Volume 11, Issue 4 - July/August 2007

Viewpoints
A Taste of the Tint Industry 

Window tinting is like most industries in that it offers options for the consumer. There are the high-priced, quality-minded shops, which we could call the “fine dining restaurants” of our market. There are the middle-of-the-road, reasonably priced shops; the “Mel’s Diners” of the market. Then there are the shops at the bottom of the price structure. The “meet-or-beat” or “low-priced leaders” are the equivalent of the fast food burger joints out there. Which one are you? 

You Can’t Buy a Ferrari at a Hyundai Price
There are three defining factors that every company has to consider:

  • quality of product;
  • customer service; and 
  • price.

Choose only one or all three, and you will fail. We all hear about that shop that underbids everyone … let him. He wants to be the “value menu” option. He has the easiest sales job in the industry. He just waits for the middle grade and top-end shops to set the bar and then sets his price. Distance yourself from this competition by having a higher price and justifying the price difference to the customer. Will you lose customers to him? Sure. If a customer could buy the fancy steak dinner and get the entire fine dining experience for the same rate as the value menu drive-thru, of course they would take it. There is a reason the fancy steak dinner costs more: quality. If the fine dining place sets the same prices as the burger joint, it would go out of business. The same applies to window tinting. 

If you are selling the cheapest film out there, that is fine. In order to be successful, you must have a very low price and decent customer service. 

I ask every customer that calls or comes into my shop: “Why are you getting your vehicle/home tinted?” If they answer anything close to “I just want it dark” or “I am selling it and want it to look good,” that translates to me that quality doesn’t matter. I then send them to a competitor that I know has cheap rates. 

My shop doesn’t sell low-end films because I know those customers won’t tell “the whole story” later. Two years down the road, when the film bubbles and fades and turns purple, a friend of the customer will ask, “What happened to your film? What company tinted it?” The customer isn’t going to tell their friend, “I was looking for a cheaper price so I didn’t listen to the guy and chose garbage tint.” The customer will tell his friend that he got their garbage tint at your shop!

From Sirloin to Filet Mignon
If you are the competitive shop that has decent tinters, and are rarely the cheapest and not the highest price, then you make up the majority of tint shops and have the hardest time selling. You must have great customer service and good tint to make it. You have got to resist lowering your price in general. Sell your shop better! You have shopped around for a product before and found someplace with a very nice sales rep. Their price was a little high, but you knew that they would take care of you if there were any problems. 

If you are the shop that “everyone” in town (other tint shops) says is priced too high, you are the fine dining choice of the industry. As you probably know, you provide the highest quality in films, amazing customer service and are almost never the “cheapest guy.” Your shop is what the bar is set by. Be proud and always keep looking to outdo yourself. 

Presenting the Menu
The reason for this article is not to help you identify your place in the market, but to help you fine-tune your business. I talk to shop owners all the time that say that they do a lot more for the customer than the low-price leader, but they keep losing customers to him. If that is your problem too, you need to sell your benefits better. Justify your price difference. 

Your argument might be “The customer calls out of the yellow pages and only wants the cheapest price.” My response is, “Not necessarily.” Most customers don’t even know that there is a difference between shops or tints other than price. Tell them how you are different and explain why you and your products cost more. 

If you don’t want to be known as the cheapest guy, then don’t be $5 or $10 more than the competition, be $30 to $50 more. Distance yourself. Show value. If you don’t take the time to explain price differences to the customer, that doesn’t make the customer “cheap.” The customer only knows what you tell them. If he has only received five prices before you without explanation, then take the time to educate them a little and justify your rates—that shows value. He will appreciate that and reward you with his business.

I am not telling everyone to raise their rates, only to sell their strengths. 

Nicholas Williams is president of Premier Window Tint and Graphics Inc. in Henderson, Nev. Mr. Williams’ opinions are solely his own and not necessarily those of this magazine.


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