Stars and bars: How online reviews can benefit franchises

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No one likes to be called out in public, especially a business owner or manager

But whether online reviews are fair or not, they can help franchise owners further build their brand and provide valuable customer feedback. Just don’t take them personally – you can’t please 100 percent of your customers 100 percent of the time. But you should try.

Online reviews – termed by some as “online word-of-mouth” – are a valuable modern marketing tool in your digital toolbox.

Some research indicates that 90 percent of customers read online reviews before committing to a product or service. Most of them are as receptive to online reviews as they are to personal recommendations. But here’s the rub: Nearly 75 percent of potential customers will purchase your product or services only if there’s at least one positive review associated with your franchise. Nearly 85 percent will be turned off from a business with negative online reviews. And negative reviews can be costly: one poor review on Yelp can cut your customer base by 30 people. An increase in overall positive ratings, however, can generate nearly 10 percent in additional business.

But there’s a lot of good with the potential bad of a negative review, which should be addressed online in a respectful and honest manner. Here are four ways online reviews can help your business:

  1. Free advertising. Potential customers will see your brand and business offerings and locations.
  2. Improved SEO. One of multiple algorithms used by Google to determine page ranking is the number of times your company was reviewed or referenced.
  3. Recommendations: Nearly three-quarters of potential customers will trust online recommendations and positive reviews.
  4. Feedback: Online reviews can offer insight into your business practices and indicate areas that need improvement.
  5. Connections: When you respond to reviews, you establish a more intimate relationship with your customers. You can better build loyalty among your customer base if they see your business as a collection of individuals rather than a faceless monolith

For No. 5 to succeed, however, you need to carefully phrase and take a cautious approach to your response. Respond quickly and be cordial, regardless whether the review was negative or unfair. Don’t just delete reviews; the complainant might notice and take even greater offense and post even more negative reviews. You can correct inaccuracies in a review, but watch your tone. Remember — you are in a public domain. The most important aspect of responding to a negative review is to make the customer feel like their concerns are acknowledged, so make sure you offer their money back or a way to make things right.

Online reviews may seem like a minefield into which you don’t want to stray, but keep in mind the many positive attributes of the digital review system. Maybe you can turn that negativity into a star, instead.

At Tint World® we stay up to date on the latest trends in online reviews and work with our franchisees daily to ensure they are gaining the best reputation possible in their markets.

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It takes a second to wreck it: Customer service tips for franchisers

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Our business was built on a cornerstone of customer service. That’s why Tint World®, which opened our first store in 1982, is now the largest independent automotive customization franchise in the business. We have serviced multiple generations of cars for multiple generations of families – because we consider them family ourselves.

Here are a few keys to customer success to ensure your clients return again and again:

  • When greeting a customer, or bidding one farewell, or even when answering the phone, keep a smile on your face. Nothing generates goodwill like a good grin.
  • Treat every customer with dignity and respect, regardless of their appearance. Even the most bedraggled-looking folks could have a wad of cash they want to drop at your store.
  • Banish the words “I don’t know” from your vocabulary. Replace them with “I’ll find out for you.”
  • The customer standing in front of you merits your attention, not one calling on the telephone.
  • Don’t badmouth customers in front of others.
  • Speak clearly, avoid slang and be mindful of your tone.
  • In this technology-driven world, a personal touch counts for a lot. Consider a written note instead of an email thanking a good customer. But no matter how you do it, always offer thanks. Early and often.
  • Make sure your entire team participates in the customer-service sector of your company.
  • First impressions count — a lot. That includes the first impression of your franchise. Keep your grounds maintained, your entrances clean and inviting, and deliver a hearty “hello!” as soon as a client walks in the door.
  • Be considerate of your customer’s time. Attend to their needs on a timely basis, and make sure you deliver their product on time.
  • Look at how other companies handle customer relations, and offer continuing education and training in customer-service best practices.

Above all, remember the adage “It takes time to build. It takes a second to wreck it.

Here’s more on the Tint World® approach to customer service.

