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  • Coach wrap – Hints, tips and tricks

  • Martyn Heath

    October 5, 2020 at 12:59 pm

    Hi guys, ive had a quote request for a coach wrap. Tbh this is a mahoosive job for my little outfit and want to try and get my head settled on how i would tackle this.

    So your thoughts and opinions are welcome as im sure many of you do jobs like this in your sleep.

    So material wise i was thinking IP 2d cast wrap film (maybe a little OTT on the sides but it would make it easier to fit.

    Fitting is on my own. Sides i would do bottom quarter 5m lengths 1200mm high and vertical joins would sit in the storage flaps which cant be seen in the pic. Above this there is a 50mm rubber which goes the length of the vehicle. Then the middle would be fitted same way but as there are no breaks in the bodywork there would be two overlap joins, then fill in the top with the same method. Logo and text would then be fitted over the top in polymeric vinyl.

    Back fitted with horizontal joins, 3 pieces starting from the bottom.

    Now pricing wise – in the past the larger the job i have lowered my material charge and priced tightly on hours. But i have learned that this can bite you in the arse and you can be chasing your tail.

    It looks to be around 70-80m print @ 1370mm.

    Fitting time im thinking of going on the cautious side, 4 days.

    Obviously the pic doesnt show all the details, lights, handles etc etc but as with all coaches they are there.

    Be happy to hear from you.

  • Martyn Heath

    October 6, 2020 at 1:14 pm

    Anyone? even just the 4 days fitting.

    • artist

      October 6, 2020 at 2:04 pm

      Hi Martyn

      Long time member Shane Drew who’s in Australia is your man.

      He does loads of coaches, you can search him on here and try to pm him or here’s his website or try him on FB,

      try to get hold of him, he’s a very knowledgeable and lovely guy who’d me more than willing to give you advice

      • artist

        October 6, 2020 at 2:07 pm

        I don’t know why Im coming up as artist, its Martin Cole Slight Frown

  • Martyn Heath

    October 6, 2020 at 2:55 pm

    Thanks Martin, i have pm’d him Thumbsup

  • Jamie Palmer

    October 6, 2020 at 6:43 pm

    Hi Martyn, I completed a job similar to this. We did a two man team and worked through the night and it was back out the next day! Apparently coaches are rarely turned off. The sides are really no problem, grills are the nightmare as they have many slats etc for cooling or venting. Only thing that would have made it easier would have been to use air release this would have just sped up the process. We charged £3700+vat but included driving 6hours each way to the coach. Don’t know how that aligns to others but worked out our cost per meter / time / travel ‘ fuel and labour. I also took into account not being productive for a couple of days after! Hope this helps.

  • Chris Wilson

    October 6, 2020 at 7:59 pm

    Done the backs of these last Christmas. The trim is a pain. I didn’t think they would take as long as they did. Had a 5m x 1m bit down the sides of them to. Was a day a bus of hard graft up and down the scaff tower. But these are old things, your coach looks much nicer 😂 Make sure you have plenty of scalpel blades to Hand. 4 days sounds good to

    Me but I would tell them 5. Maybe am just unfit but I feel tired just looking at this photo again.

    Pretty sure metamark have a “bus wrap”.. don’t know the details but I mind seeing it on printmax once and it was cheap for a roll.

  • Shane Drew

    October 7, 2020 at 2:18 am

    Hi Martyn, thanks for contacting me. Thanks Martin Cole for the nice words. Long time no speak. Hope the family are doing well.

    Martin, I’m not familiar with IP2D but would be using an air release adhesive as a priority so you can do it dry. You have the correct idea of using the natural joins to hide the overlap, but, doing it in such long lengths can cause some problems. We usually limit the maximum length per horizontal panel to around 4 mtrs when doing it by ourselves. We then hinge in the middle giving us a 2 mtr length either side of the hinge. It’s easier this way when working around wheel arch, lights and handles.

    Fitting could easily take one person four days with cleaning, removing ancillary bits and bobs, fitting and putting everything back.

    One tip worth noting is to work from the back to the front. This hides the join from the weather as the vehicle moves forward, stopping the weather from being pushed into the overlap. The cut edge will be facing the rear then.

    The same applies from bottom to the top. Start from the bottom first. This allows the join to cover the length below and stops moisture from sitting on top of the overlap.

    You sound like you have thought it thru pretty well. I’d just hesitate doing it in longer horizontal lengths working on your own.

    Hope that helps.

  • Martyn Heath

    October 7, 2020 at 4:12 am

    Martin, Jamie, chris and shane ThumbsupThanks for your responses. Its put my mind at rest and i can now approach this job knowing ive got the right game plan.

    I did look into the “bus wrap” material mentioned but is for temporary use. This sauna bus is long term.

    Again thanks guys!

  • Martyn Heath

    November 19, 2020 at 6:10 am

    Just an update on this job. So unfortunatly i didnt get the job. However what suprised me is just how cheap some companies are.

    Now i dont do huge jobs like this so i quoted on the cautious side as ive been stacked with work anyway.

    So my quote was 6.5k euros plus vat.

    That incl 80m of printed wrap + all the text in vinyl

    5 days fitting of just myself

    and its 1.5h round trip everyday.

    The customer was shocked and laughed, first time ive ever had that reaction so i thought i would do some investigating and send out this spec for pricing. The results were interesting-

    Prices ranged from 3k to 5.5k

    And having spoke to the customer he confirmed hes got it done in the 3s. I think thats crazy. All quotes spec wrap film.

    My costs alone in material was 2k.

