Dealer Discussions by Ross Kehl
by Ross Kehl
May 10th, 2012

London Bound

I have been very fortunate to do window film projects all over the United States and in different countries. Being with International Glass Solutions, I have done training and installations in the U.K., as well as installed film on the American Embassy in Brussels, Belgium. Seeing different parts of the world has always been on my bucket list, but I never thought it would be window film that would take me there. I was scheduled to go to Taiwan a month ago but I broke my wrist in late February. Surgery, a plate and eight screws later I’ve been doing rehab to get back in squeegee form. Just about there and now I have to go to London where it will be rehab under fire.

The Olympics is coming up this year in London and there are approximately 400,000 square feet of security film that needs to be installed within 40 days. So it’s all hands on deck—or in my case all one and a half hands. Any tips on how to install with a broken wrist?

In my travels it is interesting to note the differences between installers and their tools. My first trip to the U.K. was for training and evaluating some installers. I was surprised that they all had the same sprayer—it’s literally a pesticide sprayer. You know the hand pump two gallon container with the long metal spray nozzle and about four feet of hose. When I watched them install it actually took a long time to get the window/film wet because these sprayers don’t generate a lot of pressure. It just so happened I took my small three gallon stainless steel pressurized canister with 25 feet of hose along on the trip. When I pulled it out they were looking at it like it was a spaceship. When I showed them how it sprayed they jumped back and said “Holy %$#&, that’s a fire hose.”

Another difference is ladders. They don’t use tall ladders. There was one small window they had to install on the exterior of the building and that was on the second floor. It’s only 15 feet up. I ask them where their ladder is and they said, “Oh, we can’t use a ladder for that. It’s too dangerous. We’ll have to come back and erect a tower.” A tower over there is like our small scaffolding on wheels. They are all great guys over there, but no wonder we won our Independence.

One of the similarities on both sides of the “pond” is most of us use our teeth to peel the film liner, which brings us to our results from last months survey.

Last month my survey asked how you peel the liner. Let’s just say the results are in and I think all dental associations should be dues-paying members of our IWFA (Hear that John Parker?).

An overwhelming majority grind our teeth to extract the film liner at 69.4 percent. In second place we had a tie between fingers and finger nails at 11.1 percent each. “Other” accounted for 5.6 percent while “tape” brought up the rear at 2.8 percent. All those who don’t use their teeth are either very talented installers or don’t have any teeth left.

This month I would like to ask my fellow window film dealers how many different film manufacturers’ products you sell. Don’t worry; there is no way for us to track who you are and how you answered.

[merlic_poll id=”2736″]

       Quote of the Month

“ Every bad precedent originated as a justifiable measure.”

Gaius Sallustius Crispus (c. 86–35/45 B.C.), Roman historian.

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  1. Ross – I’ve been in the tint business since 1974. My partner and I did large high rise buildings mostly for 3M dealers from Boston to Honolulu. Most of our work was during the asbestos abatement program started by Ronald Reagan. We tried to bid jobs overseas, but only able to do some work in Canada. I would enjoy hearing about some of your exploits and about some of the projects you worked on. Also, I am amazed at some of the new installation tools & techniques you talk about. We installed mostly 3M brand P-18 with no liner. We used to install a floor a day and before we left for the night, we’d pre-cut all the film for the next day. With no liner to screw with, it was a “no brainer”. I’m retired now but still have an interest in the work.
    Best regards and take care of that wrist,

    Mike Nesler In Las Vegas

  2. Ross- I’m new to the business, installing 3M film exclusively. I would be interested in finding out how to locate those oversees jobs and even national if you don’t mind sharing? Grinding my teeth has been the way I’ve been doing it. On cars I mostly use the fingers. Anyway would love to pick your brain on the business with all your years of experience. As Mike said, take care of that wrist of yours!

    Mark in Florida

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