A unique offering
Compared to its competitors, Tint World offers a wider range of certain types of products and services. It carries many remote starters, for example, to fit different budgets and needs. And of course, as the name suggests, it offers many different types of films and tints, including window films, vehicle wraps, and protective films.
“These small differences all add up to make this business successful,” says Trevor. “Many of our customers come back for repeat business, so we must we doing things right!
The Dwyers also feel they have found success in Kingston because Tint World is a unique business for the area, providing a true ‘one-stop shopping’ experience for automotive styling services.
“There are a few other shops that either specialize in certain areas or have incorporated detailing into the services they provide, but our franchise is the only place where a customer can leave his/her car for the day and have all of his/her needs met,” says Trevor. “This is what really gave us the confidence to go into business in Kingston’s automotive market in the first place.”
“When we are busy, there is often a car shuffle,” says Sue. “We have a great shop and, in the beginning, it provided the perfect setup, but now we are growing and feeling the space crunch. I wish we had a larger space.”
Since the franchise system is based in the U.S., one of Trevor’s initial concerns was whether or not he would be able to work with comparable suppliers in Canada, especially for electronics.
“We are always trying to find ways to alleviate the stresses of importing goods from suppliers in the U.S.,” he explains. “It is important for us to stay in touch with different brand representatives and distributors. The more we buy from them, the more our relationships are strengthened. It is hard for small businesses to do that, but we are doing our best. Being part of a franchise system provides more resources and better buying power.”
It is difficult to learn new skills while running a business, so the Dwyers have also taken the initiative to continually schedule time for additional, ongoing education. Trevor travelled to take a one-week course on tinting at a franchise in North Carolina, for instance, so he could help out more in the shop when needed.
Tint World is certainly not a traditional mechanic’s shop that replaces mufflers. The services it provides are what Sue refers to as ‘happy things’ and no two days are ever the same, just as no two cars are ever the same.
“It is great to get to know each of our customers, their hopes and their expectations,” she says. “If someone wants sparkly new tires and rims, colourful wrap graphics, or a tricked-out audio system, we can do that. We are all about fulfilling their automotive dreams, within their budget. As a business owner, I find it rewarding to see the joy and excitement in their faces when they are happy with our work. It’s the best part of my job!”
Taking pride in their work
The Dwyers currently have four employees, including three in the service area and one business manager. They have looked to hire people who have a strong work ethic, a positive attitude, a keen eye for detail, and an ability to take pride in their work.
“After all, we do a lot more than simply plug in radios,” says Trevor. “Behind each console, there is a lot of wiring to deal with, which often resembles a plate of spaghetti! Our specialty is integration with all of the new automotive technologies.”
They never know what the next job will be that comes in their front door, but Sue points out this mentality goes back to why she enjoyed her fieldwork so much as a biologist.
“If every day were the same, I would be bored,” she says. “Some days, I’m working on a minivan that has been through a couple of seasons of children’s sports. On others, I’m applying paint protection film to a Corvette. And once in a while, I’m detailing a brand-new Lamborghini.”
Making people happy is always their ultimate aim, but it does not always work out that way. Every customer is different and it is important to try to serve them well, but sometimes there is nothing that can be done to please someone.
“It is okay when those situations arise,” says Sue. “I still try not to take it personally or be hurt when we receive a nasty review, since I know we did our very best to meet the customer’s expectations and we sometimes even lose money in the process. Being able to let that feeling go is one of the biggest lessons I have learned. Clear communications and managing expectations are important parts of my job.”
Community involvement is also important to the Dwyers. They sponsor local hockey teams and are always happy to help with fundraisers. They recently donated a large detailing package to a charity gala that raised more than $10,000 for international relief efforts.
“Most people want their car cleaned, after all, and by donating our services to be auctioned off to the highest bidder, we were able to simultaneously help our community and educate people about the services we provide,” says Sue.
As this awareness grows, the Dwyers would like to become multi-unit franchisees, growing their business by opening another one or two Tint World centres in Kingston.
“We are focusing on the location we have now, though, and on making it the very best we can before we look to expand,” says Sue.
In 2016, the Dwyers’ franchise was one of only three Tint World shops to receive a platinum-level award from their franchisor for customer service excellence.
“That was a tremendous honour for us, especially as we were still new to the system and finding our groove,” says Sue. “Having the franchisor recognize the success we have found in our community has been one of the real highlights so far of running
That first award was followed by the Ambassador Award, which they received the following year at the franchisor’s 10th annual international convention at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort in Orlando, Fla.
As they approach their fifth year, the Dwyers are excited to continue building their business with their new manager, Jeff Boudreau, and putting operational systems in place to make the shop run more efficiently.
“These past few years have been a learning process, setting us up for greater business stability and long-term success,” says Trevor. “We are always looking for new training and educational opportunities that will help us propel our business forward. Also, with expansion across Canada becoming a real option for Tint World, we want to be a major part of that. We look forward to sharing what we have learned with the new franchisees
Established in: 1982
Date of first franchise: 2007
Franchised/corporate units in Canada: 2
Investment range: US$118,000 – US$198,000
Initial franchise fee: US$35,000