Driving Business to the Door | Travel Research Online


Driving Business to the Door

Do you own a car?  Does it bring in new business for you?  Why not?  You can put your car to work marketing your business in a relatively short period of time, and for a reasonable amount of money.

According to the American Trucking Association, “by advertising on your vehicle, you can generate more than 600 visual impressions for every mile driven.”  Even sitting in a parking lot, your car can generate visual impressions and new business. Does it work?  The short answer is yes.  With the car magnets currently on my car I have already received a lead on a small destination wedding, and was waved down by a local police officer wanting to book a cruise for his family.  Your car can generate new business for you, business you may never have received otherwise.
Your options range from inexpensive car magnets to more expensive, customized full-car wraps.  Regardless of what method you choose, or what your budget is, you can effectively use your car to market your business and attract new clients.

Car magnets

You can custom design and buy car magnets online (i.e. www.vistaprint.com).  You probably will have more creative control by working with a local print shop, allowing you to customize the magnet size and shape (who says they always have to be square or rectangular?).  Pricing will likely range between $20 and $50 per magnet based on the level of customization and the amount of design work that you have the sign company do on your behalf. 

Car wrapping (partial, full, or just windows)

PictureIf you are not familiar with the term “car wrap,” think of the Sandals cars you may have seen at tradeshows or in the parking lot when you are attending an annual Sandals workshop in your area.  Sandals will gladly wrap your car for you – with their branding.  And I have to ask, why?  Why would we want to promote a supplier and not our own businesses?  Yes, it can (and often does) drive Sandals business your way.  I know of one agent that drives a car wrapped by Sandals, and since her car was wrapped she’s had nearly 150 Sandals bookings in less than a year.

However, most agents are more interested in marketing their own businesses, and not just one supplier.  Since I don’t own my car (corporate vehicle through my husband’s job) I cannot wrap it.  However, down the road if I buy a car, I would consider wrapping it.  In the meantime, I will have the rear window of my daughter’s 1997 Subaru “wrapped.”  She lives on a college campus that has an under-grad population of 20,000 students.  And when she drives home, it’s approximately 75 miles and a 90 minute drive.  Talk about potential for visibility! 

I went to our local Fast Signs shop (www.fastsigns.com) to get some quotes.  To “wrap” just her rear window would be approximately $115.  That’s not bad compared to the car magnets, and will probably be more visible on the road and in parking lots.  To wrap all three rear windows (one rear facing, two side windows) would be roughly $250 total.

Back to wrapping the full car, and not just the windows.  .  Here is a great example of a customized car wrap for one agency (see attached photos).   A full wrap will probably be somewhere in the ballpark of $2,000 to $3,000.  This can vary a great deal based on the car make and model, and detail of the pictures or graphics you are using.  If you are going for a complete wrap, along the lines of what a Sandals wrapped car may look like, this is a good ballpark figure for you to use as an estimate.  Of course, your personal mileage may vary.

A partial wrap – maybe just wrapping the doors, or just the sides but not the hood or rear end of the car – might cost you closer to $1,000 to $2,000.  Again, the actual cost will be determined by the car itself, as well as the detail of the pictures and graphics that you use.

Car wrapping tips

The color of the car can affect the color of the photo images used on the wrap.  If you are looking to buy a car to have wrapped, work with a specialist at a sign shop that can guide you on how to pick the optimal car color to work with your wrap.  As an example, Sandals requires that all cars they wrap be either white or silver. Picture

If you are going to use actual pictures on your wrap, the images will likely have to be wider than taller.  So pick your images carefully.  Also, the images will have to be high resolution.   Again, working with a wrap specialist at a sign shop can help you avoid unnecessary headaches or mistakes. Most importantly, make sure that all images you use are free and clear or have no copyright restrictions. Ideally your car will be wrapped for years, so it doesn’t do you any good to use a graphic or picture that only has a one year use license attached to it.

Ask the sign shop for details on the care of your wrap, how long it is estimated to last (local climate conditions would need to be factored in), and how easily the wrap can be removed if you needed to sell the car (noting that wraps are probably not reusable).

The point is to put your car to work for you whenever you are on the road, either with magnets, a window wrap, or a partial or full car wrap.  Ultimately the new business generated will likely repay you for the money you invested in this unique form of marketing.
Susan Schaefer is the owner of Ships ‘N’ Trips Travel (www.shipsntripstravel.com) located in Brentwood, Tennessee, and specializes in leisure travel with a focus on group travel and charity fundraisers.  Through their division Kick Butt Vacations (www.kickbuttvacations.com) she focuses on travel for young adults under 35.  Susan can be reached by email at susan@shipsntripstravel.com or by phone at (888) 221-1209.

  3 thoughts on “Driving Business to the Door

  1. denyse says:

    Great article Susan! I’m waiting to get my car fixed from an accident and I will be using those magnets!

    My question has always been if there are any insurance requirements when using your car to advertise? Do you have pay any riders?

  2. Dee says:

    I’m curious. If you get into a wreck can someone attempt to sue the agency rather than the driver?

  3. Susan Schaefer says:

    Denyse & Dee,

    You would need to ask your auto insurance agent about sufficient coverage for both you and your agency.

    You would also want to talk with your CPA or tax attorney about write-offs related to using your car for marketing.

Share your thoughts on “Driving Business to the Door”

You must be logged in to post a comment.