Secrets to Two Successful Decades as a Window Film Retailer

October 14th, 2020 by Emmariah Holcomb

Les Helton, owner of Performance Window Tinting (PWT), in Carrollton, Ga., sheds light on how cars captured his interest so much that he turned it into a career. PWT has celebrated more than two decades of being in business with Helton currently serving as the only full-time employee. He noted that he does have help from two students.

Knowing Your Roots

Helton says it all started when his mom bought him car magazines growing up. He was hooked instantly and it was the beginning of a long career. “A good friend of mine who is four years older than me grew up near my grandmother and owned a stereo shop,” Helton recalls. “He was already driving when I probably hanging out with him in the stereo shop in the early 1990’s on the weekends and leaned toward tinting.” And he’s been tinting ever since.

It wasn’t long before this turned into a full time gig which led him to eventually open his own business, which today offers automotive, residential and commercial services.

Business Foundation

He opened his window tinting shop just three months before he graduated from his local state university. “I opened my business in February of 1999 when I was a senior in college,” says Helton who has been tinting ever since. “We just celebrated 21 years in business,” says Helton.

Though Helton does countless window film installations, his favorite times are spent with his wife Carrie and children Clyde and Cash.

It wasn’t long before he started noticing a common need for skilled labor in the industry. According to Helton, the hardest thing for any window tinting business owner is not only finding, but also keeping good help. “Keeping your staff is the hardest part, see when we were kids in the early 90’s growing up there were three or four window tinting businesses in our town,” recalls Helton. Now there are only two window film shops in his area. He mentions the kids who were his age hung out at window tinting businesses and even helped him around his shop until … “they ‘graduated’ from college, high school, or got a real job, ‘because window tinting isn’t a real job.’”

Eyes Wide Open

Helton says it’s common for film shop owners to get a young person in the door, train them and have them leave to pursue other interests. But sometimes tinting has a way of coming full circle.

“I trained a guy who worked for me for about 10 years and then we just fell out and now he’s back in the industry working for another shop. It’s okay; we’re still friends,” says Helton.

Even his mentor who taught him how to tint windows went on to do other things in 1995, according to Helton. Once he left, Helton took a job at the same shop. “So I pretty much got his job and then he came back full circle, he started working back for me in 2015 and was running the auto side of my business for four years and left at the end of last year,” Helton says.

To learn more about Helton, click here.

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