How a One-Man Show is Building an Impressive PPF Reputation
By Casey Flores
You wouldn’t know it by looking at his operation, but Jose Mora, owner of Henrico, Va.-based Safeguard, is a one-man PPF installation show.
When I tell him I thought his company had several installers, he says, “That’s what I wanted it to look like. We’re still a small company, though.”
Though he’s only been at it on his own for three years, Mora, 29, is full of businessisms. His story is probably a lot like yours.
“I started with another company,” where he worked in detailing and film installation for almost ten years, he says. “When the company changed management, I decided to go on my own.”
He was fairly sure he’d succeed with customers of his own, because that’s what he’d been practicing for.
“When I was doing it for the other company, I acted like their customers were my customers,” Mora says.
Story of a Startup
While business started off slowly, word about Mora’s quality installations spread fast.
“Initially, everything was from word of mouth,” he says. “My customers go to cars and coffees [a bi-weekly meet-up of car-enthusiasts], and when someone asks about paint protection film, they refer them to me.”
He’s even made a name for himself on some Richmond, Va.-based car forums.
“The other day I met a customer from California who bought a Corvette in Richmond,” he explains. The man wanted PPF installed before taking the car back to California and found out about Mora through the Corvette Club of Richmond’s online forum.
“I have used Safeguard Auto Salon twice. Great stuff … He also does detailing. Very professional,” that particular post reads.
He’s also formed some relationships with car dealerships, which have him doing two to three cars per week. Instead of him courting the dealership, the company’s president heard about Mora through one of his former customers.
“He wasn’t happy with his own installers,” Mora explains. They’d installed PPF on his car twice and still didn’t do it correctly. “One of my customers had him call me. I re-installed his film, and I did a good job. He told me he wanted me to do his dealership’s installations as well.”
As a result, he’s now doing more than double the business he was three years ago.
A Little Diversity
A long-time automotive detailer, Mora couldn’t just give that up. In fact, detailing accounts for 30 percent of his current business (PPF is 40 percent).
“I have two guys helping with the detailing,” he says. “I have a van that can go around the area, and I do it here in the shop as well … I love making customers’ cars clean. You can make someone happy by cleaning their car— and it brings you gratification.”
As for the remaining percent of his business, 20 is from window tinting and the other ten comes from vehicle wrapping. Mora says he likes doing it all, but PPF is his favorite.
He also diversifies the way he services his customers. Mora has a retail location and a mobile operation.
“I prefer the retail location,” he says. “When customers want me to come to their house, I have to make sure they have good lighting and a temperature-controlled room. If they can’t provide me a location like that, I get them to come in.”
The Thirsty Thirties
Less than a year away from his 30th birthday, Mora isn’t slowing down.
After doing more than $93,000 in sales in 2015, he hopes to double that number this year. “I just started two dealer accounts and am doing some advertising. I didn’t do either last year,” he explains. “I’m also going after more retail and wholesale jobs.”
Though advertising is new to him, he’s confident he’ll get the most ROI with radio ads.
“People listen to the radio when they’re in their car,” he says, so he figures that’s the best time to sell them on his aftermarket services.
He’s also pushing the envelope by using the latest in multimedia technology.
“I do time-lapse videos with the help of a friend and a DSLR camera to make my work the most professional it can be,” he says.
With a savvy business mind and superior installation skills, Mora plans to be in business for years to come.
Casey Flores is the editor of PPF Mag. He may be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on twitter at @windowfilmmag
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