Volume 17, Issue 4- July/August2013

A Shade Above
Cesar Velasquez, The Tint Factory, Loma Linda, Calif.

Cesar Velasquez likes to watch. The manager of The Tint Factory in Loma Linda, Calif., says he started tinting after watching other installers.

“Back in 1987, I wanted to tint my own car. I got frustrated because I couldn’t so I checked out nearby tint shops. I started looking at people doing it and getting ideas of how to do it right. One of the shops I went to was nice enough to allow me to watch them install. I did this for a few weeks after my regular job. I’d go there every afternoon.”

Against the Odds
Despite his desire to learn, Cesar says he wasn’t immediately accepted by other installers.

“One of the installers told me I’d never be able to do this professionally. I always remembered that. I told myself I was going to prove I’d be able to do this,” he says.

Velasquez credits Hann Kim, 2012 Architectural Tint-Off™ winner and Window Film magazine columnist, with helping him get his start and believing in him early on.

“For some reason he saw something in me and helped me. I picked up a lot of the techniques that I have from him and I’m very thankful for that. The steps and procedures he showed me stuck with me. I used his teaching as a stepping stone for everything else I learned.”

Opening Shop
Those techniques eventually translated into a business, which Cesar says he opened in 1989.

“I opened it myself, and I started going to dealerships. We were considered mobile but we eventually situated ourselves and opened our actual shop.”

Currently his four-employee shop, which has annual estimated revenue of $500,000, specializes in automotive window tinting and paint protection

. Cesar adds that doing things his way, in addition to treating his customers’ cars with respect, sets his shop apart from competitors.

“There are four shops around us; three of them are within 100 yards. We are actually one of the busiest tint shops in our area,” he says. “When people come in, they think it’s weird that we cannot take their vehicles the same day they come in. We are booked almost two weeks in advance.

“We stand out because we don’t try to follow anyone—we are the leaders; we are not followers.We care about every car that comes in. I treat every vehicle as if it was my own car. That’s why our slogan is ‘A shade above the rest.’ The type of car doesn’t matter, whether it’s a Lamborghini or a Datsun, I care just as much about it.”

Family First
Cesar says his wife and daughter are the real stars.

“One of the reasons I am here is because of my wife … Without my wife I don’t think I’d be this successful.

“My daughter also is so important to the company,” he adds. “Without her I really wouldn’t know what I’d do … She has been a great asset.”

“You really have to like what you do. Don’t think about just the money. If you love what you do, the money will follow … If you want to copy someone or just try to imitate another shop, you’re not going to be very successful. Have patience. There are a lot of people who can put film on, but not a lot of installers who can do it right,” he says.

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