10 MOST FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
WHAT IS A VEHICLE WRAP?
Vehicle Wrap [vee-i-kuhl rap] noun - jaw dropping designs digitally printed on adhesive vinyl and applied to the surface of your car, truck, trailer, atv, boat or other vehicle by trained professionals for the purpose of making people’s heads spin.
At GFX Wraps, our full coverage wraps, partial wraps and spot graphics are all printed exclusively on 3M Controltac high performance cast vinyl with 3M cast vinyl laminate using our Roland eco-solvent printers and SEAL laminators. The best quality vinyl products, equipment and ink ensures every wrap we install will withstand the test of time.
WHO CAN BENEFIT FROM A VEHICLE WRAP?
Vehicle wraps and fleet graphics are an amazingly effective advertising tool for businesses and organizations of all types and sizes.
Small to medium sized local businesses who cater to a local market often have the most success directly attributed to a well done vehicle wrap or fleet. A car or truck wrap is an inexpensive and easy way to quickly saturate a local area with your business’s brand message. These work especially well for skilled trades such as plumbers, electricians, home builders, remodelers and pool companies. They are also very popular in the real estate and insurance business.
Large businesses will often use vehicle wraps as a means of brand reinforcement. In other words, a combination of vehicle wraps along with a variety of other advertising media such as billboards, television and print ads, provide great repetition to ensure people don’t forget your brand. This type of vehicle advertising is commonly seen for large grocery chains, soft drink products, fast food chains, etc. Remember the next time you see an HEB semi-trailer or Budweiser truck. That’s a wrap!
WHY CHOOSE GFX WRAPS?
It all starts with the jaw dropping, clean, commercial designs. That's what we do. There are plenty of sign shops and other places around town who "can" wrap a vehicle... there are only a few who "should". We are among the best in the business when it comes to graphic design, digital printing and vehicle wrap installation. We do it all in house and we are really good at what we do.
Remember, graphic designers typically have a style that is reflected in most of their work. If you go through our portfolio of vehicle wraps, you will likely notice some trends in our designs. This is the most overlooked but most important factor in choosing a company to wrap your vehicle. You are hiring an artist. It's crucial that you have an appreciation for the designer's style of work and expect that your wrap is going to have a similar look and feel.
An award winning design is just the first piece of the puzzle. Printing and installation comes next. All of our vehicle wraps are printed in house on our state of the art digital printing equipment. Installations are done in our secure indoor installation facility by our staff -- some the top installers in the country.
What really separates us from the pack is our installations. To put it simply... we go the extra mile. Our goal is a flawless and seamless or virtually seamless installation. Your wrap will be printed to fit your vehicle. That means each panel is designed to fit the natural panels on your car or truck. Most other print shops will simply print panels the width of their printer and lay them on your vehicle like wallpaper... with ugly seams running all the way down the sides of your vehicle that open the door for premature vinyl failure. With the exception of cargo vans and large box trucks, we wrap just about every vehicle out there with virtually no seams at all!
To take our quality installations a step further, we also completely disassemble all obstacles on your vehicle including door handles, mirrors, emblems, antennas, window moldings, etc. Once your vehicle is taken apart, we will thoroughly clean it and apply all the vinyl. With everything removed, the majority of our trim out is done "behind the scenes" in areas that will never be seen once the car is reassembled. This not only looks better, since all of the cut lines are hidden, but it ensures your vehicle wrap will last much longer than our competitors who cut around all those obstacles. That also means we're not running sharp blades on your paint job. Most of our cutting is done in areas that will never be seen.
Stop by our shop any time and ask to see one of our wraps up close and in person. We'd love to show you some of the advantages of choosing GFX Wraps!
HOW LONG DOES THE WHOLE PROCESS TAKE?
Every project is different and typically, the design time is the biggest variable.
