Tint Talk by Kat Coig
by Kat Coig
July 19th, 2017

Taking in the Experience 

You know that old adage, “Don’t quit your day job”? Well, I’m sure most of the people who also attended Avery Dennison’s Supreme Wrapping Film class last week wanted to give me that little piece of advice, but they were just too kind to tell me so.

The class, which was held at Vivid Wraps in Cincinnati, Ohio, and taught by Justin Pate, was more than intimidating to say the least. Fortunately, I made a few friends (this one’s for you Aaron, Jesse and Jamie) who were willing to help me understand a few basics since I was a beginner in an intermediate course. And I have to admit, it was a lot harder than it looked; but, then again, Pate makes everything about installing vinyl look easy.

I may not have the skill set to be an installer (yet), but after taking the two-day course, I feel well equipped with the knowledge and intricacies of the installation process. Here are a few of my key takeaways:

1.) Know your film. Before we even got our hands on vinyl, Pate stressed the importance of knowing each film’s capabilities and limitations. Just as with window film, in order to educate your customer on why one film is more expensive compared to another, it’s important to understand how the different finishes on vinyl should affect an installer’s pricing. 

This goes beyond the handling of the film, though. It’s equally important to communicate the warranty of each film to the customer because if you don’t know the warranty of the film, you may find yourself having to replace it.

 

2.) Pre-steps are important. I didn’t realize white cars were the bane of vinyl installers’ existence, but when we crowded around the white Ford Taurus, and Pate asked, “What’s the first thing you notice about this car?” My classmates cued me in when they responded with resounding grunts and a harmonious, “It’s white!” This, Pate explained, lets you know that your installation is already going to be more difficult compared to dark-colored vehicles.

Next, he walked us through the details of the car: the shape of the headlights, the grill and the handles, making note of what will have to be removed and what can be worked around. After taking the vehicle’s measurements, he suggests leaving a paper trail so you always have that car’s measurements on file which will save you time and money in the long-run.

Lastly, and this one may be obvious, clean the car with soap and water and 70-percent rubbing alcohol. If you don’t clean it thoroughly (including door trims), the vinyl won’t stick to the edges, and the customer will have a failed installation in a short matter of time.

 

3.) Don’t do something that could be done by someone else. Alright, I admit that sounds lazy, but it makes perfect sense. If there are parts that need to be removed from the vehicle, don’t do it yourself—have a mechanic do it. While that may cost money, the time it saves is better for you and for your business. While the mechanic works on taking the car apart, you can be installing on another vehicle. He also suggests the same when it comes to cleaning the vehicle.

Pate’s motto: you’re the installer, so treat yourself as one.

If you ever get the chance to take one of these classes, I highly recommend you do so. If I could walk away feeling confident enough to walk someone through the process, there’s no doubt someone with more film-handling experience would excel.

As for me, I think I’ll stick to writing.

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