Eastman and Brodie Mathews Team up for PPF, Wrap Education

Traditional, four-year colleges are primary sources of higher education for many career hunters. But as film industry professionals know, the lecture hall is not the sole pathway to success. Brodie Mathews, owner of DeCo Tint and Tint America in Arvada, Colo., studied collision repair technology at Boulder Technical Education Center in Boulder, CO., as a 15-year-old high schooler in 2004. He’s returning to the facility this month, but not as a student.

Mathews uses his former trade school as a platform

“I had no idea what the class was going to be like,” Mathews says. “We didn’t have access to the technology we have now, where we jump online and search a YouTube video or look through photos to get an idea of the career path. [We] left it in the hands of the educator, and they did a great job piquing my interest.”

Mathews looks to do the same for his students during a two-week paint protection film (PPF) and vinyl-wrap installation training course spanning from January 31 to February 11. Forty students will be split into two classes each day.

“We will teach these students the correct methods of preparing a vehicle for PPF,” Mathews says. “Prepping the surfaces, creating the correct slip solutions and tack solutions for installation, locating and running software on a plotter, loading film and the installation itself for pre-cut kits and bulking. We will be keeping it limited to entry-level. It will be hood, fenders and mirrors. We may touch on bumpers so they get experience. We want to have basics for them so they can hopefully gain interest in this industry and have a good foundation to start possible employment or an internship right out of school.”

Mathews trained students on September 29, 2021

Daniel Chong, technical services representative for Eastman Performance Films LLC, will be on hand for the training. Eastman will also provide a plotter with software, training film and tool kits for students.

“As consumer interest for PPF grows, so does the demand for professionally trained installers,” says Darrell Reed, commercial director, Eastman. “Building a proficient, skilled installer network is essential for sustained growth in PPF. Eastman is excited to support this program and to help the next generation of installers identify career opportunities in the industry.”

The new classes will focus on entry-level techniques

Mathews cites it’s becoming increasingly challenging to discover educated installers and retain them. He says the trades are yet to be promoted and pushed as much as a collegiate education. “I don’t think we’re there yet. I think this is a slow transition that will start, and it’s needed. We need to get more people in our industry to help push this towards the younger minds and building a career,” Mathews says.

The 22-year collision repair and window film industry veteran looks to turn the tide when he steps in front of his students in 12 days.

“It’s exciting to imagine that this course, and hopefully many others like it someday, will generate a growing interest in the PPF industry—producing the next generation of pros to meet a growing demand for qualified, skilled film installation talent,” Mathews concludes.

There’s a New Tax Rule for U.S. Small Business Owners

The IRS will look into the digital payment service accounts of small businesses, freelancers and independent contractors. . . . Let’s suppose you’re a small business owner or freelancer, and you get paid from a digital payment service like PayPal, Venmo, Zelle, Cash App or any third-party settlement provider that’s accepting credit cards on your behalf and putting money into your bank account.

Click here to read more.

New Year, New Me: Film Shops Rev Up 2022 Resolutions

The New Year dawns in 10 days, delivering a fresh calendar full of potential. With 2021 winding down, industry members are reminiscing on past accomplishments and reciting resolutions for the future. 23-year veteran Nipsy Mitch Goldman, owner of Tegridy Tint in Marrero, La., is focused on family for 2022.

Goldman aims to train his son in 2022.

“I’ve been bringing my son to work the past few months,” Goldman says. “I’m trying to teach him because he just graduated high school. All the time I’ve spent in shops—I’ve never spent enough time with him to push him. That’s one thing that hurts me because I spent most of his life working. I don’t want him to be like that with his children whenever he has children.” Goldman says passing on industry knowledge and teaching his son how to tint would be his “biggest accomplishment.”

40-year veteran Mel Villalon of Paradise Tinting in Long Beach, Calif., will hone in on a new segment of business in 2022.

“Anti-vandalism film is going to blow up,” Villalon says. “I’m going to do more elevator work and restrooms. There’s miles and miles of stainless steel that needs to be protected or finished.”

