The Underdog

The first service we offered the public was car detailing.

Our journey will take different twists as we are all unique, with different strengths, weaknesses, challenges and socioeconomic backgrounds. However, we all have goals.

Many will start their journey with a goal or destination and have it mapped out. Such an individual may have the support of family, friends or mentors standing next to them, providing the tools and resources to climb the most Mount Everest of goals. Given the right variables, these individuals would always succeed, as they should.

Then others will start with a desire to improve their circumstances in life, those whose goal is to simply build something to sustain themselves and take control of their lives. Those in this category may not have finished or even attended college and may need more support to succeed.

These are the underdogs—those always having to push the cart up the hill, facing challenges at every corner with sometimes no one but the good Lord in their corner. For this person, the journey is the most difficult. The Davids of the world constantly face a giant and are always up against a Goliath. If you are a David in this world of Goliaths, step right up and take a seat; you are in the company of many other Davids. Davids have faced and continue to face significant obstacles and challenges in life.

There is a cliché that states what does not kill you will make you stronger. Here is one of my David versus Goliath stories. If you are unfamiliar with David versus Goliath, I strongly recommend you look this up. It was initially recorded in the Bible in 1st Samuel Chapter 17.

Brian Versus the Big Film Company’s Rejection

Earning trust from supercar owners takes time.

I started my business with less than what is commonly called “humble beginnings.” The first service we offered the public was car detailing; long before social media and even Google became such a powerful force in our lives. We provided a premium service, and before too long, we had a clientele that trusted us with prized automobiles.

These clients started asking for additional services like window tinting, so I went to tint school, having no one to teach me, and to make sure I could deliver an end product that would meet the approval of our growing clientele.

After attending tint school, I tried to reduce the learning curve associated with mastering the craft of window tinting. This challenge is threefold—cutting the film, heat forming the film, and installing the film.

Cutting the film by hand required precision, and it would take time to develop this skill. Heat forming was not terrible; I did well in the training class. Then there is the art of film maneuverability or handling. That is where most newcomers give up the ghost and become average.

Oh, did I mention that I am a bit of a perfectionist? So I found this terrifying. I did not want to deliver terrible work. There was also the risk of cutting the glass and damaging the vehicle. I thought that if I did not have to cut the film by hand, that would be one less task for me to master. Getting a plotter should eliminate this step.

I contacted my then-film supplier, inquired about a plotter and was told the following. I went deep into my archive and found the exact words:

“The way things are set up now, you have to purchase $10,000 in film a year. The plotter itself is $2,400, plus you would have to purchase the software and set up fee, which isn’t included in the $2,400 price. That would all have to be paid upfront.”

Wow! Goliath had hit me with a devastating blow and had won this round. I will fill you in on what came after in my next post. This has been a bit of a rant, and I still have some other items I’d like to include before I complete this post.

Recent Conversation

My good friend Brian (namesake) said this to me: Be kind to yourself. Are you inclined to be kind to everyone but yourself? Are you taking care of yourself?

Thoughts From a Book

Atomic Habits by James Clear is a book I recommend to all. I want to share a few nuggets from this book in the months ahead. This month’s wisdom: 40 to 50% of all tasks are habits. I’ll pair that with an Aristotle quote: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence is not an act but a habit.”


Be kind to yourself and develop good habits. These fundamentals will make us better humans, and our lives and businesses will thrive.

Until the next time—Walk Good (Jamaican Expression).

Toyota Develops Peelable Paint That Will Work Just Like a Wrap

Scuff marks and surface scratches on a Toyota’s paintwork may soon become easier to repair, thanks to a new patent that CarBuzz discovered at the US Patent and Trademark Office for peelable automotive paint. According to this document, a car’s outer paint layer can be rendered removable by simply peeling it off, leaving an as-new layer of paint where the scratches used to be.

Click here to read more.

Ford Files Patent to Remotely Repossess Vehicles

Imagine being a couple of weeks late on your car payment and starting your Mustang or F-150 on a hot day only to discover the air conditioning doesn’t work. If Ford secures a patent it applied for in August 2021 for “vehicle repossession” technology, owners who miss payments could find themselves unable to use important features or even locked out of their cars altogether.

Click here to read more.

XPEL Reports Fourth Quarter and 2022 Year-End Results

XPEL, a global provider of protective films and coatings, announced results for the fourth quarter and year ended December 31, 2022.

