Op Ed on Bandit Signs - Posted by Andrew

Posted by David Alexander on February 14, 2002 at 16:33:31:

It’s mine… :slight_smile:

Hey opinions vary…

If someone put a sign in my yard I’d have no problem with it I assure you…

As far as do I have a sign in my yard… I don’t agree with your line of thinking…

First… answer is No… it would be counterproductive where I live…

Second… I don’t advertise my home address in any part of my business nor would I…

Third… I don’t put signs in folks yards… unless I ask… and pay them for that service…

As far as erecting a large billboard, that’s a totally different prospect than small portable signs… requires a little more than a hammer… and I might want a piece of the action… wouldnt lie to you…

I don’t use anything you do to justify any of my own actions… That’s a point that your are definitely twisting…

I’m just saying your you pick and choose which laws you obey… and what your moral ambiguity is… And so do I… ie… you cant find an argument for not speeding ever again… Don’t look down on others for doing the same…

I wish everything had a black and white conclusion to be drawn… unfortunately… life doesn’t…

Just as you said… Do you drink… certainly… Often… No… Do I (have never done one in my life to this point)do drugs or wish they were legalized… No… but, are signs for advertisement something that really leads to the moral decay of our economy…

Get Real… Otherwise we should all move to the mountains…

Abuse comes when something is carried to far…

Now I don’t the answer to where the line is drawn… I do know… I don’t feel I cross it… That’s why laws are created… to draw lines… sometimes where they should be and sometimes not… For instance Speeding… although it’s set at 55… If I remember when the law was changing studies were done… and found out that folks traveling on the 65 - 70 highways were actually involved in less accidents…

For me putting signs out to market my business is something I’m not going to lose sleep over…

Your milelage and sleep deprivation may very…

I just know this… they are effective… and create steady calls… as long as you have them properly placed about…

Couple that with a few more methods of marketing and you buy a house, two, four or six a month…

David Alexander

Op Ed on Bandit Signs - Posted by Andrew

Posted by Andrew on February 11, 2002 at 19:46:54:

Hi Everybody,

I’m not looking to start a riot by going against the grain, but I think it’s important for us investors to consider the consequeces (intended and unintended) of our actions. It seems that we are always fighting the perception that creative real estate is somehow illegal or immoral, so why throw wood on the fire by posting signs illegaly?

Although most posts on this board are pro-bandit sign, I’d bet that many other investors share my opinions about them. Personally, I do not like bandit signs and certainly don’t feel any empathy for those that illegaly post them and then feel the wrath of local anti-sign zealots or code enforcement.

How can you possibly complain about the actions of others when your illegal actions are the source of the problem? I mean, you wanted people to notice your signs and they did…so, what’s your problem? :wink:

Now if you’re posting signs LEGALLY, then that’s another story completely and you can rightfully defend you actions to anyone that protests.

I confess, I did use bandit signs for a few weeks with some success. Seemed like a great idea. However, because I hated sneaking around (it’s illegal in my area and hiring someone else to do it doesn’t make it legal) and felt badly about littering the roadways, I stopped. IMHO, illegal bandit signs should be fined just like any other dumping or littering.

As an investor, I consider myself to be very professional and want to be perceived as such. That’s also how I want to portray myself in all of my advertising. So here’s my question to other investors:

Would you hire a “professional” from driving by a bandit sign? Your doctor? Your lawyer? Your accountant?

I wouldn’t, but maybe many others would? Please do not give me any “the ends justify the means” arguments (e.g. I got 2 deals last month so I don’t care if they’re illegal!), they just don’t hold water.

There are many successful investors that do not use bandit signs and some that do. Again, I don’t want to start an uncivilized mudslinging fest, but I would like to know why other investors do or do not use bandit signs.


Re: Op Ed on Bandit Signs - Posted by DJR-NV

Posted by DJR-NV on February 13, 2002 at 12:56:16:


I am impressed with the depth of thought that you put into your bandit sign commentary, as well as the responses you gave. Seem to me that many people
either missed the point of your post or intentially side stepped the issue.

One thing’s for sure; profit is a most powerful motivator and it seems a persuasive gate
keeper of the concience as well. I enjoy thought provoking posts such as yours even though I’m usually disapointed in the quality of the follow up discussions.

Nonetheless, keep up the good work.


Re: Op Ed on Bandit Signs - Posted by JohnBoy

Posted by JohnBoy on February 12, 2002 at 20:10:29:

I have a question?

Just exactly WHO has complained about getting caught from using bandit signs and whinned about it?

I don’t ever recall anyone here posting that.

