All too often I see people on the internet and have customers come to me asking about bulk installs. You may be wondering what is a bulk install? A “bulk” or “custom” install is where we take giant sheets of uncut material and essentially install it from scratch on the car. This process is usually more wasteful, very time consuming and should only be performed by installers with many years of experience. Hence the larger price tag it comes with.
Are Bulk/Custom Clear Bra Installs Ever Worth it?
Now I am not saying its all bad by any means! There’s just a time and a place for it. The reason I felt compelled to blog about this is because I feel that there is a lot of misinformation floating around social media, the Internet, Youtube and frankly straight out of other installers mouths! In my opinion, an installer that touts how they only bulk install doesn’t have access to great patterns! Here at American Wrap Company, we are exclusively aligned with XPEL and the DAP. The DAP is XPEL’s pattern cutting software and quite frankly XPEL makes the best PPF patterns in the industry. Starting with a quality pattern is super important but for us, that isn’t good enough. With over 18 years of experience in this industry and a decade of time running the DAP, on every pattern we cut we extensively modify and manipulate it in the program prior to pressing cut. We make sure edges are extended and corner notches are removed, bumpers are extended to wrap deeply into recesses. All of this yields a very clean long-lasting final product for our customers. Another reason why having solid patterns to start with is super important is EFFICIENCY! We are able to modify our patterns and then “nest” pieces together in order to save square feet of material which then helps us to keep costs down for our customers while still providing a truly custom, wrapped and tucked install of Paint Protection Film. This way your Tesla Model 3 full car wrap doesn’t cost you $7,000+ dollars like MANY other shops are price gouging people for!
When to Bulk and When to Use a Pattern When Installing Paint Protection Film
I have thousands of hours in bulk installing PPF, so don’t think I don’t know what I’m doing or talking about. I have bulked hundreds of hot rods and classic cars, random exotics like the Jaguar XJR15, C7 rear bumpers, Tesla 3 Rear bumpers, and Trunks. Bulking has a time and a place! On every Tesla Model X, Tesla Model 3, and Tesla Model S I bulk the side mirrors. Bulking the Tesla side mirror yields a super clean install and is actually easier and less time consuming than using a pattern. The Tesla Model 3 rear bumper is another great example of when bulking is appropriate and makes total sense. The DAP pattern has an unnecessary seam and when bulked properly we can do it seamlessly. The Model 3 and Tesla Model S hatch is another prime example. We can manipulate the film to achieve a very save one piece install. It is crucial when bulking to make sure the installer really knows what they are doing. Ive seen a lot of installs where they put to much tension into a piece to try and be the one-piece hero but it is very risky because it compromises the structural integrity of the film. This makes the film rip and punctures much easier. When over stretching the film you can also crack the self-healing topcoat which ruins the piece.
So in the long and the short, I feel bulking has a time and place. Patterns have come so far and XPEL makes the best patterns money can buy which provides a great starting point. Bulking requires high levels of skill and shouldn’t be attempted by new installers. You must be very comfortable making all your trims on paint with a razor blade. Everything has a time and a place! Don’t be brainwashed into thinking a bulk install is the only way to get a clean PPF install. I promise you with my Hybrid pattern approach mixed with bulking certain pieces I determine are good candidates that I will beat any expectations you have conjured thanks to the Internet!
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