Truck Wraps & Semi Truck Wraps

What Are Truck Wraps And How Can They Benefit You Or Your Business?

Have you ever noticed a truck with a design wrapped all the way around the vehicle and a logo? Of course you have! Truck wraps are everywhere, and for a good reason. They help you stand out from the crowd, build your personal brand or business brand, protect your truck, and much more.

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    Large black truck with a wrap of flames on black promoting a shop and a quote from the page.

    [*Photos of Actual Truck Wraps Installed]

    Let's talk about those truck wraps - why are they critical to individuals and businesses alike, and how do they serve as mobile billboards? How do installers wrap your truck? How much does it cost? How long does it take? We'll answer these questions and much more below. Let's get to it.

    Your Semi Truck Wrap Or Truck Wrap - What About it?

    What They Are And How They Can Benefit You & Your Business 

    Truck wraps are wraps. On a truck. Tractor trailer wraps are wraps on a semi truck. Or, if you want to get technical about it, they feature an adhesive graphic film or large vinyl decal that goes over the entire truck, or parts of it. Sometimes, they even extend over the side windows and rear windshield.

    Decals that go over windows have tiny perforations that allow the driver to see through them without trouble. These perforations maintain the appearance of the all-over wrap, even though they're transparent.

    All sorts of people and businesses use wraps for their trucks. They bring attention and awareness to whatever they have to offer. Chain restaurants may print gargantuan versions of tasty food items on their wraps. They design these ads to make you hungry. How many times have you (or people in general) ordered a pizza because you saw an especially delicious-looking ad? They work.

    They may not make people hungry, but diesel trucks, semi trucks, and service trucks for HVAC, plumbers, and contractors catch drivers' attention too. Whether the truck is on the move or parked in someone's driveway, it's doing its job as a mobile billboard. A creative and unique design on a truck can help prospective customers remember your business over others. If they remember your truck, they might pick you. Top-of-mind awareness goes a long way.

    Anyway, truck wraps go over the car's existing paint job. The process of printing and applying the vehicle wrap is way faster than painting the same design would be.

    All it takes is 3 simple steps to create your truck wrap:
    • Step #1 - Measuring the vehicle's specs and creating the design for the vinyl wrap.
    • Step #2 - Printing the vinyl and laminating it to protect against scratches and fading.
    • Step #3 - Carefully applying the vinyl to your truck.

    And that's it! Wrapped. Of course, it's easier said than done. And that's why hiring a 3M Certified UASG Installer is always your best bet. Now that we've covered the what, let's dive into the why.

    Why Use Truck Wraps?

    So. We know what they are. We know what they do. But why get them to begin with? The most obvious answer is, they look good. Who doesn't like a good wrap? We'll cover that more, but first, let's talk money.

    1. Vehicle Wraps Are Cost-Effective

    Compared to a paint job, truck wraps can be super cost-effective, for several reasons:

    • The graphic film is not a costly material.
    • The vehicle wraps printing and installation process is not as expensive as painting, either.
    • The results of a printed truck wrap are often more appealing and precise than painting or airbrushing. (Especially at similar prices.)
    • Vehicle wraps have a lower cost per impression (CPI) than other kinds of advertising like billboards, television, and radio.
    • Vinyl truck wraps look great, and overall, cost much less than it would take to have a painter attempt the same project.
    • They preserve your paint job beneath, keeping it just as pristine and valuable as it was when you drove it off the lot. (See more below.)

    A well-installed commercial vehicle wrap is a durable and long-lasting advertisement for your personal brand or business. Ads that cost less than a paint job. In short, more people will see your truck's message for less money.

    2. You'll Get Noticed & Expand The Brand

    One of the great things about truck wraps is they're serious attention-grabbers. That's kind of the main thing. Statistics indicate that advertising on moving vehicles is a remarkable way to get your business noticed. Americans drive about 14,000 miles per person per year. One research study notes that 91% of people notice truck wrap advertising and can recall it days later. It's hard not to notice a colorful and well-designed truck wrap when you're sitting in traffic!

    Think about it this way. A truck over its lifetime will drive what, 100,000 miles, 200k? Maybe more? How many thousands upon thousands of people will see that truck? People in your sales territory.

    According to the American Trucking Association, a single truck can get 16 million impressions or more, in only 12 months.

    That's a lot of people who can instantly become aware of your business and the products and services you offer! It also helps that 97% of drivers remember the vehicle ads they see (according to a study from Plumbing & Mechanical).

