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Everything You Need To Know About Fleet Livery Printing

by Andy Wilson
on 13th November 2018

Outdoor advertising comes in many forms, but fleet livery printing is arguably one of the most effective. While hoardings and other static graphics can make a mark, there are few things quite as impactful as a fleet of identically-branded trucks or lorries, raising awareness of your brand and services across the country (and sometimes further afield).

Actually going about getting a fleet of vehicles liveried can be quite a project though, so we decided to put together this guide. There are a lot of things to think about, and we’ve broken it all down into some bitesize chunks.

We’ve kept it as straightforward and to the point as we can – here’s (pretty much) everything you need to know about fleet livery printing.

Why brand a fleet?

Fleet livery printing

If you currently have vehicles on the road working for your business, you’re in a unique position when it comes to advertising. You essentially own a fleet of large, mobile advertising banners, that could be spreading the word of your business wherever they go.

There are obvious benefits of liverying a fleet of vehicles, such as increased brand awareness, easy contactability, and marketing of specific products or services. There’s also the fact that with multiple vehicles branded in an identical way, your company’s message will become reinforced when people (either locally or nationally) become used to seeing your presence regularly.

Branded fleets are also beneficial because they operate as advertisements 24/7. They don’t turn off, and whether they’re on the road, parked, or making a delivery, simply their presence is enough to continue marketing a business.

A campaign through a traditional marketing channel (such as television advertising) often involves a lot of planning, time, and expenditure, and only lasts for a short, finite time. Branding assets that are already in your possession is known as ‘organic’ marketing, and has the potential to keep earning your business money well past the point of ROI (return on investment).

How effective are fleet graphics?

Measuring effectiveness

While using vehicles as an advertising opportunity seems like an obvious choice, the most important questions is how effective they are. This is particularly relevant when working out a potential return on investment, or understanding exactly what kind of exposure you’ll be getting for your money.

While this will naturally depend entirely on your spend, the number of vehicles you’re wrapping, and how often they’ll be on the road, it’s generally accepted that fleet graphics are one of the most cost efficient ways to market a business.

While traditional channels such as tv, radio or direct mail can cost well over £1 per 100 impressions, the longevity and wide reach of fleet vehicle graphics can bring that cost down significantly – potentially to just a few pennies.

The livery process

While the case for fleet branding as a marketing strategy is pretty clear cut, the actual process for getting your vehicles branded involves a few stages you’ll need to consider. You’ll need to plan exactly what it is you want your vehicles to display, and you’ll need to work out how it will need to be installed. There are several steps to this:

– Get the graphics designed

Before you start contacting printing firms, you’ll need to arrange for the design of the graphics themselves. This might involve consultation with a marketing department, and will often mean aligning the designs with current brand guidelines, or a specific campaign you’re running.

You’ll need to ensure the designer is familiar with all details, including precise colour specifications, before they start their work. You’ll also need to make sure they know the exact measurements and specifications of the vehicles in your fleet (you’ll likely need to provide schematics or blueprints).

If you operate specific vehicles within certain catchment areas, you could also commission targeted, region-specific graphics for individual demographics or audiences.

– Choose a print firm

Once your designs are sorted, you’ll need to find somebody to print them. This means employing the services of a large format digital printer, such as PressOn. During the early consultation stages, provide as much information as you can to your printer to ensure you can get the most accurate quote – and don’t assume that the cheapest option is always the best!

A great print firm will work with you to decide precisely which materials and printing solution will work best for your needs.

– Get your graphics printed

Once you’ve agreed on a quote, settled on your graphics and had them signed off by the printer, they’ll then produce the graphics. A good print firm will offer a fast turnaround, with installation organised as part of the quote. They’ll also provide a warranty on the graphics, which will cover you in case the materials were to fail.

Sometimes, it will be possible to install these onsite, but often your vehicles will need to be transported to an installation facility. Many printers, including PressOn, will arrange this as part of the printing and installation service.

How long does fleet livery printing last?

With modern materials and installation techniques, vinyl vehicle wraps can last for between 7 and 10 years. Quality wraps are also easy to remove, meaning you won’t have to agree to your fleet looking a certain way for a decade!

The exact life of your graphics will depend on the specific type of vinyl used, as well as the ink, but for a short-term campaign there’s usually no issue. This will also be highlighted in your warranty…

Budgets

Budgeting

As with any outdoor advertising project, budget will be a primary consideration when it comes to branding a fleet of trucks. With lots of (literally) moving parts to balance, it’s important to stay on top of things right from the start.

It’s difficult to provide a ballpark figure for costs, as there are so many variables at play, including the size and number of your vehicles. There are however, a few universal guidelines you can apply.

