N.Y. Tinters Begin to See Effects of New Tint LawFebruary 1st, 2017 by Katherine Coig
It’s been a month since New York State began implementing the testing of window tint during a vehicle’s annual state inspection, and some members of its tinting community are struggling to maintain their sales levels.
According to the law, if the tint meter registers a VLT below 70 percent, the vehicle will fail inspection. Though the legal limit in N.Y. has always been 70 percent, the requirement of having it inspected is new, leaving customers fearful of having any type of tint installed.
“My customers always came back. But now, they have their tint removed, they say ‘bye-bye,’ and I never see them again,” says Sergio Camacho, owner of Supreme Tint in Staten Island, N.Y. Camacho mentions that it’s not uncommon for people in the state to lease their cars, which brought him a loyal following over the past 10 years. “ … I’d see repeat customers every two years. But now they’re afraid to get tint and get ticketed. It’s a $130 fee plus the cost of the inspection.”
Camacho is not alone. Chris Marrero, owner of Chris Breezy Customs in Larchmont, N.Y., says, “I’ve seen a significant decrease in walk-ins and referrals, and corporate tint jobs. I used to get daily emails for tint job quotes, and that has slowed as well.” Both Camacho and Marrero reported that though sales are on the up right now, it’s mostly due to tint removals, which won’t last for much longer or sustain business.
Camacho mentions that his automotive sales made up 50 to 60 percent of business; with a gap that large in his total revenue, he’s not sure how to make up for the losses he’s going to incur. But if there’s one thing both owners are sure of, it’s that they’re going to continue to operate legally. However, that doesn’t exempt them from fear of losing their livelihood.
Marrero, who had a tough up-bringing, took on tinting at the young age of 12 as a way to help provide for his family. “In the past couple of weeks, I’ve been doing nothing but tint removals,” he says. “I’ve had to turn down customers because I’m trying to follow the law so nothing can hurt my business.” But he adds that by doing this, it’s also hurt his automotive sales, putting him in a catch-22 situation.
He states that his company is fortunate enough to have other services to rely on, whereas not every tinter in the state has that option. “There are a lot of freelancers out there that depend on [tint] to make a living.”
Since WINDOW FILM magazine first reported on this issue, several industry members have reached out looking for advice on how to approach the situation. They collectively emphasized that they stand behind the inspection law and police officers, but they would like to see the legal limit lowered to be more “reasonable.”
Christian Zagami, owner and operator of WC Tint in Staten Island, N.Y., reported on the efforts he’s been pushing. “We have a lot more people that are concerned about it. As far as the overall picture, not much has changed. We’ve been talking to a local politician, and I’ve been in contact with the IWFA, but I’m also going out at it on my own.”
Zagami adds that a local state assemblyman is researching the issue to see what he can do. In turn, Zagami hopes to “try and lobby with other tinters and get other politicians,” in order to lower the legal limit from 70 percent.
“We’re hoping that we can do our best to push it forward to help people who really truly need tint.”