Vehicle wrapping is an industry that has been growing steadily and has been projected to continue growing. If you are looking for a business idea to kick start, this is a great idea.
Starting a vehicle wrapping business involves many steps and we will be going over each of them in this guide. When you start your business, you have the chance to become a certified vehicle wrapper and even start your own vehicle wrapping franchise.
You will not only need to learn about vehicle wrapping, but you will also need entrepreneurial skills. Starting a business requires that you learn about business planning, marketing, networking, and many other fields.
Our step-by-step guide will walk you through everything you need to know if you want to start your very own car wrapping business.
What is a Vehicle Wrap?
So, what exactly is vehicle wrapping? This is the process of applying a wrap over the existing paint job of a car. This can be done for both consumer and commercial vehicles and the purpose can range from personal aesthetic choices to marketing.
Vehicle wrapping can include covering only a part of the car or the entire car. A vehicle wrap can change the entire look of a car or only add a design or logo to one side. Vehicle wraps also include adding patterns, designs, metallic or matte finishes, and many more.
A vehicle wrap gives a car a unique look that makes it stand out. Individuals may want this to suit their personal taste or wrapping services can be employed for businesses or companies that need to brand their vehicles.
The most popular material used for vehicle wrapping is vinyl though other materials have been adopted due to a shortage in vinyl in recent times. The vinyl is mixed with PVC and has been treated to withstand harsh sunlight.
Car wrapping is a professional career and people need to be certified before they can practice it.
Step by step Process for Starting a Car Wrapping Business
Step 1: Industry research
Before you do anything, you have to understand some things about the car wrapping industry. Like any other industry, there are advantages and disadvantages involved, as well as trends you have to understand. First of all, we will go over the pros and cons of the industry.
· It is extremely lucrative with high-profit margins.
· There is a high demand for business services.
· It is not difficult to learn and get started.
· It is a high-risk business and mistakes can be very costly.
· Startup costs are very high.
The car wrap industry was valued at $4 billion in 2022 and is projected to grow at a 22.4% annual rate. If you are looking for a business that will be bringing you profits for a long time, look no further. But, you also have to understand the challenges of the industry.
For example, vinyl wraps are becoming harder to access due to a shortage of raw materials. This is a problem that all car wrap businesses have to face. There has also been an increased interest in carbon fiber wraps for cars.
These are just some trends and information about the industry. You will have to carry out more in-depth research so that you understand the history and future of the industry before you start your car wrap business.
Step 2: Pre-business planning
Starting a business is not free or easy. One of the most important things to plan out before you start your business is what equipment you will need and how much the start-up costs are. For a vehicle wrap business, start-up costs can be anything from $10,000 to $20,000.
There are many different aspects of starting a business that will cost money. We will go over each of them further in this guide. Some of these start-up costs include registering your business, acquiring permits and licenses, setting up insurance, renting a garage space, purchasing wrapping equipment, advertising and marketing, training and certification, and more.
You also have to consider the equipment you will need for your business. Besides renting a garage space, some equipment you will need include:
· Tucking tools
· Hood, door, and trunk props
· Heat guns
· Adhesive promoters
· Printer and lamination equipment
Once you have identified all the start-up costs and things you will need to buy to start your business, you also need to answer some important questions like why you want to start a vehicle wrap business and what industry gaps you want to fill.
The purpose of the planning stage is to make you more confident in your idea and assure you that you are doing what you want to.
Step 3: Choosing a business name
Your business name is critical because it sets the tone for your brand identity. Choosing a business name shouldn’t be done hastily or without deep thought. You want to choose a name that encompasses your business identity, goals, and services.
Here are some tips for choosing a business name:
· It should be short and unique but memorable.
· It should be easy to spell and pronounce.
· Run your name ideas by multiple people before you decide on it.
· It shouldn’t narrow down your business, but make it open for expansion eg, “Flavour House Bakery” instead of “Flavour House Cakes”.
· Your name should give people an instant image of what you do.
· Don’t pick a location-specific name in case you move or expand.
Once you have chosen the best name, either by brainstorming with people or making use of online naming tools, you have to verify if the name is available for use. You can do this by checking the US Patent and Trademark Office website.
Also, check if the domain name for your business is available by using a domain name search online. If your name is available, make sure to trademark it and buy the domain name to avoid any theft.
Step 4: Create a business plan
A business plan is an essential document for any business as it serves as a blueprint for the business. The process of creating a business plan allows the small business owner to plan out the intricacies of the business as well as plan for all situations.
A business plan is also a useful document because it can be presented to potential partners and investors to give them a full view of your business.
A typical business plan has the following sections:
· Executive summary
· Business overview and organizational structure
· Description of products and services
· Market research and competitive analysis
· Sales and marketing plan
· Operations plan
· Financial plan and projections
You can use online business plan creation tools to create your plan because it can seem like a daunting task. If this is your first time creating a business plan, make sure you use online resources and also take a look at business plans for other businesses to understand how to create yours.
Step 5: Register your business
Registering your business is essential to making your operations legal. You need to register your business to pay taxes, create a bank account and engage in any legal matters as a business. Registering a business first involves choosing a business model.
