By SignCraft Magazine
Posted on Monday, January 22nd, 2018
About a week ago, we asked Trade Secrets readers to tell us what they would charge to do the graphics on a 16-ft. box truck like this one. Hundreds of you helped out on the survey, and we really appreciate that. Thanks, too, to Braun Bleamer, Jet Signs, Palmerton, Pennsylvania, who did the original drawing. We thought you’d enjoy seeing more of Braun’s box truck projects, too.
We’ve compiled the results and have some very interesting pricing numbers for you. But first, take a minute and jot down your own quick estimate. You’ll be able to compare that to the estimates of hundreds of sign shops like yours, from coast to coast. It’s real pricing data that is hard to find anywhere else.
The average selling price for doing the graphics on a 16-ft. box truck like this one was $2676.
Some said they would handle it as a partial wrap; others felt that since the graphics on the box were large, they would do a full wrap on the box portion.
Here’s how the estimates broke down by price range:
Did the market size matter? Not a lot, though small town shops averaged about $500 less than those in larger communities. Here are the averages for the four market sizes in the survey:
The estimates were based on the customer providing the logo design and the sign shop doing the layout for the truck. If the customer needed a logo designed as well, the average price charged for a logo design was $495, with about half the replies coming in between $300 and $650.
Those who participated in the survey were established sign shops, with 81% having been in the business for 10 or more years. Very few, only 6%, had been in the business three years or less.
As for shop size, 57% had a staff of 1 to 3 people. The remaining 43% had staffs of four or more.
Here’s a sampling of the comments of the participants, grouped by topic.
First, let’s start with production issues:
“This looks like the majority of these graphics would be printed, due to the gradients. Instead of a full wrap, though, I would use printed/cut vinyl, since there is so much white space and defined edges of the graphics.”
“Extra care will be needed on the back roll-up, as this is a classic point of failure. I added $200 to seal edges and trim it accurately. Likewise for the front over the cab. These graphics will not last a month without a premium graffiti laminate on everything.”
“Many shops would digitally print this, but this truck will probably be kept for many years, so we would use high performance vinyl. We never use intermediate vinyl on trucks.”
On the subject of pricing:
“For us this would be a full wrap on the box and a partial wrap on the cab with lettering. I estimate it somewhere around 350 sq. ft. at $9 per sq. ft. That is about as high as we can go in our market.”
“I added $300 to design the wrap.”
“I would suggest wrapping the box, which would make the total cost $2954. As a partial wrap, it would be $2536.”
“I do about 20 of these each year for the same customer, and I quoted the price that I charge him.”
“Most of what I do is vehicle wraps and lettering. I do quite a few small box trucks like this. This could be done as a full wrap, to cover blemishes on the box from the old U-Haul logos, which would cost more. But if it was a new truck or the box and cab looked good, I would contour cut the graphics—which will take less vinyl and labor to install. That’s how I’m pricing this truck.”
“More and more customers feel that graphic designers are the ones who do the design, and the sign companies do the sign. But these designers are not sign designers, and they often create logos that are not suitable for signs.”
“Most of our jobs are figured by square footage of material used at $12 to $15 per sq. ft. Printed vinyl, cut vinyl or painted images all are priced according to actual material cost and labor time. Logo design is based on an hourly rate of $75.”
“I would use laminated print-and-cut graphics with a cut vinyl phone number. The graphics would be $2500 and the installation labor would be $740. If silver metallic accents were requested, I would add $300. For Real Silver film accents, I would add $700.”
“I get $12 per sq. ft. for a new, clean vehicle.”
And finally, on logo design and pricing:
“Logo design should be handled separate from truck graphics. Done correctly, logos involve time, collaboration, and an understanding of the customer’s marketing strategy. Some customers don’t have that strategy. They need educated to gain that understanding first. A higher price for good logo design often scares away the potential client, and with that, the truck graphics job as well. That’s why we keep the two projects separate.”
“I do simple ‘Rights Managed’ starter logos for $200. I retain ownership of the design and manage its use to the client. But I’ll also offer a full rights purchase of the design for $750 and up, depending on the customer’s needs, size and age of the business, etc.”
“The pricing of this wrap is based on a new truck, with no removal or clean up, and using premium cast vinyl—not the cheap stuff. The cab and front of the box is white and would be done as spot graphics (partial wrap). If those areas need fully wrapped, that would be an additional $1100.”
“For logos, I use tiered pricing of $450, $600 and $925. For $450 they get two or three mock-ups, three hours of creative time and the files on disk. (Additional time would be $65 per hour after that.) $600 gets them three or four mock-ups, six hours of time and the files on disk. $925 gets them four to six mock-ups, eight hours of time, plus lifetime archival and electronic logo transfer to client when requested.”
You’ll find Braun’s comments on how he—and two other top designers—would approach pricing this job in the Design & Price feature in the January/February 2018 issue of SignCraft.