John Little owns All Pro Window Tinting in Decatur, Texas, with his brother Jason and has been in the industry since 1990. He plans to lean on the shoulders of others during the next 12 months.

Little looks to share responsibility in 2022.

“At my age, and my body breaking down, especially with getting COVID, a good goal that I would like to [pursue] is to step back, run the business, deal with customers, answer the phone and have somebody else do the physical work,” John Little says. “For many years, we’ve [had] a mindset where we want all the money. Now we’re realizing we wish we had trained people and brought people up under our wings to work for us.”

Melody Champagne, owner of Champagne Window Tinting in Roswell, Ga., is new to the industry, but she’s still shooting for the stars as January approaches. She plans to “work with the champagne theme and give it a modern, classy look where you can tell how much work I put into the place.”

Champagne plans to grow her brand throughout the New Year.

Many strive for more in the New Year, but it’s essential to step back, take a deep breath and reflect on accomplishments in the previous one.

“Hand-cutting was hard for me at first,” Champagne says. “When I started working at a dealership, I didn’t have anybody to teach me. I had to be self-taught, and I had to be able to talk to other people who have done it, too.”

For some, growth was found within.

“I haven’t been a confident person for a long time in my life,” says Jordan ‘Shady Jay’ Jernigan, main installer and shop manager at Luxury Window Tinting in Greenbrier, Ark. “This past year, for personal growth, has been a huge milestone. I’ve grown to appreciate myself more and have more confidence in myself than I’ve ever had. It’s let me be more of myself than I’ve ever been.”

Unfazed: Film Shops Thrive Through the Slow Season

The film industry finds itself in the thick of slow season, a period packed with cooler temperatures, varying demand and overall financial uncertainty. Which strategies and services are shops leaning on this fall? PPFMag caught up with owners in Georgia, Tennessee, Maryland, New Mexico and Colorado for a countrywide check-in.

Quesada says drawing attention to your shop is crucial.

“We have to be creative as business owners,” says Lawrence Williams Jr., owner of Tint Masters Window Tinting in Owings, Md. “If you’re just a window tinting company, I can see it [being] a little harder for you to make it through seasons like this. But you have to be willing to step outside the box.”

Williams entered the industry in 2004 and discovered ways to keep busy as a shop manager during business days that dragged. “The one thing that peaked outside of window tint for us in the cold months was remote starts and car-seat heaters,” Williams says. “That is probably the easiest money you can make.”

Chuck Cochran, owner of Eastcoast Motorsports in St. Marys, Ga., has been in the industry for 30 years. He recently hired a new employee in preparation for the busy season.

Cochran makes personable customer interaction a priority.

“Right now is the time that we use to beautify the shop, get pressure-washing done, change the showroom, wipe everything down and take a look at our presence so we don’t have to try to do that when we’re busy,” Cochran says.

What’s the key to Eastcoast Motorsports’ slow-season success? Cochran says it came down to focusing on personable outreach in 2018.

“When I quit advertising, we were doing around $800,000 a year in sales,” Cochran says. “Since then, we average $1.2 to $1.4 million every year. . . . We started concentrating more on our personal relationships with our customers, giving them a better experience.”

That experience is enhanced by a zero-discount policy that allows Cochran to hone in on worthwhile investments.

“If I give away 10% of my business on a million dollars in sales, that’s $100,000 gone,” Cochran adds. “I can take that $100,000, and I can buy better signage, [purchase] better rugs, have nicer windows, have better paint and make my facility cleaner. I can buy that new Keurig machine and a vending machine. I do those things with that money, and my customers see a direct appreciation value other than just saving them $10 or $20.”

Jan Milburn, owner of The Tint Shop in Parachute, Colo., opened his doors in August 2020, right before slow season. The initial crawl was manageable, but 2021’s pace began slowing dramatically in September.

Milburn plans to strengthen his service lineup for 2022.

“I’m down to doing a flat glass job—a business or a house—maybe once or twice a month,” Milburn says. “In the summer, I was doing one a week. I was doing 10 cars a week in the summer. Right now, I’m down to maybe five cars per month.”

Ceramic coatings, residential projects and persistence have kept the new owner pushing forward during an unpredictable second year.

