Vehicle wraps are viable and profitable when done correctly. Print service providers (PSPs) specializing in this application must know how to design and install a wrap, in addition to recognizing the ideal media, ink, and printer for the job. From there, more services can be added.
Inside Monterey Signs
Monterey Signs, a 2,500 square foot sign shop, is located in Seaside, CA. The print provider predominantly serves the Monterey Bay, CA area, including Salinas and Santa Cruz, but also occasionally works outside the radius of its local customer base to install or create sign projects for non-local shops. Shawn Adams, owner, Monterey Signs, notes how the shop’s vehicle wrapping expertise garners attention in the local business community. In the beginning, it helped the PSP’s business blossom.
“We wrapped vehicles from day one, as we had knowledge in this area and other shops around us didn’t know how to do this work. Vehicle wraps were our signature product and we became well known for creativity and quality. This opened the door for our company,” he says.
Today the PSP is a full-service sign shop, with nine staff members and Adams aiding customers with a variety of signage needs including electrical signs, commercial signs, and architectural letters as well as digitally produced signage. The shop possesses a CA contractor’s license and is bonded and insured for installation of all signs.
“Once companies started to work with us on wrap projects, they recognized our sign making talents. Our sales revenue doubled every year we were in business for the first five years. Without vehicle wraps we would not have experienced such explosive growth,” shares Adams.
While in the beginning 50 percent of the PSP’s orders were for vehicle wraps, its business has grown so much since opening that wraps now account for ten percent of the business. However, Monterey Sign installs multiple per month.
The shop creates vehicle wraps in three stages; design, production, and installation. Generally, a typical project takes two to four weeks, depending upon promptness of feedback from the client, complexity of project, and current production commitments. Production and installation usually take one day for each.
Tools of the Trade
Adams and his team utilize a Roland DGA Corporation SOLJET Pro III XC-540 and SOLJET Pro III XJ-740. Both printers use Roland inks and Roland VersaWorks RIP software. For finishing, it relies on a 54-inch Graphtec America vinyl plotter and Royal Sovereign laminator.
For the vehicle wraps, Monterey Signs works exclusively with MACtac Graphic Products’ adhesive vinyl. A shop favorite is MACtac’s Permacolor 6300 Enhancer Brilliant Crystal cast overlaminate film. It adds an elegant metallic sparkle to vehicle wraps when placed in direct sunlight.
In April 2013, the Monterey-Salinas Transit (MST) approached the PSP to produce and install full-color wraps for seven city buses to match interactive jazz-themed bus stops found throughout the city promoting a music festival.
“We showed MST the printed graphics on MACtac material and they were pleased with the print quality, gloss level of the lamination, and the warranty on the films. We also provided the reassurance of local service should they need replacement graphics in the case of an accident or other damage,” shares Adams.
The PSP completed the project in three weeks, working around a challenging bus schedule that included passenger delivery and maintenance. First, it rented an airplane hanger to use as an installation bay, where the buses were thoroughly cleaned before the jazz graphics were applied. Each bus required 24 vertical panels. Typical installation tools included an assortment of squeegees, rivet brushes, propane torches, and razor knives.
The adhesive system and reliability of MACtac’s media allowed the shop to complete the job on time. “It installed easily and quickly, conforming to the irregular surfaces of the bus,” says Adams.
Hunter Harvath, assistant GM, MST, was pleased with the end result. “We would not have been successful in meeting our deadline for the jazz wrap buses had it not been for the professionalism and perseverance of the Monterey Signs staff.”