Posted on Feb 12, 2017

By Andy Mastroianni

Owning and operating a window film business has always been a mix of both challenges and rewards. Years of feedback from both film dealers and distributors alike have validated that unique balance of ups and downs. Recent market dynamics and changes have made that blend even more complicated.

Simply stated…the traditional norms of the business have shifted, expanded and evolved into a much more demanding scenario, much like trying to get more horsepower and speed on a car while also making the engine more fuel efficient at the same time. The opposite needs are not always easily made to be compatible and cooperative with each other. It means getting more with less.

Amazingly, film dealers somehow still keep the wheels of their businesses turning, sometimes more than other times, but always moving. When the right film combines with superior installation on a car or building, the feeling of satisfaction and independence can make the hassles all worthwhile to dealers.

However, the dynamics, or new norms, must be managed. That’s reality. Let’s consider just a few of them below. Working within these conditions can be like walking in a minefield without any sort of grid map to know where to walk or not walk.

  • Consumers of window film are very different buyers than they were 5 to 10 years ago.
  • The energy efficiency movement has crowded the market with all kinds of new players.
  • The economy in recent years created much more cautious purchases and spending.
  • The increased focus on commercial projects has made cash flow a tough hurdle.
  • Needs for window film are greater while consumer knowledge is still low about technologies.
  • Consolidation is continual in the manufacturing sector. Brands are getting mixed.
  • And good employees with both skills AND good attitudes are even harder to find and keep.

Nonetheless, even with all these changes, there are still huge opportunities for dealers and distributors that are willing to lift their marketing game.

Here are some market trends & tips to help your business:

  1. Begin thinking of your marketing toward accounts rather than single transactions. Where cash flow used to be based on ‘one-off’ B2C sales, it’s now about B2B ongoing servicing.
  2. Invest equally in developing your selling skills as you do in knowing the tech info on films. You can be the guru of film technology but if you can’t sell it, you’re lost.
  3. Maximize your understanding of your financials. In prior markets, good gross margins allowed dealers to be     generalist in cost accounting. That luxury is gone or at least changed.
  4. Avoid getting into bidding wars and name calling with competitors. It’s just a waste of time and resources. Worry about just your own marketing and business quality.
  5. Project more focus on service with customers instead of just the products. Explain your service steps equally to the level you explain the different films.
  6. Build a good business plan for the future. If you need help, get it. And remember, a plan in your head is not a plan…it’s just an idea. Ideas are invisible, loosely rooted and vague.
  7. Plug into the resources around you. We all miss business opportunities that are in our midst every day. Neighboring businesses, vendors, suppliers and many others are all good sources.
  8. Hire people for their attitudes rather than the skills they bring. Research long ago revealed that employee attitudes far outweigh skills in determining successful hires.
  9. Focus on both improving your business and growing it in that order of priority. Improved business practices builds quality. Higher quality creates more growth opportunities.
  10. Finally, ask yourself two hard questions. Do I make it easy for people to do business with me? More importantly… where do I make it less easy from the view of customers?

These are just a few starting points to improve your window film business. Hopefully you can employ one or more of them. Window film can be exciting and successful or it can just be a job. Hopefully you will find it the former. Think about it.

Andy Mastroianni is a national speaker and strategic marketing consultant in numerous industries. He has been helping window film dealers and distributors since 2001 in local, regional, national and international markets.

You can reach him at
andymastro@visconservices.com if you’d like more information, or you can visit his website at www.visconservices.com