Ask a Pro Fall 2022

The Importance of the Sales Process

By Mike Burke

If you’re a paint protection film (PPF) shop, you probably also do paint correction and coatings or partner with someone who does. Think about the process you go through when selling coatings. If a customer calls, you can give them a general idea of what it’s going to take, but you really need to see the vehicle in person. Especially with a dark-colored vehicle, the amount of labor necessary to get the vehicle to a coat-able state can vary significantly based on the condition of the paint.

The Rundown

So you get the customer in the shop, inspect the car with them, walk him or her through the process and educate on the value of the service you’re providing. Once he or she understands why you can’t coat the car until the paint is perfect, and what it takes to make it perfect, they’re more likely to see why you charge what you do.

So why do we sell PPF like it’s a product on Amazon? Go to the website and click a button to see the price of the kit. Call the shop and get a price over the phone. With PPF, the condition of the car and paint affects the process and the final outcome just like it does with coatings, so we need to be selling it the same way. Think of every PPF job as someone asking for full paint correction on a two-year-old black car.

Consumer Knowledge

The sales process should always start with getting the customer to your store so you can walk around, evaluate the paint and the car, show them the software, explain the technical skill required for things like hood vents and scoops, aligning seams and stretching the material around uniquely-shaped bumpers. With the customer in front of you, you can discuss with them how much coverage they really need, explain why you do or don’t wrap edges and set realistic expectations based on the unique challenges posed by different paint colors.

You can also sell the value of your facility. Point out the immaculate floors, the air conditioning that allows you to keep the doors shut against contaminants and the bright LED lighting that lets you see any imperfection.

In short, sell them on everything except price. There is a fair market value for the material and install costs that will vary based on your area. If the customer is shopping around, they’ll see your value compared to other shops that just throw out a cookie-cutter price. If they’re not, then your job is to sell them on the value of the product. Customers have questions and the better we can answer them, the more value we provide. Once the customer is educated on what they’re buying, price becomes less important.

Mike Burke has been in the window film industry for 33 years and the paint protection business for 26 years. His company, Sun Stoppers, has more than 68 locations in 19 states and offers residential and commercial tint and decorative film services as well as automotive tint, paint protection, and ceramic coatings. If you have a question for Burke to tackle in a future column, email him at

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

PPF Pulse Fall 2022

Industry Veteran Inducted Into Window Film Hall of Fame

Veteran window film industry owner Joe Cobbe, president/CEO of Maxpro Window Films, was inducted into the Window Film Hall of Fame.

“It’s a surprise and an honor,” Cobbe says. “There’s a lot of folks that have been in this business a lot longer than I have and are probably more deserving. I am flattered for it to happen; it’s a great industry with a lot of great people.”

Cobbe founded Commonwealth Film in 1985 and Commonwealth Laminating and Coating in the early 1990s. The company was acquired by Eastman in 2013.

Drafted into the U.S. Military, Cobbe served from November 1966 to September 1969 and earned the rank of First Lieutenant. He also has been a certified public accountant for more than 50 years. From June
2004 to June 2006, he was the mayor of Martinsville, Va. He helped create Maxpro in 2012.

“Opportunity and hard work—being able to recognize opportunity and putting the work in to accomplish it,” says Cobbe of his varied career paths.

Elizabeth Dillon, Maxpro executive vice president of sales and marketing, shares a connection of more than 20 years with Joe. “Joe has been involved in the window film industry for a long time,” she says. “Most folks have no idea exactly what all he’s done to help start the industry.”

Cobbe was recognized and inducted into the Window Film Hall of Fame during the 21st Annual International Window Film Conference and Tint-Off™ (WFCT) on September 14 at the Henry B. González
Convention Center in San Antonio.

XPEL Selected as Exclusive Supplier to Rivian Automotive

XPEL, a global provider of protective films and coatings, announced that they have been selected as the exclusive supplier to Rivian Automotive for their new paint protection film (PPF) factory direct program.

By the terms of the agreement, Rivian Automotive will offer factory direct PPF options to its customers ordering their new R1T and R1S models beginning late 2022. Customers will be able to choose between two PPF option packages: front gloss paint guard or full body satin paint guard. The paint guard packages have been developed cooperatively between XPEL and Rivian’s vehicle engineering and design teams to enhance the adventures of R1T and R1S owners, according to the release. XPEL will operate an installation facility in close proximity to Rivian’s Normal, Ill., assembly plant to ensure installation quality control.