“I’ve gone through my Tint-Wiz list and [touched base with] customers I did work for,” Milburn says. “Put proposals in that never got approved or jobs that I never did—follow up on them, see if they’re interested and if there is anything I can do better.”

Milburn plans to incorporate paint protection film (PPF), vinyl wraps, signage and graphics in 2022 to diversify and fortify service offerings. Gilbert Quesada, owner of All Star Glass in Bosque Farms, N.M., focuses on an appealing presentation to ensure a steady flow of customers.

For Case, it’s about making the first move.

“I’m hanging banners from my truck, parking my truck by the road and constantly trying to draw up some type of attraction [and] commotion to where it looks like we always have cars here,” Quesada says. “Make it seem like you’re not just going home; make it look like you’re busy.”

Business is generated by hitting the pavement and making conversation for some owners. Cory Case, owner of Case’s Tinting in Morristown, Tenn., says, “Carry business cards. If you see a car that doesn’t have tint on it, go up and introduce yourself because I’ve got a lot of business from doing that. If the back is ugly and bubbled up, say, ‘I’ve got a lifetime-warrantied film. This will never happen to your car if you let me tint it.’”

How has slow season been for your shop?

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Female Film Stars Find Voice for 2022

The women of the film industry will kick off 2022 with a different form of customized artistry. Prominent female film stars will ring in the new year by launching a calendar titled the Women of Automotive Film. Ten women comprise the calendar’s pages.

“I want to bring light to [the fact] that there are females in this male-dominated industry,” says Liz Lasa of Artistic Window Tinting in Yuba City, Calif., who is also known as ‘Window Tinting Queen.’ “Hopefully, it brings light to other females that want to get into our industry—to promote that it’s open to males and females.”

Each month after January 2022 features photos of a different industry professional:

Luanna Souzza of Tint Pro in Sunrise, Fla.

January 2022 (All 10 women)

February 2022 (Melody Champagne, owner of Champagne Window Tinting in Roswell, Ga.)

March 2022 (Amber Bailey, vehicle wrapper)

April 2022 (Luanna Souzza of Tint Pro in Sunrise, Fla.)

May 2022 (TBD)

June 2022 (Julia Collins of Kaloko Tinting in Kona, Hawaii)

July 2022 (Julieta Moreno of Boss Lady Window Tint in Katy, Texas)

August 2022 (Cheyanne Kahele, owner of Kaloko Tinting in Kona, Hawaii)

September 2022 (Erika Gare, wrap artist)

October 2022 (Raphael Love, owner of Love’s Mobile Tinting LLC)

November 2022 (Amber Renea, owner/technician at Revamped Rides LLC in Blue Springs, Mo.)

December 2022 (Liz Lasa of Artistic Window Tinting in Yuba City, Calif.)

Lasa represents December 2022 in the calendar.

“I do all of the automotive film where I work,” Kahele says. “I’m sweating and in T-shirts and shoes all day. I was looking forward to taking nice pictures, getting pretty, getting all glammed up and feeling good about myself. Because I don’t get to do that—I’ve got three kids, have my own business and [I’m] trying to build a house.”

Wrap artist Gare’s goal aligns with other women in the group. “I wanted to be a part of the calendar to connect with other women in the industry,” Gare says. “To inspire other women to embrace themselves for who they are and not just who they think they should be working in a male-dominated industry.”

Calendar feedback has far exceeded expectations for Champagne. “I think we all have something in common,” Champagne says. “I think we’re all tomboys in a way. It’s a great way for us to express that. I didn’t know what would come of it. I’m sure they probably didn’t know what would come of it. Now, here we are making a calendar.”

Kahele echoed Champagne, citing a notable character trait as common ground for the group.

“The more I’ve been learning about us, I think the biggest thing we have in common is perseverance,” adds Kahele. “There are so many things that we’ve each overcome in our own lives—personal and work. These ladies are so strong.”

The group has discovered a voice that the community continues to amplify. Renea says, “I hope that it shows all sides of us—not just sweating in big T-shirts tinting cars. We’re still feminine, too.”

Women of Automotive Film is slated to release later this month.