How I Got My Start in PPF
By Brodie Matthews
Let’s go back to when it all began, 17 years ago. High school was not my strong suit—in fact, I was miserable. I was one of those kids that just couldn’t focus, the one being made fun of. I had this passion for cars and modifying them—cars completely calmed me and were the one thing I really focused on. I decided to go half day to the local technical school to learn auto body collision repair. Four months in, I ended up dropping out of high school and enrolled for a full day at the tech school. Shortly after, I got hired at a local body shop that loved my passion and wanted me to work full time. My boss at the time agreed to send weekly reports to my educators on my performance and we all came to an agreement that I’d be able to work and get my certification.
After my certification, I got offered a job working for Ford as the aftermarket body technician at age 16. This was a dream come true as I was making body kits for SEMA cars and molding body kits to cars. Around this time, I started getting sick and was advised to change careers. This is when I met my first window tinter, Riz, who took me under his wing and taught me the basics of window films. I was a fast learner and mastered the art quickly. At 17 I was on my own and needed to make more money, so Riz sent me to a class for paint protection film (PPF) at a hotel parking lot, hosted by a known film company that starts with an X. This started my future. The store I worked for offered it and I attempted it. With the little I was taught and a lot of trial and error—I don’t even want to know the amount of cars’ paint I cut into as I was learning the installation—and well, I found myself just doing it.
A Fast Fall
Now let’s move to 2008: the economy fell and it fell hard. So hard that, unfortunately, the shop did not survive and it was forced to close, and I was out of a job! I looked everywhere but no one was hiring. Then I got a call from a Toyota dealer who wanted to chat. This dealer offered me a position as a detailer that would tint and apply PPF when needed. So the first two years at the dealer were a slow start, but my installation was getting better, I was gaining trust from the sales department, and a good level of rapport with them started taking place. We started to sell the films! Working closely with sales, service, finance and management, we built this “business plan” and implemented it into the store. I learned how every section of a dealership has to make money somehow. I learned how to run a business successfully from this experience.
A New Start
Eight and a half years of working for the dealer and averaging six PPF installs every day, I realized I was capped, so started doing side jobs for people. This is when I met a vehicle storage company that hired me to work nights for them doing clear bra on exotic cars. The feeling you get when you have a Ferrari Enzo under your squeegee is a high that can only be experienced, not described. This is when I decided to advance myself more than I could at the dealer. So, in 2014 I established DeCo Tint, PPF, & Wrap with literally nothing but my wife’s support and a little money from our savings to get me going. We got our first building at 1,200 square feet and the word got out-—I was the exotic and luxury car care specialist. In just four months of business we outgrew our shop space and needed a larger facility. This was when I needed the help so my wife, Desiree, left her state job to work alongside me. We stayed in our second store for two years and had a comfortable 2,000 square feet of shop space. We continued to grow and that’s when Dominic, lead installer and general manager, joined the team. We outgrew that store, but we stayed as long as possible. This was one of the best things we have ever done as it taught us how to maximize space and not become pack rats. We recently moved to a new facility with just under 4,000 square feet of space and the white floors we all dream. We just love our business and what we do.
Falling into the paint protection business by accident changed my life. From losing everything and having bad credit, to now being able to have the freedom of never missing my kids’ school events and enjoying life as it should be enjoyed. Running the business can be difficult and mentally draining, but I will never give up what I am, even if the empire we are building falls. Because I love what I do—I am a PPF installer and artist. I also have been given the opportunity to train others and have done this with success and enjoyment.
Brodie Matthews is the president/CEO of DeCo Tint PPF Wrap in Arvada, Col. Come hear him speak at the International Window Film Conference and Tint-Off™ as part of a PPF panel on Friday, September 6 from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. The session, Finding Success with PPF, is great for those who want to add paint protection film (PPF) to their business but are not sure where to start.
To view the laid-in version of this article in our digital edition, CLICK HERE.