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Full Vehicle Wraps, Custom Fleet Paint, Decals

If it’s a custom look you want for your commercial vehicle or your whole fleet, there’s a couple different options you have, to achieve it. In this article we’ll break down the pros and cons of full vehicle wraps, custom paint and a combination of paint and decals.


Regardless of how you achieve a finished look for your fleet, it’s important that you do, seeing as it’s one of the most cost-effective forms of marketing available. A study done by 3M shows that the cost per thousand impressions is almost $24 on television as opposed to your standard outdoor advertising options like billboards coming in at around $4 which are only blown away further by the option of fleet graphics costing you a mere 48 CENTS per thousand impressions!

How you can best choose to spend that 48 cents to get those thousand impressions, depends on your priorities and what you’re working with.


Do Not wrap! The only thing a wrap can effectively cover is color. If you’re dealing with any paint imperfections – especially those of a textured nature, you’ll need to have the vehicle repainted first as the imperfections will show through the wrap, could hinder the wrap from properly adhering to the vehicle and make removal a messy process leaving further damage to the paint than it began with. For a professional, sleek finish, wraps need to be applied to a perfectly smooth and clean surface.


Wrapping in this case will most likely be your best bet as it will be more cost effective to have detailed designs done on a computer by a designer and printed onto the wrap versus having it all custom painted in layers.


A high-quality wrap can last a good 7 years which is the same length as the warranty on most high-quality paint finishes, although paint finishes typically long outlast their warranty. Care and repairs however are where the longevity is affected. If you plan to make drastic changes in colors and/or designs often, wraps will serve you much better as they are a much quicker change when you’re doing large scale projects.

However, if you plan to keep the colors consistent and only foresee smaller body maintenance needs, paint is repaired much more easily. To repair a wrap, you’ll need to rewrap whole sections and panels, or if you choose to patch in areas you'll be left with extra seams, as opposed to paint that can be buffed, sanded, resprayed and blended in both large and smaller areas.


As mentioned above maintenance plays a large role in the longevity of your vehicles finish; so how much time and patience you have for maintenance is an important factor in this decision. Caring for a wrap is more tedious than caring for your paint. You’ll want to avoid brushes and automatic washes as they can tear and damage the wrap; as well as pressure washing, which can cause edges and seams to peel back. If you choose not to paint, you’ll need to commit extra time to hand washing the wrapped vehicles with softer cloths and sponges.


If you want high-quality factory finishes; PAINT! While wraps offer easier customization with graphics, they can’t compete in depth of color and finish. Paint will always be higher gloss offering a sleek finish that wraps cannot. A true factory finish is only possible in paint as well because of a wraps inability to match the engine bay, hinges, door jams and give a seamless finish.


Both options – custom paint and wraps – have their pros and cons. A great way to get the best of both worlds is to do a high-quality paint finish with added details like custom striping, then finish it off with decals. For example, here at RTI we can give your vehicle a factory finish in any color and then offer custom paint and decals designed for added flair to match your fleet to your company’s brand.

Painted details like custom striping here at RTI, are hand laid out to your truck’s specs and then computer generated and cut into paint masking for perfect design every time! And of course, top it all off with decals of your company’s logo. You could also opt for the details like custom striping to be done in vinyl with printed graphics and your company’s logo printed straight into the design but without having to sacrifice the depth of the colors done in paint. When you combine these two great options of paint and decals, the possibilities are endless!

If you’re ready to brand your vehicle or fleet, RTI has a crew of art-minded individuals ready to work with you to plan the perfect finish! Use the Contact button below to get your free estimate on RTI’s refinishing and decaling services.

the body shop blog, answers to our most frequently asked questions regarding body work in the commercial vehicle industry
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