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by Casey Neeley
April 12th, 2012

The Arrival of Black Betty

For any of you that travel a commute to work you know what an SUV or a truck can do to your bank account in terms of gas. My husband travels 60 miles to base (where he is a military police officer) and 60 miles back home every weekday. While deployed a few years back he purchased a custom-made Jeep Grand Cherokee and he loved that vehicle—that is until he had to start commuting in it. It literally became a gas guzzler.

Recently we made the decision to purchase a new vehicle—something that would be much more efficient. We ended up purchasing a 2012 diesel Volkswagen Passat (I know, I know—it’s not American-made like the Jeep was, but our gas bill was literally killing us). Already my husband has gone from filling up every other day to once a week and last week on a trip home from Michigan we didn’t have to stop to fill up once. When we arrived at home our average gas mileage was an impressive 49.5 mpg (something my husband was VERY proud of—there may have been a photo of the mpg gauge posted to Facebook).

Black Betty, as the Passat has been nicknamed after the Ram Jam song, needs a film makeover now. At the dealership the salesman tried to sell us on “Auto Butler,” a paint protection service for the car. We declined (after my husband proudly told the salesman that I worked for Window Film magazine and so I knew where to go), but it started the conservation about how we would like to film the car. My husband definitely wants to get film installed on the windows so the search is on.

I know plenty about dealer-manufacturer relationships, energy-efficiency, legislation and advice from expert tinters, but how do I ensure that the person who installs film on my vehicle will do a good job?

What would you tell a consumer who was unsure where to turn (besides just to come to your shop)? What are the most important factors that consumers should look at when deciding where to take their vehicle? In addition, in your opinion, should new car-owners invest in window film or paint protection film first?

Share your thoughts with me and maybe you will see a future blog on what we decided to do with Black Betty.

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  1. This is an excellent question Katie! Long time reader, first time writer. Usually we have nothing to add to what is written on WFM, but in this case we do have something to share in the conversation.

    We feel that what is holding back the tinting industry is this “Trust” issue with local tint shops. Consumers do not feel comfortable with the window tint purchase decision despite the obvious benefits. Often times it is due to the perceived or real shadiness of the industry.

    Our TintCenter site tries to handhold the customer in making this decision. Giving them advice and articles for reference, but most importantly offering a price quote feature that matches them up with local tint shops for car tint or home tint services.

    We currently generate around 100-300 price quotes a day, depending on season, from around the country for car tint, paint, and home tint services. These customers receive price quotes from local tint shops that we regularly screen for quality and positive feedback.

    If they have any questions, concerns, or complaints, TintCenter helps arbitrate and guide expectations. Often times it is a misunderstanding of what is “normal” and what is not. Sometimes we put pressure on the tint shop to do the right thing, sometimes we pressure the customer to understand that the “cloudiness” will fade in a week and not worry.

    If a customer complaints are repeatedly not properly handled by a tint shop, we drop the tint shop from our price quote service. To our dismay, there are quite a few shops that don’t stand behind their work, so for many top 50 US cities we do not have tint shops to refer customers to. Though this trend seems to be improving as tint shops realize that internet spreads a bad reputation so quickly.

    What is most important in deciding between tint shops? Reputation and positive reviews. TintCenter aims to guide customers to quality tint shops through the experiences of satisfied customers. We feel like this is the most accurate way to determine a quality shop.

    Some links for reference:

    Get a Window Tint Price Quote
    http://www.tintcenter.com/free-price-quote.html

    Adding your Tint Shop to our Price Quote Service
    http://www.tintcenter.com/dealers/

    Where are Window Tint customers?
    http://www.tintcenter.com/dealers/where-to-open-a-window-tint-shop/

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