    Fact is, wrapping your trucks can take your brand expansion to the next level.

    3. Your Resale Value May Be Better

    A well-installed vinyl truck wrap can preserve the quality of your truck's factory paint job. High-quality vinyl truck wraps can help you keep your vehicle's worth higher than a traditional paint job can. An automobile with its original paint job in good condition is more valuable than one with dings and scratches.

    Wear and tear on a vehicle's paint job is normal. Scratches and dings happen when you're driving and parking in different places. The paint may also deteriorate and fade with exposure to the sun, rain, and dust. The original paint of the car may get damaged or worn out, which would lower its resale value. With a vinyl truck wrap safeguarding your truck's paint job, your truck's resale value may be higher.

    4. Your Vinyl Truck Wrap Represents YOU Better

    This is the most important thing by far for many people. They want their truck wrapped in an ultra-specific way that captures their personal brand (or company brand if this is for that). A good vinyl wrap can make your truck an extension of your personality.

    Think about it. You get to choose the precise details, like your favorite color or combination of colors, specific graphics; colors (even color-shifting colors) and styles nobody else has. Custom truck wraps are the polar opposite of boring. And they represent you, far better than a bland stock paint job. And if you liked your paint job to begin with, now you have variety! Because you can take the wrap off when you're bored of it, and enjoy the paint job until you're feeling another change.

    5. They're More Durable

    As we've already mentioned, vinyl wraps protect the paint job beneath, and are super durable. They're actually better at resisting dings and scratches than your typical paint job. This is especially important if you use your truck for heavy-duty work or play.

    A top-quality wrap will protect your truck from the many dings and scratches you'd get otherwise, from rocks, pebbles, branches, and more. Not to mention protection from the sun, because of the UV-protective vinyl coating.

    Thanks to this durability, you can enjoy your customized look for many years, with minimal maintenance. And when you're bored of it, just take it off and enjoy the original paint job. It should be just as fresh as it was when you wrapped it. Or if you're feeling like switching things up again, get a new wrap! Need to wrap a bus? Discover bus wraps here.

    Who Uses a Business Truck Wrap?

    All kinds of people and businesses use vinyl truck wraps. Generally, people who want the professional, eye-grabbing look of a high-quality paint job without the price tag.

    They can get the multifaceted look of a custom paint job, at a fraction of the cost. Also, people who want the speed advantage. The vinyl wrap application process is generally much faster, after all.

    You can apply wraps to any kind of truck; semi trucks, company trucks, personal trucks, etc. But people with companies typically need them the most.

    For example, trade service companies needing commercial vehicle wraps, like:
    • General contractors
    • HVAC companies
    • Plumbing contractors
    • Electricians
    • Roofing companies
    • Painting companies
    • Landscapers
    • Professional cleaners
    Or delivery based businesses, like: 
    • Pizza restaurants
    • Sub stations
    • Florists
    • Grocery stores
    • Meal kits delivery businesses
    • Food delivery business
    • Laundry & dry cleaners
    • Furniture delivery companies

    And so many more. Just take a look next time you're driving. You'll see all sorts of businesses with truck wraps showing off their brand and offerings. You'll see a massive variety in the types of trucks sporting a wrap too.

    For example, you may see a business truck wrap on:
    Our 3M Certified graphics installation companies have installed top-tier wraps on the following trucks and many others:
    • Dodge Ram
    • Chevy Colorado
    • Jeep Gladiator
    • Ford F-150
    • Ford F-550
    • Nissan Titan
    • Chevy Silverado
    • Nissan Frontier
    • GMC Canyon
    • Toyota Tundra
    • Ford Ranger
    • Freightliner Cascadia
    • GMC Sierra
    • Honda Ridgeline
    • Toyota Tacoma
    • Ford Super Duty

    Unusual surface shapes may provide a challenge for installers. Regardless, an experienced professional can smooth your truck wrap over most curves.

    Even people or businesses who don't own their vehicle can have truck wraps installed. Leased vehicles usually are newer with factory paint jobs. This will lessen the possibility of the vinyl removal process pulling up the paint. Always get permission from your leasing company before applying any kind of truck wrap or decal.

    Types Of Truck Wraps

    Now, what types of wraps are we working with? There's 3 basic categories.