Step 1: Quote
Give us a call or click on the link for a Free Quote and tell us a little about your project. We’ll need to know some simple things like the number of vehicles and the year/make/model of each vehicle. It always helps to send a picture of your vehicle, so we have included an easy way to upload one. The more information we have about your vehicle, the more accurate our quote will be.
For larger projects that are difficult to transport or if you have 2+ vehicles, we are more than happy to come out to your location to survey everything and put together a quote for you.
Step 2: Deposit
Before we begin the design process, we will require a 50% deposit and a signed copy of the quote. Once we have those two items, we’re off and running!
Step 3: Design
As far as the design process goes, every customer is different. Some come to us with a completely blank slate. Others come with a complete design either done by their own marketing team or from another agency. The rest of our clients come to us with something in between. Maybe you have an established logo and color scheme. Maybe you have an amazing website design or brochure you’d like for us to use as inspiration. Whatever the case, we are going to work with you and offer our creative input as much as you need us to.
Communication is everything throughout the design process! We will try to be honest with you about our current work load and our expected time frame for the initial drafts of your wrap design. Typically, we try to get first drafts out within 3 to 5 business days. Sometimes we can get them out quicker... other times they may take a day or two longer.
The revision process definitely varies from one client to the next. No two clients are the same. Rest assured we’ll keep at it until you are 100% happy with your designs and ready to go to print.
Step 4: Installation
The time that we need your vehicle will vary. Most vehicles can be completed in 1 to 2 days. Remember, we do things a little differently as several hours is spent on disassembly, prepping, cleaning and reassembly. We go the extra mile to completely disassemble all of the obstacles on your vehicle. We remove mirrors, door handles, window gaskets, antennas and badges. This is to ensure the cleanest possible installation with no visible seams wherever possible. This also allows us to install your wrap without placing a blade on any areas of exposed paint.
It helps to have a clean vehicle to work with. Please wash your vehicle one day prior to installation. Do not run it through the car wash right before you drop it off. We'll spend hours drying up every little hidden water drop. Vinyl will not stick to a wet vehicle!
Never use Armor All, wax or other polishes in the days or weeks prior to your wrap installation! Vinyl will not stick and we may be forced to reschedule your installation.
HOW MUCH DO WRAPS COST?
This is the most common question we answer every day. If the answer was cut and dry, we would simply post a price list on our website. However, a lot of factors go into determining the price of a wrap.
The first variable that comes into play is the type and size of the vehicle to be wrapped. Vinyl is a petroleum product and quite expensive. A Ford Excursion will require quite a bit more material than a Smart Car - so naturally, it will cost more to wrap the Excursion than it will to wrap the Smart Car.
Size is not the only factor. We also take into consideration the complexity of the vehicle. Some cars may be small but have many complicated curves that our designers and installers will have to work around. Have you ever tried to gift wrap a bowling ball? It's not easy! Pickup trucks, cargo vans and box trucks are among the simplest wraps to install. The Volkswagen Beetle, Hummer H3 and PT Cruiser are among the more difficult installations.
The number of vehicles you are wrapping will have an impact on your cost per vehicle. This is primarily because the bulk of the design time is in the first vehicle. Also, a fleet of identical vehicles is going to have a much lower cost per unit than a fleet of completely different vehicles. Think about it... if we wrap 10 identical vehicles, we only have to do the design work one time. We only have to set up the print files one time. Also, we can order our materials in bulk and save a bit of money for you there too. So keep in mind, we offer discounts for two or more vehicles that we cannot offer for a single wrap.
It’s true, vehicle wraps are an expensive investment… but a wise one! Let us quote your project. Then compare the cost of a single wrap to the cost of some other traditional media. Did you know billboards can range anywhere from $1000-3000 per month and more? Also, you typically have to sign a multi-month minimum contract. How many sets of eyes are going to see that billboard every day? A well done vehicle wrap will get better exposure and will cost a fraction of what that billboard cost. Have you ever priced print advertising in the newspaper or Yellow Pages? The cost per impression on vehicle wraps cannot be beaten!
