Branding your work vehicle is an easy form of advertising that works.
Not only can throwing some vinyl graphics on your work truck gain you a few leads here and there, it helps to build authority and trust with your customers – two things that should be at the heart of your marketing strategy. But just like anything else, it will only be effective if executed properly.
In this article, I’m going to discuss the many benefits of branding your vehicle as well as what to consider before you do. I’ll then provide some different options available and offer insights that I have gained through the experience of branding my own handyman truck.
As a handyman, you will be driving a lot. It would be a shame to waste all of those miles when you could be promoting your company at the same time with almost zero long term effort. Here are a few benefits of a well branded vehicle.
#1 – Gain Brand Awareness
Customers are more likely to hire you if they are familiar with or aware of your brand. People like to go with what they know. By simply driving around, you are getting hundreds of eyes on your brand every day, effectively building your brand awareness.
That lady in the Lexus sitting behind you at the stoplight may not need a handyman today, but if she finds you online when she does, she will recognize you and probably call you.
#2 – Builds Trust
I’m always talking about building trust with customers because I think it is the single most important factor in a customer’s decision to hire. By simply displaying your company information on your vehicle, it helps demonstrate that you are serious and established. You are showing your customer that this is what you do and you take it seriously. A well branded truck will help a customer to trust that you will do good work for them.
#3 – Increases Authority
When a random stranger sees your branded work truck, they will almost always assume you know more than they do. Even if you don’t. They are more likely to respect your knowledge and listen to what you have to say. The more authority you have, the more you can influence others. Possessing influence helps you sell and just feels good.
#4 – Cheap Advertising
Branding your vehicle can be a cheap way to advertise a particular service or running special you may have with your business. Carpet companies do a great job advertising specials on their vans. Usually they will have some sort of one room carpet cleaning special for $39.99 or something similar pasted all over their vans. Why? Because it works. They may not make money on that one room, but you can damn sure bet they’ll profit from the rest of the house.
Designing the Graphics
Now that you understand the many benefits, it’s time to get to work.
Step #1 – Define a goal.
What are you trying to achieve? Are you trying to gain new customers while driving down the highway? Are you trying to drive traffic to your website? Or are you just trying to look more professional or established when you pull up to a customer’s home?
If you are looking to gain new customers, then I recommend going big with your lettering. Ideally, a customer would be able to read the word “handyman” and your phone number from at least a hundred yards away. You need to get their attention and don’t forget to compel them to call you.
If you just want to look more pro to existing customers, some vinyl decals on the driver and passenger doors will do the trick just fine. In this case, you may be just trying to separate yourself from the weekend handyman without driving around a gigantic advertisement.
Step #2 – Choose the content
There is no right answer when it comes to putting your company info on your truck. I’ve seen people with just a name and website and I’ve seen others with their name, logo, phone number, website, and a list of services.
If you’re goal is to generate new business, the most important thing is to clearly say what you do and how to contact you. If you are handyman, the word handyman better be big and in the customers face, especially if it’s not in your company name. It needs to be very obvious what you do and how to contact you.
As I mentioned earlier, advertising a running special is a great way to get customers to take action and call you. This could be something like $35 off your first service or something similar.
What makes you unique? Do you specialize in a particular service that you know you are the best at? Make sure and highlight that if you believe it will bring you the right customers.
Step #4 – Layout the Design
If you have photoshop or a similar photo editing program, you can do this step yourself. However, if you are planning on doing something advanced, I’d recommend having a professional do it.
That being said, here’s how I did it.
First, I went and took some pictures of my truck in front of a solid background with good lighting. I just drove around town until I found a good spot. Then I took photos of the back and sides from about 100 feet away so the truck shape wasn’t distorted.
Once I had the images, I went home and used a photo editing software and inserted my logo and other text I wanted displayed. I just messed around with it until I found a layout that looked good and achieved my goal, which was to look more professional and increase my brand awareness.
Once I had a layout that I liked, I sent the images over to a local media printing company (the same place that embroidered my logo on my shirts) and had them print the vinyl graphics I needed. They took some measurements of my truck to ensure they printed the right size and a few days later I picked up my vinyl and installed it myself. Total cost: $300.
Vehicle Branding Options
Magnetic Car Signs
This is by far the easiest and most cost effective way to brand your work truck. You can go to sites such as BuildaSign.com and quickly and easily create a sign. It usually costs about $40/sign plus shipping.
This is a good option if you want the ability to take off the signs and drive the truck as a personal vehicle. However, I believe these looks far less professional than vinyl decals. It’s a good option and is better than nothing. But, if you can afford it, I’d go with something more permanent and pro such as….
Vinyl Graphics (recommended)
This is the option that I went with and it ended up costing me about $300. The only cost I had was the cost to print the vinyl since I designed everything myself and installed the graphics.
This is a semi-permanent solution that gives you the ability to look very professional and established. If applied correctly, the vinyl will last up to 8 years (from what I’m told). Mine have been on my truck for over 3 years and have no signs of deteriorating, despite the fact that I’ve taken them through the car wash several times.
Custom Vehicle Wrap
If you want to get really crazy, you can go with a full vehicle wrap. From what I’ve seen, this will typically cost around $3,000 depending on several factors.
Vehicle wraps aren’t cheap, but they are a great way to get some attention and promote your business.
Regardless of how you decide to brand your truck of van, I highly encourage you to do so. It only takes a small amount of effort up front and it’s a great addition to your handyman marketing strategy.