Bottom Line January/February 2022February 23rd, 2022 by Nathan Hobbs
Unexpected Privacy Film Solutions
By Tony Prater
It used to be that when a customer said, “privacy,” it was time to talk decorative films. But with increasing concerns about building security, a mention of privacy now often leads to a more complex discussion about how to enhance safety, incorporating privacy.
If you haven’t seen this trend at your business yet, watch out for it. Since 2018, we’ve seen more growth in safety projects than solar or decorative projects, with significant increases in retail, educational institutions and police/fire stations. But don’t write security off if the project isn’t one of these types or in a downtown area. Builders and architects need to make occupants safer for almost every area of life. Even car dealerships, movie theaters and museums are leaning into safety lately.
How to Grow with the Trend
Think of privacy as a type of security. Be aware that either can be combined with other needs that might drive a film purchase. This is how your customers will be thinking too.
Listen for cues about the level of concern. You won’t always hear obvious worries about theft, damage related to civic unrest or intruders. Security concerns could be mixed with thoughts about aesthetics or solar control.
Get creative with product recommendations. Maybe it makes sense to recommend a reflective or darker, low-visible light transmittance (VLT) solar film for exterior privacy in a building’s entry instead of a frosted decorative film.
Once you’ve got an idea of your customers’ needs, it’s time to talk about products. This list will help. It ranks types of security products, from least to most protective.
1. Traditional decorative: These films fully-or-partially block views to help disguise what or who is inside, making it more difficult for a potential criminal to decide if a break-in is worth it.
2. Traditional solar control: When darker or more reflective, they make it harder to see in, just like decorative films.
3. Standard clear security: These nearly invisible films are around 8 mils thick and help make break-ins more difficult. This can discourage crime and buy precious time for people to get to safety.
4. Thicker clear security: Typically 11-plus mils thick, these higher-performance films are even more challenging to penetrate and further help slow intruders.
5. Solar security: Like traditional solar films, darker and more reflective versions of these products disguise views while also helping to thwart intruders.
No matter where you and your customer land, remember that performance comes down to proper installation. Always work with your product manufacturer to ensure the installation meets safety performance guidelines.
The Bottom Line
Window films delivering privacy and security are increasing in demand and offer an opportunity for your business to grow. It’s time to shift how you think about using film for security. It will help you land more projects. It will allow you to provide better solutions with creative recommendations. And it’s as simple as remembering that even a decorative or solar film can enhance safety by making it harder for intruders to decide where, or if, to break in.
Tony Prater, architectural business development, Eastman Performance Films, LLC.
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