Window Film Profits: Made in the Shade

How to start & grow a successful tinting business...

This article originally appeared in the February 2023 issue of THE SHOP magazine.

By Steven Hopkinson

From car windows to glass on homes and businesses, more and more people recognize and desire the benefits of window film.

An in-demand product that requires professional installation for the best results, the tint business can be fun and lucrative. Wondering if film application might be the career for you? Here’s an introduction:


As tinters, we apply a thin, protective film to car windows or building glass for privacy, temperature control and aesthetics. The main purpose is to protect the people and property inside the vehicle or structure from harmful UV rays.

Professionals looking to start a window tinting business usually do so because they see how other tint shops are thriving in the area, and/or they notice a demand for the product that isn’t being met.

Most businesses get started through one of two routes—the first is to start a small business from scratch with maybe two or three people to help build up a clientele. The other is to buy an existing shop that has a good reputation, already employs dedicated workers and includes a customer list of happy patrons.

Starting from scratch can cost you anywhere from $10,000 to $30,000, depending upon how many workers you hire and how much equipment you buy. Purchasing an existing shop can run between $110,00 to $250,00, depending on the company’s size and scope.

Professionals can potentially earn anywhere from $50 to $800 per window, depending upon the type of job and degree of difficulty.

Man tinting window of blue car
An in-demand product that requires professional installation for the best results, the tint business can be fun and lucrative.


Does this business model interest you? Here are some things to consider for your new tint shop.

There is, of course, much more to each of these steps than what’s listed, so consider this a simple overview to give you an idea of what’s required to get up and running:

Decision & Planning

To start a business, you’ll first need to decide who it will serve and in what location. Consider the local demographics, competitors in the area, your budget, whether you want to operate as a mobile outlet or in a brick-and-mortar facility, and if you plan to serve retail or wholesale customers or a mix of both.

Choose a Supplier

Window film manufacturers and suppliers can offer everything a successful shop needs, including the best products, initial and ongoing training, and business assets and support services to help you grow. They can also assist with many of the following steps.

Talk with representatives at trade shows or in one-on-one meetings to get a feel for which partnerships make the most sense for your business model.

Make it Legal

Officially register your company for tax purposes and obtain any required permissions or permits to operate legally in your area. Required permits and licenses vary by state and municipality.

Business Bank Account

Strongly consider opening a business bank account, even if you’re the company’s only worker. Using your personal account for business purposes can affect your assets if a problem occurs or the business gets sued.


Insurance will help cover losses if something unforeseen happens. If your business is small, investigate General Liability Insurance options. If your business is larger or has employees, learn about Workers’ Compensation Insurance as well.

Business Website & Phone

Create a business website to let people know more about your company and its products and services. Assign a business phone number for easy contact without missing any calls or texts.

Team Building

If you hire employees, have a plan for work delegation and make it flexible as different workers show talent and expertise in certain roles.

Purchase Necessary Tools

Buy all the tools, software and other items needed for your business to start making money right away.



Once you’re up and running, investigate these ways of growing your business:

Google Listing

Customers finding you on Google and other search platforms is the most important part of growing your tinting business. Claim your Google Business Profile and be sure your website lists the products and services you offer and defines your service area.

Go to Google My Business Listing and verify/claim your profile by updating your company or business name, address and contact information. If your mobile business doesn’t have a permanent address, you can still verify the listing using your mailing address and then show your service area.

Hiring Experts

Tinting is a very competitive business, and if jobs are not performed professionally and flawlessly, people will notice and tell others.

Top shops have at least one expert or experienced worker who can control quality issues, tackle the toughest projects and help junior workers become experts like them.

Wet tint install
Top shops have at least one expert or experienced worker who can control quality issues, tackle the toughest projects and help junior workers become experts like them.

Learning From Other Businesses

No matter how experienced you or your workers are in the window tinting field, there’s always something to learn from the competition.

Research the other tint shops in your area and identify reasons they may be succeeding or failing. Make a list of the positives and negatives you see and then integrate or remove them from your business, as needed.

Offering Extra Services

Most shops perform nearly 80% of their window tinting jobs in the summer—specifically from March to August. So, what are some other products or services you could provide to even out your workflow throughout the year?

At our shop we primarily do window tinting installation, removal and replacement, but we also offer body decals, pinstriping and vinyl graphics. You can consider anything from selling add-on or decorative items to hiring a mechanic to perform traditional vehicle repair and maintenance services.

Regardless, if you build strong relationships with your window film customers, it’s likely they’ll return for related services.

Promoting Through Offers

Everyone loves to feel like they’re getting a deal, so consider offering special discounts, free checkups, BOGO opportunities and so on. When you’re starting out, you can even offer your services at a very low profit margin early on to grab attention and build your reputation.

Impressions & Quality

First impressions work magically, so make sure everything about your shop, from the office to the work area, looks awesome.

Then, follow up with quality service that customers appreciate. It’s the best way to build a client list and get referrals.


Network and communicate with different companies, including car dealerships and businesses that deal with glass and windows. Look to strike up partnerships where you refer customers looking for their parts or services, and vice-versa.

You can enhance your networking through social media. Even if customers don’t see your website, they may visit their social media accounts every day. Create accounts for your business and update them regularly—even adding special offers, if they make sense—and watch your client list grow.

Starting a new business is exciting, and window film is an in-demand product. Jump in with something new or better than the other businesses around you are offering, but don’t stray too far from your core.

Choose quality products, perform professional installations and take care of clients, and you’ll become the first choice of many customers in no time.

Automotive industry veteran Steven Hopkinson co-owns Flying Window Tinting in Orlando with his father, Sean. With 40 years of professional expertise, the company is an authorized LLumar installer with a passion for sharing knowledge and empowering car owners to achieve their desired tints. Learn more at orlandoflyingwindowtinting.com.

Related Articles

Back to top button