Marco Cazorla: The Traveling Trainer

Trainer Marco Cazorla spends his work weeks at XPEL’s headquarters and training facility, helping others harness skills he began sharpening in 2004. The building sits on the edge of Sunset Road in San Antonio, Texas, and it’s where tinters learn how to take on the trade. It starts and ends with patiently trusting the process.

Cazorla (right) trained Anthony Magana (left) of Denver Auto Shield in Denver, Colo.

Marco’s Auto Repair

Automobiles served as Cazorla’s second home during childhood. His father worked in auto repair and made sure he and his twin brother contributed to the family business. Repetitive tasks transformed into a career that began in 2004 at Steve’s Professional Glass Tinting & Auto Security in Upland, Calif.

“He would have us clean every single one of his drawers and his toolbox,” Cazorla says. “We would help him clean the shop. It mirrors what I did at Steve’s Glass Tinting when I first installed [film]. We would help with brakes, tires, oil changes and transmission [work]. It seems like my whole childhood is coming back.”

Today, Cazorla leads a five-day introductory course with two fellow trainers. The program begins with theory, tool usage and shrinking methods. The ideal audience knows next to nothing about window film when they arrive.

“In my training, I’m highly critical,” Cazorla says. “I tell [trainees] straight-up—’This is going to be an intense week, [but] we’re going to have fun; I’m not a boring teacher. The one thing I ask is that you do not quit on me because we all signed up to be here right now.’”

Outbound

The course’s onset aims to lay the foundation for what the group will accomplish during their week together. Trainees won’t be removing door panels, but they will learn the importance of two-staging. It’s an initial introduction to the world of window film that Cazorla packs for carry-on.

Cazorla trained the team at Rides Guatemala in Santa Catarina Pinula, Guatemala.

“I [also] go to the customer in their environment,” Cazorla says. “I struggle with what they struggle with, and I adapt to the environment so they can become a better installer. [I] prepare them for their next level of installation abilities.”

Cazorla plans to take tinting techniques to Spain, Morocco and Dubai once COVID subsides. He traveled to Rides Guatemala in Santa Catarina Pinula, Guatemala, in November 2020.

“We were working on Porsches, G-Wagons—all high-end cars,” he says. “I learned that, specifically in Guatemala, the passion for learning this trade is extremely high. Anything I said, they were taking notes. They were more eager. It’s like their life depended on it financially because it did.”

Corrections and Reflections

Cazorla trains 200 people per year on average. He hones in on the details, emphasizing realistic expectations when taking tinters under his wing. “This trade is not something you can learn in one week. You can’t speed up the process with window film; the probability is not there. Someone coming out of training is not going to hit a home run, be at my level or the level of someone who’s been in the industry for more than ten years. That’s why you can’t quit—you have to continue on the path, and you have to keep going.”

Cazorla teaches tinters-to-be, striving to open up careers for those who don’t have one. But his purpose is multi-layered.

“Yes, I know how to do window tinting and paint protection film (PPF),” Cazorla says. “But I enjoy changing peoples’ perspective on this industry, changing their trajectory in life, really getting to know them and building relationships. You don’t know what that [person’s] going through, so you need to approach it from a different angle.”

California Issues 600,000 Direct Payments in 1st Batch of New Golden State Stimulus Checks

As California continues the slow recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic that shut down many businesses last year, new $600 state stimulus checks have begun arriving in the bank accounts of residents who earn up to $75,000 annually, to help them get back on their feet. The state distributed approximately 600,000 direct payments worth an estimated total of $354 million, according to Daniel Tahara, a spokesman for state’s Franchise Tax Board.

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Gilbert Greatness: Andrew Garcia and Matt Somerville Win Big at WFCT

Nine winners were announced at the conclusion of the 2021 International Window Film Conference and Tint-Off™ (WFCT) this June. Two of the three Paint Protection Film Competition winners spend their work days at Oz Braz in Gilbert, Ariz.

