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How Much Do Billboards Cost?
Published 10/22/2016

Billboard Prices

Key Information At a Glance

Location dramatically affects the price of advertising on billboards. Printing a billboard costs about $800 dollars. Below are some sample price breakdowns by city.

  • In Dallas, billboards cost anywhere between $6000-$14,400 for a 4 week period.
  • In Los Angeles, billboard pricing ranges anywhere between $8,200-$19,000 for a 4 week period.
  • In Ohio, cost of a billboard ranges $2,500-$6,500 for a 4 week period.

Why can't I find an a specific answer about billboard costs?

The question is entirely too broad to answer with a single number. In the billboard industry, it can be difficult to get to the bottom line. An advertisement for the 1997 film "The Game", starring Michael Douglas, appeared on a billboard with the tagline "humor me with specifics". You can't nail down specifics without asking a specific question about billboards. Calling for a quote is the easiest way to know exactly how much a particular billboard in a particular area will cost. Due to the massive quantity of billboards in the United States, it is impossible to create a rule for pricing that governs each one. If you're looking for a ballpark figure, use the figures below as a general guide to billboard pricing.

How much does it cost to render a billboard?

The cost of a billboard has several components. Printing the copy for a billboard and rendering it is one cost that is fairly straightforward. Creating the design and artwork should cost you around $500. Rendering the billboard advertisement costs about $800. These figures can vary slightly depending on the size. If special canvases are requested by the buyer, this can also affect price. But, as a general rule, you can bank on a standard billboard costing you about $800 dollars to render and $500 dollars for the artwork. Now then, where are you going to put it?

Does location affect price?

Anyone who has ever looked for a house has heard the adage. The three most important things to pay attention to are location, location, location. Billboard costs vary based on location very much the same way home prices do. That's why you can't get a specific price for a billboard unless you ask some very specific questions. Can you imagine asking a question as broad as "how much does a house cost?". Most people would look at you expecting a punchline to follow. If you did get people to respond with a number, the range of responses could vary wildly depending on what part of the country you were in. You would never buy a house without seeing the location and making sure it met all your requirements. You should take similar care when renting a billboard.

Here are some examples of billboard pricing in various major cities. As you will see, the range is wide and varied even within the same city, just like home prices.

  • In Dallas, billboards cost anywhere between $6000-$14,400 for a 4 week period.
  • In Los Angeles, billboard pricing ranges anywhere between $8,200-$19,000 for a 4 week period.
  • In Ohio, cost of a billboard ranges $2,500-$6,500 for a 4 week period.

The more eyes that see that a billboard everyday, the more it will cost to advertise on it. The nicer the billboard structure itself is (i.e. recently upgraded, digital, extra large, etc.), the more it will cost to advertise on it. Look around next time you're driving. The billboards that stick out to you are the expensive ones. After all, you noticed. They must be in a desireable location.

Be leary of anyone who offers you a bargain-barrel price for a billboard if you haven't scouted the location. If the example above didn't make the point, here it is in plain english. Billboard location is everything. As such, premium locations demand a premium price.

Sample Billboard Costs in New York

Here is a full sample breakdown of billboard pricing in New York, New Nork. New York has a wide range of locations, including some of the most premeire spots in the entire world.

Billboard Costs
Size / Duration 8 sheet (60"w x 80"h) 32 sheet (160"w x 120"h) 48 sheet (240"w x 120"h) 64 sheet (320"w x 120"h) 96 sheet (480w" x120"h) Bulletins (576w x 168h")
4 Weeks $245.80 - $609.34 $614.81 - $1631.50 $809.72 - $1189.46 $804.53 - $16,289.40 $982.10 - $20,432.12 $1219.80 - 25,615.41
8 Weeks $489.62 - 119.65 $$1,221.99 - $3,258.64 $$1,629.32 - $24,439.80 $1,629.32 - $32,573.60 $1,957.18 - $40,733.00 $2,443.96 - $48,779.60
16 Weeks $729.20 - 1829.60 $1,822.99 - $4,867.96 $2,343.98 - $36,649.70 $2,443.98 - $48,879.60 $2,932.78 - $61,099.50 $3,665.97 - $72,319.40
6 Months $1475.40 - 3670.82 $3,675.97 - $9,775.92 $4,887.96 - $73,319.40 $4,866.97 - $97,749.30 $5,050.89 - $122,199.00 $73,319.40 - $146,638.80
1 year $2943.65 - 7329.86 $7,331.94 - $19,549.84 $9,635.41 - $146,638.80 $9,775.92 - $195,517.40 $10,101.78 - $244,398.00 146,638.80 - $293,277.60

Let's take a closer look at this pricing breakdown. For a four week period, it will cost roughly 250 dollars to advertise on the smallest posters all the way up to close to 25,000 dollars for full blown bulletin advertisement. That is an extremely wide range of prices. Extrapolate those dramatic differences over the course of an entire year, and the price difference can be astounding. You may only spend as little as eight to ten thousand dollars for an entire year of advertising near a bus stop or shopping mall. But if you're looking for prime real estate on a spectacular in Times Square, you could be looking at a boatload of cash. This type of postitioning could put your cost of billboards into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. You may even be forced to pay a premium during seasons of highest demand.

Are billboards worth the cost?

