The outdoor billboard business can definitely be a profitable venture and is one to seriously consider when thinking of starting a new business – or even as a mode to earn extra income. Contrary to the belief that the billboard business is not as effective or profitable as it used to be, there is still scope to earn handsomely from this business. However, one must have the right information, must do the required research and look for opportunities to ensure the business is a profitable one. Here are some guidelines to follow prior to starting an outdoor billboard business:
Step 1 : Research Research Research
Research the rates charged by the local advertising companies and compare them with the expenses that are related to starting and operating this business. These expenses could include insurance charges, billboard construction or purchase, costs of lighting the billboards, taxes and permits. When starting an outdoor billboard business, clearly you would have to ensure that the revenues are comfortably more than the costs to make the venture viable.
Step 2 : Research Alternatives and the Customer
Obtaining existing billboards can be an alternative to putting up one’s own billboards. These existing billboards can give a rapid and exciting start to the outdoor billboard business as the difficult work of looking for an appropriate location, obtaining the required permits and negotiating the ground lease has already been done. So searching for these outdoor billboard signs for sale becomes the challenge. Then the requirement is to make the billboard such an attractive proposition that it catches the interest of potential advertisers (businesses) – as well as the attention of those that pass by.
Step 3 : Consider the Operating Environment
If you’re interested in starting an outdoor billboard business by putting up brand new billboards, there is the requirement to learn about the legalities and regulations involved. One must be aware of the government or local regulations and any prohibitions that might exist regarding the billboards. These regulations could be related to the billboard size, light emissions, location, display time duration and other such limitations. The average billboard size that is acceptable in one area may differ the size accepted in another area. There is no straight forward answer to the question ‘how big is a billboard’! There will be particular requirements to meet wherever you are (your billboard is located). There could be the requirement to get approval from the transport department.
Step 4 : Matching the Billboard with the Advertiser
Once all the permits and limitations related to the billboards are obtained and understood, it is time to scour for strategic locations, decide the billboard size and negotiate ground leases. There are established companies that act as mediators between land owners that are ready to lease their land to billboard companies (which, as the billboard owner, would be you) and the advertising companies (who usually act for the client – the business who wants to advertise). Consultation with these companies can be time-saving as they have already done the difficult task of negotiating with the land owners and finding the locations for billboards.
Step 5 : Consider and Cover all Legal Aspects
One must sign contracts or lease agreements with the property owners or existing billboard owners only after consultation with lawyers qualified to advise in these areas. The contracts with the property owners must have the percentage payable to them clearly laid out so that there is no dispute later. The contracts with the advertising clients must have the details like duration of the advertisement, the maintenance responsibilities, the specifications of the design and penalties if the contract is broken. It is also recommended to get a basic liability insurance policy in place. The Outdoor Billboard Book has sample contracts for the new billboard owner to work from, so you’re not starting completely from scratch.
Step 6 : Decide on The Method to Display Billboard Ads
The next step is to get the billboard constructed and the ad displayed. While vinyl billboards are cheaper on the pocket, LED billboards are becoming more popular. Depending upon the clients’ requirements and their budget, getting electronic billboards is feasible as it enables one to display ads for more than one company, thereby allowing more profits. However, companies might not like to share their billboards with their competitors or other companies. Therefore, it is necessary to get all the clarifications prior to getting the billboard made.
Step 7 : Research and Decide on Rates to Charge for Billboard Ads
The outdoor billboard business is a competitive one and therefore, one must develop rates that are competitive and attract companies wishing to put up their ads. Discounts can be offered to clients that agree to long term contracts.
Step 8 : Establish how the Ads will Come to Life
Digital billboards can be easily designed using graphic software such as Photoshop. One can design billboard ads if having the design skills or use the services of a graphic designer to design the billboards. Keeping in mind the billboard size and the requirements of the clients, creating a sample and getting it approved should be the top priority.
With these guidelines, you can get started in an outdoor billboard business.
Like anything with financial decisions involved, one must remember that investing in the billboard business opportunity is profitable only if it is done in the correct manner, carefully taking into account all relevant factors. Therefore, it is recommended to first research thoroughly and obtain complete details, before committing oneself financially to the outdoor billboard business.