Updated: Jul 14
When I started my equine practice, one of the random things I was dying to get (someday!) was a wrap on my car. Why? Back then I'd say they looked "professional" for my mobile business, but in hindsight, I think subconsciously to me companies that had cool wraps look like they had "made it."
Three years after I took over my practice, the time had come. I had two vehicles at this point, and I was getting them both wrapped.
And, my experience with wraps has gone delightfully unexpectedly. They have surpassed all of my expectations, and that is a direct result of our profession: because we work with animals, wraps can produce all kinds of interesting results for you if they are designed well, as people are innately drawn to animals.
Ignore the fact that my business was mobile, and the wrap was on my work vehicle: I'm going to go out on a limb and say that my experience using them was so unexpected that I think everyone should be using them, as long as you have a personal car. If you don't, you're off the hook.
I want to highlight a few of my experiences:
Gas stations tended to be the place where people would approach us about our mobile stocks (What are these contraptions? Do you drive while the horses are in them?). It was the same for the wraps. People would come up and ask if it was okay to take a picture of the wraps. You'd think these were only local horse owners, but you'd be mistaken - these sometimes were not even animal people at all. Or they were from out of town, but enjoyed them anyway, because, horses.
Parking lots. So you're minding your own business doing your grocery shopping, but some creep is staring at you. Now they're headed your way. Actually...they have horses and want your card. This has happened to me multiple times at the grocery store alone.
Our clients' kids apparently also got a kick out of our car and affectionately referred to it as "The Horsemobile" when they saw it around town. I like to think that was an emotional connection that was being formed with our clients outside of horrible medical visits??
One time we were stuck in traffic and got a phone call from someone next to us who wanted us to extract her (human) teeth. She was having a hard time comprehending that it wasn't her insurance that was the issue.
Clients loved taking pictures of their own horses with the horses on the car....then posting that on social media. #WINNING
Quantifying Return on Investment
When you look at investing in new equipment, property, or really any spending of money, you need to look at return on investment (ROI), which mathematically is how much money you will get out of that investment divided by how much you put in.
There is a hugely problematic area of business when it comes to applying ROI, and that's marketing. How do you apply this concept of ROI?
Well, there are ways, and you should absolutely try to use them when you can, but in the real world, you can't always do so.
For example, a way you can use a ROI in marketing:
Post on your Facebook page saying that you are having a dental special for $40 off "if you mention this ad, Code DENTAL40OFF."
You spend $50 to promote it. The special is good for only a month.
At the end of that month, the results are as follows:
You got 30 dentals from this ad x $350 each x 15% profit margin = $1575 profit.
You spent $50 on the ad.
ROI = $1575/$50 = 31.5%
So your Return on Investment for the ad is 31%. I'd say that's decent?
Well, what if Coca-Cola bought a billboard? How do they calculate ROI?
To calculate ROI, you need a direct connection to tie Activity 1 to Result 1. It's no different from the scientific method. If it's not direct, the connection cannot be made.
Does that mean Coke's marketing department doesn't know what they're doing? Of course not. What they do know about, though, is the Rule of 7: that consumers often need to be exposed to a message seven times before they will act on it.
Like a lot of marketing, car wraps are going to fall under items that are difficult to place an ROI on. I know I've received business from them, but how much? Ehhh???
But, I'd unequivocally get them again.
Benefits of car wraps
Multi-locational marketing: It goes wherever your car does, and gets up to 2.5 more impressions than billboards! Park it in the front of your lot at work. Park it in conspicuous locations when you shop. It's your billboard if you do vaccine clinics.
Social media: Reward your clients for posting pictures online with it - be creative! Also be sure to maximize the graphic design so that they will want to take pictures with it. We accidentally fell into this goldmine when our design apparently looked like the horse was coming out of the back window of the car. Think of what funny, creative, or even viral things you could do with dogs, cats, and exotics!
I don't know - to me, there's just something about a business that took the time and effort to go beyond lettering and magnets. The professionalism boost is exponential on the investment.
Especially if you are a mobile vet, consider the that the outside of your vehicle is the first impression that you will make on your clients as you pull into their farm or up to their house. You want it to be the best one you can.
How to get a wrap and considerations
I want to talk about this first, as many probably think they're too expensive, and a waste of money that should be spent elsewhere. First, when it comes to advertising, they tend to cost on average about $0.04 per 1000 impressions, which is better than social media, by far.
Second, let me introduce you to: PARTIAL WRAPS!
I didn't know these were a thing until I started shopping for wraps. These are a way of getting your car wrapped at half or less of the price, as it is only a portion of your vehicle getting wrapped.
There are some disadvantages. First of all, if you or the graphic designer intend for the wrap color to transition into the color of your car, your car needs to be either white or black. Any other color is nearly impossible to color-match on the wraps.
Second, there is the risk of sun-bleaching around partial wraps. That ended up not being a problem for me, as mobile vets burn through cars quickly and the wraps lasted until both cars bit the dust.
What was the cost? The quotes I received in 2015 in South Carolina were around $2500 for a full wrap for my SUVs, and I paid $1,150 each for partial wraps on two Chevy Equinoxes. They were very well designed and applied. I'm sure costs are higher now, and cost of living is definitely higher elsewhere.
How to find a GOOD wrap company
First of all, wrap companies may be just that, but they are often sign companies. Such companies offer wraps as well as plain lettering/decals for your car. If you are a mobile practice that travels at night, you might also ask if they offer decals that are reflective - these light up nicely when headlights hit them, which can add safety perks as well as marketing.
What's the difference between a wrap company a good wrap company? From my standpoint, the consumer, I would have two concerns based on past experiences: that they have a creative, skilled designer and are meticulous when it comes to applying the wrap.
If you have a bad design, you might as well not even bother. If they don't apply it well, it's going to come off too soon or have bubbles. Alternatively, it may not even match the design you approved. I've had friends where both have happened.
What NOT to do:
Don't cold call companies - this was a waste of time for me
Don't look online for reviews - you want to see the end product
What to do:
Look at all the wraps you see around you to find designs/skill level you like
Write down the contact information on those vehicles and ask them where they got their wraps done and their experience with those companies
How long will a wrap last?
Long enough! I believe we were told 2-3 years, but luckily for you, I have an A/B test to provide you:
One car stayed in a driveway with shade: that wrap was in fair to good condition when the car itself died about three years later (see picture of white car).
Second car stayed in a full-sun driveway: that wrap was bleached out and cracking in certain areas at about year four.
What happens when I need to remove it?
The company who applies it will remove it for you! Ask them when they apply it how much it costs to remove it. For me, it ended up being a non-issue, as I did not need to remove it when I traded in my car.
I hope you'll consider this interesting marketing tool for your practice! If you have any questions, feel free to reach out 👇 below in the comments, or your can email here or on Instagram or Facebook.
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