Billboard advertising is a highly competitive industry holding a US market size of $8.5 billion in 2022. You can also be a part of this growing industry as a billboard business owner.
With good market research, strategic planning, budgeting, picking a location, etc. you can become a billboard business owner and earn a passive income with it. Different-sized companies prefer advertising on billboards, so there’s huge profit potential for people looking to invest in it.
In my blog I’ll talk about billboard advertising in general, the costs of putting up billboards, profit, and much more that goes into making it a lucrative industry.
What Is a Billboard Advertising Business?
A billboard business is an outdoor advertising business that generates revenue by selling advertising spaces on one or more billboards. It involves the installation of advertisements on tall, visible structures in busy and high-traffic areas where visibility is important for attracting motorists and passersby to a particular product or service.
The most common types of billboards used for advertising are digital screens, which display graphics that can be viewed from a distance, as well as traditional physical billboards that feature painted artwork or images (usually large renderings).
Digital signs use LED technology to create bright colors and detailed visuals that remain vivid even in direct sunlight. They also have the ability to change their messages dynamically depending on what’s being advertised at any given time.
To be precise, billboards are used for large-scale print advertisements that market a certain brand, product, or service.
These large boards are usually placed near heavily congested roads like highways and downtown parts of cities. This ensures they’re seen by a maximum number of people.
This kind of advertisement has proven time and time again to be the most effective way. It not only markets your business or cause but also generates traffic towards it.
Out of the thousands of people who see your advert, likely chances are that at least a few hundred of them would reach out and search more into what you’re broadcasting. This boosts your cause by multifold.
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How Much Do Billboard Owners Make?
|Location||Earnings Per Month|
|Remote Areas||$3,000 — $5,000|
|Busy Areas||$5,000 — $20,000|
|Highly Busy Areas||$20,000 — $100,000|
This table shows the average earnings per month of a billboard owner.
An average billboard owner makes around $5,000 to $20,000 a month. This range however varies per location. In remote areas, the average can go down, while in the posh areas it can go sky-high even up to $100,000.
If you own multiple billboards in busy areas, you can generate good revenue, but if you have only one billboard in a remote area, you have lesser chances of making a good fortune.
However, you can always scale up and increase your chances of making a better income with billboards over time.
How to Set Up a Billboard Business for Passive Income?
Okay so, by now I’ve told you about the different kinds of billboards and how much they cost. You also know the potential this stream has.
Before you kick-start your passive stream, allow me to give you a detailed guide on steps to follow when looking to start a billboard advertising business for a passive income.
#1 Determine the Type of Billboard
When planning a billboard advertising strategy, there are three basic types of billboards to consider. These are the following:
- Traditional billboards: These are outdoor advertising billboards that have been around for a long time.
- Digital billboards: Digital billboards are a modern form of traditional billboards with LED displays.
- Mobile Billboards: Billboards on buses and autos are examples of mobile billboards.
In reality, though, it isn’t as easy as it seems. When getting something as complicated as a billboard there’s more than just taste that comes into play. You’ve to consider factors like:
The billboard you plan on getting has varying costs depending on location size and type. If you get a billboard in a suburban area it’ll cost less than if you pick one near the main highway. So, budgeting is the number one thing to set right.
I have mentioned the costs of setting up the billboards in different states of the US later in the article. Do check them out!
Your billboards are going to stay up 24/7. Rain or shine it’s going to stand atop buildings, roofs, and stands so it’s necessary to know how durable your billboard is so the adverts can stay intact and also make an impact, which is why companies even do this in the first place.
If you get a classic billboard, you’ll only be able to put on an advert at once and you can’t even change it after it’s put on.
With digital boards, you can easily change between adverts, make amendments and even display animated ads which have more impact.
Advertising expenditures may rise if certain demographics are targeted. If you want to reach out to people, for example, shopping for premium goods, you’ll need to focus on top areas with higher rental fees.
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#2 Select a Location to Put Up the Billboard
As I’ve mentioned time and time again, location matters. If I put up a sign in Times Square (day rates can go $50,000 or higher), it’ll have a greater impact and it’ll charge more than if I were to get one in a small southern town. There’s more hustle-bustle in main cities as opposed to suburbs.
