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What’s Selling and Trending in Vehicle Wraps?

Owner of a thriving wrap shop shares his industry observations and recipe for success.

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MADISON GRAPHICS CO. (Sun Prairie, WI) is on pace to have its best sales year ever, in spite of the pandemic. “We haven’t had a slowdown,” owner Adam Hegge said of his company, where vehicle wraps account for 90% of their business. Madison Graphics also sells wall murals and window graphics, and employs four full-time, 3M-certified installers, who also take on contract installations for the shop.

In August 2020, Hegge purchased a reputable local window-tinting and paint protection film (PPF) company, Tint Factory, which now operates as a separate entity from Madison Graphics. So, how was this company able to thrive and expand in our Age of COVID?

Trade Ya

Any regular business they lost from their usual repeat, referred and fleet customers was more than replaced, Hegge said, by “quite a few new business jobs for the trades: plumbers, electricians, that kind of stuff.” He noted that during the past 6-12 months, some tradespeople — including his own brother-in-law — who were laid off during the pandemic are starting new businesses. Hegge expects the growth in wraps for new trade businesses to continue into the next 6-12 months, though he did caution, “It’s tough to say with this crazy pandemic what’s going to happen.”

Partial to Partials

Hegge has also noticed that he’s recently been selling a lot more partial wraps, not full ones. Customers have been budget-conscious, he said, but that shouldn’t mean the partial wraps should look cheap, as some do. Hegge’s partial designs “don’t just stop at the door [with a] harsh ending,” as he described those of less-creative competitors.

Hegge said he often gives a price on a full wrap, then, after the customer cringes, he makes a budget adjustment. He tells these clients, “The way we do a partial makes it look like you didn’t run out of money,” which, he stated, has been a very successful sales pitch.

Lean and Clean

As far as design trends go, Madison Graphics is trying to keep its designs simple. “Keep it bare bones; less is more,” Hegge said. He reports that groups on Facebook are leaning toward big, bold colors and simple-to-read designs. “It’s too easy for them to get cluttered,” he said. “Keep it real clean.”

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Layers in the Forecast

“A guy can only do so much with a vehicle wrap,” Hegge said. “People are getting creative at making them different [but] what can we do differently to help them stand out?” This, he said, is the principal aspect of wrapping that keeps evolving.

Recently, Hegge has seen more layering of printed film with color-change on top, or maybe reflective — as well as blending different shades with gloss, matte and satin together with printed. The goal is always to make the wrap look different than a regular, printed wrap. “That’s what we’ve been doing here,” Hegge said.

Whatever they’ve been doing, they’ve been doing it well. Madison Graphics relies on two 64-in. Roland TrueVIS VG2-640 TR2 eco-solvent printer/cutters, an HP Scitex 550FB industrial flatbed printer and a Graphtec FC9000 Series plotter. The shop favors 3M and Avery Dennison film products, and, Hegge said, they’ve been fortunate not to have run short of these, as others have lately.

Nor are they running short of success. Indeed, fortune favors the bold.

Mark Kissling is ST’s Editor-in-Chief. Contact him at [email protected]

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