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The Competitive Wrap Installer: Kristin Lanzarone

Don’t Fall Victim to Bad Wrap Habits – Learn from the Pros

Training and certifications are must-haves for installers, as explained by our new columnist, Kristin Lanzarone.

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SO MANY WRAP installers ask me, “How can I be a better installer?” My response is always the same: training and certifications, mindset, time management, understanding products, and networking. These five keys can help any struggling installer get unstuck and improve their skills, their time, and the way they think and operate. You also have to be competitive with yourself. Life is about growth; with growth we gain knowledge and experience.  

Let’s start with training and certifications. At one point, we installers picked up a squeegee for the first time and began applying vinyl to a substrate. We learned the reaction from the squeegee working a piece of vinyl. With technology at our fingertips, there are plenty of home videos on the internet showing “how to wrap.” These sources, like YouTube, aren’t the best forms of education. Installers are learning bad habits that can cost them a lot of money in damages on future jobs.  

This is why training is critical for installers. Instruction from reputable brands, industry trainers, and training facilities will bring a level of real-world wrap education. Training is built to provide resources to help installers become educated and skilled. You should get all the training and certifications you can get.
This doesn’t mean you should be a professional trophy collector, displaying your certifications on the shop wall as bragging rights. I’m talking about learning and absorbing as much as you can to better yourself by implementing what you’ve learned. The more installers educated in the trade and exposed to products and their designed characteristics, the less bad habits we’ll see formed.  

Training brings a significant level of excitement, inspiration, motivation, and self-confidence. I’ve seen many students at the end of class walk away activated and thrilled to bring everything they learned in training back to their shop. Some students come into training with a lack of confidence, and they’re intimidated by vinyl. At the end of a three-day course, they leave with high confidence and hands-on education, and leave behind that fear of applying or trimming vinyl.  

There are many training and certification programs offered throughout the US by manufacturers like 3M, Arlon, Orafol, Avery Dennison, etc. Each manufacturer has their own curriculum, and they’re all very well put together and taught. Distributors also put on one-day training courses for vehicle fleet, color change wraps, windows, walls, and floors. They’re a great way to get your hands on material you haven’t touched yet or learn about the product’s unique characteristics. There are also organizations that have a national network of installation companies. These organizations have their own form of training and certifications, which include memberships the installers have to complete. Once the installer or install company completes the training and certification, the installer/install company is then listed on a national installer database that’s accessible to printers looking to hire installers. 

As Julius Caesar once said, “Without training, they lacked knowledge. Without knowledge, they lacked confidence. Without confidence, they lacked victory.” 

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The Competitive Wrap Installer is a six-part series. Stay tuned for Kristin’s next column in the March/April issue of Big Picture magazine.

Kristin Lanzarone-Scribner is owner-operator at WrapStar Pro.

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