Tips and Tricks – Setting Up Shop

Do you have the right elements for great graphic application? In today’s industry it is very easy for a printer to make the leap into wraps, but often times they don’t have all the necessary items in place before doing so in house. It is simple to contract out all installs that a shop may do, but to be a serious player, and make a larger margin, most shops will eventually bring installs in house. To make sure your shop has a good start we’ll just look at the basics to fulfilling this need.

The first and most obvious is a facility, one with room for at least 2-3 vehicles, and preferably one that can hold up to 8-10. If your operation grows to more than 1-2 wraps per day you will need this extra room to stage and prep vehicles. Even if you plan on only doing 1-2 per week, you’ll need a shop that can accommodate larger vehicles, and perhaps the scaffolding and ladders to go around them. To go along with this facility you’ll want an area for staging and preparing your graphics. Because the graphics for full vehicle wraps are so large it is recommended to have a large 10-12 foot table simply to keep your graphics organized, clean, and prepared for install. This area should also contain the toolboxes or cabinets for all of the necessary tools. It is very important to keep this area clean and organized, so that your installer has everything at hand when it comes time to install graphics. This also helps eliminate lost parts that may be removed from the vehicles. The last thing to consider for a good install space is temperature and lighting. Make sure you can control your heat and air to create a 65-70 degree constant, and that your lights are bright enough to do the detail work on a wrap.

Once you have a good facility you can invest in the proper tools to get the job done. This may be an overlooked portion to diving into in house wraps, simply because a traditional sign/print shop may only need the basics from day to day, and assume that vehicle wrapping will be the same. Now I’m not telling you to go out and spend thousands on the top of the line equipment, but there are many essentials that are overlooked by new install shops. The first item not to skimp on would be ladders and/or scaffolding (you don’t want to compromise your installers’ safety). The other items often overlooked are good quality heat guns, torches, knife blades, and hand tools.