$4.33: Mobile Film Shops Account For New Variable

March 23rd, 2022 by Chris Collier

The cost of regular unleaded gasoline scaled to a national average of $4.33 a gallon on March 11, 2022, according to the American Automobile Association (AAA) Gas Prices website. It’s the highest number on record, and the price is even more frightening for drivers opting for alternative fuel types. The national average cost of diesel climbed to an all-time high of $5.13 a day later. Mobile film companies have been especially hard hit with no relief in sight.

Managing Miles

“It’s a trickle-down effect, with manufacturers’ yearly product costs increasing and gas prices going up simultaneously,” says Jesse Izabal, president/installer at Face Window Tinting in Torrance, Calif. “My costs to do jobs are going up as well. Some jobs take longer to get approved, and I have to readjust my quotes if it’s been a while since we first submitted them.”

Mike Leffler has been on the move since the dawn of the 21st century.

When Robert Moreno founded Houston’s Next Level Window Tint in 2007 gas prices were at a then-record-high of $3.07 nationally. The owner/installer sought savings for a brick-and-mortar landing spot through mobile work. Today, his service fees are ascending in accordance with the prices on the pumps at the stations he frequents.

“I have to add a trip charge to every job,” Moreno says. “We try to take routes on major freeways with less stop-and-go traffic; the more stop-and-go, the more gas consumed. We make it a point that every vehicle gets maintenance—oil changed, tire pressure on point, and a clean air filter. Proper vehicle maintenance will save you on gas prices.”

Mike’s Mobile Tint of Shelbyville, Ind., was founded nearly a decade earlier in September 2000. CNN Money reported that gas had risen to a now-appealing $1.57 on the 10th day of the month. Owner/installer Mike Leffler says COVID-19 has caused volume to veer upward in his favor.

Jesse Izabal has adjusted his prices to offset increased gas prices.

“Many of my customers [have] worked from home permanently since the pandemic,” says Leffler, who experienced trying gasoline tolls during the 2008 housing crisis. “It has led to a lot of new customers flooding in. We have implemented a trip charge because of rising fuel costs. I cover a 60-mile radius which is Central Indiana. I started charging $35 for a 0-30 mile radius and a $70 charge for 30-60 miles.”

The Road Ahead

As day 26 dawns in the Ukraine-Russia War, mobile tint companies analyze the situation from all angles. The White House announced a U.S. ban on Russian oil and gas imports on March 8, sending gas prices skyward. Russian crude oil and petroleum product exports to the U.S. represent 8% of all its imported oil, according to NBC News.

“The mobile business has set me apart from the brick and mortar,” Leffler says. “I can draw work from all of Central Indiana versus my hometown. My entire name has been built on being Mike’s Mobile Tint. I have customers I have been [servicing for] for more than 20 years. And they have always used the mobile service; they want me to be mobile and convenient.”

“Customers will pay the extra dollar for convenience, even as gas prices rise,” Moreno adds. “Time is money.”

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. We are now paying over $7.00 in Canada

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