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

Wrap On Fall 2022

The Tools Built for Competing

By Tyler O’Hara

For this column, I want to dive into the tools I like to use and the tools necessary for paint protection film (PPF) competitions. Not much in my in-shop tool set-up differs from what I’ve been bringing to the PPF competitions for going on a decade. I’ve seen many trends and fads come and go over my 14-year PPF installation career. Every year it seems like a new company pops up with the latest and greatest new tool or tank set-up. I have always resorted back to the golden rule—keep it simple, stupid. I am not a fan of fancy or complex set-ups. Inside my shop, we run hard day in and day out. I like simple set-ups free of complexity and points of possible failure.

Spray Away

We need ways to spray water when installing PPF because it is installed wet. Without water or liquid, installing PPF isn’t possible. Back in 2015 at the International Window Film Conference and Tint-Off™ (WFCT) in Reno, Nev., I was one of the only guys using a tank sprayer. I don’t want to claim to be the first, but I know I was the only one there using a tank.

It’s actually comical because my tank setup at the time was a modified weed sprayer with a built-in plastic pump. We would jerry rig the pressure relief valves shut with strips of PPF wrapped tightly around the tank. This would keep more pressure in the tank. I ran homemade set-ups like this until 2018, believe it or not. I bought parts and made my own sprayers.

In 2018, one of my friends had the idea to start modifying 2.5 gallon beer kegs. It was love at first sight! This is the set-up we run to this day. We drill a hole in the lid and add a semi-truck Schrader valve to it. This allows us to charge the tank with pressurized air from our air compressor with a tire inflator. I’ve also used a bike pump and a Milwaukee tire inflator while installing mobile or at competitions. We use a 1/4’’ ball valve and add a 20-foot hose.

One thing I’m very particular about is the spray pattern of the water. I like a sprayer tip that can go from a fine mist all the way to a jet stream. For this we use the Gilmore brass tip spray nozzle. This part of the set-up is the only weak point. It’s known throughout the industry that these sprayers aren’t very reliable. We have had decent luck with them, usually seeing a few months of service and then swapping out as needed with spares we keep stocked in the shop.

I’ve seen fancy tanks with battery-powered pumps and five-gallon tanks. I have even seen a tank set-up mounted on someone’s back. I and my team at American Wrap Company like to keep it simple.

Nowadays, I see a lot of people going crazy with various types of blades and blade holders. I’ve seen people using surgical scalpels, multi-blade capable Olfas, metal red dots, the classic metal Olfa and all types of actual blades. This year at WFCT, I was talking to some of my friends from Chicago Auto Pros, and they asked me if I felt that Olfa blades were inconsistent in sharpness lately.

The first thing I always tell people when they talk about the sharpness of a blade is that they have to be using a plastic blade holder. The Chicago Auto Pro guys were using plastic blade holders. My theory on this is that, as the blade extends and retracts in a metal blade holder like a red dot, the actual blade rides in a metal V out to the tip of the knife. This, in turn, dulls the blade, so as your break tips off by the time you get to the middle of the blade, it is too dull to cut PPF safely. My preferred blade holder is just a standard plastic 9 MM blade carrier. These can be found at Home Depot, Amazon and Harbor Freight; and nearly every online tint/PPF tool seller carriers them. While you’re cutting PPF, you want your blade as sharp as absolutely possible.

Since about 2013, I have worn a headlamp to install at my shops and in the competitions. I have had multiple people make fun of me for this, saying that I must not be able to afford good enough lights in my shops. I can assure you that’s not the case as funny as it is. I see many people spending tons of money online on elaborate overhead lights. I have found that overhead lights can’t do everything. I love using a good headlight, but it must meet some criteria.

The headlight must have multiple brightness levels, an on and off motion sensor and it must be rechargeable. The most important factor is the on and off motion sensor. This is crucial for me because there are certain colors of paint and environment conditions where I actually don’t want a lot of light. So having the ability to quickly wave my hand and have the light turn off is a huge plus. Rather than having to cycle through settings to click a button, I like the speed of waving lights off; another quick wave and its right back on where I had it.

Using a headlight is a huge advantage because it puts the light exactly where my eyes are looking. I also love tucking my knife between my head and the headlamp band. I saw Sergey Yakobchak of New Layer Customs in Troy, Mich., doing this at WFCT 2022. He ended up placing second in the Paint Protection Film Division.

