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Tips For Handling First-Time Vehicle Wrap Buyers

(January 2009) posted on Thu Jan 08, 2009

Basic questions and simple answers.

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By Jared Smith

* Will the wrap hurt my paint? Our warranty covers sound paint jobs if the wrap is removed within the warranty period. Aftermarket paint jobs, oxidized paint, worn clear coats, and plastic areas like bumpers are definite causes for concern. The most important thing to remember to protect paint from damage is to remove the wrap before the warranty expires. We tell customers that a good rule of thumb is that if they see any yellowing, fading, cracking or peeling, head directly to our shop so we can do a free inspection, as these are signs that the vinyl could be damaging your paint finish.

* Can a wrap actually protect my paint? Although I have never read any studies that prove this rumor, sun does damage paint over time and vinyl does shield the paint from the sun for a period of time. It could also save a possible scratch or small chip from happening as well.

* Exactly what is covered in the warranty? All wrap shops and all vinyl manufacturers have different warranty details. We provide a copy of our warranty in writing along with the vinyl manufacturers’ warranty, and tell the customer if they have any questions at all, please feel free to ask.

* Are all vinyls the same? No. The vinyls we use are specialized, with many features designed to wrap certain vehicles. Using the wrong vinyl can have major consequences.

* What if my current paint job is not in the best shape? The first thing to keep in mind is that removing a wrap may remove some paint if it is not sound. Failing clear coat may come up as well. With a simple test or two, we can determine if the vinyl will adhere well. Although the wrap may get successfully installed, we probably won’t be able to offer our standard warranty because the wrap will only stay on as well as the paint underneath it does. We tell our customers they should feel free to stop by if they see an edge lifting and we’ll see if we can help.

* Can I wrap the windows? This varies from state to state, but here we are allowed to wrap any area we like except the windshield as long as the driver can be seen by someone approaching both sides of the vehicle. This typically means we stay completely off the front driver windows. The laws generally follow the same as the laws for window tinting.

* Any special requirement when it comes to washing this vehicle after it is wrapped? Stay away from automatic carwashes that have spinning elements for sure. They can 'hook' the edges and lift the vinyl. For best results, hand wash with a very mild detergent if any.

Alleviating future stress
Vehicle wraps are indeed tricky, and there really is a great deal of information that needs to be conveyed to your client. From pre-inspection checklists to setting the client expectations correctly, there is a whole lot more to think about than just design, print, and install. Avoiding as many potential issues with proactive steps is always a good idea.

The best way to develop your own systems is to make sure that when issues do arise, you not only fix the issue at hand, but you also prevent the issue from happening in the future. Set policies, deliver those policies to both your staff and your clients, and educate your clients, and you will alleviate future stress for everyone.

Wraps are not paint. They are better, but different. Make sure your client knows what they are purchasing and help them understand the purpose of a wrap, and they will thank you for it.

Jared Smith is president of Tempe, Arizona-based bluemedia, a leading provider of design and printing for use in vehicle, large-format, and environmental graphic applications for b-to-b and b-to-c organizations. Bluemedia features innovative and customized solutions, cutting-edge technologies, and a nontraditional approach to ideas and design expertise.