Dealer Discussions by Ross Kehl
by Ross Kehl
November 8th, 2012

Have Tools Will Travel

I’m beginning to feel like this blog is becoming a travel article as my journeys continue. Since we last linked up I have been to New York, Nigeria and just got back from SEMA in Las Vegas.

New York in September … I had secured a contract to a very popular TV show that tapes all across the country. It’s a crazy whirlwind job as they require LLumar 5 percent auto film on the windows to reduce the light coming in (I know, I know … we aren’t supposed to put limo tint on flat glass cause it can very easily cause thermo fractures … they sign a complete waiver and are responsible for any breakage). In cameraman terms it reduces the light by 5 F stops so they can have the proper lighting for filming. Then they may want you remove it after the days shoot so they can do some night shots and need all the light. You then reinstall before the next morning for the next day’s shooting. We generally hire a local dealer to do the install as we like to spread the work around and that logistically works better for the client. Finally when they are done filming you do a final removal. So in essence the film is only up for 3-4 days.

3 a.m. … One row done, one to go. Add one gallon of Dunkin Donuts coffee and one dozen donuts and we’re good to go.

I had everything lined up until the 11th hour when the dealer called and backed out 36 hours before the install. Have tools will travel … yes yours truly packed up his tools and grabbed one of my best installers, Alex Asuquo and headed to the airport. One “red eye” flight later we are onsite at 10 a.m. with no sleep from the previous night … so we’ve been up for over 24 hours to this point. After tracking down the film and taking care of all the logistics they told us we couldn’t start until later that night as they were going to do some shooting. Fine with us …so we headed to the hotel to get some much needed shuteye. By the time we got to the hotel my head hit the pillow at 3 p.m. At 4:30 p.m. the phone rings … you guessed it they were ready for us.

So after a full 90 minutes of sleep we head back to install 1,800 square feet.  Keep in mind that these windows were 83 inches wide by 102 inches tall and two rows worth. So every window had to be seamed and it was frameless glass to boot. We finally got started around 6:30 p.m. and the final squeegee stroke happened as the clock chimed 9 a.m.

We’ve all been there on demanding jobs like this but 90 minutes of sleep in a 48-hour time frame … I’m gettin’ too old for this; actually I think it’s what keeps me young.

One last look before taking it all down.

I think I’ve taken enough of your time this month so I will save the Nigeria visit for next month. However, let’s briefly touch on SEMA. Huge as usual but attendance seemed lighter. No doubt due to Sandy. My first observation while walking the rows and rows of exhibitors is the increasing amount of “film manufacturers.” Most of the big companies had their normal large booths with their full entourage but the amount of small booths with rolls of film being displayed was astounding. Mostly oriental in origins and it was very difficult to communicate. They surely can’t all be manufacturing their own film. I lost count at around 28 different window film companies displaying and that’s not counting all the PPF booths and the wrap booths. Our industry is going through some monumental changes and the choices available to dealers are growing. In some ways it’s good for us dealers to have choices especially when we get yet another price increase from our mainline manufacturers. But in other ways it’s reducing the quality of film and could hurt the whole industry in the long term. We shall see.One new film that I thought was interesting was from NDFOS. It’s a marriage of two films Anti-Fog and Ceramic. This combo automotive film claims to stay fog free when damp out and block 95 percent heat and 65 percent VLT or 35 percent heat blockage and 85 percent VLT. Competition breeds innovation.

The survey in my last post asked if you knew about Scotchkote before my article. Seems like I enlightened the majority of you as 91.7 percent were not aware of this product while only 8.3 percent were. I’ll keep looking for new products throughout my travels.

This month I want to know how many of you have ever gone to SEMA. Of course it might be skewed as not every film dealer does automotive … but then neither do I. I go to see what’s new on the film front and make connections with the dealers I work with all across the world.

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Quote of the Month

“Hard work spotlights the character of people: some turn up their sleeves, some turn up their noses, and some don’t turn up at all.” — Sam Ewing

“I have had the pleasure and displeasure of working with all three.” — Ross Kehl

This blog is from Focus on Film, the weekly e-newsletter that covers the latest news regarding window film and related products, including paint protection film. Click HERE to sign up—there is no charge. Interested in a deeper dive? Free subscriptions to Window Film magazine in print or digital format are available. Subscribe at no charge HERE.

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  1. Hi Ross,Thank you for this interesting article.

    You need to do some more writing for the Window Film magazine as your stories are the ”real thing”window film people can relate to it and learn from your experiences.

    I have heard to term ” have squeegee will travel” but ” have tools will trave l” is a new one for me.

    When I read the headline of this article I thought ”ah ha” at last a innovative person in our industry is coming up with a new range of tools. In my opinion it is long overdue and I have been in research and testing of a new range of tools to make life easier for installers. Not only will it make life easier but it will inproved productivity and the quality of the final installation. I will be releasing my new range in January 2013.
    I hereby challenge other window film installers to come to light with their ideas on new innovative tools. Leon Levy Klingshield South Africa

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