Also, if you get caught and if the city pursues with fining you, then all the excuses and whinning in the world isn’t going to help you anyway! So I really don’t understand the point behind this?

If you do it then be prepared to pay the price if you get nailed on it! Pretty simple! But if you feel the need to be a baby about it and make excuses whinning about it, then go ahead! It ain’t gonna make a bit of difference what you do when they push the issue! You’re going to pay a fine or fines, period!

Then what? Do you continue with making excuses and whinning while putting out more signs or do you stop to avoid getting more fines again?

I don’t like billboards within city limits either because I don’t think they look good either, but they still do it! Only they get permits to allow them while the little guy is denied his permits to put out his smaller billboards, such as bandit signs! I think if any city allows ANY kind of free standing signs not in direct relation to being in front an existing business location then everyone should be allowed the same privilege! It should be equal rights for all or none!

When I WOULD Hire A Doc From A Bandit Sign - Posted by Hugh Gaugler

Posted by Hugh Gaugler on February 12, 2002 at 11:59:35:

Doctor’s Bandit Sign: “For instant, caring help with your auto accident injury, Call Dr. QuickResponse at 555-5555”

Think about it: If you were in an accident, and saw the sign on a nearby pole, or remembered it, AND you were injured and needed immediate help, would you call for the good Doc’s services?

That’s the thing: RE signs are designed to reach those who need help — NOW!

— Hugh

Andrew I understand - Posted by Tim Jensen

Posted by Tim Jensen on February 12, 2002 at 10:15:26:


I Think I know what you are getting at. Correct me if I’m wrong.

Don’t try and justify breaking the law. If you put up signs and they get taken down (even if its by private sign zealots) or you get fined, don’t cry and whine about it. Don’t try and justify why you you breaking the law, just admit that you are.

I have put up bandit signs and I had a good idea that they were illegal. When I got caught, I did not put up much of a fight. I did ask questions and wanted to know why. For example, I think if I own a property I should be able to put a sign in the window. Not in the lawn or on a telephone or even on the side of the building, but inside the window. At any rate I took it down. I think I could have won that one if I wanted. My way around it is to put out a bandid sign wheneever I have a place for rent or sale.

However, I found out the rules and I worked around it. Now, if I happen to decide to break the rules and put up signs where they don’t belong, I am man enough to face the music. I won’t whine or cry.

Bottom line, I think Andrew is trying to say “Just admit what you do is against the law and stop trying to justify it”. He is not saying you are some horrible criminal, just take ownership of your deeds and intentions.

Am I on target Andrew?

Thou shalt not advertize? - Posted by Craig (IL)

Posted by Craig (IL) on February 12, 2002 at 06:40:40:

I disagreee that placing bandit signs is immoral. Don’t remember a commandment on that.

Bandit signs may be illegal in places and some people do find them an eyesore.

Some people are “offended” by bandit signs. But people can choose to be offended by anything. Someone telling (or screaming, or making as ass of himself) is a statement about the person doing the complaining, not the person placing the signs.

Right now, I’m only looking for a few deals and I am getting by without them. Later on, though, I may need them. I am not sure, yet, what I think about ME placing (littering?) bandit signs around. I have a decision not yet made on this.

But, I don’t agree that using bandit signs is immoral.

Well… - Posted by Glen SoCal

Posted by Glen SoCal on February 12, 2002 at 04:05:44:

Someone said to me once, “Where you stand, depends on where you sit.”

It’s difficult to answer objectively about bandit signs.

Since I’ve never put up a bandit sign or billboard for that matter, I find them distracting and a blight.

If I made my most recent ski boat payment because of an effective placement of a bandit sign, I might tend to respond favorably about posting bandit signs.

The fact is that many advertisements are like dragnets that reach all that pass by, yet few are interested in the message. It’s a law of averages that advertisers use to make their play. It’s expensive. Or at least an expense. And if bandit signs weren’t profitable, there would be little conversation about it here.

It’s amazing to me how dogmatic folks become when profit is involved, or how funny their boss becomes when he’s telling a joke.

I too appreciate the can-do attitude of Americans as one poster mentioned, a country which I am member since birth. And it always amazes me how some Americans fall forward in to financial peril, or profit from things like a pet rock. I think that the Big Geyser of patents though belongs to Sweden, per capita. They’d be good Americans too. We’re all from somewhere else anyway. It’s an idea, right? Not a place. But back to bandit signs.

The however, the big however, however I do not like the sight of bandit signs. If I never saw a “Work at Home” bandit sign again, I’d be OK with it. And if the folks in my community detested bandit signs so much as to request that the minority of us in the community who would like to use them, not post them, I’d probably respect that and not do it.

