Residential window tinting is one of those businesses that, while not necessarily mainstream, is in high demand and can produce above-average profits for its owner. Although it’s not a business that you want to start without experience, gaining the required skills is an investment that will pay for itself for years to come.
Tinted windows have become very popular in the past few years due to the fact that they add to the curb appeal of the house and they also serve to keep the inside temperature much cooler (up to 75% cooler).
Additional benefits include:
Increased privacy – In fact, some tints will make it virtually impossible to see inside the house during the day (some of the newer materials even provide night-time privacy).
UV protection – Most films nowadays will block up to 99% of UV rays. One of the immediate benefits of this is a reduction in furniture fading. Residents can now enjoy the view without worrying about closing the curtains to protect their valuable furniture.
Health benefits – Tinting provides a very effective “sunscreen” and reduces harsh light.
You’re more likely to see window tinting in more expensive homes. However, that’s not to say that you couldn’t establish a very lucrative business in a typical middle-class neighborhood. Residential window tinting is one service that many people may not be aware of. In short, the market is ripe for the right sales pitch. Mentioning some of the above benefits may be all that is needed to secure a job. After all, why wouldn’t people want more privacy, lower energy costs,less wear and tear on their valuable furniture, and greater overall curb appeal?
As a residential window tinting specialist, you will see jobs ranging from a few specific windows on an average sized house, to a hundred or more windows on some of the larger estate homes. Additionally, in lieu of a complete job, the owners may opt to tint only one or two sides of the house – usually the south and west side. This business definitely has variety.
Of course, having a hungry market is just part of the equation: you still need the skills to do the job properly and professionally. Window tinting is a skilled trade. It would be foolish for you to simply buy the materials and equipment and start flyering a neighborhood without having the proper experience. It’s no different than any other trade – you must provide professional results and that takes a fair amount of experience.
Without the required expertise, you’ll end up wasting material, taking way too long to do the job, and possibly ruining your reputation permanently.
A professional window tinting job should not even look like it has been done aftermarket. Each piece should fit perfectly to the edges, there should be no bubbles, and you should see little or no distortion afterwards. Furthermore, the job should last for years.
Where to Start
If you’re considering getting into this business, you’re going to need to work for someone for some time. Consider it an apprenticeship. As an employee, you should have experience in all aspects of residential window tinting. During this time make it a point to give 110% towards your employer because they’re not only providing you with a decent hourly wage, you’re learning an extremely valuable trade that you can use in your own business down the road. In other words, you’re not just there to learn a few tricks of the trade, you’ve got to give back just as much as you take.
If you’re completely new to the business and have no experience whatsoever, you can expect to start at close to minimum wage. That’s the price you’re going to have to pay. In fact, you can consider yourself lucky to be hired without any experience at all.
Once you decide to leave, don’t go and set up shop in the same area as your previous employer or attempt to steal any customers away. That is going to give you a bad name in the business and no one is going to trust you. Besides, it’s just bad karma – this is a huge market and there’s lots of work for everyone without pilfering customers.
One last thing: make sure you feel comfortable enough and have enough experience to do a professional job. Even if this means staying with your employer for a few years to get to the required proficiency level.
If you aren’t sure that this is for you, why not pick up a book on how to window tint and the window tinting industry?
Selling your services is going to be relatively straightforward. Your best bet is to start a large flyer campaign just to get the word out. With a little help, you can easily distribute 5000 fliers in your first week. Count on a 1-2% response rate. Of those, you should be able to land 70% of the jobs after doing your initial estimate. That should leave you with 35-70 customers from your flyer campaign. This equates to a fairly decent profit because window tinting is an expensive service.
At the same time you can try running a classified ad in your local paper. Keep tabs on where your business is coming from and make sure you’re not wasting money in advertising.
After you’ve been doing this for a while, you’re going to be getting a lot of referral business. In fact, it should be your goal to eventually depend on almost all referral customers.
If possible, try to get to know the local window cleaners in your area. Often, if the windows haven’t been tinted properly, the window cleaners are going to notice it and bring it to the customer’s attention. More often than not, the customer is going to ask if they know anyone who does a great job. Wouldn’t it be nice if it was your company that they referred? Honestly, you can get more work this way than you can handle.
Getting to know your local window cleaners is easier than you think considering the fact that the windows in the residence should all be professionally cleaned just prior to applying the tint film.
Materials and Equipment
Window tinting film is expensive. You should probably count on spending around $2.50/sq ft. For this reason, it’s imperative that you know what you’re doing so that you’re not losing all your profit by having to redo jobs.
As far as equipment goes, you’re going to need a few squeegees, scrapers, snap knife, blades, and a couple of Teflon hard cards. There’s no reason to spend over $100 for this equipment.
Lastly, you’re going to need some professional ladders. You should have medium and tall extension ladders as well as medium and large articulating ladders. Add to this a few stepladders and you’ll be prepared for just about any job.
Obviously, you’re also going to need a van or truck to carry your supplies and ladders.
How Much Can You Make?
Professional window tinting firms normally charge $5-$7 per sq ft. This means that you can make a very good profit after paying for your material and overhead costs – provided that you can work relatively quickly and efficiently.
While residential window tinting is not a business that you can just start on a whim, it can provide you with a very good income after you’ve gained some experience in this high demand industry.