You’ve probably seen them before — vehicle wraps loudly advertising businesses around town. But should agents consider turning their cars into mobile billboards? Here are a few pros and cons.

September is Marketing and Branding Month at Inman. That means we’re talking to the chief marketing officers at major brokerages about how the pandemic is changing their jobs and what it means for agents. We’re publishing a suite of tactical Inman Handbooks for marketing on digital portals. And we’re looking at what pages of the traditional marketing playbook still work. Join us all month long.

This article series is largely taken from the Real Estate Marketing Playbook with permission from the author.

A vehicle wrap is a very large vinyl decal applied directly to the original paint of a car or truck. Sometimes called “vehicle graphics,” they can wrap around the entirety of the vehicle or just be applied to windows, doors or panels. You’ve undoubtedly seen some of these, advertising everything from pizza to healthcare and varying in terms of effectiveness. 

Vehicle wrap companies make it easy to create an original design to your specifications that will fit your car. Like most other things, with wraps, the consensus is that you get what you pay for, so this is one thing you don’t want to cheap out on if you decide to go that route. 

Taste-wise, vehicle wraps are as varied as can be imagined. In any case, vehicle wraps advertising your real estate business will surely make a statement. Before you plunk down anywhere from a couple of hundred dollars for customized magnets for your car, to upwards of $2,000 for a full vehicle wrap, here are some pros and cons of this mobile billboard. 

What are the perks?

  • Most vehicle wraps can be done in one day, meaning minimal downtime for you.
  • The average lifespan of a vehicle wrap is around three to five years, meaning that, thanks to the lack of a monthly payment, your ad could recoup your investment many times over in that period, even in light of the high cost of a full-body wrap.
  • If your ad is unusual (but still in good taste), people may take photos and post it to their social media, thereby doing a great deal of additional advertising for you at no additional cost.
  • People like to work with people who are like them. When you drive your car to partake in your favorite hobby, like paintball, you have already passed a kind of test with your fellow enthusiasts, making them trust you more and keeping you top-of-mind when they need or know someone who needs an agent.
  • There’s no risk of having to share advertising space with other agents or bid for prime placement, as is the case in print publications or billboards.
  • If you frequently drive, being seen around town all the time heightens impact and the number of impressions. All in all, vehicle wraps are a very cost-effective method of advertising when compared to things like billboards, radio and TV ads, and printed advertisements 

What are the drawbacks?

  • Your business will be under scrutiny as you drive around, so you must be an incredibly courteous driver at all times. Don’t do things that would cause others to get a negative impression of you as you drive around advertising your company. I may have gotten a call or two about my impeccable driving. 
  • If you plan on wrapping a leased car, you may need to check first to see if a vehicle wrap voids any terms of your contract. 
  • There’s no way to track how effective your wrapped vehicle is in getting you leads, but you will hear people say “I see you everywhere.” 
  • The lifespan of a wrap is affected by many variables, including the skill of the technician applying it and weather. Also, keeping your wrap looking fresh throughout its lifespan requires maintenance, as things like fingerprints and oil stains need special attention to remove.
  • When it comes time to remove your wrap, you may need to get professional assistance to avoid causing damage to your car’s original paint and body.

A reputable wrap company will be happy to work with you to design your wrap. While vehicle wraps might still be considered outside-the-box thinking currently, this is one case where it might pay not to follow the crowd. I’ve wrapped three vehicles so far and will continue to do so as long as I’m a business owner. 

Real Estate Marketing Playbook was inspired by observations and experiences over many years in the real estate business. This series includes example strategies from the playbook, and the full text is available on Amazon, Kindle and Audible.

Brandon Doyle is a Realtor at Doyle Real Estate Team — RE/MAX Results in Minneapolis and co-author of Mindset, Methods & Metrics – Winning as a Modern Real Estate Agent. You can follow him on Twitter.

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