By Melinda Tetreault
Vehicles are powerful tools for advertising, especially for local tradespeople like electricians, plumbers, construction companies, painters, and landscapers. Their vehicle(s) often acts as an office on wheels. Fleets of vehicles require uniformed messaging across multiple makes and models of cars and trucks.
It is amazing how many businesses like these do not utilize decals and vehicle wraps—partial or full—as marketing tools. They are prime candidates for this application. Print providers that offer full vehicle wraps, partial wraps, or decals should promote the services to tradespeople.
Above: Commercial vehicles are ideal candidates for wraps, like the one seen here using Mactac media.
Tapping a New Segment
Local tradespeople is an advantageous category of potential customers for print service providers (PSPs). Frequently, workers from these businesses move from job site to job site without contact or promotional information on their vehicles, meaning customers are ripe for the picking.
“Vehicle graphics and wraps are one of the least expensive, yet most effective ways to advertise for any size, service, or trade-oriented business. There are far too many blank canvases driving around, missing out on precious opportunities to gain new clients,” admits Josh Culverhouse, graphic innovations market manager, ORAFOL Americas, Inc.
Kathleen Flagg, strategic account manager, Avery Dennison Graphics Solutions, points out that there is no better way than to “advertise services when a vehicle is parked like a mobile billboard at the actual job site.”
Between decals to full and partial wraps, there are endless options in this segment. “Many small service companies have taken advantage of utilizing local PSPs to help design, fabricate, and install vehicle graphics for their service vehicles. Signage can be located on the driver or passenger side, and even the rear window. Utilizing perforated window film for this type of advertising is the perfect application,” adds Ross Burnham, senior marketing manager, Mactac.
“All tradespeople should have basic decals at a minimum—the neighborhoods being serviced feel safer when they know who is driving around and parking in their area. Beyond that, customers will associate what they see with the caliber of work someone performs. A clean, well designed vehicle wrap conveys that a tradesperson cares about their business and therefore, will care about the work they perform,” explains Flagg.
Well-versed in vehicle wraps is LSI Graphics of Bartlett, TN. One of many applications offered, the 45 year old company creates graphics for businesses, agencies, architectural firms, government entities, universities, Fortune 100 corporations, and other organizations.
Chris Coles, director of brand and marketing and Brandon Omeara, wrap manager, LSI Graphics, believe “vehicle wraps are one of the most effective, cost efficient, and essential advertising mediums. They solve many problems such as growing brand awareness and name recognition, improving customer experience, and simplifying your advertising strategy.”
After speaking with many of their clients, Coles and Omeara share that a common thread was that at least once a month—and truthfully more like five or six times—a client obtained a client directly from a vehicle wrap.
“These wraps pay for themselves in one or two jobs depending on the industry, so the investment is really a no brainer. Also, the value of being able to cut through the advertising clutter and have your potential clients search for your name on a search engine because they recalled seeing it on a vehicle instead of typing in the search bar ‘HVAC repair near me’ helps tradespeople generate more revenue with less effort,” continue Coles and Omeara.
Plan Your Sell
Targeting potential vehicle wrap customers means understanding who you are selling to and why they benefit from this application. Between local tradespeople, retail, and hospitality to brand owners, agencies, and educational facilities many of the selling techniques overlap.
Culverhouse encourages PSPs to be proactive. “Don’t wait for customers to knock on your door, or hopefully find you on social media, or in a Google search. Instead, schedule time at least once a week to research local businesses that you know could benefit from vehicle graphics, and reach out to them and introduce your services.”
You may get a few minutes to pitch those services, so Culverhouse suggests “fine tuning your two minute elevator pitch—explaining how vehicle graphics can benefit the tradesperson’s brand and grow their business.”
Flagg suggests PSPs do their homework and identify costs of other advertising mediums that a local business might use, for example newspapers or the Yellow Pages. Then, armed with this knowledge, it’s easy to show customers how vehicle wraps provide a better return on investment.