If you are interested in getting a quote on your vehicle wrap or fleet, give us a call, stop by our shop any time or go to our Free Quote page and tell us what you're looking for.
HOW LONG DO VEHICLE WRAPS LAST?
Dirt and exposure to the sun’s damaging UV rays are a vehicle wrap's worst enemy. Generally speaking, with reasonable care and cleaning, a vehicle wrap will last 3 to 5 years. With excellent care, they can last indefinitely. On the flip side, neglected wraps can start to show wear and tear in just a couple of years.
Keep in mind, the horizontal surfaces of a wrapped vehicle (hood and roof) get direct sun exposure and will often show age much soon than the vertical surfaces of the wrap.
To combat nature, we use the best materials on the market. 3M is the innovator of digital print media. Their products look amazing on the vehicle and last a long time. In fact, 3M guarantees the combination of vinyl, laminate and Roland EcoSolvent inks we use against unacceptable levels of fading or failure for 3 years. We guarantee our installations for 1 year.
Rest assured, typically, if something on the wrap is going to fail, it's going to happen within the first few weeks. Just give us a call and schedule some time to come by the shop so we can fix it!
It is important that you do your part to maintain your vehicle graphics. Vinyl is a porous material. If dirt and grime have a chance to settle into those tiny pores, the vinyl will becomes difficult to clean and will lose its luster. We recommend hand washing with mild dish soap and water at least bi-weekly for the good maintenance of the vinyl. Mechanical car washes are not recommended and may void your warranty. If you choose to use a mechanical car wash, look for a touch free whenever possible. It’s important you opt for the basic wash. Do not use bug remover, polish, wax or other chemicals on the wrap.
Solvent based chemicals or cleaners should never come in contact with your wrap. Solvents will destroy the vinyl. Some strong solvents will damage the finish in a matter of seconds. If you spill a solvent cleaner or gasoline on your wrap, rinse with thoroughly with water as quickly as possible.
Car waxes should never be used on your wrap. Wax will build up in the pores of the vinyl and eventually harden. This will cause the vinyl to lose its supple elasticity and it will be more likely to crack prematurely.
WILL A VEHICLE WRAP DAMAGE THE PAINT?
We have installed and removed many wraps and have had very few issues with paint damage. The bottom line is, yes, it is possible that paint damage could occur upon removal of adhesive vinyl graphics from any vehicle. However, the chances of it happening are very slim. We have installed and removed 99% of our wraps with no issues at all!
There are many factors at play here. It's important to use the appropriate materials for the job. We use 3M IJ180Cv3 Vinyl with 3M 8519 laminate almost exclusively for our wraps. Using the correct material with the correct adhesive will reduce the possibility of paint damage.
In most cases, we are wrapping over factory paint finish. These vehicles tend to hold up the best. In fact, the vinyl wrap essentially puts your factory paint in a cocoon and protects the factory finish from exposure damage for as long as the wrap is on the vehicle. When the wrap is removed, you will find your paint finish in the same pristine condition it was in before the wrap.
Problems typically arise when a vehicle has had body filler or aftermarket paint repairs or full paint jobs. We cannot guarantee anyone else's work. There is no way to know if a vehicle has been properly prepped and painted with quality paints. We have occasionally experienced paint and/or body fillers pulling away from the vehicle during the installation process or upon vinyl removal.
On very rare occasions, we have experienced paint failure on vehicles that spend a lot of time among the refineries in the Pasadena area.
CAN YOU REPAIR A WRAP IF IT’S DAMAGED OR IN AN ACCIDENT?
Absolutely! We can patch small areas or reprint entire panels if your wrap gets damaged. We often work with body shops and insurance companies to provide estimates for repair if a claim is to be filed. This is one of the major advantages to wrapping a vehicle over custom painted finishes. Wraps can be easily repaired... custom paint, not so much. We keep all of your files backed up to ensure we have them when we need them. Keep in mind, your vehicle wrap may look as good as new but may actually have some minor fading within acceptable limits. So, patches and new panels may not always match 100%, but we can get as close as possible.
