Cell Tower Lease Rates – Negotiate More Rent & Better Terms
What Is A Cell Tower Lease?
Cell tower leases are agreements between companies like AT&T, Verizon & T-Mobile and landowners or organizations allowing tower companies use of land in exchange for rent through a long-term agreement.
- Number of cell towers in the US in 2020 – over 338,000
- Average cost of building a cell phone tower – $175,000+
- Average yearly cell phone tower lease rate – $45,000+
- Lowest annual cost to lease a cell tower – $100
- Wireless carriers added over 15,000 cell sites in 2018
How much do cell phone tower leases pay?
Cell phone tower lease rates vary greatly — from well over $45,000 per year to only $100 per year. Rent is determined by a number of factors including location, population density, network needs, & construction limitations.
Cell Tower Rent Rates by State
This chart shows the average rent rate by state for the 10 most populous states. While this data is useful, it should not be your only tool used to determine your monthly rent. This is simply an average of all carriers and tower companies.
To determine the real value of your land as a cell site, you need to consider many other factors, which we discuss below.
5 Quick Facts About 5G
- 5G could result in over 800,000 new cell sites by 2026
- 5G buildout could cost over $275 billion dollars
- 5G cell sites only have a range of 300-500 feet
- 5G could result in 100 times faster mobile service
- 5G could cost you $20-30 more per month
How does 5G impact telecom tower rent in 2020?
Now is the time to take advantage of the 5G rollout.
Everywhere you look, telecom giants are telling you about their amazing 5G networks and all the great things it can do for you. What they are not telling you is how it will impact leaseholders.
Don’t sign anything until you talk to an expert about your options. Contact us here.
Lease Rate FAQs
Like any basic negotiation, price is determined by supply and demand. Here is what you need to know to make sure you are optimizing the value of your site.
Rent rates trend higher in more populated areas, some urban areas command completely different lease rates, even though they are similar in demographics, however, this not the only factor.
Zoning and permitting requirements play a very important factor in the value of a site. The more liberal the permitting standard, the easier it is to find several sites that meet a cell phone carrier or tower company’s criteria.
Subsequently, a cell phone carrier/tower company will need to pay more for a lease in an area that has more stringent standards than it would in one that has more lax standards, no matter the population of the area.
Construction Limitations – A site acquisition agent will conclude both if a site has suitable access and space necessary for construction of a tower. An optimal site will have level terrain, with minimal or no ground or airwave obstructions (i.e. tree cover); as the more obstacles, the more expensive it is for a tower company to construct on a site.
A tower company/carrier will sometimes be willing to pay higher rent for a more suitable site, in order to avoid more expensive construction costs on a similar site. We have experts on hand who have built hundreds of sites, so we are capable of assessing what the cost will be for the construction of a tower on your property.
Other Factors That Influence Rates
The cell tower companies who contact a property owner may think that they have the benefit of knowing all of their options. The agent has reviewed the below factors in selecting your property, along with reviewing your actual site.
Vertical Consultants can review the same information that a site acquisition agent is looking at and can level the playing field by being able to help you determine what an acceptable market rent rate should be for your cell tower lease.
Zoning/Permitting Restrictions – Prior to a cell phone carrier/tower company getting approval to build on a site, they must first get a conditional use permit or special use permit to construct their facility. Most local governments have permitting requirements that will establish parameters on where a tower may be constructed; therefore, one property may be able to skate through the approval process, while other very similar properties in the same immediate area may not.
What does this mean for you as a property owner? If your property is one that works, you may be able to ask for more rent than you think. We can perform the due diligence to see what options a tower company/cell phone carrier may have so you can take advantage of that information.
Access to Power and Telephone Service
Access to Power and Telephone Service – All tower locations need utility and telephone service. As a result, the farther the distance to telephone service and power, the higher the price tag to the cell tower developer. So, a site acquisition agent will always factor this in what they can pay for rent.
Ground Elevation – Elevation is important, but not the most important factor by far, as cost will always outweigh elevation. If you have the highest point in the city or county, that is not a guarantee you will be chosen. The cell phone carrier/tower company always has the option to build a taller cell tower at a lower evaluation, as it may be extremely expensive at the end of the day.
