The Tint Pros, with locations in Newport Beach and Huntington Beach, is a family affair. While his father, Lonnie, founded and still co-owns the thriving business, Greg Earl now assumes the day-to-day operations. If your idea of a tint shop is this small dingy affair in the back of a location somewhere, The Tint Pros will change your outlook very fast. Modern, well designed, and worthy of the high-end cars that come to them, they have transformed the idea of a mom-and-pop shop into a modern business with 18 employees that is prime for expansion.
With almost 10,000 square feet of operating space between the two locations, The Tint Pros offers an extensive array of services such as sales, consultation, demonstration, production, and installation of window film, large-format printing, vehicle wraps, and automotive paint protection film. Their FormulaOne patented films are designed to regulate heat, protect from dangerous solar rays, and improve the overall appeal of your car. Also, The Tint Pros offers Stratos Series Ceramic Tint, which rejects IR (infrared rays) for added heat rejection. Window film also keeps drivers safer in the event of an accident due to its ability to hold broken glass together.
As with all father-and-son businesses, the ways of youth don’t necessarily match the ideas of an older generation, but Greg has found a way to not only have his father as a vital part of the business, but, more importantly, grow it to an endeavor that will be ready for future generations.
What is the difference between you and your father in the way you run the business? I think I’m a lot different. My father started the business, but as it grew, he was struggling a bit with having employees and letting anything go. I remember saying to him, “Dad, you have to trust me with this. Let me try it this way, and if you don’t like something, we can talk about it, but you have to allow me to manage our team the way I need to make it grow.” You can’t do that by doing everything yourself. I want to empower my team. I tried to implement structure and have levels of management and a plan to allow everyone to grow in their roles. So yeah…. It became quite a bit different [laugh].
We’ve had to adapt to economic changes throughout the years. We added home and commercial services in addition to our automotive segment. As the idea of “energy efficiency” came about, we added new services like our residential and commercial tinting sector. That’s a little bit different. When you think of tinting, maybe 10 people will think of cars right away but won’t think about buildings. In the beginning, it was mostly referral. Someone would come and get their car tinted and asked if we knew anyone who would tint their building, and we would say, “Well, of course, we can.” It started that way. After the economy tanked in 2008-2009, we realized that we had to diversify the business a bit. I reached out to facility managers, engineers, and people who would care about being energy efficient, and a whole new segment of our business was born.
It’s much cross-selling. While people are getting their car done, we would say, “You know the clear film you want for your windshield? We have the same thing for your home. It won’t affect your view but will give you protection against UV rays, keep your wood floors looking great.” It’s more of a protection play. We tell our customers that all the money you spent on the inside won’t get trashed by the sun coming in while keeping your views. Ultimately, we are problem solvers, and we love to educate people on what they need.
What kind of training do you provide for your employees? I believe in training by doing. That is how I learned the business from my father. We have project managers in each division, but everybody has enough skill to help across the board. That’s the way I wanted to build our business so that everyone can help each other while having your focus. Let’s say we are a little bit slow over here this month, you can help this guy over there and vice versa. The business is pretty much 50/50 annually between automotive and commercial residential, so being able to do multiple jobs over a cross-section of the company is very important.
We’ve just purchased a large graphic business that now allows us to control what we produce at every level. Keeping in mind that we provide tint services for approximately 500 cars a month, and adding all the business we do on the building side throughout Southern California, it is imperative to quality control everything we do.
You are also involved in real estate? Yes, I’ve always been passionate about the industry, and (as if I wasn’t busy enough with TintPros) my partner Steve Roose and I founded OC Luxury Real Estate. We are dedicated to offering a personalized approach to luxury real estate. The same drive and discipline I apply to TintPros are also the trademarks of our real estate business. We felt that there was a gap in the market, especially in high-end properties, and that our particular philosophy to customer service would serve us well, it has proven to be true. It continues to grow, and we are very excited to see where it’s going to take us.
Let’s talk about what makes you go on personally. It’s pretty simple; my faith keeps me and my family grounded. My wife and I are high school sweethearts, and we are simply raising our little clan. We love to be outdoors, camping, riding bikes—well, riding anything that goes fast. It looks like my kids are also catching that bug. Cars were always in my blood; I’m sure that my wife remembers the ruckus I would bring when my 1973 RoadRunner would come down the street (not sure what her parents thought…). Speed is still something that matters to me (a McLaren in the garage attests to that), and any time I can get up and go… I do!
We homeschool our kids, which is the best way for us. We can take off when we want, while we ensure that our kids are learning what they need to learn. They get to experience life in a way that is free and rewarding. For Greg, his family, and his team, The Tint Pros is indeed a family business—born out of the determination of a father to provide a legacy of business excellence through personalized attention and superior service, with the business acumen of a son willing to go out on a (measured) limb to extend it to a future generation. This growing business is in great hands with Greg Earl.
Words by Yves Le Sieur