When Dealing with Obstructions, Better Now than Later

So you're building a billboard but you're a little worried about some potential tree obstructions. The time to confront this problem is now, before you begin construction.

Trimming trees and vegetation is always something people procrastinate on. And that's a terrible idea. What can be a fairly easy fix can turn into an unsolvable problem if you wait until the sign is built.

Public Opinion Issues

When you trim a tree or bush, nobody really cares. It happens all of the time. Utility companies hire big groups of guys just for that function. If you trim trees and bushes in the proximity of your soon-to-be-built billboard, nobody will ever say a thing, because there's no reason for anybody to care. However, if you wait until your billboard is built -- big problem. Everybody is looking at the new sign, and will even see how much you cut since they probably drove by it before you began. Calls to city hall will start pouring in saying you've "ruined" the area. You may even be accused of cutting trees or bushes on the highway right-of-way, even if you are innocent. It's just stupid timing.

Permission Issues

It is 100 Percent easier to get permission to trim a tree or shrub before your sign is built. Why? Two reasons. First, your sign always sounds smaller than it is in real life. Billboards are huge once constructed. The friendly neighbor may hate your guts when he sees the impact you have caused his property. And as a result, may deny you any right to trim. Secondly, even if the neighbor doesn't hate you, he may still want to blackmail you for money once he sees the leverage he has over you. Once the sign is built, he holds all of the cards, and may want to get substantial money for his permission. Maybe thousands of dollars. I should know -- I've been there.

Before you ever build a sign, you need to flag its height. I show you how in my book "Big Bucks from Big Signs" available on www.outdoorbillboard.com. This will tell you what needs to be trimmed. As soon as you know what needs to come down, you need to make arrangements to get it done.

Don't even think about trimming trees and shrubs after the sign is built. The time to do it is now.

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.