Why PPF Installers Should Consider Adding Vinyl Services

By Katherine Coig

It’s usually a two-sided argument—can an installer transition into PPF if he or she has mastered vinyl, and vice versa? Similar in nature, yes, but different installation methods. The debate is open to opinion, but according to some installers wraps can bring in profit when a PPF sale falls through. This, they say, makes vinyl the perfect add-on for PPF shops looking to increase their bottom line.

Learning to Install

“A PPF installer is going to be able to switch over to wrapping very easily,” says Jeremiah Bienko, manager and installer at Auto Safe and Sound in Tampa, Fla. “I have no doubt that a PPF installer would be able to pick up the technique very quickly.”

Beinko says the basic concept of stretching the materials is very similar, and the few differences it does have shouldn’t prevent a PPF installer from exploring the service.

“Just like there are a lot of intricacies to installing PPF, it’s the same with vinyl. The basics are there, although vinyl goes on dry,” says Chris Connor, co-owner of Seven Wraps in Southampton, Pa. “I think an installer who’s proficient in PPF could wrap his own car and get a feel for it and how the material works. After practicing an entire car, it’s something he could transition into easily.”

According to both Beinko and Connor, the hardest part of learning to install vinyl is going from a wet installation to a dry one.

“Switching from the wet to dry world is going to require a little bit of finesse, for sure,” Beinko advises. “But there are some great classes available that would definitely help a PPF installer.”

Connor adds, “Compared to PPF, it’s definitely a lot easier to learn. The major obstacle with vinyl is the finish work—making sure you don’t have fingers or the little creases, and making sure it’s super smooth and paint-like.” However, vinyl is a forgiving material unlike PPF, he says, so an installer can nearly destroy the film and still come back from it.

Bringing in Vinyl

According to Beinko, the two films have an overlapping consumer base, both usually bringing in high-end vehicles. But if a customer is daunted by the price tag of PPF, Beinko says it’s usually not hard to sell them on a wrap.

“Offer a carbon fiber mirror instead of PPF—that opens the door. Can I put a little piece at the bottom lip? Absolutely. Will it protect the paint like PPF? Not as well, but, yes. Does it cost as much? No,” Beinko says. “Now the guy that came in for a front-end PPF install is getting his entire car wrapped.”

Connor agrees, and says that when he has a customer who wasn’t anticipating the price of a PPF installation, he also introduces them to vinyl’s capabilities, although the custom aesthetic is usually a selling point.

“Sometimes people will want PPF on the entire car— that’s about double the cost of a color-change wrap,” Connor says. “I quote them, they say that’s more than they were expecting, so I show them a wrap. It’s more palatable for some people.”

A Few Considerations

There are a few things to consider, Beinko warns, such as determining which side of the industry you want to cater to: commercial or color-change.

“The commercial world is a big industry that’s very hard to compete with. Color-changing wraps are very different,”  he says. “There’s more opportunity, but there’s a lot of creativity involved that I wasn’t expecting when I first started.”

He also says a hurdle installers may have to overcome is the mechanical side of the business. “One of the biggest challenges when learning how to wrap? Taking the car apart,” Beinko says. “PPF installers may not know how to do that, but you need to be prepared for that with vinyl.”

Beinko’s advice? Practice, practice, practice.

“You need to do your research. Don’t just jump into it blindfolded,” he says. “The internet is a wonderful thing.”

Katherine Coig is the editor of PPFMag. She may be reached at kcoig@glass.com

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