Need assistance in avoiding wrapping mistakes? Or want to know how to become a master wrap installer? Look no further than your media manufacturer—many of whom offer training classes, helpful technical support via Web or the phone, and great partnerships with larger installer organizations.
3M Commercial Graphics provides in-house technical support for product, fabrication, and installation support. In addition, three testing programs are available. The 3M Endorsed Personalized Vehicle Graphics Installer program focuses on the individual installer applying easy to complex graphics on personal and small business vehicles. The 3M Preferred Graphics Installer is for those individual installers performing all types of graphic installations. Lastly, the 3M Certified Graphics Installation Company—a United Application Standards Group (UASG)-sponsored designation—provides certification to an installation company that performs all graphic installations. Each program requires users to go through several tests to prove they are fit for the specific designation.
The UASG, established in 1999, requires install companies to meet a certain criteria to become members. This includes a high level of professionalism, a proven track record, and a high level of hands-on installation skill. Full-time installers—either one man or a staff of many—are welcome to participate in the UASG. With a focus on the installer, the organization also works closely with vinyl and graphics manufacturers, such as 3M mentioned above. Members of UASG receive professional recognition and certification, business building referrals, access to a nationwide network of professionals, discounts, and an in-depth graphics installer manual.
Arlon Graphics, LLC sponsors application training seminars as well as posting video on both YouTube and its Web site. Trained field application specialists support large projects ensuring proper application techniques are used to lessen the probability of application failure.
Avery Dennison Graphics Solutions offers instructional bulletins for installing wraps. It also provides videos on its Web site. Currently, they sponsor the Avery Dennison/Mutoh America, Inc. car wrap training classes, which are taught by Justin Pate. Materials used during the classes are Avery MPI 1005 Supercast Easy Apply RS with Avery DOL overlaminates. The program, in a two day workshop—with a third day optional for certification testing—focuses on steps needed to improve the quality and speed of car wrap installations. Subjects covered include tools, properties of film, removals, cleaning, layout/key panel, registration, problem solving, hardware removals, and post install tips.
Clear Focus Imaging, Inc. includes detailed product information, instructions, tips, and photos on its Web site. All of the sales and support staff are trained on proper installation techniques. The company has also participanted in the Professional Decal Applicators Alliance’s (PDAA’s) Graphic Application Zone featured at the Specialty Graphic Imaging Association’s (SGIA’s) yearly expos.
For example, at the 2011 SGIA expo in New Orleans, LA, the PDAA Graphics application Zone showcased new techniques and materials. The showcase typically invites attendees to test their installation skills all while learning tips and tricks to ensure proper installation. Presentations, live demonstrations, and hands-on training are all part of the zone.
The PDAA connects imagers and installers to provide total imaging solutions. Members receive training—and as a result certification—that labels them as proficient graphic installation professionals. Once part of the community, users receive referrals and look for partners with the help of the installer search capability. Discounts are another member benefit as well as the online installation gallery, which showcases the best wrap work.
LexJet offers free product and technical support via the phone Monday through Friday. Each specialist on call undergoes an intensive training regimen that emphasizes troubleshooting issues. The company also offers an educational Web site with instructional and how-to videos as well as white papers.
LG Sign and Graphics welcomes calls from its print providers and their installers to educate them on the best way to utilize their wrap materials. “We do a nice job educating these end users so they can successfully install the graphics, make money on the project, and keep their customers happy,” adds Shawn Adams, manager, LG.
MACtac Graphic Products provides its Application Nation program. Several seminars are offered yearly to cover the basics including vehicle wraps to rough, textured walls. Application Nation provides articles, Q&As, and how-to videos all at www.theapplicationnation.com. Users who become citizens of the site receive installation newsletters. MACtac also partners with SGIA and sponsors the PDAA.
Helping to Assist in Better Business
While most of the programs listed above include some form of a monetary fee, the wealth of knowledge and unlimited resources available once a member make up for the cost. Becoming a certified installer strengthens a company’s brand—conveying to customers a seriousness about your craft and a willingness to avoid costly errors.
Click here to read part one of this exclusive online series, Error Message.