Jump to content

Flat Glass Residential/Commercial vs Auto Tinting

Young Tinter

Recommended Posts

I've done tons of both and dreaded every single flat glass job. There was always some complication.


Usually each shop I worked for offered both. So for me being on commission, I'd have to stop working on cars to go give free $%^ing estimates. I hated it and always felt like I was being taken advantage of.

Link to comment
4 minutes ago, TintDude said:

I've done tons of both and dreaded every single flat glass job. There was always some complication.


Usually each shop I worked for offered both. So for me being on commission, I'd have to stop working on cars to go give free $%^ing estimates. I hated it and always felt like I was being taken advantage of.

Happy birthday OG

Link to comment

Seems TD has covered a lot of ground ...


My story starts with auto and ends with flat glass. Cars feed you flat glass work and flat glass feeds you auto. At some point my focus flipped to mostly resi-comm and cars by reference and appointment only.


I believe I've walked away from as many projects as those I've completed. First large project my bid was the highest and outpaced the next closest bid by 6K and I dropped it to be more competitive, which lost me the opportunity because the client perceived I would cut corners by giving up the thousand(s) difference. Lesson learned: stand your ground and justify your price.


Only had one residential job that upon entering the home I knew I wasn't going to stay long and refused to remove my shoes; the place was gross from the floor up. One job I walked away from was an old grumpy lady hating on the rainy day I arrive to give her an estimate. She wanted me to do the job but when she asked if I cleaned the outside of the glass before installing, I said No, I only do the inside. She then quipped, How would you know the film was installed well? I called her back a couple days after that conversation and withdrew my bid. My reason told to her was that I did not believe I could install to her satisfaction. She laughed her ass off and I wondered if her face was cracking from the laughter.


I was the only tint biz in Naples that would do one window (small job). I did one at a 21 story hi-rise and the condo owner told me I was the only one that would come out. I said, small jobs tend to lead to big jobs. After a couple references at that hi-rise and completed jobs over the course of a couple years, I received an invite to bid the entire building. 77K sq ft of glass area, from 84 condos, to be covered. I beat the 3M dealer in that bid and when awarded to contract I was a one-man operation facing having to complete the project in 10 weeks. Shook hands and said 'no problem'. Had to call a couple competitors and my ex-wife (who was an installer, too) in an effort to get a team together. Finished by the end of the tenth week. That project got my name circulating among all the managers of hi-rise condo building down the strip. Before anything panned out I was hired by a film manufacturer as a rep.


So, is flat glass profitable, yes, however, it can take a long time to get a large project because of their finance or lack thereof, decisions delayed and the dog eat dog mentality that comes with bidding large projects.


I spent years doing moderate size jobs like homes and business locations. By then I had a great word of mouth network bringing me work. You get to see how the poor as well as the wealthy live. One home I remember from Bonita Springs FL was a turn-key build costing the owner 4.1 mil. I spent all day doing their game room and entertainment room and when I told the lady of the house their place looked lived in and not a museum like other wealthy homes, she said they aren't the stuffy type. LOL. That house was their get away and a mere cottage compared to their home back in Ohio. I've also done work for a couple different clients that had a net worth of 250 mil. One was refined and the other was down home like us working stiffs.


Anyway, I came to love doing resi-comm and began to dislike auto tinting. In the end, I would not do ladder work after losing my nerve at the top of a 28-foot extension ladder in home on Marco Island. I've used scissor lifts to complete some jobs and would have needed a cherry picker with bucket to complete the launch center at Kennedy Space Center way back in the day. It was the sloped roof glass they use to watch the rockets go up from their seats at their control stations. I withdrew my bid a couple days before the winner was to be announced. A friend inside called and said I was going to win the bid. I didn't want to do the job; exterior remove and replace 5' x 5' sheets of film on the coast, which always has a wind factor. Nope, not for this guy.


The coolest thing I ever tinted was the crawler cabs at KSC. The crawler was those giant platforms that slowly rolled the Space Shuttle to the pad for launch.


Can you see the positive side of doing resi-comm? If you do take the plunge, you will need to learn much about film performance values as well as different types of glazing units and their performance values as well. The IWFA has educations guides that can jump start your knowledge base in their Architectural Education Guide and their Safety Film Education Guides.


Here's a start:


Annealed glass breaks into large sharp edge shards and will break the easiest from thermal stress. Thermal stress is the presence of differing surface temperatures from pane center to pane edge. it only takes a 50 degree different from center to edge for an annealed pain of glass to break, crack or snap.


Heat strengthened glass breaks in the same way annealed glass yet, has twice the strength as annealed and can withstand 100 degree difference in surface temp from center to edge.


Tempered glass is four times stronger than annealed, it breaks into small non-legal pellets, and can withstand a 200 degree difference in surface temperature from center to edge.


This information is critical when choosing the right film for the client's glass. A film with a high solar absorption rate could be too much for a full or partial sun-exposed, annealed piece of glass. Film such as limo tint can snap the glass soon after installation; it has an 89% absorption rate.


Other factors need be studied such as lowE coatings, type of framing, single-, dual-, triple-pane glazing units and the use of laminated glass in buildings.


Oh and ah, on flat glass jobs I would always have a contract and that contract spelled out what conditions were necessary prior to arriving to install; access to glass with minimum 3-feet of clearance around the glass, all valuables removed from the work area to avoid damage responsibility, Air/Heat need run a minimum of 3 days before and for 3 days after installation. I have never had the back to be able to move (large) stuff away from the pane to be worked on and I would emphasize the fact I did not want to be held responsible for damage to their possessions. The vast majority understood this point. I only did it for elderly folk who had no one to do it for them.


Story time is over. Good luck.

Edited by Tintguy1980
Link to comment

Another post worth a million bucks. 


Not much to add... I agree with both views. Both are 100% correct. I think, just like in any business, there are many areas to focus on and ways to do things. Saying you want to switch from auto to flat (or vise versa) is super broad... And there are def. ways to minimize the downsides to flat, or auto really... I do think there is a much larger learning curve to flat, in terms of what films and what glass types people have. Tinting a square is a lot easier then car windows... but any film can't go on just any glass. 


One thing I will add, with regards to that... at least here in my area, most homes and office buildings have the same types of glass, generally speaking, So I pretty much know what I need to know for my market. If I went somewhere else, I have no doubt I would have to learn more. But... since I know what is used around here, I only need to focus my skills within that scope. In the super odd chance I come across a type of glass that I don't see often, well.. that's what my peers, and to some extent, film reps are for. :thumb


There are subsets of flat glass... Deco films.. safety films... solar control... new homes.. old homes... new office construction... etc. Can focus on one type, or some, or all.. Just like cars.. you can focus on every day drivers, high end market, etc. 





Edited by Roach
Link to comment

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Create New...