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48 • WRAPS • 2 0 2 1 G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M BY M A L C O L M G I E S K E W I about 15 years ago, I did not give a lot of thought to wrap remov- als. The industry was relatively young, and we were blazing the trail with new installations. As the years went by, those early day wrap installations were coming of age and our eet clients began to turn over their vehicle inventories and bring them in for graphic removals. Now, more than a de- cade later, removals are a common part of our service mix, and we've seen a great deal of diversity in each and every removal job. With customers, I often describe re- movals to be much like Forest Gump's line: "Life is like a box of chocolates; you never know what you're going to get." As in life, you often just don't know what you're getting in a removal project, until you dig in. Unless we know that the wrap came from our shop, and the exact age of the lm, quoting a removal can be like spin- ning a carnival game wheel. If we installed it, and know the date, removal pricing can be quite simple. We have been using 3M's IJ180 series lms with 3M's 8518 gloss laminate almost forever. With these lms, we know that if a wrap is ve years old or less, it can take just a few hours to remove a typical full cargo van wrap. If the wrap was not installed at our shop, chances are that the customer doesn't have a clue as to the exact lm/ laminate combo that was applied, nor are they sure how old it is. When quoting these types of remov- als (including wraps known to be over ve years old), it surely is against common wis- dom to "wing it" based on the customer's best guess as to the material type, age, and condition of the old lms. In these situa- tions, we do require an in-person inspec- tion of the lms. This can also involve a test removal of a small section, which can be very telling of what to anticipate for the entire vehicle. If you pull up a square foot of lm, and it takes 10 minutes, then you know you're in for a lengthy process. Let's have a look at the math: If a full wrap is 250 square feet in area, gure that 250 x 0.17 hours can add up to 42.5 hours of work for a single installer. Surely this is likely a worst-case situation, but I've done removals like this more than once in my career. The other box of chocolates resides below the wrap and adhesive. Aftermarket body work or aged paint can have a rela- tively weak bond with metal and plastic body panels. The simple logic is that if the paint bond is weaker than that of the adhe- sive-to-paint surface bond, then the paint nish is likely to fail upon wrap removal. When it comes to my experience with paint failure, I've seen everything from a little bit of clear coat coming off with a wrap, up to and including large sheets of paint pulling away from vehicles. Most vinyl manufacturers state that if a vehicle has not been repainted, and is less than ve years old, there should be no paint damage upon removal of a wrap. Always be sure to manage customer expectations about potential paint damage. With every re- moval, we always have our customers sign our paint damage waiver. Many customers can be unaware of paint work, especially if the vehicle was purchased as a pre-owned. A waiver mitigates your liability and drives awareness before the removal commences. No signature, no removal services. NOW, ON TO THE METHODS OF WRAP REMOVAL If you're fortunate, the wrap to be removed is less than three to five years old. This seems to be the sweet spot that we found for a less than laborious endeavor. Most manufacturers design their vinyl and ad- hesive systems to be removed within this period. It is a sensible timeframe, as most nancing and lease programs are designed around a three to ve year period. Wraps from most popular premium wrap vinyl manufacturers within this age range come off with relative ease. The recipe is typically to add some heat and remove your wrap. It's that easy, yet it is not (insert LOL). The best wrap lms will come off, adhesive and all, in one step. Let's face it, to circle back to life lessons, you get what you pay for. This is unquestion- ably the case with wrap lms. That cheap wrap kit you may have saved some bucks on with initial cost can bite you and your customer in the rear when it comes time for removal services. Vinyl may be heated by a number of Wrap Removals are Like a Box of Chocolates With each old wrap that comes into your shop, you never know what you're going to get Malcolm Gieske is the president of and is a 3M UASG, Avery CWI, and PDAA Master certified installer with over 25 years of sales and marketing experience.

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