For these companies, PPF is a top-selling (and for some, the only) product they install all day long. This keeps them profitable, efficient and at the top of their game. Here’s how they reach the volume they do and how they got there.
Speed Film, Roswell, Ga.
2015 Sales Volume: $635,000
Percent of Business: 100
Number of Employees: 1
How They Do It:
All David Dearing’s done, day in and day out, for 16 years is install PPF. The business model has worked out quite well for him, averaging more than $600,000 in sales over the last five years.
It was an uphill battle in the beginning, though.
“I went to every high-end dealership in Atlanta,” he says—and nobody wanted it. So he took to car forums. “I’d go on Mini Cooper forums and find a post about rock chips,” he explains. “Once I found a juicy post, I’d log onto that forum and do a post about paint protection film.”
Then the business started pouring in.
“They came in clusters,” Dearing says. “A Mini Cooper cluster, then a Honda cluster. I deliberately picked cars that were easy to do back then,” since he was still getting used to the product.
Now, the wholesale-dealership model is the main part of his business.
“I had to build the demand before the dealerships settled in,” he explains. “I still have a lot of retail, but I don’t go after it primarily because the dealerships keep me so busy.”
In fact, Dearing doesn’t even schedule a full day’s work. He always leaves room for one extra installation because “the dealerships don’t like you to say you can’t do their car … If you have to make them wait 24 hours, that’s just too long.”
Besides creating demand by creating product awareness, new innovations also added to his rapport.
“My business really took off when good 60-inch film came out,” he says. When that happened, “my dealership account went up by 30 percent because then we could do the whole hood. That’s one of the things that let me transition from the retail to back into the dealership model.”
Colorado Clearbras, Denver
2015 PPF Sales: $491,400
Percent of Business: 90
Number of Employees: 4
How They Do It:
Tony Pagano, owner of Colorado Clearbras, has more than 15 years in the PPF industry, and his PPF company is still growing. While much of his focus has been on dealership accounts, he’s recently shifted strategies.
“We’ve opened up a second shop and are doing a lot more in the retail side,” he says. “We’ve kind of been catching fire. The market’s been picking up over here.”
The growing Denver metro and Colorado’s terrain helps Colorado Clearbras stay busy.
“They sand the road, so it’s pretty impossible to get away from the rock chips,” Pagano explains.
To push his retail side, which he expects to have a 40-percent swing this year, he’s invested $2,400 in a consumer-facing website.
“We just changed the name of our business. We’ve been doing this for almost 16 years with no web presence,” he says. Pagano’s also been taking booth space at car shows and stays involved with new vehicle clinics that some of the higher-end dealerships have.
With the initial and continuous investment to keep his website search-engine-optimized (he’s hiring someone to maintain it monthly), Pagano expects many more years of business growth.
Auto Trim Design, Idaho Falls, Idaho
2015 PPF Sales: $176,000
Percent of Business: 20 Percent
Number of Employees: 7
How They Do It:
Auto Trim Design is a full-service automotive aftermarket company, but PPF is one of its hottest-selling products for several reasons.
“Our area is notorious because they chip roads all year long, so it tears cars up,” says Tim Belden, manager. “Cars just take a horrible beating around here. That’s how we market the product: ‘Protect your investment.’”
Belden frequently changes the banners in front of his store, but much of his PPF sales comes from customers seeking something else.
“We rotate the banners out front, but when you walk into our shop, the first thing you see is a DuraShield banner,” Belden says. “We always mention the product because still people are not aware of it.”
Auto Trim Design has lost about 50 percent of its dealer accounts to in-house installers, so has been pushing the retail end.
“We started marketing through car dealers,” Belden says. “Now a lot of them have gone internal on some of this stuff and doing their own,” but he notes some have returned to the business to have their in-house installers’ mistakes fixed.
As for the retail end, Belden says the product is an easy sell and has seen some great returns. Already in 2016, the company has done $100,000 in sales. Out front, shop vehicles are done—including a 2005 Ford F-150.
“We actually take our customers out and show them what it looks like on the vehicles,” Belden explains. “When they see the F-150 without a chip on it, it pretty much sells itself.”
With that tactic, 35 to 40 percent of customers that come in for other products end up leaving with PPF, Belden says.
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