Sign & Digital Graphics

September '19

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This month's interview is with wrap installer Troy Downey. How did you first get started in the wrap business? It was seeing my first wrapped vehicle and realizing the somewhat instant gratification of printed vinyl (that's not permanent) vs. custom paint bringing all of those concepts of custom paint jobs I never pursued back to life! Before getting into the wraps business, many if not most of my automotive paint schemes were either too complicated, too expensive or would take months to finish only to find out that their reality was only 60% of what I expected. It didn't take but three months after seeing my first wrap to get into the game. Over the years, what have been the biggest adjustments you've had to make to stay relevant as a wrap installer? "Relevant" in the context you mention has never been important to me, as it does not pay the bills. Relevance, when it comes to where I've been and what I've accomplished over my body of work, serves me well and provides our clients and the consumers of our brands the confidence of knowing that my family will continue to be all about the hard work and R&D here. As for actual application, I try and get my hands on vinyl a few times a month, making time for the testing of our products and some for new materials coming to market. Consistency is a rule for us here, and it's not an adjustment. What has been the biggest advancement in the wrap industry since you began your career? The obvious answer is digital printer technology because the films it prints on in that space makes up 90% of the pressure-sensitive film market. However, the biggest advancement in the pressure-sensitive film market is as follows: Today the increased efficiency of the installer is via the advancements in adhesive technology, namely air egress and stand-off technology. Air egress was the first development enabling the films to be installed faster and more efficiently by channels allowing the air to escape out from under the film during application. The standoff features enabled the films to become thinner as they paved the way for lower initial tack (or at least it made it feel that way), allowing the film to slide over the intended surface and only stick when we pressed on it. Those two technologies paved the way for what we know today as color change. Even if you weren't around those high-performance permanent adhesives from before, you surely know enough now, that solving that aggressive adhesive challenge has made the films of today the reason you're in the business. Literally 65% of your wraps readers here would not be in the business (therefore not reading this), if it weren't for those two advancements. What are your favorite types of wraps to work on? They all are to some extent. Unfortunately, time is money for us, so I would have to say the flatter the surface the more I like it! Here's one: Client says, "Wrap my helmet (perfectly) because I let you wrap my race car." If you're not familiar with that scenario, that's how it goes down and it is a loser every time. How much of your business would you say is from repeat customers? Seventy-five percent of our wrap business is return customers. As far as new business is concerned, we concentrate on quality over quantity, as many consumers are very economy based and most of those types of inexpensive materials that meet their budgets are not warrantable. We elect to not participate as life is too short to have to sleep with those jobs. Incentives that we provide are, industry-normal higher-volume square-footage discounts, art discounts and reoccurring fleet discounts when it occurs. When it occurs? Yes, I provide the discount when what they say actually occurs (becomes true!) as in, when they deliver that next promised vehicle or two or three. I provide the discount at that moment. Troy Downey Matt Dixon is the editor of Sign & Digital Graphics magazine. He can be reached at Matt Dixon Editor For more of this interview with Troy Downey, please visit 80 • September 2019 • S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S " The increased efficiency of the installer is via the advancements in adhesive technology."

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