How to Start a Yard Sign Business
To start a yard sign business, you must first perform extensive market research, after which you move on to other key aspects such as choosing a niche, getting your signs ready, storing your inventory, and of course, marketing your business to ensure that you get through to your final customers. This is merely a general overview, though, and there are still a few more aspects you have to keep in mind to run a successful yard sign business. Keep reading, and you’ll become familiar with all of these in no time.
Why you should start a yard sign business
Right at the moment, there are a ton of reasons why a yard sign business is one of the best you can enter into with a high peace of mind. First of all, it is one of the few businesses out there that isn’t saturated at all.
If anything, the demand far outweighs the supply, and this leads us to the second point – with over 320 million-plus people living in the United States at this very moment, and all of them with birthdays, anniversaries, and tons of celebrations, you practically cannot go wrong catering to these needs.
And then there’s also the fact that the business is quite easy to get into, affords you the opportunity to work from home, and requires very little amount of stress.
All of these reasons, without a doubt, are why you should definitely consider starting a yard sign business.
Step 1: Planning your yard sign business – Cost planning
A yard sign business, like any other out there, requires a deep level of planning before you can achieve success. Sure, the business is quite unsaturated and teeming with demand. Still, going into it headfirst without proper planning and acclimatization will spell doom for any budding entrepreneur, especially those without prior experience.
So what are the things you have to get familiar with and plan exactly? Well, first of all, you have to get familiar with the costs of doing business – which is basically what determines whether or not you go ahead with the business in the first place. We discuss more on carrying out proper cost planning for your yard sign business below.
What are the opening costs of getting a yard sign business going?
The very first aspect of cost planning is to establish the initial cost required to get the business up and running. It is only after this is done that you can then focus on the cost of keeping the business going, i.e the recurring costs.
So how much does it cost to get a yard sign business off the ground? Well, this depends on the supply method you choose to go with. Broadly, this can be classified into three options.
The first option you have to consider in your yard sign journey is whether or not you want to make your signs yourself or get your inventory from an already-existing source.
Choosing to make it yourself is not for everyone, though, seeing as first, you have to have the know-how, acquire all the needed materials on your own, and then go through the actual process of making the sign.
The total cost of self-production may range between $1000 and $2000, inclusive of the cost of obtaining a complete starter kit.
Franchising is a popular business practice for people who wish to go into a business but don’t want to start from scratch and can’t afford to completely buy out an already established company. What they do, instead, is affiliate themselves with a big franchise already well-known in the industry, from which they receive their inventory, as well as enjoy other perks.
The drawback to franchising your yard sign business, though, is the expenses involved. It is a quite expensive affair, with some franchises requiring almost $10,000 to join.
The middle way
The third option is to go with a strategy that doesn’t quite involve you doing everything on your own, but also not completely affiliated with a franchise. What you do, instead, is receive your supply from a guaranteed manufacturer, without franchise fees.
The upside to this is that this method is more affordable, more flexible, and you won’t be limited to a particular territory as you would be in franchising. And of course, you don’t have to go at it alone like you would when you self produce.
What are the recurring costs?
Now that you’ve understood how much it costs to get your business on the way, the next thing to consider is how much it costs to keep it running. Thankfully with a yard sign business, scaling is quite easy.
Once the inventory is up and running, all you have to do is restock accordingly, or go bigger if you please.
Step 2: Revenue planning
With revenue planning your main concern is to determine just how much money can be made from running a yard sign business, and well, the answer is a lot. Of course, as it is with all businesses, the amount of money earned is usually relative to how much work you’re willing to put in.
Assuming, though, that you charge about $100 for a 24-hour rental, including delivery, installation, and pick up, and do one installation a day, you could be earning about $2500 a month in gross revenue.
Now imagine doing 5 installations a day. This would amount to about $12,500 a month.
Who is your target market?
Another factor that determines revenue is your target market. Obviously, with the yard sign business, you have a very wide target market. Pretty much anyone from young to old, male to female, who happens to be in need of a yard sign is your target.
Targeting such a broad range of customers, however, is not usually a good thing. A more advisable method of action is to trim down your audience, and target a niche instead of going broad. This ensures a more concerted effort, a better understanding of the market, and higher conversion.
Choosing a niche
Choosing a yard sign niche, as mentioned earlier, helps increase your shot at having a more laser-targeted pool of customers to appeal to. The niches available in the yard sign business include celebration yard signs, which could range from anniversaries to birthdays to baby arrivals and graduation ceremonies; special thank you messages; welcome home messages; “for sale” messages; “welcome to your new home” messages, and so on.
How exactly does a yard sign business make money?
A yard sign business makes money by renting out yard signs to people who need them. This can range from families celebrating a special occasion, or realtors wanting to put a building on lease.
How much do you charge customers?
Generally, yard sign business owners charge customers about $80 to $125 for 24-hour rentals. The most common, however, is $100. Again, this usually includes the cost of delivery, installation, and pickup.
How much profit can a yard sign business make
Assuming you charge $100 per rental, your profit will obviously depend on how many installations you’re able to carry out per day. Starting out, it isn’t unusual to get about 5 rentals a week, which equates to $500 per week, $2000 per month, and $24,000 a year.
