How to Start a Mobile Billboard Business

A small billboard on a small truck.

Starting a Mobile Billboard Advertising Business

You’ll find a lot of tips and insights related to starting your own mobile billboard business. We’ll have a brief look at each of the steps needed to start your own mobile billboard business. Our next step is to examine some considerations to help you determine whether a mobile billboard business is right for you and finally, we will review some resources to assist you in starting and operating your business.

Let’s get started.

Follow the steps below to start a mobile billboard business

1. Research the Industry

Before starting your mobile billboard advertising business, the research you conduct will expand your knowledge about the industry and allow you to make better decisions.

A.) An Inside Look at The Business

One of the best ways to learn about any business is to investigate similar businesses already in operation.

There are two methods you can use:


Contact business owners operating mobile billboard businesses to ask if you could talk to them about their business. If you can arrange a few meetings, create a list of questions beforehand so that you don’t waste their time if they agree to meet with you. Another very important point is not to contact business owners that you may be competing with.

I would avoid businesses that are in your area because you would be in competition with them. Instead, contact business owners that are in different areas. You also want to let them know that you are considering starting your own business so that this doesn’t become a sneaky tactic.


a billboard on a midsized truck.Look for businesses that are for sale contact the owners to meet with them and discuss the opportunity. When looking at a business for sale, you should have the option to review the financials, look at their customer base, tour the operation, meet the staff and ask questions.

In addition to looking for businesses for sale, search for franchise opportunities related to mobile advertising.

You can contact company representatives for a meeting to discuss the opportunity and ask any questions you want.

When you meet with multiple business owners and representatives using the methods above, you will gain tips and insights that can only come from qualified people because they are in that business.

Another important point is you may come across a business for sale or a franchise opportunity that is a good match and a better option than starting your own business.

For more on this method, see An Inside Look Into The Business You’re Considering.

B.) Expand Your Knowledge of the Advertising Industry

The more you know about mobile advertising, the better decisions you’ll make, increasing your chances of success.

You can increase your knowledge by subscribing to blogs and newsletters, reading articles, and looking through industry publications.

There is a wealth of information that’s out there and easily accessible. You just have to spend some time going through the information. It’s also worth noting that this is not a one-time exercise where you look through a few articles and are done. It’s something you can schedule, for example, once every few weeks.

Click Here for the Latest Publications Related to Billboard Advertising.

C.) What Style Will Focus On?

There are some options. For example, will you have a setup where there is a sign on a pickup truck that drives around the city all day long displaying ads? Also, consider if your sign will be electronic or similar to a traditional billboard.

Or you can focus on having your advertising on the side of semi-trailers, allowing your client’s ads to be displayed across the country.

Another option is small signs that you can move from location to location.

D.) Choosing a Location

The location you choose will have an effect on sales. For example, operating in a small town with a few hundred people won’t pay the bills. You need a location with a large population so that advertisers will pay to have their message reach as many people as possible.

Also, will you locate your business and operate from home or from a commercial location? You can start from your home, and if it’s feasible, you can relocate to a commercial space.

For more, see Choosing the Best Location for Your Business.

2. Choose a Name for Your Business

You want to choose a name that is memorable and available for registration. We also want to include a matching domain name so that your business name and website have the same name.

You can use multiple resources for name ideas, such as name generators or websites that offer a list of business name ideas. These will help get the creativity flowing.

Remember that the name you choose now is the name you’ll use for as long as you own your business. Therefore you want something you are completely satisfied with!

For Mobile Billboard Business Name Ideas, See Google’s Latest Search Results.

3. Identify the Legal Structure of Your Business

You’ll want to decide on a legal structure for your mobile billboard business. You can start with the easiest to set up, which is a sole proprietorship. With this type of structure, you and the business are considered one entity; therefore, if any problems occur, such as a lawsuit or you declare bankruptcy, it goes against your personal finances and assets. Also, if you have a partner, you cannot use this type of structure.

A sole proprietorship is popular because of its simplicity, and many first-time entrepreneurs choose this type of setup. However, once they know the business is successful and growing, they can switch from a sole proprietorship to a corporation or an LLC structure, which offers liability protection for the owners’ personal assets.

It’s my personal preference to use a professional to set up the legal structure of my business if I’m using anything other than a sole proprietorship. I would use a professional to guarantee my business is set up legally and correctly.

For More, See How To Register Your Business Using These Resources.

4. Get a Tax ID

A tax ID helps the IRS identify your business tax account. You may not need it if you don’t have employees and start off as a sole proprietorship. However, if you use a professional to set up your legal structure, they will let you know if you should get a tax ID now or later.

For more see Here’s How To Get A Business Tax Id For Your Business.

5. Apply for Permits, Licenses, and Registration

You’ll need your standard business license from your local city hall or municipality. They will let you know if you need further licensing, such as a special license, because you’re driving around the city and advertising.

Visit the Licensing and Permits Page for More Information.

