For more than 20 years, Stark Capital Solutions has seen a consistent influx of new independent billboard operators break into the industry. Our unique perspective and understanding of where these new operators come from and how they get their start has been of interest to many in the past. Below is an abbreviated list of where we commonly see new operators come from.
Hotel Developers and Operators
Hotel developers and operators typically have an experienced background in real estate development. Many start off by building signs on highways that lead to their hotels for self-promotion purposes, develop an interest in the billboard industry over time, and then morph into larger billboard companies. Here are examples of a few larger billboard companies that are also hotel developers and operators: Whiteco/View Outdoor, DDI, DSW and JR Promotions.
Real Estate Developers
Real estate developers typically have expertise in land and zoning regulations and have experience with billboards on the properties they develop. Since they understand the real estate components, and often have experience with billboards, often they tend to venture into the industry.
Commercial Sign Vendors
Commercial sign contractors understand how to build signs and are often familiar with the billboard industry. We hear commercial sign contractors express frustration with the fact that they only make money one time upon the construction of a new sign for a client. Whereas billboard operators build similar signs and generate cash flow over the life of the location. Therefore, it’s natural for sign contractors to become enamored with the recurring revenue and high market value found in the Billboard Industry.
Other Media Professionals
Media professionals from the print, radio and television industries understand the advertising business and have solid networks in the advertising industry. They are also familiar with the unique strength of billboards since they have competed against them. As the print, radio and television industries have suffered over the past decade, these media professionals look to billboards as a better opportunity.
Former Employees of Larger Billboard Companies
We also see general managers, sales executives, and real estate representatives from larger billboard companies branch off on their own. Individuals with strong industry-experience who want to become independent and already understand the business often have the skillset necessary to succeed.
Multigenerational Billboard Company Family Members
Many billboard companies today are multigenerational, family-owned businesses. It is fun to hear the unique stories about growing up around the industry and “riding in the posting truck with their parents”. It’s also not uncommon to see family members start their own separate company in different parts of the country because of their exposure and mentoring from the family business.
Our trusted reputation and experience have allowed us to create solid relationships built on honesty and integrity with many independent operators. No matter your background, if you have an opportunity to develop a billboard and need help with financing, let’s talk about how Stark Capital Solutions can help you succeed in the industry.