How Tall Should You Build A Billboard?

One of the key attributes to any billboard is how high it is up in the air. Next to size, that’s one of the biggest decision that a billboard owner must make. So how do you decide how tall to build a sign? Here are the items to consider.

High enough to be above obstructions

A billboard that can’t be seen is of no value to anyone. If you can’t see it, then you can’t rent it. So you need to build your billboard above any and all obstructions which can include 1) trees 2) power lines 3) buildings and 4) other signs. Normally you find most of these obstructions to be around 30’ tall, except in rural areas where there are few obstructions to worry about.

Low enough to “stick” in your windshield

Can a billboard be too tall? Sure. Because you can only see signs that are lower and visible through your windshield while you’re travelling down the road. Too tall and the sign disappears above your line-of-sight. So the basic goal is to make the sign as low as you can go but still be above all obstructions.

But not so low that it attracts vandalism

When there is no barrier between the sign and the potential vandal, it becomes an immediate target for graffiti. Typically, a sign has to be about 10’ off the ground to be free from this risk. But there are some safety options to keep people off your sign such as barbed wire and removing access ladders. But it’s a simple fact that if the vandal can just climb up on the sign from the ground, you’re going to be in trouble.

And don’t forget about the cost differential

The price of building the sign goes up exponentially as you go higher in the air. The lower the sign, the cheaper the sign, and sometimes your budget dictates how high you go. That’s not to say that you would ever want to choose a height that is so low that the sign is obstructed. But price is definitely a consideration.

The permit may also restrict your options

For many billboards, the final determination of height is related to what the permit allows. In many states, the maximum height for a billboard is 50’ from the ground to the top. But I’ve seen ordinances that capped the eight at 20’, too. So make sure you know what the law allows. Equally important is to know where this height is measured from. In some states it’s from the ground below, while other states measure from the height of the roadway that views the sign. And then some states is a mix of the two.


Choosing the right height for a billboard is an important decision. These tips will help you make the correct choice to have a successful sign.

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.