You’ve made the smart decision to include advertising on your company vehicles. Whether it’s an entire fleet or a single vehicle for your small business, there are some things you need to know before choosing the best car wrap company.

Know what you want

You have to know, or at least have an idea what you want before you can explain it to someone else.

And no, you shouldn’t ask a designer to design a few options to see if you like them unless you’re ready to pay them for their time, unless you’re ready to pay for all of the time they spent working—even if you don’t end up choosing any of the designs.

Know what you need

Do you have one vehicle to wrap or an entire fleet? Can you bring your car to the car wrap company or do you need them to come to your location? What’s your time frame? Do you already have someone experienced to design your wrap, or do you want the wrap company to handle both the design and install? (It’s generally best to have the wrap company handle the design since they have more experience in this area than other types of graphic designers.)

Budget

When a car wrap company asks about your budget, they aren’t trying to see how much they can squeeze out of you. They’re trying to help you get the most for your investment.

You don’t want to settle for a low-quality car wrap, and if your budget is on the smaller side, they can help you save money while still achieving a high-quality wrap. You want to find the right balance between what you can afford and what would make the most sense for your company. It’s nice to think about your dream design, but does it work in your budget? Would it make more sense for a partial car wrap on several vehicles or are you going for something truly flashy and eye grabbing on a vehicle that will be seen all over town?

Certifications

Do you hire plumbers that aren’t certified? Leave your children at a daycare without the proper certification? Maybe you do, I don’t know. But I don’t.

Are you going to trust your company car to someone who doesn’t know how to properly install a wrap or work with the tools and materials? I don’t even let a barber cut my hair without a license, so I certainly wouldn’t let someone who isn’t certified wield a razor knife around my car.

Tools, materials, and work space

Your car wrap installation should take place in the shade, preferably in a climate-controlled space like a garage or warehouse. Most reputable car wrap companies have such a space available to ensure absolute quality control.

The printer used is important, too. You need to confirm that the length of your car can be printed from one continuous sheet of vinyl. Smaller printers are fine for most cars, but SUVs, vans, box trucks, and trailers will require a larger printer.

3M or Avery vinyl are the most commonly used because of their ease of install and durability. I would be skeptical of a wrap company using anything else.

I also recommend looking at their tools; are they well maintained or beat up? A true craftsman takes care of their tools because they enable them to do the best work possible.

Portfolio

The best way to evaluate a car wrap company is to look at their previous work. You wouldn’t get a tattoo from someone who hasn’t done many, right?

One extra bit of advice, however; make sure it’s work they have done. It’s easy to get pictures off someone else’s website and pass them off as their own. Pay attention to the phone numbers on the wraps in their portfolio—out of area phone numbers should raise a red flag because people rarely take their car to another town to be wrapped. (Surrounding cities are usually fine, but it’s a pretty safe bet that a wrap company in North Dakota probably didn’t wrap a car for a Miami nightclub.)

Guarantees

Things happen. Vinyl car wraps offer great protection for your paint as well as being an excellent form of advertising, but what happens if something goes wrong? Are you out of luck?

Most car wrap companies offer a guarantee on materials and installation under normal conditions—that means if it fades or peels early. If your wrap gets damaged, you’re on your own, though.

Value over price

You don’t need to spend a crazy amount of money on your car wrap, but you also should make the lowest price a deciding factor.

The cheapest is the cheapest because they have cut corners. They’re either not hiring the best workers, don’t have the best equipment, aren’t the most experienced, or aren’t using best practices and quality material. None of these are acceptable.

That said, if you’ve done your homework and found a great deal, you shouldn’t pass it up. You’ll have to know why you’re getting that great deal, of course, and finding out if they are cutting corners on materials or the process is something you’ll have to investigate on a case-by-case basis. Look for happy customers to be sure you’re getting quality work. Then you can take that deal and pay less—as long as you’re sure you’re getting a value.

You’re making an investment. Even though it’s a wise one with a good ROI, you want to make sure you’re not hiring someone looking to make a quick buck with a printer and cheap vinyl. You want your customers to come to you because you do things better. Make sure you’re choosing a company to wrap your vehicle in the same way.

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