For most Businesses fleet graphics are a significant investment. And it’s not only the cost but also the time vehicles are out of service. With this big of an investment in money, time, and resources, doesn’t it make sense to preplan? So, here’s your fleet graphics planner.

Fleet Graphics Planner 

Here are 10 key points, and a bonus at the end to follow when you consider fleet graphics. It’s you fleet graphics planner and checklist.

1. Budget

Before you approach a provider, you should have a budget in mind. In this way, a graphics company can suggest the best type of graphics to fit your needs and your wallet. But how can you set a budget if you don’t know what vehicle graphics cost? This should give you an idea, FAQ: How Much Do Fleet Graphics Cost?

2. Number of Units

How many cars and trucks will need graphics? Some cost savings might be realized by the number of vehicles being wrapped. Rather than do a few now and more later it might be advantageous to have them completed all at once. Savings in material cost, design, and fabrication set up can be passed on to the consumer.

3. Location

Where are the vehicles? Travel time can make a big difference in the completion of the project. Here at TKO, we have teams of installers who travel to locations all over North America.  “A national lawn care company wanted to de-identify and rebrand over 4,000 vehicles without losing work time. The business used the vehicles from 6 am to 6 pm daily, except Sunday. Adding to the challenge, the vehicles were in over 200 cities throughout North America. We divided the process into 4 phases with 5 installation crews traveling North America.” —  Case Study Rebranding a National Lawn Care Company. 

Location is also critical to proper installation of the graphics. “For installation‚ the ultimate temperature-controlled environment is 70° F (21° C) with 50 percent humidity. For best results with films recommended for vehicle wrapping‚ always apply when the air and vehicle surface are both above 60° F (16° C).” — 3M.com

4. Time Frame

Not only when do you need them completed but also how long will they be out of service? Every hour a company vehicle is off the road, it loses money. “An international shipping company approached TKO Graphix about rebranding a large fleet of semi-trailers and tractors they had taken possession of when they acquired another carrier. Previous graphics providers, involved in the rebrand, were not hitting expected quotas and deadlines. The challenge presented to TKO Graphix was to produce new decals, remove existing decals from the equipment, and install the new decals on more than 17,000 pieces of equipment located in 17 locations, all within 8 months.”  — Case Study 17,000 Piece Rebrand

5. Type of Graphic

There are options when it comes to vehicle graphics including full wraps, partial wraps, decals, and plotter cut letters. Depending on the needs of your organization, a full wrap isn’t always necessary.

When I talked with the owners of 2 Brother Pressure washing, “I commented that they were smart to purchase dark trucks, which made a perfect background to frame their logo and contact information. I went on to say that sometimes we wrap an entire vehicle only because no one considered what color of  car or truck to order.

For example, just the week before we completed a full warp with a black background over a white van. Ernie and Isaac then shared that TKO Graphix COO, Denny Smith, had advised them of this. It’s why they decided on decals on their dark vehicles. Denny told them, that in their case decals would be cost-effective and as good for branding and marketing as a more expensive full wrap. I think Denny was correct, and so do Ernie and Isaac.” — 2 Brothers Pressure Washing — Effective Vehicle Graphics without Breaking the Bank

6. Design

Are fleet graphics something your design team or advertising agency can provide? Maybe, we have many customers who do. However, more often, we help our clients realize their concept by designing the graphics or formatting their design to a 3-dimensional application – their fleet vehicles. “In 2017, TKO Graphix installed fleet graphics on more than 60,000 vehicles. That’s a lot of vehicle graphics.  Although we designed a large percentage of the graphics, and formatted others, we didn’t create the artwork for every installation. Some of the layouts we received were as good as it gets; others needed some guidance. Thank goodness, our loyal client’s heed our advice because I see wraps on the road nearly every day where someone didn’t advise the designer. Here are a few of the most common mistakes DIY’s (do it yourselfer’s) make.” — Should You Design Your Fleet Graphics?

7. Proofing the layout

Not taking the time to completely vet a design proof leads to mistakes. And not sharing the proof with every member of the team that can say no to the project is an even bigger mistake.

“When a vehicle graphics provider sends a layout to a customer for approval, the sales and design team are asking, “Does this meet your expectations?” When a layout is signed and approved, the design goes into production. Changes after a layout has gone into production can be costly and time-consuming. When clients don’t take the time to thoroughly check and double check the layout, mistakes can happen. Before signing off on a layout, check and double check the layout thoroughly.” — How to Proof Your Vehicle Graphics Layout so it Doesn’t Cost You Time and Money

8. Materials

There are vast differences in adhesive vinyl graphic material. Some types of vinyl are only good for flat surfaces while others are manufactured to conform to curves. There are vinyls that are meant to be temporary, some are removable, and others that are permanent. Using the wrong material for the job can be costly.

Vinyl begins as Poly Vinyl Chloride (PVC), then additives create the vinyl film used to wrap vehicles. It starts with plasticizers for flexibility, then pigment for color, then UV absorbers and heat stabilizers are added to create a vinyl that will conform to a vehicle’s shape and withstand the elements.

“Ingredients are poured into a casting sheet, which is baked, allowing the solvents to evaporate. This process makes a very flexible, thin, shrink-resistant material. Another manufacturing option is the calendar or economy process. There are no solvents in this mix. Like pizza dough, the vinyl is rolled and stretched into the desired shape. This material is thicker and tends to shrink.” — FAQ: Are There Different Vinyl Graphics Materials?

9. Vehicle Preparation

“Surfaces must be finished, clean, and dry. Organics, such as, animal and insect remains, food particles, and plant material, in most cases, may be removed with mild soap and water. Solvents may be needed to remove petro-chemicals, for example, wax, oil, or diesel. Understanding how solvents affect the material and following directions on the label will help prevent surface preparation failures. All surfaces must be completely dry before applying graphics. Uncured finishes may hold and leach moisture, which will adversely affect vinyl graphics placed over the uncured surface.” – – Vehicle Graphics Surface Preparation for Various Substrates

10. Installation

A good vehicle graphic applicator makes it look easy, but it’s not. “There are two primary vehicle graphics installation certification programs. Installation PDAA (Professional Decal Application Alliance) which is administered by SGIA (Specialty Graphics Imaging Association), and UASG (United Application Standards Group), through 3M. “The UASG stands for United Application Standards Group. It is the country’s leading group of professional graphic installers – proven and tested to be the best in the business. The UASG has distinguished itself by being the first organization of its kind to require every decal installer to meet high standards of professionalism and installation skill.” — How to Find the Best Vehicle Graphics Installers

One More Thing 

One more point should be part of your fleet graphics planner. A key to an outstanding fleet graphics experience is the competence and reputation of the provider. Without a reliable provider no other point on the fleet graphics planner matters. We’ve been providing fleet graphics since 1985 and hold ourselves to high standards but don’t take our word for it, Read What 10 Customers Say About TKO Graphix Quality of Work. If we can help you with your fleet graphics, please Contact Us because we wrote the book on it. Really we did, The Fleet Manager’s Guide to Fleet Graphics: A step by step guide to vehicle graphics and wraps and we can help with your fleet graphics planner.

Photo by Helloquence on Unsplash