8 questions to be asked to a wrap company

8 Questions to ask when shopping for a vehicle wrap

How to make the right choice of a wrap company

Few facts. Vehicle wrap industry is booming. More companies include having their vehicles branded in the must-have list and more people are looking into adding some personality into their car by doing a colour change wrap. Think about it, major manufacturers of wrap vinyl have more than doubled the choice of colours just within the last 2 years. Why? Because everyone wants it!

Here comes the problem. Only industry specialists really have an understanding of how the whole process works. An average customer saw a couple of Youtube videos and is facing an interesting dilemma on how to choose a supplier for a car or truck wrap.

From our experience the sad truth is that at least 50% of all vehicle wrap companies in Toronto and GTA are amateurish garage-band-type guys. Everyone has to start somewhere, this is true. But do you want a guy whose only training were the same Youtube videos that you watched to trim vinyl on your cars paint?

So weve come up with a list of questions you need to ask when shopping for a wrap to minimize the chances of getting problems in this unregulated business. Remember, dont fall for just the lowest price. You get what you pay for.

1) WHAT WRAPPING VINYL WILL BE USED ON MY CAR?

There are several major car wrapping material manufacturers and dozens smaller companies. Trust me on this, not all the vinyls were made equal! They differ in adhesion level, durability, safe stretching ratio, removability and many other aspects.

In short, here are the answers you want to hear:

3M IJ180, IJ380, Envision or IJ1080 (for colour change) excellent. Best quality material out there. Industry standard.

Avery (MPI1005RS or Supreme Wrapping Film) good. Claimed to bethe best wrapping film by the manufacturer (what a surprise). The easiest to install, the easiest to remove. Has some problems with edges lifting on complex curves. Pricewise not a bargain at all.

Arlon - not bad. Actually had to change our oppinion on this product recently. It is very difficult to apply compared to 3M and Avery but it holds very good on the surface and offers some really desirable colours. 

Oracal, Hexis - below average. Although desperately trying to get a share or the vehicle wrapping vinyl business, these two are not up to the standards so far. Serious problems with vinyl peeling were noticed.

Great Chinese, Taiwan vinyl "as good as 3M", any other than the brands above - no good. Almost all the wrapping vinyl sold on e-bay and aliexpress. Very cheap, almost impossible to use for wraps. The vinyl is very thick, doesn't conform to the curves, cheap adhesive that doesnt stick to the surface. Can be used at times for flat surfaces like roofs or hoods. Very serious peeling and detirioration problems almost guaranteed.

- Vivid - very bad. Claimed to be produced in the USA and Canada (might be really so) but the technology used to produce this product is excatly the same as any cheap Chinese material on Ebay or Aliexpress. Quite cheap, too thick, poor adhesive, almost impossible to use for wraps. The company agressively markets their product and many people have baught a roll of an essentially useless product. 

Insist on having the vinyl product name to be mentioned in your invoice and warranty card! In case a problem the vinyl manufacturer can be identified by the air release pattern on the adhesive layer.

2) WHO WILL BE INSTALLING MY WRAP? NAME, CERTIFICATION CARD, CERTIFICATES.

The biggest source for problems with your wrap and your car are caused by inexperienced, undertrained rookie installers. They dont know how to prepare the surface, how to stretch the vinyl properly, how to apply it, how to postheat and how to trim without damaging the paint of your car. At least 70% of all installers have never had any training and have no certifications.

You want to hear this:

Your wrap will be done by (name of installer), he is 3M and/or Avery, Arlon certified. We can send you scanned copied of the certificates and you can check his status at 3M Canada or Avery web-sites.

Do your diligence: actually request the copies, check the web-sites, make sure that the installer actually working on your car is the same person as the certificates holder.

You dont want to hear these answers:

Oh, dont worry, our installer has a lot of experience! (Sure, we all do on the phone)

Our installer is 3M certified but we cant send his credentials ( A lot of companies out their false claim to be 3M preferred because it is the highest recognition level in the industry)

An installer doesnt have to be the companys employee. Many certified wrap specialists are freelance installers that work for 5-10 different places. It is ok.

