How to start an outdoor advertising or billboard business?

outdoor advertising or billboard business

From LED display signs to billboard display, outdoor advertising is almost the first thing everyone sees when they go outside. Before, outside advertising was merely a way to promote one’s brand. However, thanks to technology, those displays can also be a way to let your business go viral. More people use Digital signage solutions more than ever.

What Is Outdoor Advertising?

Outdoor Advertising or Out-Of-Home (OOH) Advertising is a promotion or marketing done in public to promote one’s products or services. Although billboard advertising is a popular mode of advertising, there are other options, including digital signages. 

Usually tailored to help promote an idea, these kinds of advertising have a big impact. Each advertisement is different as it depends on the ads’ surroundings and mode. Outdoor advertising is one of the hardest but effective ways of promoting.

Example of Outside Advertising:

  • Traditional billboard advertising, mobile billboards, digital signages, and bulletin billboards
  • Subways, Taxis, Train, Buses and any other vehicles used for advertising
  • Bus shelters, parking garages, benches, bathrooms or even kiosks

Why Is Outdoor Advertising Important

On average, Americans tend to go outside more than inside their own house. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Americans engage an average of 8.74 hours, doing work, sports, and leisure activities. Meaning a third of the day, people prefer to be outside than inside their house. With the rest of the days spent in sleeping and other activities, advertisers are not having a hard time connecting.

It is in this situation where outdoor advertising comes in. It helps businesses reach potential customers when they aren’t inside their house. More often than not, it’s during your time outside that you are most receptive to advertising.

It is essential because it’s less intruding than other modes of advertising. Not only that, but it is also effective, measurable, and accessible. It can help companies from promoting to branding an actual business.

Starting An Outdoor Advertising Business: The Basics

Having a clear vision of what kind of Outdoor Advertising business you want to have is essential to every entrepreneur. Having a clear plan will help you determine the specifics of your potential business. Following and making a good business plan is a smart way to make your business successful and profitable.

1. Create Your Brand

Creating your brand is the first step to owning any business. Just because you’re going to start an advertising business doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t make your brand. A brand is what separates you from other advertising companies. It shows what you stand for and what kind of image the business is going to project in public.

  • Look out for new developments: Make sure to always keep yourself updated on everything. Doing this helps you to be updated on what your competitors are doing.
  • Create A Website: Make yourself digitally available for anyone to reach out. You can also use the website to feature your work and local businesses. 
  • Advertise special holiday discounts and promos: Sending out special promos will help you maintain a consistent and good relationship with all of your clients.

2. Determine Your Costs

First off is to determine your costs. Starting an Outdoor Advertising business isn’t cheap, so be prepared for the expenses that you have to spend. Constructing a traditional billboard can cost for as low as $26,000 to a staggering $300,000. Many business owners often go to banks, even to an outdoor leasing company, to shoulder those expenses. 

Each city and state may often require a license which costs about $200 every year. You can find out other requirements in your respective city halls. 

To begin your Outdoor Advertising business, you need a few more equipment to get you started. You’ll need to buy measuring tools and zoning maps to measure long distances since you will also need a car to travel one site to the other, as well as to gather equipment. 

3. Decide On Your Price

Your service price is determined by many factors, including but not limited to, the location and type of outdoor advertisement. The amount that you give to customers is where you will generate money. Naturally, advertisements in areas with large traffic pose a greater demand than sites with no traffic. The length of the contract can also determine the price. 

Before taxes, depreciation, interest, and amortization, profits made by the business can reach up to 50%. Paying off the initial cost of the construction and the purchase of land for the advertising company could take up to 10 years. It might sound long, but once everything is paid off, you’ll see your profits grow significantly. 

  • Prices for traditional billboards can be as low as $1,500 and as much as $100,000 every month. 
  • Per month, small-sized billboards can range from $300 up to $2000
  • Large-sized billboards can earn from $1,500 to $30,000

4. Determine Your Target Customers

Your target customers are going to be the foundation of your entire business. Clients can come from different backgrounds. One could be a business owner that needs their products to sell more. Another client could be a property owner who wants to make money out of advertising displays. 

You can find different clients by meeting different business owners needing promotions for their local products. 

5. Sell Yourself: Contact Local Businesses, As Many As Possible

When starting a business, you have to learn how to sell your business. You can begin by contacting as many local businesses as possible, whether it be a small grocery store or the local mall. You can also find potential customers at your local chamber of commerce.

You can also exhibit your skills and promote your business by sponsoring and attending local community events. Don’t be afraid to sell your ideas about how adding outdoor advertising can help their own business.

Additional Tips To Remember:

  • Know Your Competition: Know your possible competitors and be up to date with the latest trends and happenings. This act makes you competitively active in the industry.
  • Consider The Location With The Goal: As advertisers, you should always consider where to put your material. Your goal is to promote the message of your client. To fulfill that goal, you should find a place that not only matches the information but is accessible.
  • Keep It Straight To The Point: Remember that outdoor advertising should be simple, so people should read and absorb it quickly. People driving the freeway can’t look back; you need to make sure that what you have is engaging right away.


Outdoor advertising is one of the many ways to deliver a message. It’s what connects business owners with potential customers. It is used to deliver messages with ease and efficiency. With the growth of Digital Signage Solutions, more people are seeking information wherever they go. Whether it be a traditional billboard or an eye-catching LED display sign, the goal is still to deliver relevant messages.

Presently, the industry is making new ways to deliver information. Despite the advancements, outdoor advertising is still a great way to promote products. However, if done ineffectively, it damages the business and the client’s future. With limited time to catch a customer’s attention, one must always keep in mind every detail, from surroundings to the advertising itself.



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