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How to Bungle a Vehicle Wrap

(April 2012) posted on Mon Apr 09, 2012

Common wrap mistakes ranging from lessons learned the hard way to almost comical happenings.

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By Jared Smith

As we approach our 9000th vehicle-graphic installation here at bluemedia, I think I can safely say that we’ve made just about every mistake in the book – and our list of things that have gone wrong is pretty extensive. But from our many errors, we have learned a lot.

Just as with anything in life, things won’t always go your way, at least not on the first try. From time to time, or sometimes even daily, life pitches you a curve ball you just didn’t see coming – and strive as we all might to be perfect, mistakes happen. The best you can do is to try to not beat yourself up about it; take the high road, make it right, and learn from your pig-headed “whoops.”

What follows are a few errors we’ve faced, ranging from lessons learned the hard way to almost comical happenings that make for a few funny stories. Maybe these lessons can help your own shop prevent some of those disasters.

Typical rookie mistakes
Let’s first discuss the most obvious of errors: rookie errors. These are defined as mistakes that any seasoned professional should have been able to easily avoid.

One of the most common rookie mistakes is producing graphics for “almost” the right vehicle by getting the year, make, or model wrong. Once you’ve been in the vehicle-wrap game for any length of time, you quickly learn that “Ford Econoline” is not enough information from which to design, much less print, a wrap. Numerous body styles include different window and door configurations, and sometimes even different wheelbases. To avoid this disaster, we now require a client to either stop in for a quick survey or to send a photo from each side of the vehicle so that we can compare the images to our templates before guaranteeing the quote or designing the wrap.

Then there are customer-mix-up mistakes. We once had a rookie install a radio station’s wrap onto the pest control guy’s van. While this might sound humorous in retrospect, the mistake was extremely expensive and all too easy to avoid. Lesson learned: We now check in all vehicles and use rear-view mirror and key service tags to keep straight the “who’s who” when it comes to those ubiquitous white vans.