Pyrocorp fleet

Pricing Strategies for Fleet Wraps

Charity Jackson is owner of Visual Horizons Custom signs, a full-service commercial sign company based in Modesto, Calif.  She has been in business since 1995 and specializes in vehicle wraps, design and project management and workflow. You can visit her Web site at

Fleet wrap accounts seem to come to us in a few different ways. Sometimes the customer plans to wrap an entire fleet and you quote the whole workload.

Other times you'll quote the fleet, and fulfill the job, in smaller batches. The work may spread over months or even years as the customer plans to bring on more vehicles. Most of our fleet accounts have been built one or two vehicles at a time. For these accounts we quote one vehicle at a time, but we do make certain price allowances as we reward the repeat business.

Large Fleets

I know there are some wrap companies that get requests for hundreds of cars at a time. We simply don't get those kinds of requests in our area, so I can't speak personally on how to quote for these larger fleets.

However, in talking with other wrap shop owners I've learned that the method that seems to work is quoting the work in batches. The first batch of vehicles are quoted at a higher price. Each subsequent batch of vehicles is discounted, with the final batch of vehicles wrapped at no cost, or at a very low cost.

By quoting the work in this way, and billing the work, you ensure that the whole fleet is actually brought through. If you discounted all the vehicles, based on the promise of a lot of work, and the last 50 cars are never brought in, then you're out the amount of money you would have charged if the fleet numbers were smaller.

Planned Fleets

While we don't work with hundreds of vehicles at a time, we have quoted and worked on fairly large fleets of vehicles. These large fleets often start with a set number of vehicles, a branding plan and a budget.

A fleet of vehicles that we completed for a local school district came after they received a government grant for their nutrition services department. They worked with an advertising firm to create the brand they wanted to use on their advertising campaign, which included adding the new branded graphics to their fleet of vehicles. The design firm then contacted us to quote the entire fleet of vehicles.

When we run into these types of fleets it's easiest for us to go out and survey the vehicles all at once. We take straight-on photos of all four sides of each vehicle, take reference measurements and note any issues we think may arise with that vehicle due to paint or other defects.

For the school's nutrition services fleet they had a large budget to work with so we planned full wraps on all of the vehicles from the beginning. To make the information clear for both the ad agency we were working through and the customer getting the pricing, we utilized Art Station's Vehicle Templates to clearly present coverage and pricing

for each vehicle.

Each template was labeled for the vehicle and sent to the ad agency so they could complete the design process with the customer. This artwork was then sent back to us after final approval and then we scaled the artwork for production.

Budgeting Fleets

With other fleets that we quote, there is a set number of vehicles and also a set budget that the customer can spend on the whole fleet. When the budget doesn't allow for full wraps on the whole fleet, we work with the customer to maximize both the budget and the impact of the advertising.

We help the customer determine which vehicles in the fleet will get the most viewers—whether they're on a longer commute in a high traffic area or they're parked where there is a higher traffic count. For these vehicles we plan larger graphics to maximize potential impact.

We determine the number of vehicles that are most important, their coverage and pricing to see what it deducts from the total budget. The rest of the budget can be broken down the same way: partial wraps for the next batch of vehicles and spot graphics for the rest.

By not pricing the customer out of their budget, but showing them ways to maximize that budget, you can earn a new long-term client. We've found that templates are a great way to show customer's coverage options. We highlight the coverage we're quoting on each vehicle type which helps the customer visualize coverage and track the advertising.

Built Fleets

Most of our fleet accounts are built one or two vehicles at a time. The fleet grows as the customer grows. As the number of vehicles grows the customer is usually more conscious of wanting their vehicles to have a consistent look.

This doesn't mean all of the graphics are exactly the same, but the overall brand remains consistent. The coverage of the wrap may vary by how the company uses the vehicle—sales vehicle, product support/repair vehicle, installation truck, etc.

As we start to build up the wrap styles for the different vehicle types, we also start setting the pricing for those wraps. While the customer may not receive a cheaper price than if they were ordering twenty vehicles at one time, we do try to set their pricing for at least a couple years at a time so they know what to expect as they add more vehicles to their fleet.

Third-Party Fleets

Another type of fleet wrap that we quote is as the installer. Typically we're quoting for a large ad agency or national wrap company that has a fleet account with vehicles in our area.

In these cases, the graphics are shipped to our company and we coordinate the installs directly with the vehicle owner. However, all job quoting is done directly with the ad agency.

Often we're given a budget for each vehicle that the agency would like us to meet. Usually this is a realistic number because they're familiar with the process, but we do ask a few questions to confirm that we're going to receive what we need to make the install process as efficient as possible.

  • We clarify the type of material we'll be receiving.
  • If the graphics will be sent to us in horizontal or vertical panels.
  • If door handles need to be wrapped.
  • If smaller text will be provided as separate spot graphics. If not, you'll spend more time lining up panels which slows down installation. Be sure to add for this.

Most ad agencies have already gone through a proofing process with the customer so they should have a proof that you can review for quoting. Watch out for designs that may make the installation trickier—like stripes that go through door handles or continue across multiple sides or graphics with tight registration around obstacles. These issues should be reviewed and possibly adjusted for.

Billing Fleets

The number of vehicles we quote is the number of vehicles we bill out. Meaning, that if a customer comes in promising 10 vehicles and wants a discounted quote based on those 10 vehicles, then we're going to write the invoice and get a deposit on 10 vehicles.

If the customer wants to wrap one vehicle at a time, then the amount we charge for that one wrap won't be at the same discounted rate as 10 vehicles. They only have to give us a deposit for one vehicle, but they will pay a little more for each wrap this way.

If we know 10 are coming in, then we can give them a discount because we can order our materials in higher quantities at a discounted bulk rate. We can also print the graphics in larger batches, grouping our prints and contour cuts together, which makes production more efficient and profitable.

When we work with an ad agency or a large company that is guaranteeing a whole fleet, and we've secured the work with a purchase order, we still bill the wraps out in batches. This is something we clarify from the beginning.

Depending on the size of the fleet, the wraps can take weeks or months to complete. That is a lot of material expense and labor that your company will have paid out over those months. By billing the wraps out in smaller batches, you're ensuring that the money will come in as the wraps are completed.