Beauty in Bandit Signs

Posted on July 5, 2013 by

We’ve all seen them as we pull up to a light or get off the interstate; those temporary signs that line the medians and light poles advertising anything from DJ services to yard work to houses for rent and sale. They are a tacky eyesore and I love them! Some people see gaudy, eye pollution but all I see is dollar signs. Yes, dollar signs. These beautiful bandit signs are one of the best marketing tools in the world and have been many investors’ bread and butter. Now don’t delude yourself, if it were without some hazards, everyone would be using them, so lets get the skinny on bandits, how and why they work and what the drawbacks are.

The how and why is pretty simple. The reason bandit signs work is because they offer a solution to people’s problems in areas where customers might not read the newspaper or have access to the Internet. And while most households have televisions, most investors don’t have additional finances to pay for TV ads (it all goes back into the house). Like all advertising, you need to strike an emotional cord with your customer. As a home investor offering to buy, sell, & rent houses, you already tap into that emotional cord, especially in this desperate economic time. Your sign has the potential to be the answer to the age-old cry for help, “Dear God give me a SIGN”!

With bandit signs you need to have a “critical mass,” like in chemistry. This means that you need to have enough signs on the street so that the desperate and motivated will see them. And the more they see it, the better. Potential customers seeing your signs repeatedly helps to build trust and credibility that you can do the job. The critical mass for me is about 100 signs on the street at any one time. I know it seems like a lot, but trust me it works. Because bandit signs have been so successful a whole industry has been built around them. In my area alone there are at least three companies that will place your bandit signs out on a Friday evening and pick them up before 9 a.m. on Monday. They all ask for roughly a dollar a sign (negotiate for a better price) so if you are going to blanket the city (I put up to 8 signs up at large intersections), you might want to do it yourself or hire a friend for $10/hr to place the signs up in your targeted areas.

Now why do these companies place and pick up all bandit signs between Friday evening and Monday morning? Simple, the legality of bandit signs isn’t all that clear. In some areas they are ok, and in others they are not. You need to be informed on sign codes in all areas that you are looking to advertise. While you can make a lot of money utilizing bandits, you can also suffer some losses, i.e. FINES! I have had to pay for code violations, and chances are you might have to also. Do your due diligence and be aware. Call your local code enforcement and find out the rules. And do not be discouraged if they tell you “NO SIGNS” but you see signs all over that area. The reality of it all is that while bandit signs might be discouraged in an area, code enforcers are not on the clock from 5 p.m. Friday evening till 9 a.m. Monday morning, hence the company hours. In most cases if you advertise during these times, you will not incur any fines but I make no promises and assume no responsibility! And remember, make and impact and you can make money, a lot of money! 

Russ HinerRuss Hiner is an active real estate investor, coach and mentor. Russ is currently the leader of the Atlanta REIA Creative Deal Structuring Group and Atlanta REIA Mastermind Group. Russ also teaches several workshops throughout the year on a variety of real estate investing topics such as Negotiations, Wholesaling 101, Wholesaling 401, Real Estate 101, Property Management and more.

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