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Like father, like son: Cary, N.C. Tint World® franchise is a family affair

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Randy Silver built his career around franchises. After operating five automotive franchises for 15 years, he acquired a Tint World® franchise in Cary, N.C. eight years ago. He so strongly believes in the future of his franchise that he made his son a co-owner during a very public moment at a Tint World® franchisee convention in Las Vegas in November.

In this interview, he talks about the support franchisees receive from Tint World®; its most popular products; and the importance of working hard and plowing ahead in the face of challenge and adversity.

Question: How would you characterize your success so far as a Tint World® franchisee?

Answer: Being part of Tint World® has given me a lot of opportunity. The front office, the corporate office, they’re great. They’re responsive, very quickly. They’re always there to help you out, they always have answers. They give you guidance.

Q: I understand you made your son a co-owner of the shop during the annual Tint World® franchisee convention in Las Vegas.

A: Correct. Last November I made him a 50-percent owner, he’s worked hard for eight years, he’s all about the business, and I’m just trying to get him more involved.

Q: More involved – what does that entail?

A: Right now, he heads up my tint department (and assists with) Clear Bra paint-protection film. He does a lot of vinyl wraps. I want to get him more involved in the business aspect of it. Up front at the counter, interacting with customers more, the back end, bills and all of that. I want him to know how to run a business.

Q: What are some of the challenges he may face?

A: The biggest challenge in any franchise business is dealing with customers. That is no joke. Selling is what I’m good at, and that’s probably the second-hardest thing. You’re asking people to put their hands in their pockets and come out with money and that’s not always an easy thing.

Q: But you obviously have enough faith in the business model and the future to make your son a partner. What do you think the future holds?

A: The future is wide open. It’s growing; we’re already approaching a million-dollar location. It’s at his fingertips. He can do whatever he wants. He can achieve it. With my guidance, and the guidance from the corporate office – those guys are so knowledgeable – the industry is wide open. It’s a half-billion dollar industry.

Q: What is your No. 1 product right now?

A: The No. 1 product in Tint World® is tint.

Q: What’s No. 2?

A: I would say mobile electronics.

Q: You say you’re almost a million-dollar shop now. What has led you to that milestone?

A: Hard work. Dedication. A lot of focus. Many, many hours. I get here at six in the morning every single day. I put a lot of time in here. Just a lot of dedication.

Q: Any new products you’re offering in 2017?

A: We’re doing vinyl wraps, a lot of Clear Bra paint-protection film; we do residential and commercial tint; rims and tires. We’re doing the new ceramic coatings on cars. We’re branching out, as they come out with new products we try to get them involved in the business, one way or another.

Q: How is working for the Tint World® franchise different or similar to working for other franchises?

A: Well, automotive service is a need; you know a lot of people that want to give you $1,000 for a radiator? (Tint World®) is a want. People come in here and throw you thousands of dollars because they want something, so you’re dealing with a happier clientele. It’s more of a pleasure to work in a business like this.

Q: Why should people come to Tint World® instead of your competitors?

A: We use the highest technology; all of our film is laser-cut by a plotter perfect for every window on your car. You’re in and out in one hour; we’re the only tint shop in the entire United States that’s nationwide; we’ve got shops between New York and San Diego that honor the life-time warranty, reasons such as that.

Q: What is the No. 1 product you have that every auto owner should have?

A: Tint. Skin cancer is popping up every day. (Sunlight) shines right through the window and it burns your skin. The tint we carry is Skin Cancer Foundation-approved. It keeps out 99 percent of UV and UB rays; it keeps out 80 percent of the heat. Tint protects your interior from fading and cracking. All of the above.

Q: How did you motivate yourself through difficult times to get to the point you are today?

A: Just a lot of hard work and determination. You open up a business, you go through your lumps, and you gotta stay at it. Nothing is given to you on a silver spoon. You’ve gotta work. You’re going to make mistakes, and it’s OK to make mistakes. But you want to not make the same mistake two, three or five times. You want to learn from your mistakes, and grow.

