Start Here October '22

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Page 72 of 103 67 S T A R T H E R E 2 0 2 2 most, check into training programs, and list what your shop would need to offer vehicle wraps, so you have a clear picture of what your costs will be. Do you want to specialize in color-change wraps or commer- cial advertising wraps? Or both? Do you plan to print and install, or do you want to specialize in installation only? Will you out- source your graphics while working directly with your customer or specialize in contract installation for other print shops? Do you want to be a certified installer for one or multiple manufacturers? To break down the path we took – our shop specializes in com- mercial wraps and partial color-change wraps. We print in-house for most of our wraps while also offering installation for large print houses with nationwide contracts, and I'm an accredited 3M preferred installer. IN-HOUSE OR OUTSOURCE If you're already doing full-color printing in-house, you have a printer, laminator, worktable, computer, RIP software, and design programs. You may need to add to your current equipment or software, but you've already made some initial investments. If you're just getting into the industry or are branching out on your own, you have a couple of options. You can choose to print in-house, which means you'll need to invest in the equipment necessary to do so, or you can outsource the graphics while you do the installation. If you decide to outsource your graphics, you'll need to find a reliable source for your printed graphics. Make sure you have a solid understanding of the materials you want to use, includ- ing the proper overlaminate, so that you know what to look for from your supplier. If you do outsource, consider you'll have less control over color management, and you won't be able to do quick reprints for messed up or ill-fitting panels. Also, consider whether you'll be This full wrap was designed to work around obstacles and for the background design to look good from one surface of the vehicle to another. designing the wraps and providing the artwork to the printer or if that will also be outsourced. As previously mentioned, it's important to research the path you want to take in this industry because if you plan to special- ize in color-change wraps, then you won't need to worry about outsourcing printed graphics. Rolls of color-change media can be purchased from a wholesaler and are ready to install. Vinyl samples are available for your customer to choose from, so you don't have to worry about color discrepancies either. TOOLS AND EQUIPMENT So, as you consider the path you'll take in the wraps mar- ket, here's a partial list of equipment and tools you may need to invest in. Some are necessary, and some are handy. is is not an exhaustive list, but as you choose what to add to your arse- nal, make sure that the investment improves the quality of your workmanship, makes you more efficient, or does both. at's how you know whether the tool or equipment is worth the cost. If you plan to print your graphics in-house, you'll need to invest in a large-format printer that can print at least 48" to 60" wide panels. You'll also need a cold, pressure-sensitive laminator that accommodates laminates at the same widths as your print media. Many large-format printers also have a cutter built in, so you may not need to invest in a separate cutter initially. As your vol- ume of work increases, you may consider a separate cutter that's There is a ton of information available on the market – videos, manufacturer bulletins, supplier training courses, and hands-on education and certification programs.

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