    The Decal

    You may already be familiar with the idea of a vinyl decal, which is a smaller piece of vinyl applied to a truck. This may be the most cost-effective option for businesses not wanting anything complicated. These can come in all sizes. It could include a hand-sized logo or a small panel. The panel could advertise your business's contact information.

    partial vehicle wraps

    A partial truck wrap is a great option for individuals and businesses who want the high-quality look of a vinyl truck wrap, but don't want the whole thing done. Depending on what kind of truck it is, a partial wrap may only go over the front part of the vehicle, like the hood and front fenders. If it's a large truck, like a semi trailer or tanker truck, the vinyl wrap may only go over the trailer or tanker. There are many partial/half wrap options to choose from when it comes to partial truck wraps.

    Many individuals looking for pickup truck wrap designs choose to put a wrap over just the tailgate of the truck bed. This is inexpensive and allows truck owners to showcase their personality and individuality.

    The Full Truck Wrap

    Lots of vehicles opt for a full truck wrap, to fully personalize every square inch of their truck, or to grab the attention of as many potential customers as possible. Full wraps can be as simple or as creative and ornate as the customer wants them to be. Work trucks, semi trucks and trailers, and tanker trucks offer lots of real estate for you to advertise and market your business. Some people even pay other people to advertise for them on their cars or trucks using full vinyl truck wraps. And why not? It works!

    How Long Does It Take To Install My Truck Wrap?

    Prepping your truck for the installation process may actually take longer than the actual installation of your wrap. You will need to wash your truck, making sure there is no dirt, dust, or debris left on your vehicle. This includes places where the wrap won't go. The vinyl will stick much better to a clean paint job.

    There is another step before installing your wrap. If your truck has a lot of dings or dents, you might want to consider getting those repaired. A smooth surface works better for the vinyl film.

    Rust is also going to lower the lifetime of your wrap. If your truck has any rusty spots, the metal may continue to deteriorate underneath the vinyl wrap. For this reason, many truck wrap installers may refuse to place their wraps on a rusty truck. Rust makes the wrap not last as long. It may peel or crack where the paint is rusting.

    Once your truck is spotless, ding and rust-free, installing a wrap is a cinch. Depending on the size and complexity of the wrap, it could take as little as a few hours. Large and complicated pieces can take a few days but usually less. As you can see, preparing your truck can easily be much more time-consuming than the actual wrap installation!

    How Long Does A Truck Wrap Last?

    Truck wraps are vulnerable to extreme heat and cold, but a well-cared-for truck wrap can last between 5-8 years. That's a long time for you to collect the return on your investment. That is, you'll get a whole lot of advertising out of a single installation cost. There's a reason virtually every successful company you can think of (with a fleet) has invested in wraps.

    Now, there's a few ways to get your truck wrap to last as long as possible.

    #1 - Prep The Truck

    Go all out when it comes to prepping your vehicle before installation. Make sure that puppy is spotless. Not a speck of rust, dirt or dents. That way, the vinyl will adhere beautifully to your truck. Your installer will treat your vehicle before installation and get it even cleaner, but it doesn't hurt to help them out.

    #2 - Wash Your Truck The Right Way

    Another way to keep your truck wrap in good shape is to wash it gently, because dirt and other residue can cause the vinyl film to fade. Scrubbers and strong solvents may also cause your vinyl to fade.

    #3 - Work With 3M Certified UASG Installer

    If you work with a reputable installer, they'll use high-quality materials. This will also lengthen the lifetime of your truck wrap. Good quality truck wraps are much less likely to crack, fade, or peel. And who wraps it is incredibly important. Do yourself a favor - only choose the best.

    3M Certified UASG Installers will always use the highest quality materials. This provides a beautiful truck wrap that'll last for years to come. And wraps aren't the only custom graphics they provide. If you have a tradeshow or similar event, you might want to read our event graphics guide! And if you're looking for bus wrap ideas instead - Go here.

    How Much Does A Wrap Cost For A Truck?

    It really depends. On the size of the vehicle, for one, the type of wrap, and the quality of the wrap as well. One way or the other, it's cheaper than a traditional paint job, which can cost $5,000, $10,000, even $20,000. (And sometimes more.)

    Both individuals & businesses prefer professional wraps over paint. Why? 
    • A professional paint job can easily cost twice as much or more.
    • Truck wraps can save a lot of money. (Especially for branded vehicles that cover a lot ground, like semi trucks or home service company trucks for example)
    • They also lessen the total cost of covering several vehicles.
    • Furthermore, paint jobs need extra care, which raises the cost over time.
    • Maintenance on wraps is simpler, which helps you save money.

