A controlled environment
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“The word is spreading that this is available and that it works – it’s not a gimmick,” says Block A Chip owner Albert Helcberger. “The customer base has been expanding as the word gets out.” And even though he has an attractive shop in Mentor, Ohio, much of his sales involve mobile installations as he travels across the northeastern corner of the state in a Chevrolet HHR wrapped with eye-catching signage.
“You need a controlled environment, we can’t just show up and do it in someone’s driveway,” Helcberger points out, emphasizing the need for a clean indoor work site. “In the wintertime you have to have the proper heat.” Most customers are served via an array of car dealership accounts that he has developed.
“I educate the dealers on how we operate, and the places we work with are very good about accommodating us.” The restoration/classic car market is another aspect of Block A Chip’s business, and Helcberger advises “those types of vehicles require the trust and knowledge of the owner along with more training and more skill. That requires another level of expertise – you can’t just call up a template on a computer.”
Starting out as a graphic artist for racers and offering high-end detailing, Helcberger became interested in PPF after he bought a classic Corvette that he wanted to protect. “I thought, ‘What a great concept!’ So I gave it a shot. Not many people knew about the product and there were no professional installers doing this. It was not pretty at the beginning.”
A four-day installation class at 3M provided a valued education to augment “hands-on and doing it over and over again.” Eventually the practice jobs culminated in establishing Block A Chip: “I did my parents’ car and it evolved into a business,” Helcberger recounts.