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Vehicle wraps in the cold

Discussion in 'General Signmaking Topics' started by WhatsYourSign?, Oct 22, 2018.

  1. WhatsYourSign?

    WhatsYourSign? Member

    Jul 13, 2018
    For those of you who do vehicle wraps... Can you offer any input on wrapping outdoors during the winter?

    Our garage is only 12' tall so when we get large box trucks and semis we have to do them outside.

    I'm interested in possibly finding a very powerful space heater that can heat enough space that we can do wraps but I'm hoping for some input from others with more experience.

    I bought a company that does wraps and signs at the start of spring but we're headed into our first winter and I'm trying to put together a gameplan.

    Thanks in advance for any wisdom!
  2. Modern Ink Signs

    Modern Ink Signs Premium Subscriber

    Jun 27, 2008
    Waukesha, WI
    Very simple answer.

    Area AND vehicle should be at about 60 degrees minimum. We pull our client’s vehicles in the day before installation to warm up and to clean/ prep

    You need an indoor, heated, clean facility
    • Agree Agree x 5
    • Like Like x 2
  3. WhatsYourSign?

    WhatsYourSign? Member

    Jul 13, 2018
    We're working on finding a space to do that but that doesn't answer my question about finding a backup plan.

    I appreciate your input.
  4. Modern Ink Signs

    Modern Ink Signs Premium Subscriber

    Jun 27, 2008
    Waukesha, WI
    Simply put, you need an indoor facility. Outdoors in the winter will never work

    Short term 1month lease is what you should be looking for in this instance
    • Agree Agree x 3
  5. TimToad

    TimToad Very Active Member

    Jun 13, 2013
    I'm not sure even a large RV storage canopy type structure with additional material draped over it would hold enough heat to make it work if the temperature is below freezing.

    Plus, what kind of fumes would heaters that large be throwing off and possibly asphyxiating you and your co-workers?
  6. FatCat

    FatCat Very Active Member

    Feb 12, 2007
    Columbus, Ohio
    As others have said the "right" way to do this is to have an indoor heated facility. However, in a pinch we have installed a couple trailers and box trucks using the space heater placed inside the truck or trailer. You basically leave the back door cracked a few inches for fumes, but the heat stays trapped in the trailer or box truck and the sides of the box become warm. Now, both times we did this was at a customer's location indoors with no heat - one was in the middle of February. I really don't know if it would be a good solution outdoors with the wind whipping as it would probably cool the sides too much... Also, it takes a good hour or two for the temps of the sides to come up enough to feel the warmth with your hand but it does work and the vinyl goes down surprisingly well with this method.

    Just something to consider...
    • Informative Informative x 2
    • Like Like x 1
  7. untitled

    untitled Member

    May 27, 2014
    At times when I have needed a bigger space I have talked to some of my larger clients who have big shops. A lot of the time their shop areas are not always being completely used. You should be able to work something out with them to use their space.
    • Like Like x 2
    • Agree Agree x 2
  8. pinkiss

    pinkiss Member

    Jun 28, 2018
    large tent and few heater panels, if you could get used tent that fits your size needs and few decent heaters it will be like sauna, fast to warm up easy to pack it away once winter is over.
    • Like Like x 1
  9. player

    player Major Contributor

    Apr 24, 2006
    Talk to realtors about empty space available for sale or for lease. They will rent short term.
  10. CanuckSigns

    CanuckSigns Very Active Member

    Nov 11, 2008
    Before we had a roll up door on our shop we would have to improvise as well, we have a client who is a large truck mechanic, we used one of his many buildings when we needed to, in return I do all of his oil change and other various decals at no charge. The only downside is having to bring the vehicles up there and it's not the cleanest space, but it worked.

    Now we have a 12' roll up door and havn't had a vehicle we couldn't fit in yet, but vehicle graphics are a very small part of what we do.
  11. Texas_Signmaker

    Texas_Signmaker Very Active Signmaker

    Oct 21, 2016
    Frisco, TX
    I've done box trucks as low as 35F. But use the sun to your advantage and you have to push REAL hard to get the vinyl to stick.
  12. Rick

    Rick Certified Enneadecagon Designer

    Apr 17, 2003
    Valle Vista
  13. ExecuPrintGS

    ExecuPrintGS Member

    Mar 21, 2013
    Hartland, WI
    Make a friend who has a space big enough to pull the vehicle inside. We borrowed space in a body shop for years before getting our indoor space. Traded some small work for them as thanks but they were happy to help.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  14. Ere

    Ere Member

    Jul 12, 2018
    We pay one of our customers to use their space on a weekend. It is a floor business so it is farely clean. We have a mechanic friend but the space was just too dirty. The smaller vehicles we can fit no problem. Better to do it right and get great reviews and more work through word of mouth than force it in the cold.
  15. kalcopy

    kalcopy New Member

    Sep 27, 2018
    As others have said, we have used the clients faculties if the vehicle / trailer was too large for ours. We did a couple 30ft trailers for a landscape company last year, and we just don't have that much length in our bay. But they have a large shop we used. Normally we charge additional to do installs on-site vs our location, but waived the extra fee since we wouldn't fit the trailers into our shop.

    Other option might be a heated storage unit. Something like boat or RV storage. I know some people who have rented a heated storage unit for a couple months when they needed a larger workshop space in other industries. Might be an option for large vehicle installs.
  16. datoshway

    datoshway Member

    Oct 26, 2011
    Rhode Island
    You can do wraps outside in the cold in a pinch if you heat as you go. Get the Hot Shot by ImageoneImact.
  17. kcollinsdesign

    kcollinsdesign Active Member

    Apr 22, 2007
    Normal, Illinois
    Nothing under 45º F. Have I done it colder? Yes. Did the customer pay me? Yes. Was the quality good? No.

    You can get away with a lot putting graphics on trailers and box trucks. Your work will be under much tighter scrutiny if it is on a Shelby GT.
    • Like Like x 1
  18. SouthEastMIsigns

    SouthEastMIsigns Member

    Mar 12, 2018
    This is probably the best advice. I do this with one of my landscaping clients that has a massive cement floor heated pole barn. We offered him a discount on some work in the summer for a few IOUs to use the barn over the winter when we get specialty trucks or box trucks/trailers that are too tall or long to fit into our shop. It's worked out great for us as we don't have to scramble around when we get a large truck/trailer job in the winter; we just call in the favor.
  19. SightLine

    SightLine Very Active Member

    Year ago before we had our current shop I made a deal with a couple of places that could accommodate us for that sort of thing for a reasonable price per day... Our current shop - had the same scenario. 12ft door.... since its a gable end and I have a 14' ceiling we recently had the opening cut up taller to 13'8" and a larger door put in. On one occasion though - had a box truck that was about 2 inches too tall, we have a forklift as well as a scissor lift, let half the air out of the tires on the box truck and used the forklift to set the 2000lb scissor lift inside of it! :D Worked great....lol

    This also works great for removals.... ;) Heat the entire box (or trailer) from within.
    • Informative Informative x 1
    • Pure Genius! Pure Genius! x 1
  20. fastmax

    fastmax Member

    Dec 18, 2015

    i know some peopel have used big tents in a parking lot and heated them with spaceheaters/kerosene etc but the reality is you cant wrap good in the cold, if you MUST wrap in the cold, start measuring the clients expectations becuase quality will go down....good wrap vinyl will not work, but if you are doing the side of a box truck i know visual solutions 909 aka MetroMark is rated to work as low as 50*F at least on flat surfaces and 3m does have some new cold weather vinyl but i have not used it and im sure its very expensive

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