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The Price is Right

Matching Media to the Job

Part 2 of 4

By Thomas Franklin

Designed to withstand significant punishment, vinyl carries the cost of superior engineering with it. While many demanding vehicle applications require durability, many short-term jobs do not. Making the right match—and ensuring competitive, yet profitable pricing—is a key challenge confronting any print service provider (PSP).

When choosing the right vinyl, it’s important to understand the nature of the display—as well as the industry the customer is in, says Josh Loring, Loring Studios, based in Elsinore, CA. "Each industry requires a different longevity," he adds.

Loring, an Oracal USA customer, was fortunate enough to set up a 5,300 square foot studio and graphics shop adjacent to a trailer company. "They walk their customers through their showroom and into our offices to show how we can wrap their vehicles," shares Loring. "Most trailer owners want long-term wraps, as do realtors. They don’t want to carry the expense of constantly changing the design."

"Multi-level marketing firms like to switch out graphics frequently," he comments. "Many of my clients change graphics once a year."

Loring’s customers receive durable media to hedge against the unknown. "We give them the incentive to buy because it won’t fade," says Loring. It is also acts as an insurance policy in the event a customer hangs onto the wrap for longer than originally intended.

With some jobs, necessity is the mother of invention. When Unionville, MO-based Dun-Lap was assigned to create a traveling promotion for the Blackberry Bold, the company found itself wrapping a pair of photo booths and karaoke kiosks that traveled with Madonna during the North American swing of her Sweet and Sticky tour. "The timing was really hairy," recalls Kara Jones, company representative, Dun-Lap. In less than 30 days the company turned around a project that included not just the wraps, but banners and lenticular art as well.

The kiosks were printed on EFI VUTEk’s UltraVu 150 six-color printer on 3M Graphics Market Center’s vinyl and overlaminates.

"We had it in stock and we knew it worked well," says Phil Burns, plant manager, Dun-Lap. The vinyl is covered under a five year component warranty. Durability is a plus. Although the tour was short, the pieces were carted on and off trucks and hand carts at each stop.

ABC Sign Systems of Pennsauken, NJ is a wholesale manufacturer for the sign industry. They adopted digital printing ten years ago and offer printed vinyl integrated into larger signs. "Most of our customers are very educated, they’re other sign industry members" so they tend to know what to expect from printed graphics, explains Stephen Trifiletti, president, ABC Sign Systems. The company offers a one year warranty on its products.

Rod Voegele turned a passion for cars and a career in marketing into a thriving vehicle wraps business. Gatorwraps grew from it first two locations—in Las Vegas, NV and ON, Canada. When offering solutions to customers, the company does not tie itself to any one vendor, Voegele explains. They use media from both 3M and Avery Graphics.

"We do a lot of commercial vehicles and off-road racing," Voegele says. Having just entered the business a little over two years ago, Voegele staked his value proposition on quality control. "Most customers want their wraps to last about four to five years," even though they may not even keep the vehicle for that long. We tell them to expect about five to seven years under normal wear and tear."

Gatorwraps uses manufacturer warranties for the company’s products. "We definitely feel the vinyl outlasts the warranties," he shares. However, Voegele finds that most of the businesses he deals with want to freshen up their designs long before the expiration date on the media. The company’s own showcase car endured two years in Southern CA and Las Vegas, NV and looks as good as new. Voegele notes that the durability of Gatorwraps’ own vehicle wraps is a good selling tool.

Depending on customer needs the right vinyl and warranty match is essential to the overall application. Between vehicle wraps, vinyl signage, and photo booth wraps, the media used in an application depends on the longevity of the finished product. PSPs can’t go wrong by matching media to the job.

Click here to read Part 1 of this exclusive online series, When Reliable Products Go Wrong.

Jan2009, Digital Output

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