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A Two-Way Street to Success

How to best communicate with your installer.



IN THE 15 YEARS IDWraps has been printing and installing adhesive-backed graphics, I’ve seen quite the variety of issues arise because of miscommunication. What can be even worse is the complete absence of critical information an installer needs to know. Because our company prints and installs, we’ve developed a symbiosis between design, production, and installation. Over the years, all departments have gotten to know each other’s professional needs very well. We also install for many outside printers who seek our local installation services in the Eastern Pennsylvania market. We’ve had many of these relationships for a long time because we never, ever solicit their customers with print services. In turn, this is always our respective expectation when we ship prints to outside installers. Non-solicitation is a tenet of 3M UASG certified ethics, by which we follow exactingly.

While we truly love and appreciate our outside print contract installation customers, we have experienced many communication issues over the years. The great news is that those communication issues have improved. As our goal is high-quality installations and happy customers, there remains much to be desired.

IDWraps creates panel maps for installers of their vehicle wraps and architectural graphics.

IDWraps creates panel maps for installers of their vehicle wraps and architectural graphics.

The more information a printer offers an installer, the more accurate the installation will be. Pictures and drawings are truly worth a thousand words. When installing vehicle wraps, or architectural graphics, a panel map is a big help. This gives the installer an overview of the positioning of panels, overlaps, and bleeds to be trimmed away. Just a simple mockup is not always enough. A good panel map will have call outs for any spot graphics, registration anchor points, and text alignment references.

Bleed and overlap dimensions are also helpful when registering panels. A good panel map is also a great way to demonstrate to a potential installation subcontractor that your company operates with experienced precision. The payoff is that you may very well get lower priced bids from installers, as they likely would expect fewers “surprises.” Such surprises, like incorrectly sized or missing panels, can be a big profit drain for any installer. In these situations, profits are also diminished for the printer with reactive emergency printing and expedited shipping costs. Such maps benefit print production staff as well, as they can use the sheet as a checkoff for inventorying graphic kits prior to shipment. It’s no fun when a graphics kit is short a panel, and the job site is several states away.
These issues can be prevented.

Installers should be your remote market partner. Many can do much more than apply vinyl well. Did you know installers know how to measure? LOL. Yes, many printers oversee the benefit of using installers to perform onsite surveys. Really, how many times have your customers measured walls incorrectly? I remain baffled at the errors when customers measure rectangular walls. Custom vehicles and trailers in the concession industry are all different and require a dimensioned sketch (at the very least). A concession trailer may have more than 20 key measurements for proper design templating.

In the end, printers want their graphics to fit, and installers want them to align to surfaces correctly. No installer likes to experience delays or dealing with an unhappy customer. When working as a symbiotic team, printers and installers can work relatively stress free and repeatedly fulfill customer expectations.



Printvinyl Scored Print Media

New Printvinyl Scored wide-format print media features an easy-to-remove scored liner for creating decals, product stickers, packaging labels, and more. The precision-scored liner, with a 1.25” spacing on a 60” roll, guarantees a seamless and hassle-free removal process.

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