Have you ever seen those cute yard signs celebrating birthdays, anniversaries, or other special occasions? Starting a yard card business allows you to tap into this fun and creative market. From birthday parties to graduations and everything in between, custom yard signs add flair to any event, bringing the décor right up to the curb. Yard sign rentals offer customers the benefit of yard decorations without having to buy and store décor that will only get used once.
Whether you’re looking to start a part-time venture or build a full-time business, this guide will provide you with the knowledge and tools you need to get started..
A yard sign business, also known as a yard card business, involves creating and installing customized signs for various occasions and events. These signs are typically made of corrugated plastic and can include anything from birthday and graduation celebrations to baby announcements and retirement parties. With low startup costs and a high demand for personalized signs, it’s an ideal small business opportunity for entrepreneurs looking to capitalize on a unique market.
The yard sign business can be an exciting venture with considerable profit potential without a full-time commitment. The business model typically includes designing, assembling, renting out, and installing the yard signs. Costs can vary depending on the size and complexity of the signs, as well as any additional services offered, such as personalized messages or specific design requests.
The yard card industry has grown in recent years as more people seek out unique ways to celebrate special occasions. Popular trends include increasingly elaborate designs, themed signs, and add-ons like balloons. A creative entrepreneur can capitalize on the demand for personalized, decorative yard cards.
So, how did yard signs become popular? Well, the global pandemic. Here’s why: The pandemic that began in early 2020 had many people searching for creative ways to celebrate special occasions from a distance. The search for celebrations from a distance led to a trend of posting yard signs (aka yard cards) on people’s lawns to celebrate and broadcast a special event.
Steps To Start A Yard Sign Business
Starting your own custom yard sign business is a great way to make some extra money, and with the proper planning and execution, it can be successful.
Step 1: Research the Market
Before venturing into the yard card business, conducting thorough market research helps verify if there is a need for a new yard card business in your area.
Before launching your yard card business, you want to identify your target audience. Determine who you’ll be catering to, whether it’s birthdays, graduations, or other events. Analyze factors such as age ranges, household incomes, and family types. Areas with a higher concentration of families, children, and higher incomes may indicate a greater demand for yard card services. Understanding your target audience will help tailor your services and marketing to meet their specific needs.
Next, take a close look at other yard card businesses in your area to understand the existing market landscape. Explore what types of cards they are selling, the materials and designs they use, and the pricing they offer. Understanding your competition will enable you to differentiate your business and offer unique value to customers. Additionally, consider the costs involved in creating the cards and set competitive pricing that aligns with the local market.
Step 2: Write a Business Plan
Starting a yard card business can be a thrilling idea. It’s the kind of opportunity that’s packed with creativity and the joy of adding an extra sparkle to someone’s special day. But even if you’re looking at it as a part-time gig, skipping the business plan might be tempting, yet it’s a step that shouldn’t be overlooked.
Not only does it provide a roadmap for your business to dig into your startup costs, pricing model, and marketing strategy, but it also serves as a reality check to see if you can make a profit from it.
Related: How to write a business plan
Step 3: Register the Business
If you’re looking to start a yard card business, getting the legalities in order is a step you can’t afford to skip. Each state and city has its own rules and regulations, so it’s important to research the specifics of your location. Here are some general suggestions to consider when registering your business and making it legal:
Choosing your business structure: The first task is to choose a business structure. There are four main types to consider:
- Sole proprietorship: This is the simplest form, where you own the business entirely and are responsible for all debts and liabilities. It’s easy to start and has lower costs, making it a common choice for new, small businesses, including yard card companies.
- General partnership: If you’re planning to start your business with someone else, this is an option. Both you and your partner will share responsibility for the business’s debts and liabilities. It’s also fairly straightforward to set up.
- Corporation: This structure creates a separate legal entity for your business, offering liability protection to you as the owner. It can be more complex and expensive to establish, but it provides benefits in terms of potential tax advantages and credibility.
- Limited Liability Company (LLC): Combining the ease of a sole proprietorship or partnership with the liability protection of a corporation, an LLC is often a popular choice for small businesses. It can offer more flexibility and requires less paperwork than a corporation.
Related: Comparison of business structures
Forming an LLC sounds complicated and expensive, but using an entity formation service guides you through the process so you know it was done right.
Some popular LLC formation services include:
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Business name registration: After registering the business structure, you may need to register your business name. This process will vary depending on what business structure you pick. Sole proprietors and partnerships will often be required to register a “Doing Business As” (DBA), while corporations and LLCs register with the state during the formation process.
During this time, it’s also a good idea to check if the name you want is available as a web domain, even if you’re not ready to set up a website yet.
Obtain business licenses and permits: Research and apply for the necessary licenses and permits required to operate a yard card business. The requirements may vary depending on your location and the specific services you offer. Common licenses may include a general business license, seller’s permit, and possibly a sign permit in the communities where there are restrictions for putting up signs.
Step 4: Set Up Operations
Setting up efficient operations is the next step in starting a yard card business. By implementing the right strategies and systems, you can streamline processes, enhance customer experience, and ensure the smooth execution of your services.
The first task is determining your pricing strategy. Research market rates and factor in costs related to materials, labor, and overhead. Offering different package options can cater to various customer preferences and increase sales. By setting clear and attractive pricing, you can effectively communicate the value of your services to potential clients.