I’m not sure if I’d restrict myself from carrying a pair of pliers around though, as one poster mentioned a law restricting that in his county.

Phillip Morris still advertises and sells cigarettes though they are moving in to foods. And even though there is some evidence that smoking may be hazardous to ones health, they continue to advertise cigarettes. I understand they still advertise because Phillip Morris profits from the sale of cigarettes. I also understand that the Phillip Morris Board of Directors contend that they’re merely filling a need and there’s no conclusive evidence about smoking being hazardous. I also understand that the board menbers are paid by Phillip Morris.

Satisfying the need of a seller who requires the services of a real estate investor who can act quickly to solve a cash flow problem to me isn’t the same as advertising the advantages of a cancer causing habit. It was just a cheap way to make a point. It’s late. But the common denominator of either is, profit, or at least a payday from the profit. And profit is a great motivator.

Ask a heroin addict if addicts are low-lifes, and they may respond that the world is a scary place. Ask a thief if stealing the apple was right, and he’ll say he was hungry. Ask a pool cleaner why he advertises his services by distributing throw-away fliers, and he’d say it’s a good way to let pool owners know his services are available. Ask a poster of bandit signs why they post their signs when a community asks them not to, and they say they’re filling a need.

Where you stand on a matter, sometimes depends on what you need, or if you profit, or what you think is right.

And I think that all of the above would answer that they are right. But they are all benefitting from what their endeavors.

Knock the cat off the kitchen counter for eating the Thanksgiving turkey and he’ll stare up at you from the floor incredulously. I hope I spelled that correctly.

Having said all that, I really appreciate the energy and creativity on this board. And if restricting bandit signs stopped that flow, I’d be all for bandit signs. : )

I Love it… (Also called David’s Soapbox) - Posted by David Alexander

Posted by David Alexander on February 11, 2002 at 22:26:03:

Well, I don’t feel I’m littering anymore than a billboard being erected, only mine are smaller…

Would I hire a Doctor, Lawyer, use a service from a sign… Only if I needed the service and do so all the time… In fact, I found my Pool Guy, and quite a few HandyMen from BanditSigns…

Does it makes us as a group look less in the eyes of others… I guess your the kinda guy that would take offense to going out in public with me if I wasnt dressed accordingly… It doesnt effect you… Unless you let it…

Who do you fight on the grounds that Creative RE is Illegal…
I removed myself from dealing those folks years ago… I learned it was easier to find folks to hang around that understood… and are after what I’m after…

Why did you sneak around… I never did the few times I put them out and certainly the guys I hire don’t either…

And the ends does justify means, even if you don’t want to admit it or not… maybe your not making any money…

After all as Investors we actually help Neighborhoods, and increase the value of life for others…

And it’s like Brian has already said… about speeding…

So the question is… Do You in Your life follow every law to the letter… or do you yourself choose which ones to follow… I would find it hard to believe you don’t break the speed limit on occasion,that you always come to a complete stop at stop signs… and haven’t gone through the yellow once or twice…

In fact to make my point there are laws still on the books here in Texas that make it Illegal to carry pliers in your pocket… doesn’t say when or where… have you ever broken that law… I believe it’s more just a normal misdemeanor offense also…

As far as my dealing… I’ve never found a problem being moral… but something being Illegal doesn’t make it immorral… they are not always the same thing…

I live in world where there are grey lines and most of us… have our on internal gauges about what’s right and wrong… And I gotta tell you my barometer goes off alot harder when I see someone going 100 mph’s down a highway full a traffic… it’s dwonright more dangerous than a sign in the ground, but you know what… I’ve done that too… not saying it was right, but on the otherhand I’m not losing any sleep over it…

More of my soapbox…

I dont see any of the guys that pull signs hiding behind the code and enforcing the speeding laws… Our city officials wouldnt allow it…

You know why… (vigilanties are more immorral) and it would become public… and one day one of those guys would get shot…

I think for the most part they focus on negativity… and believe they could change the world alot quicker if they pursued making money… because with money you can change things… without it… it’s an uphill fight…

If you seen alot of these guys posts on the different websites there beef is mostly with what they claim are all scams… (these signs promote scams they all seem to feel) and they use the illegality of it to jsutify there movement…

Gotta tell you… I thought that about RE and the late night infomercials years ago… just wished I had opened my eyes sooner and sent in my money 10 years earlier… and accepted it might be for real, that I could change my life… As it has…

I am a signaholic… We put out signs every week… I spend about grand a month to do it… after all expenses… My RE company pays the same amount any other company/Individual would because I have to keep it seperate… I have good months and bad months… but, signs produce the most steady buying machine of any marketing method I’ve chosen… As well as call I get from them have No Competition… along side of them…

And the fact is… I get to help folks out of a bad situations… and help other folks into a good situations… because I do this, I effect a whole lot of folks… with the supply of housing comes jobs… with jobs people eat…

How many people do those folks effect when they yank signs… I think it’s a more of a negative impact than a positive one…

I know, I know… just the answer you’d expect from me… but, it the way I see it…

David Alexander

What I was looking for… - Posted by Hank

Posted by Hank on February 11, 2002 at 22:04:36:

Someone that takes issue with me with logic.

