December 06, 2021
Student Run Business Accelerates
When we last spoke to Ben Safalow ’22 this past spring about his new start-up, Incognito Tints, a business that specializes in automotive tinting, vinyl, and detailing, he had learned early on one of the first rules of business which is to build a better mousetrap. Judging from the meteoric success of his business, we can safely say that the savvy Safalow has constructed himself a beartrap instead.
Initially, a tinting job would take Safalow approximately four to six hours to complete, and the business was run out of his parent’s home garage in West Hartford. But, with some pressure from the Town of West Hartford to relocate, Safalow has taken his business to the next level and opened up his business on Waterville Road in Avon, a location with four garage bays and a waiting room with couches, wi-fi, a tv, and sophisticated point of sale system.
“So much has happened since I started last May,” he said. “Throughout the summer I was tinting by myself and that was going well, but starting in September I ran an ad to find someone who would work for me. I hired an experienced tinter from Hartford who does this work full-time for me, about 10 to 12 hours a day. That’s been going really well.”
So well, in fact, that this November, Incognito Tints worked on 97 cars!
Safalow admits that being a full-time student at KO and a member of the football team, as well as a titan of industry, is a balancing act. In fact, his cell phone was pinging with customers throughout the interview. One day recently, Safalow ended his classes at 1:00 p.m., headed to his business, worked until 7:00 p.m., and ran home to finish his homework. “It’s crazy day to day. It got to the point where I couldn’t handle everything myself so my mom sort of helps me. She has the work phone, and any calls that I don’t pick up get forwarded to that phone,” he said.
Client service is key to Incognito Tint’s rapid gains. At first, Safalow would respond to potential clients after school hours, but he learned quickly that customers would find another business to attend to their needs. Now, Safalow handles online quotes, Facebook messages, and spreadsheets while his mom books the appointments.
Another ingredient to his business’s success is digital advertising which Safalow had also managed at first. However, with the growth of the business, Safalow hired a marketer who runs the company’s Google Adword campaigns as well as Facebook and Instagram advertising. “Just managing the advertising was a full-time job for me, just to make sure that the ads were optimized,” he said. He estimates that the company spends approximately $30 to $40 a day on advertising, and he receives monthly reports on conversion and click-through rates
Next, Safalow plans on expanding the services of Incognito Tints and is learning how to wrap cars through a workshop this December. Currently, his car is the guinea pig with a partial purple wrap on the doors.
“I had this kind of vision for the company in the summer, but it picked up faster than I thought,” a humble Safalow said. “I’ll just see where it goes and continue to do what I do. I guess my dream would be to turn it into multiple locations or sell it completely. I’ll figure it out in the next year.”
For more information:
9 Waterville Rd.
Avon, CT 06001
Open on Sundays