5 Things Printers Wish Wrap Installers Understood

Girl_facepalmIt’s been a few weeks since I posted the 5 Things Wrap Installers Wish Printers Understood article.  At that time I promised that I would write another one from the printer’s point of view.  So let’s go!

Let’s face it, as wrap installers it can be easy to fault the printer who just sent out the latest batch of graphics that you are expected to install.  Perhaps there are issues with the graphics BUT, we aren’t perfect either.   At the end of the day, the only way wrap projects go well is if BOTH sides of the equation work together.  I have found that mutual respect and a genuine desire to understand all aspects of the project goes a long way towards having a happy customer.  Ultimately, that is what we all want, a happy end client who is thrilled to tell all of their friends, family and fellow business associates how awesome it was to get their wrap.

So now, the shoe is on the other foot wrappers.

1. Timely Response: I am the first to admit that we are not always so quick to respond when we get a phone call or e-mail about a new project.  Getting caught up in the day-to-day can result in letting scheduling or estimate requests slide for too long.  Not Good.  We all have our daily business to deal with and the print provider is no different.  In order to get their project done they require critical information from the installation company as quickly as possible.  It can be easy to forget that scheduling the install falls at the end of a long process that starts with the sales call and runs through estimating, design, printing, laminating and shipping before the installer ever sees it.  The easier we make it for the printer, the more work we can get.

2. Check the Details: While installers often complain about the print providers not seeming to care about the install details, we have to also consider the details from their side.  Does the text say what it is supposed to say?  Did we dry fit to make sure the design elements are lining up correctly around the windows, the door handles, the wheel wells?  Are there specific phone numbers that have to go with specific VIN numbers?  Is there a specific vehicle order that the fleet needs to be done in?  Is there a specific placement for a photo or block of copy?  The list can be long but it should become a habit for the installers to check the details.

3. Good Enough:  The “good enough” mentality can drive a print provider crazy.  Simply put, “good enough” rarely is.  We all know that speed is how a professional wrap installer makes his or her money.  The faster a project can be completed, the better the potential profit margin so if an installer plans (and prices) for a 6 hour install and it takes 10… well, you can see they won’t be in business long.  However, and this is a big however, the job still has to be done with good quality and competence.  Installers cannot allow their desire for the paycheck to compromise the final quality of the job.  Neglecting the cleaning, not Priming when appropriate, skipping the proper post-heating, neglecting the trim work… please don’t get caught in the “good enough” mentality.

4. Stealing Clients: Really?! No seriously, really?!  This should not even need to be said but we all have heard stories of this type of behavior.  This is an easy decision if we are ever faced with it folks.  As installers we are obligated to our client to do a professional job and look out for their best interests.  As professional business owners we also need to hold ourselves to a higher code of conduct when it comes to our services.  It doesn’t matter if we think the print provider doesn’t know what they are doing.  It doesn’t matter if we think we can service the end client better.  It doesn’t even matter if the end client approaches us on their own… our loyalty and responsibility MUST be to our client.

Most installers are faced with this situation eventually in their career…  Someone in your city flat out asks if you can print and install these wraps.  Typically it is because they want to save more money instead of dealing with the out-of-state print company.  Yikes!  I have found the best approach is just to be plain and honest.  I’m sorry “Joe” this is an ethical issue and I cannot, in good conscience, even entertain the possibility.  By taking the time to respectfully explain that their request creates a breach of ethics we can politely address their approach without compromising the relationship.

Final note… stealing clients… NOT COOL.

5. Communication: This one seems simple but it is regularly overlooked.  In our current age of smart phones, instant digital photos and internet access practically everywhere, there is no reason not to keep the print provider appraised of their project.  It doesn’t need to be an hourly report but timely questions, items of interest and the occasional progress shot can go a long way towards keeping all parties in the loop.  Each relationship will dictate the degree and frequency of communication but I have found that starting with too much communication tends to be better than none at all.  Send out a text when you are on-site or a quick e-mail if there are issues.  A cool progress shot is usually appreciated during the project.  A full set of completion photos are always important.

So, yes, there are issues and concerns that a printer wishes their wrap installer understood.  If we all work together I believe the whole process will be more efficient and effective.  When the work is done we will all have what we want… happy customers who love wraps.