The quick answer to this question is yes. Flat Glass offers huge opportunities to increase your window film business.
I’ve emphasized the word “film”, because recognizing the different approaches required to sell window “film” versus window “tint”, are key to realizing increases in business.
For 90% of tint shops out there, flat glass window film work is less than 10% of their gross sales. There a several reasons for this and below I’ll address the most common as given to me by shop owners.
But first, I’d like to give my impressions as to the primary reason why most tint shops aren’t doing what they could be, and the reason is this: Flat glass window film work is simply out of their comfort zone!
They are window tinters. They learned how to tint on cars and trucks, they matured in shops that specialized in vehicle tinting, and over the years, they learned how to reach that particular customer base. They are window tinters and don’t see themselves as flat glass window film installers!
I hope no one thinks this is being said in a negative way, because that’s not what is intended. If automotive tinters weren’t out there on the front lines selling automotive films, the film manufacturers probable would have a rough time making ends meet, and architectural films would be much more expensive than they are now. The point I’m trying to make, is that when you’ve only seen one side of something, the unfamiliarity of the other side makes us less likely to try our hand at it.
Going after architectural work is something that has to be done as a regular part of your business model. It’s not the occasional walk-in that wants their garage windows tinted. It’s about getting homes and businesses to rely on your services regularly and getting enough work from them to make a reliable cash contribution to your shop. If you don’t see enough money coming in to warrant pursuing more architectural business, maybe it’s because you’re not putting the resources into getting the work. Believe me, the work it out there. For twenty-six years, I worked for a company that only did commercial architectural projects. No cars, no homes, — commercial property only! They pursued that niche actively and are highly successful at it to this day. It can be done, and many shops already have the infrastructure in place to do it. They only need to make the mental and financial commitment to go after it!
The reasons that shop owners give me as to why they don’t do more architectural work can usually be addressed quickly and simply, but addressing those reasons won’t make you an architectural window film shop until you actually decide: WE ARE GOING DO FLAT GLASS WINDOW FILM! Once you flip that switch, you’ll get the work.
1. They don’t know enough about the types of architectural films.
This one is the easiest to fix. All you have to do is invest the time.
Window film manufacturers love to inform you about their products, so talk to them. They can tell which flat glass window films work best for commercial applications and which ones work for the home owner, and if they can’t, find one that can. My job as a distributor doesn’t just end with delivery of the material, my clients want answers, and I better know or find out those answers if I want them to continue to call me.
Probably the best innovation in flat glass window film over the past ten years has been the addition of Dual Reflective Films. These films allow great clarity and low reflectance from the inside while performing at a high level in terms of heat and glare rejection. Ask your distributors’ opinion and get sample flat glass window film cards ready to show your clients.
2. They don’t know which films are safe on architectural glass.
Same fix here. The key is education and the time investment it requires. Your distributor has a film to glass chart, so use it! The IWFA offers a class in architectural film that covers this topic. Go to it. Check out forums and blogs. There are way more flat glass window film options these days that are safe on almost any glass.
3. They can’t get out of the shop to do the job.
This is really a big hang up for most tinters. They want to get out of the shop, but they’re a one man operation and can’t afford to lose business while they’re gone.
The quickest fix for this is to schedule visits for estimates and flat glass window film work on a day that you’re closed or your slowest day of the week. Many guys use Mondays to visit appointments in homes and businesses that have called the previous week to inquire about film. You’re might have to lose a day off, or extend the hours for your vehicle jobs to free up a day, but it has to happen. If your income level allows you to hire an assistant that can tint vehicles by themselves one day a week, dedicate that day to architectural projects. You absolutely need the ability to go out into the field and sell the client.
4. They don’t know how to sell the work.
They key is to look like you know what you’re doing throughout the selling process.
Qualify each call that comes in. Ask the client what they would like to accomplish with window film. Never try to sell the project over the phone unless it’s just too small of a job to warrant a visit. (The determination of what is a small job is something that varies with every region.) Tell them that you have several films that would do an excellent job for them, but you would like to discuss with and show them samples in person.
Use what you know about films and their situation to select three samples to bring into the appointment. Never show them more than three samples initially. If the ones you have selected are not what they are looking for, go to your vehicle and bring in one more that is closer to what they describe. Most home and business owners don’t know much about the types of films available and are going to rely on you for their education. Keep it simple. Showing them too many samples will confuse them and make them take much longer to approve the go ahead for the project.
You want them to think you’re a professional, so look the part when you show up. Dress like you would to apply for a bank loan. I’m not talking suit and tie, but definitely no shorts and t-shirt. People want a great technician when they have their car done. They want a professional who they feel they can trust in their home or office when they have flat glass window film done. I used to bid jobs in a number of situations, and I guarantee that I’d get the job over the guy with the spider-web neck tattoo every time!
From there it’s just measuring the square footage and building a formal proposal that you can either physically mail or email to them, but you must send a formal proposal. Calling them back and letting them know the price over the phone alone is not acceptable. They need the paper in their hand.
5. I turn down work because they’re small jobs and I don’t want to buy a whole roll of film.
That’s fine. Pick three or four films that perform well, look great, and only show those to potential clients. Sell the film that you’ll use over and over. You don’t have to carry every film that a manufacturer offers. Find the ones that sell the best and only keep those on the shelf. If you’re not sure, talk to someone who does a lot of flat glass window film work. Call the manufacturer and ask which of their films sell the best. This way, when you have 35 feet left over from a job, its probable the type you’ll use on the next one.
Flat Glass is just too profitable to let fear of the unknown stop you! Get educated, invest the time, the effort, and the resources into that part of your business and you’ll reap the benefits!