Are Vehicle Wraps a Good Investment for Your Small Business?

By QuickBooks

3 min read

If you’ve seen vehicle wraps in you area advertising other local businesses, you may have wondered if it makes sense for your company. If you ask Todd Stuart, president of SignZoo.com, he’ll most likely say, “Definitely.” In fact, the Outdoor Advertising Association of America (OAAA) says that more than 95 percent of Americans are reached by media targeting vehicle drivers and passengers. Here’s what you need to know before investing in this unique form of advertising.

What Is a Vehicle Wrap?

A vehicle wrap is a digitally printed mobile billboard that is professionally installed on your vehicle. Wraps can encompass the entire vehicle or a portion of it, including the windows, and are printed in full color with eye-catching graphics. They are made from heavy-duty vinyl and typically last three to five years.

Aren’t Wraps For Large Companies That Have Vehicle Fleets?

Stuart says vehicle advertising is good for any size business, and that some small-business owners feel it legitimizes their company by getting their brand and logo out where potential customers can see them. When a smaller business uses vehicle wraps, he says, it puts them on the same playing field as franchises and companies that are large enough to maintain vehicle fleets.

How Much Do Wraps Costs?

Any size vehicle can be wrapped, though Stuart says the amount of coverage and the type of vehicle determine pricing. The average investment typically falls between $1,500 and $3,000. That includes the wrap material and professional installation.

How Do Vehicle Wraps Compare to Other Forms of Advertising?

The OAAA says that mobile advertising can be the most effective and efficient form of out of home advertising, reaching more consumers at a lower cost per thousand impressions than any other form of advertising. Stuart agrees and estimates that a wrap costs around 4 cents per thousand impressions, while other forms of advertising cost significantly more. For instance, it’s estimated that outdoor signs cost $3.56 per thousand impressions and newspaper ads cost $19.70 for that number of impressions. He also says one wrapped vehicle will net between 30,000 and 80,000 impressions per day, depending on how far and where the car is driven. All in all, he estimates the cost to be less than $44 per million impressions.

What is the Average Return on Investment for Vehicle Wraps?

“We hear stories from customers on a daily basis about how their business increased after wrapping their vehicles,” Stuart says. “Some tell us that they gained new customers before they even got home with their newly wrapped car, while others literally took an order as soon as they left our offices. One of our customers tracks his job leads and says his sales shot up from $42,000 to $219,000 in 10 months due to his wrapped trucks.”

Stuart says there is no average return on investment (ROI) for vehicle wraps because it will depend on the type of company you have, where and when the vehicle is driven, and the effectiveness of the wrap design. But there are ways you can measure your return.

  • First, you can provide a separate phone number, such as an 800 number, that is only advertised on the wraps. Then keep track of the calls that come in through it.
  • Next, advertise a special discount or deal only on the wrapped vehicle, and keep track of those calls, too.
  • Finally, you can create a special landing page for your website and put that URL on the wrap. (Be sure to keep it simple so potential customers can remember it.)

Although there is no across-the-board ROI figure for wraps, you can use this free vehicle wrap ROI calculator to compare it with the return you get with other forms of advertising.    

A Word of Caution

Stuart says that because printing technology is better than ever, wrap installations are easier and less likely to fail. But as a result of these advancements, some inexperienced people have set up shop, so it’s a good idea to check a wrap provider’s credentials and workmanship. For instance, wraps should not damage a vehicle’s paint job, though if done incorrectly, they can result in the images bleeding through the wrap onto the paint, or the paint being scratched or chipped. That’s why, Stuart says, you should invest in your design and utilize an experienced company to produce and install the wrap. Finally, he says you should always ask for a warranty in writing.

To learn more about the marketing research behind vehicle wraps and other forms of out of home advertising, visit OAAA’s resource page.

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