How to Make Extra Money by Selling Ad Space

Written on December 3, 2014 by , updated on April 23, 2015

Make Money with Ad SpaceIf you’ve ever hung a “For Rent” sign, then you’ve already dabbled in the $6.9 billion outdoor advertising industry.

But why stop at promoting your own vacancies?

If your rental has “location, location, location” then you likely have an opportunity to sell ad space to other businesses and make extra money every month.

Breaking Down the Idea

Take a look at the following idea breakdown table:

Paid Ad Space
What: Use a section of your fences and/or building as a billboard.
Time Commitment:●○○○○
Why:Hanging a piece of outdoor advertisement (banner, balloon, wallscape) on your rental property may allow you to create a tenant-independent profit center.
Increase Net Income By:Creating reoccurring advertisement revenue
What You Need:

  • High traffic count (walking or vehicle) for target audience visibility

  • A fence, face of building, or roof top

  • A basic marketing plan

The Extreme Version:A single family home rental sits on corner lot that backs up to busy intersection. The landlord hangs banners above the fence line every other month promoting a nonprofit’s annual events/fundraiser.

Based on text message responses, the landlord is able to measure response rate and demonstrate effectiveness. This helps increase placement rates and grow the landlord's customer base.

The tenants don't mind at all; they receive a small royalty.
Possible New Income Streams:

  • Commission from banner printing companies

  • Reservation fees for annual bookings

  • Big time political ad revenue

  • Night projections onto your building
Nontangible Benefits:
  • Another way to get people to notice your rental and reduce your own vacancies.

  • List of clientele could be sold along with real estate.
Steps to Implement/Test:

  1. Check with your City’s zoning codes.

  2. Hang an “Advertise Here” banner.

  3. See who calls.

  4. Give free advertisement to a nonprofit and get their testimony.

Examples & Ideas


Example of Event Sponsorship

If you have a corner lot near a church, school, or any nonprofit, then you should consider the potential for additional revenue.

Consider the foot and vehicle traffic that sees any part of your rental during rush hour.

If there is a local event that brings in tourism, consider partnering with the event’s sponsors.

Potential advertising places include:

  • Fencing
  • Siding
  • Roof (especially if near an airport)
  • Tree line
  • Grassy front yard
  • Porch railings

Try to think about the types of people or companies who would want to advertise in your location. If your unit is next to a parking lot, the owners of the lot might pay to hang their sign on the side of your building

The possibilities are plenty, but you might have to get creative. Whether you have a single-family home rental or a commercial complex, your unit may have outdoor advertisement potential.

My Scenario

In Sacramento, California, our Code Section 15.152.040 says permits aren’t required for temporary political campaign or nonprofit, philanthropic, educational or religious signs promotion events.

However there are restrictions on the size of sign and on how soon the sign can be erected before and how long it can remain after the event.

If I had a suitable space on my fence, I would approach some nonprofits and pitch the idea of marketing for their annual events. I would also walk into the campaign office of the next election and pitch my space as well.

The Downside

  • You could get complaints if banner blows loose or looks tacky.
  • You might be limited on how long you can hang banner. Make the time count.
  • Your neighbors might copy your idea. Keep your success to yourself.

Cost/Projected Revenue

Some websites are renting banner space for $35 per week with a four-week maximum exposure time.

If you sold the ad business with the property that had two profitable signs, it could add an additional $33,600 to the price.

To learn about new technologies for marketing ad space, and to gather inspiration, connect with:

  1. The Out-of-home advertising (OOH) industry
  2. The Outdoor Advertising Association of America (OAAA)
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26 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • Doug

    Not everything that CAN be monetized SHOULD be monetized. As landowners, we have an obligation to ensure that our properties are not an eyesore to our communities. A world full of marketing plastered on every available surface is not an environment I would choose to live in. It is a form of pollution, to be honest, and does nothing to beautify our surroundings. I’d urge extreme caution and moderation in contemplating the commodification of our outdoor visual space.

  • Al Williamson

    Doug, thanks for adding to the conversation. You’re so right – there is a season and place for everything.

    Before I add my comment, let me share that I’ve won several community service awards for my landlording and neighborhood revitalization efforts. My book also instructs landlords on how to turn around blighted neighborhoods. I share that to say that I understand, at great depths, at what you’re saying.

    Now, blight is relative. A banner welcoming home a soldier could be considered blight. Landlords need to be tasteful and cautions, but they should also go through the process of imagining what’s possible.

    My goal with this series is to inspire a discussion on the potential landlords have but don’t use. I hope you’ll stay with me.

