Adding Window Film Services a Growing Trend for Auto Glass ShopsOctober 9th, 2013 by Editor
With profit margins between 60 and 70 percent for window film installations, many auto glass companies are crossing over and adding it to their services.
“The profit margins are high and it leads to a huge cash flow for us,” says Justin Ellis, owner of Tucson, Ariz.-based Royal Auto Glass & Tint.
According to Jeremiah Penaflor, sales manager for Thorton, Colo.-based Complete Auto Glass, a good tinter can complete about five vehicles with a roll film; the company brings in about $80 to $100 per vehicle.
“Window tinting brings in about an extra $5,000 a week,” notes Dan Kitt, customer service manager for Auto Glass of San Diego.
Companies originally formed as auto glass shops say they added window film later once they realized the profitability of the service. Royal Auto Glass & Tint is one of those many shops. The company opened in September 2009 and added window film services two years later.
“Window film has been a big boost for our business. The bulk of our tinting business is done in our shop,” says Ellis, adding that the company gets a lot of overlap business. “It works both ways. People come in for window tint and while they are here, we go ahead and replace the windshield, too. And sometimes we do the windshield and they see we offer tinting. This has been a huge deal for our business. We’re bringing in five to eight cars a day and this is five or eight more opportunities to talk to people about auto glass as well.
“The return on investment for window tint is much quicker than auto glass,” Ellis says. “But you need to ensure you hire a tried-and-true tinter. Have them tint some cars and inspect the quality of work. If you don’t, you’ll create a huge liability for yourself.” However, he cautions, “A guy having trouble with cash flow should not add tinting. It takes at least $1,000 or so to buy the film to get started.”
Over in San Diego, Kitt says his company—Auto Glass of San Diego—has eight employees and three trucks. While they do mobile and in-house auto glass repair and replacement, window film work is only done in house. “We opened about seven years ago,” says Kitt. “We added window film two years ago. It brings in an extra $5,000 a week … There is a good demand in our market for it, especially in the hot months.”
In Colorado, Penaflor says his auto glass company opened about five years ago and began offering window film services two years ago. “My tinter used to have his own company but came here and talked us into it. Two brothers are now doing it,” Penaflor explains. “Business has been very good. All of our tint work is done in-shop. We’ll only make a few exceptions for a body shop or dealership.”
Chris Robinson, founder and CEO of The Tint Guy, based in Woodstock, Ga., says window film installation is “an easy add on” for most shops.
“By adding window film installation to a current operation it can add enough revenue to add a full-time employee or justify having a retail store location—if a company is mobile,” he says.
“I think combining similar services and products is a win-win situation and this is especially true with window tinting and glass replacement,” says Robinson. “The two fit together equally well and the customer in many cases has a need for both services and this gives the company an opportunity to increase margins by offering additional services that a competitor might not.”
Jenna Reed is the editor of AGRR™ magazine/glassBYTEs.com™ and a contributing editor for Window Film magazine.