If you were to call around for a quote on getting your company vehicle wrapped, you would most likely get a WIDE range of prices. If you are on a strict budget and decide to choose the lowest price option, how do you know that you are getting the best bang for your buck?
One sure fire way to know is to ask questions. You are paying a lot of money for this product, so you have the right to ask as many questions as you want. If the company you call is more willing to negotiate price than tell you about their product, MOVE ON! Here are the top five questions you should ask the vehicle graphics shop:
1) What brand of vinyl do you use?
As the title of this post implies, not all vehicle wrap vinyls are created equal. Make certain that they use a well known brand (that is, well known to you). If they can’t tell you the brand, or if you don’t recognize the brand name, time to move on.
2) Do you use cast or calendered vinyl?
If they say that calendered vinyl will work just fine on your car, move on quickly! Think of pizza dough and pancake batter.
Calendered vinyl starts as a ball of “dough” and is rolled, rolled, and rolled again until it reaches the desired thickness. Because it’s under so much tension when rolled, it naturally wants to shrink back on itself. If you’ve ever seen a logo on the side of a van with a nice grey ring around it, that is calendered vinyl. The vinyl has shrunk over time, leaving the adhesive layer exposed to dirt, rain, and the elements.
Cast vinyl starts as a liquid “batter”. It’s spread over a web in a liquid state and rolled to the desired thickness. Because it starts as a liquid, it’s under virtually no tension, and thus it doesn’t shrink over time. ALWAYS USE CAST VINYL ON VEHICLES!!!
3) Do you laminate your vinyl with a cast, UV laminate?
Just like cast vinyl is important, cast laminate is equally important. With the exception of thermal printed vinyl (not very common), almost all printed vinyls need to be laminated with a UV laminate. Laminating with a good quality laminate protects the graphics from the destructive effects of: the sun’s UV rays, rain, dirt and dust, deicers, bugs, and bird droppings. Non-laminated vinyl will fade faster and look pretty beat up in a very short period of time.
4) What’s your warranty?
If they can’t stand behind their product and honor at least the manufacturer’s warranty, move on! Most vehicle wrap shops should offer at least a one-year warranty on the actual installation. This typically covers installation issues, such as bubbles, peeling edges, and delamination. Any problems caused by a poor installation will most likely show up within a year.
5) Do you design and print your graphics in-house?
This seems like a non-issue to some, but outsourcing the graphics means you are essentially buying the product sight unseen. Would you buy a car without driving it first, or buy it from someone you only spoke to by phone or email? I know I certainly wouldn’t. By choosing a company that does everything in-house, you can meet with the designer, touch and feel samples of the actual product, and see color proofs BEFORE they go to print.
At Quality Auto Trim in Spokane Valley, we use 3M cast wrap vinyl series IJ180-Cv3 with 3M cast UV overlaminate 8518. We offer a 2-year warranty on all of our installs, but the wrap will realistically last at least 5-7 years. We design, print, laminate, and install ALL of our vehicle wraps in-house. Getting your vehicle wrapped is a big decision that should not be taken lightly, so please don’t hesitate to call our design team at 927-8464. We are ready and willing to answer as many questions as you have.