Guide to Starting a Yard Sign Rental Business
A yard sign rental company for birthdays and other celebrations is one of the easiest businesses there is to start, and depending on your dedication level, it can be lucrative as well. Especially during these times of social distancing.
Unlike other businesses and industries, the yard sign rental business is far from over-saturated. In most markets, there are only a few sign rental businesses and the majority are operated by small business owners working out of their homes.
Most large cities and metropolitan areas throughout the US only have a couple of local companies that offer display rentals. This means there are still plenty of opportunities to capture a good percentage of the market in many areas throughout the country.
If you’re considering starting a celebration yard sign rental business (also known as a yard card business), your timing couldn’t be better. Due to high-demand, many yard sign rental businesses are booked full with orders a month or more in advance. This leaves the door wide-open for you to hit the ground running.
What is a birthday yard sign rental business?
Before we get into details about costs, yard sign product inventory, finding customers, etc. let’s talk briefly about what a yard sign rental business is. We like to refer to the yard sign rental business as a “make people happy” business.
Celebration yard sign rental companies place all types of special occasion signs on people’s front yards, putting them on display for everyone to see. No doubt you’ve seen these signs when driving through a neighborhood.
The signs are usually ordered by a family member or a friend who wants to surprise a loved-one with a special celebratory message that may include birthday wishes, anniversary wishes, new baby arrival announcements, graduation announcements, special thank you messages, welcome home messages and much more. The messaging possibilities are endless.
Realtors also rent them for open house and “welcome to your new home” messages. Schools and businesses also rent them for special announcements and messages.
The signs typically include 18” to 24” letters spelling out the message and other fun sign graphics themed to support the message such as balloons, hearts, stars, cakes, presents, etc.
The signs are generally made from sheets of high quality 4mm corrugated plastic which makes them waterproof and reusable. If you order signs online for your business, make sure you are ordering corrugated plastic for outdoor use.
How much money can you make with a birthday yard sign rental business?
As with just about any business you start, how much money you make is generally determined by how much work you’re willing to put into it. What’s great about a yard sign rental business is that you can make it a part-time business that you do on the side to generate some additional income, or you can make it your full-time job.
Most special occasion yard sign rental companies charge customers anywhere between $80 and $125 for a 24-hour sign rental. This rental includes sign delivery, installation and pickup. Businesses serving larger metropolitan areas usually are able to charge more.
If you choose to do just 1 installation a day, you could bring in $2,500 a month or more. Do 3 installations each day and you’re looking at a potential $7,500 per month or more. Install 5 per day, and you could bring in $12,500 or more per month.
The best part about this business is that your product is reusable. Once you purchase your initial signage, you won’t need to restock and replenish your inventory unless your signs suffer damage or you decide to expand and service more homes. If you’re installing the signs yourself, most of what you make is pure profit.
This is not a “get rich quick” business opportunity. Be wary of any videos or websites making such claims. Just because you launched a yard sign rental business doesn’t mean customers are going to come immediately calling. You will still need to market your business to get the word out.
Is buying a yard sign or yard card franchise the way to go?
Buying into a franchise yard sign rental business (or similar “membership-structured” business) can be a good idea or a bad idea. It all depends on what you want to get out of your business. Joining an established franchise organization can help you get your business off the ground and help provide answers to any startup questions you may have, but it does require a larger financial investment vs. starting off on your own.
Franchises also provide some immediate brand name recognition which is generally what makes them so appealing. However in the yard sign rental industry, there really aren’t any nationally recognized brands that the general public is familiar with. So, there’s really no advantage to buying into a yard sign franchise for the sake of brand recognition.
With most yard sign membership companies you are required to purchase your yard sign inventory directly from them. There may also be sign-on fees, on-going royalty fees and more. Start up costs with a franchise-type yard sign rental business can range between $5,000 – $10,000 or more. Not too bad when compared to other types of franchises, but much more vs. launching solo.
If you buy into a franchise, you will likely be limited to a specific territory within your metro area which will include only certain zip codes where you are allowed to do business. This can of course inhibit your ability to grow your business.
Also, keep in mind that with a franchise, you will most likely be operating under the name of that franchise and will have to completely re-brand your business should you ever want to leave the franchise and branch out on your own.
How much does it cost to start a yard sign rental business?
If you prefer to start your own celebration yard sign rental business vs. going with a franchise, you can get your business started for just a couple of thousand dollars, depending on how much sign inventory you want to buy.
A complete yard sign starter kit can be purchased from around $1,400 (check out our blog post on yard sign rental starter kits here). This kit should include everything you need as far as your signage goes.
You’ll probably need to invest between $1,200 and $2,000 on your initial signage which should allow you to have enough inventory for a couple of houses each day. Within a couple of weeks of posting signs, you should have your inventory paid off and all of your business from that point forward is mostly profit.
Formalities and legalities
The best place to get information on the legalities and requirements for setting up a small business is the U.S. Small Business Administration. On the SBA website, you can get information on choosing a business structure, registering your business, obtaining federal and state tax ID numbers, applying for licenses and permits, opening a business bank account and finding business insurance. We recommend you begin your business start up journey there and consult with your accountant and / or lawyer as well.