Wrap On

I hope you find some of this information helpful. Some might say I’m a salty old dog—and I kind of am. But over the course of 14 years and nine medals in the PPF competitions, my tool set-up hasn’t changed much. I like to keep things simple, easy to maintain and cost efficient.

I see a lot of people waste a ton of money on the newest hype man’s tools when most of the stuff can be made for yourself with easily-sourced parts for a fraction of the cost. Spending a ton of money on fancy tools will not make you a better installer— repetition and practice will.

Tyler O’Hara is the owner of American Wrap Company in Thousand Oaks, Calif.

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

Bottom Line Fall 2022

Why You Should Use a Google Business Profile

By Todd Masinelli

This semi-social profile can really boost your reach. Don’t overlook it as you’re building out your online presence.

What it is and Why it Matters

Think of a Google Business Profile as a free and additional way for your shop information to show up in a Google Search. A profile can enhance your presence in search results if you set it up right and maintain it. Your Google Business Profile is separate from your website and requires some effort, but I think it’s worth it to put your most crucial business information—like your reviews and contact information—directly in front of potential customers.

Where to Start

First, claim your business. Sometimes Google will automatically create a profile based on information it finds online. Search the name of your business to see if this is the case. If so, click the link that says something like, “Own this business?” and follow the instructions. If your Google Business Profile doesn’t already exist, go to and set yours up from scratch.

How to Build Your Profile

Once you have a profile, activate as much of it as possible. Match the name, phone, address and category to your website, so your Google Business Profile understands the connection between the two. For category, you can select “window tinting service” but if your focus is paint protection film, consider alternatives.

For hours of operation, specify holidays if you’d like. When you get to the website URL, include Google Analytics tracking if possible, but don’t worry about this if you can’t just yet. Appointment URL is a great option if you use a system for online scheduling.

Your business description section is important. Here, share what makes your business special and put critical information in the first 244 characters. The rest will be hidden behind a “more” click. Next up are photos, and I recommend shots of your shop that show customers what to expect. Stay away from stock images or ones with text, and instead show off your waiting area and your install team in action. There is also a section for you to post updates, when you have them.

Reviews and Questions Matter

Monitor and respond to reviews and questions quickly. They matter to customers, and to Google Search as it’s deciding your rank in results. For questions, don’t just copy and paste responses. Authentic, personal replies show existing customers that they made the right choice and demonstrate your values to prospects.

Respond to all reviews. Keep it short for positive reviews, with something like: “Thanks for the kind words.” For negative reviews, respond as if that person were right in front of you—particularly if other customers were also present. Use this real-world knowledge to demonstrate your business values.

Todd Masinelli, digital strategy and marketing manager, Eastman.

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

Observe & Project Fall 2022

The Electric Age

By Chris Collier

Electric cars are all the buzz these days (pun intended). Situated in the North Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center, SEMA Electrified is an exhibit area featuring advancements in electric vehicle (EV) technology, including new products and solutions for EV platforms and conversions. Tom Gattuso, SEMA vice president of events, says, “The EV aftermarket is evolving quickly and continues to change …” What does the electric age signal for the paint protection film (PPF) segment?

Merging Markets

In July, XPEL, a global provider of protective films and coatings, announced it was selected as the exclusive supplier to American electric vehicle automaker Rivian Automotive for its new PPF factory-direct program. By the terms of the agreement, Rivian Automotive will offer factory direct PPF options to its customers ordering their new R1T and R1S models beginning late 2022. Customers can choose between two PPF option packages: front gloss paint guard or full body satin paint guard.

XPEL and Rivian’s vehicle engineering and design teams developed the paint guard packages cooperatively to enhance the adventures of R1T and R1S owners, according to the release. XPEL will operate an installation facility in close proximity to Rivian’s Normal, Ill., assembly plant to ensure installation quality control.

Cars, They Are a-Changin’

Whether their rides are silent, electric trucks or grumbling, gas-guzzling muscle cars, enthusiasts want to protect their investments. Dodge revealed its stunning Charger Daytona SRT Concept this August, marking its grand entrance into an electric era. The model will have an 800-volt electrical architecture called “Banshee.”

Cars’ internals and externals are shifting, but PPF suppliers and dealers will be more than ready to protect them.

Chris Collier is the editor of PPFMag. Email him at and connect with him on LinkedIn.

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