The Hard Truths About Getting into the PPF Industry
By Jamie Werner
I am going into my tenth year in the PPF industry, and during that time I have been asked a variety of questions about what it takes to be an installer. How much of an investment will it take? How long before I can start making some serious money? The hard truth is that the answers aren’t so simple.
Build the Foundation
First and foremost, this industry is built on the art of installing PPF. Without the ability to install Clear Bra materials, you leave the most important aspect out of the conversation. Because of this crucial variable, you should arm yourself with a strong education foundation upon which to build. Even with that base, you’ll need to continue to practice and build a library of knowledge on what and when to use your techniques taught which requires you to practice. Sadly, a lot of that will mean installing film and then throwing it in the trash because you will make mistakes. In order to learn from those errors, replacing those pieces after each attempt will create a repetition effect that will help your memory to create instincts. These will help you know how to read the film and patterns appropriately so the process becomes second nature. Over time, I’ve been able to give the rough estimate that it takes about a dozen cars to get comfortable with the PPF installation process. It takes about 50 cars under your belt to get proficient with it.
Patterns and Plotters
I mentioned patterns before because I believe it’s a tool to get you moving in the right direction when you first get into the business. Well-fitting patterns make the installations go smoother, look cleaner than a hand-cut installation and produce a more proficient use of your time and film management. There are instances where so called “bulking” can be a better option, but that is something that you shouldn’t jump into if you can’t get the basics first. Cutting on a car poses great risk when you are new to the craft so tread cautiously if you don’t have access to software. Having patterns means you need to have a plotter. This can be expensive, but it’s worth its weight in gold. This is a significant cost that should pay for itself within a half a dozen paid installs.
Your all-in investment within your first 6-12 months is going to run about $15-$20,000. That includes film, tools, software, plotter, and yes, more film because some of it is going to be thrown in the trash because you didn’t get it right the first time.
Are You Ready?
So with all that tough talk and a reality check are you ready for the challenge? Are you going to have the wherewithal to stick with it and overcome the speed bumps you will inevitably face? Have you done your research and linked up with the right supplier (for more on how to choose a supplier, see page 8). Make sure they will hit all the check marks so you can feel like the path you’ve taken is going to lead you in the right direction.
Take these thoughts as a gateway into a discussion of what the PPF industry is all about.
Jamie Werner is the national sales manager and head trainer for PremiumShield.
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