6. Create Your Corporate ID

Your corporate ID is an important part of branding your business. A corporate ID has many components to it, such as your logo, business cards, letterhead, website, etc.

Since your business deals with billboard advertising, you’ll have a graphic designer on your payroll, or you may have graphic design skills. On the other hand, maybe you deal with a talented graphic designer. Therefore creating a professional corporate ID shouldn’t be a problem for you. In addition, a professional design will leave a good impression on your customers and give them a taste of designs you can create for them.

For More See:

How To Design A Business Logo – Make it Good It Might Last Years.

How to Design Business Cards That People Will Pay Attention To

Business Signs – Have a Look at These Ideas.

A Complete Introduction to Corporate Identity Packages

7. Writing a Business Plan

a bus with advertising on the side.You will need a business plan when you look for funding or investors. You’d also benefit from a business plan because it forces you to think about where you’re going and how to get there.
You can use a template, or software, or hire a professional to create a business plan.

It’s wise to review your business plan periodically to make sure you are on track or to make changes to your operation or your business plan if needed.

For more, see How To Write A Business Plan.

8. Estimating Your Start-up Cost

You want to be as accurate as possible. However, when you estimate too high, you may find it difficult to get funding.
On the other hand, if you estimate too low, you could run out of money before you’re able to open your doors for business.

You’ll also want to account for the unseen because there will be issues you are unaware of until you are up and running. You can add 5 to 10 percent of your budget for miscellaneous.

For more see Estimating Start-up Costs: Are You Missing Anything?

9. Get the Funding for Your Business

It’s time to make copies of your business plan and start to look for funding. Many people start with their personal bank. One thing to understand is that lenders view startups as high-risk ventures.
Therefore if you are declined multiple times, don’t get discouraged; instead, find out the reasons and address the issue before proceeding to the next lender.

Also, take a look at our post on, Getting a Small Business Loan.

10. Choose a Bank

The bank you choose has an effect on your success. A bank you can depend on can get you through tough times and allow you to take advantage of deals.

For example, a good deal on a truck comes along, and you need to act fast to get the financing. A good relationship with your bank will help you get a loan approved in time to take advantage of the deal.

For more, see our page on How To Choose A Business Bank.

11. Acquiring a Merchant Account

You’ll want to get a merchant account for those customers that want to pay using debit or credit.

A merchant account requires an application process, and your banker can help you with the process.

See How To Open A Merchant Account for more information.

12. Get Your Business Insured

Insurance is another important part of starting your mobile billboard business.

For example, you may have vehicles driving around town, and you want to make sure that you have the right coverage in case of an accident.
You can’t use regular insurance because you have trucks driving around the city all day long, which increases the risk of an accident. So instead, you need commercial insurance, and you have to identify how many miles the vehicles drive every day to get the proper coverage.

An experienced insurance broker will help you get the insurance you need and make sure you’re fully covered in case of any incident.

For more, see our page about business insurance.

13. Office Setup

You’ll need an office to run your business, and the busier you get, the more time you’ll spend in your office. Therefore, you’ll want your office to be functional, organized, and comfortable, especially if clients will be meeting with you in your office.

For more see, Here Are Considerations for the Setup of Your Office.

14. Choosing Suppliers

The suppliers you work with are an important part of your operation, especially if they supply you with hard-to-get items. In addition, you’ll want a supplier with decent pricing and one that’s reliable. It will take time, but you want to build a long-lasting relationship with your supplier because they have a level of control over your business.

Choose your suppliers carefully because they are an important part of your business. For more see, How To Choose a Supplier You Can Depend On

15. Create a Team of Advisors for Your Start-up

As a business owner, you’ll need other professionals that can help you with your business. This team consists of professionals you don’t employ but use their services by the hour.

Your team may include a lawyer, financial advisor, CPA, business strategist, etc. Putting together your team takes time. Some members will work out while others won’t, and you’ll need to replace them. Sometimes it takes years to put together a rock-solid team you can depend on.

For more see, Building a Team of Professional Advisors for Your Business

16. Hiring Employees

a night shot of a billboards on a busy city street.In the early stages of running your business, you may be doing all the work yourself. But if you get busy and run multiple trucks with billboards attached, you will need to hire employees.

When it comes to hiring, you want to hire the right person for the job and only hire for the positions you need because even a small team of employees can cost in the six-figure range every year.

For more on hiring, see How and When to Hire a New Employee.

Startup Considerations

You now have the steps needed to start a mobile billboard business. Now let’s take a look at a few very important points to consider before you start.

Is Running a Business Right for You?

When you start a business, you have to start it for the right reasons.

  • Some people start a business to get away from a job.
  • Others want the financial gains and lifestyle a business can provide, not giving much thought to the hardships and effort required to run a successful business.
  • While others are passionate about the business.

All the above are valid reasons.

I want to emphasize they you have to be passionate about what you’re doing to succeed. At this point in your life, you’re starting something new, so you have the opportunity to choose a business you’re passionate about, and passion is the driving force to keep you going when times get tough!