There’s lots of ordinances out there that people break every day with no harm done. If one uses bandit signs responsibly I really don’t see what the problem is.

I remember Mr. Lynch from Fidelity Investments once said the number of U.S. IPOs in one year outnumber the total # of initial public offerings in Europe since the time of Charlemane. The Europeans might be more well read and sophisticated in some ways , but I’ll take the American “get up and make it happen no matter what the chances are” atitude over the sleepy Eurosocialist-tude any day.

They told the world to use the metric system. The Euros did. It’s worked for them. We said “scr*w you” , and that’s worked for us. I bet there are no bandit signs in Europe. Their economy is also no where near as dynamic as ours. Are we loud and even obnoxious sometimes? Yep. But do we get things done more often and better than the rest of the world? … I’d say so.

I see myself as making something from nothing with an aggressive get it done point of view. That’s the only way to keep a small business afloat in my opinion.

We live in a country with the most vibrant economy in the world. Real estate bandit signs are only a tiny part of it I know, but the men and women behind those signs are an example of the American attitude I respect so much.

Forgive me for the rambling nature of this stream of consciousness post. If I had more time I’d clean it up and change it around a bit. But it’ll do for now.

Oh yeah, going to an M.D. is a far cry from somebody that wants to get from underneath a house.

Re: Op Ed on Bandit Signs - Posted by Tim Jensen

Posted by Tim Jensen on February 11, 2002 at 21:35:53:


I kind of agree with you. If you use bandit signs be prepared to be fined or lose them. I use bandit signs very sparsly(sp?). I know full well that if I place them up and they get ripped down, thats the price of doing business. If I get fined thats the cost too.

Now, what I do do is work around the law. For example, I know of a vacant commercial building. I got yelled at by the city for putting a sign on it. So, I took it down. Then I proceeded to look at the ordinance. I can put a sign there as long as it is under a certain size and with the owners permission. So, I talked to the owner and he gave me the okay. If the city calls, I will inform them how I am in compliance. Also, I place them just outside the city limits, the city has no say.

Now onto the zealots that rip them down. Do two wrongs make a right?

As for being professional, my wife told me this. At worst the only thing that looks unprofessional is the sign and the number, not you. However, if you are motivated seller, you won’t care if you getthe buyers name off the bathroom wall at the local gas station.

Take Care,

Re: Op Ed on Bandit Signs - Posted by Brian M. Powers(MI)

Posted by Brian M. Powers(MI) on February 11, 2002 at 21:18:30:

Well I certainly don’t consider myself immoral or unethical because I post bandit signs in areas where they may be illegal. Any more than I don’t consider myself immoral or unethical for driving 45mph in a 35mph zone on the way home from work today.

I have placed about 150 bandit signs. I have received one single call complaining. And it was from a homeowner informing me there was a zoning odinance against it and he would appreciate it if I stop. I noted the intersection and have not placed one back.

I see the exact same “Lose weight in 30 Days” and “Make Thou$and$ From Home” signs in the same areas all the time. It’s not as if real estate bandit signs are the only ones out there.

In fact I’m quite proud that I am advertising that I can solve peoples problems and make money at the same time. Nothing illegal or immoral about it.


Thanks DJR-NV! - Posted by Andrew

Posted by Andrew on February 13, 2002 at 20:07:58:


Thanks for the kind words. I post very rarely, especially when it comes to thought provoking topics since they usually become personal rationalization contests. We had a bit of that, but overall I’m pretty happy with what transpired since most of the conversation was constructive and didn’t get too personal.

It’s interesting to see the various interpretations of and responses to my original post. Some of this is due to my imperfect phrasing and some due to different perspectives.

Logic is such a funny thing (e.g. Andrew speeds, therefore his observations about anything illegal are worthless). I love that one. :wink:

Not sure if Joe Kaiser or Merle Wooley break the speed limits, but from prior posts I do know they (among others) share my distaste for posting signs illegaly. Would they have recieved the same responses? Hmmmmm…

Anyway, thanks again.


