Vehicle wrapping DIY vs professional service

By Richard Clark on Jun 10, 2022 5:32:26 PM

6 min read
Vehicle wrapping DIY vs professional service blue vehicle wrap Go! Tabs

Looking to wrap a fleet of vans or custom project? Wrapping is a great way of changing the design of your vehicle without the need for a respray. Whether it be a colour change or branding overhaul, wrapping is your friend.

So, is it worth wrapping a vehicle yourself or should you hire a professional? Let’s break down the advantages and disadvantages to find the best fit for you.


Which takes longer?

Well if you want it done fast, a professional company is your best bet. Wrapping a vehicle isn’t just something anyone can do without training.

It takes time, skill and talent for a truly gorgeous end result, so be prepared to put in the hours learning the trade if you really want to do it yourself.


Which is more expensive? 

It is definitely cheaper to wrap the vehicle yourself. You aren’t paying for someone else’s time just the materials. Just because you save on labour costs though, don’t expect to spend less on materials. A high quality vinyl costs money because it is high quality.


Applied correctly a high quality vinyl will last for years without bubbling, fading or peeling. Cheap materials don’t last, often only a couple of weeks, and even then you have the risk of unsightly peels, not something you want to risk if you are displaying the vehicle.

Put simply: pay more get more. Go with established providers, such as Metamark, Oracal, 3M or Avery Dennison. Proven time and time again, these companies also come with their own warranties in case of material failure.


What happens if things go wrong?

If things go wrong on your DIY project, the blame is on you, though you are covered by your material provider in the case of product failure. If you bought a cheap material you probably won’t even have that.

Professional services usually have a negligence policy to cover any wrapping mishaps, and will be more than happy to fix any issues, even if that’s a couple of weeks post wrap.

One thing to note however, is that if you use one service to print and another to install, you can risk quality control issues. Printing vehicle wraps is quite different to regular printing and mistakes are costly, so make sure your chosen company has experience.

For example, an inexperienced company might use a printing method that produces a wrap an installer refuses to use, because it makes the wrap harder or impossible to install. You don’t want to be in a situation where the wrapper blames the printer, and the printer blames you – when fingers start getting pointed all you get is a headache.

These sorts of problems waste your time and money, so thoroughly vet whomever you want to use. Check out our article for 10 questions to ask a vehicle wrapping company if you want a guide to screening wrapping companies for quality and professionalism.


Which will look better? car wrap fleet

Well that depends on your level of skill vs that of the wrapping providers team. If you happen to be an expert wrapper then go for it, wrap the vehicle yourself – but let’s be realistic, the vast majority of people reading this won’t be at that level.

In most cases then, a professional wrapping team will do a far better job than you will. The team will have had experience with numerous vehicles and wrapping issues over the years and be more than capable of ironing out any kinks, hitches or snags that may arise.


Looking better comes down to more than one factor. So far we have talked about wrap application, but we haven’t covered the design phase.

In terms of a simple colour change, you may not need any help, but with more complicated designs and branding, design support is helpful. If you have never produced graphical designs before, or worked with vehicle templates, you will benefit from some experience.

It’s easy to see a 2D template and not consider how it might actually look on a finished 3D vehicle. You don’t want to end up with key parts of your design ending up on the roof or wheel wells etc.

This is why most wrapping companies offer design support, not only will they help you navigate common problems, but help refine your design too, for maximum impact.


Should I wrap my vintage restoration project?

If you are restoring an old car you might be better off avoiding wrapping entirely. Classic cars tend to have a greater number of fused or welded panels, which makes it more difficult to wrap and can result in visible overlap or joins.

If you are planning on restoring a classic car we would recommend a respray over wrapping, especially if you want to display the internals. Internals can be wrapped, but it is delicate and costly.


Should I wrap my van fleet?Lola's cupcake van wrap fleet

Absolutely, wrapping is a great way to rebrand and advertise your business whilst out on the road. It also has the highest ROI metrics of any form of advertising at just 2 pence per 1000 impressions.

In fact, a single wrapped vehicle, driving intercity, can attract up to 16 million views a year with a vehicle wrap costing 10% of the overall price of leasing and running a van – a mere 87 pence per day.

Branding a fleet isn’t something you want to do on you own though, a professional service is best suited to aiding you with planning and implementation of your design.

The type and extent of your graphic overhaul is up to you, but if you want more information, check out our signage guide.


What are my next steps?

A this point you should have a better idea of the pros and cons of wrapping a vehicle yourself. Looking to wrap a vehicle yourself or find a professional service? For more information on wrapping and wrapping services, we recommend checking out our learning centre, packed full of helpful content for those looking to get the best out of their next vehicle wrap.

Ready to start planning a design? Check out our design guide. If you already have a design in mind but don’t know who to share it with, why not try out our screening questions for vehicle wrap companies. These 10 questions are designed to give you peace of mind when sourcing a high quality provider.



Richard Clark

Written by Richard Clark

Founder of Raccoon, a graphics company launched in 1992. Still working hard to help businesses and brands connect with their target market!