truck wrap, bad wrap, poor wrap, failure, wrap alternative, truck signage, bedfin mobile billboard


Why compare face tattoos and pickup truck wraps? Not only for an antagonistic headline, but the similarities may surprise you. This article pokes fun at printed vinyl wraps and tattooed faces, but in all honesty and to be fair, I don’t think wraps nor tattoos are bad. However, I find both a bit limiting in business. I’ll be sharing why I think a Bedfin mobile billboard is a superior alternative if you’re contemplating a printed vinyl wrap, spot graphics, or cut vinyl for your pickup truck. Wrap companies will take this as a direct attack. I get that, but for a long time, wraps were the best option. That’s no longer the case, and businesses with pickup trucks ought to know. For cars, wraps may still be the best option (for now).

Two things before I get started. First, my apologies to any of you with face tattoos. I’m sure they’re lovely. Second, as the creator of Bedfin, I’m biased, but I urge you to hear me out. Suffering through this comparison is a small price to pay for the money it can save you. And after all, these are the reasons I didn't wrap my truck.

Why Get a Truck Wrap When
    1 )   it can't communicate the real you
    2 )   doing it yourself will save money, but is never recommended
    3 )   it looks worse with age
    4 )   You'll probably regret the design
    5 )   you'll eventually pay to remove it, but you'll always know it was there

Can't Communicate the Real You
For being a form of expression, face tattoos aren’t good communicators. Yeah, you’ll stand out, but to know the person behind the ink, I must first get past the many stereotypes. The same is true of most wraps. They’ll display a business name, the company colors, and in some cases an actual product or service. You might think that’s perfect. Why isn’t that enough?

Let’s pretend you own an equipment rental company. What kind of equipment do you rent? Do you rent to weekend warriors or just commercial contractors? This kind of information is too much to cram onto one wrap design. With too much information, everything is ignored. So wraps are intentionally kept simple and vague. And when every other equipment rental company with a wrap does the same thing, where’s the differentiation between you and them? Why should I choose you over your competition?

By contrast, Bedfin uses replaceable and reusable message panels, which gives you the ability to say a lot of different things over time. With this kind control, a you can experiment to determine which messaging resonates best with people on the road. A variety of panels can be displayed at different times of the year for relevance. Limited time offers and special promotions can be advertised while they are valid. New equipment can be promoted while it’s still new and will have the greatest impact. You’d never get this kind of control with a wrap.

Doing It Yourself Will Save Money, But Is Never Recommended
Thanks to YouTube, we’re now a culture of DIY (do-It-Yourself) warriors. I think everyone will agree, tattoos should be left to the professionals, and I will extend that to vinyl graphics for your vehicle, also. To take on installation yourself is simply not a very good idea. For one, you’ll have no warranty. Secondly, a professional installer understands the nuance of various vehicles and has the skills to address challenging areas.

Having a wrap designed and installed professionally will be very expensive. The majority of what you’re paying for is expert labor. The more elaborate your design, the more it will cost. Be sure not to overlook the cost of downtime. It could take up to a week for a wrap installation after the artwork is approved. Thinking of just a partial wrap or spot graphics to save time and money? Later, I’ll explain why a that could be a big mistake.

Bedfin, on the other hand, is a very DIY product. While I encourage customers to have the Bedfin message panels professionally printed, Bedfin installation and swapping out the reusable message panels could not be simpler or faster. The initial Bedfin installation takes about 30 minutes and requires no drilling. Changing your message requires no tools and takes only 30 seconds. That means no downtime and huge money savings. Take the system on and off as many times whenever you need at no additional cost.

Both Look Worse With Age
Even if you follow the recommended care instructions, your wrap will show signs of wear and tear simply from aging. Most warranties are for 1-3 years and come with a list of exclusions. That’s understandable, though. There are many factors which will impact the longevity of your wrap. Things like the vehicle’s condition at the time of install, the type and brand of the vinyl used, the weather the truck is subjected to, temperature fluctuations, sunlight exposure, driving conditions, and how it’s cared for. You’ll also want to avoid incidental contact with objects while loading your truck, as that can cause scuffs and rips. Any blemishes then become a potential catastrophic failure point. Here’s a good example of a poor performing wrap.

While Bedfin message panels might only last the same amount of time as a wrap, they can be changed out very inexpensively when they start showing their age. Here’s an example of the message panel material used in Bedfin sign systems. You’ll probably recognize it as a lot of yard signs and real estate signs can be made from it. It’s easy to come by for any printer which means your cost is super reasonable.

You’ll Probably Regret the Design
If you’re anything like me, when settling on a design - be it for a brochure, a web page, or a Bedfin message panel - I almost always reach a point where I wish I would have done it slightly differently. It’s usually just a minor tweak. But if you wrap your truck or tattoo your face, you’re looking at a long-term commitment. It’s costly to fix, and so most folks just leave it as is. At least with a Bedfin mobile billboard, printing a new panel is inexpensive and takes only 30 seconds to swap out without the use of tools. There is no reason to settle for a design that you aren’t happy with.

Someday You’ll Pay To Remove It, But You’ll Always Know It Was There
Whether you’re selling your truck, or your wrap is looking ratty, or you’re changing the wrap design, you’ll someday have your wrap removed. As with tattoo removal, you shouldn’t attempt it yourself, and so there are cost and time considerations. Many shops will charge by the hour and won’t give you a firm quote up front.

Much like your skin after a tattoo removal, your truck paint finish after removing a wrap may never be the same. During the wrap process razor blades are used to trim the vinyl. Using delicate pressure, installers will often cut against your paint finish which could result in fine cut lines in the clear coat and deeper into the paint. These risks and others are probably buried somewhere in the disclaimers of the purchase agreement. The disclaimers will indemnify the wrap company from claims of damage caused by things like water seeping under the film, the sun baking the vinyl into the factory finish, paint lifting because factory paint had preexisting damage, or the repainted surfaces were not prepped properly.

If you decided on just a partial wrap or spot graphics, you’ll most certainly notice finish variations once your vinyl is removed. Wherever your truck wasn’t wrapped and was exposed to the elements will have weathered. Small swirls from washing, pits from sand and grit on the road, and oxidation will have occurred. This is typical on any car with or without a wrap. However, the places covered by the wrap will look a lot less affected by these age factors. A significant and obvious distinction between the surfaces will be seen. I know this as ghosting. You’ll see exactly where your old graphics were. Significant detailing will be required to eliminate or maybe only reduce the signs.

On the other hand, you can remove a Bedfin system simply, quickly, and without affecting your paint finish.

If you would like to learn more about Bedfin and how you can grow your business without tattooing your face, please visit or click a button below. Your mother would be proud.