Growing Your Billboard Business with Dave Roland

Dave Roland

Watchfire Signs

Dave Roland wasn’t always in the advertising business, but he showed signs of entrepreneurship and creativity from an early age. From the first lawn he mowed for 50 cents at age nine to his first career move as a manufacturing engineer at Fleetguard after he graduated from Tennessee Tech, he’s been on the move in the business world. He has been in the sign business since 1984.

How did you get into the billboard business?
Started with one hand-painted wood sign in 1984. That turned into an electric sign. My first billboard was in 1987.

Do you offer any other products or services other than billboards?
Yes, quite a few. We offer on-premise signage and service, branding and marketing services, web design and a few other creative things.

What’s the biggest hurdle in growing your out of home company?
Having a limited number of locations the city will allow us to put up. Which, is a double-edged sword. And of course regulations within the sign industry- both local and state.

Is more or fewer employees better, when growing a successful business?
According to where you are at any given time and how dedicated, skilled and multipurpose your team is. The team at Roland is able to wear a lot of hats, which helps. Our executive account manager, for instance, is also a licensed electrician.

What are a few tips you can give smaller billboard companies that want to add more locations and grow?
1. Look at all the towns and cities in your area, study the locations and zoning maps to determine possible new locations.
2. Look for abandoned locations that might be rebuilt.
3. Be willing to do the research and hard work it takes.

What’s your favorite part about being in the billboard business?
The mixture of creativity and business. And helping businesses grow.

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