By Cassandra Balentine
Part 1 of 2
Vehicles are an excellent canvas for advertising messages. In particular, fleet graphics serve as a moving billboard for companies and organizations while solidifying branding with a clean and consistent image.
Founded in 1993, Turbo Images is an expert in fleet graphics. Based in Saint-Georges, QC, Canada, it services all of North America with 135 employees and five locations totaling 100,000 square feet.
The company was born when Pier Veilleux, president, Turbo Images, realized the opportunity for fleet graphics. A customer he was working with on a different type of sale in 1993 had sketched out a design for 167 trucks with graphics and paint. He jumped in and said he would do it for five percent cheaper and started the business. That first deal was completed on time, ahead of budget, and cleared a profit of $40,000. From there, Veilleux was laser-focused on being the best in the business at fleet graphics.
“Many print providers that do many things are good at many things. But, we do only one thing and we are great at it. We are the only ones who do fleet graphics to this level, and all of our equipment, processes, and training are geared towards this one goal,” shares Charles Veilleux, VP of sales and marketing, Turbo Images.
It at excels when servicing medium to very large fleets within North America, veering away from smaller fleets and one offs.
The company offers all of the options related to graphics on vehicles, including kiss cutting, die cutting, screen printing, and digital printing from ordering through production management and installation. It manages a Turbo Online platform that is accessible 24/7 offering a range of support services.
Most of its graphics are produced using the HP Latex 3600, which Veilleux describes as its workhorse. “We are an HP house, everything we print is latex,” he shares. Latex is a go-to print technology due to its quality and sustainability. He points out that with climate change as an ongoing concern, the shop chose to move from solvent to latex in part to offer a “greener” solution.
“We also couple it with material options like 3M Envision Print Wrap Film LX480mC from 3M Commercial Solutions, which a no-PVC option,” says Veilleux. Turbo Images is a 3M Certified Platinum Supplier, which means its graphics are designed to stand the test of time.
The COVID-19 pandemic pushed the company to refocus its attention in order to offset lost business from the motor-coach industry.
“The pandemic influenced us in a drastic manner on many fronts. One of our markets, the motor-coach industry, is driven by events. We saw an 80 percent reduction of that multi-million dollar market overnight,” notes Veilleux. “The good news is we invested in the transit division that we were already developing, so the 80 percent we lost was recuperated and we were flat year over year.”
Part of this was a move to digital technologies and Web 4.0, which includes digital engagement online. In addition, the company created a digital market strategy to reinforce the web and bought out a competitor. “It’s been challenging, but we’re coming out stronger,” he admits.
The transit division focuses on transportation vehicles, like buses and coaches. Its customer base here includes prominent agencies like AC Transit, BYD, Calgary Transit, Codiac Transpo, Golden Gate Bridge, Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority, Porter Airlines, Rochester, Transit of Montreal, Victor Valley Transit Authority, and Winnipeg Transit.
Projects for this division tend to come in under a typical request for proposal by a transit agency. Turbo Images puts a team together for a bid, which involves looking over a job to understand the needs and how to best fulfill them with its offerings. If it is awarded the bid, it kicks off planning and product management and prepares the planning and rollout. In some cases, a designer will come out and its team will adapt images as needed to create the best impact.
Most graphics are guaranteed to stay in place for seven years without decoloration, scratching, peeling, or fading. Depending on the specific customer, it may or may not stay up for this length of time. Veilleux points out that while some private brands choose to rebrand each year, buses and transit vehicles tend not to rebrand as often.
Turbo Images understands the ins and outs of fleet graphics and chooses to focus only on this market. This enables an edge in terms of design, planning, project management, installation, and maintenance of fleet graphics for medium and large clients.
Jan2022, Digital Output