How much does a vehicle wrap cost?

Vinyl has been changing the game for some time and has recently been skyrocketing in popularity; there are now more skilled installers, more color options, and film technology is better than ever. As a potential customer, it all comes down to the most frequently asked question: How much does a wrap cost? As with paint, there are many factors that contribute to the cost of having your vehicle wrapped such as current condition, film type, vehicle type and installer expertise. Here we will touch on some of the most important points that go into quoting a wrap job. If you want to get straight to the point, scroll down to the end. I find it easy to get in touch with Melbourne Car Paint Protection during when I need them the most.

Current Vehicle Condition and Prep work

Vehicles come in all shapes, sizes, ages, conditions and cleanliness. If your vehicle is in good condition with no visible wear, you’re off to a good start. A clean, smooth surface is required for a quality wrap; vinyl won’t make damage disappear! If an installer is required to scrub dirt, remove sticky tar, repair dents (which most won’t do themselves) or remove old vinyl, your cost will increase.

Film Type

Choosing the film type and color you want is the fun part. There are numerous brands, colors and finishes to choose from but price varies! It is highly recommended to stay with a top quality brand for a few reasons: It’s not that much more costly for a quality film, they look much nicer, installers prefer them and they last longer—especially in the sun! Quality films are usually rated for a 4-6 year lifespan depending on how well the vinyl is cared for.

Specialty films such as Brushed and Chrome are usually more expensive and much more difficult to install. Again, it is highly recommended to stay with a top-tier brand; high quality chrome will be like a mirror while cheap chrome will look hazy.

Printed wraps are more costly because they require a designer, cost for the print, and an extra layer of over-laminate to protect the ink. Labor to install is usually about the same as a solid-color-change wrap.

How much film do you need? Typically rolls come in 60″ x 25yd rolls. This should be enough for most cars and trucks.

Vehicle type and level of install

The next cost variable is the type of vehicle being wrapped. Larger and more complex vehicles require more time to install and will increase your cost. Do you want a show quality wrap? Do you want your door jambs wrapped? Most clients don’t mind if their door jambs are not wrapped while others do. All of these factors will affect the total cost! Some installers quote by the square footage, some by the vehicle, others by the hour. When it comes down to cost, the quality and skill of the installer is what matters most.

Installer Expertise

You get what you pay for. Choosing a quality installer is by far the most important, but most costly factor affecting the cost of a wrap. A skilled installer knows how to lay vinyl that will last. A cheap install will likely fail (vinyl lifts, bubbles or peels at the corners, etc) and will have to be replaced. The worst case scenario for a budget install is permanently damaged paint when an inexperienced installer cuts into your paint with a razor blade… and you won’t know until the vinyl is removed! YIKES!

The Cost Breakdown

  1. Film: $400-$2500
  2. Install: $1500-$5000+ for a quality installer, sometimes more. It can be found at a cheaper rate but it’s a huge risk!
  3. Additional Cost Variables: removal and assembly, prep work required, travel, extra designs and accents, etc.

But you’ve heard you can get a paint job for about that same price? @pulseautostyle on Instagram answers it best: “Why not just paint your car? There’s nothing better than paint!”

  1. To customize your car without ruining your OEM paint. No paint job is more valuable than the original paint.
  2. To protect that original paint.
  3. To get finishes that paint can’t duplicate.
  4. Even a $4000 color change paint job is typically not a “great” paint job. I’m not saying a $4000 paint job will be bad, but “great” paint jobs are typically very expensive.

Again, there are many factors that go into a quoting a vehicle wrap. We highly suggest you make the right decision and choose both a quality film and a quality installer. Browse our site and find an installer who shows top quality work. Otherwise get in touch with us so that you may not end up paying more to have a cheap wrap replaced!

A Signmaker’s Guide to the Production of Vinyl Window Stickers

The modern sign-maker has at his disposal more tools and equipment than ever before from routers and plotters to thermal transfer printers. However, perhaps his most versatile equipment has got to be the wide-format inkjet printer. On this he is able to produce a wide variety of products including banners, pop-up displays, posters and vehicle wraps. Trucks, trailers, Boats, machines & Planes, your vehicle is a mobile billboard, it will be seen more frequently than any stationary sign, so why not inquire to vehicle signage Sydney then you can ‘signwrite’ it!

This printer also opens the door to other, new products, not previously offered including vinyl stickers. Although, not the most profitable of products (if you really want to make money then you should go down the vehicle wrap route) window stickers and window decals are another arrow the sign-maker can add to his quiver.

What are window stickers?

Window stickers are reversed printed vinyl stickers, that are stuck on the inside of a window facing outwards. Contrary to popular believe, the image is not printed on the sticky side of the vinyl, but is mirrored and printed to non-sticky side. As such, clear transparent vinyl is always used in the manufacture of window stickers. This allows the image to be seen through the window and through the inside of the vinyl itself.

Window stickers are generally printed onto one of three material types: permanent self-adhesive vinyl, removable self-adhesive vinyl and static-cling. (For information on what is vinyl, please refer to my earlier article on Vinyl).

Permanent self-adhesive vinyl is vinyl that has adhesive that is engineered to bond for several years. The actual number of years will depend on the grade of the vinyl and the environmental factors, but a minimum of 3 years is to be expected. Permanent self-adhesive vinyl is recommended when you do not intend to remove the sticker. This is not to say it is anti-vandal proof (specially anti-destruct vinyl should be used in this case) but the permanent window sticker option is recommended when you desire a long-lasting sticker.

Removable self-adhesive vinyl generally has a lower tack adhesive that allows the decal to be easily removed in the short to medium term (often 12 months). After this time the removable window sticker becomes more permanent and finally ends up as permanent as the permanent window sticker, the adhesive bonding over a longer time period. The removable option is a very good compromise between the permanent and static cling sticker, and often an obvious choice for retailers and restaurants. When removed within 12 months they tend to leave no adhesive residue.

Static cling window stickers are those that have no adhesive at all. They ‘cling’ to the window as the name suggests, by static. The advantage of static cling stickers is that they are easily removed and repositioned without difficulty and leave no adhesive marks on the window. However, the downside is that their lifespan tends to be limited to 6 months. They also tend to be more expensive to manufacture than the self-adhesive alternative.

White Back or Not to White Back? That is the question

What makes window stickers different to manufacture than normal facing stickers is that they are always printed onto transparent vinyl with the image mirrored. However, when an inkjet prints onto transparent vinyl the entire image becomes translucent, irrespective of how much ink is laid down. This is very like writing on a window with a felt-tip pen. The light will travel thought the window and the image resulting in the image being virtually lost. The same happens to a window sticker, digitally printed by solvent inkjet onto a transparent that is not white-backed.

Therefore, to bring the colours to life again the sticker needs to have a white backing (that’s why we all use white paper to write on, right?).

There are a number of options open to the sign-maker to white-back window stickers, depending on the equipment available in his workshop.

The first method available is by using his thermal transfer printer. This type of white backing does not give the most sold white but is very effective in short-runs. The only thing to note is that the width of vinyl is limited to the size of the thermal printer which is often set at 380mm.

The second option is silk-screen printing, layering over a coat of white ink. This can either be done in-house if the team has the means, or outsourced to a local screen printer. For long-runs this can be the most cost-effective way of white-backing stickers. Inquire here at on how to signwrite your vehicle.

Finally, if thermal transfer printing or screen printing is just not feasible then the sign-maker can resort to his trusty old laminator to laminate a white-vinyl backing. This is not as cost-effective as screen printing and is quite a skill to master, but where options and equipment is limited it as good as any way to white-back window stickers.

Edge Signs – home of custom made window stickers []

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