As you grow, however, the sky is definitely the limit, and it isn’t uncommon to see big yard sign businesses doing up to 30 rentals a week. This, of course, equates to $12000 a week.
The overall profit made, though, is going to be based on your method of production in the first place.
What are the costs of scaling?
As you can see above, the reward for scaling a yard sign business can be quite substantial. How do you get to this level, though?
Well, one of the major mistakes business owners make is to scale too fast. You should only attempt to scale your yard sign business once the business starts generating enough to reinvest into bigger inventories and delivery capabilities.
Step 3: Forming a legal entity
Now that you’re done with the planning and research aspect, another aspect just as important to focus on is the legal and technical aspects, where you handle all government requirements and compliance regulations for running a business.
Here you get to register your business with the state and avoid personal liabilities once you successfully submit your articles or organization. Before this, though, you have to name your business.
Naming your business
The very first aspect to ensuring your company/business becomes a recognizable, and the legal, entity is to find a proper name for it. This name, mind you, must also be unique, and as such you will have to carry out a name availability search on your state registration portal to ensure that your desired name hasn’t been taken.
You may also ensure to choose a name that is available for a federal trademark, and with an available web domain for when you choose to launch a website.
Register for taxes
This is the part where you obtain your employer identification number (EIN), which is a unique number assigned to your business for tax recognition purposes. It is quite easy to get this number on the IRS website.
You should also ensure to check in with the state to get familiar with other state requirements, if any, for tax purposes.
Open a business bank account
The primary purpose of a business bank account is to provide a much-needed degree of separation between your personal finances and your business. This helps you keep track of your spending and income generated, and also goes a long way in giving you a good deal of convenience when filing taxes and evaluating growth.
Step 4: Business accounting
Having a bank account to separate your finances is one thing. Keeping proper records of your spending and income is another. They are both highly important practices.
In this stage, you have to ensure to keep adequate written records on how your money is earned, from which sources, and of course how it is spent.
Step 5: Permits and licenses
Here again, is where you check in with the appropriate state bodies regarding the needed permits and Licenses necessary for running a yard sign business. Like most regulatory activities in the United States, there seems to be some difference in requirements as you move from state to state.
Failure to obtain these permits may lead to hefty fines or a complete shutdown of your business.
Step 6: Business insurance
Getting your business insured is not only great for keeping your business safe from unforeseen liabilities, but it is also a legally mandated practice and a no-brainer for any business owner.
There are quite a number of insurance options out there, and the policy you choose to go with is totally up to you.
In case you’re not very sure which particular package to go with, you can always consult with an expert.
Step 7: Defining your brand
Now that your business is up and running, and the legal aspects are all set, the next point of business is to define your brand and reach out to your customers. What’s the purpose of branding, you might ask?
Well, there are probably tons of answers on the internet, the major point of them all, though, is that branding is necessary to give your business a unique identity that leaves a firmer impact on the minds of your customers and prospective customers.
Promotion and marketing
Promoting your yard sign business should be the next step after all the above are set up. And quite ironically, your first weapon in promoting your yard sign business is, of course, having your own yard sign. After this, you can then move to other innovative methods, among which is creating an online presence.
A key part of marketing nowadays is shifting from focusing solely on offline tactics and propelling your business to an online audience. This you do by building a strong online presence for your business. And with a yard sign business, the rules are no different.
You can either choose to create your own social media pages, or a website, or even both, through which potential customers can get familiar with your work and place their orders.
Customer retention in a yard sign business is critical, mainly because, thankfully, the business is not a one-off affair. The same people who needed a birthday sign yesterday may end up needing another in the coming month, or a different kind of sign. This is why customer retention is quite important and may end up contributing significantly to your overall revenue.
Step 8: What is the growth potential of a yard sign business?
The growth potential for a yard sign business is pretty limitless. You can start by renting 10 signs a week and find yourself doing ten times that. And if you continue on such a path, and find yourself with the revenue and ability to scale even further, who knows you may grow into a big franchise and help people from all over the country begin their own yard sign business.
Skills and experience
Are there particular skills and experience needed for successfully running a yard sign business? Absolutely not. That’s one of the beauties of this industry, the fact that pretty much anyone with a sense of organization can enter into it and run it successfully, with a proper plan and a good deal of research beforehand.
Of course, having prior experience with this kind of niche doesn’t hurt. Still, it is by no means absolutely necessary.
A typical yard sign business day
A typical yard sign business day involves you being in the comfort of your house, or in whatever space you dedicate to your yard sign business, probably taking inventory or engaging in other activities necessary to keep track of business.
It also involves catering to customers’ needs, running a few promotional and advertisements campaigns, and checking out your online orders if you have any.
Find a business mentor
A key to success with any business is to find a business mentor who can help guide you through rough patches and majorly serve as a source of inspiration. Ideally, this should be someone in the same industry as you, who is known not only for charm and charisma but for having actually found success in your desired field.
Build a team
One of the most important aspects of scaling any business is building a team of experts so that the business can run even more smoothly and reach a lot more people. For the yard sign business, things are no different.
As you scale you would want to build a team including people who help with delivery, installation, pickups, and even a marketing team, and a team of designers depending on how big you’re willing to grow.