Offering More Than Just ‘Full Color’

New wrap films offer new opportunities.

I can remember a time in the 1990s where our focus was on subjects like: “Will this material have bubbles in it?” “Will it hold up to car washes?” “Will we be able to install it without wrinkles?” And, “Is this high-end vinyl really worth it?”

That was, by digital print standards, a very long time ago. Now, we all have our favorite wrap vinyl. We have profiles built to print great color. And our installers can wrap just about any shape a vehicle can throw at us. Yes, adding reflective was always a cool way to make a wrap stand out, but beyond that and brilliant design there really wasn’t much in the way of material options.

Until now, that is.

An entrée to the custom market
Now is a great time to be in the vehicle-wrap business. Many new materials are entering the marketplace that can challenge us all again. Importantly, I don’t mean “challenge us” when it comes to the actual production or installation. Rather, I mean challenge us in finding creative ways to enhance the final results and make for happier, more-likely-to-return customers.

Quite a few manufacturers have recently come to market with these specialty films. These films include a wide assortment of textured and colored vinyls previously not available for the vehicle-wrap market. And with some creative thinking and pre-planning, you can make some amazing looking vehicles using films like these.

I see these types of films serving two purposes in my company’s product lines. The first is a new market for us, one that we’re calling the “custom automotive market.”

In the past, we would shy away from a wrap job that was for a personal vehicle for a variety of reasons. These jobs seemed tough to make a profit on; the client was always a extra picky; and the final sale total was usually very little. In short, these jobs had a high risk and a low reward – not the kind of combination you’re looking for.

With the new films out there, however, we can now do a custom “paint” job that requires no printing and sometimes may not even require design. This is something that used to be unheard of in the vehicle-wrap market.

Let me explain. A customer can now come to bluemedia with their brand-new car and pay us to wrap it in matte black. There are many reasons that this is now a good thing –maybe even a great thing – for us. Obviously we don’t have to spend much time in design at all. We can skip both the printing and the laminating stages. We can install it as soon as there is an opening on the install schedule. And, as you can imagine, there really isn’t much to proof either.

Plus, with a price point similar to that of printed vinyl, the revenue can be the same and the effort can be reduced. The risk is also reduced, meaning that these types of custom or personal-vehicle jobs are now certainly worth it for us.

Supporting graphics
The second purpose these new films can serve is to not replace a printed wrap but rather to augment it – by isolating certain areas such as mirrors, bumpers, or even graphic elements themselves.

For instance, we just completed a car for a high-end German auto dealership in which we wrapped most of the car in printed vinyl but we did the roof, the bumpers, the ground effects, and the mirrors in black carbon fiber. We were able to charge a premium for those areas and they were actually easier to complete. Opportunities like these can help add to a shop’s bottom line.

As you might guess, we’ve had a lot of fun coming up with cool new ways to use these films. For instance, we recently completed a design on a 2010 Ford Mustang that looked like a ChrisCraft boat using a wood-grain vinyl and matte silver vinyl. And when a client approached us from Accelerated Depreciation Race Team, we designed and installed a very sleek Porsche 911 wrap making use of a matte black combined with black carbon fiber and bright orange vinyl lettering. These types of projects are fun and low risk – and they can be very profitable.

I challenge you to get your hands on some samples of these new materials – then figure out how they can work for you. Go on an ad-agency tour to show them what you can now provide. Find a great creative use for, say, a white carbon fiber, or be the first to wrap an entire car in a brushed gold vinyl. Get up to speed on all of the cool, new options available to you, so that you’re ready when your next vehicle-wrap client call.

Be on the cutting edge of these types of films and get to work with them. Find out what’s possible and what the limitations are (if any). We wrapped our own shop fleet in films like these so we could get some practice with them and our local market can see how cool they are. To maximize your company profits, you need to provide great solutions. In many areas, these films can be part of those great solutions. These vinyls are ready to go and they just need you to find the great uses for them.

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