Use a Shrink Wrap Installer or Do It Myself?

Should I Bring Shrink Wrapping ‘In-House’ or use a Specialist Installer?

Although Rhino have our own installation teams we also supply the scaffold shrink wrapping materials and equipment and provide training and support to enable scaffolders and contractors to provide a scaffold shrink wrapping service directly to their customers.

This article covers some of the things you might want to think carefully about before you invest money in shrink wrapping materials, equipment and training for your team. We then look at the typical costs of materials and how much scaffold shrink wrap installers typically charge for providing a fully installed scaffold wrapping service, so you can get a feel for the ‘business case’ of incorporating shrink wrapping into the services you offer your customers. Finally we will look at how to get started, from buying your first ‘start up kit’ of materials and equipment to getting some training to enable you to start off on the right foot.

Questions to ask if you are considering setting up a shrink wrap installation service

Shrink wrapping is a profitable service and being able to offer a product to your customers with additional benefits over and above traditional style scaffold sheeting is a good way to differentiate your company from other scaffolders in your area. However, it isn’t for everyone.

Before you go ahead and set up your scaffold shrink wrapping service, here are a few questions to consider.

Have you got the right ‘type’ of customers?

The first thing to consider is who are the typical clients that you carry out work for? If you are mostly carrying out domestic scaffolding around private homes or for relatively short term projects then shrink wrapping may not be the right product for your customers. These type of projects tend to require a fairly basic level of temporary weather protection. The only exception to this tends to be projects on large domestic properties in high profile areas where a smart appearance to the sheeting, and a sheeting that fits very tightly, so it does not bang against the scaffolding is desired by some clients.

Have you got the right projects?

From our own experience carrying out encapsulation of scaffolding for temporary weather protection or environmental containment, the benefits that shrink wrap brings tens to be appreciated by larger scaffolding projects at the ‘industrial’ end of the market. So, if you have ever erected a scaffolding around a bridge to enable blasting or painting works, if you have ever erected a screen inside a factory to prevent dust entering a production area or of you have ever set up a scaffolding in an exposed location where failure of the sheeting would be serious – such as trackside, power stations or airports then you will be working on the type of projects where encapsulating the scaffold with a shrink wrap sheeting can bring benefits to your customers.

Shrink wrap can be used in a similar way to traditional style scaffold sheeting, it can be used as a temporary roof covering, as a factory partition, or to provide environmental containment. Sometimes it is used for it’s smart and professional appearance alone, particularly on high profile projects.

Can you sell the benefits of scaffold shrink wrap to your customers?

In summary, shrink wrap sheeting is designed for challenging applications that require a very high level of weather protection or weather protection. If you don’t have these types of customers then they won’t appreciate the benefits of shrink wrap and so they won’t be prepared to pay any more than they do for standard traditional style scaffold sheeting.

It is not designed as a replacement for traditional style scaffold sheeting, applied lift by lift and attached with bungees. It is more helpful to think of shrink wrap as a solution for those situations that require a higher level of performance.

The main benefits of scaffold shrink wrap are;

  • Extremely ‘drum tight; and moulded fit around the scaffolding – will not detach in high winds
  • Heat sealed joints between sheets – highly effective for containment of dust and other contaminants.
  • Extremely smart and professional appearance.

Have you got the time to learn?

Secondly, have you got the time to deal with the inevitable learning curve that comes from taking on a  new product or service? Shrink wrapping is not like traditional style scaffold sheeting which is fitted on a lift by lift basis. Scaffold shrink wrap is a versatile product that can be used in many different ways. Although we try and cover as much during training as possible, inevitably a certain amount of learning has to come from ‘on the job’ real world experience.

Do these projects come along on a regular basis to justify the cost?

Like many things, to get really good at installing shrink wrap scaffold sheeting takes practice and experience.

If your team are only required to shrink wrap a scaffolding every 6 months then they will probably not get enough practice and may gradually forget the skills they were trained in. In this case it is probably best to use a specialist scaffold shrink wrap installation company. For more details see this article; ‘Which Scaffold Shrink Wrap Installer is Best For My project?’

Why you should set a scaffold shrink wrap service

If your customers are demanding more from the sheeting than you can achieve with traditional style scaffold sheeting – i.e. they are complaining that you need to achieve higher levels of environmental containment or you need to seal between sheets to a much higher level.

