When Rod Voegele started his visual marketing business, Gatorwraps, in 2006, he had no idea it would be what it is today. Starting with three employees and having no knowledge of the vehicle wrap industry, it seemed like a crazy idea.
After taking Fellers certification classes, researching materials, design, and installation techniques he hit the ground running and opened a local vehicle wrap shop in Ontario, California. Now, eight years later, Rod is president and CEO of Gatorwraps, a company that has grown to 20 employees and has some of the best sales people, graphic designers, and installers in the industry. Gatorwraps is known worldwide and currently services clients in eight different countries.
Gatorwraps offers creative ways to advertise businesses through innovative wrap designs. We are best known for our full/partial vinyl wraps for autos, trucks, buses and store fronts.
Rod’s vision for the company has and always will be about creating eye catching designs to help our customers grow their business, while still managing to offer world class customer service to every customer. Gatorwraps continues to do this through diverse services such as vinyl wraps, business cards, brochures, websites, flyers, banners, decals, and much more. But there was one service that we did not offer and it began to spark Rod’s interest: window tinting.
Window Tinting a Natural Fit
“Over the years, we found that wrap installers with previous experience in window tinting often made the best candidates for us, when it comes to hiring a wrap installer,” says Voegele. “This, combined with a growing number of customers inquiring about window tinting, made the decision to add window tinting services an easy one. Last year, we decided to make the transition into offering window tint services to our customers.”
Initially, Gatorwraps started advertising to its current customer base so that we could get the logistics of it all ironed out. With such a large client database, it was not long before Gatorwraps became a high-volume window tint business alongside its many other services. Gatorwraps only uses 3M FX Premium window film for our window tint installations, but has recently started offering the 3M Ceramic Series films.
Research showed that 3M offers the best window tint film on the market. They also offer a great templating software package that could be used with the vinyl cutter we already had. It was a natural choice for us to become a 3M distributor.
Advantages and Challenges
One of the many advantages to offering window tint is the ability to cross-train our installers. We recently started cross training our window tint specialists to do vehicle wraps and also cross trained our vehicle wrap installers to do window tint. It has been a huge benefit to the company and the installers. It also allows for a lot more flexibility when unexpected scheduling conflicts arise.
Becoming a high volume tint business does come with its fair share of challenges as well.
“We have found that the hardest part of the window tint business is keeping up with the demand,” says Voegele. “Although we have been training our wrap installers to tint, we must still maintain and grow the wrap side of our business as well. We needed to find tint installers who could work fast and keep up with the high volume of appointments we were scheduling.”
Gatorwraps strives to provide the best to our customers when it comes to all our other services, so Rod would not settle for anything less when it came to window tinting.
“We have some of the best window tint specialists in our area and have a lot of returning customers because of the quality of our tint jobs.”
Adding window tint to the business model has allowed for our company to become more versatile and has opened up expansion opportunities that Rod never imagined.
After a year of offering window tint services for our clients, we are now looking to expand this to offering mobile tinting services as well.
“A typical tint job can take anywhere from two to three hours,” Voegele says. “Mobile tinting is a way for us to step up our game in customer service by offering to do the tint job where it is convenient for our customers.”
Although our window tint service has really taken off this past year, we still find a way to maintain all the other services we offer as well. Our primary focus will always be the visual marketing aspect of our company, but offering window tint allows us to be our customers’ one-stop shop for vehicle wraps and tint.
* From the 2015 issue of WRAPS magazine.