Automobiles are my passion. I love everything about them — driving them, customizing them, taking care of them. I love auto accessories, automotive audio, window tinting, protection, anything related to owning and driving vehicles.
When I was a young man, I moved to Florida with the goal of opening an aftermarket automotive accessory shop. I was 21 and bought a one-way ticket from Brooklyn, where I’d lived all my life, to Fort Lauderdale.
Opening the store of my dreams was a lot harder than I expected. Because I didn’t have a track record of success in the industry, banks and property owners were reluctant to take a chance on me and my dreams. Even though I remained confident of my ability, I grew increasingly frustrated with the lack of opportunity for someone in my situation.
I knew a family member who owned a franchise for a well-known national automotive repair company. His location was a big success. Even though it wasn’t exactly my dream, I was intrigued and soon became a franchise owner for the same company.
Franchising unlocked opportunity and achievement that I hadn’t imagined before. With the support of a credible franchise behind me, banks and landlords were suddenly responsive. The franchise system provided a brand they could recognize, and it gave them the assurance they needed to invest in me.
I opened a second franchise store, and then another, and then another. Eventually, I owned nine franchise locations and experienced the kind of success I’d left New York to find. I was the first owner in that franchise system to earn $1 million in sales in the first year, and I did it with every single store I opened. Then I was the first to earn $2 million in a year, and I did that 12 years in a row. After that much success within the franchise, I knew it was time to take the next step.
In 2007, I took everything I knew about automobiles, the aftermarket accessory and service industry, and the franchise industry and committed to that dream that had never gone away. I discovered a chain of independent shops that resembled what I’d wanted to open back when I first came to Florida, and I acquired and converted those six auto accessory and window tinting centers in Florida into an international franchise. Now Tint World® is the largest and fastest-growing automotive accessories and window tinting franchise in the U.S., and we have locations in four different countries.
Here are the factors that have driven Tint World®’s success and that have allowed me to transform my passion into a profitable career in the automotive aftermarket industry:
- Do what you love: I love automobiles. I still love them now as much as I did when I had the dream of opening my own automotive accessories shop. I also have a passion for franchising. The franchise industry opened the door to the success I’ve achieved. Combing the two has allowed me to pursue a rewarding career and share my success with other people.
- Develop a strategy and execute it: From the very beginning of my career, I’ve been dedicated to giving customers what they’re looking for. That means quality products and service. It also means a broad selection of the leading brands, so you become the place to go for all their automotive needs. When it comes down to it, that’s Tint World®’s value proposition. We’ve created a brand that works for everyone. We attract customers who love their vehicles, which includes men and women of all ages, not a niche group or a particular lifestyle. At Tint World®, we love vehicles, and we love the people who love them. It’s so exciting to see customers who are able to personalize their automobile so it’s a reflection of their personality and style.
- Keep improving: It takes a great idea to succeed, but it takes hard work to turn a great idea into a business. It also takes evolution and flexibility. Don’t be afraid to learn, either from your mistakes or from new ideas outside your business. Try new things and see if they work. If they do, update your business model. It’s all about growth.
Because I’ve been able to transform my passion into my career, I want the same thing for the people around me. I support the team at Tint World® headquarters so they can each find their special purpose and see a path to reaching their own goals within our company culture. That also helps them support the growth I envision for each Tint World® franchisee around the country and all over the world so they can fulfill the dreams that inspired them to join us.
Charles Bonfiglio is president and CEO of Tint World, a provider of automotive, residential, commercial, and marine window tinting and security film services. With Automotive Styling Centers in the U.S. and abroad, each franchise location houses approximately 20 profit centers, ranging from in-store accessory installations to offsite sales and installation.