Growing Trend I Have Noticed in the Window Film Industry
Inevitably, the first question I get asked the week after the SEMA Show is whether I saw anything new and interesting. While there are always several new things to see, this year I recognized a growing trend that came up in numerous discussions I had throughout the week. In fact, it seems like this trend is taking place in both the auto and flat glass side of our business. Is it a new product, technology, etc. that is going to change the industry? Nope. In fact it is something that has been gaining momentum for a few years and now seems to be hitting full speed.
So, what is this new trend? Quite simply, it is that most installation businesses are now selling premium products as a greater percentage of their total sales. They are educating their prospective customers to a greater degree and up-selling a greater percentage of them to higher end offerings. This is great for the industry in a variety of ways, but I wanted to focus on the main reason I see this as a very positive trend.
The fact is that many businesses I speak with mention lack of qualified installers as a primary reason they cannot grow their businesses more quickly. This has been an issue for many years now and it doesn’t seem to be getting any better. With that limit in place, how is a business supposed to grow their revenue and profits when they are already booked out a week or more for much of the year? If you cannot add installers, the only answer is to sell a higher end product to the customers you are already servicing.
Fortunately, the industry has made large strides in recent years in producing premium products that offer significant, tangible benefits to the consumer. Products like IR Rejecting films that offer significantly better performance vs a standard film without the need to go as dark if the client does not wish to. Also, on the flat glass side, there has also been technology improvements in low-E or “four season” films that reject heat in the summer and retain heat in the winter. These new technologies are offering the end user additional benefits that they value and are willing to spend more for.
The end result of the combination of these new films with the added attention installation companies are giving them during the selling process has enabled many companies to grow significantly while doing the same amount of work. Where an automotive shop may have installed one premium job out of every 20 cars that rolled through the shop, now they are installing 5-7 premium jobs out of every 20 cars that come in. In addition, flat glass dealers are also selling a greater percentage of both residential and commercial jobs with premium film.
In most cases, the fixed costs such as rent, equipment and labor per install remain exactly the same whether a standard film or a premium film is being installed. The added material cost of the premium films is lower percentage wise than the additional retail price that can be charged. This means that the job not only yields a higher revenue, but also a higher profit margin.
If you find that you are not selling premium products as a great percentage of your overall sales, you are missing out on this growing trend. I would advise you to embrace it, educate yourself on the newer films and make a point of integrating them into every sales presentation. You may find what others already have. You can grow your business top line revenue and bottom line profits all while installing the same amount of film.