I just ordered the book about the billboard industry but haven’t received it yet and there is one question i have that i cant wait to be answered. that is most of the billboards I see belong to either clear channel or cbs. How can a small business compete with that. they are advertising conglomerates. Is there a opening for the little guy to etch out some returns in the industry? I have close to a mil invested in a diversified portfolio currently and Im looking for some better investment opportunities iso wondering if there are real returns in this industry.
Im also interested in led billboards or possibly upgrading billboards to led. I think its the future of the billboard…
Magnum, I want to touch on your question about small companies and investors being able to compete with large billboard and advertising companies. If you are to build one sign with two sides in a high traffic area, with a good read from the lanes of traffic, somebody in that area is going to need to advertise. Period. The only challenge will be if you can cold call (I prefer a luke warm call) the area business and see who wants to advertise. Always see who is advertising nearby, there is no shame in stealing customers. If Don’s BBQ is paying $750 and you walk in, ask him what he pays and when his lease expires, and you pitch him $600 for a board one block closer he will undoubtably consider your proposal. You will also have less overhead than a Clear Channel or CBS and you can offer competative rates, which is all that really matters (apart from a good location). If you can find the advertisers and keep that board full, you can do just fine on your investment.
I thought I had posted an opinion on this topic weeks ago, but apparently I didn’t hit “post” when I got done.
CBS, Clear Chanel, Lamar and all the big companies are the easiest to compete against. Their people are not highly motivated and the effort is not there. The hardest companies to compete with are local operators – where the owner cares a lot, and has risen from the others to actually get his company off the ground. I used to compete against 60 different billboard companies in Dallas/Ft. Worth. But that still didn’t stop me from getting over 300 billboards. The bottom line is that there is no competition out there in this industry that you can’t beat if you try hard enough and work smart. There is no LeBron James of billboards. If I had to pick my competition, I’d go up against the big companies – they’re the easiest to beat. The only guy who’s competition at the big companies is the original founder, and they’re either dead or retired by now.