A Conversation With Todd Smith
My favorite part of my job at WINDOW FILM magazine is having the privilege to share your stories. After connecting and talking with Todd Smith, owner of TintSmith in Lawrenceville, Ga., at the Hüper Optik and Autobahn Window Films Dealer Conference, I was excited to share the story of a fellow Georgian.
Taking a Gamble
“My parents were not happy,” Smith told me of his initial jump into the film segment post-college. “But it’s easier to take a risk when you’re younger. If I was going to go the entrepreneur route—starting and developing something—it was the time to do it. It’s easier to do it when you’re younger. The make-up time if something goes sideways is easier when you’re in your twenties.”
A Georgia native, Smith graduated from Duluth High School, and Georgia State University with a dual bachelor’s degree in marketing and accounting. Smith didn’t pursue a career directly related to his studies as his parents would have liked, but used his training in marketing and accounting in the film arena.
“The accounting degree helps me be detail-oriented with money management,” he says. “I also understand the marketing side of having to spend money to [grow]. My brain works on both ends of the spectrum.”
Now an industry veteran of 25 years, Smith told me about his gamble-turned-career.
“My dad had a commercial flooring business, and I worked for Coca-Cola in Atlanta during my college years,” Smith says. “After that, I had a friend who had gotten into the window film industry. He needed some help, so I went in and learned the ropes; I took a risk and enjoyed it.”
TintSmith in Lawrenceville, Ga., provides residential, commercial and automotive solutions for the entire Southeast and Atlanta metropolitan area. Smith got his start in residential and commercial flat glass tinting when he worked with his friend in 1998.
These days, Smith says he’s seen a lot of changes in the commercial spaces where he installs architectural film.
“During the old-school days, you’d come to work. With COVID, everyone switched to working at home. During this COVID cycle, you see companies reinvesting in their footprint,” Smith says of the changes in the area. “They have changed to not just an open floor plan, but a hotel-like system [with check-ins]. People are coming in three days a week instead of five. Unless you’re an executive, you don’t have an office anymore. There is no cubicle just for you.”
Reflecting and Looking Ahead
“I enjoy what I do because we do so many different facets of the industry,” Smith says. “We’re not just doing automotive window tinting, paint protection film or a residential or commercial job. Solar control, security film, graphics, custom film—we do so much. It’s never like doing the same job every day. The icing on the cake, in the end, is seeing people happy; knowing you’re helping people get to an end goal. Knowing they just finished their interior space in a high rise, and they’re proud to know that you’re a part of what they will show off.”
TintSmith has grown dramatically over its 10-year history, advancing from $250,000 to $700,000 in annual sales. Next stop? The seven-figure club.
“Surviving and growing and giving back to people,” Smith says are his proudest industry accomplishments. “Through the 2008 [economic crash] and COVID, a lot of people didn’t do well. Growing over the years based on performance and customer service … we’ve been blessed. God has provided for us time and time again. He’s led us down different paths—to profitability, longevity and sustainability. Everyone wants things to happen instantaneously, but it’s a process and a road that has to be traveled.”
Editor’s Note: Do you have a journey to share? Please contact me at email@example.com for potential coverage.