Opening a window film business doesn’t always mean you’ll have lasting success, as there a few key points to know whether you’re a long-time veteran or a newbie. Two industry business owners shared several factors you should keep in mind with Window Film magazine.
Rodney McClure, owner of Ace Window Tinting, located in Bremen, Ga., and CEO and head designer at Gasket Pro Tools, located in Bremen, Ga., has been in the industry since 1984 and said there are foundational things shop owners all need to know. He along with Ty Sullivan, vice president of SPF Window Tinting located in Hattiesburg, Miss., shared three main points.
- Every Job is …
One question that is often asked by newer business owners — is quality with few tint installations more valuable than many installations and lower quality? Newer window film business owners might be concerned with getting more vehicles tinted than spending the time to make sure it’s done right with fewer installations per day. But which is the better choice?
“Over the years I’ve learned that every job is important,” said McClure. “In business you only get one chance to make a good impression, and simply put you are only as good as your last job.”
“This is a dynamic question that is dependent on the business model,” said Sullivan. “There are high volume and low volume business plans where quality and profit vary. I would say foundationally, if you are building a long-term automotive installation company, high quality at whatever volume is generally a channel to success.”
- Educate Your Customers
When it comes to window film offerings, not all customers know what they need. McClure noted that taking the time to properly educate your customers is a valuable point, but it’s important not to overdo it. “You don’t want to get to the point of confusion, don’t show off with technical jargon [that they won’t understand], if they need statistics they will ask and thanks to the Internet most customers have educated themselves already. Just remember the customer doesn’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.”
“We go back and forth with this topic often and generally speaking I want to educate the customer to the level at which they feel comfortable with their purchase,” Sullivan explained. “I think it’s location and clientele specific and around 80% of or customers are shopping for the best price, aesthetics and availability.”
Customer service representatives (CSRs) should also be well-versed in your company’s services. Both McClure and Sullivan, say they should be able to ask discovery questions to match the customer with what they need. Sullivan noted that it’s important to understand that most customers “don’t need further explanations on the benefits of film, they need to be explained why your company is better at giving them your benefits.”
- Experience Counts
One way to ensure your customers are getting the best information about your window film company’s offerings is to have well-trained staff. However, how you train them can speak volumes especially if your newly-trained employee leaves with some of your skills. Fortunately there are ways around rotating staff. According to McClure, the emphasis should be put on teaching them to do a proper installation versus every task.
“The best way to combat this is to train someone to install but not to cut film,” said McClure. “In other words you train one person to cut film but not to install, and you train someone to snap, shrink and heat mold film but nothing else.”
Why go through all of this you ask – “you do this so they [your newly-trained employees] don’t have the ability to moonlight or tint on the side,” said McClure.
Sullivan has a different approach–he focuses on the why. “If you have this issue you should start by fixing why they leave,” he said. “This issue is generally foundational to a company’s overall success and longevity. First develop a culture, business model, strategy, competitive pay, benefits package, and then a training program so that once you get them trained they do not want to leave and they grow along with your business.”