PPF Veteran Gives Tips for Smooth Installs

When it comes to installing PPF, Brodie Mathews, owner of DecoTint, PPF & Wrap in Denver, Colo., knows a thing or two. For the past 12 years, he’s been installing PPF on everything from helicopter propellers to foreign and exotic cars. From the beginning and end of an installation, these are the five tips he swears by:

1. Marketing: “I advertise by going to car shows and social networking. I don’t pay for any ads, and I haven’t in three years. But mostly, I like to meet my clients in person. If you go to car shows and other events, you get the value of having a face-to-face conversation. Once you land the job, word-of-mouth will go a long way.”

2. Pricing: “First and foremost, I try to keep everything with a paper trail so there’s no arguments with a customer down the line. I also ask for a 50-percent retainer. Some people get offended when you ask for a ‘deposit,’ but by saying ‘retainer,’ customers are more open to the idea. I’m not quite sure why that is, but it definitely seems to help.

“But when it comes down to setting the price, I base it off of my overhead, or what I need to make per day. For me, I know I need to make $600 a day to stay in business. Most cars are going to average around 200 square feet for a complete install, so a 60-inch-by-50-inch roll will be enough to cover a full vehicle; therefore, you already know what your product costs. Typically, a complete installation takes between 35 to 40 hours, so I price the vehicle for a week of labor, including additional installers, and add the cost of the material. If the installation takes less time, well, that’s just more money in my pocket.”

3. Prep: “We make sure the vehicle gets cleaned and washed thoroughly, and then we disassemble the lights, mirrors, door handles— anything that will make the install easier and cleaner. Give the vehicle an alcohol bath, followed by a wax and grease remover. Prep your floor and lay down a sheet, something that will keep any contaminants away from the film.

“It’s very important to make sure you start on the upper surfaces first; if you start from the bottom, you’ll bring dirt to the parts you’ve already cleaned. Then move to the sides of the car, and finish with the side skirts and bumpers.”

4. Installation: “Solution prep is very important to an install. I suggest testing a small area with your slip and tack solution before you begin to make sure the product is going to do what you want it to do. That way, you don’t end up wasting product.

“Just like with prepping, always start on the upper surfaces first so the extra moisture doesn’t draw dirt into unsealed edges; then move to the sides of the car, and the last part will again be the side skirts and bumpers.

“For our final details, we wrap all the edges, and get them completely sealed. I also like to use a torch to make sure all of the vehicle’s corners are sealed.”

5. Delivery: “Once the car is completely done, we try to upsell into additional layers of protective coatings like a ceramic coating (liquid glass coat). It’s a great product to try and add on; we make about $1,700 with this type of coating.

“Then we detail the entire exterior. You want it to look nicer than it was when it first came in. But what’s really important is educating your customer: walk them around the entire vehicle, explain why you chose to protect this part of the car and not the other, and make sure they know how to care and maintain the film.”

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