Billboard lease proposal...how much for a lease? $1000? $2000?

13 Replies

We own some commercial property on a very busy highway. 250,000 cars pass by everyday. We recevied a proposal from a billboard company to build a full sized billboard. the research has been conducted and a written lease has been written and presented to us for 1k/mo, 20 years + 20 yr option, with 10% rate increases every 5 yrs. We are very interested, but what is a fair rate? I think that billboards here run $5000-10000 (maybe more?) a month here because it's so busy, but I'm not really sure.

From what I'm told and from what I've researched, you can expect to recevie about 15% to 20% of the gross monthly revenue that the billboard company gets. I am also going to required annual increases in rent based on the CPI index, among a few other things.

Does anyone have experience with this? I don't want to have any regrets.

Thanks in advance for your responses! 

Did you ever get any feedback on how to get a marketable rate for your billboard?

Yes, I spoke with other landowners about their leases and they gave me great insight and advice. I also spoke to an attorney who specializes in billboard lease contracts. I think we negotiated a pretty good deal!

Originally posted by @Oscar Toledo :

Yes, I spoke with other landowners about their leases and they gave me great insight and advice. I also spoke to an attorney who specializes in billboard lease contracts. I think we negotiated a pretty good deal!

 Would you be willing to share any tips?

Yes of course. I am traveling right now otherwise I would take a look at my contract. For now I'll try to go off memory.

1. Ensure you specify exactly where they will be allowed to erect the sign. One property owner said he didn't do that, which gave them free reign to move the sign anywhere on the property. He couldn't sell the property because no bank would give a loan on it with that in the contract.

2. You may want to mention that you will not permit any adult content or advertisements for a competitor (we will be operating our business next door). You can also ask for 2 months of free advertising, if you pay for the skins.

3. Ensure they have an insurance policy and put you on it as an additional insured.

4. Most companies want  a twenty year lease. We are going for ten with one option to extend for ten years. Gives us more flexibility.

5. Mention operating hours and specific easements or service procedures so there aren't guys putting up signs during you or you tenant's business hours. 

6. It seems as though the going lease rate is 15%-20% of the monthly revenue that the sign generates. Some property owners were able to add a portion of the sign company's revenue (say, 10%) as a bonus, but sign companies are getting away from that model because there are just too many billboards any too much number crunching. They would rather just give an extra 2% per month.

7. Ask for an artist's rendering of the sign so you can see how it will look on your property and ensure it does not interfere with your signage.

8. Most importantly!!! Have an attorney review you contract and make changes. The contract they sent us was one page long, and our attorney added 3 more pages.

8. I'm sure I forgot a few things,so I'll update when I get home.

Good luck!

@Oscar Toledo   Sound like you covered everything.

I would add one thing. Make sure you know the size and height of the sign. It would be a bummer if you thought they were puting up a 4'x8' sign and they errected a 14'x48' 

I know you said you got an artist rendering, just thought I would mention just in case.

I would say only if you plan to use the property for another purpose or if the property is really cheap and fits within the building guidelines. However, in austin, you are at the mercy of the permitting process, so there's no way to guaranty that your sign company will be able to procure a permit for the billboard.

Also, austin is NOT allowing any new billboards inside city limits. Same for cedar park, round rock, and other suburbs. A sign company will have to tear down an existing sign to put a new one up. Also, any new signs can be no larger than the one they tore down. This always applies UNLESS the city tears one down to expand a highway (ie, 290). And in that case, they have more flexibility. A sign company gets one credit for a sign that is torn down and have up to 3 years or so to erect another or they lose that credit. 

Lastly, no sign can be within I think 1000 feet of another sign or I think 500 feet of a residence. I think they can build within 500 feet of another sign if they use the credit described above. They are trying to change these rules now, proposition is up for a vote in May.

Note that some signs in austin violate some of these laws. In those cases, they were built and grandfathered in before the laws were in place.

Hope this helps!

Originally posted by @Oscar Toledo :

I would say only if you plan to use the property for another purpose or if the property is really cheap and fits within the building guidelines. However, in austin, you are at the mercy of the permitting process, so there's no way to guaranty that your sign company will be able to procure a permit for the billboard.

Also, austin is NOT allowing any new billboards inside city limits. Same for cedar park, round rock, and other suburbs. A sign company will have to tear down an existing sign to put a new one up. Also, any new signs can be no larger than the one they tore down. This always applies UNLESS the city tears one down to expand a highway (ie, 290). And in that case, they have more flexibility. A sign company gets one credit for a sign that is torn down and have up to 3 years or so to erect another or they lose that credit. 

Lastly, no sign can be within I think 1000 feet of another sign or I think 500 feet of a residence. I think they can build within 500 feet of another sign if they use the credit described above. They are trying to change these rules now, proposition is up for a vote in May.

Note that some signs in austin violate some of these laws. In those cases, they were built and grandfathered in before the laws were in place.

Hope this helps!

 How did you determine what the "fair market value" was for the billboard. I imagine finding the exact lease details of local "comps" is a lot more difficult than residential comps.

it was difficult. I spoke with a couple of property owners who were willing to disclose that information. I also hired a consultant who worked for Clear Channel advertising at one time. The attorney who reviewed my contract was also able to confirm the typical lease rates.

Oh, one thing I forgot to mention is be sure to include how and when the lease rates will increase. We based ours off the annual CPI which is a gauge for inflation. 

Has anyone reached out to a company beforehand to learn if a property they were interested in buying would be of interest to billboard companies?

@Khris Mcafee You can certainly reach out ahead of time. The first thing to make sure of is that a piece of property is zoned to allow off-premise signs (billboards.) Once you know a property will allow a sign, it will be much easier to present the opportunity to sign companies. Otherwise, they have to do the work to find out whether the property is suitable for a sign. Most often, it is not. 

I wish I would have seen this earlier.  I know someone that owns many billboard locations.  He gets 20% of actual receipts.  I am not sure they would do that if you just have one location but I know they will do it if you have many of them that they really want.

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