Visit Randy and his son at their Cary/Raleigh-area Tint World® franchise. They’ll set you up with the latest and greatest in vehicle maintenance, customization and upgrades. You’ll get expert installation and friendly service – hallmarks of Tint World® franchises everywhere.

 

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Six tips to becoming a franchise business owner

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So you want to be a franchisee? Here are six basic tips to getting started:

  1. Follow your passions: If you dislike food service, avoid restaurant franchises. If your joys revolve around cars, an automotive franchise will be your best bet.

Aziz Hashim, a successful franchisee of at least three dozen restaurants across the country, worked at a fast-food restaurant to help him pay for college. When he graduated and entered his field of mechanical engineering, he realized his heart was in the restaurant world, he said in an interview with Entrepreneur.

“I realized within a few short weeks of being employed as an electrical engineer that it wasn’t for me. I much preferred the restaurant environment. Within 90 days of getting that job, I tendered my resignation and decided I was going to try to find my way in the restaurant business.”

  1. Ensure your franchisor is on an upward trajectory. One way to do that is to determine whether they are highly regarded, and included, for instance, in Entrepreneur and Forbes lists of fastest-growing franchises.

 

  1. Make sure your franchise is in a market that offers both demand and growth.

 

  1. Make sure your franchise will be supported by the franchisor in ways that leverage the collective power franchises offer, such as group ad buys and marketing.

As WineStyles Tasting Station CEO Bryan McGinness told Business News Daily:

 “… a potential franchisee should be very clear on what the franchisor expects of him or her, and vice versa. ‘Make sure it’s a good fit for both parties,’ McGinness said. ‘It’s easy to sign franchisees and take their royalty money. What happens after is what matters. Make this a long-term partnership and a win-win [situation].’ “

  1. Low overhead is a key to profit; make sure your investment is sustainable and doesn’t cost too much up front.

 

  1. Do research and exercise due diligence to ensure franchise fees are reasonable and attainable.

At Tint World®, we offer a variety of franchise programs for entrepreneurs interested in taking control of their life and owning their own business. Whether you’re interested in automotive styling or just want to invest in a niche market where profit can be made, we have the system for you.

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Tint World® Franchise Blog: Marketing tips for franchise owners

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As a franchise owner, you know that finding new ways to market your products and services can be time-consuming. Finding new ways to expand your existing customer base is crucial to growing your business.

Tint World® franchise owners are able to use our corporate support to drive new business success, but there are a number of ways you can market your location in your local market for higher sales. Some of the most effective methods include:

Knowing your radius
Ask your customers how far they came to your location. Your radius might be three miles, 15 miles or 30 miles, but most of your customers will be within a three- to 10-mile area. Focus on these customers to market your business and count on them to tell others about your franchise.

Joining your local Chamber of Commerce
While a Chamber of Commerce membership might seem like an old idea, you will be able to network and meet with other business owners in your area. Your membership will also include opportunities to add extra promotion to your specific location to make you top of mind, while also providing a link to your area.

Becoming a resource for your community
If you present yourself as a trusted local resource for questions that your neighbors have, it will drive awareness of the work that you are doing. If a potential customer comes to your location with a question, take the time to answer, introduce yourself, and learn more about what is happening and how you can help.

Giving back to your community
It can be hard to donate time or money to every community event, but aligning yourself with community events will make your franchise better-known. Sponsor a local youth team, give back to a local non-profit organization, donate products to a school fundraiser—all of these will build positive awareness of your franchise in your community.

Marketing your franchise location to the community you serve will drive brand awareness of your franchise location. As a Tint World® franchise owner, you have access to the marketing services that are available from Tint World® corporate. Let our marketing expertise work for you so you can grow the success of your location!

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Hitting the reset button for your franchise

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As a Tint World® franchise owner, you know that things don’t always happen the way that you want them to happen for your store. There might be problems with staff or other issues that you can control, but the idea of change can make you stressed out. Recently, our Tint World® franchise location in North Miami Beach was dealing with these types of issues and although it was out of their comfort zone, they have found great success by hitting the reset button.

