This is a continuation of my previous post regarding my desire to obtain a plotter and software from a film company that essentially fenced me out based on the volume of film I needed to purchase. I also needed to pay for the plotter and software upfront. I get it … they had no idea who I was and where I was going. They could not see the stargaze in my eyes and had no idea of my resolve and work ethic.
So what could I do if “Mr. Big Film Company” was not ready to listen to me? I scoured the internet for a plotter and found a company out of Texas with a floor model on sale at a discounted price. We bought that machine and still have it today.
Then there was the matter of the software. We considered two companies that were not tied to a film manufacturer, one out of Canada and another out of Texas, and again Texas came up with the win. I only now realize how Texas companies played a huge role in our journey as I write this.
So there we were with our plotter and software, needing the requisite skills to deliver a first-class tint job. I remember talking to someone from the software company, who recommended I go through a box of tint on a car. Cut, shrink, apply, remove and start again until I got the mechanics down; not getting held back by the judgment of how it looked.
This was hard for me, a detailer who had become obsessed with perfection. But it provided a breakthrough.
While I did learn to tint, I still saw detailing as our core business, because, at the time, it was providing most of our revenue. It was still the early days of our film business, and I wasn’t ready to flip the switch to become an operation focused on window tint and paint protection film. I would buy the tint, make the patterns and have a third party not associated with our business do the installation. These cars were already in our shop for detailing-related service, and window tint was now an add-on.
About PPF …
I don’t have a clear timeline for when we started doing paint protection film (PPF). However, we stayed with our software provider for a few years until we needed a more extensive library of patterns for both tint and PPF. At this time, we went back to “Mr. Big Film Company” who was able to see that we had experienced some growth and were prepared to allow software access.
Within a short period, we represented three major automotive window tint and PPF manufacturers. I could go on and on about this, but I must say the company that was unprepared to help us initially ended up offering the software for free in the end. Without malice, we moved to a single provider and ended our relationship with this company.
A few nights ago, one of my mentees texted me to ask if I still offered only ceramic window tint. I told him yes; he indicated that he was now offering multiple lines of tint from two separate suppliers. I encouraged him to identify which supplier he may have the best relationship with over time and choose one rather than seeking to have both simultaneously.
Here’s the thing for small operators—our purchases with a film manufacturer will be minuscule in comparison to their big budgets and revenues, so we are not going to get the attention from them that their larger customers will. The more we concentrate our purchases and show signs of growth with a particular manufacturer, the more willing they will be to support our growth.
Book Thought—Atomic Habits by James Clear
The aggregation of marginal gains. This is the philosophy of searching for a tiny margin of improvement in everything you do. Incremental increases will surpass a single massive action.
Observe your business operation and yourself. What was one thing you didn’t do daily over the years that would improve your business or yourself? Then start today working on that one thing.
The greatest determining factor of our future is our daily grind.
Until next time—walk good!