This entirely depends on your business. If you are a national business marketing to a very large audience, billboards can be a useful addition to your branding campaign. Similarly, a local business can get good mileage out of one or two billboards directed at their target audience near their store.

Mid-range companies that advertise in many different locations may not see such good value, though. It can be difficult to tailor a message to a small group of people that expands over a large area. The space provided on a billboard is large but the number of words a customer can read while in transit is limited. The number of impressions you must get in order to reach the desired number of customers may be too great. If you're a medium sized business with a difficult audience to reach, billboards may not be the best place to spend your money. They can be a great addition to many businesses but should not be the foundation of your marketing stragegy if your budget is limited.

Before you rent a billboard, consider your advertising goals, budget, and target audience to accurately gauge the cost/benefit.

What billboards are most expensive?

It's a simple visibility issue when it comes to location vs. price. Some good old fashioned logic can answer this one for you. If a billboard is well-maintained and in a location that gets a lot of impressions, it is going to be more expensive. Though there are no guarantees, the majority of billboards in high visibility areas are well-maintained. They are rented regularly and owners can afford to maintain them appropriately.

Billboards that are off the main roadways and lack visibility don't command nearly the same price. They will be in the lower end of the price range for that city and will often not be as well maintained. They can be a fantastic option for smaller businesses with higher ticket items to sell. Dental practices and similar businesses don't require a trememdous amount of conversions from their advertisements to make them worth the investment. They sell their services at a price that is high enough to pay off from only converting a small percentage of the impressions their advertisement gets.

The bottom line is you will have to pay for premium visibility. That may or may not be the best move for your business. Carefully consider all the costs of advertising. Your target audience is only as good as the advertisement you put in front of them.

What's the least expensive form of billboard advertising?

Turning your own car into a moving advertisement is by far the cheapest way to do it. This lumps the entire price of billboard rental and production into one and turns your car into a permanent billboard. If you choose to turn your car into a moving advertisement, getting it wrapped will only cost around $2000 dollars.

Tax Loophole to Renting a Billboard?

If you own your own business, this one could be for you. This tax loophole is glaring. But it requires a small sacrifice on your part. For some, this will be a big sacrifice. It all depends on how much you like the current paint job on your car. Your car will need a facelift in the form of an advertising wrap. If you are willing to accept the fact that it will now look akin the cars of Cole Trickle or Danica Patrick, this trick is for you.

It will cost you about $2000 dollars to have your car wrapped with an advertisement. But that is not the only cost of advertising. What about the space you're using to advertise? That advertising space isn't paying for itself, is it? Who is paying for the car? You are. You can deduct a portion of your car payment each month as a direct business expense; much the same way you can deduct part of your mortgage payment as a business expense if you use one of your rooms as an office.

Love him or hate him, Donald Trump used this loophole similarly throughout the 2016 Presidential Election. He regularly took his own airplane to campaign events. He then charged his campaign for use of his plane. Is this the way it should be? Who knows. But what he did is completely legal. If he didn't use his own plane he was going to have to get a plane from somewhere else. And he was going to have to pay for it. Therefore, he is well within his rights to have his campaign pay him what they would have paid for a plane from elsewhere.

You can legally do the same thing when you use your car as a billboard. To parallel the Donald Trump example, if you had not wrapped your car to advertise, you would have had to have someone else wrap their car. You would have had to pay for the wrap and for the cost of advertising on that car. Whether you're campaigning or advertising, using personal property for your business gives you the ability to write part of that expense off of your personal income taxes. If Donald Trump owns any billboards and used them in his campaign for presidency, you can bet his campaign paid him for their use.

You obviously can't write off your entire car payment as a business expense if that car is also for your personal use. A good rule of thumb is to write off 1/3 of your car payment as a business expense. If your car payment is $600 per month, you can probably write off $200 of that as a cost of advertising. The reason is simple. There are 24 hours in a day and people generally spend 8 hours working. Assuming that your car is working when you are, your car is working for your business 8 out of 24 hours in a day, or 1/3 of the time. Therefore, 1/3 of your car cost can be deducted as cost of advertising.

Poeple often try to make the argument that the advertisement is working even when they're not. For this reason, they think they should be able to deduct their entire car expense as a cost of advertising. Do not do this. As the IRS sees it, it is unreasonable to assume that none of your car expense is attributable to anything outside of it's advertising functions.

Every individual situation is different. Consult your accountant to make sure that you meet the qualifications to benefit from this tax loophole.

Are there contract commitments?

Billboards are owned by a wide variety of people. Each owner sets their own term limits for each billboard they own. You will be hard-pressed to find any billboard owners who will rent the space for less than four weeks. The cost-benefit simply doesn't make sense. Four weeks is the absolute bare minimum commitment you will find and even those deals are scarce; usually reserved for extremely remote billboards often run down and in need of repair. Companies who are on the up and up require a minimum commitment. Anywhere between a three and six month minimum commitment is what you should expect when renting your billboard.

What's the bottom line?

Finding out the cost of a billboard is best discussed with a live representative. If you pick out a specific billboard and ask for a price, you will be able get the answers you've been looking for. There are so many billboards in every market, it takes a trained specialist to speak with you about your individual needs and the specifics of each billboard. To speak to a billboard specialist about a pricing and availability, call us at (877) 659-3563.