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Window Tinting

Discussion in 'General Chit-Chat' started by Awesome Graphics, May 19, 2020.

  1. Awesome Graphics

    Awesome Graphics Member

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    Tinting is a field that we have stayed away from in the past as we've been pretty much at capacity for a few years now, but it is tough to turn down business right now. Does anyone have a particular window tint and/or vendor that they have used and liked? I'm sure that, like with any vinyl, there are plenty of miserable duds out there. Would you recommend a kit or roll?

    The customer has a 2019 Subaru Ascent and would like a 20% tint. Doesn't mean much to me at this point, but figured it might help some of you. Any guidance would be greatly appreciated.
     

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  2. JBurton

    JBurton Signtologist

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    Just Run!

    But really, never gotten into it and honestly haven't even seen folks on here get into it. Am I wrong? Is this a giant untapped market for me... I know the stuff you buy at walmart is awful, just ask my mom's back glass.
     
  3. Awesome Graphics

    Awesome Graphics Member

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    Ha. I totally get that response, and when our bay was full, I was on board with not wanting or needing it. Right now, it could fill some gaps. I have a couple 3M preferred installers who are pretty handy and could probably figure it out, given the right vinyl.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  4. bannertime

    bannertime Very Active Member

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    Best bet is to look at car audio/tint forums that do this stuff. And get the cut templates for the windows. I'm sure they'd love to see wrap/sign shops getting into tinting. But honestly, who cares at this point. Everyone and their cousin's best friend is a print shop these days.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  5. JBurton

    JBurton Signtologist

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    Hey, why not ask your current vinyl rep. Surely you are not the first person to ask...
     
  6. Notarealsignguy

    Notarealsignguy Very Active Member

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    I see the name Llumar a lot and Avery makes a film Stay away from the cheap ebay stuff, it will turn purple. Tubelite just started selling avery but I don't think they are up that far.
    Tinting seems like a down and dirty business to me but to each their own. A $300 plotter, cheap template software and you are in business but they do turn and burn them so maybe it's good money?
     
  7. GAC05

    GAC05 Major Contributor

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    Tinting is like wrap installing - it takes time to learn to do it well enough to make money. Shop has to be really clean & isolated from dusty airflow. If you do any sign fabrication like wood framing or metal work near by it will get under the tint.
    Make sure your insurance covers glass breakage because sooner or later you're going to crack a windshield or rear window.
    Llumar and 3M are good films with different lines for different price points.
    Volume and quality installs are the key.
    Just like printing, prices are lower for complete tint jobs than they were 10 or 15 years ago.
    We don't tint any more - most of the people we trained up left to open their own shops.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  8. Notarealsignguy

    Notarealsignguy Very Active Member

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    Like already said, it has to be clean. It's not like vinyl, since the film is brittle, a grain of sand will ruin it. It is really annoying.
     
  9. visual800

    visual800 Very Active Member

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    llumar is good and there is a new ceramic tint out called rayno. Ive a got a great tint guy. I did order my own precut tinit several years ago and put it on my bucket trucks, it turned out ok but I can see where tinting takes some skills
     
  10. Stacey K

    Stacey K I like making signs

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    There's a guy in town that does it out of his garage and he does a really good job. For years he had the market cornered then he got divorced and got out of it and my phone started ringing. I didn't realize he got out of it and I kept sending people to him...soon enough he was out of his 'divorce depression' and started back up LOL. Very few people ask me now, which is fine. I can't compete with $75 for an entire vehicle and a perfect installation...very meticulous, excellent work. He refers people to me for other things, work out well for both of us. Not something that I'm interested in doing...at all.
     
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  11. rjssigns

    rjssigns Major Contributor

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    Like others has said Llumar is a good film. Friend of mine did commercial tinting for years and it was his go to film. One thing you will have to get really good at is shrinking the film for rear windows. Same friend that did commercial buildings also did cars and had his wife shrink film for back windows. She had a knack and they came out perfect. Installed in minutes.

    Ceramic films were all the rage now there is infrared blocking. People are having it put on their windshield too. Not legal but once its on you can't see it.
     
  12. Awesome Graphics

    Awesome Graphics Member

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    I had no ideas that margins were so low. We would never do an install like this for anywhere close to $75. Sounds like its time for a friendly brushoff. Thank you for the info.
     
  13. Notarealsignguy

    Notarealsignguy Very Active Member

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    I paid 80 for my 2 front windows. Took them 20 mins and probably $10 material. Its decent if you are good at it and have the volume. It was a legit shop and they were very busy.
     
  14. Reveal1

    Reveal1 Active Member

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    More profit in business windows - architectural films. Pretty decent margin, indoor install, and same customer base as interior graphics in a lot of instances. Opportunity to add value instead of being a commodity. Take a look at Decorative Films https://www.decorativefilm.com
     
    • Like Like x 1
  15. JBurton

    JBurton Signtologist

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    Don't forget the polarized privacy films for firms dealing with sensitive information. I think it's called Casper film, but when combined with polarized screen covers for the computers, you only see a black box when viewed through the window film. It sounds super expensive/profitable...
     
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  16. XtremeXccessories

    XtremeXccessories Member

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    Little late to the party, but tint and PPF are our bread and butter.

    We've been using Llumar for over a decade and used to use 3M. I would say 3M and Llumar are on the same level and I've heard good things about SunTek, but haven't used it much.

    GAC05 has a lot of good points:

    It takes time to learn, expect to burn through several rolls before you're anywhere near good enough to install on a customers car.
    Shop must be clean and don't expect to use swamp coolers or fans because they blow too much dust around and you'll get a dirty tint job.
    Quality is key. Most people don't notice or are forgiving of a few specs of dust here and there, but there are some customers that will not accept a SINGLE spec of dust in any window. Just know there will be people that demand it's redone until it's up to their standards.

    I don't agree with pricing going lower over the last 10-15 years; we've actually raised our prices a bit as the price of film has increased. There will always be someone doing it out of their garage for way cheaper than you can install it at an actual shop because of virtually no overhead; it's no different than the print industry.
    I wouldn't worry too much about having insurance that covers glass breakage. In my 13 years I've never seen a back or side window break because of tint installation. I've heard rumors of it happening, but out of the thousands of cars we've done over the years it's never been an issue. A few cracked windshields from people not knowing how to remove the rear view mirror, but literally just a few.


    Llumar will set you up with a free plotter (I think they're using Graphtech FC8600 these days) and a PC along with access to their pattern database if you agree to purchase a minimum amount a year.

    If you are serious about window tint, you might as well look in to doing paint protection film as well.

    Edit: Oh, and NEVER use a carbon steel blade on glass, it will etch it. Stainless steel ONLY, and even then be light-handed.
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2020
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