Billboard Business, Billboard Investing, Digital Signs

Billboard Construction Costs

How much does it cost to construct a 14 by 48, two-sided, illuminated, 40 foot above ground billboard?  My rule of thumb is $30,000 for wood structure, $60,000 for a steel monopole structure, and $350,000 for a digital billboard.  The 2015 Billboard Structures Valuation Guides put out by the Departments of Revenue of Arkansas and North Carolina verify this data as you can see in the following table.  The valuations guides estimate billboard construction costs to assist local tax assessors.  The first cost number is from Arkansas and the second cost number is from North Carolina guide.


 Structure Wood Two Sided Static 14 x 48 Billboard Steel Monopole Two Sided 14 x 48 Static Billboard Steel Monopole Two Sided 14 x 48 Digital Billboard
Cost $25,910-27,210 $61,160-66,720 $350,000
Useful Life 20-25 years 40-50 years 10 years.

Should you build wood billboards?  I don’t think so.  Wood structures may be cheaper but they last half as long as steel.

Both states assume a useful life of only 10 years for digital signs.  This is in line with what I hear from operators and manufacturers.  I don’t think enough operators take the cost of 10 year sign depreciation into their return on investment calculations for digital signs.



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