The North Miami Beach location was dealing with employees who weren’t engaged, employees who had a “me-first” instead of “team-first” way of thinking and serious issues with how the store was performing. Co-owners Alberto and Gary Safarti decided that changes had to be made and so, they both “hit the reset button” to make changes for their Tint World® franchise location.

Alberto and Gary’s Story:

We at the North Miami Beach Tint World® location do not believe our recent success is luck. Our methodology has changed to increase our dedication in finding and training the optimum employees. It is not just a matter of money.

As an owner/operator, you have to find the way to instill in your employees the same dedication and excitement that you have for your business. You have to find a way to motivate them and encourage them to have the same enthusiasm you have. That attitude will create a positive customer/employee/operator relationship, where the positive attitude of your employees will motivate the customer to contract for additional services. But it all starts from the top down. You have to find a way to involve your employees in the operation of your shop, Listen to their comments, encourage them to contribute to the efficiency of your shop. By reacting positively to their input, you will find they will stay to 8 pm or to whatever hour necessary to get the work out.

We started from zero, and my brother and I absorbed many disappointments until we realized that without an enthusiastic workforce, it would be impossible to raise our shop to higher possibilities. We have one year and six months dedicating ourselves to finding the proper combination of the above factors, always respecting the employee. We know that salary is only 17% of an incentive to a worker’s job satisfaction, while more important factors are those such as job recognition, having the owner’s attention when his comments are made, and an attitude of mutual respect permeating the workplace environment. The customer feels that as well. It turns your business into not just another run of the mill shop

It is true that we have been lucky to some degree, but in business, you often make your own luck. In our case, it is more dedication and a changed workplace attitude, than any other factor.

The energy at the North Miami Beach location is incredible; everyone’s spirits are high, the entire staff jumps in to solve problems together without being asked to do so and all employees, including technicians, are selling and cross-selling together.

While making drastic changes may be out of the comfort zone of a franchise owner, hitting the reset button when everything else has been tried can make the difference between success and failure for your Tint World® franchise. Congratulations to the team at our North Miami Beach location for their willingness to go the extra mile for their Tint World® franchise!

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Diversify your auto detailing franchise to grow your business

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After a year that saw growth for the franchise industry, the anticipation of additional growth in 2017 for the franchise industry means that more individuals are looking into franchise systems. However, the addition of new franchises means that owners will need to diversify their franchise offerings to reach more customers.  A particular area of growth is the automotive industry and that includes an auto detailing franchise like Tint World® that can help franchisees find success. auto detailing franchise

For many franchise businesses, having one product or service to sell can help create the opportunity for growth. However, for those in the auto detailing franchise industry, having a diverse set of offerings can help grow potential customer bases while still delivering on a commitment to quality. At Tint World®, we help to diversify our offerings through different verticals, including:

  • Automotive Services: As the leader in automotive window tinting for more than 30 years, Tint World® is recognized as an industry leader in automotive window tinting. However, to help reach customers, Tint World® also offers a host of other automotive services, including Paint Protection Films, Mobile Electronics, Wheels and Rims, Performance Parts, Detailing and much more. Having a diversified suite of offerings can help grow your automotive franchising business with Tint World®!
  • Commercial and Residential Services: The same basis for our success in automotive window tinting also extends to Tint World® Commercial and Residential Services that include home and office window tinting, solar and storm window films and other tinting services designed to enhance homes and businesses. Being able to offer these services to business and home owners who are familiar with the quality of Tint World® automotive window tinting can offer growth potential.
  • Marine Services: Many customers treat their boats better than they treat their cars, so offering a variety of marine services can help enhance the prestige of your Tint World® franchise. From marine window tinting, to boat and yacht detailing, audio and video systems and even high color marine wraps, having the ability to offer marine services to your Tint World® clients can help keep those dollars in your Tint World® franchise location.

