You’re known as “The Wrap Wizard”—Is there a story behind the name? (Tell the truth, are you really a wizard?)
Hahaha…there’s a meme with a middle-aged guy that’s been around for years that just says “Are you a wizard?”. I had a shop in South Carolina for a while and me and a guy I worked with would joke about that quite a bit. You’ll have to ask Bobby (the founder) about the name, however I do think The Wrap Wizard lends itself to a strong logo for branding purposes. It is a bit like wizardry, or, when I have spectators I get what I imagine would be the same reaction to actual wizardry.
What sets you apart from other vehicle wrap companies?
There are a lot of talented vehicle wrap companies out there, but we’re unique in that we don’t have a brick and mortar shop because we travel to our clients. On the other end, we don’t print which also endears us to a certain client base (sign shops) because we aren’t competing with them for that business too.
What do customers say when they come to you with an idea?
Usually our clients will already have the artwork and prints ready to go before they contact us. Sometimes they call us with questions about how to print a job to facilitate an easier, cleaner install. If we get a call for a color change wrap, that’s when we generally have more input creatively, but still just our opinion on the different qualities of finishes on color change vinyl.
How does the vehicle wrap process work?
First off, 90% of the time we are end-users after all the design work and material selection. As installers we absolutely run a mental checklist as soon as we we arrive on site. We almost always figure out who made the vinyl and what ink/how was it printed.
Then you generally find the proof (artwork) and go around the vehicle to make sure it’s clean and the model on the proof is the actual model that you’re looking at. If everything checks out you’re good to go. I tend to start with the passenger side, but more out of habit than any real tactical approach. In most cases, we install our wraps in an enclosed area for a more precise installation.
What challenges did you face growing The Wrap Wizard?
In my experience, the industry is growing by orders of magnitude, and its imperative that you stay ahead on the trends.
There aren’t actually a lot of tools in the tool box, so you want to be able to have everything helpful available to you. Like most trade work, you have to hang in there and persevere through undercutting competitors, especially regionally. You have to do consistent quality work through a wide variety of variables.
You also have to look to the future and take some projects on that you wouldn’t normally but you do because you can see it that it’ll lead to more work and solid networking down the line.
What made you choose vehicle wrapping over custom paint?
I have a sign shop background, so I’ve been familiar with graphics and vinyl for over a decade now. It was actually vehicle wraps or electrical and large sign manufacturing as the next step. I’m glad I went with vehicle wraps.
If someone wanted to work for you, what kinds of skills do they have to learn?
Patience! This is very tedious work. Ten hour days are to be expected. Attention to detail is a must: everyone makes mistakes, but ruining a $500 print and setting the job back hours or days because of carelessness is untenable.
Are there times where vehicle magnets makes more sense than a vehicle wrap?
Yes. HOAs can be strict about graphics if you park in the driveway. I had a neighbor once who had a wrap on his work van. He would come home at 7 or so in the evening and would have to move some combination of his 2 daughters’ and his wife’s cars so he could get the van in the garage. I felt for him.
Why choose a wrap over a new paint job?
One selling point above all others is that it protects the paint. Fleets like to do that especially if they trade the vehicles in every few years. Also too on the commercial side we are an extension of the advertising and marketing channel, so the cost to profit ratio for impressions from a wrap are so good its a no-brainer.
Are different materials and processes used on some vehicles?
Not really. Its the same technique. The ‘mil’ thickness of the material changes: for instance color change vinyl comes as that one color, whereas a print needs to be laminated to protect the ink, so it gets a bit thicker. Chrome wrap vinyl is pretty thick, and a certain manufacturer’s product needs to also be laminated.
What’s the most unusual vehicle you’ve ever wrapped?
Not really unusual, but in the Cayman Islands all the vehicle were imports I’d never seen before. For instance, the class of truck that we would call a Toyota Tundra here was a Toyota Hilux there, different down to the steering wheel being on our passenger side.
Do you wrap leased vehicles?
Absolutely. Often times insurance companies will cover the damage to the wrap as well.
How about race cars?
I wrapped a stable of Porsches once, none of them street legal, probably 40 total. Mostly they use the fiberglass color of the body and put accents on. A lot of them had Arabic words because the owners would race them in Dubai.
What’s the weirdest request you’ve had?
I declined to put Tony the Tiger on an Oldsmobile Cutlass once, but I was attached to a shop then and I think it was their copyright issue. I’d probably do it now though just to get the pic in the portfolio.
What keeps you interested in the wrap business?
I like working for myself. Our tools are minimal, so there’s low overhead as a commuter without a brick and mortar. I really like to see the customer pick up their new wrap, and my favorite is to watch them drive away. (bahahaha) There’s a shop I work with in Orlando that has a decent stereo in the bay, so if I’m there wrapping with a friend of mine and we’re listening to some Afrobeat or Roots Dub Reggae, I take a second and soak in how pretty awesome it is. Shout out to Nate Ware at Warehouse Wraps.
What material do you do you use most often?
Premium 3M and Avery are pretty similar in my opinion, however Avery can be a bit trickier to print on. I’ve seen shops blow it by not calibrating their printers for the Avery wrap vinyl. The better list is what we collectively don’t like to use, but I won’t name names because I have no idea if I’ve seen those companies best efforts yet.
What vehicle wrap trends should we expect to see in 2016?
I think color changes with accents will start to show up a bit more. Also those goofy sticker bomb accents will probably catch on.
Is there a type of design that you enjoy most?
Flower delivery, hands down. With a high-res image they can be really something. I think the new Feller’s catalog has a one on the cover for this year.
What are the essentials of a great wrap design?
I personally like a design that flows with the body lines of the vehicle. Sometimes you get one that was designed to the horizon and they just don’t look right.
Can people design their own wrap for you to install?
Yes, but we’re not printers so we generally put them in touch with someone that can handle it for them.
Which vehicle wraps are you most proud of and why?
I’m working on a folder of the photos from The Wrap Wizard’s project in Grand Cayman, but the MEPCO job there was incredible. I used knifeless tape and 3 different color change vinyls to make the design on the vehicle. also it was 19 in 11 days which isn’t too bad.