5 Things Wrap Installers Wish Printers Understood



Professional Wrap Installers usually realize that they operate in a very specialized niche world.  Within the larger category of signs / graphics, a professional wrapper possesses a highly developed skill set that only applies to a certain subset of the industry.  So, in all fairness, we need to understand that a lot of clients simply do not understand the particulars that can make-or-break an install project.

This is my opinion of the top 5 Things Wrap Installers Wish Printers Understood.  Again, this is just my opinion folks.  I can guarantee that there are plenty out there who will disagree with the list.  They will want to add 5 more items or will have issue with the order of the list.  It’s all good and this is just meant to be helpful as we all continue our wrap journey.

1. Practical Knowledge:  Little to no understanding of what is involved in completing a wrap install correctly creates a frustrating level of expectation.  I could go on, in depth, about this one but I have recently written about this in length.  See the post about Using Professional Wrap Installers.  In a nutshell, truly professional wrap installers are not fly-by-night outfits.  We spend a lot of time, energy and money developing our skills and services.  The preconception that an installer just rolls up, throws a wrap on, and drives away in 4 hours perpetuates an unrealistic and harmful perception.  Take the time to talk with your wrap pro and listen to their thoughts, concerns and advice.  The final goal should be to work together and build a true understanding of what is involved.  By doing this, we all make sure the details are addressed and the end user gets an awesome wrap.

2. Rushed Printing:  Rushing prints through production creates serious problems for the installer folks.  The printing company might be under a time constraint but pushing out uncured solvent prints WILL create long term problems for you as well.  Prints that are still solvent soaked before being laminated are a big no-no.  The laws of physics insists that the solvent has to go somewhere and it will find the easiest path.  This means that the solvent will head back into the adhesive and will create an aggressive glue that is starting to break down before the install has even begun.  When an installer opens your box and the fumes about peel the skin off their face… you have a problem.  Not only will the wrap be harder to install but the graphic itself will have a much higher possibility of failing.  Plan ahead and give your prints 24-48 hours to out-gas before laminating.

3. Wiggle Room:  Not making the prints with enough extra print (bleed) for placement adjustments really handcuffs the wrap installer.  Vehicles are three dimensional and rarely line up like a piece of paper or your computer screen.  When the installer is trying to place the wrap so it ultimately looks correct, it helps to have some room for adjustment.  I have seen prints show up with literally 1/4″ of extra film to barely cover the surface but, even worse, it doesn’t give enough room to even hold the film.  I don’t know about you but my fingertips alone are bigger than 1/4″.  The standard bleed amount is 3″ around the perimeter of the print.  This give us a total of 6″ (horizontally and vertically) to shift, cover and basically figure out the best way to make your wrap design work.   Please note, this does NOT mean to stretch your print 6″ larger (this will mess up your scale & placement) but you should allow for an EXTRA amount of color/image that extends past the standard design size.

4. Quoting and Scheduling:  I’m going to be a little blunt here… asking for a quote without providing basic information is a pointless and unprofessional request.  The very least amount of information that you should provide when asking for an estimate is the Year, Make, Model of the vehicle(s), the wrap film and specific laminate you will provide, if you use liquid laminate with mask then say so, how many vehicles are there, window perf or not.  Also, if at all possible, supply a layout (this is a visual industry after all).  When you get these details to your potential wrap installer, her or she can actually work on supplying you with practical pricing & scheduling based on real-world information.  Calling up and just asking for a generic “quote to wrap a box truck” and if they can do it two days from now… well you get the picture.

5. Budget Pricing:  Dictating what your wrap installer’s price will be, when you have little understanding of #1 in our list, is a recipe for disaster.  Seriously… do you tell Apple how much they will charge for an iPad or your local plumber how much he’s going to bill to snake your drains?  Each market has it’s own unique costs and each company has it’s own overhead, cost of doing business and profit margin target.  Yes, we understand that the printer needs to make money & we understand that you have a budget to hit; however, basing your national install budget on what your local wrap employees get paid simply doesn’t work.  Take the time to get a realistic view of how the install process works as a whole and develop relationships with your wrap install partners.  Everyone will be much happier in the end.

So, my advice is to take the time to learn about what your wrap installers are doing and it will pay dividends for years.  You can talk more knowledgeably with your own clients and with your install partners as well.  As we all learn, we all improve and we all help the wrap industry grow and prosper.

Stay tuned for Part 2…

5 Things Printers Wish Wrap Installers Knew… (you didn’t think I would let the wrappers off the hook did you?)