User login

Easing the Wrap-Removal Blues

(August 2011) posted on Thu Jul 28, 2011

When your crew can professionally, quickly, and efficiently handle removals, your shop will be much more attractive to potential clients.

click an image below to view slideshow

By Jared Smith

Implementing best practices
We schedule removals much like we schedule our installs. We offer the client a few openings in our schedule to choose from, and once the date is locked in, we make sure we are 100-percent ready for them. Because removals have a tendency to vary from completing much faster to completing much slower than anticipated, we prefer to jump right on them first thing in the morning. The crews are identified and prepared before the client ever arrives. This entails having empty trash cans parked at the scene and all the necessary tools ready and waiting to get the job done. Preparation is key to giving you the highest probability of a happy customer.

When it comes time to actually begin the removal, we like to make sure the vinyl is nice and warm, preferably 90 degrees or higher. Just placing the vehicle in the sun for an hour or so usually does the trick. When we need to hurry along the process, we use flame-throwing weed burners attached to propane tanks and only heat up what we can remove in 10-minute intervals. If the coverage area is small, we’ll stick to our small hand-held torches.

As another best practice, we teach our crews to pull down and away as opposed to just away. Pulling warm vinyl down and away at a 45-degree (or less) angle will reduce the risk of pulling paint or leaving adhesive. And we have found that citrus-based removers work best at removing adhesives left behind. The trick is to spray these removers on and let them sit for 10 to 20 minutes before using a plastic razor blade or Little Chiseler to wipe the residue clean. Remember that while the citrus-based removers are more environmentally friendly and less harsh on the skin, they are extremely flammable. Most shops utilize heat or open flame at some point throughout each day, which can be extremely dangerous when mixed with these chemicals. The lesson here: Be completely done with heat sources before applying or spraying any type of remover liquids.

The last money- and time-saving technique we’ve learned is to ensure that each crew member has his own trash can and chair. We prefer trash cans with wheels that can easily follow the staff member and make for much less cleanup after the job is done. Our crew members use short mechanic’s stools or retired office chairs with the backs removed; our using chairs can help to ease back pain when working on the lower portions of the removal.

Finding efficiencies in removals is no less important than other areas in your wrap business. When your crew can professionally, quickly, and efficiently handle removals, your shop will be much more attractive to potential clients. 

Jared Smith is president of bluemedia (, a leading provider of design and printing for use in vehicle, large-format, and environmental applications, in Tempe, Arizona.