Rolling Billboards

Creative marketing gives Boardwalk Builders signage that makes an impression all over town.

January 01, 2000
Rod Sutton's Editorial Archives

Boardwalk Builders doesn't own a fleet of company trucks. And in some neighborhoods, job site signs are unwelcome. Without these traditional avenues on which to market her company, owner Patty McDaniel had to turn to other signage media. "You look like a fly-by-night contractor without signage," she says.

For McDaniel, that new media turned out to be tool trailers.


A sign package for use on three trailers cost Boardwalk about $5,600.


Boardwalk, located in Rehoboth Beach, Del., started as a new-home builder, and the company staged the projects from within the structure. There were no customers living in the house, and storage was not a problem. Now that the company has switched to predomintantly remodeling, "we need to move in and out faster," McDaniel says, hence the storage trailers. Crews store tools and some supplies in the trailer, and leave them on the jobsite.

McDaniel realized the opportunity to use the trailers for signage. Boardwalk garners 96 percent of its business from repeat clients and referrals, and McDaniel saw the trailers as a "tremendous way to increase visibility."


Boardwalk stores tools and supplies in its trailers, and leaves them on the job site for staging.


McDaniel hired a designer, the same one that works on the company's other marketing efforts, to create a billboard-style sign that would utilitize the trailer's sides. "I wanted to capitalize on the ability to go visual" with the design, she says. "The Internet has made visual [presentation] more important."

Using 3M's Scotchprint material, which applies in a manner similar to contact paper, Boardwalk contracted with a sign company to produce and apply the sign. "[We] designed it, sent electronic files to the company, and they produced it," McDaniel says. "You pay by the square foot of material [you use.]" Since there was no local company, Boardwalk also paid expense for the sign maker to travel to Boardwalk for installation.

Three trailers cost about $5,600, McDaniel says, including $1,000 for the design, which she describes as "incredibly cheap." In fact, she's so sold on the concept that she had hitches installed on employees' trucks. Another employee, who decided to purchase his own trailer, has agreed to let Boardwalk put a sign package on it.

Because of the size of the trailers, McDaniel says, "I had the opportunity to say a lot more, so I took it." Whatever I do, people are going to form an opinion of me. I might as well take my best shot and help them form the opinion I want them to have."

Rod Sutton is the Editor-in-Chief for Professional Remodeler. Please email him with any comments or questions regarding his column.

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