Randy Silver used to own 5 Meineke car centers. Then he opened one of the first Tint World franchises outside of Florida, which he says he enjoys far better.
He said compared to owning a Meineke shop, Tint World is a lot more fun. “You deal with a different kind of clientele…they want everything you have. At Meineke they hate your guts. No one wants a radiator or a water pump. It’s the difference between a want and a need. It’s a lot more fun. I get to work on $150,000 Teslas. A lot of nice cars come in here.”
At his Cary, NC store, opened about 6 years ago, he brings in $850,000 a year in sales, up from about $350,000 his first year. He has 2 car stereo installers. Were they hard to find? “It’s always hard finding help. It doesn’t matter if you own a plumbing business or your sell candy…people are lazy. I advertised outside of my state; I got some good people,” said Silver.
He claims to be the strongest Tint World location when it comes to detailing. A lot of his business comes from Groupon, LivingSocial and Amazon Local deals. Once the customer is in the store, they may want a remote start or an HID or back up camera, he said. He also uses Groupon, etc. for window tint.
How did he learn the car stereo business? He relied on Tint World’s basic training as well as its search engine optimization (SEO). “If you want a radar detector or remote start you Google it and with our strong SEO, we come up number one in our area. We get calls all day long,” he said.
He has 8 employees in total. When he first started, window tint was 90 percent f his business, but now car stereo has increased to 25 or 30 percent of his sales.
Tint World in Albany, NY is owned by Rick Martin, who was a project manager for a software company in his past life. He wanted more control over his future. “I put more trust and faith in myself than a 401K and my future with the company,” he said.
He grosses about $380,000 and is expecting sales to hit $1/2 million this year. The 3-year old shop does a large remote start business, accounting for 25 percent of his sales. Car stereo is 20 percent of the pie and window tint is 40 percent.
He has one car stereo installer out of 4 employees. He sticks with the Tint World car audio vendors but he’ll buy through a distributor for special orders. For remote start his key vendor is Compustar.
About 5 to 10 percent of the calls and emails that come to the shop are for car stereo. And he believes as Tint World grows, and it gets more recognition, consumers will start to know it more as a car stereo destination, not just a place for window tint.
Marketing is mostly via the Internet. “Through our national advertising fund, we do a lot of marketing through Google and Yelp,” said Martin. Under Yelp, consumers can sign up for a special deal so if they search for tint or car stereo, they’ll see a Tint World special. Then they may come back and provide positive feedback on your store so it boosts your Yelp scores.
Car stereo also benefits from cross sales. “People come in for tint and they’ll say, ‘Oh, you do car stereo.’” Also, in conversation, customers will tell you they have a blown speaker or they want to add Bluetooth to their car, he said.
Kurt Kaufman used to run a car dealership. He wanted the opportunity to manage a Automotive Center so he joined Tim Kjaer the owner of the Tint World franchise in Medford, Long Island, NY (pictured at top).
The shop did $1 million in sales in its first year. It’s going on year two and the franchise is on track to hit $2 million. Car stereo is about 20 to 25 percent of sales, window tint is about 40 to 50 percent and the rest is detailing, auto body, rims and tires.
Kaufman and another tech handle the car stereo installs in a shop with 10-bays. Most of the installs are “basic stereo,” but he did a $10,000 job in a Chrysler 300 last year.