“A big factor involved is the cost to benefit evaluation. When you are looking at $4K per unit, you want to make sure you are spending marketing dollars in the right place. This is where a multi-phase approach may make more sense,” explains Burnham.
He suggests starting with a basic decal set for $500, then moving to a partial wrap for $2,500, and then a full wrap. Monitor each phase through customer feedback and incremental sales. This provides a great way to figure out if the investment is worth repeating for additional units.
“If this is their first time making an investment of this nature, it can be an emotional decision and a real opportunity for you to shine and create something the client will be proud of,” suggest Coles and Omeara.
Being transparent about the process goes a long way. “Some things to consider about this customer are that they may desire to be more educated and informed on the overall process. In addition, they may be a bit more cost conscious than brand owners, so that should be considered when preparing a quote and vehicle graphic film recommendation,” notes Flagg.
“Walk them through the process, what they should expect, and your upcoming availability to produce and install their graphics. This lets them know that you’re organized, and helps them get into the right frame of mind to move forward,” adds Culverhouse.
It all comes full circle once the job is finished. PSPs should remember to leverage completed wraps, get the okay from the customer, and post images on their website or social media channels.
“Fill your social media channels or your website with your work. A majority of your projects will most likely be of work you’ve done with other local businesses. These connections and projects should be utilized as assets to help you earn more trust with your prospective client. If they see that you’ve been trusted by other local businesses, they’ll feel more comfortable moving forward with you,” recommends Culverhouse.
Thinking About Design
As is true in almost all designs, keeping it simple is the most effective way to get a message across. For trade-oriented businesses, the most compelling vehicle wrap design shares contact information legibly and pointedly advertises their services.
“There is no need to over design with distracting elements or list every service. Utilize a basic design pallet that is legible and illustrates immediate impact that potential customers are able to quickly digest when stopped at a light or watching the vehicle drive by,” recommends Culverhouse.
Flagg agrees and adds that a professional logo, high-resolution images, colors that match, and an easy-to-read font are key. Overall the graphics should be eye catching, but not too busy. “The goal is that a potential customer can quickly gather what the key services are, who is offering them, and how to contact them.”
“We found that the most effective designs include clear phone and website information. Also, as a rule of thumb in advertising, it’s better to use bright colors—tastefully—to attract your buyer’s attention,” share Coles and Omeara.
That being said, Burnham notes that imaginative designs, or even humorous ones, are more memorable and can drive that call to action.
There are a lot of options when it comes to media for wrap jobs.
3M Commercial Graphics’ portfolio includes many vehicle wrap options. A go-to is 3M Controltac Graphic Film with Comply v3 Adhesive IJ180Cv3. The Comply Cv3 air release system is used for multiple application surfaces including compound curves, corrugations, flat, flat with rivets, and simple curves. It is paired with 3M Scotchcal Gloss Overlaminate 8518.
Avery Dennison’s MPI 1105 Easy Apply RS cast film with a DOL 1360Z overlaminate is ideal for vehicle and fleet wraps. The combination provides prints of vibrant colors and high gloss, conformable with complex curves and recesses.
Mactac’s IMAGin Bfree Gruv cast vinyl print media features permanent, bubble-free air egress adhesive and outdoor durability of either seven, nine, or ten years depending on the product. It is ideal for flat to slightly curved and complex surfaces. Pair with PERMACOLOR RAYZor cast vinyl laminate.
For partial wraps and spot logo graphics, ORAJET 3551RA with ORAGUARD 290 is recommended out of the ORAFOL portfolio. Both are designed for medium to longer term vehicle graphics. If the design includes basic vinyl lettering, PSPs could consider ORACAL 651 or 751C, with the bonus being they are applicable beyond vehicle wraps.
There is a lot of wasted potential on the blank canvases that are local tradespeoples’ vehicles. Many business owners are unaware of just how simple and cost effective adding a decal, partial, or full vehicle wrap can be. This is a great opportunity to enter into a profitable segment.
Apr2021, Digital Output