Local Tint World® franchise locations also offer a number of other convenience services to diversify their portfolios and to help keep their Tint World® franchise business thriving. If you are ready to take advantage of the opportunities that come with owning your own Tint World® franchise, contact our franchise development team today for your franchise starter kit.

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Tint World® Franchise Blog Flat Glass Bids

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Have you ever bid a flat glass job or are you looking to start promoting flat glass Window Film Installations? Here are a couple of tips for our Tint World® franchise owners to get you started on your flat glass bids!

First and most important, you must know how to measure and calculate a flat glass job. The very first flat glass bid I went on, I was short 200 square feet in my calculation; it was embarrassing but I never did it again! Measure each window opening and round up to the nearest inch. Remember that a functional window, or window you can open or close, counts as two separate measurements, one for top and one for bottom. On a commercial flat glass bid, measure mullion to mullion and be sure to note the type of glass you are measuring as many manufacturers have guidelines for the installation of certain films. Flat Glass Bids

Time to calculate those measurements! The 200 square feet I missed was the result of me not fully understanding how to calculate correctly. The formula for calculating square footage is length x width and then divide by 144, then multiply the quantity. For example, you have a measurement for a business’ front door, the standard size for a door that size is 77” x 31”. However, things can get a little tricky from there because you can’t typically buy a roll of film that is 31” wide, and few (if any) manufacturers offer anything wider than a 72”. So what do you do? Round up your width to the nearest size roll you can purchase, but remember, at 31”, you can’t split a 60’’, so you round up to 36” so that your calculation is 77”x36”, even though your measurement is 77”x31”. The total calculated square footage is 19.25 square feet. Always round up to whole numbers so you can now can charge your customer based on your calculated measurement.

I know what you’re thinking; How can measuring and calculating be more important than selling? The simple answer is money. To make money on a job, you have to know exactly how much it’s going to cost you before you give the customer a price.

The last tip to adding flat glass is making sure that you find the right partners. When you are new to flat glass, it can be scary at first. Partner with your sales rep, distributor and your manufacturer. They want to sell you more film and see you successful, so they will bring any knowledge they have to the table. Often a customer will call the manufacturer or distributor to find a flat glass dealer in their area, and then the distributor or manufacturer will give you the referral.

Getting Flat Glass Bids

You’ve practiced measuring and calculating a flat glass bid and you’ve partnered with your manufacturer, distributor and sales rep. What are you going to do now? Let’s get you a flat glass job to bid!

There are many ways to get flat glass bids. Some of them are referrals from your manufacturer or distributor and sometimes, you have to hit the pavement to get started. You may even have to tint your friend’s house for free or for less than normal market value. You may call that buddy who has a buddy who was asking about tint for his house last summer when he got his car tinted at your shop and you may even have to advertise.

Getting flat glass bids when you’re first starting out is about promotion. You need people to see your work! You don’t always have to have a promotion, like 10% off the first 250 square feet, but you simply need to do the promoting.

When I first started in flat glass, we donated gift certificates to every group that we could. I had a friend who had a child in choir and they need things for their silent auction. I donated and still donate to my church festival by sponsoring a booth and getting my name on the booth, in the bulletin and on the church website.

If you are already running an automotive business, you have a great advantage! Customers are already in your shop and you can guarantee they are just as hot in their house as they are in their car. Here is where you get a captive audience! Start by adding a heat demonstration in your waiting area and add some banners saying you tint houses. Provide a pamphlet about how tinting your house or business is worth the investment. Last, have a door hangar promoting your flat glass business placed on the rear view mirror when you’re done tinting the car. The calls will start coming!

Get out there and start promoting your flat glass business and learn about how you can add this component to your Tint World® franchise business to help you grow!