Fourth Quarter 2022 Highlights:

Revenue increased 11.9% to $78.5 million compared to fourth quarter 2021;

Net income increased 34.7% to $8.4 million, or $0.30 per basic and diluted share, versus net income of $6.2 million, or $0.22 per basic and diluted share in the fourth quarter of 2021;

And EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization) grew 32.4% to $13.2 million, or 16.8% of revenue compared to $10.0 million, or 14.2% of revenue in fourth quarter 2021.

Year End 2022 Highlights:

Revenue increased 25.0% to $324.0 million as compared to $259.3 million in the prior year;

Net income increased by 31.1% to $41.4 million, or $1.50 per basic and diluted share, compared to $31.6 million, or $1.14 per basic and diluted share, in 2021;

And EBITDA grew 38.7% to $61.2 million, or 18.9% of revenue, as compared to $44.1 million, or 17.0% in the prior year.

In the quarter, the company’s revenue was negatively impacted by approximately $3.5 million resulting from the cancellation of some China orders due to uncertainty created by the change in COVID policies and China’s reopening.

The company also incurred approximately $0.4 million in inventory write-offs which negatively impacted gross margin. The company’s selling, general and administrative expenses were negatively impacted by approximately $0.3 million in severance-related costs and $0.4 million in compensation expense tangential to a previous acquisition.

Normalizing for these items, revenue would have grown approximately 17%, EBITDA margin would have been approximately 18% and EPS would have been approximately $0.36 per share, according to the company.

Ryan Pape, president and CEO of XPEL, says, “Despite some headwinds in the fourth quarter, there is a lot to be positive about as we look to 2023. We continue to have tremendous momentum in almost all of our regions, particularly the U.S. which grew 31.6% in the quarter. Automakers seem cautiously optimistic about 2023 and new car inventories continue to improve. This momentum has continued and we are off to a great start in 2023.”

Putting Clients First

It’s no secret that having a positive client experience is essential for any business, especially those offering high-end services like ceramic coatings, window tint and paint protection film. I often see newer businesses that don’t have a defined company culture.

When you prioritize the client experience as part of your shop culture, you increase customer satisfaction because clients feel their needs are being taken seriously.

An outstanding customer experience is impossible without a first-rate business culture. If your shop is in a constant state of confusion and disruption, your service will reflect it. The quality of your customer service will plummet if your business is continually responding to damage claims, correcting oversights and fending off comebacks. Because of this, customers are dissatisfied with their service—which is bad for business.

Here are four pillars to help you create a positive client experience and a better company culture.

1. Increased Customer Satisfaction

When you prioritize the client experience as part of your shop culture, you increase customer satisfaction because clients feel their needs are being taken seriously. Customers want to be treated with respect and empathy. Creating a customer-centric environment helps ensure just that. By investing time and energy into developing relationships with your customers, you demonstrate that you care about their needs. This can make all the difference in increasing customer loyalty, retention and, ultimately, business growth.

2. Generate Positive Word-of-Mouth Referrals

Customers who have an overwhelmingly positive experience with your business tend to share their experiences with family and friends. This kind of word-of-mouth referral marketing is one of the most powerful tools for generating new business leads. Establishing an open line of communication with clients is key; if they know they can come to you with questions or issues, they have more confidence in doing business with you again and recommending your services to others.

By putting clients first, you’ll ensure that your shop thrives.

3. Improved Quality of Service

When shops make the client experience part of their core values, the quality of service from employees improves. This creates a mindset for employees that growth is always on their minds, preventing stagnation. A shop that is focused on improvement is a shop that is focused on providing great service. Not only does this ensure customer satisfaction, but it also encourages feedback and allows businesses to tailor services or products accordingly—optimizing the customer journey from start to finish.

4. Build Value No One Else Can Match

Creating an organization that puts value on delivering exceptional service shows potential customers that there’s something special about doing business with you versus another competitor offering similar products or services. So why not make sure yours stands out? Demonstrating your commitment to excellence establishes trust by showing clients where your priorities lie: providing them with top-notch products and services while ensuring they’re satisfied every step of the way.

By putting clients first, you’ll ensure that your shop thrives. Remember that it’s important to continually evolve and improve your service offerings as clients’ needs change over time. Stay ahead of the curve by utilizing customer feedback to adjust accordingly—this will help differentiate your shop from others in the area.