Losing That Loving Feeling

By Mel Villalon

As I started my journey to become proficient at selling and installing paint protection film (PPF), a love/hate relationship began. I think back to my initial introduction to what was referred to as “clear bra.” It walked through my door in the form of an excited engineer with a 12-inch roll in hand. He wasn’t even in the automotive industry. He said he was picking up some detailing supplies and the guy at the store said, “Check this 3M stuff out.”

Film Flashback

This distributor also sold pinstriping tape, body trim and mouldings. They were instructed to show it around and gauge public interest. The year was 1995, and plastic bug shields and vent visors were hot. The days of the black vinyl nose bras and rear window louvers had come and gone like Top Gun in the ‘80s. The clear bra thing was something to get excited about, especially at $60 for a one-hundred foot roll. The funny thing is that it remains difficult to sell today. It’s not for everybody.

Today I still see people who want to get into doing PPF because they believe no one in their proximity can do it. The market is theirs for the taking. Then reality hits.

You have to burn to learn. Many have installed poorly or taken on work that they could not finish, spending sleepless nights thinking about the jobs coming in and stressing over what will or will not go away after the PPF dries up. You’re so beat up— you’re thinking about never doing this again.

Like any relationship you care about, it will have ups and downs. But PPF is a self-esteem killer if you let it get to you.

You would think that tinters and vinyl wrappers would have no problem getting into the PPF business. Many seasoned veterans that masterfully wield a squeegee in their profession are quickly humbled, chewed up and defeated. Heck, PPF masters still have those days. But it’s the sweet pay-day that brings back that loving feeling.

It’s what keeps us in the film business.

Taking Flight

As you read this current issue, Memorial Day Weekend has come and gone, along with the end of the 34-year wait for a Top Gun sequel.

Top Gun is an 80s pop culture classic that gave us movie quotes I believe will hit home to both PPF installers and their customers. There’s a mixed bag of emotions as we prepare to tackle that complex surface. Fear, anxiety and uncertainty, along with hope, bravado and confidence, are what many of us experience at various stages in our careers.

During these times, I want to leave you with some advice along with my favorite Top Gun movie quotes to help pull you through those tough times. I know they have gone through my head many times as well.

6. “Your ego is writing checks your body can’t cash.”
5. “I am dangerous.”
4. “Talk to me Goose.”
3. “You can be my wingman any time.”
2. “There’s no points for second place.”
1. “I feel the need for speed.”

PPF at Your Pace

I want you to be at peace with it all because this is what we do. If it were easy, nobody would pay you the big bucks for the job.

Avoid trying to knock out stuff based on how fast others say they do it. Negate other people’s time expectations. The time is now for you to dictate how long you need to do the job. Because as time is ticking towards the end, the stress will cause mistakes, poor performance and imperfect delivery. Speed will come with time. Focus on mastering what’s difficult. It’s all difficult in the beginning.

You’ll slowly realize that you can no longer relate to what others deem to be difficult. You are now a master at PPF.

Mel Villalon is the general manager of Paradise Tinting in Long Beach, Calif.

To view the laid-in version of this article in our digital edition, CLICK HERE.


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