Your business entity is important because different entities have their pros, cons, and features. The business entity you choose will determine how your business is taxed, how much personal liability you will take on, and the cost of registration.
There are three main options for business entities:
A sole proprietorship is the most common business structure for small businesses. In this business structure, there is no legal separation between the business and its owner. This means that all of the business income goes to the owner and all liabilities fall on the owner as well.
A partnership is similar to a sole proprietorship except that there is more than one owner. Partners are taxed as their businesses and share the profits and losses of the business.
Limited liability company
A limited liability company is the most advisable choice for small business owners because this model gives owners liability protection. The company exists as a separate entity from the owner so the owner doesn’t have to bear the debts and liabilities of the business.
You should also consider where you want to register your business. Different states have different requirements for tax, revenue, and other aspects of your business. If you are planning on moving, you should consider places with the best benefits for your business.
Step 6: Register for taxes
Every business needs to apply for an Employer Identification Number before it can register for taxes. The EIN is the social security number of your business and you need it for taxing and banking.
You can apply for your EIN online or by mail and the processes for this is detailed on the IRS website. If you choose a sole proprietorship model, you can simply use your social security number as your EIN.
After obtaining an EIN, you need to choose your tax year. You can choose a calendar year which is January to December or a fiscal year which is a 12-month period that can start at any month of your choosing.
The IRS website has all kinds of useful information for registering for taxes as a new business. You can also file your taxes online or employ a tax professional to assist you if you are confused or need help.
Step 7: Secure funding
Securing business funding is essential because, as we mentioned earlier, starting a business is not free. Buying vehicle wraps, advertising to car owners, gaining proper training, and the other steps you take to start a car wrapping business all require money.
Some options for obtaining funding include:
The Small Business Association offers different types of loans for businesses of all kinds to get started. You can check the SBA website to see if they are offering any loans that you can apply for to start your car wrap company.
Bank loans are a popular way to get money to start your business. To qualify for a bank loan, you will need a great business plan and good credit history.
Government grants are a great way to fund your business without worrying about paying back. However, grants are very competitive to get so you will have to create an exceptional proposal to get yourself chosen for the grant.
You can make use of a crowdfunding website like Kickstarter to appeal to donors to fund your business. This is another method of gaining funding that doesn’t involve any payback.
If you have enough savings, you can choose to fund your business yourself. You can also choose to sell some of your assets to make up the money if you don’t have enough in savings.
Friends and investors
You can reach out to friends and family to fund your business if you don’t want to apply for loans and you don’t have enough to personally fund it. You can also take your business plan for wrapping cars to potential investors and try to secure funding through that route.
Step 8: Apply for licenses and permits
Like any business, you will need some licenses and permits before you can start your car wrap business. These licenses and permits may be obtained from local, state, or federal governments.
Some of the federal licenses and permits you will need to start your business include your DBA or doing business as, a general business license, health licenses, trademarks and copyrights, and industry-specific licenses.
You will also have to find out what kinds of permits you need at the state and local levels and how to obtain them. These can be found on your state or city websites or the SBA website.
Step 9: Sort out banking and insurance
Once you have sorted out your taxing and licensing, you need to create a business bank account. You should do this before you start making any money as it helps you separate business and personal finances which makes filing taxes easier.
Opening a business bank account is easy and the procedure is similar to opening a personal bank account. Some banks have special offerings for business accounts so inquire with your bank of choice about their options.
You should also opt for a business credit card when you are opening your business bank account. The credit card can be used for business expenses only which makes it straightforward when you are paying off the card.
You will have to get a general liability insurance plan because car wrapping is a high-risk business. Liability is essential for your business because you need that protection in case of unexpected events.
Other types of insurance you will need to get include:
· Business property insurance
· Workers compensation insurance
· Professional liability insurance
· Equipment breakdown insurance
· Property insurance
· Business owner’s policy
Step 10: Pre-launch and launching
As your launch day approaches, there are some aspects of your business that you may need to review and improve on. First of all, you need to create a business website. Your website should be professional, attractive and search engine optimized.
Your website and social media accounts are essential because you need to establish an online presence. You may need to take some social media and digital marketing courses to understand the best ways to promote your business online.
Your marketing campaign will be essential to how successful your launch turns out to be. You will have to pursue different types of marketing, both traditional and online. Utilize different social media platforms and physical methods like flyers and posters.
You will also need to invest in some industry-specific software that help you manage your car wrapping business. The software can help with your business accounting and planning.
You may also need to hire a team of workers. You may only be able to hire a few people at the start of your business. The most essential personnel you need are vehicle wrappers. You may have to handle administrative management of your business at the start but you can hire a manager when you start to earn a profit.
With all of this settled, you can launch your business successfully and start making money!
Starting a car wrapping business is not easy but it can be extremely rewarding. Your car wrapping business has the potential to become very successful as long as you stay consistent and maintain the quality of your service.
With this guide, you have all the information you need to properly start your business without any hitches. Don’t forget to do your research at every stage and always continue learning.