    Anyway thats that. i will stick to my small/medium jobs with good margins and low risk.

    • Shane Drew

      November 19, 2020 at 7:06 am

      We find the same thing here. We are undercut with stupid prices reasonably often. I recently wrapped a bus here, which the client was very happy with but was looking for me to discount. I explained the material is a premium product to reduce the chance of paint damage on removal (Chinese buses have a bad habit of poor paint on aluminium panels), and our work is high quality and includes aftersales service for the life of the wrap.

      A little later I was away on holidays and they rang to get me to do a second bus for that same client, but I couldn’t work in their time frame. They took the opportunity to get someone else at a much cheaper price.

      A few weeks later, the client’s maintenance team called us in to explain why the wrap was failing. I pointed out it wasn’t my wrap, and they should call the shop that did the job while I was away. Apparently, they did, but the shop wasn’t interested. They didn’t warrant their labour. I suggest they made so little on the job they couldn’t afford to do anything further anyway.

      A few weeks later their client wanted a third bus done, and we got the job without even having to quote. We’ve done two more since then, no quote required. They realised you get what you pay for.

      Sadly, you may never know if the wrap lasted the distance, but at the end of the day, be true to yourself, sell yourself as a quality shop with good service, not a cheap shop with no service.

      In truth, it has taken us a few years to get established based on the quality of our product, rather than a cheap operator. From experience, anyone buying on price alone will never be a loyal client. People who want a quality result, knowing it will reflect on their own business, will appreciate what you do and will more likely be loyal in the long term.

      Simply, if the shop has gone in that cheap, they have either not used a premium product, or they are desperate to get money in the bank, and they won’t have a long life in business.

      Don’t lose heart though my friend. Quality work will get you a better reputation over a cheap job any day of the week. These clowns that see no value in their own labour, work on ultra-low margins, and butcher the value of their peers will always be chasing money. Let them have it. Life is too short to work for nothing.

      • This reply was modified 3 months, 1 week ago by  Shane Drew.
      • Martyn Heath

        November 19, 2020 at 8:35 am

        Thanks for the detailed response shane 👍like you said i will stick to my game its done me no harm so far.

      • Robert Lambie

        November 19, 2020 at 8:46 pm

        Great to see you back on the boards Shane, hope you and the family are keeping well, mate. 👍

        • Shane Drew

          November 19, 2020 at 11:17 pm

          Hey Buddy, now my son is taking on more responsibility I have got a bit more time back. I’m the secretary of the local Business Chamber of Commerce, and Director of our Local Community Bank, plus running a business and social media, I did spread myself a bit thin 🙂 I hope to be back more often now 🙂

  • Hugh Potter

    November 19, 2020 at 11:22 am


    110% what Shane has said here. I mean everything he has said!

    We quoted for a coach not too long after UK lockdown 1,full wrap and they spec’d 3M IJ180, Not a massive bus but still around 60mtrs of printed wrap film… That Ij180 costs around £20+vat per linear mtr (50mtr bundle) before print, lam and handling, typically we’d retail a small amount around £75 a mtr. For this bus, due to quantity we came down to £50 a mtr + vat, that included all printing time, laminating time, trimming and prep. So a little over £3k in materials plus two guys for three days (lots of prep involved), we came in around £5k +vat in total.

    Oh how the guy laughed and told me he’d had a quote for £2500 cash. I explained it was highly unlikely to be 3M wrap at that price, and was there any kind of guarantee with it… he didn’t care! He asked me to drop my price and see if I could match it… I simply said no thanks, I’ve paying customers to look after.

    I have yet to see the job he’s had done, if it was ever done at all, but I’m not buying £2k worth of 3M wrap, to have nearly half sat on the shelf, and thus make only £500 for two solid days printing / lam and trim, and three days for two people…

    Stick to your guns on pricing – unless it really is ‘that easy’ but also, sub in some help, put a mark-up on and add it into the job, no shame in that, I do it regularly for wrap or big installations, I simply explain to the customer that the Installers rate is cheaper than my rate by £80 a day, and that the installers are probably quicker too! That way you make money on the install and can carry on with other work while they’re doing the job.

    • Martyn Heath

      November 19, 2020 at 11:46 am

      Thanks hugh, glad to see im not the only one charging “proper” prices.

      The fitters idea is something ive had in mind aswell but its a big problem out here as im in the sticks. So everything i do myself. This, i also bare in mind when i have a job like this that is 1-2 weeks solid work as it effectively closes down my business to other work, some being bread and butter customers that ends up being more profitable on a daily basis.

      Ive come to the conclusion that “big” jobs like this are hard to get at good margins. Everyone cuts their prices and works harder. I did the same few years back until my printer stopped during print and waisted 10m of wrap film. Then i realised i would make more in a day pressing tshirts!. Live and learn.

      The big companies around here atleast seem to work on high volume, low margins. Thats great until work slows down…….

  • Hugh Potter

    November 19, 2020 at 1:29 pm

    ‘wasted 10mtrs of wrap film’… That’s exactly my point… usually laminating it is the most risky part of wrap film, with a laminate like clingfilm there’s just too much to go wrong. Might as well give the low-ballers £50 euro’s and tell ’em to go away.

  • Pane Talev

    November 19, 2020 at 3:27 pm

    Nice read.

    I officially dont do wrapping. Part wrap, yes. But even then I think about it.

    My business is so optimized, as 1 person I simply dont see the point of me wasting time on things I’m not comfortable and fast with.

    I almost never get a big job. Everybody bids for 60m2 job, big money so client is fishing for better price, hence price go down.

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