The automotive aftermarket restyling arena has a lot to offer auto glass shops looking to diversify. Chances are, you’re familiar with the value of window tint, but have you considered adding paint protection film (PPF) to your company’s services? It has a long selling trajectory, but, with its high profit margins, it could be well worth the investment.
If you’re unfamiliar with the product, PPF is a durable, non-yellowing film that’s virtually invisible when applied to the surface of a vehicle. It’s designed to protect a vehicle’s paint from road debris, chemical stains and everyday wear-and-tear. It’s a product that’s usually associated with new vehicles, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be a valuable add-on to auto glass shops.
Chris DiMinico is the president of AutoNuvo in Holliston, Mass. His company specializes in PPF. He estimates that 80 percent of PPF installations occur when cars are first purchased, while the other 20 percent are mostly installed at auto body shops after sustaining some type of damage. The percentage may seem slim, but there are ways to sell PPF to customers with used cars, especially with a good marketing strategy.
One of PPF’s biggest selling points is that it helps protect a vehicle’s resale value. Scratches and chips are inevitable and, when it comes to a used car, chances are, it may already have a few. PPF won’t fix the damage already incurred, but it can protect the vehicle from future mishaps.
“In its simplest explanation, PPF retains the value of the product for the secondary market. A good example is the electronics industry where most consumers are aware of screen protectors. We add them on the phone to protect the screen so when your upgrade is due in two years, you’re able trade it in at its highest value …,” explains Jamie Werner, national sales manager at PremiumShield, a manufacturer of PPF. “The same concept applies to the automotive industry. How your paint looks is a direct indicator of your cosmetic damage. Also, the value of your car, whether it be high-end or not, drops if the OEM has been damaged or repainted.” And since auto glass shop customers usually are there for repair and replacement purposes, informing them that they can protect their vehicle’s paint, too, makes PPF a good add-on product.
The cost of an installation usually varies by shop, but prices easily can reach into the thousands when the material, time and labor costs are considered. Brodie Mathews, owner of DecoTint in Denver, Colo., says an average, full-body PPF installation can take anywhere from 35 to 40 hours, so it’s definitely a time commitment. He adds, though, that if an installation is completed before the estimated time, it’s just added profit for his shop.
“Most places start with subbing the work out which starts out pretty well for all parties,” says Werner. “But eventually the business owner wants to offer the service himself rather than sub it out.” Subbing out work to a trained installer is a good way to test out the waters, but if your shop decides to add it on full-time, other investments will have to be made—purchasing a plotter, a software system and film, plus the cost of training.
“You can take a training course to speed up your learning curve to the industry. Business isn’t just going to come to you. Not enough consumers know about it,” Werner advises. “With promotion and education, the consumer will understand the value and be sold on it … This product requires a proactive approach, not a reactive business strategy.”
If you’d like to learn more about PPF, there will be several sponsors at Auto Glass Week™ with more information as well as a number of educational sessions.