In your budget, you’ll need to factor in a number of different costs, including design, print, and installation. You’ll need to put together a thorough brief for your print/installation firm, and make sure your scheduling is watertight.

There are also other factors to think about such as the potential loss of earnings while your vehicles are out of action, and the cost of transporting them to and from the installation site (which will include fuel and wages).

Your budget will be broken down into your own costs (transport, loss of earnings), the quote for the design of the graphics, and the quote for the printing and installation. You’ll need to balance all three, so it’s good to speak to each agency well in advance of when you’ll need the graphics on the road.

What if the fleet livery gets damaged?

Crashed trucks

Although unlikely, it’s important to be prepared for a scenario in which you need to get your liveries replaced. Were something to go wrong, it would be important to know exactly what warranty (if any!) you had in place – fortunately this is usually fairly simple.

In most cases, the manufacturer of the vinyl for your livery will provide you with a warranty guaranteeing their materials – if the vinyl tears, or fails in some other way, you’ll almost always be entitled to replacement materials free of charge.

It’s important to note that what this doesn’t cover is the other associated costs that you’d incur to have the damaged livery replaced. The vehicles would need to be transported for reliverying, and while the material cost wouldn’t apply, reprinting and installation would need to be considered.

It’s important to check in with your print firm regarding the warranty they provide. PressOn, for instance, offer clients a more comprehensive package, agreeing with the vinyl manufacturer in advance that the materials chosen are most suitable for the job – and providing cover for any consequential loss to the client should the material fail (for more information, feel free to get in contact with us!)

How long does it take to brand a fleet?

Hourglass countdown timer

In the competitive and responsive modern economy, turnaround time for any marketing campaign is vital. Sometimes, a long planning process isn’t an option – particularly for a responsive or time-sensitive campaign, and many brands will want to factor seasonality into their fleet designs.

The turnaround time on a fleet livery installation will naturally depend on the size and scale of the project, but it will also vary greatly from supplier to supplier. Some print firms will be able to manage the process very quickly, while others might take longer or charge more for a tight turnaround.

It can take anywhere from a matter of hours to a few days to wrap a vehicle, depending on its size, so the total time to completion will depend on the speed of printing, and the scope of the firm’s installation facilities. A good print firm will work out how to minimise the time your vehicles spend off the road, and will consult you during the quoting phase regarding a realistic time frame.

Tips for choosing a designer

Designer

While a large brand may have an in-house designer or department, many businesses will need to outsource their graphic work, which means choosing a designer. There are plenty of fantastic graphic design agencies and freelancers, but there are few things you should consider when making your choice.

Probably the most important among these is experience. Even if a designer has been working in the field for years, if they aren’t experienced in vehicle livery design they might not be the right fit. Look for a firm or individual who has specifically designed these kind of graphics before – particularly if they’ve worked with your model of vehicle before.

Be specific in your brief, but leave enough room for them to do their best creative work. Make sure you provide them with any necessary colour references, and ideally supply them with a blueprint of the exterior of your vehicles if possible.

Tips for choosing a print supplier

Choosing the right print firm for your livery is usually the most important stage of the process, as they will be responsible for the production – and often installation – of your graphics.

It’s a good idea to make sure you have the details of your vehicles to hand, along with information on how long the graphics will need to last, and what they’re intended for. This will help move everything along quickly and smoothly, and enable the printer to provide you with an accurate quote quickly.

When choosing a print supplier, experience is paramount, and you should also consider asking a few of the following questions:

  • What kind of machinery do you use?
  • What type of material would you recommend, and why?
  • What kind of warranty do you offer if the product were to fail?

The best print firms will be as accommodating as possible, and will make every effort to ensure your project runs smoothly, quickly, and cost-efficiently. It’s important to trust the expertise of your printer too – if they’ve been working in the industry for a long time, they’ll probably know what will work best for you!

What if you need the graphics removed?

If your livery is for a time-specific campaign, you can usually organise the removal of the vinyl with your printer, for a specific date (potentially having it replaced with something else at the same time).

If your livery is intended to be displayed indefinitely however, there may come a time when you decide to have it removed or replaced. It’s a good idea to speak with your print firm and discuss what options there would be further down the line – they may be able to recommend a substrate that’s easier to remove, or that isn’t necessarily as long-lasting, to save on cost.

Final tips

Organising printed livery for a fleet of vehicles can be a real challenge, so if there’s one piece of advice we’d give, it’s this: if in doubt, have a conversation with your print firm. They’re the ones responsible for actually making your project happen, and they’ll be used to working with designers and clients in similar situations.

If you’d like further information about how to make fleet livery printing work for your business, head on over to our contact page and get in touch – our project managers will be more than happy to help you!

Author Info
Andy Wilson Managing Director

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