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What future does window film have?


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We are burried in installations right now and lots of bids going out but not for solar film.

Digital print decorative film is really booming. And were printing a lot of it.

We've been working toward a goal for the past 6 years and we should do it this year. I wish I could say the same for solar and safety films but I don't see those markets returning like they were for a long time if ever. Here's why.

1. Market saturation. Most residential customers that could buy film have already done so during the construction boom. There will always be some homes but not enough to sustain the number of tinters.

2. Seal failure. The one's that have not failed are inching closer to seal failure with every passing day. A lot of cheap vinyl windows were used in homes and 7 years is normal life expectancy which means they are not going to spend money tinting a 10 year old home full of bad windows.

3. New technologies. When a tornado destroyed most of the glass at the St. Louis Airport they used custom manufactured blast glass. Not film.

4. Architectural design. Most architects we meet with are using new glass technologies in construction and unless the building owner is retro fitting an older building film is not considered.

5. What's left in solar/safety film industry? Older window film applications failing on commercial buildings is about it. You just love that CDF adhesive removel!

6. Consolidation of film manufacturers. Notice who is buying the solar film companies at bargin basement prices? Why would they want them and what will they do with them? Get the picture?

I conclusion Ithink it's safe to say there will be auto tinting to do for awhile but you never know what laws the politicians are dreaming of and the entry barrier to auto tint is cheap so competition is everywhere.

Where do we go now? Architectural decorative film, digital graphics, vehicle wraps, vinyl signs and logos mixed in with what window film we can do. I have really enjoyed this industry for the past 30 years but technology has caught up with it and if you don't keep looking for new cheese you'll starve cause it keeps moving.

Had we not focused on digitally printed film and graphics we would be gone. So what do my industry peers think?

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I agree. We should be looking for avenues that can make us more useful to our customers. We answer the phone with "how can I help?" That is a question we need to ask ourselves as well. That being said, I love window tinting and I feel that there is a lot of glass left in my area that can be improved. No one knows the future but I hope that window film will continue to improve and be relevant. I do hate to see the manufacturers being bought up. Competition creates diversity and innovation. It also allows us to differentiate ourselves and our prices. If one or two companies own everything, it gives everything a stale, bland taste. For instance the customer asks, "Oh you sell X and he sells Y? Aren't you both owned by Z?"

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Guest tint whisperer

Posted

We are burried in installations right now and lots of bids going out but not for solar film.

Digital print decorative film is really booming. And were printing a lot of it.

We've been working toward a goal for the past 6 years and we should do it this year. I wish I could say the same for solar and safety films but I don't see those markets returning like they were for a long time if ever. Here's why.

1. Market saturation. Most residential customers that could buy film have already done so during the construction boom. There will always be some homes but not enough to sustain the number of tinters.

2. Seal failure. The one's that have not failed are inching closer to seal failure with every passing day. A lot of cheap vinyl windows were used in homes and 7 years is normal life expectancy which means they are not going to spend money tinting a 10 year old home full of bad windows.

3. New technologies. When a tornado destroyed most of the glass at the St. Louis Airport they used custom manufactured blast glass. Not film.

4. Architectural design. Most architects we meet with are using new glass technologies in construction and unless the building owner is retro fitting an older building film is not considered.

5. What's left in solar/safety film industry? Older window film applications failing on commercial buildings is about it. You just love that CDF adhesive removel!

6. Consolidation of film manufacturers. Notice who is buying the solar film companies at bargin basement prices? Why would they want them and what will they do with them? Get the picture?

I conclusion Ithink it's safe to say there will be auto tinting to do for awhile but you never know what laws the politicians are dreaming of and the entry barrier to auto tint is cheap so competition is everywhere.

Where do we go now? Architectural decorative film, digital graphics, vehicle wraps, vinyl signs and logos mixed in with what window film we can do. I have really enjoyed this industry for the past 30 years but technology has caught up with it and if you don't keep looking for new cheese you'll starve cause it keeps moving.

Had we not focused on digitally printed film and graphics we would be gone. So what do my industry peers think?

You've obviously read the book "Who moved my Cheese"... good read :thumb

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There will be a market for retro fit solar films for a fair number of years to come, many older buildings still have basig glazing systems in place now and it is cost prohibitive to replace the glass with new. As contractors and building owners become more conscious of energy conservation, they will encorporate smart glass into new construction, particularly when they get tax incentives to do so. The deco market in my market grows every year. As technology grows I expect to see more and more options for deco suppliers. At some point I expect to see a affordable option for a shop to do in house deco printing.

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Now that I am in the business there is bound to be no future in it. I'm usually a day late and a dollar short on everything I do. So, usually if you see me show up it's time to head on down the road because the party is over.

Jokes aside, I agree, technology in other industries is catching up or surpassing window film in both their products and public opinion. As someone put it, can't remember who, we should focus growing our piece of pie rather than fighting over it before it becomes old and crusty. Everything has a shelf life. :twocents

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In 1987, Joseph O'Brien told me: "The sun will always shine. Your phone will always ring"

Even if new technology revolutionizes the glazing industry, less than 0.1% of existing glazing that would benefit from film, has film installed upon it.

Our company is almost 30 years old. We will one day celebrate our 50th year. I hope I am around to toast it.

It may become more challenging and competitive, but if you know your product and are willing to hustle, there will be plenty of work for you in this business.

-Howard

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Guest Infiniteoptiks StL

Posted

In 1987, Joseph O'Brien told me: "The sun will always shine. Your phone will always ring"

Even if new technology revolutionizes the glazing industry, less than 0.1% of existing glazing that would benefit from film, has film installed upon it.

Our company is almost 30 years old. We will one day celebrate our 50th year. I hope I am around to toast it.

It may become more challenging and competitive, but if you know your product and are willing to hustle, there will be plenty of work for you in this business.

-Howard

Spoken like a true marketing rep. I've heard that line many times from more sales reps than I can count and yet I wonder where they come up with the less than 0.1% number. Sounds like fuzzy math to me IMHO.

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I need to find the link but I know this exists:

In 2011 the DOE estimated that over 74% of existing glass is inefficient. There is plenty of glass out there to put film on and it will be that way for a while but I always have admired and heeded this quote from Wayne Gretzky; "I always play to where the puck is going..."

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We are participating in a business that is heavily impacted by this terrible economy. That tends to make "the glass seem half tinted?"

No it isn't easy and everyone should keep an eye open for new opportunities but. .

Howard is correct.

As long as the Sun shines and glass replacement costs run high there will be a market for us. You know there's a huge market just driving around and seeing how many cars have clear glass. You know it when you complete a home or commercial property and every other store or home on that block has clear glass with the same issues your client solved with your window film.

The recession has worn us down as an industry and it's wrecked many of our associates. No one is immune.

Stay lean and mean. Get creative and focus on what works. Augment your approach with designer films and get out of your comfort zone by networking or learning new skills.

Spring and Summer is coming. .

(Of course if you compete directly against my company- -don't listen to me. Why not quit and open a lawn mowing service?) ;-)

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