If you getting frustrated by the need to regularly going back to replace traditional style scaffold sheeting after it has been blown off by high winds

If you are looking for innovative new products to offer to customers that help to differentiate your scaffolding company from the competition in your area.

What should I charge for a scaffold shrink wrapping service?

Prices of course vary but the following is a general guideline. Most specialist installers charge around £6 / square metre to supply and fix scaffold sheeting to a scaffolding facade. This rate is very much an average. Small jobs (less than 100 square metres) may command a higher price. Temporary roofs £7 / square metre. Internal projects, such as factory screens, where installation speed, unaffected by the weather, may be higher, may be offered at a lower rate.

A rate of £5-£7 per square metre probably covers the majority of shrink wrap jobs. However, it is worth re-iterating at this stage that if you are looking at scaffold shrink wrap as a way to offer customers a lower cost scaffold sheeting option then I’m afraid you are going to be disappointed. However, the cost differences between shrink wrap and a similarly specified scaffold sheeting such as Monarflex Super T Plus is not at all that great. for more information see; ‘How does the price of scaffold shrink wrap compare with the price of Monarflex sheeting?’

One thing to consider here is that as a scaffolder your teams may be located very close to the site compared to a specialist shrink wrap installer. This gives you some extra flexibility on pricing.

OK, so you have customers with the types of projects that would really benefit from shrink wrap sheeting, you have a basic understanding of the business model and how to create a profitable line of business for your company? How do you get started?

What will it cost me to install scaffold shrink wrap?

Based on our own experiences running a scaffold shrink wrap installation team, the following is a good ‘rule of thumb’.

Labour – £1 / square metre. Assuming a labour rate of £150 / day and a typical minimum installation rate of 150 square metres of shrink wrap per man per day, we usually estimate labour costs to be around £1 / square metre. For jobs which involve a significant amount of travelling time, this may be more.

Materials – £2 / square metre. Materials is made up of;

Shrink Wrap Sheeting – £1.77 / square metre. The standard roll size for shrink wrapping in the UK is 7m wide x 15m long. At a film thickness of 300 microns, this works out to be around 30Kg roll and an area of 105 square metres. At £186 / roll this works out to be £1.77 per square metre.

Other Materials such as shrink wrapping tape – £0.18p / square metre

Gas – £0.05p / square metre

OK, we have looked at some of the reasons you should (and should not) start a scaffold shrink wrap service. We have looked at costs and very broadly the typical rate for shrink wrap ‘fully installed’ is £6 / square metre and this is based on basic costs for labour and materials of £3 / square metre.

How do I get started?

  1. Get some materials and equipment

Getting started is as simple as choosing a supplier and getting some materials and equipment. We think that our materials are the best quality and easiest shrink wrapping to work with on the market because but in the interests of openness and transparency we have another article that walks you though all the other players in the UK here; ‘Where Can I Buy Scaffold Shrink Wrap Supplies?’

Typical start up kit

  1. Clips – (box of 100) reusable – £95
  2. Hot air Gun – £395
  3. 7m x 15m, 300 micron, flame retardant to EN13501 – £186 / roll
  4. Patch Tape – £9.95 / roll

For a detailed explanation of shrink wrapping materials and equipment take a look at this article; ‘What Materials & Equipment Do I Need to Start Scaffold Shrink Wrapping’.

Total essential start up kit – £685.96

2. Get some training!

In summary we can either provide training on a ‘training structure’ built by you at your yard or we can provide training to your team on a ‘live job’. Both have advantages and disadvantages. Because training is absolutely critical to getting up and running successfully We have produced an additional in depth article ‘How Can I Get Training for My Own Team to Install Scaffold Shrink Wrap?’ here.

Training can vary but generally £595 for the first day and £295 thereafter is what we charge.

We provide a ‘deal’, which involves the essential start up kit and a training session at your site(normally £1280.95) for just £995.00.

What would you like to do next?

Buy Shrink Wrap Materials

If you want to shrink wrap your own scaffolding projects.

Get Installation Services

If you would like us to provide a full supply & fix service.

Learn about Shrink Wrapping

If you want to find out how scaffolding shrink wrapping works.

Have an upcoming project requiring shrink wrapping?