Apple-To-Apples Pricing for Vehicle Print Wraps
By Richie Ladner
Owner/Operator of Creative Sign and Banner
Just as there are so many varieties of vehicle makes, models, shapes and sizes, there seems to be as many print wrap vinyls as well. Well, I am exaggerating a little but there are plenty… and that’s a good thing. The print wrap industry has matured enough to know that one or two types of vinyl will not compensate for all types of vehicle installations. A box truck wrap is quite different than wrapping a VW Beetle. The Beetle would require a vinyl that would stretch further around contours without distorting the print and ink. Some vinyls come with permanent or removable vinyl. Some come with a clear or grey adhesive. Some come with more elasticity. With the different types of vinyl comes different pricing from the manufacturers and hence to the printer/installer then lastly to the customer. When requesting quotes from multiple sign companies and wrap installers, make sure you are comparing “apple to apples”.
Early on, wrap installers charged a square foot price for all installs only to find they were losing money on the more complex and time-consuming areas like bumpers, roofs, mirrors, concaved plate areas, window perf integration etc… To stay competitive in pricing, wrap printers would use less-reliable vinyls and laminates to “earn your business for the right price”. In under two years, the customer would find cracks in the vinyl, faded inks and peeled laminate. But, hey! At least you got it at an affordable price. BUYER BEWARE! You get what you pay for. BUYER BEWARE! If it’s too good to be true, it usually is. Today, we have multiple choices on print wrap vinyl so your wrap printer/installer should know to choose the right vinyl & laminate for the right job at the right price.
When you are ready to move forward with a printed vinyl wrap, ask pertinent questions like:
1. Tell me about the printed vinyl. Is it made to contour and stay in the same position without having a memory of its original position?
2. According to the vinyl manufacturer, how long will the wrap last?
3. What is the manufacturer’s warranty on the vinyl and laminate?
4. What is the warranty on the ink?
5. Are you using original manufacture’s ink or 3rd party? (3rd party usually voids print warranty)
6. What is the warranty on installation?
7. If I want to remove this wrap in ___ years, will it damage my paint?
And the most important question to ask:
8. How much?
That is an obvious question but when you are shopping solely on price, you must ask the questions above first and foremost so you can truly compare “apple-to apples”. If you receive 3 quotes with each answering the questions the same, it has been my experience never to go with the lowest nor the highest. The lowest is usually not in-touch with all of his costs and he’ll be out of business in a year, or maybe works out of a van or garage. The highest has too much overhead, employees and spends too much money on his hobbies! I am kidding of course. Who really knows? The guy in the middle always seems to have his stuff together. We at Creative Sign and Banner try hard to be competitively-priced. If you can get over the fact you will be paying a few more hundred dollars, think about the savings in the long run. It’s a smaller pill to swallow.
Along with his wife Susie, Richie owns and operates Creative Sign and Banner in Metairie, LA. He has been in the sign business since 1989.