When things get colder, they tend to move slower—and automotive window film industry is no exception. Each winter, some automotive tint shops (especially in northern states) struggle to stay afloat as the demand for heat rejection dies down.
Paint protection film (PPF) takes the cold sting out of winter for Gail Bulgin, president of Private Eyes Window Tinting in Wyo.
“I live in a community where they put gravel and salt on the roads all the time,” she says. “The people here want to protect their vehicles. It used to be as a tint shop, we would struggle to stay in business through the winter. Paint protection changed that—completely turned it around. We’re busy now all year.”
Bulgin says that PPF sales skyrocket as the cold months approach—when localities prime the roads for snow and ice, car dealerships are aggressively trying to move last year’s models and people are purchasing new vehicles for the holidays.
But even though people are more motivated to get PPF in the winter, Bulgin still gives them a little push to seal the deal.
“During the holiday season, we have a non-advertised special that we do over the phone. I put up the Christmas tree and put tags on our tree,” she says. “This is what I do to pull in business when people may not want to spend money on their vehicles for Christmas, I give them discounts. They range from $30-50 discounts and we give away a free PPF installation or window tint every year at Christmastime. That’s what keeps us going through the winter.”
Bulgin says she runs the special from the beginning of November to mid-January, when she takes her tree down. “If you schedule your appointment or buy a gift certificate, you can draw a gift tag off the tree and get that discount. It really does pull people in. I have the person answering the phone say that to every customer and every year I sell between 15-20 gift certificates for PPF.”
And though he lives in the Sunshine State, Rick Kozlow, president of A Window Tinting in Land O’ Lakes, Fla., notices this trend as well.
“Window film is busier at certain times of the year but paint protection is busy year-round, especially in the winter months,” he says.
Kozlow explains that while consumers are taking advantage of year-end leasing offers, he does too.
“I approach a lot of the lease and fleet salespeople who are going to have their cars traded in every couple years and wants to be able to keep it on their lot to resell it,” he says.
There’s one type of vehicle, however, that doesn’t get much PPF applied in the winter, according to Albert Hercberger, owner of Block A Chip, a Menton, Ohio-based vehicle protection company.
“Sales slow down for sports cars because those cars are typically put away in the winter time,” he says. “PPF is no longer just sports cars. Nowadays it’s across the whole spectrum from mini-vans to pickup trucks,” which is “pretty steady.”