Here’s Custom Sounds’ New Business

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Custom Tint Solutions

Custom Sounds, Austin, TX, the 17 store chain chain that is one of the top grossing car audio specialists in the country, quietly purchased a commercial automotive and flat glass  window film company in Austin and has launched Custom Tint Solutions.

The new business has been operating for about seven months and has expanded into the San Antonio and St Louis markets.

Custom Sounds President Mike Cofield  expects the new business to gross over $2 million in its first year ending in August and then $5 million annually by the third year.   “It’s going to become a big part of our business,” he said.

Custom Sounds

“The flat glass business [home and business window film] very much reminds me of the car audio business 20 years ago. It’s dominated by single outlet mom and pops without a lot of business acumen,” he said.

Custom Tint has the advantage of being well capitalized.  “When you do big commercial jobs they don’t pay you immediately.  So those companies have to deal with mom and pops and do something outside of the norm and give them money up front so they can buy the film.  We can treat them as a typical large customer and extend them 30 or 60 day terms, they much prefer,” said Cofield.

He now has 12 people working in the division which has 7 vans.

But he says flat glass is a completely different business model than car audio, if you “more than dabble in it.”   “You have to have the cash flow to finance the customer and hire a completely separate staff,” he said.

For Custom Sounds, it was a $1.2 million investment and he claims, “We’re smoking!”  “We did more business in March than the company we bought had ever done in a month and we’re not into the hot season yet.”

The chain leverages its current base of car audio customers who have come to trust the shop by sending out email blasts to let them know they’ve expanded into residential glass.

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2 Comments

  1. Good luck. I was in the tint game for many years and found it to be more of a liability than a asset. Of course we are in Florida where you can’t spit without hitting a tint shop, so everyone is doing 2 door cars for $80-$100 and 4 door for $120-$140 and EVERYONE expects PERFECT(NOT ONE SPEC OF DEBRIS) which is fine if your shop happens to be in a vacuum chamber-lol. We eventually went to custom tinting only where the margins were greater but eventually abandoned the segment. To add to the problems that come with the tint game, most tinters are less-than-sane, to say the least and reliable ones are nearly impossible to find. To anyone contemplating adding this to your bag of tricks, beware and good luck!

  2. Small world. I have visited retailers and distributors discussing the window film business very recently. To be sure the “mom & pop” style with which is largely conducted is ripe for business people to exploit. The funny part is so many of the “mom & pops” feel the business is already very mature and therefore change and profits are difficult to achieve. Specialty retailers like Custom Sounds are wise to look into the category. I contend, an on purpose specialty retailer with a plan, management skills and the ability to speak intelligently to consumers has a lot to add to the business and a lot to gain from the business.

    Ray Windsor

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