    When you look at all the advantages, it's clear that vinyl truck wraps are probably your best bet. You'll have a long-lasting piece of advertising that thousands if not millions of people will see. You'll also put your best foot forward for prospective clients, because your trucks will look polished and professional. But remember, quality matters, especially with wraps. It makes all the difference. And speaking of…

    Who are the UASG?

    As a 3M partner vetting only the best graphics installation companies, UASG is one of the most trusted names in the industry. Our mission is to establish the highest standards for the graphics installation trade. How? By cultivating in our members integrity, professionalism, reliability, and quality.

    Our members are committed to this high standard and have proven themselves over the years. (Through ethical business practices, multiple tests, interviews, top-tier training and 3M certification.)

    They're committed to installing your truck wraps, commercial vehicle wraps, or other graphics on-time, on-budget, and correctly, using quality materials.

    Get the conversation started! Find a 3M Certified UASG Installer to help with your professional, long-lasting truck wrap.

    UASG Truck Wraps FAQs 

    What are the benefits of truck wraps?

    They're visually appealing, more cost-effective than painting in many if not most situations, they serve as a protective layer against wear and tear, and they turn your truck in a moving billboard for your business (or for your personal brand, depending on your situation).

    How long do truck wraps last?

    Truck wraps can last 5-8 years if properly cared for and maintained, and even longer in some cases.

    Is it difficult to install a truck wrap?

    For most, yes. If you're trying to get it done right anyway. Truck wrap installation requires skill and experiential knowledge that takes professional installation experts years to obtain. In most cases, the best move is to hire the best installer in your area.

    Do I need special materials to maintain my truck wrap?

    Special vinyl cleaning products may extend the life of your vehicle's wrap, and regular waxing is highly recommended.

    Are there any restrictions on what I can have printed on my truck wrap?

    Almost definitely. There are typically restrictions based on your local laws and regulations. Your best bet is to check and doublecheck those regulations before getting your vehicle wrapped. Especially if your wrap design contains anything you think could be questionable.

    How much does a truck wrap typically cost?

    It really depends on the size and complexity of the wrap. Special features can raise the price too. Generally, a basic wrap will be cheaper than a traditional paint job, which often costs $5,000 - $20,000.

    Is it difficult to remove a truck wrap?

    It depends. Removing a truck wrap requires the right tools, skill and know-how. With the tools of the trade, professional installers handle the job with ease. But if you're not an installer and you're not using the right tools, chances are it's going to be tough nut to crack.

    Can I put my own design on my truck's wrap?

    Generally speaking, yes. Talk to your local installers to find out what they do. It's possible in most cases to customize your design when you order your truck's wrap. And many installers offer custom design as well.

    Does the type of material I use for my wrap affect its lifespan?

    Yes! Quality materials have longer lifespans. And our 3M Certified UASG Installers only use top-quality materials. Always read up on each type of material before you make a selection.

    Get the conversation started! Find a 3M Certified UASG Installer to help with your professional, long-lasting truck wrap.

    What is The

    United Application
    Standards Groups

    The UASG is a national network of graphic installation companies. Our members are committed to installing your jobs better, on-time, within budget, as expected, and representing your company professionally.

    Our Mission

    To establish the standards for the graphics installation trade by cultivating quality, integrity, professionalism, reliability, and comradery among members.

    Our Promise

    To organize and promote the professionalism of graphics installation companies.

    The back of a van with graphic advertising on it promoting a plumbing company.
    Wall graphics on a tan wall of a red semi truck and company brand.
    Boat with a blue and white wrap promoting Marine Max.
    Parked moving truck with a teal wrap of a moving company.
    Professional Recognition
    & Certification

    Our standards are the highest in the industry. We're the benchmark for graphic installation excellence in fleet wraps, full & partial wraps, interior & exterior environmental graphics (including floor & rough textured walls) and virtually every other branding application.

    A Nationwide Network
    of Professionals

    UASG member companies are industry professionals with ten, twenty, thirty years’ experience that can provide experienced application services for vehicle wraps, window decals, wall graphics, boat wraps and just about anything graphic film will adhere to.

    Providing The Best
    In The Industry

    The UASG has personally visited every member's business to view their operations and installation practices as part of the membership process. The UASG members have gone to 3M headquarters in St. Paul, MN and passed both a hands on and written test.