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Untapped Resources: Utilizing Installer Expertise

(March 2012) posted on Thu Feb 23, 2012

"Installers can help you in ways you may have not previously thought about; they’re an invaluable resource for your company."

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By Jared Smith

Speaking of bleed, how much extra material should you add to aid in the install process? A bleed is a built-in insurance policy in case a shape is not truly square or the tiling is imperfect. How much material should be on the top of the box-truck panels? How much on the bottom? Should they be the same amount? The real answer is: It depends. It’s all about what the installer wants. Too much bleed on the top can make handling the material more difficult and make it almost impossible to align the image from tile to tile. Not enough bleed can be cause for a reprint. In both cases time, material and money are dumped down the drain. The installer is tasked with finishing the install in the timeliest fashion possible while still producing a quality product – it’s everyone else’s responsibility to allow them to accomplish this.

Wowing the customer
Do you typically provide your installers with photographic mockups showing what the semi-truck should look like when it’s completed? Or do you just provide the proof on the vehicle template? Have you ever asked what the installers prefer? Do you give them checklists for tools for remote installations? Do you have a standard form that includes the name and phone number of the contact on-site as well as any gate codes they might need?

If you answered no to any of these questions, get on it: Sit down and create a well-planned agenda with one or two of your most trusted installers. The agenda should begin with design and end with packaging. Discuss with the install team how they would like the graphics sorted, labeled, named, and packaged. Certain jobs call for graphics to be delivered on cores to prevent creasing or wrinkling, while other jobs require multiple cut-vinyl elements that need to be delivered shrink-wrapped to flat Coroplast board to avoid damage. The agenda should also include topics like install mockups, diagrams, maps, and proofs.

Installers can help you in ways you may have not previously thought about; they’re an invaluable resource for your company. All teams within the print shop share one goal: to make money while still making it home at a decent hour after a job well done. Your installers are vital in accomplishing this task. Include them in each step of the production process and your shop will increase in efficiency and morale, all while adding more to the bottom line. Treat them well, and pay them well. Graphics in a box don’t help anyone – it’s only after the installers work their magic that the job is able really to wow the customer.

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