How to Turn a Car Into a Moving Advertisement

A vehicle wrap is like a bumper sticker on steroids, and it can earn you or your small business money. If you want to sell advertising space to a professional car-wrapping company or are looking for a novel way to advertise your own business, read these guide on wikiHow to turn a car into a moving advertisement.

Edit Steps

Wrap Your Car for Another Company

  1. Determine your eligibility. Now that the secret of car-wrapping is out, companies that do this can be much more selective in whose car they’ll wrap. The best candidates, drive long distances through popular areas during busy traffic hours, ensuring maximum exposure. They also have nicer vehicles. The best candidates: [1]
    • Drive 1,000 miles per month.
    • Commute in areas that are relevant to the advertiser’s market.
    • Can pass a background check
    • Drive cars with lots of ad space such as SUVs, vans, and VW beetles
  2. Find the right car-wrapping company. Search for advertising companies in your area via the internet or the yellow pages. Ask what partnerships they have with businesses. Read the contract carefully. Most importantly, make sure that the company legitimately advertises in your area and that it isn’t just a scam.
    • Spot car-wrapping scams. With the economy being what it is, car-wrapping scams are on the rise. A common technique scammers use is to send prospective clients a substantial check and then request that a portion of the check be wired back to them to cover the cost of wrapping. The catch is that the check will eventually bounce, but your wire transfer cannot. As a rule of thumb, you shouldn’t pay another company up front – even a little – if the whole point is to get them to pay you. In other words, if the plan sounds convoluted, don’t trust it. [2]
  3. Decide the level of wrapping you are comfortable with. Willing to go all out? That’s a full wrap. Wish to retain some autonomy? A half-wrap might be more appropriate. Just want to dip your toe in the water? Aim for a windshield decal or even a modest lil’ bumper sticker. Just remember that the more space you offer, the more you’ll get paid.
  4. Negotiate your car-wrap deal. Competition for big-name car wrappers is getting stiff. If your car or route isn’t up to their standards, think about local businesses your commute might appeal to instead. (If you drive around a college campus, for example, a store that buys and sells textbooks may be just the thing.) Put an ad in the paper or on Craigslist describing your car, commute, and monthly mileage to see if anyone else steps forward with an offer.

Wrap Your Car as a Self-Advertisement

  1. Set aside a marketing budget. Set a budget for what you want to spend before you contact an printing companies to make your advertisement. This will prevent you from going overboard with too many add-ons or extras. If you’re on a budget, go half-way with a $ 500 perforated graphic on your rear window. For fuller, higher-quality coverage, prepare to spend $ 3,000 or more when compared to cheaper vinyl-cut lettering or magnetic decals.
  2. Find your target audience. Think about your product and what type of audience you want to target with your ad space. Keep in mind where you commute and what time you commute will greatly effect who sees it. For example, consider marketing your product to teens if you find yourself driving by high schools early in the morning on your way to work.
  3. Plan a commute that better targets your market. Like wise, if you find yourself driving past a lot of grocery stores, family oriented ads might be best.
  4. Design the right car wrap. Consider hiring an artist if you want to achieve a difficult graphic art design. Most companies that print advertisements may have someone to help guide you through the design process.
    1. List your company or product. Make sure that every driver, no matter how briefly they see your car, will be able to tell what your advertised product is. Make the letters large and bold.
    2. List a website or phone number to contact. Often times cars will drive by too quickly to see more than a product name and a website to visit for more information. Make sure that if they want to Google your product when they get home, they will know what to search or where to go.
    3. Draw attention to your car. Use graphics, colors and/or text to bring in drivers. Don’t make your car too distracting that drivers will crash, but make it obvious enough that a driver will be drawn to look at your car.
  5. Research printing quotes for wrapping your car. You want an effective, eye-popping, attention-grabbing, colorful graphic that conveys the identity or message of the business you’re advertising. If your commute is well thought out, it’ll be worth the investment because it’s easier to overlook a magnetic decal. Make sure to share your budget with the printer company in order maximize your options and still stay under budget.

Edit Tips

  • Magnetic decals might look hokey, but they can identify your brand or identity during select times of the day with your choice to remove them for privacy later. Maybe you don’t want to be caught advertising a political campaign when you’re driving through an activist part of town?!
  • The level of investment tends to govern the quality of the job, but more importantly, the integrity of your image. A true vehicle wrap has tremendous appeal and makes you look more credible than a magnet would, but it comes at a hefty price!
  • Check with local sign shops before committing to a vehicle wrap for thousands of dollars. A good one might be pricey, but it might be overpriced if it’s outsourced. Always use a sign shop that has their own solvent printer and experienced installers. Ask for a portfolio of work!

Edit Warnings

  • Check with local enforcement before pursuing illuminated messaging in the dark. Some states disallow blinking or animated lights. Others will only permit certain colors, like red, white, or amber, to be used inside of a moving vehicle and have codes against front-window visibility. Not all states are the same! You can always put illuminated signs in your car when parked or while at shows or expositions to grab attention.
  • Be sure your sign shop or vehicle graphic installer only uses a solvent-based print with a good protective overlaminate, or the job will deteriorate within six months. Ask about guarantees for quality workmanship.
  • Car advertisements can attract potential thieves because of the higher probability that you have something of value in your car.

Edit Related wikiHows

  • How to Start a Moving Business
  • How to Add Custom Decals to a Car
  • How to Run a Successful Guerrilla Marketing Program
  • How to Advertise Your Home Business Online
  • How to Use the Internet to Promote Your Business
  • How to Write Ads
  • How to Create a Logo for Your Small Business or Website

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