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Beverage Trailer Question


New Member
So, I have a buddy that has a couple businesses in the trucking industry. One is a delivery service using refrigerated vehicles and the other is repairing, maintaining and servicing reefer units. He was looking at adding some other services to their business including installing wraps as he has contacts with a beverage distributor that already wanted 2 beverage trailers wrapped and they have some experience already with removing and installing some graphics, just not full wraps. So, my buddy contacted me about a month back and wanted me to come over for a couple of days to train his guys and assist with the first wrap. I was hesitant at first because I don't usually install ANY graphics unless it's something that I produce. I questioned him about the material used and his customer told him they would be made using 3M IJ180CV3. So, I just assumed they are using good materials it would just be labor intensive due to the roll up doors and having to go over the dividers between the doors that stick out. Anyway, I just got back from training and assisting them and I gotta say that beverage trailer was a PITA, although it wouldn't have been nearly as bad if they had used the proper materials. They ended up using 3MIJ180CV3 but with NO lamination but was premasked with 3M SCPM-44X tape. In some areas as soon as it had a little bit of pressure from trying to keep the material stretched tight around the dividers it would stick and would be about impossible to pull back up without the vinyl wanting to rip. Without lamination it was a f***in bear to work with. So, after seeing how labor intensive and the difficulty of installing a wrap on a beverage trailer they don't think it's something they want to get into...... although he wants to see what I would charge to just subcontract it out to me. So, I've got a couple of questions for any of you that routinely install wraps on beverage trailers. Whats a typical install cost on a 40' trailer with 10 bays on each side? Trailers are fresh with new paint and just require a wipe down. Based on a couple bays that I did just myself without getting interrupted I'm figuring I'd have about 65 hours in the job @ $65/HR (my shop rate) = $4225. Does this sound about right for an install? To be honest any less than about $3500 and I wouldn't even want to do it as it's a PITA and I'm not 100% comfortable installing graphics I didn't print as it could be a pain getting a reprint if something get's screwed up. My other question, it this typical on beverage trailers to not laminate the graphics? It seems stupid to print it on good vinyl, use premask tape and spend that much on install but then to skimp and not laminate it making it much more difficult to install. I'm attaching a picture of the trailer for reference.

Beverage Trailer.jpg


New Member
It probably has a liquid laminate on the graphics.

It appeared to have a liquid laminate. The graphics were pretty glossy and the ink seemed durable and pretty scratch resistant. The paperwork that came with the graphics though didn't state anything about having a liquid laminate and they were still a pain to install without an actual film overlaminate such as 3M 8518. I could see getting by with it on the side of a box truck or trailer with rivets only. Just didn't seem like a wise choice of materials when working with a beverage trailer since the dividers stick out.


New Member
Charge whatever you want, but be advised wrap installation on most vehicles, especially on trailers is always prices by the square foot. most of the installers we work with charge anywhere from $1.50 - $3.00 square foot depending on vehicle and difficulty. If that 40' trailer has 7' sides I am ballparking a total of 750-800 sf. Even at the high side of $3.00/sf most installers would charge no more than $2400.00 to install that wrap. Just something to keep in mind if you'll be in a competitive bid situation.

Even more depressing, I would guess that there are large national fleet wrap companies that would charge around $5000 or less to print AND install that wrap...


Active Member
Like FatCat states, if you are going towards these trailers as a bidding project then you have to come down on the pricing


New Member
That's what I was wondering. In no way am I TRYING to get these jobs as they are too much of a PITA unless I am getting well compensated for it. I just kinda got pulled into helping with it then they wanted to know if I would just do them..... I'll throw them a price and if they don't like it I have no problem with not doing them. I'm not gonna run stuff through my shop working for $35/HR or less shop rate when I can make way more doing my usual stuff. It took myself and 2 trainees (2) 12 hour days to do the install plus there were a couple other employees that helped on it some to try and learn the basics.


New Member
We installed several trucks for a local Napa store that came the same way. They had a corporate vendor that touted the 3M vinyl but then the liquid laminate was garbage and failed quickly. Also some came with 3M premask and some with a clear tape that was impossible to work with. They showed me what they paid and it was incredibly cheap, like $150 for the hood, both sides and tailgate. After it failed and faded so quickly they agreed to have us print and install with proper materials the next time.


Active Member
Friend of mine wraps a lot of beer trucks. He asked me about printing the wraps. I said sure and shot him a price. The beer company who shall remain nameless said no way. Corporate told him; "We sell a complete wrap to our distributors for $500".:confused:


Premium Subscriber
Liquor distributors are cheaper than car dealers and realtors. Your lucky they were masked. I have done several rear doors during the Florida summer on 3M 180c with liquid lam and no mask. Thank god they were mostly white, just peal as you go...


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