The New Guy by Chris Collier
by Chris Collier
June 28th, 2023

Windshield Talk With EPD’s Manny Hondroulis

I know windshields pretty well. A sister publication to WINDOW FILM magazine, Auto Glass Repair and Replacement (AGRR) magazine is geared toward auto glass shop owners and installers and offers specific content to help them run their businesses and install glass efficiently. I connected with Manny Hondroulis, vice president of Energy Products Distribution (EPD) in Baltimore, to discuss a window film product with a correlation to that very segment.

Windshield Protection Film

“Bray Windshield Skin is an optically clear, peel-away film that is installed on the outside of your windshield to protect it from cracking or breaking from road debris, saving you the hassle and inconvenience of windshield replacement,” cites EPD’s site, which offers various products.

“Windshield damage happens to so many people that windshield replacement is a billion-dollar-a-year industry in the U.S. But the truth is that it is an expense and inconvenience to replace a windshield.”

Hondroulis discussed the windshield protection film product segment, its evolutions and its potential as an additional service for window film companies.

WF: Can you give me an overview of this product category?
Hondroulis: The category has been around for about 15 years. But it never really got its due. The installation of the product was just so hard. That changed because of some recent developments with the product. It’s now become urethane-based instead of polyester-based. Customer interest was there, but the stumbling block was the installer’s ability to apply it.

WF: How did those evolutions impact the installation process?
Hondroulis: Until recently, the whole category was about installing four mil, clear security film on the windshield. That required you to heat shrink the polyester in order for it to conform to the curvature of the windshield. That’s difficult. Now that we’ve switched to a urethane-based product, which is more like paint protection film, no heat shrinking is required. Installation takes 20 minutes or less.

WF: How crucial is it to set proper expectations with this product?
Hondroulis: It is temporary protection. It is not set it and forget it. It is installed on the outside of the windshield because it has to absorb the impact of things like rocks … there’s a life expectancy of up to 12 months for a daily driver. You’re going to have to replace it every so often. But it keeps that customer in touch with you and keeps them coming back.

WF: What are the profits like for windshield protection film?
Hondroulis: You’re talking about an average selling price to the end user of $500 per windshield. Material costs $200. $300 profit not including labor for 20 minutes of work. That’s $900 an hour.

WF: Calibration and Advanced Driver Assistance Systems have taken over the auto glass repair and replacement segment. Preventing windshields from cracking or breaking could prove crucial from a cost perspective for consumers.
Hondroulis: These systems have every bit to do with the windshield. The windshield plays a part in the effectiveness of these systems. When your windshield cracked in the old days, Safelite [was one of the companies that] used to just replace your windshield. Now, you may have to take that car back in to have the windshield or the car recalibrated. It’s a headache—it’s a hassle. Check to make sure the windshield film won’t jeopardize the functionality of any of these autonomous systems. They shouldn’t because the film is optically clear and not tinted. But in the interest of safety, always check to make sure the addition of this product won’t interfere with any of the onboard systems.

WF: How does this product fit into a traditional window film shop’s sales strategies?
Hondroulis: I think the same tinters or dealers that embrace selling a suite of products to their customers are going to introduce windshield protection film into the mix. All of the sudden, that customer coming in for a tint job will be potentially cross-sold.

This blog 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. Interested

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