Volume 17, Issue 3- May/June2013
The installer owner, who began tinting in 1988 through his brother’s northeast Ohio chain Auto Accents, says he built his company with less than $1,000.
Started From the Bottom
Yousef attributes his success to the efforts he has undertaken to build strong relationships with customers.
“I went and solicited dealerships and offered window tint for a very low price, about $125 a car, and told the dealerships we’d come to them and tint the car in their shop,” he says. “We did very good work so I started raising the prices a bit and by 2008 I rented a building. I stopped doing mobile tinting and told the dealers they needed to come to us.
“By then we had established our name,” he adds. “If we received a call about a job, we’d be there in 20 minutes. The dealerships appreciated that and passed our name on to other dealers. We were highly recommended and became popular among them … About 80 percent of our business is high-end dealers.”
Though his company originally started with automotive tinting, Yousef has added clear bra protection as well as architectural films, which he says are his favorite to install.
“We’re a 3M dealer for automotive but we’ve found they may not offer everything we need for flat glass so we offer that from several suppliers including Johnson, Suntek, Global and LLumar. We let the customer know we’re not here to sell you a particular brand; we want to sell you what you need.”
The Customer is King
“We wash every car before and after we tint. We put floor mats in the car and have a waiting room with WiFi, a flat-screen television and a refrigerator stocked with waters and sodas. We offer customers rides to the mall or back home while they wait,” Yousef says. “Customer service has gone downhill and we’ve brought that back. That’s what wins them over. Sometimes I’ll spend 45 minutes with a customer helping to choose the right shade of tint.”
Increased demand has led Yousef to consider opening another location.
“We’re scheduling about two weeks in advance now, which is nice, instead of having to go around and beg dealers to give me jobs,” he says. “We’re hoping to open a new location by March 2014.”
As for growing a business at the height of the recession, Yousef says he had his doubts.
“I’ve always had that feeling that it’s too good to be true; I was waiting for it to tank,” he says. “But it keeps getting busier and we keep raising prices … I believe in God and I believe he has been blessing me in this business.”