3) HOW MANY CLEANING STAGES WILL BE USED ON MY CAR?

Surprisingly, the easiest question to catch an amateur. 50% of all problems with wraps are caused by inadequate cleaning. The cleaning normally includes at least 3 stages but can go up to 5 stages in some cases. Garage installers do just 1 or 2 stages.

4) DO YOU GUYS DO ONLY COLOUR CHANGE WRAPS OR PRINT COMMERCIAL VEHICLE GRAPHICS IN HOUSE AS WELL?

Although absolutely not a requirement, it is a good hint as well. Wrapping business started with commercial vehicle graphics some 20 years ago. If a company has been dealing with commercial graphics for 10 years or so, it will most likely be more reliable and know the standards of vinyl application. A shop that deals only with colour change wraps doesnt need any equipment and is very likely to be started by amateurs.

5) WHAT KIND OF WARRANTY COMES WITH MY WRAP?

Again, no set rules here except for one there is supposed to be some warranty on any wrap.

And it has to be in written form, either stated on an invoice or in the warranty card.

Dont wait for something crazy long. A wrap is technically a temporary thing with a life expectancy of 3-5 years. Most vinyl products are warrantied for 5 years but this warranty doesnt mean much in our climate (mostly useful in desert states). The installation warranty however is given solely by the wrap provider. 1 year is adequate.

If you hear that you are getting a life term warranty this is a scam. Try to get any part rewrapped at such a place in a year and you will get nothing.

6) HOW SAFE WILL MY CAR BE AT YOUR FACILITY?

Many important things here. The vehicle can be left at the shop for anywhere between 8 and 36 hours or longer. In an industrial environment many unpleasant things can happen and they will not absolutely be covered by your insurance. So here is what you are looking to hear:

- The car will be stored inside only during the night.

- The shop has an alarm system.

- The company has liability insurance (garage liability insurance preferred).

If we are talking about a luxury car, we encourage requesting the proof of the above.

7) DO YOU GUYS PRINT BANNERS, BUSINESS CARDS, REAL ESTATE SIGNS?

Very easy, proved by years of experience WE-DO-IT-ALL sign shops are not capable of doing any decent work with vehicle wraps. Avoid such places. Look for a company that specializes in car and truck wraps.

8) HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE YOU TO WRAP MY CAR?

No set rules here again but the formula is simple: an amateur doesnt earn much, poor worksmanship leads to fewer orders and because of this such places can store your car forever just to do something. Lack of skills in this case will be compensated by long tedious work with many redos and absolutely unnecessary disassemble. We've seen some first-time wrap guys taking apart half the car and keeping it at their shop for 7-9 days to do a simple wrap.

A professional installer knows what he is doing and values his time. A busy shop cant have the installation bay occupied by one car for several days as well. A good quality colour change installation will take from 8 to 25 hours depending on a car model(sometimes up to 35 hours for luxury cars with interior wraps involved). A commercial wrap takes 8-12 hours on an average. Our rule is never to keep a car at our shop for more than 3 days.

If you hear You will need to leave your car here for a week, something is definitely wrong.

Finally, do your research ON-LINE! Visit a company's Facebook page to see how active it is. Look for customers' reviews on Yelp and Facebook. You can be very much surprised to know what the actual customer's write about many GTA car wrap companies. Don't fall for fake reviews which are very common! If a company has most reviews as just stars, most likely they are fake! 

Dont be lazy! Ask these questions to keep yourself out of trouble! And of course at CUSTOM WRAPS we would always frankly answer these 8 questions. Call us for a quote or drop by for a chat!

CONTACT US

  • 445 Midwest Rd. Unit 31
    Toronto, ON M1P 4Y9
  • Tel: (416) 700 9727
  • Email: info@customwraps.ca