So, you best choose a pick that’s destined to bring you in hot money.
In Boston Massachusetts you can expect to make $2,500-$8,000 per month for digital billboards. However, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, digital billboards cost $2,100 to $3,500 per month.
So a location will decide the fortune you can make out of billboard advertising.
Make sure to read the Highway Beautification Act of 1965 if you’re looking to set up billboards near highways.
#3 Manage all Legalities
If you plan on making your own billboard rather than purchasing a premade one, then you should pay utmost care to every and any legalization process.
It is ideal to form an LLC or corporation so that it’s legally registered, this way, if you’re ever in a tough nut you won’t face as much danger and it keeps you safe from scammers overall.
After you’ve legalized your company you can start filing for taxes. Before you can start doing business, you’ll need to register for several state and federal taxes.
You will need to apply for an EIN to register for taxes. It’s really simple and completely free! You can get your EIN for free by going to the IRS website, faxing, or mailing it in.
Based on which business form you choose, you may have different taxation options for your company. Some LLCs, for example, may benefit from being taxed as an S corporation (S corp).
There may be state-specific taxes that apply to your company. The various sorts of tax categories include:
- Taxes on LLCs
- LLC vs. Sole Proprietorship
- Corp vs. LLC
- S Corp vs. LLC
- How to Form an S-Corp
- S-Corp vs. C-Corp
#5 Open a Business Account and Get a Credit Card
So when the time comes to purchase your billboard you obviously can’t pay the retailer in cash. It’s nearly impossible to pay such huge sums in cash. The best way would be to pay through a bank transfer. This gives you a record of your purchase and is way easier than counting $100 bucks.
There are advantages of opening a bank account:
- Separates your assets from the assets of your firm, which is required for personal asset protection.
- It simplifies bookkeeping and tax reporting.
Getting a credit card also has its benefits:
- Put all of your company spending in one location to separate personal and business expenses.
- Build your company’s credit history, which can come in handy if you need to raise money in the future.
#6 Get Insurance
Insurance, like licenses and permits, is required for your business to operate safely and legally. In the case of a covered loss, business insurance protects your company’s financial well-being.
There are a variety of insurance policies designed for various sorts of organizations with various risks. If you’re unsure what dangers your company might face, start with General Liability Insurance.
This is the most frequent type of coverage required by small businesses, so it’s a good place to start.
#7 Promote your Service
Sounds ironic, advertising billboards so others can advertise their products. But that is to promote your business. The best way to promote your billboard is by telling what difference this has from other billboards.
Creating a blog on your website that contains a monthly profile of a different local business is a good approach to demonstrate your understanding of and commitment to the community.
Advertisers want to take advantage of the holidays to provide their clients with fantastic offers and discounts.
Sending out your own pre-holiday promotion offers is a good method to stay in touch with existing consumers while also developing new business contacts.
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How Much Does It Cost to Put Up a Billboard?
|State||Physical Billboard Monthly Cost||Digital Billboard Monthly Cost|
|Cedar Rapids, IA||$550 — $4,000||$2,100 — $3,500|
|Indianapolis, IN||$1,500 — $5,500||$3,000 — $7,000|
|Orlando, FL||$800 — $4,500||$1,200 — $3,500|
|Phoenix, AZ||$1,250 — $4,000||$3,000 — $7,500|
|Boston, MA||$4,000 — $13,000||$2,500 — $8,000|
|Los Angeles, CA||$1,000 — $10,000||$6,000 — $15,000|
This table shows the average monthly costs for physical and digital billboards in US states.
Several factors come into play while pricing a billboard, so each state will have a different cost for a billboard.
Traditional billboards can cost anywhere from $750 to $5,000 per month. Digital billboards are pricier, costing around $1,200 to $7,000 each month. On the other hand, mobile billboards can cost up to $500 per day per truck.
You can buy billboards from the following sites:
Factors Affecting Billboard Monthly Costs
Billboards are priced depending on several factors such as:
First and foremost, the location of the billboard is one of the most important factors to consider.
The closer the billboard is to major highways and passenger hubs, the higher the rental cost will be. Also, if you’re planning to buy a billboard in major cities like Los Angeles, you’re more likely to pay a premium price.
the size of the billboard will affect the price per square foot. Larger billboards will cost more per square foot than smaller billboards, as they require more space to display advertisements.
