Getting into the Outdoor Billboard Business

It is possible for nearly anyone to own and operate an outdoor billboard business. This is not a business sector that discriminates against any creed, color or background. The only real requirement is the drive to succeed.

For those looking into this type of business, there was a few things that should be researched before making any financial investment. An outdoor billboard business owner should be aware of the local zoning laws, the Highway Beautification Act of 1965 and learn the cost of renting a billboard in the target area from the competition. With this knowledge a person can determine if their business has profit potential and if it is permitted.


Most owners of an outdoor billboard business do not actually own the land where the billboards are located, this are just renting it. The typical owner of the land in rural America is a farmer. To help keep the profit potential of the billboard business within reason, the rent on the land should generally not exceed 20% of the revenue the billboard will bring in when rented out to a business for the purpose of advertising on it.

For those looking to have billboards made, a construction company will have to be hired. The total cost of this will vary, but should be low enough so the investment can be recovered in the first year of renting out the sign.

A contract will also be required so the billboards can be rented out to clients. This should be completed by a lawyer with knowledge of this business sector. There should be several contacts created that will include one for the minimum time of renting out the space, which is typically 3 months. There should also be one made for the renting of the billboard for a year.

Unless the new owner has a sign making capabilities, the hiring of a firm to create the vinyl billboards will be necessary. The average size of a billboard is 14’ by 48’. This on average will cost about $400 to have the message printed on vinyl.

The permits to advertise are a small but required expenditure. All local municipalities require that all forms of advertising have a permit associated with it. This cost varies from city to city.

Business Plan

When deciding if owning and operating an outdoor billboard business, there is a factor that must be decided upon at the beginning. Will the company be just renting out billboards, or will it include an advertising section so the advertising campaign will be completed in-house.

To help keep operating costs at a minimum, many outdoor billboard businesses hire freelance designers to create the message for clients. This allows for the costs of the design to only be a onetime expenditure.

Size of the business

Many first time business owners start out with just one or a few billboards they will own and operate. In time the business can expand. One of the fastest and least expensive paths is to purchase existing billboards for the competitors.

Once the business is on solid footing, expansion to building new billboards should occur. This will place advertising in locations the public are not use to seeing signs and will attract attention that will help get the message out.

A successful outdoor billboard business is possible for anyone who has the desire and will to be financially independent. The first step is to purchase or rent the first billboard.

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