These harsh economic times are taking their toll on many industries. Downsizing, bankruptcy, and businesses shutting down have become everyday news. But while some markets are on the downswing, and others are holding steady, a select few are actually seeing expansion. One of those markets is vehicle wraps.
With fast turnaround times, less expensive equipment, and an economical way to advertise, vehicle wraps are becoming all the rage. Several high-profile executives in the industry recently took time from their busy schedules to shed light on the success of vehicle wraps.
"I have seen a steady increase in the wrap industry for the past five years," says Eric Rosencrantz, CEO, EMR Graphics LLC, "and an even bigger push within the last two years." Randolph, NJ-based EMR Graphics is one of 3M's authorized Scotchprint manufacturers.
"That sets us apart from other graphic manufacturers," Rosencrantz says. "I think it's important to establish yourself as something special, to differentiate yourself from your competition. We pride ourselves on our quality, service, rapid turnaround, and state-of-the-art manufacturing equipment. This is what makes our clients keep coming back."
Rosencrantz has been installing vinyl graphics since the mid-80s and says so much has changed since then. "I remember when 3M released their Comply vinyl and that was the game changer," he recalls. "In my experience, using 3M graphic film exclusively in my plant, the films have become easier to handle, less aggressive and almost anybody with some patience and common sense could apply vehicle graphics with a little practice."
Rosencrantz believes one of the biggest reasons there has been such rapid growth in the industry in the past few years is because more "everyday" people understand the process. "I remember back in '03 and '04 people would call and ask how much the paint job cost," he laughs. "I had explained that it was not a paint job I had on my vehicle, but rather a removable 'decal' that could protect their paint and could be removed within a few hours bringing your car back to its original condition. People were always amazed."
With the Internet offering answers to almost every wrap question and a wide array of entry-level printing and finishing equipment becoming available, the mystery is gone and more people understand and, more importantly, want vehicle wraps.
"With the films getting easier to print and apply, less expensive machines producing beautiful graphics, and low-cost (about $35,000) cold laminators available, anyone can start a print shop," says Rosencrantz, "and plenty of people are doing just that."
While many smaller print shops are popping up, EMR is busier than ever and the future looks bright...literally. "We have wrapped everything from trains to boats to huge buildings, even a Lamborghini Murcielago whose owner wanted to change the paint color from silver to metallic orange and that turned out absolutely perfect," says Rosencrantz, adding that many manufacturers of wrap vinyl are now going for that "different" look. "The days of using your standard matte, lustre and gloss lamination on a wrap film is evolving into pearlescent, sparkle, shade shifter, even painted cast wrap vinyl," he says. "I think guys are trying to set themselves apart from others by mixing and matching different looks. Printed film with special lamination, or the use of reflective material on top of wrap lettering, for that true custom look...even reflective window perf has come back into our market after a brief hiatus."
"People are recognizing the value in vehicle wraps more than ever," says Rod Voegele, president of Gator Wraps in Ontario, CA. "They are taking a closer look at their marketing budget and reallocating their money to where it gets the best return, [which is] vehicle graphics."