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Getting the most out of vinyl films

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

When it comes to vinyl films, there’s always a steady stream of new products coming along. There are always more adhesives, more application options and more colors. There are films for almost every task, from temporary promotional signs to t-shirt graphics to stucco walls.

All that means more opportunities for the savvy sign shop owner to sell. It means more products that you can offer—like perfed window graphics, t-shirts, removable graphics, wall murals and floor graphics. It means more upgrades you can provide—like reflective film, 22k gold leaf film and textured films.

You’ve already got the resources—the equipment to print, cut and laminate it or someone you can outsource it to. Once you’ve sold it, it’s really a matter of what film gets loaded into the printer. Don’t want to inventory other materials for occasional use? No problem. Work with a wholesaler who does. They often offer a wide variety of printable/cutable materials.

“We really try to keep up on the new products and what they can do,” says Jocelin Snow, who runs Snow Signs and Krazy Wraps in Salinas, California. “We use a lot of them, too. We just had a call from a company who said they had called everyone about signs for a huge freezer building. It had to go on metal shelving and there were moisture issues, but we knew of a product that would work for that. We got the job—and it led to other work, too.”

Jocelin’s approach means more volume for the sign shop and more advertising value for the client. The power of the increased exposure that a business gets from repetition is proven, but most small businesses don’t take advantage of it.

The increased appeal and effectiveness of effective graphics merit a higher selling price—and more profit for your shop. If you take the time and know how to help your clients take advantage of these types of advertising, you’ve earned that.

You’ll find even more on how you can use other films to ramp up your sales volume without having to track down more new customers in the November/December issue of SignCraft. Meanwhile, here are some great examples of how Jocelin uses this approach:

Floor graphics “Floor graphics are becoming a big part of our business,” Jocelin says. “It’s such a great way for a business to catch people’s eyes then get their message across one more time. We printed these on Mactac Street Wrap film and Permacolor PH6315 textured laminate. We let the laminate overlap the graphics by ½-in. and they last a long time.” 

Perforated window graphics “We do a lot of printed window perf graphics,” says Jocelin. “We’ve switched to 70/30 perf film because we’ve found it holds up outside unlaminated for years. This one is three years old and still looks great. Often window graphics are overlooked by the city for the allowed square footage for signage.” 

22k gold leaf film “We use RealGold Gold Leaf film on fire trucks and truck doors all the time,” says Jocelin. “When I talk to someone about their truck lettering, I sit down and show them the options, like gold leaf and reflective. If they come back to plain vinyl, that’s fine. But often, they get into it and decide they want these upgrades. So it took an extra 10 minutes—but they know I’m enthused about doing their signs and people appreciate that.”

Film for rough surfaces “We’re doing so much wall work with vinyl,” says Jocelin. “Some customers can’t afford a sign on a panel; others aren’t permitted to have one. 3M Texture Vinyl sticks great to even really coarse stucco finishes.” 

Etched window film “We do a lot of windows with Avery Etchmark film,” Jocelin says. “These offices were like fish bowls—the traffic in the hallway was distracting to the people working in there. It’s the visitor’s bureau, which is close to the ocean, so we proposed a seascape design with fish and shells and waves, but the budget wasn’t there. So we went with a nice clean approach that solved the problem.” Krazy Wraps, Salinas, California

Heat-set T-shirt films “We have a heat press and keep a small supply of heat-set film—flock, metallic, glow-in-the-dark. We also use Roland's printable heat-set vinyl. We don’t really push it much, but we can do it when people need it, and that can lead to other work. The motocrossers come in and need their numbers on their shirts, or someone needs a table throw for a trade show. Next thing you know, there’s a trailer to letter or a sign to make.” 



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