Sitting at a stop light and a lightbulb goes off. That’s about how it happened for Andrew Dodd, who got the idea for his new business Carolina Mobile Shrinkwrap while watching tractor trailers hauling shrink-wrapped boats past his truck.

“I got to looking into shrink wrapping and figuring out the process and what it’s all about, and it’s pretty neat stuff,” said Dodd, who’s a few months into his new venture.

Dodd, who lives in Waynesville, works at Evergreen Packaging, where he has been employed for the last 16 years.

Originally, Dodd and his wife had been looking into opening an RV and boat storage business in Clyde. But when the opportunity to lease a plot of land where he planned to locate his business fell through, he bought a trailer and took his idea on the road.

“I was going to shrink wrap items at the storage yard as a way to attract more people and when that part of the plan fell apart I decided to stay with the shrink wrap part,” he said.

Today, Dodd will drive out to a customer’s home, business or storage yard and set up his trailer. From start to finish, the process to shrink wrap a pontoon boat takes a couple of hours, Dodd explained.

The task begins with Dodd building an interior structure with 2x4s and strapping to provide a slant that will allow snow and water to slide off.

“I build a structure, and I will take foam or padding and pad off any sharp areas that could potentially rip the shrink wrap,” he said. “Then I unroll the shrink wrap, cover everything, tie it off with banding, get out my heat gun and shrink it down to form-fit the item like a glove.”

The shrink wrap material is made out of a low-density polyethylene plastic. The wrapping is UV resistant and 100% recyclable.

While the shrink wrap Dodd uses is primarily white, there is a blue variety for RVs that helps absorb heat. The characteristic is an inherent property of the color, Dodd said, as the product is not intended to be used for insulation.

Overall, Dodd said shrink wrapping provides ideal protection against mold, scratches, the sun, rain, sleet, snow and every other element nature can muster.

While Dodd explained that shrink wrapping can last for years, his guarantee is for the season.

‘Tis the season

With winter fast approaching, Dodd wants to get the word out about the many benefits shrink wrapping offers.

While primary uses include protecting RVs and boats, Dodd said the possibilities are endless. People can cover outdoor furniture, barbecue grills, kids’ bikes and other things.

“A lot of people don’t really know about this stuff,” Dodd said. “It’s really an awesome product. Year after year, people leave their outdoor furniture baking in the sun and they have to replace it every three to five years. But shrink wrapping preserves it.”

If someone has a gazebo, Dodd can transform the structure into a sort of shed by placing items inside and shrink wrapping the entire thing.

“You can put everything in the gazebo, and I can shrink wrap it. Then there are add-ons like an access door that I can add that makes it the coolest thing ever. … Anything that you can stack that you’re not going to use for the season, I can wrap up in the winter and you can leave it outside,” Dodd said.

For now, Dodd’s clients are mostly referrals from friends of boat owners whose pontoons he’s wrapped.

“People don’t realize the benefits of shrink-wrapping until they see others who don’t have to spend hours bleaching their boat, scrubbing mold, cleaning off leaves or doing anything but cutting the shrink wrap off and going,” he said.

Pricing by the linear foot

Protection and convenience come at a reasonable price right now as Dodd is getting his business off the ground.

While the average cost to shrink wrap an item ranges from $15 to $20 per linear foot, Dodd said his service is priced at $10 per linear foot. Pricing includes the shrink wrap, as well as any structure that needs to be built.

For more information, visit Carolina Shrinkwrap on Facebook, or email andrewdodd123@me.com.

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