One retailer who did not appear on our Top 25 Car Audio Specialists chart is Tint World, mainly because its primary focus is window tinting. But car stereo is the chain’s second highest sales category, exceeding $4 million last year.
By our estimates, the company is on track to see sales of about $6 million in car audio by the end of the year, or a gain of close to $2 million.
Tint World ended 2013 with about 35 franchise stores and is expected to increase that number to 50 by the end of the year. Most of the stores gross about $500,000 annually in the first year or so for all categories combined including tinting and car care and accessories. CEO Charles Bonfiglio would like to see that rise to $750,000. He believes he’ll achieve that as most stores increase their business about 15 to 20 percent a year in the first few years and most of Tint World’s franchises are relatively new.
Car stereo is a growing part of the chain’s business, but it’s usually one that builds up six months to a year after a store opens. “It takes a longer time to get the reputation for quality installation and to get the right installer because you have to have enough business coming in to get the great installers,” Bonfiglio said.
Tint World often cross trains employees so that initially, an installer might also do window tinting or clear bras or a tinter might do some basic car audio installation.
Of course, Tint World, also benefits from cross selling. “When people get a car, one of the first things they do is window tinting. It’s more mainstream. Then they come and they develop a relationship with us and we have our nice displays,” and they are exposed to car stereo, to backup cameras, headrest video, and more, he said. The demographic for the chain is 20 to 65 years old, with an even split between men and women.
The company also appears to be doing anything short of standing still. It plans to go into home automation (including audio, video) in the next couple of years, a natural extension of home window tinting. It also may offer blinds and window treatments, because its technicians remove blinds and curtains in order to install window film, so it makes sense to offer an online store for ordering window treatments that the technician can install along with film.
It also recently struck a deal to carry Katzkin leather interiors and already has a wheel and tire store online.
Two of the franchises in the U.S. are used car dealers that are opening a Tint World next to their shops to offer aftermarket accessories and car care. Overseas in the United Arab Emirates, a franchisee owns car dealerships and is opening Tint World shops next door to the dealerships.
Bonfoglio imagines a day when a chain like CarMax includes TintWorld shops in all its locations.
In the meantime, some of the new growth categories for the chain (in addition to car audio) are vehicle wraps, leather interiors, and truck accessories. Some stores, in areas where boating is popular, offer boat detailing. Shop technicians may visit the docks once a month to service a boat. They also offer boat graphics in addition to marine audio.
Bonfiglio received his understanding of franchising from owning Meineke Car Care shops. “Meineke was a muffler shop. We eventually added on shocks, and the then brakes and we had to because each area would die over time so we cross trained,” he noted.