Joining Forces and Leveling Up

May 25th, 2023 by Nathan Hobbs

The Fusion of Window Film and Glass

By Chris Collier

The window film market provides diverse product offerings that the glass and glazing industry needs. It’s a world in which MY Shower Door is fully immersed. The frameless shower door source has nine showrooms
throughout Florida and works with several window film installation companies throughout the region to meet various needs.

Enhancing Glass and Providing Alternatives

“When people have [glass] sandblasted, it’s expensive and permanent,” says
Bill Daubmann, president and founder of MY Shower Door. “But you can use
a window film that looks sandblasted. If they [the owners] ever get tired of it
or sell the house, they can easily remove that film. The film is a lot better than it used to be. It doesn’t bubble up, and it looks good. You’d have to go up and touch it to feel that it’s not sandblasted.”

In September 2003, the Daubmann family opened their first frameless
shower door showroom in Southwest Florida. The company started working
with the window film segment over the last 12 years. Daubmann says film can provide safety, privacy and aesthetics.

“When you can put film on top of glass—seeing that it’s tempered glass—
if the glass breaks, at least the film holds it together,” Daubmann says. “There are customers who ask for it. We could do a clear film, or we could make it decorative—stripes, a wave or a gradient that gives you privacy.”

MY Shower Door also uses window film to section off segments of restaurants and hotels. Daubmann recommends glass companies gauge potential collaboration with local window film dealers with in-person visits.

“I like to stop by a shop to see what it’s like,” Daubmann says. “I want to see
the quality of employees they send to our customers. A lot of times, they’re
doing the installation at a customer’s home. There’s more than just the quality of the film to evaluate; there’s the quality of the people and their professionalism. How do they carry themselves? That’s a reflection on our business.”

A Film Company’s Perspective

“[The connections] happened organically through trade shows,” says
Matthew Sandherr, owner of Naples Tint Company in Naples, Fla. His company works with several glass companies throughout the area. “There were five glass companies at a trade show I was at recently. Their management had no idea what was possible with decorative films. I think a trade show is a good opportunity.”

Sandherr says his company plans to forge further into the glass industry by
offering gifts to new connections.

“We are putting together a beach bag for glass companies—a tumbler,
keychain and things people can use,” Sandherr says. “We’ll introduce ourselves and say, ‘If you ever need someone to decorate your clear glass with a custom glass film, look at this sample.” Naples Tint Company and MY
Shower Door started working together in 2016. “Decorative film is a huge
opportunity with glass companies because they would rather put clear
glass in,” Sandherr says of window film applications. “It’s more accessible and affordable.”

MY Shower Door’s clear glass installations pair well with a multitude of
decorative film options.

“They don’t want to subcontract us to do it as a part of the installation,”
Sandherr says of his company’s partnership with MY Shower Door. “They
want to do a clear glass installation, complete the sale and then turn it over
to us as a separate transaction. It gives the customer flexibility. When someone sells a home, and the owner did something as simple as a frosted band—just remove the film and you’re back to basically a new enclosure for the client.”

Expanding Glass Connections

Window film’s temporary nature may not appeal to some consumers. But
Sandherr says the environment plays a role in the product’s longevity, specifically when it comes to shower enclosures. “The options are now so good that a customer has to think about how much they value glass being a permanent, finished product,” Sandherr adds. “But you can treat film as a permanent, finished product with the right care. And there’s no direct sun exposure with a shower enclosure. It doesn’t have the same wear
and tear that an exterior window experiences. With the right care, it can be
considered a permanent fixture.”

“Every glass company is different,” says Chris Ritter, the owner of Performance Film LLC in Saint Cloud, Minn. “The biggest thing with getting in with glass companies successfully is being different than everybody else. When you decide you want to go get a glass company and tell them you can do frosted film and window tint, they go, ‘We have ten guys that do that.’ When I go in there, and I bring a working sample of smart film … now [I]
have their interest.”

Ritter has worked in sales for more than 20 years, gaining experience at car dealerships and truck accessory stores prior to entering the window film industry. “I’ve never thought about selling somebody,” he says. “I offer services. I am as informative as I can be about the services and explain
why the service is good. They either buy it or they don’t.”

Ritter works with nine different glass companies, and it’s safe to say that they’re interested in his services. He estimates 85-90% of his sales are facilitated by glass company connections. Fifty percent of his
glass projects come from work subcontracted to him. “I’ve managed to stay with cash and check, and all of the glass companies have been fantastic to work with,” Ritter says of his work with glass companies. “I don’t think
I have a glass company that waits 30 days to pay me.”

Working Together

Dulles Glass and Mirror in Manassas, Va., works with two window film companies in its area to meet customers’ privacy and decorative needs.

“Say we have glass walls and entrances for a conference room,” says John Flouhouse, general manager at Dulles Glass and Mirror. “Sometimes they’ll film the whole thing with a frosted film, or they’ll do it from two
feet off the ground to six feet off the ground, so they’re still getting light and the open feeling, but they have privacy.”

American Tinters LLC in Grapevine, Texas, works closely with two large glass companies. “We get three to four work orders a week,” says Steve Watts, owner of American Tinters LLC. “They send us out, and we do a lot of transactions with them.”

Chris Collier is the editor for Window Film magazine.
ccollier@glass.com

To view the laid-in version of this article in our digital edition, CLICK HERE.

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