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Windshield repair, tinting services pay off

May 13, 2009
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Editor’s Note: This article is taken from a previous issue of Professional Carwashing & Detailing®. If you would like to submit an article or topic idea for the Management Tip of the Week, please e-mail Editor Kate Carr.

As a successful carwash or detailing business owner you probably have already developed an advertising and marketing program that drives customers to your business. How much each customer spends once there is determined by a combination of the customers’ needs and the services or products you offer.

Offering and marketing additional services to customers greatly increases your profits and significantly enhances customer loyalty.

Window tinting, windshield chip and crack repair and hydrophobic windshield treatments are three simple, profitable services that can be very profitable to your bottom line.

Getting started

The quality of each additional service added will reflect the reputation of your underlying primary business, thus quality must be as high or superior to any competitor.

There are a few steps to take when adding additional services to your detail shop:

· Determine your goals;

· Find an ancillary service that best meets your goals;

· Consider your personal climate and location, as well as your customers’ needs.

Making your services profitable

In order to maintain customer loyalty and satisfaction for your primary services, additional services must be profitable to you — the detail shop owner. When determining profitability detailers must consider the following:

• Costs of labor;

• Costs of equipment;

• Costs of recurring consumable; and

• Advertising costs.

The following tips outline what you will need to get started with window tinting, windshield chip and crack repair and hydrophobic windshield treatments:

Windshield repair

After all the air in windshield chips is completely evacuated, a high-quality resin is injected into the void created by the vacuum process. Therefore, quality equipment and resin are essential to producing a proper windshield repair.

Two types of systems for windshield repair include:

· Syringe-type systems - are most common and generally cheaper.

· Machine-based vacuum/pressure systems - generally create a stronger vacuum and have a means to gauge pressure.

Equipment manufacturers vary from one-man shows to national companies, so do your homework and check references, years in business, equipment warranties, etc. before settling on a system.

Windshield chip and crack repair technicians require some initial training. Like most skilled services, practice and experience will greatly enhance the quality of the repair and the efficiency of the technician.

Windshield repairs normally cost about $60 per repair billed through a customers’ insurance. Wholesale or cash customers may pay anywhere between $35 and $40.

Repair costs for the detailer range from $600 and $3,000. The cost of training usually costs the detailer nothing because it is generally included with the equipment purchase.

Window tinting

Window tinting is most easily marketed in spring and summer months or in sunny, warm climates.

This service will probably require some scheduling because of the time involved in the process.

Equipment set-up costs are relatively close to windshield chip and crack repair, but the labor costs are high.

The installer’s skill level is the most important factor in determining the quality of the finished product. An experienced tinter is a precious commodity, so if you find one, it’s a good idea to pay him or her well.

Detailers can normally charge between $100 and $300 for window tinting, depending on the model of the automobile and how many windows are to be tinted. Some vehicles are more difficult to tint and therefore will allow for higher fees.

This service costs the detailer anywhere between $300 and $10,000, as the computerized film cutting is optional. Training normally costs about $1,000.

Hydrophobic windshield treatment

Hydrophobic windshield treatment — like windshield repair — can be a recurring business revenue stream. It can offer a profitable return for little or no investment and requires little training to successfully apply. This type of service usually costs customers between $15 and $30.

Detailers normally pay about $50 to provide this service but pay nothing to train employees.

Hydrophobic window treatments are essentially transparent polymers that fill the microscopic pores on the surface of the glass. These microscopic molecules force rain, snow and other particles to bead up and roll off the window, keeping the window clear.

Hydrophobic treatment and windshield repair are not compatible because the microscopic molecules in the windshield treatment create a barrier that prevents windshield repair resin from properly filling and bonding.

Kerry Wanstrath is chief operating officer of Glass Technology Inc., Durango, CO, a manufacturer of windshield repair systems specifically designed for carwashes and detailers.