You’re thinking about wrapping your six company cars, a dozen vans, or a fleet of tractor trailers. The last thing you need is a bad wrap that reflects poorly on you. You need to find a provider that knows what they’re doing with a well-trained experienced installation team. Who wants the hassle of delays, missed appointments, and do-over’s? You really don’t have time to watch somebody else do their work to be sure they’re doing it right. And besides, you’re not an adhesive vinyl graphic application expert. You just want someone to do the job right the first time and on-time. But how to find the best vehicle graphics installers, that’s the question?

There is no 100% fool-proof method for determining the ability, expertise, and reliability of a vehicle graphics installer, but by following a few steps, you can be pretty darn certain.

Have The Installers Been Thoroughly Trained? 

At TKO we use a training manual created by our installation team and then we conduct a show, do, and repeat training. We have a “practice” 53-foot trailer and save old adhesive vinyl graphics for trainees to install. First, our experienced installers show trainees how to do it, then they watch the trainees apply the graphics, and then repeat this process as many times as needed.

“Because master applicators are developed not born it can take years of hard work and dedication to become the top tier of vehicle graphics installers. At TKO Graphix, we’re proud of our teammates with 5, 10, 15, and even 20 twenty years of experience. And we thank them for helping us bring the next generation of installers along. Because using a systemized training procedure has many benefits but one of the greatest is it allows us to identify inexperienced young people of high character, and then train them the job.

So, that’s why we spend so much time training new applicators. Because, we think it’s worth. Many of our teammate, who at one time were inexperienced trainees, have become our best employees. Therefore we believe you should hire character—train skills.” — Why We Invest Time Training Vehicle Graphics Installers at TKO

Are They Certified?

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.”

Both USAG and PDAA require extensive training and testing. However, there are different levels of certification. For example, PDAA offers both basic and master certification. According to PDAA, “Basic certification accommodates companies that have absolutely no interest in doing vehicle wraps with complex curves.” So be sure you have an application team certified for the type of installation required.

Have You Seen Their Work?

There’s no substitute for reviewing the end product. If the provider is in your vicinity, do they have a facility you can visit? If not, do they have examples of their work in your area, or have they worked with companies familiar to you? You might also ask to see examples of their work online or in a portfolio. Here are a few examples of tractor trailers, box trucks, vans, and cars, TKO Graphix Portfolio.

How Experienced Are They?

You want to know not only how long the company has been installing vehicle and fleet graphics, but how long have the installers been applying adhesive vinyl graphics? A new member or trainee on a crew isn’t a bad thing, as long as there is an experienced team leader.

How to Find the Best Vehicle Graphics Installers

So, how to find the best vehicle graphics installers isn’t one size fits all. You want to find experienced and certified installation teams that fit your needs. For example, a full wrap with complex curves takes a much higher level of training than applying a decal on a flat area such as a door. And to be certain you should look at their work. Another consideration is how long has the company been in business and how tenured is the installation team. And it doesn’t hurt to ask the installation team about their training program.

“It’s a sad event when anyone or anything turns to the dark side. When short cuts are taken instead of projects given the due diligence needed to achieve the best results. When best practices are pushed aside for expediency or experience and know how are down played and ignored; that’s when the dark side looms. That’s vehicle graphics gone bad. It’s where they live. Don’t go to the dark side. OK, I might be a little overdramatic. Maybe. But there are amateurs as well as vehicle graphics providers that live on the dark side. They only thing they provide is disappointment.” — Vehicle Graphics Gone Bad — 7 Ways Vehicle Graphics Go Bad

The difference between a professional installation, versus a poorly applied vehicle wrap, or a vehicle out of service for four days when you were told it would take about a day or so, can be disheartening and costly. If you’d like to learn more about vehicle and fleet graphics application, TKO Graphix is a proud master member of PDAA and SGIA, we’ve been at this since 1985. If we can answer any questions please Contact Us.

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