    • Keith D Whitfield

      I have a business model Concerning a new Concept of outdoor advertising, I’d like to pick your brain about it. Would you have a few minutes?

  • sharon r bower

    I think I will take a go at this again. I am directly across the street from a beautiful new Amtrak station. It’s kind of slow in the winter but in the summer, the riders are numerous !

    • Al Williamson

      Please report back on how things work out for you. Who do you plan to advertise for? Are you going to start with a “Place Your Ad Here” banner?

      • Marc

        HI, I have a mall, and looking to get paid for companies to advertise their banners and etc here. Is there anyway I can get feedback from you on how I can accomplish this.

        • Al W


          Have a “Place your Ad Here xxx-xxx-xxxx” banner made and hang it up.

          Make your phone rings. Simple as that.

  • akshay

    this is interesting! is the market feasibility same in all countries

  • Richard Francis

    I have the only external shop on the Bethel Convention centre based in West Bromwich B70 7jw I have advertising space at the front and side of my building . The centre attracts two and a half thousand people per day per event. What could be my revenue potent


  • zack marvin

    i live right across the street from the welfare office on shields and millbrook and there is easily 500+ people each day that pass by here. although this house is not a rental could i still hang advertisments on the side of my garage?

  • Rae

    I have a potential commercial home not on the market yet. It is right next door to a brand new county park that is a Already extremely busy from open to close. Its on a state highway with a 20,000 car per day traffic count and growing. I have about 500 ft of road frontage. Also is located only 1/2 mile from major intersection that has a Waffle House, Kroger, Wells Fargo, big memorial park/funeral home….also seems to be in a flight path to the local municipal airport as planes abs helicopters fly over frequently, low.

  • Vince

    I have a building next to a lot in the middle of Chinatown. Is it a good idea to use that wall for business advertisement. How much can you charge per sq ft. Is there zoning and codes I have to get and pay

  • Robert pirrung

    I have a large bldg. in town square next to court house, fire station, small businesses, and post office, seeking advertisement companies that want to use my from windows, building, for their adds, very reasonable.

  • Edward Rush

    Just got another sign thrown in my yard, so this time I emailed the company. They are willing to pay to keep it up but didn’t really know how much to charge. It is for a home auction which isn’t til 10 August. He is willing to pay 50 now, and I may ask for 50 more at end of auction…? I have been thinking of this for a while but didn’t know where to start. I have a corner lot with the back side of a shed facing fork in the road, so perfect space for advertising. There is a housing development too that had signs in my yard but after taking them down several times they stopped. Might be able to get them pay a decent fee if they put up a nice wooden sign for long term…? hmmm… possibilities! Any advice would be great!


    My place your poster advertising for giving rent

  • Greeshma Poonacha

    I have a roadside property with fence.. u can put up ads near d fence so tat ppl who travel wil notice ua ads n at d same time I expect gud rent too..

  • Carol

    I know this article is a few years old but hoping to get a response. Hopefully from Mr. Al Williamson himself, as I found this article extremely helpful & informative.
    Home on 5 acres in extremely rural desert community. The front of the home is off of old Route 66 but doesn’t generate alot of traffic. The chain linked fenced backyard is bordered by a rest stop/area on the i40 freeway. Thousands of cars pass everyday and hundreds of cars, trucks, motorhomes park literally in our backyard for overnight rest or use the rest stops restrooms. Looking to make little extra income. I was thinking of advertising the ad space on my backyard fence. I’ve seen similar listings on eBay. What are your thoughts?

    • Al Williamson

      Carol, interesting idea. And that was my intent…to spark ideas for you to experiment with.

      You’re the best person to judge your idea. Think of it as an experiment.

      I suggest you do a SWOT Analysis and then make a go/no go decision.

  • Lisa

    Dear Al,
    My home is located in Brooklyn. I had a hanging advertising sign but received a violation for it because my home is a residential property. I cannot have a outdoor advertising sign on my property. However, I was doing some research an came across this article.

    Can I install an outdoor painted mural? Do you know any companies I can reach out too for more information?

    • Jon

      Hi Lisa,

      I am writing in hopes of exchanging contact info and guidance. I too want to place an ad on my private property for extra monthly income. Can you elaborate on your experience? How much was the fine? How much are the costs? What obstacles did you face? How did the community respond? What is your status now? How did you proceed?

      Thanks – eager to hear from you!
      Jon, a NYC Resident

  • Sherri Riley

    I want to go about renting out my roof top. I live about 10 miles from airport the planes fly low over my house. Just need someone who knows the ins and outs or renting So I can do this just FYI my daughter. Live next door so about 5000 sq of prime roof is wait to be used.. any help would be great

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