Next, you will want to order a variety of items to create yard cards with different designs and messages so customers have options when creating their own personalized displays. In addition to the yard cards themselves, which often feature letters and numbers for greetings or announcements, you’ll want to have a variety of accessory items on hand, such as stakes for securing the cards in the lawn, lights for evening displays, and balloons or other decorative elements.
Then, think through the process from the customer placing an order to picking up the signs. Set up a streamlined system that allows clients to place orders, customize designs, and make payments seamlessly. Developing a user-friendly website, establishing a presence on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, and utilizing listing sites can help market your services and manage customer orders. Additionally, consider the logistics of delivering signs to yards. Determine whether you will handle transportation yourself or assign employees for deliveries.
Last, you will need a a place to store inventory and tools, and a workspace to assemble orders. Evaluate your needs and identify suitable storage options, such as utilizing a garage or shed, or renting a dedicated space.
Step 5: Create a Marketing Strategy
Launching a new yard card business calls for a marketing strategy that’s as vibrant and attention-grabbing as the signs themselves.
A great place to start is by building partnerships with complementary businesses such as florists, bakeries, and gift shops. Imagine the appeal of a birthday package that includes not just a yard card but also a bouquet and a customized cake. Bundling services not only offers convenience to customers but also opens doors to a wider customer base.
Social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram are indispensable tools for marketing. Yard cards are inherently visual and shareable, making them perfect for social media showcases. Regularly posting images of your eye-catching yard card setups can create buzz and showcase your work to potential customers.
Your online presence should also include a user-friendly website with clear information on pricing, design options, and how to get in touch. This ensures that when people search for yard card services, your business pops up, ready to impress with professional design and easy navigation.
Last, word of mouth remains an invaluable marketing tool. Encouraging happy customers to share their experiences and leave reviews can lead to referrals and new business. After all, a recommendation from a friend or family member carries weight and builds trust in your services.
Step 6: Prepare to Launch!
As you gear up to launch your yard card business, several additional steps will likely remain. While the needs of each entrepreneur will differ, there are common tasks that shouldn’t be neglected.
Business insurance: General liability insurance is particularly important as it safeguards your business against potential property damage or injuries that might occur during installations. Commercial auto insurance protects you and your staff during business-related travel, as personal policies often exclude accidents occurring during business use.
Setting up bookkeeping: Organize your finances by setting up accounting software and systems. These tools will help you manage daily transactions, prepare for tax time, and keep an eye on your business’s financial health.
Contracts: Have clients sign a basic contract and a liability waiver outlining terms to protect yourself legally.
Opening a business bank account: A dedicated business account is essential for managing your finances and maintaining clear and professional financial records.
Accepting credit cards: Ensure you have the capability to accept credit card payments, as it’s a must-have for most customers looking to make easy and secure payments.
Common Questions When Starting A Yard Sign Business
How much does it cost to start a yard sign business?
Starting a yard card business can be a relatively low-cost venture compared to many other business models, but there are still various initial costs to consider. While the total costs can vary greatly depending on the scale and location of your operation, a good estimate is between as little as $2,000 to over $9,000, not including a vehicle purchase.
Business registration: The cost to register your business can range from $50 to several hundred dollars, depending on your state and the business structure you choose.
Insurance: Initial insurance costs, including general liability and commercial auto insurance, can vary, but you might expect to pay between $400 and $1,000 annually for basic coverage.
Inventory: Starting inventory of signs, stakes, and letters might cost between $1,000 and $3,000, depending on the quality and quantity of your initial purchase.
Marketing: Initial marketing expenses for things like logo design, website setup, and promotional materials can range from $500 to $2,000.
Location: If you’re not operating from home, the deposit for a commercial space can vary widely, from a few hundred to several thousand dollars.
How profitable is a yard sign business?
When it comes to determining the profit potential of a yard card business, it’s important to consider industry statistics and a common formula used in this type of business. While actual earnings may vary depending on factors such as location, pricing strategies, and operating costs, here’s a general breakdown of the potential profit for a yard card business owner.
First, let’s calculate the revenue. Assume that the average price for a yard card display is $75, and you’re able to book an average of 10 displays per week. That would result in a weekly revenue of $750 ($75 x 10).
Next, we need to calculate the expenses. Consider the costs involved, such as the cost of materials, insurance, marketing, software subscriptions, and gas for transportation. Let’s assume that these expenses amount to $200 per week.
To calculate the profit, subtract the expenses from the revenue. In our example, the weekly profit would be $550 ($750 – $200). Assuming installs occur all year long, the potential profit would be $28,600 ($550 x 52).
It’s important to note that this is just an estimate, and actual numbers may vary depending on various factors.
What skills are needed to run a yard sign business?
Running a yard card business requires a unique set of skills to ensure success. Here are some key abilities that can be beneficial:
Creativity: This is crucial as it allows you to design unique and eye-catching yard cards that stand out and attract customers.
Organization: Much of a yard sign business will be coordinating rentals and managing your storage facility. For example, yard sign businesses need a variety of inventory to meet their customers’ needs. So, storage organization is key to smooth operations and allows you to find the signs you need in the correct color and font style.
Additionally, you will need to coordinate rental drop-offs and pick-ups. This requires organizing your or your staff’s schedule to accommodate each rental. Organizational skills are critical to ensure your rentals are met on time and as expected—which, in turn, leads to a positive brand reputation.
Physical stamina: The job can be physically demanding as it involves setting up and taking down yard signs, often in various weather conditions.
Marketing: You need to be able to promote your business effectively, both online and offline, to attract and retain customers.