You can build an outdoor billboard for less than $5,000, but you must complete formal planning details and obtain approval and licensing from local-government planners before beginning construction. You also need permission to install it on someone else's land unless you are placing a billboard on your own property. Size, location and road routes should be established before you build,.
Begin by gathering information on the cost of materials. Keep a log of your expenses.
Use existing billboards as a guide in dimensions and building methods, suggests Frank Rolfe, in his "How to Build a Billboard the Correct Way" article. Examine the structure's dimensions closely, noting where light fixtures will be positioned on the billboard and how high the sign will be positioned off the ground. Design your billboard as precisely as possible and then get plans approved and possibly licensed by a local government agency. Ask the landowner for permission to put a billboard on his property, if needed.
Clear all obstacles from the planned billboard site, and obtain permission to trim any trees from a neighboring property owner's land before beginning construction.
Determine where the core of the billboard column should be prior to groundwork drilling, and mark off the planned footprint on the ground with wooden markers.
Add 1 foot to 2 feet of setback around your billboard footprint to avoid hitting any underground utilities.
Build the billboard as approved: Pay attention to the permit and its sub clauses, which may hold you responsible for beginning the project within specific time of the permit's issuance. Attach the permit to the structure's pole where it will be visible before you leave the site.
Save on construction costs by drilling framework holes yourself, pouring the concrete footings for them, building the framework and installing the sign.
Present the landowner, whose land you have used, with a gift as a thank-you, which generates good will and may lead to recommendations from the land owner to his friends for other billboard placement.
Carmen Clarke-Brown worked as a reporter for "The Daily Gleaner" in Jamaica, West Indies, published sociocultural articles for Gannett Westchester Newspapers in Larchmont, N.Y., authored the sports fiction book "The Quarterback" and is working on her second book. She holds both B.S. and M.S. degrees from Iona College in New York.