Some billboards are focused and efficient and profit is maximized. But others are a terrible waste of space. In this Billboard Mastery podcast, we’re going to review the many ways to simply find billboards with poor utilization, take control of them, and profit from the inefficiency.
Episode 41: Making Money Simply Through A Better Use Of Space Transcript
Underutilized is defined as not being used enough. That's maybe a little over simplistic. To me, it's more than just not being used enough. It's not being used in its most maximum form. This is Frank Rolfe, the Billboard Mastery podcast, we're gonna talk about billboards that are underutilized, and how you can make money from observation, and harnessing the power of that under utilization and bringing it up to a full market random potential. Let's start off with the bandit signs. Now, whenever you drive by a sign that has just been let go, it has no ad on it, or an ad that's all torn and faded with time maybe a political ad from five years ago, that sign is definitely underutilized because it's bringing in no revenue at all. If you can find the owner of that sign, if you can buy that sign, if you can lease that sign from existing owner for next to nothing, and then go out and read it to a real pain advertiser. That's a great way to make money from something that it's absolutely underutilized, I think we would all agree that a sign that's there with all that costs men and building it, and it sitting there with no advertiser on it, that is the most significant form of underutilization. So whenever you see those opportunities, those are opportunities. Whenever you see a sign that sitting there with no advertiser on it, you want to jump on that sign, because there's definitely money in that, then you've got the sign that has an ad on it. But it's got a second side, that's not utilized at all. Maybe when they built the site, they never thought of putting the second face on it. Or in other times, there was a second face on it, but they just let it go. Maybe in some cases, it blew off in a windstorm. You see that frequently, where you've got someone who built the sign for one specific use, let's say for a Holiday Inn. And they only put the sign and the ad up in the direction of the Holiday Inn. But the other side, they didn't care at all. So kind of like the first example of the sign that has no ad on the sign whatsoever. In this case, it's a working billboard, it's got revenue, but it only has half the revenue that it could typically have. So what do you do there go to the person who owns the sign to see if you can sublease that underutilized side, and then go out and find an advertiser for it. If you play your cards, right, you may be able to get that abandoned sign for next to nothing. Because what do they care, they only built the sign for the one directional sign, they don't really care about the other, they might be perfectly fine to read attitude and sanely, small monthly amount, maybe $50 a month, and then maybe you can put the ad back on that side and rent that for $500 a month.
There's a third kind, and that is when you have a major obstruction, which blocks the sign. I'll give you the perfect example of that. It was a landmark concept for somebody that that was it was an incredible crew. It was a billboard on a very, very busy road where the adverts were extremely high. Think like $4,000 a month ad rent, but the site had been abandoned because of a tree obstruction. So they went to the person who had abandoned the sign and said, Hi, I want to buy the sign. And the person said, Well, now I don't know if I really want to sell it. Because I I'm hoping one day I can do something with it. But it was never going to happen. That trade just wiped the sign out. So they said oh come on. Let me sublease it from you. So in the end, they went in there and they sublease the sign with the triblock each for $500 a month. And then they went to the person who had the tree on their property and they pay that person another $500 a month to chop the tree down. And now with a total expense of 1000 a month they rented the sign out for 5000 a month. So basically off that one sign they were pocketing about $4,000 a month in revenue last those two 500 a month commitments they had made shared genius. When you see obstructions on signs, you can sometimes go in and get a hold of them. Sign take control this sign for a very low amount, because everyone's lost hope. They don't think it has a whole lot of value. And then all you have to do is remove the obstruction. I did that on a sign in downtown Dallas once, it had a sign right smack in the middle of the billboard. And it was just for advertising for you to come and park your car in the parking lot beneath the sign. He basically just said park here is I recall, I was able to get the billboard for next to nothing that seemed to be worthless who had ever read a sign with another sign in front of it that said park here. But I went to the guy with the parking lot before I even bought the sign and said, What would it take for me to have you lower that sign down and he said, Well, if you'd pay the lowered I'd be happy to lower it. Because although it blocks the billboard in one direction, the billboard blocks it and the other I'd like to have my sign lower than the billboard. It was a win win for everybody. Parking Lot owner was happy and I was happy because I obtained that sign for next to nothing. And then with the obstruction fix, I was able to read it for a whole lot more money. Another type of underutilization is when you have a premise sign along the highway, advertising a business which no longer exists, or advertising a business that's so very far away, that that side has a very, very little importance. I once bought a whole lot of signs from stickies, because the stickies that owned the signs that advertise stickies, the stickies didn't exist anymore. The stickies have been gone for a long time. If the size were still there, all the grand rents have been paid, all the licenses hadn't been paid. When you spot these things, when you spot a premise sign advertising a business that you no longer see, what's happened is there's been a disconnect. It's kind of like one end of the snake doesn't know what the other end is doing. So the sign is still there, they're still paying the rent, but there's no business to advertise on the sign. Sure, stickies is a great example. But I see the same thing frequently going down the road for other businesses, I'll see a motel that is shut down, never to reopen. But there's still signs advertising the motel or the fast food just got out of business. And again, all I see their opportunities, you could go in and go to the person who's got that premises, which is now of no value to them whatsoever, buy it from them, or sublease it from them and then rent it out to a higher paying customer.
Finally, you see signs frequently, they have very low paying advertisers in areas that are worthy of much, much better when you have a billboard on a highway. And then from that billboard, there's a there's an interchange with a lot of potentially high paid advertisers like McDonald's and maybe a hotel. But instead, it's just advertising some goofy thing, like 300 miles into the future is a is a drive thru Wildlife Park. What's happened here is whoever owns that sign or rents that to that advertiser has no idea about all the new progress, all the new development on the road, someone is completely asleep at the wheel. What you would do that is go to whoever owns that sign, just got that advertiser and see if somehow you could again sublease the sign when that contract ends, and then go out and read it to one of those higher paying advertisers. If you look across America, when you drive around, you will frequently see these anomalies of signs that are stuck in the past. They've had the same advertiser on them for 20 or 30 years, and they don't even know how things have changed. When I had my billboards out there in East Texas, they opened a whole series of casinos out in Shreveport, Louisiana. But apparently no one had bothered to notice. People were still advertising little rinky dink route Western where stores when they could be renting those signs that things like Harris casino, I noticed the change. I was more than happy to go in and take over every sign I could find a rented out at the casinos and all the supporting businesses. But always watch for these things. Because what happens is, life is always changing. New things are being developed, new things evolve, and often those are higher paying advertisers. The bottom line to it is that every underutilized sign you see along every road and highway in America is a chance to make money, every single one. And you can make a lot of money simply by having the thought of being the middleman that ushers into the progress of the new, higher paid advertiser. I want to is currently not being used enough this is Frank Rolfe the Billboard Mastery podcast hope you enjoyed this talk to you again soon.