Printing Profit With Plotters

October 6th, 2021 by Chris Collier

Kris Queen founded 5Star Window Tinting in 2014, merging with Sun Stoppers on Sept 1, 2020. The New Lenox, Ill., location houses a Graphtec plotter and is on track for an estimated $600,000 in sales in 2021. Queen says the printer has doubled last year’s sales by speeding up the installation process dramatically.

The peel board is Queen’s go-to in 2021.

“I used to hand-cut everything; I’ve done hand-cutting my whole life,” Queen says. “Everything we’ve done this year has been plotted out, which has turned [getting] one car done in an hour and a half to finishing a car in 45 minutes.”

Queen says the plotter has allowed him to stop wearing every hat in his business. The purchase came with hesitation, but it paid off in the long run.

“I said no, ‘I don’t want to spend ten grand on a plotter when I have a knife and I’m awesome at cutting out,’” Queen says. “‘I can cut a car out in 10 minutes and lay it in 35.’ Once they showed me the plotter and showed me how efficient it is, I was like, ‘Oh my God, why didn’t I do this years ago—what’s wrong with me?’”

5Star Window Tinting / Sun Stoppers South Chicago offers graphics and wraps, window tinting, ceramic coating and paint protection film (PPF) for automotive applications. Services also include solar blinds and shades, window tinting, ceramic coating and paint protection for residential projects. The company’s mix is 70% automotive and 30% residential in 2021. Queen says flat glass work has been going through the roof and fully expects to surpass $1 million in sales next year.

Queen’s shop took care of a 1946 Chevrolet Apache.

“When I joined Sun Stoppers, we acquired paint protection film and ceramic coating,” Queen says. “We never had those sources of revenue coming in. It was strictly auto tinting and flat glass tinting. Now—with multiple hires of people that get brought on board—we don’t have to stop the flow of the auto tinting getting done.”

The business’ plotter continues to push growth forward. Queen says doing due diligence is vital for shops eyeing the peel board. He snagged a 48-inch Graphtec plotter from Facebook Marketplace for a sharp discount at $2,200.

“Get a plotter, learn how to use it and it will change your life,” he adds. “It’s almost boring to an aspect—[when] I get an older car in the shop, I’m like, ‘Sweet, I get to hand-cut.’”

Queen’s ultimate goal is to open up another shop and expand his reach, but reaching a milestone at the 2022 International Window Film Conference and Tint-Off™ (WFCT) is also on the to-do list. The 20-plus-year industry veteran came close to reaching the finals in 2018 and 2021 in the event that he calls the “Super Bowl.”

“I want to get into the finals,” he says. “I’ve missed it by two points the last two times I’ve competed, so I’m going to get in there.”

This article 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.

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  1. One of my favorite guys in the industry! Over the years Kris has helped me realize and reach my own potential even if he says things like “that’s all you bro!” Even when his kindness was one of the driving factors.

    You’ve been killing it my man, hope you have continued success and that you get to the finals and get that second shop!

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