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Estimate Software- Printing software that helps you find the hidden treasure in your business.

Small Colorado Shop Wraps Up Success

When you listen to your customers, they sometimes will show you exactly how to build your business to that next level.

By Jennifer LeClaire

Shane Reynolds runs a small vehicle wrapping shop that's in huge demand. But he stumbled into the business quite by accident.

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  • It all began when his customers starting requesting full-color prints instead of just cut vinyl. Reynolds didn't have a large format printer of his own, so he outsourced the jobs. The quality was so low and the price so high that he decided to invest in his own printer two years ago.

    As the proud owner of a new outdoor durable printer, Reynolds was able to accept jobs he had been turning down. Of course, he had to teach himself first - in a client-demanded crash course. A week before Reynolds was scheduled for vehicle wrapping classes, a client insisted he do a wrap pronto.

    Reynolds never looked back. His company, SCR Design in Castle Rock, Colo., has wrapped cars, trucks, airplanes, motorcycles, riding lawn mowers, helmets, cargo carriers, video game controllers, cell phones, computers, mobile home. You name it, he's wrapped it. Some of his most noteworthy projects include the GoFast Sports Bike featured in the "Guinness Book of World Records" TV show and a Scion wrap for Bing Energy that appeared in an upcoming Disney film.

    "My friends and family joke with me," Reynolds says, who has wrapped about 50 vehicles in the last 24 months. "They say if you stand still too long while I'm around, you'll end up wrapped. We've wrapped pretty much anything we can get our hands on."

    Tackling Challenges
    Reynolds isn't afraid of challenging wraps. One of the most difficult wraps he's ever undertaken was an excavator (an engineering vehicle with an articulated arm, bucket and cab mounted on a rotating platform) for Prolec GE. Excavators are often painted yellow or orange. Prolec chose a design that's bright green with all sorts of swirls. Prolec saw a clear advantage in wrapping: it was $6,000 cheaper than a new paint job.

    For his part, Reynolds tackled the challenging project by first taking measurements and photographs to create a template. Reynolds has tried to work with the templates that come from manufacturers, but he's had poor experiences with door handles cutting off phone numbers or other text when he uses manufacturer's templates. So he creates his own.

    Designing the wrap for the excavator wasn't difficult - Reynolds taught himself Photoshop earlier in his career - but this design was unique. "I designed it to allow for a lot of movement, if you will, in our panels, especially where the arm extends out and pivots," Reynolds says. "But the excavator already had 60 hours of use before they brought it to us, so it was greasy and we had to do a ton of cleaning before we could start wrapping."

    Prolec gave firm instructions to Reynolds and his two-man crew not to unbolt any of the hydraulic lines. Working around the lines and pivot points took some additional effort. "The engine housing was like a big ball, so that took some work to get everything stretched on there without any distortion," he says. "The three of us were very careful to make sure the text didn't get wavy or crooked."

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    As with his other wraps, Reynolds relied on 3M's Series 180C ControlTac vinyl and a Seal Ultra Laminator. It took him and his crew five days from start to finish, including cleaning and wrapping the excavator.

    Small Shops Break In
    Of all the wraps Reynolds has completed, his favorite is the GoFast sports bike. The bike appeared in the final stunt of a "Guinness Book of World Records" television broadcast. The stuntman rode through a 200-foot tunnel of fire. Reynolds modified the logo image with a graphic effect in Photoshop to make it look burnt.

    Reynolds is working on the design for a small airplane right now, with the prospect of becoming a go-to installer for the small aviation industry through word of mouth marketing. Another company is flying him to Alabama to work on a huge motor home. He'll draw from his experience wrapping a trailer for a mobile dentist for that job.

    Reynolds is an authority on how small shops can break into vehicle wrapping. He still runs his business out of his home, and he's getting clients nationwide. He offers two foundational keys for success: training and the right equipment. The next step, he says, is to wrap your own vehicle as a testimony to your skills.

    Reynolds says 90 percent of his business comes from word of mouth, and quite a lot of that word of mouth comes from people who have seen his personal, wrapped vehicle rolling down the streets. Happy clients then refer him to new clients and the cycle continues.

    "There's still plenty of people out there who have no clue what a vehicle wrap is or that they even exist. Some people think it's paint," Reynolds says. "There's no better way to advertise your services than to wrap your own vehicle."

    Gaining Exposure
    Reynolds has also received exposure in the community by donating wraps. He donated a van wrap to the Children's Museum. The museum uses the van to transport kids to various functions. He transformed an old, ragged Dodge Caravan into what looked like a brand new vehicle.

    Reynolds also puts his name and number on every vehicle he wraps - about an eight-inch-wide detail on each side of the rear bumper. Does he get any resistance from clients to advertising his own services on a wrap for which they are footing the bill? No, Reynolds says most of his customers invite him to do so.

    At the end of the day, quality prints and quality wraps spread the word for sign shops of any size. "You've got to do quality work," Reynolds says. "I have a local competitor who is my biggest asset because people are unhappy with his work. There are still lots of guys out there who aren't doing quality work, so if you can provide that you should do well with your business.

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