How to Start a Mobile Billboard Company

Mobile billboards offer three major advantages over stationary billboards. Mobile billboards often feature electronically-generated ad content, which means billboard companies easily change ad themes and introduce new advertisers. Mobile billboard company workers can program new truck ads in covered vehicle storage areas. Traditional billboard installers hope for good weather with little wind for time-consuming installation work. Programmed mobile billboard trucks travel to preselected geographic areas, showcasing products or services before clients’ target markets. This proactive approach means advertisers are no longer dependent on drivers to notice client stationary billboards which they can intentionally ignore.

Document your mobile billboard business. Select a business structure with assistance from a certified public accountant familiar with advertising and service companies. Sole proprietorships, S-corporations and limited liability companies are commonly-used business structures. Consider factors such as your financial situation, risks that a mobile billboard business pose and tax implications of the respective forms of business organization.

Complete your billboard company start-up logistics. Visit your city or county clerk’s office to purchase a business license. Ask about other local permits or operating restrictions applicable to your mobile billboard business. Consult a commercial insurance agent regarding a business liability policy, and ask about other coverage that addresses business-specific risks. Contact your state department of revenue about your need for a sales tax license (see Resources).

Lease an office and truck storage location. Find a convenient business site with office space and a secure, fenced storage area for your mobile billboard trucks and equipment. Ensure that you have adequate customer parking, along with easy truck entry and exit. A covered work bay is also desirable for bad-weather installations. Obtain written zoning approval before you finalize a location lease. Work with a sign contractor to create bold, colorful signage that attracts attention and showcases your services.

Buy your mobile billboard equipment. Select new or used panel-type trucks you can equip with three types of mobile billboard displays. Choose a scrolling display with a constantly-changing series of electronic ads. Consider an innovative tri-vision billboard featuring three rotating ads or a video billboard that plays an entire video as the truck travels through the client’s market area. Add A-frame trucks or tractor-trailers that exclusively feature one client’s colorful ads. Buy an LED flatbed truck with a driver-controlled electronic sign that raises 20 feet into the air (see Resources).

Hire mobile billboard truck drivers. Contact your state motor vehicle administration to determine the driver’s license requirements for each type of mobile billboard truck (see Resources). Recruit drivers with credible proof of those licenses, as well as documented experience with the type of truck each driver will operate. Advertise in local and regional newspapers, at trucker-friendly restaurants and on state-specific online job boards (see Resources).

Recruit mobile billboard clients. Target prospects with products or services adaptable to mobile billboard advertising. List products with high visual impact and wide applicability. For example, an upscale new shopping mall may attract customers with a colorful showcase of mall-based stores. Seek innovative services that will likely appeal to a substantial portion of your target market. For example, illustrate a new spa treatment that customers can obtain at many regional spas. Prepare a tailored ad campaign for each prospect.

Complete clients’ mobile billboard ads. Identify each client’s target market and advertising goals. Create eye-catching ads that work within the restrictions the mobile advertising environment imposes. For example, consider a city commuter who travels behind a mobile billboard truck for several minutes. The commuter is exposed to the billboard as she creeps along, although surrounding traffic periodically distracts her. Increase the chances that she notices the billboard, using bold, colorful images and a minimum of words.

Dispatch your mobile billboard trucks. Program each client’s advertisements onto the appropriate mobile billboard platform. Finalize drivers’ routes to maximize each message’s impact on its desired audience. For example, advertise a tropical-themed beach restaurant routing a mobile billboard truck through beachfront communities. Showcase the concert of a sought-after young singer driving a billboard through local college campuses. Continue to match your audience, type of mobile billboard and advertising message to increase your company’s chances of success.