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Car wrap advertising: Is it a good investment?

Have you ever seen a car, truck, or van in your area wrapped in an advertisement? If so, you may have wondered whether these advertisements — known as vehicle wraps — are a worthwhile investment get your small business off the ground or propell it forward.

Below, you’ll find a complete breakdown of what vehicle wraps are and whether you should consider investing in them.

What is a car wrap?

A vehicle wrap is a digitally-printed mobile billboard. Professionals will work with you to craft your advertisement and then print it on vinyl. Professionals print vinyl wraps in full color with eye-catching graphics. After using graphic design software to design your wrap, the individual will then apply the vinyl film to your car.

You can select either a full wrap, which covers the entire vehicle including the windows, or a partial wrap. Even if the wraps cover windows, you won’t have a problem looking through them. A high-quality vinyl wrap typically lasts three to five years.

Are vehicle wraps effective?

When you think of marketing techniques, the use of vehicle graphics may not be the first thing that comes to mind. However, you may want to give car wrapping more consideration based on the following statistics:

  • In the US today, “individual vehicle advertising generates between 30,000-70,000 daily vehicular impressions,” according to ARD Ventures.
  • “Mobile advertising generates 2.5 times more attention than a static billboard,” says Perception Research.
  • “Messages on outdoor mobile billboards have a 97% recall rate,” RYP & Becker Group 

Based on these metrics, it’s easy to see why small business owners would want to consider choosing vehicle wraps over more traditional forms of advertising.

Aren’t wraps meant for large companies with vehicle fleets?

There is a common misconception that vinyl car wraps are only for companies with large vehicle fleets. However, this is not the case. Even if you don’t own company vehicles, you can still rent a truck or van to advertise your company’s information.

There are now companies that take advantage of the gig economy to provide wrap advertising services. For instance, sites such as Wrapify allow drivers to earn money by wrapping their cars on behalf of third-party companies, like yours.

Taking advantage of these mobile advertisements could legitimize your small business and introduce your brand and logo to customers in your area. When small business owners use vehicle wraps, it puts them on the same playing field as companies large enough to maintain vehicle fleets.

How much do car wraps cost?

The cost of vinyl wraps depends on the size of the vehicle you wish to cover. You can wrap cars of any size. The average cost typically ranges from $1,500 to $3,000, which includes:

  • Vinyl graphics design
  • Printing services
  • Professional installation

Another thing to consider is the cost you’ll save on not having to repaint the vehicles in your fleet. Vinyl wraps are a cost-effective solution compared to the price of a new paint job. Vehicle wraps also provide paint protection for your car, truck, or van. The wraps give the vehicle a new look, while preserving the original paint job.

If you were to paint ads on your vehicle, you would be stuck with the same advertisement until you decided to repaint the car. However, with custom vehicle wraps, you can change ads as you wish. If you don’t want to have an advertisement on your car any longer, you can have a professional remove the wrap without causing any damage to the original paint.

How do vehicle wraps compare to other forms of advertising?

The Outdoor Advertising Association of America classifies wrap advertising as a form of “out of home ” advertising. The agency says that vehicle 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.

On average, wrap advertising costs as little as four cents per thousand impressions. This is significantly lower than other forms of advertising. For instance, it’s estimated that outdoor signs cost $3.56 and newspaper ads cost $19.70 per thousand impressions. Wrap advertising isn’t quite as cost-efficient as online advertising, but it’s certainly more effective than some other forms of marketing.

Vinyl wraps tend to increase the outreach of a marketing campaign. When conducting traditional marketing campaigns, small business owners often limit themselves to a small demographic . For instance, if you advertise in the Wall Street Journal, you’re limiting yourself to those who are, on average, 30-49 years old. However, if you engage in a mobile billboard advertising campaign, you’ll reach everyone from children to seniors.a

What is the average return on investment for vehicle wraps?

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.
  • Finally, you can create a landing page for your website and put that URL on the wrap. (Be sure to keep it simple so potential customers can remember it.)

Todd Stuart, President of , told us, “We hear stories from customers on a daily basis about how their business increased after wrapping their vehicles. 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.”

So, although there is no across-the-board ROI figure for wraps, there are ways for you to measure the effectiveness of your ad campaign.a

Do you need to have advertisements on car wraps?

In addition to custom vehicle wraps that advertise your business, some other types of vinyl could be useful for small business owners. These wraps don’t necessarily need to have any advertisements on them. Instead, they could protect your company cars, especially if you expect to put a lot of wear-and-tear on them.

For instance, some people use vinyl wraps as a paint protection film so that the original paint on the car doesn’t chip or peel. Paint protection vinyl is clear, providing your vehicle with a secondary layer to help keep your paint safe.

You could also choose to utilize color change wraps. These are a cost-effective solution that allows you to change the color of your car without having to invest in a new paint job. There are numerous colors and finishes available, including high gloss or matte finishes. Studies have shown that using color psychology could give your company a competitive advantage.

A word of caution

Because printing technology is better than ever, wrap installations are more accessible than ever. However, there has also been a rise in inexperienced people setting up fleet wrap shops. It’s a good idea to check a wrap provider’s credentials and reviews before engaging in business.

Wraps shouldn’t damage a vehicle’s paint job. However, if an inexperienced individual applies the wrap film, there’s a chance that the image can bleed through the wrap onto the paint. There’s also a strong chance that the paint will be scratched or chipped in the process.

You’ll be better off investing in the services of a professional who you can trust. Make sure that you choose a company that is highly-rated and has years of experience. Additionally, you should always ask for a warranty in writing. If you’re working with high-end wrap designers, they should be more than willing to offer one.

Are vinyl wraps legal?

Before engaging in a wrap advertising campaign, you’ll first need to check whether doing so is legal in your area. Many cities, especially those that are incredibly populated, have moved to ban mobile advertisements. New York City is one such example. They banned mobile advertisements, claiming that the ads contribute to traffic congestion.

Before engaging in a wrap advertising campaign, check your local laws. Otherwise, you’ll spend thousands of dollars on a useless advertisement.

Keep track of your marketing expenses

Vinyl wraps could be a valuable part of your overall marketing strategy, especially if you live in a highly-populated area. Choosing vehicle wraps will allow you to reach a broad target audience for minimal costs.

Whether you choose vehicle wraps or some other form of small business advertising, make sure you integrate it into your overall business plan and keep track of your marketing expenses. Software like QuickBooks will help you do so. QuickBooks keeps everything organized in one place, allowing you to efficiently track expenses and the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns.

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