How to Participate in the Outdoor Billboard Industry With Little Or No Capital

The outdoor billboard industry offers the ability to make a substantial monthly income, as well as to build enormous equity in a group of signs. Four of the Forbes 400 made the list from profits in the billboard industry – including one billionaire: John Kluge. Even Ted Turner made his first fortune in the outdoor billboard industry. But how can the average person get into the billboard industry with little or no capital? Fortunately, there are several ways.

Flipping billboard leases

The true “zero-down” way to get into the industry is by obtaining ground leases and permits to build billboards, and then selling them to other billboard companies. This has been a standard industry practice for decades. A decent billboard ground lease and permit will bring $15,000 to $30,000, with a lesser location worth around $5,000 and a fantastic location bringing $100,000 or more.

There are only around $100 of tools necessary to flip billboard leases. The big investment is your time in learning how to do it. There are courses available on the internet that can show you the techniques and strategies necessary to locate and negotiate billboard ground leases.

Buying abandoned billboard structures

Many older wooden billboards lie abandoned along major highways and roads, mostly in areas outside major cities. These signs were often built for certain restaurant or other chains that no longer exist, such as many Stuckey’s franchises. Even though these signs are not used, often the permits are still in full force and effect. Many times, you can cut a new ground lease with the property owner, and purchase the abandoned structure from its former owner. In most cases, the sign needs little in the way of significant repairs to be put back in service. You can often buy these sign structures for $1,000 or so, and the returns are enormous.

Building new wooden billboard structures

There are opportunities in many markets to build old-fashioned wooden billboards on highways and major roads. These signs are inexpensive to build — $4,000 to $8,000 in total cost – and rent for about $2,000 per year per side. After expenses, they net around $3,000 per year. This is a return level of around 50% per year or more. While this may not immediately seem significant, if you have twenty or thirty signs, earning $60,000 to $90,000 per year, it sure is. Bear in mind that these type of signs are rented annually, so you only have to get involved in the sign’s operation once a year.


There are several different options to get into the outdoor billboard business with little or no capital. The industry is not just expensive, steel monopole structures. There are strategies of attack that meet every budget, and the opportunities are limitless. Shouldn’t you check out your options?