Vinyl wrap training programs provide food for thought for any wrapper.
When we first got into the wrap industry 15 years ago, there weren’t many training courses available. Most media manufacturers were just getting their programs started, many of which have evolved into the great training courses we see today. It’s refreshing to see so many talented wrappers teach, train, and certify numerous individuals who go on to have success in the industry.
Your first training program can be your most important one with regard to what you walk away with at the end of the course. Every educational avenue available today – and there are a lot – would likely be a good choice for anyone looking to get into vinyl wrapping. Training has changed dramatically since we first entered the game, and the programs offered truly test the skill level of most installers (seasoned or not). It’s been an eye-opening experience for me to see other programs first hand, specifically what material is being used for training and testing. Not all programs have certification but most offer training followed by certification of specific films or applications.
Sometimes training can give you more than what you expected in a positive way. While a student may walk in only looking for skills, they will likely come out of the experience with new motivation or confidence, which can be just enough to set that student on the path toward a successful career.
Education Builds Confidence
Our company has been conducting training sessions for Roland DGA for the past 13 years. The Born to Wrap program is a great tool for beginners to intermediate-level wrappers. This course is not a specific certification course like the ones 3M, Avery, PDAA, and others offer. While we do offer hands-on training, we have formatted our program to also provide students guidance on how to run a business in the proper way and to encourage growth for the future. One of the first statements we make to the students is we want them to walk away with confidence after the two-day training course.
Before the students even put a squeegee in their hands, we discuss the many versions of a vehicle wrap. There are so many different ways a vehicle can be wrapped including simple die-cut graphics, partial wraps mixed with different films and vinyl, full wraps, window perf applications, and more. We then dive into how to set up basic files in order to sell a job. This is when we discuss how to charge for designs and artwork fees. How much film will you actually use? How much ink and laminate will be utilized? How much waste will you have after the vehicle wrap is printed? These questions are very important to any wrapper, especially someone who is brand new to this industry. You can be an expert wrapper, but if you aren’t pricing your work properly, you could suffer serious consequences that could jeopardize your business. I really want my students to walk away with not only confidence on how to apply wrap film, but also how to price their product properly so they can be profitable and grow. This adds another level of confidence to their tool kit. In any sales situation, having assurance in your pricing will help increase sales. If you’re hesitant to give your client a price, they can sense it – and they just might lose faith in you and your shop.
We really try to focus on motivation during the training to help aid in productivity. When my business partner, Dallas Fowler, and I first started our company, Digital EFX Wraps, I admit I was scared. I was unsure of almost everything. I wish all of these resources were available then. We all need motivation from time to time.
We teach students how to be educated on the types of films available to print on, how they’re printed, and what warranties are offered on film and ink. These topics play a big role in understanding the industry. Having the ability to educate your customers on your services before a job begins puts you at a different level than competitors. It shows that not only do you know how to wrap, but that you grasp the nuances of the entire process.
We also discuss the production side of vehicle wrapping. How is your shop set up? What type of printers and laminators are you running? What type of climate are you in? What kind of environment do you have available to wrap in? Is your building heated and cooled year round? These things all impact productivity and wrapping success.
Designing a vehicle wrap is one of the most difficult parts of vehicle wrapping. How will graphics be tiled and printed? Are you producing a seamless wrap? How would you achieve that process? Once again, the production side of this business needs to be organized to allow yourself to be fully productive every day.
We try to deal with real-world situations and scenarios during hands-on vehicle wrap training. We actually walk out to the parking lot as a class and pretend we all own a wrap company. We use one of the cars in the lot as an example of a potential client’s vehicle. Students then learn how to photograph and measure a vehicle properly for designing and quoting purposes. We discuss setting your clients’ expectations on how the wrap will work, and what can be wrapped, what can’t be wrapped, and why.
Vehicle inspection is very important before any design or quoting begins. We add up all of the film, ink, lamination, labor, and any other costs to create an accurate quote. Real-world situations provide an easier learning platform, in my opinion. During the classes, we ask our students how they would wrap this particular vehicle 10 times in a row without any issues or re-dos. One example: if a side-view mirror needs to be installed in two pieces to ensure longevity, then do it. Maybe it would look better to install the vinyl in one piece, but it also may increase your fail rate, which is a consideration if we have to wrap 10 of the same exact units. This can reduce the fear factor for beginner wrappers or students who want to brush up on their skills. Having your entire installation crew on the same page will allow you to be more productive and produce consistent work, and it should allow your bank account to grow, which is the ultimate goal at the end of the day.
We also created a two-day workshop held at our facility in Louisville, Kentucky, to train students on how to design, scale, RIP, print, price, and market a company. This class has become very popular because it’s a missing component on the training side of this industry.
At the end of each class we wrap up with a review to ensure the students are retaining the knowledge. The advice we give is applicable to any wrapper. Be confident in your pricing. Don’t be afraid to charge what you are worth. Don’t shortchange your product and skills just to satisfy a cheap client.
Take pride in your work and company. This trade is not easy, but success can be achieved by attending one of the many courses available. The best installers in business today have gone through most, if not all, wrap classes and certification tests. This instills confidence, pride, and the motivation required to take your skills to another level.
Fear of the unknown can be challenging, but gaining motivation, and the knowledge of how to deal with clients, your employees, pricing, production, installation, and marketing, should help you move forward in a positive manner. Developing careful communication with not only your clients, but also your employees really helps your business flourish. Knowing the ins and outs of your shop allows you to communicate easier, quote your jobs better, and install your vehicle wraps with greater precision and quality. Through training, we hope these motivational and confidence-boosting aspects aid in the productivity of every student we teach, now and in the future.
Matt Richart is the co-owner of Digital EFX Wraps, a full-service, one-stop shop in Louisville, Kentucky. Matt leads country-wide demos and training sessions on how to sell, market, design, and install for the wrap industry. Follow him on Twitter @digitalefxwraps.