P.S. Where are you in NV (assuming that NV stands for Nevada)? I used to live in Vegas and will again in the very near future.

Can’t believe I’m gonna say this to you JohnBoy… - Posted by Andrew

Posted by Andrew on February 12, 2002 at 20:48:00:

…but you should search the archives! LOL!

That’s gotta be a first! Do I get a cookie or something? :wink:

Actually, you’ll find numerous posts on folks getting called by code enforcement or harassed by agents, other investors, and anti-sign zealots. I won’t post names because I didn’t and don’t want to make this personal. I made an observation based on experience and threw it out there for comment.

However, if you’re really interested, I just did one search in the archives on the words “bandit fine police” and got a bunch of hits. They aren’t all of the whiny nature (some are), but it illustrates that some folks are spending alot of time dealing with unecessary distractions. Some of them were not prepared to deal with or couldn’t forsee the possible outcomes of their actions.

Anyway, based on the responses, I think this was a worthwhile thread and maybe it made some people think about what we as investors are doing in our communities. I wasn’t out to change any minds, just wanted to see if my view on this was completely out in left field. I’ve been in left field a time or two. :wink:

Thanks for chiming in JohnBoy, I appreciate it.


BINGO! Well almost… - Posted by Andrew

Posted by Andrew on February 12, 2002 at 11:07:27:


Yes, that’s exactly (part) of what I’m saying. In addition to not whining I think people need to look at the “hidden costs” or unintended consequences of what they do. Bandit signs draw lots of attention, some positive, some negative. Be prepared for both.

What the other guys (e.g. politicians, zealots, Amway) do or the fact that you think bandit signs should be legal is irrelevant. This is reality and you should know what you’re getting into.

Just as we constantly detail the risks and benefits of various deal structures (e.g. Subject To, L/O, CFD, etc.), we should do the same when considering our other actions.

Whenever a newbie posts some hypothetical fraudulent transaction the masses chime in with:

“There are too many legitimate/legal/easy ways to make money in RE, you don’t have to resort to fraud/lying/cheating.”

I agree and feel the same way about my advertising. I concentrate on learning the rules/laws and the most profitable ways to work within them. Nobody causes me grief, my reputation is unscathed, and I’m not afraid to pick up the phone. :wink:

Thanks for summing up my main point, you did a better job.


Re: Thou shalt not advertize? - Posted by Andrew

Posted by Andrew on February 12, 2002 at 09:54:00:

Hi Craig,

I agree with you, nothing immoral about posting bandit signs. Should have left that word out of post completely, many seem to have been caught up in my use of it.

My point is that you use bandit signs at your own risk (assuming you’re posting them illegaly) and should be prepared to deal with the consequences when others protest (e.g. deface signs, irate calls, fines from code enforcement).

Hope that clears up my post a bit.


Sweeden? - Posted by Hank

Posted by Hank on February 12, 2002 at 13:57:07:

I liked your post.

But Sweeden? 70%+ to the goverment. They make the French look laissez faire. The idea or attitude that is alive and well here is pushing up the daisies over there.

If they tried that cr*p here there might be a 2nd American Revolution.

It will be interesing to see how the social security mess turns out over the next 20 years.

Glen…Can I borrow that mind ? NT… - Posted by Tiffany (Baltimore)

Posted by Tiffany (Baltimore) on February 12, 2002 at 13:30:23:


Well said! - Posted by Andrew

Posted by Andrew on February 12, 2002 at 11:17:58:


We’re thinking along the same lines. Although I don’t use bandit signs, I certainly don’t look down upon those that do…

…at least not until they start telling some sad story and expect a bunch of sympathy.

Thanks for your post, it presents some interesting facets of this discussion.


Let’s have some fun… - Posted by JHyre in Ohio

Posted by JHyre in Ohio on February 12, 2002 at 11:22:36:

I think bandit signs are eyesores. I do not want them in my neighborhood. I am glad that they are not permitted here.

Having lived in Houston (and loved it & Texans!), I saw bandit signs everywhere. Yuck! Now- I understand that guys like Jim Kennedy and Terry Wygal use them and make lots off of them. And why not? Why hobble yourself needlessly against the competition? If I were in Houston (or if I end up there) I would use them. I’d also be the first guy in line to vote to make them illegal and the first guy to complain if the ordinance were not enforced. 'Cause they danged UGLY…and dat’s a fact!

Where I live, a few people put them up (the usual crowd…lose weight, work at home, etc.). I do not, though I could make a buck by doing so. Even though the enforcement is sometimes lax. Too danged ugly.

John Hyre