When there is more competition for ad space, the prices for billboards go up. This is because advertisers have to pay more to get their message out there, and the higher prices drive more people to choose other means of advertising.
In some cases, billboards can even become obsolete as new technologies emerge that allow businesses to reach a wider audience at a lower cost.
When it comes to billboard lighting, the type of light you use is just as important as the billboard itself. There are three different types of billboard lighting that you need to be aware of:
- overhead light
- side light
The overhead light is the most common type, and it’s used to illuminate billboards from above. Side and backlight lights are used to illuminate billboards from the sides or from behind, respectively.
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Is the Billboard Business Passive?
Technically, billboard businesses aren’t 100% passive. That is to say. You will have to do some amount of work to earn the big bucks. For example, you might have to take care of leasing companies and stay aware of when it ends. This way you can look for different prospects that are willing to put their sign up on your board.
That and the routine maintenance are all minimal efforts that make the gig not entirely passive but not entirely effort-based either.
In the end, you do get money out of rent which is inherently a passive income so the title stays true to its name.
Benefits of Owning a Billboard Business
There’s a lot more than just the profit although that is a big portion of the benefit too. Owning businesses such as these has advantages such as those mentioned below.
#1 It Is Partially Passive
One of the major perks of owning a billboard is that it is passive to a very large extent. Imagine, you do not have to physically be near the board at all times. Nor do you have to do some sort of maintenance every other day.
So, it’s passive by a large amount. The only part you’d have to manage is the lease and putting up the advert once every few months.
This gives you an easy sit-at-home income with just a one-time investment. That, I think, is possibly the biggest perk anyone could ever ask for.
#2 Billboards Are Good Semi-Liquid Assets
With how the world is working these days, it’s of utmost importance to have some sort of long-term asset which isn’t readily convertible to cash. Long-term investments are really important as time passes by.
If you buy a billboard today, then say 3 years later, the billboard price would be increased than its original price and this, in turn, raises your financial worth.
It elevates you to a level others strive to achieve since you now have a semi-liquid asset ready to be converted into disposable income.
#3 It Has The Potential To Be Your Main Stream Of Income
If done right, this small investment can lead to greater things. Like every big endeavor, it always starts small. If over time this small billboard turns into a bigger billboard at an even more peak location then this can easily turn into a full-time thing.
You can forget your 9-5 and give your complete focus on this stream. Slowly, you could even expand your one billboard to 2 or 3 and this would be the start of a large-scale gig from only something to make extra side cash.
For something that has this much potential, it couldn’t be less beneficial. A life sitting in your PJs and dealing with clients wanting to rent out your billboard sounds like a dream waiting to be true.
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Drawbacks of Owning a Billboard Business
Every business has both its advantages and disadvantages, and since I’ve shed light on the positives, I’d like to share some of the negatives too.
#1 Your Billboard May Not Be Visible at All Times
If it’s a cold and dark day, there’s a good possibility your billboard may go unnoticed. A passing 18-wheeler, for example, could obscure a driver’s view of your information.
Depending on what has been done, vandalism can hide your billboard or even produce a negative brand image.
Because this could happen at any time, there is no way of knowing whether the advertising costs will result in revenue.
#2 Limited Time for Exposure
Along the highways, there are numerous billboards. Drivers are more focused on the road than on advertisements on the side of the road. Many billboards are only seen for a second or two at most.
As a result, the cost of advertising per exposure may be higher than with other approaches.
#3 They Are Pricey
Another downside of billboards is that they can be rather costly, particularly for small businesses on a limited budget.
Billboard ads require regular maintenance, and the space where the ad is displayed is also rented monthly. Furthermore, creating, printing, and distributing large-format advertisements can be costly — Invest in them wisely.
Of Course, the process isn’t as easy as pie (nothing ever is) but considering every other job on the list this is as easy as it gets. Not only is it easy but it has a certified profit income. There is no way you won’t make a few grand.
These days, having a passive income stream is very important. Relying on just one source is in no way a wise thing to do. So, plan your passive income around billboard services and begin earning hefty sums regularly.