Business owners put vinyl wraps on their vehicles to get the word out

Unchained Creative staff members, from left: Nate Taylor, Tony Mickelletto, owner Kevin Simms, Janelle Gatson, Pat Carlton
Unchained Creative staff members, from left: Nate Taylor, Tony Mickelletto, owner Kevin Simms, Janelle Gatson, Pat Carlton Judy Revenaugh

Last summer, a few months after starting his construction and consulting business with his wife, Clint Baker needed a way to advertise efficiently.

Baker listened to a friend who owns a tow truck. For as long as Baker could remember, tow services have advertised their businesses on their trucks.

“He told me, ‘If you want to advertise your business, get your truck wrapped,’” Baker said.

That advice, along with suggestions from Jody Barrett, who designs for pamphlets at their church, Vineyard Church in Kansas City, prompted Baker to go to his computer and search for car wraps close to where he lives.

Unchained Creative at 3901 NE 33rd Terrace, Suite A, Kansas City, popped up.

“I drive (there), and Jody is sitting in the office,” Baker said. “I asked her is she getting her truck wrapped. She goes, ‘No, I own this place.’ God works in mysterious ways.”

Baker told this story Monday afternoon in the office of Kevin Simms, who is part owner and creative director at Unchained Creative.

Baker is an example of how a vehicle vinyl wrap has helped his young business grow. He spent nearly three weeks working with Simms on a design for his truck that would do a good job advertising the business.

A vinyl wrap is basically a mobile billboard that uses vinyl sheets as decals. It can be molded to almost every part of a vehicle. It is applied directly over the original paint of the vehicle. The application of the vinyl wrap allows the owner to change the vehicle’s appearance in a very short period of time and in turn allows you to remove the wrap, returning the vehicle back to its original condition if necessary.

On average, Simms said, it takes about one to two weeks to come up with a design that a customer is satisfied with.

Other times, clients come in with the design or logo. The wrap usually takes two days.

Simms said he enjoys collaborating with a client, coming up with the design that fits that company.

“Those are the fun ones,” Simms said. “Being able to sit down with the client, sketch on napkins, looking at their vision and working with them, getting that message across.

“The one thing I stress with all my employees and clients is it is all about keeping the design simple, getting the message out. If it is too gaudy, you can’t read it, you can’t get the message across. I say message, message, message, then you work on the eye-popping stuff to grab people’s attention.”

Baker had an idea of what he wanted.

“I had diamond plate and black and orange and then I kind of told him where I want the lettering and then he put together some proofs,” Baker said. “I would proofread it and respond.”

The name of the business, C and C Construction and Consulting with the phone number is easily visible on both sides of the truck. “We handle all your construction needs” appears on both sides of the truck.

When the wrap was completed in December, Baker couldn’t have been happier. The increased business in the three months that followed surprised him.

“Since I got my wrap, my company has tripled the amount of work performed in a month,” Baker said. “I have completed eight jobs off that truck wrap. It has paid for itself eight times.”

Simms said Unchained Creative does wraps for cars as small as a Ford Focus all the way up to semi-trucks. A Focus could cost as much as $1,500 for a wrap. A pickup may go for about $3,000 and semis $6,000 to $8,000.

Sunrise Signs, based in Philadelphia, posted a study on its website last October, showing why vinyl wraps for vehicles have increased in popularity over the last few years.

It said that to get the same effect of a $3,500 wrap in Philadelphia, a business would need to spend $130,000 in advertising. A vinyl wrap gives you a mobile billboard seven days a week.

According to the American Trucking Association, 91 percent of people surveyed notice vehicle graphics.

The vinyl wrap was worth the cost for Baker.

“There is no better way to represent your business,” Baker said. “It is a one-time fee. It lasts for a long time. Basically, after you pay, it is free advertising every day.

“You drive down new roads every day. There is really no better marketing scheme. That explains the rapid expansion in wraps.”

Simms admits the vehicle wrap business is growing. There are vehicle wrap businesses throughout Kansas City metropolitan area.

You see more vans and trucks on the road with wraps that go beyond a name and a phone number.

“I believe business owners are starting to see that pick-ups, vans and cars are moving billboards,” Simms said. “There are facts out there that say eyeballs see more moving billboards than the ones you see on the side of the highway.”

Unchained Creative grew from Custom Mobile Design 11 years ago.

“We were with our sister company which does customer trailers and custom vehicles,” Simms said. “There were three of us who broke away and started our branding company.

“The way it worked out, our vehicle wrap services were getting lost in the company. We were wrapping their trailers, their cars. It was just the next logical step. They are still our sister company, and we still work with them.”

A bulk of their business comes from word of mouth, clients telling friends about them. Also, someone might see a nice wrap and ask who did it.

There is nothing better for Simms and the employees at Unchained Creative than to see a vehicle wrap they did when they are driving around Kansas City.

“You are proud,” Simms said. “You are happy for the client when you see it out there. There is that special feeling when you see it out there.”