Not just window dressing
Tint/Solar Works, founded as Tint Works, Inc., has more than 17 years of experience installing home & business window films in North Carolina and surrounding areas.
Film installer's eye for detail boosts business
reprinted from the Charlotte Business Journal
March 15, 2002
Jim Wachob believes the key to running a small business today is keeping an eye on suppliers.
Sure, customers are vital to Wachob's Tint Works Inc. But in such a business, which installs window film to reflect heat and ultraviolet radiation, Wachob depends on a small group of suppliers for products that must perform as promised.
"When a company changes their recipe, it may take years for something to go wrong," he says.
Window films can delaminate or fade, or adhesives in the film can fail, allowing it to peel, he says.
He keeps his eye on which companies have been bought or sold. Frequent management changes can mean that the product changes, and the company's reputation can no longer be relied on.
If all that attention to detail sounds as if Wachob is wrapped up in his business, it's true. "This is my passion," he says.
When Morris Wilson decided he needed to cut down on the glare and heating of the sun reflected from Lake Norman into SpaDels, he was impressed with Wachob's thoroughness.
"He talked to me one business owner to another business owner," Wilson says. "I had some questions and concerns about the process, and he knew about his products and those of his competitor."
Wachob founded Tint Works in 1993 and has averaged about 20% annual growth during the past nine years, he says. In 2001, he reached $471,000 in sales with five employees.
This year, he's opening an office in Beaufort, S.C., to serve Charleston and Savannah, Ga. His targets are the large homes on the barrier islands near those cities.
About 80% of his market is in such homes. The remainder of his work is done at commercial locations.
Since most of his company's work is done in residences, Wachob says it's important that customers are comfortable having Tint Works employees in their homes. Employees must be clean-cut and meticulously careful during installations.
"We're selling a service, not just the film," Wachob says. "When we go into a house to do a job, we want to leave a feeling that you would be able to recommend us to your neighbors."
Up to 70% of the company's work comes from referrals, he says.
Customers appreciate the little things, Wachob says. On-time arrivals for estimates and installations are key, he says.
Callers should always get a person on the telephone, too, Wachob says. A system of linked telephone lines allows Tint Works telephones to be manned continuously during business hours.
That also helps with initial sales. "When you get a recorder, you leave messages sometimes," he says.
The Beaufort office will be Tint Works' fifth. The company operates small locations in Catawba, Asheville, Boone and Roanoke, Va.
Most of Tint Works' products cost $8 to $12 per square foot.
When Wachob is looking for customers, he looks for large windows, he says. His pitch: Such companies and homes need window film to boost energy efficiency and reduce fading and other damage caused by sunlight.
by Ken Elkins, Staff Writer
Copyright 2002 American City Business Journal, Inc.