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How to Start a Car Wrapping Business (Ultimate 2024 Guide)

Don't Work Another Day is reader-supported. We may receive compensation from the products and services mentioned in this story, but the opinions are the author's own.
  By Forrest McCall | Last Updated:  April 7, 2022

Car wrapping can be a lucrative business for anyone to start. 

With low startup costs and a clear path to profitability, this is a great business idea for men or women looking to make extra money.

Whether you're looking to make $10k a month or make $50k a month, it's all possible by starting a car wrapping business.

In this post, I'll explore how to start a car wrapping business, what a car wrap is, if it's a worthwhile investment, and much more. Let's get started!

How to Start a Car Wrapping Business

What is a Vehicle Wrap?

A vehicle wrap is a vinyl wrap that goes over a car's existing paint color. It might cover the entire surface or just part of it. Typically, a vehicle wrap adds something to the look of a vehicle. That might be painted graphics, a matte finish, or a different color. Consumer and commercial vehicles take advantage of wrapping cars for a unique look on top of traditional paint jobs.

Vinyl is the most common material utilized in vehicle wraps. It's mixed with PVC to add an extra layer of strength that can withstand the hardships of the outdoors. The composition has been warped over time to allow the material to withstand the sun. It also comes in many colors and textures, and advertisements can go right on top of the product.

In application, the vinyl goes over the car. The air pushes out, wrinkles are pressed out, and the edges are sealed to give the sleek appearance car owners know and love. It takes a little practice to perfect the wrapping art on a car. Ensure you understand what you're doing before you attempt to wrap on someone else's vehicle for the first time.

Check out the video below on how to properly wrap a car.

How to Start a Vehicle Wrap Business

If you want to start a car wrapping business, follow the steps below! These will help you start wrapping cars for a living to enjoy the benefits of entrepreneurship. Whether you're helping with vehicle advertising or changing the color of a personal vehicle, there's a way to find clients for your wraps. Let's dive into the steps below.

Write a Business Plan

First, you will need to write up a plan. It's difficult to succeed if you dive into wrapping cars without a business model. Part of your business plan should include getting proper training if you don't feel fully confident in your ability to complete full wraps and partial wraps.

Here are a few steps to consider to get your business plan in order:

  • Determine suppliers: Find the individuals that will supply items like vinyl wraps and car wraps to your company. Determine where you're going to get printer and lamination equipment.

  • Figure out installation procedures: Decide how you are going to install your equipment and car wrap on other vehicles.

  • Find business entity type: Figure out the business entity your company identifies on paper. We'll go over these a little more later on.

  • Decide prices: Figure out how much to charge for your services. This price might vary depending on the cost of your lamination machine, vinyl materials, and other items. You might need to experiment with the price once you open.

  • Seek a location: Whether you're operating out of your garage or working out of rented locations, you need a place for your company to work. Pick a spot that is safe and simple for your people to find. The area is vital for success.

  • Solve expansion and marketing plans: Determine plans to expand your business and grow as you gain more customers. Plan for future equipment and map out the expected cost to prepare now for what might come in the future.

These will set you far ahead of most companies when planning to wrap cars.

You will need to present this information to a lender if you want access to loans for the company. Figure out all the legalities ahead of time to make it easier to move forward with your wrap business for a car owner. There's a lot to work through as you lay the foundation for success.

Get Funding (If Needed)

It's not cheap to start a business, especially if you're operating by yourself. You may need to get funding for the endeavor. This money might come in mortgages, loans, or fundraisers through online sources.

You will need to raise money for the following aspects of the company:

  • Equipment: You will need to purchase equipment and related accessories if necessary.

  • The building: If you don't already have a place, you will need to pay to rent or buy a climate-controlled area of operation.

  • Supplies: To wrap cars, you will need supplies like design software, vinyl wrap, and heat guns.

  • Advertising: You will need to spread the word to make good money. Pay for advertising on social media and other easily accessible advertising platforms.

  • Training: Are you working by yourself, or do you need help? If you want additional employees, you will need to pay for training.

Paying for these will add up fast when you map everything out.

This step is not necessary for every person. No situation is the same, and some might have all the money needed to wrap cars as a profession. If that applies to you, go ahead and skip this step. It's best to get many payments out of the way at the beginning to get out of debt sooner.

Choose Your Business Structure

Once everything is in order, it's time to determine your business structure. This legal identifier is necessary if you want an employer identification number from the IRS, a business license, and a general liability insurance plan. You will also need a business structure if you need auto insurance for traveling to customers or compensation for any employees you have.

Here are the five types of business structures to consider when seeking the business structure for your company:

  • Sole Proprietorships: You have complete control of your business, personally liable and responsible for everything that happens to the company.

  • Partnerships: This is where two or more people own a business, which can come in limited partnerships or limited liability partnerships.

