American highways have attracted new business ideas since the 1920s. Many of these roadside attractions built billboards to let the motoring public know that they were there. And, over the years, many of these have failed and left behind some important assets that they don’t even know about.
One person’s misfortune can be another person’s opportunity
When one of these roadside businesses fail, they typically leave behind a legacy of wooden billboards (and even steel in some cases). These signs offer the potential for renting to other advertisers, but the owners of these failed businesses typically don’t think of that. Instead, they just turn them off like a yellow pages ad and shut the door. These signs can easily generate $300 to $1,000 per month of income in the right location.
Watch for failing (or failed) business chains
So if a byproduct of failed roadside businesses are potentially lucrative billboard signs, then you should obviously always be watching for these failed businesses. And you should get really excited when you see they have a bunch of billboards leading up to their exit.
Contact them about buying their billboards
When you see one of these failed businesses, the next stop is to call them and see if they would be interested in selling to you their old, worn-out billboards (make sure to make them sound as worthless as possible). Tell them that you might be interested in renting them out for a small price, even though you know it’s not worth their time (don’t tell them of your real expectations on rent levels).
Let them name the price
You will be shocked at how little some sellers will let these signs go for. When you know nothing about billboards you don’t have a handle on their real value – they just seem a pile of old telephone poles and plywood. I have seen decent 12’ x 32’ wooden billboards sell for as little as $200 from these failed businesses.
My “Stuckey’s” example
I first learned of these opportunities when I came across a bunch of old Stuckey’s signs on Interstate 20 in East Texas. Although the buildings were long abandoned, I made it a hobby to find out who owned the old abandoned signs, and the trail led to a company in Atlanta, Georgia. They couldn’t care less about the signs – they forgot they even owned them. I proposed a ridiculously low price for them, and they didn’t even counter my price. I was so convinced that they would change their mind that I took the sales contract and check personally to Atlanta to sign it up on the spot. I then rented these signs for about $300 per advertising face, and it was one of the best deals (based on cash-on-cash return) I ever did.
Watch for failed businesses on the highway. Locate the owners and buy their abandoned billboards. It’s a very lucrative business opportunity that few people know about.