Consider These Four Risks When Buying an Outdoor Billboard

The outdoor billboard business is all about economics. The truth behind this statement can be illustrated by the fact that you only focus on the numbers and lock uncertainties out. Visibility is one such uncertainty. Just like any other business, there are hosts of risks involved in the setting up of this business. In the billboard business, it is necessary to have solid information about at least four risks.

  • Illegal signs- Human beings are the same the world over. The same applies to the billboard business. There are unscrupulous people out there whose main goal in life is to cheat you out of your hard-earned money. It is extremely important to follow all the proper rules and procedures when acquiring a billboard. Make sure you understand the rules and regulations governing the billboard industry in that particular area of operation (city or state). Ensure that the sign you are purchasing has all the necessary permits whether city or state one's. Ignorance of the law may lead to trouble with the authorities resulting in fines and time-consuming lawsuits. Now, you do not want that, do you?
  • Avoid encroaching on your neighbor's property - This is a very important aspect of outdoor advertisement. This is because overstepping your stipulated boundary can result in time-consuming, costly lawsuits. The courtroom is the last place you want to be when all you want are billboards that make you money for years to come. Your billboard should be on the exact property as stipulated in the land lease. Make sure that not even an inch of your neighbor's property is violated. It is also extremely important that you fulfill all the setback requirements.
  • Ensure adequate sources of power for your billboard sign - In fact, without adequate and attractive lighting; your sign will be useless at night when it should be raking in the dollars. Electricity supply is an integral part of outdoor advertising. People or consumers who are driving at night should be able to see the advertisement carried out by the billboard. Studies have shown that billboards are in fact more effective at night. Many billboard operators do not consider where the electricity will come from to power their sign. It becomes very expensive to run electricity to the billboards if it is not factored into the construction phase. In other cases, it becomes impossible to do after the fact.
  • The last big risk factor when it comes to buying a billboard is all about the lease. This one aspect has many frauds associated with it. Make sure to talk to the landowner face-to-face. Many billboard investors lose their hard-earned money when their brokers present them with a billboard that does not have a valid lease. If you can locate the landowners, be certain that he/she is ok with the whole arrangement. Ensure also that he/she acknowledges receipt of rent for the grounds. Most important, make sure that person has signature authority to execute the lease.
During the outdoor billboard purchase, it is routine to acquire a period of inspection of say 30 days followed by another 30 to 60 days of financing contingency. I would not suggest doing any due diligence work until you get a purchase agreement in writing from the seller together with his/her signature.

Good luck and happy hunting!


Frank Rolfe became the one of the largest private billboard operators in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. He eventually sold his billboard empire to a public company 14 years later and is now sharing his expertise to anyone interested in getting involved with outdoor billboards. Rolfe is the author of the book, "Big Bucks from Big Signs", which teaches you the secrets of building a successful

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