Volume 17, Issue 2 - March/April 2013
“I started working with window film when I was 14 … and that followed me until I was 16 when I started tinting during the summers. I’ve been doing it full time since the summer of 1992. When I was a junior in high school in Arizona, one of the best tint shops in the state, The Tint Shop, recruited me,” says Weston.
In 2008, Weston opened his own shop focusing on automotive films, which installs clear bra protection and window tint. The frustrations of working for a supervisor without installation experience led him to opening his shop.
“I couldn’t stay in the business any longer working for someone who didn’t know as much as I know about the business,” he says. “There are so many shops out there run by someone who isn’t an owner/installer.”
Weston’s shop has three employees and generates $475,000 in annual sales. He says his success hinges on his responsiveness to his customers. “I think what has made me successful is attention to detail and always doing what I say I’m going to do,” says Weston. “I started my company when General Motors and the housing market started failing and I’ve continued to grow my business every year. It comes down to doing what you say you’re going to do and following through. That goes a long way with people these days.”
Focusing on the details, Weston adds, is the mark of any good installer.
“The key to installing clear bra or window film is procedure. If you skip a step you’re not going to have the result you’re looking for. Every car has a little technique that’s different, whether the door panel has to come off or so on,” he says.
Some of the more fascinating installations Weston has done have been on antique and exotic cars.
“I’ve done clear bra for a ’65 Cobra, but a ’56 Packard is one of the most unique cars I’ve tinted,” he says. “When things got bad [with the economy] I focused my business on the higher-end luxury cars and now I do a solid mix of everything.”
For tinters considering branching out on their own, Weston stresses that they shouldn’t rush.
“My biggest advice before starting your own company is making sure you’ve learned everything you can about every car on which you’ll install,” he says. “All it takes is one mistake to mess up the years of work you’ve put into building a reputation for yourself. You will answer for everything your employees do—your staff is the hardest part to maintain. You’re only as good a company as your worst installer.”
Despite the tough economy and pressures of owning a shop, Weston admits he loves his job.
“I own a tint company and I’m developing success in this business but I still love installing films and clear bras,” he says. “I still don’t mind going out every day and tinting and loving the business and what I do.”
Do you know someone who is a star among window film tinters? Then we want to hear from you with your nominations for “Film Stars.” Email Casey Neeley at email@example.com your nominations.