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Tint World Franchise Year in Review

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As we enter into the last week of 2016, the Tint World® Franchise team has been reviewing an amazing year for our company. From new franchise store openings to honoring our franchisees at our annual convention in Las Vegas, the entire Tint World® franchise team is looking forward to what we will accomplish in 2017! Tint World® Franchise

Highlights from this year for Tint World® Franchise include:

New Franchises and Training: This has been a wonderful year as we have expanded our location maps to better serve our customers throughout the United States. This year, we opened our fifth location in California, opened our sixth store in Texas and expanded our presence in the Orlando market as well in 2016! In addition, we held trainings for our new franchise owners during the year to welcome them to our team!

Franchisee Honors at our Annual Convention: In late October, Tint World® convened our 9th Annual Franchise Convention at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas around the SEMA show. Our franchise convention offered seminars, sales and technical training, as well as honoring multiple franchisees during our 4th Annual Awards Banquet. Our winners included Randy and Austin Silver, a father and son team who own a store in Cary, N.C., and won the Franchise of the Year Award; Rodney Theil, owner of the Grapevine, Texas store, who won the Best Performing Franchise Award; Michael Richards, owner of the Naples, Fla., store, who won the Most Improved Franchise Award; brothers Donnie and Steve Saucier, owners of the new Gulfport, Miss., store, who won the Rookie of the Year Award; Cary Lopez, owner of the West Palm Beach and Boynton Beach, Fla., stores, who won the Local Marketing Impact Award; Danny Rios, owner of the San Antonio, Texas store, who won the Franchise Mentor of the Year Award; Tim Kjaer, owner of the Long Island, N.Y., store, who won the Top Gun Franchise Award; and Danny Shenko, owner of the Fort Lauderdale, Fla., store, who won the New Franchise Ambassador of the Year Award. The full list of award winners can be found at this link.

2016 was a great year for everyone at Tint World® and our entire franchise team is grateful to everyone associated with our Tint World® franchises that helped make this year one of our best ever. If you would like to learn more owning your Tint World® franchise, contact Tint World® franchise today!

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Make your franchise successful!

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For many individuals looking to own a franchise, hard work, diligence and a desire to be your own boss is often the most important factors in finding success as a franchise owner. For the Tint World® Franchise team, we know that being successful as a franchise owner means that you need to find way to make your business stand out from your competitors so that you can make your franchise successful!Franchise successful

Among the ways that you can find success as a franchise owner include:

Pick something that you love: Some franchise owners choose a franchise because they believe that the opportunity for success may be in a specific market, but aren’t truly passionate about what they do. Looking at your franchise as a type of drudgery can quickly take away your enthusiasm for what you do, so be sure to pick a franchise type that has long term appeal. Tint World® franchise owners are gearheads and automotive enthusiasts who have turned their passion for vehicles into their own franchise locations, so find what you love and make it your franchise!

Take Advantage of Franchisor Support: The most successful franchisees are those that have a strong culture in place from the top. Often, many franchisees don’t take advantage of the resources that are available from their franchisors, which can lead to lower levels of success and even frustration to a perceived lack of support. For Tint World® franchisees, our teams work to support our franchise locations by offering a great deal of time, support, training and collateral materials that can help drive greater opportunities for success!

Stay the course: The old adage that “Good Things Come to those who wait” is also applicable for those in the franchise industry. Success as a franchisee rarely happens overnight; like any business, getting your location up, running and successful can take time, but remaining patient and working diligently to build your franchisee location can turn into great success down the road.

Owning your own franchise as a part of your entrepreneurial dream takes time and effort to find success, but for our Tint World® franchise owners, we have learned that success with our automotive window tint franchises is within your grasp. If you would like to learn more owning your Tint World® franchise and building your own path to make a franchise successful, contact Tint World® franchise today!

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Tint World® Profit Centers:

  • Auto Care & Styling Services
  • Window Tinting
  • Protective Films
  • Vehicle Security Systems
  • Audio & Video Systems
  • Mobile Electronics
  • Detailing & Reconditioning
  • Custom Wheels & Tires
  • Vehicle Wraps & Graphics
  • Performance Parts & Accessories
  • Marine Styling Services
  • Home & Business Services

Complete Turn-Key Investment From $118,000

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