How to create the perfect van sign

Small businesses rarely spend a lot on marketing but could you be missing an effective method of advertising by not having signs on your van? It can be extremely beneficial for a business to call on a professional signwriters Sydney to promote their business.

According to a recent study, as many as 40 per cent of tradespeople prefer their commercial vehicle to remain anonymous. Builders were the least likely to brand their vans, with 53 per cent choosing not to, while 83 per cent of roofers were happy to broadcast their profession.

Some firms are understandably wary of drawing unwanted attention from thieves but in cities it is estimated that as many as 3,000 people an hour will see your van – which could bring more business.

The pros and cons should be assessed on your circumstances. For example a business with a B2B customer base may not feel the need to promote itself but a tradesperson looking for fresh inquiries may want to. If you decide to apply branding to your van, what are the options?

There are two methods to consider, sign writing or wrapping. While sign writing used to mean paintbrushes and a pot of paint, it is now far more sophisticated and will usually involve the use of stencilled adhesive vinyl lettering on the bonnet, rear doors or side of the van.

Option two is a full or partial vehicle wrap, again using vinyl. This method has the added benefit of protecting the vehicle’s paintwork whilst serving as a blank canvas for your branding.

The whole vehicle colour can be changed if necessary, and businesses often buy a white van for its residual value and immediately wrap the vehicle in their colourful corporate colours, preserving the pristine paintwork for any later buyer.

The two methods achieve very different results, and the costs can vary widely in design and complexity but as a rough guide, basic sign writing in a single colour will cost around £150 (+VAT) for front, side and rear vinyl prints to be applied to a small van.

Expect to pay around £180 for a medium van and £250 for a large van, but costs could increase if additional design work is required. Application will also typically take just a few hours.

For a full vehicle wrap, the costs can be at least 10 times as much, with a large van costing anywhere from £1,500 to £2,500 (+VAT) depending on the design and the vinyl material used – a long-term wrap for use over five years will cost more than a temporary wrap that will be replaced within a year.

Partial wraps, often covering just the rear loadspace section of the van, will cost from £800 to £1,500. Wrapping vehicles can be time consuming: a partial wrap may take a few hours but a full wrap could see a vehicle off the road for a whole day.

Whether you choose a sign-written van or a vinyl wrap will depend on what sort of look you are aiming for. A simple design of company name or logo and contact details can be quickly and cheaply applied using vinyl lettering – you could even do the work yourself but be sure to carefully plan where the writing will appear in relation to panel gaps and creases.

Want a more eye-catching look? Graphics can help, and patterns and different coloured backgrounds can be used to make lettering stand out. Although the cost is greater, it is preferable to wrap a van with a complex design but wraps have the added benefit of being easily replicated in the event of damage, and are scalable and consistent if applying across multiple vehicles.

So, you have weighed up the options and decided if you are going to have a sign- written or wrapped van, but what information should you put on the vehicle, and where?

Professionals who design vehicle liveries recommend keeping it simple. Too much clutter can be confusing and your message can be lost. Their advice is to stick to easily identifiable images, names or logos and strong complementary colours.

Contact details should also be kept to a minimum with a website address and contact number usually sufficient.

The back of the van is often thought of as the best place for this information as it gives those travelling behind you the best chance of capturing the details.

Some companies may also like to specify what area they are based in if they travel across a large area and want to attract customers far and wide.

Don’t overlook telling potential customers what your business is. Graphics or words can do this as your company name might not make it immediately obvious what you do.

Whatever you choose, van signage is one of the most cost-effective ways of advertising your business, so don’t be afraid to explore the options. Check out the cheaper way to promote your business.

Why not talk to the experts at your local van centre, who can help steer you to a recommended local signage company. It might present you with new opportunities.