Cell Tower Site Alternatives
Cell Tower Site Alternatives – All cell phone carriers build tower sites to fit inside their network. Cell towers are very similar to pieces of a puzzle that, at the end of the day, have to fit together. The cell towers are set up to “transfer traffic” from one cell tower to the other. The cell phone carriers have an exact “search ring” that they use when constructing a cell tower, so that it will be able to easily transfer phone traffic.
These search ring areas can be as small as .25 mile to as large as 5 miles. We can work with you to determine what alternatives a cell phone carrier/tower company may have, as this will give you the information you need to optimize the value of your property.
Why Hire A Consultant To Fight For You?
We have over 50 years of combined experience as insiders at AT&T, Verizon, & T-Mobile.
When you hire us to fight for you, we get results.
- A Better Offer
- Our clients on average get a 306% increase in rent.
- More Money For Years To Come
- We fight for valuable rent increases.
- Protect Your Land & Your Rights
- Many property owners are suprised when they find out how much control they’ve given up on their land.
What We Do For You
Review Your Lease
We will evaluate the terms and the structure of your current lease to determine not only what options you have, but also what issues need to be addressed. We will also explain how any extension of your current lease may affect you in both the short and long term.
Evaluate Your Cell Site
We will review the tower site based on the characteristics of your cell tower site to determine the value of the cell tower lease not to you, but, more importantly, to the cell tower company leasing your land.
We will determine which wireless carriers are using the tower, revenues being derived by the cell tower company, and cost and use restrictions that would limit the cell tower company in possibly relocation of the tower.
Recommend a Strategy
Based on our analysis of the unique features of your cell tower lease, we will recommend a strategy of how you should proceed and how we can best position you in negotiations.
We will clarify the pros and cons of extending your current lease and determine how to structure your lease as it relates to rental amounts, lease duration, escalation percentages, subtenant revenues, liability and insurance requirements.
Get You a Better Overall Lease
We work on our client’s behalf to get the best “overall lease”. What does this mean exactly?
We work as an advocate for you to get you a lease that looks beyond the immediate future and allows for a structure that will maximize the value of the cell tower lease, not only on day one, but throughout the term of the lease, while, at the same time, minimize the negative impact the agreement can have on your future development, disposition or even financing of your property.
We have negotiated lease extensions with all of the major carriers and the major tower companies and our results are un-matched.
In 2019, we immediately increased rents for our clients by an average of 306%. Its simple, we do more than give advice, we get results!!
Free Consultation & Lease Review
We will review your lease or buyout offer for free. If we can help, we will tell you exactly how.
We are the only Accredited firm in the industry (BBB & NASBP Accredited)
We have negotiated over $545,000,000 in cell tower rent.
You deserve to get a fair deal.
We All Had Questions About Cell Tower Leases.
Vertical Consultants Gave Us Answers & Got Results.
Verizon wanted to put a tower on our land.
To my surprise, we were owed money.
My business needed help with a phone tower lease.
My church got an amazing buyout.
I inherited property with a cell site on it.
Vertical Consultants: “They are your cell tower lease experts.”
Cell Tower Data – Level The Playing Field
WARNING: THIS IS INSIDER INFORMATION THAT CELL TOWER COMPANIES DON’T WANT YOU TO KNOW
Cell tower companies have access to information that property owners do not and, for years, they have done everything to limit a property owner’s access to this information
Vertical Consultants has access to information related to over 250,000 cell sites across the United States. These cell sites include ground leases, rooftop sites, water tower and utility sites and even sites on billboard and other structures.
Simply stated, the information that Vertical Consultants can provide is exactly what a cell tower company does not what property owners to know when negotiating a new lease or re-negotiating an existing one.
Contact us today to learn more about not only the information we have available, but how we can use that information to make sure you get the best overall cell tower agreement possible.
Every cell tower site has a different value. Caleb learned this firsthand.
“Our school district has a cell tower that’s been under lease for a number of years and we recently received an offer to buy that lease for a substantial amount of money.
They compared our tower’s value against other properties in the market, but we weren’t sure they were giving us a fair estimate of our value. Vertical Consultants took over all negotiations and got us a better deal immediately.”
What Is The True Value Of Your Property?
We will not only provide you expert consultation — we will work with you throughout the entire lease transaction, and we only benefit if you benefit. In fact, that’s our motto. We’re that confident in the services we provide.
Who We Assist
Our mission is to provide excellent service, while empowering , advocating and ultimately achieving optimal results for our clients.
Vertical Consultants has assisted individual landowners with cell tower lease negotiations since 2010. We assist with maximizing rents not only on day one of the lease, but throughout the entire term of the lease. Our team also works to ensure property owners only agree to terms that could benefit them and their property.
We can level the playing field between you and any wireless carrier or tower company by providing the information or the representation necessary to face off with the telecom and tower companies. We can assist you in reviewing all options available to you, wether considering a new cell tower lease contract or if you have an existing cell site lease.
Vertical Consultants is always open to providing you with not only references from clients just like you whom we have assisted, but we will let you speak to them directly.
Commercial Property Owners
We work with commercial property owners of all types and size. We help identify both the potential opportunities and issues that a commercial property owner should be aware of during with their site.
Our level of experience is unmatched; we are the only firm that can provide telecom, real estate and legal expertise, all under one roof.
Vertical Consultants can assist your company in reviewing all options available to you, no matter if you have been asked to enter into a new cell tower lease or have an existing cell site lease.
Churches & Nonprofits
An increasing number of churches are being approached to place cell phone equipment and facilities on their property, thanks to the immediate advantage of a low impact to the surrounding area.
As zoning regulations for cell tower placement become more stringent, telecom companies look more unassuming ways of meeting those new restrictions such as a church location.
Vertical Consultants can assist your church by providing guidance and interpreting the terms of any agreement, whether that is a current cell tower lease or a proposed lease agreement for your church’s property.
A water tower cell lease is very appealing to communications’ companies thanks to a ground structure already in place and the absence of fights with city councils for zoning ordinances and building permits.
At Vertical Consultants, our experts will work with you to identify the maximum potential value of your site, which will allow you to negotiate for your optimum monthly rent or sale price.
As the nation’s leading cell tower lease consultants, we are regularly retained by financial institutions regarding the “true value” of cell tower leases.
At Vertical Consultants, we assist financial institutions by helping them understand the wireless industry, determining cell tower lease values, and recommending a strategy of how to proceed.
Vertical Consultants is the only consulting firm that can provide expertise as it relates to telecom, real estate and legal issues surrounding telecom assets.
Self Storage Operators
Self storage facitlities are frequently used as cell sites for cell towers. The most common mistake we see is that self storage facility owners miunderstand the value of their property.
Unlike traditional real estate, basing rent on comparisons for what others in the area have been paid will only leave you with an undervalued contract. To be crystal clear, there’s no such thing as market rent when it comes to a cell tower lease.
At Vertical Consultants, we have both the expertise and the experience to provide you with answers regarding the “true value” of your property.
We will provide you expert consulting, outline your options going forward, and work on your behalf to garner results.
On occasion, telecommunications or tower companies target golf courses and golf resorts for cell tower sites as part of their desire to improve cell service within a particular area.
At Vertical Consultants we work with golf courses and resorts to identify common issues that can arise with a new cell tower lease agreement, particularly those found in amendments.
We negotiate on your behalf to ensure that your agreement is tailored to your resort or golf course needs.
Homeowner and Condo Association Consulting Services
Both homeowner and condo associations are constantly being contacted by wireless carriers to consider either a new rooftop or structure lease or to modify existing ones.
Vertical Consultants assists a homeowner or condo association with understanding the true value of a proposed or existing rooftop cell site agreements. We can also determine if the agreement will have any negative impacts on buildings, property, or the residents occupying such area.
Currently, shopping centers are uniquely deseriable for cell tower leases because of both an optimal location and demographics. Thus, both new cell tower leases and existing ones are becoming more valuable.
Shopping center owners frequently reach out to Vertical Consultants for assistance in understanding the “true value” of their sites. Our team also negotiates favorable terms that prevent negative impacts to future use of the property.
Vertical Consultants achieved an average of a 306% immediate increase in client’s rent in 2019. That’s because we believe that “advice is nice but results are better.”
Schools & Universities
Cell tower companies are approaching schools and universities more and more frequently about potential cell tower lease agreements. That’s because schools and universities are often in ideal locations for optimizing cell service, but lack the restrictions of residential zoning.
At Vertical Consultants, we continually want our clients to be aware of what the cell tower is getting out of your property so you get the best rent rate possible as well protection for your land.
We work with schools of all types and sizes across the US to review both property and the cell tower lease provided to determine the very best options.
Hotels & Resorts
Hotel rooftops are ideal for both building owners and communications companies. Oten, hotels are among the tallest buildings around, which makes a hotel potentially a premier location for a cell site lease that relies on elevation.
While there is no “one-size-fits-all” rate for cell tower and rooftop leases, there are several factors come into play. Our team at Vertical Consultants is here to help you understand what those factors are and how you can maximize the value of your lease while minimzing any negative impact to your property.
The Art Of The Negotiation
To get the best deal possible, you need to re-think how you view the relationship.
Get the lease you deserve.
As a land owner, you have more power than you realize. Try not to look at this as someone leasing your land. Instead, look at this as a utility lease.
Let’s substitute the name Verizon with the name Exxon.
If Exxon came out to your house & said I’ll give you $500/month for this piece of land & I get to keep all the oil & all of the profits from that oil — you’d laugh & tell them to come back with a real offer. No one agrees to that deal.
The only difference is that oil company is pulling value from under your land, and the cell tower company is pulling value from the sky above.
Don’t Follow The Market. Lead It.
You don’t want to major in the minors, and we don’t want you to get taken advantage of, or settle for a bad deal. You have something they need – your property. The value is on your end, and no matter what they say, you’re in a position of power here.
While it is important to understand how much rent you are going to get paid on day one, it is more important to know how to structure an agreement to make sure you are paid fairly on day two, three and so forth.
Rent is not a financial structure…it is only the result of it.
In 2018, the largest cell tower companies generated an average of over $3 billion each in yearly revenues from subletting properties like yours. As a property owner, you have a choice: be under-compensated for your land or get the cell tower lease you deserve.
A wave has been happening in the industry for years, which is that tower companies rely on lack of information & representation. With the internet, the information is out there in pieces but people don’t know what to do with it. The tower companies also see that information on the internet & they have 10 counters to everything you say.
The key is knowing how to navigate the counters & negotiations.
It’s like my dad used to say, “You can give someone a boat but it doesn’t mean they know how to navigate the ocean.”
We Get Results!
$545,000,000 in Rent Secured for Our Clients
306% Immediate Increase in Rent in 2019
$150,000,000 in Cell Site Buyout Deals Completed
Cell Tower Rents – 5 Insider Tips To Maximize
Unfortunately, property owners continue to make the same mistakes when it comes to the negotiation and structuring of cell tower leases, and it is becoming more and more costly.
The cell tower lease can pay a property owner anywhere from $100 per month to over $5,000 per month. Why the big disparity? It is not based upon the real estate value of your land, your property being located in an urban area versus a rural one, or even the height of the tower or how much space you lease to the tower company. What is it then? It is based upon understanding not only what is being offered by the cell tower company, but also what you and the use of your land offers the cell tower company in value today and going forward.
Based on some analysis and calculations, an average cell tower landlord throws away over $852,400 during the lifetime of a typical cell tower lease, and this amount continues to grow.
The following are five tips on how to maximize the value of your cell tower rents over the life of your cell tower lease:
- Even The Playing Field: Property owners sometimes treat a cell tower lease like a “do it yourself” project, and the internet as a home-improvement warehouse, where you can get all the information you need to take on the largest tower and wireless carriers. The problem is that that most online information is incorrect and not applicable to your individual situation. It is like buying a ruler that is not straight and then trying to build a house with it. The cell tower companies not only anticipate this, but they rely upon it to increase the revenue margins they derive from a cell tower on your property.
The numbers don’t lie. In 2019, the three largest cell tower companies generated over 15 billion dollars in revenue, but only paid about 17% of that revenue to property owners in the form of rent payments. Why? Because the property owners negotiated undervalued cell tower leases. Here is a quick breakdown of what it costs tower companies to operate a cell tower:
- Take Your Time: Whether you have been asked to enter into a new cell tower lease or extend the term of an existing one, one of the most common tactics cell tower companies use is to start setting false deadlines. They will say an offer is only good for a limited period of time to apply pressure on a property owner to make a quick decision. Why? Because quick decisions about matters that you are not familiar with lead to making big mistakes.
Cell tower companies will play the “rent card”. The rent card is either on a new lease saying you are going to lose potential rent or, even more drastic in the case of an existing cell tower lease, stating that if you don’t sign their offer, they will relocate the cell tower and you are in jeopardy of losing your rents.Remember, you are in the driver’s seat-it’s your property, and they are knocking on your door because they need you.
- “Market Rents” Don’t Exist: One term that never should be used when negotiating rent for a new or existing cell tower lease is “Market Rent”. Due to the fact that most property owners view a cell tower lease as a traditional real estate transaction (it is not, as it is a utility transaction), they turn to familiar pathways to structure the financial components of their cell tower lease. This is bad news for the landowner, but great news for the cell tower companies. Why? Because cell tower companies want property owners to perpetuate the bad deals that other property owners have made over the last 20+ years.
Never rely upon Market Rents. It is one of the worst mistakes we see property owners make. Every cell tower has its own individual value. There is no “one-size-fits-all” answer when it comes to cell tower leases. In 2019, my company increased our client’s rents by an average of 306%, and that was not by following the market, but by understanding the individual value of our clients’ cell tower leases.
- 180 Degree Turn: When a property owner gets an offer for a new cell tower lease or one to extend or buy their existing one, they almost always focus on what is being offered to them. It is not only human nature, but it a strategic tactic that cell tower companies promote and, more importantly, bank upon.
While it is important to understand what is being offered to you, it is more important to know what you are offering a cell tower company. A cell tower company will never disclose to you the true benefit they achieve from getting you to sign an agreement, but, just as importantly, will not disclose the detriment a cell tower company may incur if you tell them “No” to their offer.
- Structure, Structure, Structure: How can a property owner make an additional $1,000,000 from his or her cell tower lease? The answer is “Structure”. It is only common sense that a property owner will look to see how much rent is being offered with any lease offer, but, again, this is what a cell tower company counts on, as they want you to micro-focus on this one component of the lease.
If you get a cell tower lease that pays $1,000 per month with a 3% escalator every year, then, effectively, you are getting paid the same amount every year (taking into account inflation). No matter how much value the cell tower company makes from the use of your land, you will not see another dime. Why? Because the cell tower company got you to focus on the rent and not the financial structure of the cell tower lease. Again, a cell tower lease is a utility agreement, not a real estate one. Your rent should be based not solely on how much space is being used, but how valuable that use is to the cell tower company.
What could you do with an additional $852,400? That is what you are at risk of giving away by not having the accurate information and representation you need to level the playing field with any cell tower company or wireless carrier that approaches you about a cell tower lease.
Remember, you don’t get the cell tower lease you deserve, you get the one you are able to negotiate.
Tower Company Data
Number of Towers per Company
|United States Cellular||4207|
|In Site Wireless||1196|
Has a company like Crown Castle, American Tower, AT&T, Verizon, or SBA contacted you about installing a cell phone site on your roof or grounds?
It can be a wonderfully exciting time after a they contact you and it can also be a little daunting and overwhelming, when looking over the contract they offer and deciding how to negotiate on your property’s behalf.
Sarah has been where you are.
“We were contacted by Branch Towers about placing a tower on our property.”
“We ended up with a brand new lease worth more than double their offer. It includes guaranteed extensions and rent increases and also guarantees that we receive additional rent if they add to the tower.”
Why She Recommends Vertical Consultants
“You need to have someone on your side. Even our tower company, Branch Towers, said it was the best deal anyone had ever made with them.
Hugh was very genuine. Everything they told me has come true.”
Prior to a new tower lease, properties are evaluated for cell site suitability. Then it goes to the acquisition stage, where an agent of the cell tower company will typically have a low-ball starting lease rate in mind that they offer to you, the property owner. The agent works for the cell tower company, and getting the cell tower company the best deal possible – not you – is their top priority.
While our competitors will tell you, “We can’t guarantee that you will get a better lease as a result of using our services” — we can guarantee that you will.
We work on your behalf to make sure that get the best deal possible for now, and for the future of your property.
Only renew a cell tower lease if you have a great extension offer.
Extension requests are offers by cell tower companies to property owners to extend an existing lease by up to 50 additional years.
Signing the wrong deal will mean missed financial opportunity and hazards to you and your property. We’re here to help you get the absolute best deal you can.
Russel got over 300% more rent.
“A money-grabber went out to my grandmother’s property when she was 80-something years old and cut her rent down to half of what she was getting. He threatened she could lose the tower if she didn’t take the reduced rent.
After I inherited the lease, I knew I had to be proactive about getting a better deal.”
“We ended up with 3 times more rent and now get a yearly increase. Vertical Consultants also negotiated that if someone else is added to the tower, I get compensated. My grandmother didn’t have that on her lease and missed out on extra income.”
It is crucial that you know the “True Value” of your cell tower before acting.
Our clients averaged an immediate 306% increase in rent last year.
Imagine that for the next 50 years!
Optimizing the value of your lease is the most important thing you can do.
Consider this: If someone knocked on your door today and asked to buy your house, but they only offered you a fraction of its value, how long would you carry on a discussion with them?
This happens every day, but instead of asking you to buy your house, they are asking to extend or buy your cell tower lease.
You would not sell your house without knowing the real value of it, so why would you enter any agreement without knowing what the true value of your cell tower lease really is?
Don’t do a deal just to do a deal, do the right deal.
The renewal needs to be of value to you. Remember, you have something they want; it’s not the other way around.
A buyout is when a company pays a property owner a lump sum for the right to future rents.
What you, the property owner, need to understand is what the “Real Value” of your cell tower lease is before you agree to any buyout deal. The wrong lease buyout deal can cost you money and possibly devalue your property.
Think about it like this: What is one of the most powerful ways to sell something to someone? You tell them if they don’t do it, they are going to lose something they already have.
We all make poor decisions when we feel like we have to do something. If someone came to your house today & said I’ll pay you 1/10th of the value of it, but you have to act now — would you feel like you have to do it? Only if you had no other options.
Every day around the United States, property owners are contacted by companies leasing their land, or companies looking to buy their lease.
These companies will eventually get to the point in the conversation where they bring up changing technology in the industry, alternative properties they can move the cell tower site to, or even that they just can’t afford the cell site unless you lower rents or sell them the lease.
They are non-discriminatory. They will use the same uncertainty and fear tactics whether you are a large company, small church, or you’re an individual that relies on the cell tower revenue to pay some bills.
They will tell you all that is wrong with your cell tower site, but then let you know that all is not lost – that they are here to save you, even if it costs them.
Our advice – beware of someone holding a match in one hand and a fire hose in the other.
Shanita got a 1200% increase for her church.
“I’m a project manager & I’m very comfortable in negotiations; however, I told the pastor, I would be doing the church a disservice if I tried to negotiate this deal myself. If you can’t do it, you find the expert who can and that was Vertical Consultants.”
“We got 12 times more for our lease. We’re talking about a huge difference.”
Why She Recommend Vertical Consultants
“I recommend Vertical Consultants because of their leadership, expertise, & customer service — and because the results speak for themselves.”
I Have A Cell Tower Lease Buyout Offer, Now What?
The first thing you should ask yourself is: what is your bargaining power? If you are currently leasing space to a cell tower company or cell phone company, more than likely you have been contacted by a private company like: American Tower, Wireless Capital Partners, Unison, AP Wireless, or other similar companies looking to buy your contract.
You are most likely asking yourself, “Why are these companies contacting me?” and “Why won’t they stop calling?” Let us shed some light on that for you.
Are you ready to get the most out of your cell tower lease?
Join thousands of clients who have earned over $545,000,000 in rent.