Film's Edge by Casey Flores
by Casey Flores
January 21st, 2015

Why Are So Many Tinters Such Rebels?

Have you ever had a former employee quit and start his own tinting business in the same area? It seems like chances are, if you’re a tint shop owner, this has happened to you. While I know this phenomena takes place in many industries, it appears to be disproportionately common for window tinters to do this.

So my question is—why? Is it relatively low startup costs? The ability to run the business from your car at first? Or maybe it’s just the inherent competitive nature that’s found in all tinters.


This photo was taken from the parking lot of the shop Haines’ former employee helped open.

You may be following our new department in the magazine, Chronicles of a Tint Shop Startup, which tells the story of Rick Haines opening a new shop. Without giving too much away, in the upcoming issue, this very thing happened to him.

When I interviewed him about it, Haines wasn’t all too bitter. “You just gotta keep going,” he said. “May the best man win,” which is a more graceful way than I’d respond.

It seems like the ultimate act of betrayal. After training a guy for months or maybe even years, teaching him the business side of things and providing him with his main source of income—for him to go out on his own, try to take your clients with the ultimate goal of putting you out of business might be considered one of the shadiest, rebellious moves a guy can make.

But at the same time, I can’t blame him—that’s good business. Once a guy works his way up to head installer, there really isn’t any higher he can go unless he goes out on his own. And when a guy needs to provide for himself and a family, why wouldn’t he want to take that step? In fact, Haines too has another tint shop in the same city as a shop he used to run (though he moved out of the state for a few years before opening that one).

I’m interested in hearing your thoughts on this topic. Leave a comment below and be sure to take our new poll on the homepage, which asks the question: Have you ever had an employee leave and start a tint shop nearby?

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.

Leave a comment »

  1. We all start somewhere. The classy thing is to take your skills and move far enough away from the place you learned to start up your own business. Tinting is a specialized trade and we’ve seen time and time again you can take it ANYWHERE in the world! Much more rewarding building something from the ground up as opposed to sniping your Jedi Masters customers.

  2. Giving notice then leaving and starting a competing company is one thing. Going out as my employee and quoting for me then calling the client with (his) own lower price is quite another. The disgusted client called me and I called my (then) prime supplier to asked them not to wholesale to this person who evaporated from my premises before I could fire him. The supplier claimed that they could not refuse to sell to him! Really? It got worse. I found out later that, on another call around that same time for me to the tenant of a property management company who had used us for years, he had sold the tenant direct (a nice sized job) and turned in a faked quote form to me. I only found out about when the management company called us years later for repairs to the job (for which my prime supplier at the time had sold the film). I should have had him put in jail. He opened shop in my market and was a major competitor for years. My relationship with that supplier was permanently damaged. This guy whom I trained so well is still in our industry. Beware!

  3. This problem happens in every industry all over the world.What I have done to conter act this, is to take on other products so I am not only reliant on one product.
    Put many eggs in one basket.

    Check out our web site of some ides on our other products in our range.

Leave Comment