Years ago, many individual billboard owners were charging advertisers exorbitant fees, especially if the advertiser wanted a directional billboard before a particular exit. Some of these prime locations were more expensive and harder to find than a wrecker in a snowstorm! (Maybe that’s where the term, “highway robbery” originated.) So, I decided to become a competitor, offer billboards at half the price and still make a nice, forty percent profit.
Since I didn’t have near the money to construct even one billboard, I came up with a great idea as to how I might do this. I selected prime locations and asked the property owners this question. “How would you like to receive $18,000.00 for doing nothing?”
I told them they would receive $75 each month for twenty years, just for allowing me to put a billboard on their property. Twenty-two of these property owners quickly agreed and signed a contact, with a 90 day option. I took pictures of each location and drew in a billboard so that anyone could easily see the possibilities. Then, I called on established, outdoor advertisers and gave them the first and last opportunity to lease a new billboard at one of my prime locations for half the price!
Within two weeks, I had a signed contract for each and every one of those locations. Now, for the million dollar question. How do you get twenty-two expensive billboards constructed without spending a penny? I took these valuable Property Agreements and Advertising Contracts to a major sign construction company and offered them a deal they couldn’t refuse. I said, “If you will build these signs, you can collect one-hundred percent of all the receivables, directly from the advertisers, plus an additional ten percent interest, until all of the costs are paid.”
Twenty-eight months later, all debts had been paid in full and my new company, American Sign Corporation, went on to become a multi-million dollar business.
(See “Signs of Opportunity” on page 82.)