your budget.
Municipal regulations: Some cities will only allow poles of a certain maximum height. Additionally, you could be subject to what is called the “fall down rule”. Which is a rule that says if your pole where ever to fall, it must not fall into traffic or into utility lines, etc. If you are near an airport, the FAA may have restrictions on pole height and lighting configuration. So step one is to determine any regulations relating to flagpole height in your area. You can find regulations for many municipalities at MuniCode.com.
If you need help with determining regulations for your area, you'll be glad to know that every flagpole purchased from FederalFlags.com includes our “A-Z, Turnkey Service", in which we handle all aspects of getting your pole installed for you – at no additional charge. We’ll take care of making sure you stay within regulatory codes. Just call 1-404-409-9737 to get started.
Budget: Once you know the maximum height allowed in your area, budget will probably be your next consideration. Flagpole prices can vary widely depending on the configuration and strength of your pole. Factors that directly affect the price you pay include halyard configuration – internal halyard or external halyard.
Internal halyard flagpoles are the most secure setup (because the halyard is fully contained within the flagpole), but also the most expensive (because it requires more internal hardware). External halyard flagpoles are the most common and affordable option. They are our most popular seller. You can read a more in-depth comparison of these two halyard options here.
Next, the strength of your flagpole will have a major impact on pricing. As you can imagine, the stronger it is, the more aluminum will have been used in its construction and therefore the more expensive it will be. Flagpole strength is measured by the wind speed rating. The stronger the pole, the higher the wind speed rating. Fortunately, determining the ideal flagpole strength for your location is a pretty straight-forward process. You simply consult a wind speed chart and find your area of the country. That will give you the minimum wind speed rating for your area as recommended by engineers. Once you have these three, key pieces of information - municipal height restrictions (if any), your budget, and wind speed rating, selecting your pole is a simple matter of choosing one - whether internal halyard or external halyard, that meets all three requirements.
As a final budgetary consideration, don't forget shipping. Shipping flag poles is inherently, fairly expensive. This is because they must be shipped by flatbed trailer. Usually your pole will come in one or more sections, especially if it is a taller pole ranging from 50 feet to 80 feet or more. As you can imagine, taking up an entire flatbed truck to ship several sections of aluminum tubing can get costly. And the farther away you are from the flagpole warehouse, the higher this cost can get. For this reason, you won’t see shipping costs on most websites that sell flagpoles. Instead, you usually need to call or email them to get a shipping quote. Some sites will try gimmicks like "free shipping" to get you on the hook and then find ways to jack up your overall cost. At FederalFlags, we use our nationwide network of flagpole warehouses to find the closest location to you so that we can get you the lowest possible shipping cost.
Step 3: Order Your Pole
Once you’ve worked through the considerations above, you will probably find that the range of appropriate flag poles for your application has been narrowed down to just a handful. Making your selection should be fairly easy. Just choose the height and strength that you want, within your budget and height restrictions and you are good to go.
Step 4: Take Delivery of Your Flagpole
Once shipped, our shipping company will let you know when you can expect your pole to arrive. You or someone you trust will want to be there to meet the truck when it arrives. Depending on the size of your pole, you may want to have some hands on standby to help unload the sections from the truck. They are usually light enough that each section can be lifted by two men. But more will make the work easier. The truck driver may be willing to help, but you should plan to have help available so that you can do the unloading without his physical help. Forklifts and other machinery are not recommended for this type of work due to the potential for damaging the pole. Although it is designed to resist a good deal of pressure from the wind, your flagpole won’t stand up to the force of a forklift being driven into the side of it.
Once the pole does arrive, you should inspect the packaging for damage BEFORE the truck driver leaves the site and BEFORE you sign off on the delivery. Your pole will come wrapped in a paper sheathing. It is not necessary to remove this when inspecting your pole. Instead, look for damage to the packaging. If you see tears or dents then there is a good chance that the pole inside is damaged. Remove the paper wrapping around the areas where you see external damage to see if there is, in fact, damage to the pole itself. You should not accept a pole that shows this type of damage. Instead you should decline it and sign off stating that the pole was damaged on arrival. It is also recommended that you take pictures of the damaged areas of the pole to further support your damage claim. Should this happen to a pole that you ordered from FederalFlags.com, call us immediately and we’ll get a replacement on its way to you.
Once you have verified that the pole is in good condition you can store it in preparation for installation. If it will be stored indoors, you do not need to remove the paper until you are ready to install the pole. If however, the pole will be left outside prior to installation, you should remove the paper covering on the pole. This is due to the risk of rain, which if it gets to the paper wrapping on your pole can stain the metal. Due to the rough, brushed texture of your flagpole, it can be difficult to clean once this staining occurs.
Step 5: Installation
Installing your flagpole is a bit easier than it may seem. If you pole is 30’ in height or less, you may even be able to do it yourself without any sort of special equipment. In any case, your flagpole will come with complete installation instructions. The only materials you will need are concrete (and mixing tools), wooden shims, gravel and a shovel – ideally a post hole digger. A plum bob is a good tool for making sure your pole is plumb and absolutely vertical.
If you aren’t planning to do the installation yourself, you’ll want a good flag pole installer to do the job for you. Our free, white-glove, assistance program includes making arrangements to have your pole properly installed. We’ll locate an installer in your area and coordinate the install so that you don’t have to worry about it. Installation usually only takes a few hours. A professional installer will probably use a crane to stand your pole, so you’ll want to make sure he has easy access to the installation site.
Once your flag is up, the final step is to raise your flag. Hopefully, you have a beautiful, well-made American flag from FederalFlags.com on hand. Your installer can attach the flag to your flagpole’s halyard and raise the flag for you. If it is a large flag – say 20’ x 30’ or larger, he made need some help. Large flags can really be challenging to raise if the wind is blowing.
And that’s really all there is to it! We know, it seems like a lot. But if you follow this guide, you’ll have a smooth flagpole buying experience. And as we’ve said, we’re here for you every step of the way. We’ll handle everything for you from start to finish so you never have to worry about making the wrong move. If you’re ready to get started just call us at: 1-404-409-9737. We look forward to hearing from you!
May God bless you and these United States.
Want even more info about commercial flagpoles?
You can learn a great deal about flags and flagpoles at Wikipedia.org.