Imagine installing paint protection film (PPF) without the use of your legs. For Aaron Lanningham and his Stansbury, Utah-based business Wraps on Wheels, it’s an everyday reality.

In 1994, Lanningham was in a motorcycle racing accident and sustained an “incomplete” injury that left him with little movement in his legs. He’s now a full-time wheelchair-user.

Despite that, four years ago he started a business wrapping cars.

“I’ve always been interested in the automotive industry. I used to work in paint and, when vinyl offered a full color-change option, I got into that,” he says. A year later, he learned PPF and added it to his repertoire. “It was a way to make more money. It requires more skills and I like the challenge.”

Lanningham is based less than 20 miles from the booming metro of Salt Lake City. Salt Lake City was the first major U.S. metro to recover its jobs from the Covid lockdowns and has been on an economic- and population-growth tear ever since. Despite that, and thanks to its unique geography, its urban core drops off quickly and his area only has one car dealership for now. While they’ve provided some referrals, it hasn’t been quite enough.

“I am starving for work,” he admits. “It’s been tough.”

Aaron Lanningham next to a racing car he’d just installed the wrap then PPF on.

That isn’t Lanningham’s only challenge. He’s also needed a shoulder replacement for more than a decade but is worried about his mobility post-surgery.

“When I found out it was going to put me down for three months—everything you do when you’re in a wheelchair is shoulder-related,” he explains, noting he’s currently using menthol patches to soothe the pain. “You can’t get out of bed without your shoulders, so I’ve just been sticking it out.”

Car height is also an obstacle—especially raised trucks. He physically can’t install on cars above a certain height. That doesn’t stop him from accepting the jobs, though.

“I never turn away work—if I did that, I wouldn’t have a business,” he says. “I have part-time helpers that can do those jobs.”

The 61-year-old does receive social security, but that only covers the essentials like his mortgage. “It doesn’t cover any fun, that’s for damn sure,” Lanningham says, referring to his hobby of time-attack racing his 2012 Corvette Grand Sport.

Jobs tend to take Lanningham a bit more time than your average installer.

“A front hood, bumper, and fenders take me about two days—that’s by myself,” he says. “It takes me eight hours to do—but after four hours I need a break. It’s half from the old age and half from the wheelchair. If I have help, it can take me 4 to 8 hours. It just depends on how much money I want to keep for myself.”

He works mobile from his adapted Honda Pilot, and says his goal is to one day have his own shop.

“I’d like to get into a brick-and-mortar. The idea is to get to the point where I’m overseeing the whole thing,” he says.

With Utah’s fast-growing population and Lanningham’s work ethic, that future may not be far off.

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