Matt Somerville (left) and Andrew Garcia (right) celebrate their podium finishes at WFCT 2021.

“It’s not the first time we’ve done it,” says bronze medalist Andrew Garcia, owner of Oz Braz. “But it’s always cool, even taking just one home.”

2021 was a repeat of 2017 when the shop had two installers place in the top three of the competition, with Garcia being one of them. Oz Braz’s Matt Somerville earned a silver medal at this year’s competition, continuing the trend of podium finishes for the company.

“This was my second time competing,” Somerville says. “And it was actually kind of cool to be one of the people that comes home with something.”

Somerville placed ahead of his mentor Garcia, but the shop prides itself on friendly competition.

“I’m okay with taking a loss to my guys, and I think that’s what every owner and trainer would want is for their trainee to surpass them,” Garcia says.

Somerville says placing ahead of Garcia is a testament to the company’s training.

“It was mind blowing to me,” Somerville says. “Once we got done with our heat, all 10 finalists were talking to each other and talking about how hard it was. Everyone seemed pretty close together in difficulty and finishing. So it was just kind of mind blowing to me that I actually got second over Andrew.”

The duo plans to compete at WFCT 2022 next September. Stay tuned for event details.

Ceramic Coating Your Car Explained and if You Should

Everybody knows the importance of keeping your vehicle mint. The notion is equal regardless of whether your car’s a Ford or Ferrari. There are some things that you need to know about new car ownership. It’s virtually impossible to retain a factory-like appearance while using it as intended. However, there are detailing products that could enhance the visual appeal of your car whilst prolonging its “like-new” looks.

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Research Report: Trends in Window Film and PPF

Window film companies know that business is booming—because many shops are as busier as ever. The data bears that out as well, even though research shows that consumer sentiment still has some recovering to do. Nick St. Denis, director of research at Key Media & Research (WINDOW FILM magazine’s parent company), discussed demand and trends in the window film and paint protection film market during a recent presentation held during the International Window Film Conference and Tint-Off™.

St. Denis noted that consumer sentiment in the U.S., according to the University of Michigan’s longstanding survey of consumers, in the second and third quarters of 2020 was at its lowest point in nearly a decade.

“Consumer sentiment is a strong indicator to look at regarding aftermarket accessories and alterations to vehicles, as well as improvements to a home or building,” he said. “When consumers are comfortable with their financial standing and the economy in general, they’re more likely to spend on discretionary things such as PPF for their vehicle or window film on their home.”

The Index of Consumer Sentiment, which measures this, has partially recovered as of the second quarter of 2021 but still has a ways to go.

Fortunately, several other indicators closer to the industry—including personal consumption expenditures of motor vehicles and parts, as well as retail sales of automotive parts and accessories—have been booming since late 2020 and through the first quarter of 2021. Additionally, new vehicles sales have improved to start the year.

St. Denis discussed data related to residential improvements. He said that despite the economic downturn last year due to the pandemic, homeowner improvements and repairs remained strong throughout 2020, improving nearly 6% year-over-year with a similar expected increase in the year ahead. This, he said, is a good sign for architectural window film.

St. Denis wrapped up the session discussing some anecdotes from articles and qualitative research by KMR and Window Film magazine, looking back at the pandemic’s impact. “For many dealers in the industry, elevated sales in the first quarter of 2020 and a rebound in the third and fourth helped offset the downturn that mainly impacted the second quarter,” he said. “But those in areas with stricter restrictions had a more difficult time making up for losses.”

Some dealers also reported an uptick in demand due to nearby competitors shutting down. “There was a general increase in residential work with people working from home, he said. “And businesses also took the opportunity to upgrade with window film while employees were away.”

Looking ahead, a rise in sales of vehicle accessories and residential improvements should bode well for window film, and continued increase in consumer awareness along with an increase in new car sales provides opportunity in PPF.

“Security film for downtown businesses may be a strong prospect for dealers moving forward,” he added.