Trainees Shadow PPF Veterans
By Chris Collier
The paint protection film (PPF) industry meets a need, protecting anything with wheels. But the segment relies on a pool of patient, passionate and detail-oriented applicators. Key industry suppliers and companies combat the need with training programs for beginners and experts alike.
Avery Dennison currently offers a three-day PPF training course encompassing various segments of learning—software and plotter cutting, hand/bulk cutting, installation, tools and best business practices. The company currently has one designated trainer for PPF specifically—Narayan Andrews of
Spectrum Auto in Colorado Springs, Colo.
“I think the most important aspect of training is [that] it is equivalent to furthering your education in school,” says Graeme McKnight, marketing associate and training coordinator at Avery Dennison Graphics Solutions.. “There is always something new to learn, and many people learn in different ways or have different tips/tricks of their own that they can share with other
students in the room. What starts as the trainer demonstrating his best techniques to the entire class turns into a collaborative effort by the whole class to apply PPF to different parts of a vehicle and helping each other along the way.”
Ceramic Pro launched its PPF training courses in 2018 shortly after releasing Kavaca Films. Its basic two-day PPF course features a maximum of eight people and covers prepping and installing on complete front-ends. The company is in the process of developing an advanced course.
“We bring in a variety of SUVs and sedans to replicate real-life jobs that the trainees will see at their shops,” says Ceramic Pro training director Dane Gregory, whose program has trained nearly 700 individuals. “The focus is on quality installs using plotted pieces, but we also touch on bulking and when it is beneficial. Each attendee is required to take an online portion of the training and pass a 50-question test before coming to the in-person portion.”
STEK USA’s training team consists of three PPF professionals. The company’s three-day intro course is held at its headquarters in Woodinville, Wash. Each “Intro to PPF” class has a maximum of four students; more than 200 students have completed the course and are now fully certified as STEK installers.
“A small class size and the amount of hands-on installation is crucial,” says Robert Golis, lead trainer and support and Benjamin Nussbaum, domestic and international install tech and support, STEK USA. “Having a small class
size helps the trainer tailor the class to each student so the students get the most out of their training and are as successful as possible after they come out of the training.”
XPEL offers an intensive, four-day training class at its headquarters in San Antonio. The company also incorporates outbound training into its schedule.
“We teach the foundations of installation: preparing the vehicle to ensure that the paint surface is clean to minimize debris, tacking points on where to start a bumper, solution mixes for soap and tack and how to use the Design Access Program (DAP),” says XPEL trainer Marco Cazorla.
The window tint and paint protection industry has been home to Ken Floyd for
more than 30 years. An Eastern Canada sales manager at Madico Canada, Floyd facilitates future careers.
“We offer a three-day training class with all hands-on experience; lunch is supplied with all the tools needed and taken home with them,” Floyd says. “They are also supplied one 24-inch roll of Protekt PPF as part of the total package. Each student is given a certificate upon completion. We train using
bulk and using kits cut on the potter, so they are taught on both methods.”
Global Hi-Tech Films’ two-day PPF training launched in June 2020. The company emphasizes a small-class size allowing students to receive a high level of attention. Bill Stewart, Global Hi-Tech Films trainer and owner of Stunmai Consulting, says the program trains an average of 52 students per year. He expects that number to grow.
Brodie Mathews, owner of DeCo Tint and Tint America in Arvada, Colo., studied collision repair technology in 2004 at Boulder Technical Education Center in Boulder, CO., as a 15-year-old high schooler. He returned to the facility in January, but not as a student.
“I had no idea what the class would be like,” Mathews says. “We didn’t have access to the technology we have now, where we jump online and search a YouTube video or look through photos to get an idea of the career path. [We] left it in the hands of the educator, and they did a great job piquing my interest.”
Mathews’ two-week PPF and vinyl-wrap installation training course was held earlier this year. Eastman provided a plotter with software, training film and tool kits for forty students, which were split into two classes each day. Daniel Chong, technical services representative for Eastman Performance Films, was on hand for the training. Eastman has a PPF training program of its own. Courses feature three days of primarily hands-on training and one-on-one, supervised skills practice.
“We believe in the professionalization of the film installer occupation,” says Richard Dill, technical services manager. “Our goal is to make it a recognized, respected career within the automotive industry. This will elevate customer experiences when purchasing film products and support industry growth.”
Beyond the Bays
Business management is an integral portion of running a PPF business. That’s precisely why San Luis Obispo, Calif.’s, The Tintstitute hones in on various areas.
“Online and in-person training cover topics such as estimation/customer consult, proper prep, proper tools and solutions, bulk template creation, plotter templates, cutting on cars, installation, PPF selling and business growth topics,” says Austin Cook, owner of The Tintstitute.
In the digital era, accessibility to educational material is essential. Auto Film Mastery is meeting trainees in the middle, providing a PPF online training course in addition to in-person workshops.
“It is an intro, intermediate and advanced course with all of my tips and tricks,” says Auto Film Mastery founder Mike Norng. “As important as your pattern library is to your PPF business, the “Installer Library” and “On-Demand” will be just as important. It is a step-by-step video instruction on installing PPF on challenging vehicles. My goal is to keep adding new vehicles and put every vehicle you need for PPF installation in this library.”
The market for paint protection is growing, but by how much? Scan insight from several top suppliers below
Graeme McKnight, marketing associate and training
coordinator, Avery Dennison Graphics Solutions
“The most recent report we can recommend was released from Data Bridge Market Research, specific to the PPF market in the U.S. and growth projects by 2028. In this report, their research states, ‘The paint protection film market is expected to gain market growth in the forecast period of 2021 to 2028. Data Bridge Market Research analyzes that the market is growing at a [compound annual growth rate] CAGR of 6.6% in the forecast period of 2021 to 2028 and is expected to reach USD 348,349.70 thousand by 2028.’”
Dane Gregory, training director, Ceramic Pro
“I can see the popularity of PPF growing rapidly. We have such a high demand for training that we increased how many sessions we have per month. ”
Robert Golis, lead trainer and support and Benjamin Nussbaum, domestic and international install tech and support, STEK USA
“The PPF market has been growing substantially. The demand for PPF has been increasing over the last couple of years despite the COVID-19 pandemic. It can be seen that there are many companies, especially from the window film side, that are entering the PPF space in a short period of time.”
Marco Cazorla, film trainer, XPEL
“PPF training has been so popular that we keep having to hire more
trainers to keep up with the demand for training XPEL customers.”
Learn more about PPF at WFCT 2022
Wednesday, September 14 • 9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
Breaking Out and Breaking Into New Markets
It’s no surprise that PPF and ceramic coatings are on the rise and poised for exponential growth. Panelists will inform attendees on the following topics:
• How to break into an emerging market if you currently offer detailing and tint;
• How to pair PPF and ceramic coatings with your existing products;
• How to perfect an install and find the little things that make a big difference;
• General tips and tricks; and
• How to find and train installers to apply PPF and ceramic coatings.
Speakers: Nick Blek is the owner at Premier Armor in Corona, Calif.; Brian Brown is the principal at Exclusive Detail in Charlotte, N.C.; Jay Ka is the owner at Modern Elix in West Chester, Pa
Visit wfctevent.com for more educational opportunities.
Chris Collier is the assistant editor for PPFMag.
To view the laid-in version of this article in our digital edition, CLICK HERE.