HOW DO YOU CLEAN AND MAINTAIN A VEHICLE WRAP?
It is important that you do your part to maintain your vehicle graphics. Vinyl is a porous material. If dirt and grime have a chance to settle into those tiny pores, the vinyl will becomes difficult to clean and will lose its luster. We recommend weekly or bi-weekly hand washing with mild dish soap and water from a garden hose for the best possible maintenance of the vinyl. Mechanical car washes are not recommended and may void your warranty. If you choose to use a mechanical car wash, look for a touch free wash whenever possible. It’s important you opt for the basic wash. Do not use bug remover, tar remover, polish, wax or other chemicals on the wrap.
If a pressure washer is used, use a gentle spray tip or stand away from the vehicle. A strong pressure washer can tear right through vinyl like butter.
Solvent based chemicals should never come in contact with your wrap. Solvents will destroy the vinyl. Some strong solvents will damage the finish in a matter of seconds. If you spill a solvent cleaner or gasoline on your wrap, rinse with thoroughly with water as quickly as possible.
Car waxes should never be used on your wrap. Wax will build up in the pores of the vinyl and eventually harden. This will cause the vinyl to become rigid and more likely to crack prematurely.
WHAT ARE THE PROS AND CONS OF A FULL WRAP VERSUS A PARTIAL WRAP?
There are a three main factors to consider when looking at a full wrap versus a partial wrap, spot graphics or lettering:
Cost, Design & Coverage
Many customers are surprised to learn that a “half wrap” does not necessarily cost half of what a full wrap would cost. There are a lot of factors at play. First, the preproduction and creative process is the same for our design team whether we are doing a full wrap or partial. That is also true whether it is a Smart car or a 50’ tractor trailer. The creative process is the same. Surprisingly, once the prints are complete, there is actually a lot more production labor with partial wraps or spot graphics than there are with full wraps. Spot graphics and lettering require the material to be laminated and then run back through a plotter to be cut. The material is then weeded and pre-masked before installation. Full wraps are simply printed in large panels, laminated and installed on the vehicle. So, while a full wrap uses more material, there is typically less labor time involved in the production process.
Also, since every partial is different, the quoting process isn’t cut and dry. Unless you know exactly what you want on the vehicle, we are often quoting in the dark. Regardless of the design, we can quote any full wrap project knowing exactly what material will be used and what our labor time will be. The quoting process is straight forward. So keep in mind, if a full wrap is out of your budget requirements and you want to look at a partial or spot graphics, our next question will typically be, what is your budget?
From a design standpoint, the creative process is simpler with full wraps. Our design team looks at the entire vehicle as a blank canvas. With partials, every project is different. Our designers have to take the client’s coverage requirements into consideration as well as vehicle color and other obstacles when creating the design.
Finally, there are some practical concerns to consider when looking at the different coverage methods. A full wrap will essentially put the truck in a cocoon while it is wrapped. The vehicle’s factory finish won’t be subjected to the damage that the sun typically causes over time. The vinyl takes the brunt of that instead. With a partial wrap, depending on how well the vehicle is maintained, there may be some discoloration between the wrapped areas and unwrapped areas over time. Meaning, if you were to remove the graphics in a few years, there may be some visible variations or discoloration in the factory finish. A full wrap will protect the whole truck and protect your resale value. This is a huge benefit to many of our fleet clients.
SIGNS & BANNERS | TRADE SHOW DISLPAYS | WALL MURALS | WINDOW GRAPHICS | VEHICLE WRAPS | LETTERING & SPOT GRAPHICS | LARGE FORMAT PRINTING
SIGNS & BANNERS | TRADE SHOW DISLPAYS | WALL MURALS | WINDOW GRAPHICS | VEHICLE WRAPS | LETTERING & SPOT GRAPHICS | LARGE FORMAT PRINTING