Vehicle Wrap: How Long Does it Take?

Vehicle Wrap

Installing a business vehicle wrap or graphics on a commercial vehicle can take anywhere from 1-5 days.  The exact length of time required to wrap your car, truck or van will vary depending on the vehicle size, the complexity of the vehicle/design, and how much of the vehicle is wrapped.  

Time is Money 

Time is money, a phrase first used by most. Whether you have a fleet of 1 or 1000, when it comes to vehicle wrap your fleet vehicles, time is definitely money.  We understand that each day your vehicle is out of service is a missed opportunity to service your customers.  Understanding the time and schedule required to wrap or add graphics to your business vehicle can help you manage your service/sales teams and bottom line.

Typical Installation Schedule

The majority of business vehicle wrap and graphics take anywhere from 1-4 days.  Below is a quick rundown of a typical schedule.  Also surprising to most people, the outdoor temperature will affect the amount of time required for a high-quality, long-lasting wrap.    

Full Vehicle Wrap Plan 3-4 days

Day 1

Vehicles are typically dropped off the day before the vehicle wrap installation.  There are several reasons why this is important

  • First, the vehicle must be completely dry for a vehicle wrap. In rainy or snowy climates, the vehicle is brought into a dry temperature-controlled garage the night before to ensure the vehicle is completely dry.
  • Second, the vehicle surface must be warmed or cooled to 50+ degrees for proper graphics adhesion.  In cold or hot climates, bringing the vehicle inside the night before gets the vehicle surface to the proper temperature. (Learn more about why temperature matters for a long-lasting wrap) 

Day 2-3 While everyone would like the process to go faster, a quality vehicle wrap takes time.  We can maintain high standards by ensuring our installers consistently follow every necessary step.  One of the most important steps is properly cleaning and preparing the vehicle wrap installation. There are essential steps that must not be skipped to properly clean a vehicle for a high-quality, long-lasting wrap.  Only after the vehicle is properly cleaned and prepared can the installer begin applying vinyl to the vehicle.  When installing a vehicle wrap, every square inch of the wrap must be applied by hand using special tools.  A quality vehicle wrap requires experience, training, and skill. 

  • Vehicle is cleaned twice following 3M and Avery recommended procedures
  • Installer checks graphics, compares to design proof and confirms position on vehicle.  
  • The wrap or graphics are applied to the vehicle, each area applied by hand with small specialty tools
  • Once wrapped, the installer does a 360 degree review of the vehicle ensuring everything is in position and all vinyl is properly adhered to the vehicle

Day 4 Once the vehicle is wrapped, there is usually a 12-24 hour cure time for the adhesive on your wrap to set.  This may or may not need to be done on-site.  Again it depends on the climate and outdoor temperatures.  We recommend that the vinyl adhesive be allowed to set at 50+ degrees before the vehicle is put back into service.  In cold climates, the vehicle may need to be kept at the installation garage overnight.   

Once the adhesive has set, the vehicle is ready for pick up.  

“Placed” Logo and Text Graphics  1-2 Days

For “placed” or laser cut graphics the schedule can be shorted to 1-2 days. Often the vehicle can be dropped off in the morning and ready for pick up at the end of the same day or the next morning.   In cold or hot climates, we recommend that the vehicle be kept in a dry temperature-controlled environment for 24 hours after install so that the graphics adhesive can set.  

Invest Wisely – Time Now Equals Money Later

We understand that it is difficult to take vehicles out of service.  You depend on your fleet or service vehicles to run your business.  While it may be tempting to choose a company that offers shorter install times, proceed with caution.  Each step in the process is designed to ensure the best long term performance of your wraps or graphics.  And, these steps are all required to protect the manufacturer’s warranty on the vinyl performance.  Skipped steps means voided warranties.  Short-cutting that process jeopardizes quality and will cost you money, time and frustration in the long run.

  • Lifting or failing graphics require that you remove your vehicle from service  to fix
  • You have enough to do to keep your fleet scheduled and operating.  Don’t let your graphics be an ongoing maintenance chore. 
  • Lifting or failing wraps and graphics reflect poorly on your brand and business. If you are putting a wrap on your vehicle to attract new customers, you need your graphics to look great. 

Vehicle Wraps are Money

For every product or service, you buy there are always excellent, good, and cheap options.  Whether you are making decisions about materials, products, services, personal, or advertising – it comes back to the customer experience you are want to create and manage a smooth efficient operation that you can count on.  We want our readers to be fully informed so they can make the best decision for their particular situation.