I’ve seen it over and over again where shops chose to use a product because it is a couple hundred dollars per roll cheaper. The short-term gain of saving a little on the material will cost you tenfold in the long run. The additional time that it takes to install cheaper material, the failure rate, and the difficult removability are just a few of the reasons it will cost you more down the road. But the most important reason not to go cheap is the client. Everything you do should have the client's best interests guiding your decision.
If the material fails and the wrap starts to look bad, the client will not be happy. If the client has to pay 10 hours of labor when they have the wrap removed, they will be less likely to wrap more vehicles with you in the future. See the accompanying images for pictures of a vehicle that was wrapped by another shop and brought to us for removal. The material was on the vehicle for only 90 days before the client brought it to us to remove the wrap. The removal process took 30+ man hours.
The moral of this story is to use high-quality material. I would suggest that you get a sample of each of the top brands and try it for yourself. Chose the one that works best for you and ask around to see what other shops that have been around for a while like best.
Design is probably one of the single most important things to focus on in order to have a long-lasting, profitable wrap business. Just because someone is a great artist or talented with Photoshop/Illustrator does not mean that they will make great designs. Great designs come from understanding marketing and from understanding the purpose of the wrap for the client.
It’s very common for a designer to ask the client what they would like on their wrap and the client to just start rattling off lists of things and images that they want. The biggest mistake a designer can make is taking the information from the client and just doing what they asked because they think that is what will make the client happy. From my experience, the client will be happy if the wrap is effective and generates business for the client.
It is very important to ask the right questions about the purpose of the wrap, who is the target audience and what the call to action is. This will help narrow down the focus of the design to ensure its effectiveness.
Much like the material situation, you get what you pay for when hiring employees. If you are constantly going through employees, you might need to take a look at what you are doing to contribute to that. Are you paying them a fair wage? Are you creating a comfortable work environment, are you treating them with respect? There are many reasons that employees come and go, but it has been from experience that the better we treat our people, the more they care about doing a good job and taking care of the customer -- and in turn our business grows.
One of the things we have always done is provide an air-conditioned install bay for the comfort of the installers. I know it seems very expensive and can double or triple your electric bill in the summer, but it also will double or triple your production and quality. A good way to determine if you are creating a good work environment is to ask yourself, “Would I work for me?” or “Is this the type of environment that I would feel comfortable working in?” I know many people in business that talk bad about their employees and then in the next breath complain about why they have a hard time keeping employees and finding good ones. The answer is simple, be nice and always do the right thing even when nobody else knows the difference.
Focus on What you Do (not others)
I think it is something that we learn when we are growing up -- and it inherently flows over into our business lives. It is very easy to fall into the rut of looking at what others are doing and trying to copy them. The problem you will find as you get down the road further in your business venture is that not everything from the outside is as it appears.
You might be doing what you think someone else did to make them successful only to find out that behind the scenes there was a lot more to the deal than what you saw. This can be detrimental and cost you a lot of time and valuable resources.
Cash is the lifeblood of your business, and spending it on something that may or may not turn out to your benefit could be a waste of time and money. I encourage you to be creative and think of how you can partner with organizations you can provide value to with your services and how in return they can bring value to you. A great example of this that we did two years ago and has turned out to be a great relationship is we sponsored DFW Rescue Me -- a local dog rescue that puts pups in foster homes and helps them find forever homes. We wrapped their truck and trailers and have volunteered at several of their adoption functions. Our employees participate in the volunteer program, and it is an all-around good deal for them and us. Partnering with charities is a great way to get your name out and to help someone because they need the donation dollars to serve their mission. If you can provide the wraps for them, they are all about promoting your company. It’s also a nice thing to do, and putting points in the Karma bank is never a bad thing to do as a rule of thumb.
Customers Write the Checks
Shops that forget the fact that customers are the reason we have a business at all are the ones that will be gone in a couple years. If you can put all of your effort and energy into taking care of each and every customer -- no matter how big or small -- the rest of your business will grow. You never know when the smallest of small customers is so grateful for the work that you did for them that they go out and sing the praises of your business and they refer the largest client you will ever have. It has happened again and again for us at 360 Wraps. Spend less time on selling and spend the time on paying attention to your customer's needs. Over time, the referrals will come in and they will compound year after year. I can proudly say that after 10 years in business we hired our second salesperson last year to help with the incoming calls and quotes from the website. Trust me on this one, focus on your customers and your customer base will grow.