For more, see Reasons To Start a Business

Do You Have the Skills To Run A Business?

You may or may not have the skills necessary to run a business. If you don’t, the good news is you can learn. You can take business courses, you can hire a business manager, or you can start off slow and learn little by little.

Another option is to get a mentor, and for the big decisions, discuss it with your mentor before moving ahead. Some parts of running a business are common sense. However, other issues require management skills and strategy, which would be best handled by getting the right information before proceeding. Then, as time goes on, you will have the skills and confidence to move forward.

For more see,  Do You Have These Essential Skills Needed To Run a Business?

Is It Better To Start a Business From Scratch or Buy One?

As stated earlier in this article, you may find an existing business and choose that option rather than starting from scratch.

When you buy an existing business, you start making money the day you buy it. You have everything ready to go, and more importantly, a client base. One of the reasons buying a business is more expensive than starting your own is that you buy the customer base.

Consider buying a business already set up the way you want it. Changing a business you buy doesn’t make sense unless you buy a business with problems and how to fix them.

What to look out for when buying a business. You don’t want to buy a business with too much debt. You should also check for pending lawsuits or leans against the company.

Click Here To View a Mobile Billboard Business Listed for Sale

Should You Consider a Franchise?

When you sign on for a franchise, everything is already set up for the business. You just need to learn the procedures in place and open your doors for business. It’s similar to when a McDonald’s or Burger King opens in an area. It’s s going to be very similar to all other locations. You have already tried the food and know what to expect.

Because a franchise is similar to all other locations, you don’t have much control over operating the business. Also, with a franchise, you are paying ongoing franchise fees.

To Browse the Marketplace for Advertising Franchise Opportunities, See the Latest Google Search Results. Also, see, What You Need To Know About Owning a Franchise.


Below are some resources you can use now and while you’re running your business.

Industry Trends and Statistics

Trends and statistics are a great way to get an overview of the industry. You’ll be able to tell whether the industry is on the rise or on a decline. Another opportunity when studying trends is you may gain an idea you can implement.

You may find something missing in the industry, and if you can provide it and people want it, you’ll have a competitive edge.

Click Here for the Latest Google Search Results Related to Trends in the Billboard Advertising Industry.


For this business, the equipment you use is one of the most important steps to research. Therefore, it’s important to take your time and research the equipment you’ll need, whether it’s vehicles, electronic billboards, or mobile billboards.

For example, the types of trucks you purchase have a huge effect on your start-up costs. You’ll also need to determine the operating costs because trucks with a bad reputation will naturally give you problems, and trucks that are expensive to operate will cut into your profits.

If you’re using electronic billboards, you’ll want something reliable and easy to manage because all your advertisements will be uploaded to the sign; therefore, you want something that’s user-friendly and looks good at night or during the day.

Click Here for the Most Recent Google Search Results Related to Advertising Equipment.  Also see Mobile Advertising Trucks 


In order to succeed in your mobile billboard business, you have to choose the right supplies. Prices are also important. If you get a good deal, you can increase your profit margin, while overpaying will reduce it.

See the Latest Google Search Results for Mobile Billboard Business Supplies.


Joining an association is a great way to network with people in the industry. You also benefit from the resources the association provides, such as publications, news, networking events, etc.

You can also join your local Chamber of Commerce to network with local business owners to know more about the area’s businesses and promote your services to local entrepreneurs.

Click Here To View Associations Related to the Billboard Advertising Industry. You May Also Want To Check Out Our Page for Tips and Insights About Joining a Trade Association.


Software that can help you with your business is something you’ll want to look into. Whether it’s to upload ads to electronic billboards, manage campaigns, or deal with accounting and client relations.

With any software package you find interesting, ask if a demo is available. You can also look at reviews to see what others have experienced.

Check Out Google’s Latest Search Results for Software Packages Related to a Mobile Billboard Business.

Top Mobile Billboard Businesses

Studying established successful billboard businesses is a great way to study the industry. In addition, you can gain ideas just by looking at competitors’ websites.

Even though the location is a factor, you can get an idea about what others are charging and the type of media they’re using. For example, are they using electronic billboards or the conventional type? What type of trucks do they use, etc.

Search Google for the Top Mobile Billboard Business in Your Area.


Books related to the billboard industry are a great way to learn.

A quick look at the table of contents is a way to get an overview of what the book has to offer. You don’t need to read the entire book with nonfictional books, only the chapters you need or find interesting.

Google Search Results for Books related to Billboard Advertising


The news is another way to stay up to date with the industry.

For example, go to Google news, type in your keyword, and you’ll get current and archived news stories.

See Google’s News Search Results Related to the Billboard Advertising Industry.


YouTube is a great resource to learn more about any topic. People are eager to share their knowledge.

You can view many five to ten-minute videos for a couple of hours to pick up tips related to the billboard advertising industry.

See the Most Recent Videos Related to a Mobile Billboard Business.