  • C Corporations: C corporations are entities that are separate from their owners. They are legally liable, can make a profit, and can be taxed. There are double taxes involved here with the owner and the company.

  • S Corporations: S corporations avoid double taxes C corporations receive by bringing profits and losses right to the owner's income.

  • Limited Liability Company: Otherwise known as an LLC, a limited liability company permits you to utilize both the corporation and partner business structure in one. Each state has different requirements. For instance, if you are looking to start an LLC in Texas, you must take into consideration the state laws of Texas for forming an LLC.

Pick the one that best fits your company for the above-listed benefits.

Once you have a business structure selected for your services, you can purchase insurance and other legal items. It's critical to speak with a professional to determine the costs required to operate each business structure for vehicles.

Steps to Start a Car Wrapping Business

Determine Your Business Name

Any good company has a brand that clients can remember, even when they don't need their wraps. You need to pick a name for your business that will stand out among competitors and make a name in the vehicle wrap industry. The business name is the first thing that will draw individuals to your services.

Here's a strategy you can utilize to help your brand stand out with a few words:

  • Check out guidelines: Some states have guidelines you must abide by when naming your company. Ensure you consider these.

  • Scope nearby competitors: Examine any car wrap business nearby. Utilize their name as a jumping-off point for finding yours.

  • Make it memorable but easy: You want to make the name one that stands out, but isn't so unique that people will have a tricky time remembering or pronouncing it.

  • Keep it web-friendly: A short, snappy name will make it easier to remember and fits better if you invest in a website for your company.

By taking advantage of these tips, you will have a solid name for your target audience in no time at all.

Once you have your name and everything legal in order, it's time to finalize the process. Let's discuss the act of registering your business next to pull everything together.

Register Your Business

Now, it's time to officially register your business. This step is the most exciting for the future of your car wrap company. You will need to register your company if you are not operating using your legal name to conduct business.

You can register your company with the following agencies:

  • Federal agencies: This branch overlooks everything and typically doesn't need your information unless you want a federal tax ID.

  • State agencies: These are government operations that work with the state.

  • Local agencies: These are local places of government.

Ensure you keep up with the requirements for your state and type of company. They should be available online.

Once you determine if and where you need to register your company, everything is ready for you to kick everything into gear. Get your company set up and talk to as many people as possible about what you offer. Soon, you'll have plenty of customers walking through your door. You've got this!

Is Car Wrapping a Good Business

How Much Money Can You Make with Vehicle Wraps?

It's easily possible to make a living by starting a car wrapping business. Although it can cost a lot to get it up and running, once you know what you're doing, you can rake in funds with every installation.

There is careful planning involved in making good money with a vehicle wrap business. You should know how to get the lowest price for the best supplies, what you need to save, and how much each wrap should cost. Note down every expense to know where you need to make alterations.

The average vehicle wrapper with plenty of experience makes about $55,000 a year. You likely won't make triple digits as a person who installs wraps, but it's not too hard to make a living.

As the owner of a car wrapping business, it's possible to bring in 6-figures from your efforts. By having the right marketing, controlling costs, and keeping your employees happy, car wrapping can be an extremely profitable business idea.

Is Vehicle Wrapping a Good Business?

Vehicle wrapping is an excellent business idea, especially in today's world where individuals are obsessed with the look of their cars. You have reach in the business world for advertising and clients who want to make their vehicles beautiful.

As someone who works in wrapping vehicles, you can help:

  • Business owners: Car wraps supporting a company can benefit the business greatly. You can help put the advertisement on the car, improving customer reach for both of your companies as a result.

  • Average car owners: Who doesn't love a gorgeous car? As a professional vehicle wrapper, you can help people transform their drives into the car of their dreams.

  • Damaged vehicles: A vehicle wrap can help transform a car that has sustained significant damage, whether due to age or a car accident. You can make them beautiful again.

There are plenty of people who will benefit from the simple act of wrapping.

If you're passionate about cars and how they look, vehicle wrapping is an excellent passion for a career. You can spend your days talking to fascinating people and working with cars. It's an ideal business that permits you to work for yourself rather than some higher-up.

Final Thoughts on Starting a Vehicle Wrap Business

If you want to start a business and you love cars, one of the best things you can do is begin a vehicle wrap endeavor. You will need to follow several steps before you can accept customers as a professional for the first time, and you need to perfect the craft yourself.

It's not too hard to make a living as a professional vehicle wrapper. If you're someone who wishes they could devote their entire day to cars, this could be the job for you. Work for yourself and enjoy the company of other individuals who adore vehicles and the way they look.

Forrest is a personal finance, entrepreneurship, and investing expert dedicated to helping others obtain life long wealth. He has a Bachelor's degree in business and has been featured in many popular publications including Forbes, Business Insider, Bankrate, CNET Money, and many others. To learn more about Forrest, visit the About Us Page for more info.
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