Billboard Blueprint: Your Guide to Funding Your Next Big Idea

Finding the funding to construct a billboard can be a challenge, but there are several options available. Here's an overview of some of the common options for billboard financing:

  1. Traditional Bank Loan: You can borrow money from your local bank with interest rates ranging from 8% to 10% and a five-year balloon payment. However, getting approved for a bank loan can be intimidating for those without a proven track record, as the bank will delve into your credit history and financial situation. On the bright side, many people start out with their hometown bank and it's possible to build multiple billboards over time as the loan limit is around $500,000.
  2. Private Lenders: Private lenders are often the lender of last resort as they charge high interest rates (12%+) and have strict terms. Although they will make loans when banks won't, they aren't regulated by banking rules, and can be risky to work with.
  3. Friends and Family/Self-Directed IRAs: Borrowing a large sum of money from one person can be intimidating, but borrowing smaller amounts from several people is a more manageable option. Self-directed IRAs can also be an attractive option for those looking to invest their IRAs into something that pays a higher return. As the principal can't be used until retirement age, there's no immediate pressure to repay the loan. However, borrowing from friends and family can also be difficult if something goes wrong.
  4. Seller Financing: This is a more common option than you might think, especially for billboards that are difficult to rent or sell. You make a down payment, and the seller carries the financing for a specified period of time, often with no credit check, and a low interest rate. Although seller financing is easy to qualify for, it can be difficult to find a seller who is willing to carry the risk of the deal.

Ultimately, financing billboards is a process that becomes easier over time. Consider your options, and choose the one that best fits your needs. Don't let financing hold you back from building your billboard.

Frank Rolfe started his billboard company off of his coffee table, immediately after graduating from college. Although he had no formal training on the industry, he learned as he went, and developed his own unique systems to accomplish things, such as renting advertising space. Frank was formerly the largest private owner of billboards in Dallas/Ft. Worth, as well as a major player in the Los Angeles market.