This entrepreneurial duo has taken billboard advertising on the road with their unique mobile franchise

To illustrate that their franchise operation is taking off, entrepreneurs Calvin McNeely (above, right) and Zach Yelle took over a runway at a local airport for a photo shoot. The passionate co-founders of Runningboards Marketing (RBM) are more than just a little excited about the possibilities for their unique franchise opportunity. Incidentally, so are investors. “We just closed four deals in the last four weeks and there’s lots in the pipeline. We’re attracting many different types of buyers, from young, first-time entrepreneurs to veteran business owners.” 

RBM is perfectly suited for owner-operators because of the simplicity of the model. “All that’s needed to run the business is a driver and a salesperson.”  But, McNeely points out that Runningboards Marketing is also a great brand for folks who already run a franchise. “RBM can be a great complementary business for existing franchisees who want to diversify and add revenue streams,” he says. In fact, one of the newest RBM owners also owns several brick-and-mortar gyms and saw the value RBM could bring to his other businesses.

How it started

Since its inception, Yelle and McNeely have perfected and fine tuned every aspect of RBM, a digital mobile billboard franchise opportunity. “There’s nothing out there like it,” says McNeely. And he should know. An entrepreneur and businessman his entire adult life, McNeely experienced firsthand the struggles business owners face getting brand awareness in their communities. He recognized the need and the untapped market, and together with Yelle, created DAV® (pronounced “Dave”), RBM’s Digital Advertising Vehicle. 

The duo launched the first RBM in 2018 in Watertown, New York, and have grown it into a booming business. After improving and streamlining the business model and the proprietary software, the duo realized that RBM was perfect for franchising. 

How it works

Franchise owners sell advertising in packages and develop routes to get optimum exposure. McNeely describes RBM as a community-based business, and features three different revenue streams: subscription advertising, special messages, and events. “We go where the people are, and shoot for areas that have slower speed limits,” says McNeely.

For example, they may drive past a day-care center at pick-up time or a busy public square where business professionals gather during lunch hour.

Mobile franchise

The entire business is focused on DAV, from the marketing to the operation. This is truly a mobile business. “Everything revolves around DAV. He turns heads wherever he goes and brings in business by simply driving around,” says McNeely, who speaks so affectionately about DAV that you would think he was talking about his first born. DAV clearly is a labor of love for McNeely and Yelle. 

With three independent screens on DAV, (both sides and in back), the possibilities are endless for a client’s messaging. In addition to subscription advertising, clients can book appearances with DAV for special messages or even birthday parties. “The applications are unlimited,” McNeely says. 

Sells itself

The best part, says McNeely, is that the sales process is easy. “We just pull into a prospect’s business, put their logo on the screen, and tell them to look out the window. That always gets us past the gatekeeper. We’re not just some salesperson showing up. Customers can immediately see the value.” 

MEET DAV

Pronounced “Dave,” DAV is Runningboards Marketing’s Digital Advertising Vehicle and the core of the business. Run by the company’s cutting-edge proprietary software, there are many benefits of ownership:

Sells itself: Mobile billboard grabs attention wherever it goes.

Easy-to-run franchise: Only two to three people needed to operate.

Fast start up: This businesscan beup and running in a few months.

Feel-good business: This is a fun, community-centric business.

Multiple applications 

Vast client base  

Recurring revenue

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Jill Abrahamsen
Jill Abrahamsen’s career spans more than 20 years in editorial, design, and marketing roles. She serves as editor-in-chief of Franchise Consultant Magazine and FranchiseWire. Through both platforms, Jill reports on industry news and helps Franchisors spread the word about their brands.

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