Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The Vinyl Car Wrapping Industry
Part 1 — A New Career?

I've always appreciated beautiful custom paint jobs on cars, trucks, motorcycles, boats and more, so when I started seeing high-quality and flawless creative designs made with vinyl, I became intrigued by the automotive vinyl wrap industry.

Automotive paints have improved tremendously, in both quality and friendliness to our environment, over the years, but paint takes specialized equipment in order to be applied properly and—probably the biggest drawback—it takes time. Sometimes days or weeks, if not months.

If—like me—you are a car restorer, you've probably been to "paint prison."

Vinyl, on the other hand, can take anywhere from a few hours for a simple full-color graphic application, to about a week for a complete color change on a car.

Of course, vinyl has its own issues, and the biggest one is longevity.

To spend a few thousand dollars on a vehicle wrap that may only look good (and be guaranteed) for an average of five years, can be hard to justify, even if the price difference between paint and vinyl is (on average) a three-to-one ratio in favor of vinyl.

But for commercial applications, vinyl is the winner hands down!

You can take a car, truck or van, and turn it into a rolling billboard for a few grand, which equates to pennies on the dollar as far as advertising and promotional value are concerned.

That is hard to beat.

When I had my grill cleaning business a while back, I had the trailer professionally wrapped. And from the number of calls I received from people who saw it at job sites or even as I drove around town, it was a sound investment.

Alas my heart was not into cleaning BBQ grills so I closed shop and sold the equipment, but the entrepreneurial yearning made me look for another business, and I am now researching the vinyl car wrapping industry.

But wait. Limiting vinyl wraps to cars is absurd, as new products are constantly being developed, and you can apply vinyl wraps to walls (smooth or textured), furniture, glass, floors... you name it.

I did quite a bit of research online, of course, and thanks to a link in a vinyl wrap forum, I found out about trade training and certification. Best of all, the place that was recommended is right here in the Sunshine State.

I called Geek Wraps University, located in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, a few weeks ago to get more details about the classes.

I decided to take the five-day course since it provides Geek Wraps University and 3M Advanced Installer Training certification.

Classes start at 8:00 am and end at 6:00 pm, with a lunch break around noon. The course also includes the tools necessary for the training. And I also liked the fact that they limit the number of students per class.

Based on hotel recommendations provided by Geek Wraps, I booked a room at the Courtyard-Marriott, which is located about a mile-and-a-half from the training facility, with free shuttle service to and from Geek Wraps U.

I hope to provide a useful chronicle of my experience to become a 3M and Geek Wraps-certified vinyl installer, for those of you who may be interested in this exciting industry, so stay tuned for Part 2.

Thanks for following.

Photos courtesy of Geek Wraps University.