How to Start an Outdoor Billboard Business

Starting an outdoor billboard business is possible for those looking to succeed in this competitive and highly profitable business sector. The first step is to do research on this business sector in your target area and know the local ordinances. You must also be aware of the federal laws that include the Highway Beautification act of 1965.

Where can billboards be located?

The importance of knowing the local and federal ordinances cannot be emphasized enough. As an example in the downtown business sector of Detroit, it is illegal to post a billboard on any of the buildings. Once the areas where billboards are permitted are known, then the average annual revenue of the existing ones should be investigated.


As of late last year the national average for the monthly revenue of billboards ranged from $700 to $2,500. With this income the only costs will be the renting of the land on which the billboard is located. That can be 10% to 25% depending on the negotiating abilities of the outdoor billboard business owner and the local value of where the sign is placed. The other necessary cost is for insurance to help cover the business just in case.

Last year alone, more than $7.7 billion was spent on outdoor billboards advertisements. This amount has continually grown for the past decade and sees no sign of slowing down.

The First Billboard

For most entrepreneurs that are just getting into this business, the first step would be to purchase an existing outdoor billboard. By taking this route, the location of the billboard is already in an approved area according the ordnances.

In time more billboards can be purchased and for those with the finances, the building of billboards can follow. This should only be attempted after the local ordinances are known and the rights to location have been acquired.


For most just starting out, the charge for advertising should be lower than the other local competition. This lower cost can entice local business to advertise with you instead of the more established outdoor billboard businesses.

Another way to attract clients is to show them how your services will increase their business. Local restaurants are a great place to start. Look at the business just down the road from your billboards. By selling the idea of having a restaurant advertise on your space, more people will be aware they are approaching it. This allows for the travelers to think if they are hungry and ask the other occupants in the vehicle. The alternative is for those traveling to see the restaurant then start the process of deciding if they want to stop. Most will then stop at the next restaurant.

As with all business, the outdoor billboard business will cost more money than it will make in the first year on average. Once that hurdle is overcome with the start up costs already behind and invested, the profits can begin to flow in. This is just the nature of business.

The simple fact is that outdoor billboards have been around for over 100 years and are still the most cost effective means for an organization to get their message out to the public. With the right amount of drive and determination, an outdoor billboard business will thrive anywhere there are travelers and organizations wanting to advertise their business.

Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply