Vehicle Wraps and Graphics: What you Should Know
As a business professional, and a 3M certified graphics installation company, we have been in the digital printing industry since 1992, and the vehicle wraps and graphic market since 2007. People often ask us questions about cost, longevity, and the effectiveness of vehicle graphics. In this article, we will address these questions and more. That way you can be as informed as possible, so that you can make a better, more educated choice when it comes to who you want to be your vehicle wrap provider.
1. Vehicle Wrap and Graphic Providers
Research the companies that you receive a quote from. This is the most important step in the entire process, because once you start conducting business with one company, you don’t want to switch to another mid-job. You can visit different companies’ profiles at the Better Business Bureau’s website at BBB.org, YELP, Facebook and other local outlets’ websites like the Chamber of Commerce’s website. Going to these types of websites will tell you a lot, not only about the company itself, but also who they have done business with in the past.
The initial meeting will normally be conducted over the phone, and will function as an opportunity for the wrapping business to gather a little more information about your business, and what you would like to accomplish with the graphics on your vehicle. Most of the time consultations are free, unless a site visit is necessary, and in those instances, the cost is normally absorbed into the overall quote for the job should you decide to move forward with that company. Design costs will vary depending upon the complexity of the graphic, and the overall vinyl coverage for the vehicle. The price range for a single van wrap for instance typically varies from $250-$600, and it does not include content or logos, meaning that the customer has to supply all necessary content, logos and images. Be advised when companies say they will design all artwork at no charge! There are catches, more often than not, when companies make claims like this. They usually own your artwork, and they will not release it to you unless you pay them an obscene amount. Always make sure you ask if all artwork will be released to you, and make sure that it’s at no additional cost.
2. The Design
The design needs to be done by a graphic designer, who understands how to clearly communicate your message, and who knows how to create designs that flow. Another must have for a graphic designer is the skill and ability to know what colors compliment other colors, and when to not overcrowd a graphic. Remember that with vehicle graphics, your potential client has about 5 seconds to not only look at your message, but to also understand it.
3. Printed Material
Printed material should match the need of your project. Vinyl film, ink and finishing are usually the most expensive portion of the vehicle wrap process. Pricing is generally based on the overall square footage of the project; however there are additional costs for labor intensive areas of a vehicle (i.e., mirrors, bumpers or vehicles with intricate hardware). If you are intending the vehicle graphic to be on your vehicle as a long-term advertising tactic, then the vinyl should be a premium cast film with a cast lamination. Some large graphic providers use liquid laminations which will save you money, but as a result, you get an inferior product that will not last nearly as long as graphics with a cast film lamination.
Premium cast films are the best on the market, and as a result, they cost a little more money. Always keep the end in mind though. When using premium cast films, like 3M, the removal process is exponentially easier because lesser/cheaper films are more difficult to remove. A lesser film may save you money on the front end, but they will cost you hundreds or even thousands more on the back end than premium films will to remove, as 3M cast wrapping films are designed with removal in mind.
You should expect to pay between $8-$10 per-square foot for printed cast film with cast lamination, and $15 per-square foot for window perforation films. Installation is typically included in these prices as well.
4. Graphic Installation
Most companies use a combination of in-house, and contract installers who handle installations. Contracted installers are usually the better of the two choices, unless the in-house installers are certified, and have at least 2 years of experience. A poorly installed graphic can actually hurt your business’ brand, so don’t use a company that is inexperienced when it comes to the handling of your installation. Make sure you see as many samples as possible, and ask for several references before you trust any company with your vehicle wrapping needs.
5. Cost of Wrapping your Vehicle
A vehicle wrap shouldn’t be looked at as a cost. Instead, it should be looked at as a revenue generating activity. Wraps are a cost effective way to get your business’ message out to as many people as possible, for a lesser amount than other forms of advertising. The chart below should give you an idea of how cost effective vehicle wraps really are compared to other forms of advertising.
When it comes to the vehicle wrap business, companies that are more expensive are usually the ones that get their clients better results. There are several reasons for this. Sure, someone might tell you that they know a guy who does vehicle wraps for a third of the price out of his garage, but what happens if he does a bad job on your wrap, and you can’t get your money back because he decides one day to go out of business? The old saying proves true; you get what you pay for. So choose the best company, the one that fits your needs best.
6. Don’t Rush the Process
The vehicle wrap process, from the initial consultation, to the finished product, is about a 15- 20 business day process. This is a big investment for your business, and the finished product is not only a reflection of your company, but also you as an individual.
Should you have any questions regarding this piece, or if you would like to speak to us about vehicle wraps, please contact Kenny Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org, or click here.