Keys to Success and Pain Points to Avoid

By Rick Kozlow

We’re now in what would be the usual busy season for our industry, but we’ve been disrupted by unprecedented events that have challenged us all economically, socially and as individuals. When we look back at 2020, I feel it will be more about your survival story and not just your growth percentage or bottom line. Survival looks different for everyone, of course. This reminds me of the days after 9/11 and the 2008 economic crash, and the tough choices I was faced with at the time as a young entrepreneur.

As is true for most new small businesses I was trying to gain market share. I focused on my fastest growing segment, which was automotive window film. After the 2008 crash, I quickly realized I needed to capture more revenue per transaction to help curb the expected loss of foot traffic.

The next logical choice was to add more services that complemented my window film business. Naturally, paint protection film (PPF) came to mind. I had worked with PPF in the past however, I had a negative dogma about it because these jobs typically took longer and would tie up my tint bays. Little did I know a few years later, it would become my leading revenue stream.

I decided to buy a roll of PPF and start offering it to my existing customer base. I figured, “how different could it be from window film?” We found out very quickly that PPF requires a completely different installation technique. We definitely took on more than we bargained for. After wasting time and money, I looked to a colleague for advice. He recommended taking a manufacturer’s training class for PPF. The cost of the class was about the price of a roll of film, which seemed reasonable. Coming out of the class I had more confidence and was ready to put my new skills to work.

Progress to Success

Training – Most PPF manufacturers offer factory certified product training. Even if you are experienced with the material it’s best to ask your supplier about their best practices and recommended solution mixtures. In the end, investing in training will save you time and money.

Support – Ask for information from your sales rep about different programs they offer for PPF such as pattern-cutting software, point of purchase literature, online dealer locator, warranty coverage and sales training. This will help you become knowledgeable about the product and can present the features and benefits to your clients.

Start Small – Build up to larger and more challenging PPF jobs by introducing door edge guards, door cups and trunk ledges to your customers. These are simple solutions that are highly profitable while building consumer awareness and installer confidence.

In challenging times like these, we must take the time to examine the state of our business model, identify and explore new opportunities, and adapt to our changing markets.

Stay safe and stay strong.

Rick Kozlow is with Accent Distributing LLC as technical service manager/3M trainer.

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