From Sifting Sand to Shining Success: Erik Bravo’s Journey to Entrepreneurship

by | Jan 12, 2024 | Behind the Buffer | 0 comments

Discover Erik Bravo's inspiring rise from humble beginnings to a successful entrepreneur with Owner's Pride on Behind The Buffer.
In this captivating episode of “Behind The Buffer,” host Dann “E” Williams sits down with Erik Bravo, the passionate entrepreneur behind Skinz Tek. Erik’s remarkable story begins in Mexico at just six years old, where he started his first job sifting rocks from sand. Showcasing unparalleled dedication, Erik has only taken two weeks off since then, a testament to his incredible work ethic. Erik’s journey is a tale of perseverance and ambition, spanning from the Deep South of the USA to the bustling streets of Chicago, Illinois. This episode delves into his transition into entrepreneurship and his diverse work experiences across the United States. A pivotal moment in Erik’s career was his partnership with Owner’s Pride about a year ago, which not only bolstered his business but also significantly increased sales by introducing ceramic coatings to his offerings. Listeners will be inspired by Erik’s story of determination and how his partnership with Owner’s Pride has been a game-changer for his business. Discover how Erik navigated his path to success and where his journey is leading him next in this edition of “Behind The Buffer.” Explore more about Erik and Skinz Tek at: Skinz Tek Website Skinz Tek on Facebook Erik Bravo on LinkedIn

Starting Work at Six Years Old in Mexico

[0:00] My first job my first job was when i was six man holy moly it was in mexico um you know in mexico when they used to do construction they would have uh they would bring in the big piles of sand, and uh you know this the sand used to have rocks in it so you’d have to separate the rocks and from the sand so we had like these um big screams they kind of look like the window screams they have and you would throw you you know you would scoop the sand in on there you would shovel the snow the the snow you would shovel the uh the sand on there and then you would shake it you know it It was me and this other kid, you know, they didn’t pay us that much. You know, we were little.
So it was, but that was like the first, the earliest memory that I have us working.
You know, I was six years old. I’ve been working all my life, man.

[0:43] Welcome to Behind the Buffer, a presentation of the Owner’s Pride podcast.
I’m your host, Dan Williams, Dan E. Williams. And yes, that E stands for EcoWash, the drought tolerant, eco-friendly way to wash your car with just a little bit of water.
Use code EcoWashTheWorld at checkout on You’re going to get 10% off of your order, your whole darn order, because we care.
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Today, I have Mr. Eric Bravo, owner of Skintec in Chicago, Illinois, with a name that is so epic you cannot say one or the other.
You have to say them together. Eric Bravo, how are you doing today, sir?
I’m doing great. How are you doing, Dan? Man, I’m on top of the world. On top of the world.
Well, we met last year. It’s coming up on a year ago in Indianapolis at a training.
And I believe that’s when you first implemented ceramic coating into your shop. True?
That’s correct. It was March of last year.
Awesome, awesome. And tell me a little bit about what you thought about that training class or, you know, kind of what you learned that you’ve been able to implement into your business before we jump into the Wayback Machine.

[2:01] Um, so it was amazing. It was a great training, uh, you know, doing that extra day with you and, um, being able to learn a little bit more in depth about pain.
I think that, um, that brought in a lot of, a lot of value to our, to our company.
And, and yeah, like we learned, I learned a lot from you that training for sure.

Value of in-depth pain training

[2:21] Um, you know, when it came to, to the pain, um, doing the paint correction, you know, even, even from even, even decontaminating a car.
Like I knew how to wash a car really good, but I think you, you help with making the process a little, a little easier and faster.

[2:41] You know, obviously learning how to, how to actually buff and clean swirl marks off a car.
That was, that was a lot of help. And the install, um doing the actual install the ceramic coating into your ceramic coating glass, uh which i’ve i’ve already worked a little bit with with ceramic coatings on binos uh installing on vinyl you know but it’s a lot different than installing it on the actual paint after you uh you buff it and stuff yeah it’s been a good good for your business adding that on.

[3:12] It’s been great um because we you know we we our primary our primary um services that we offer is window 10 and paint protection so um so we were losing a little bit on the uh on the ceramic ceramic coating paint protection combos because a lot of people would ask for the ceramic coating, and then they would pass pass on us yes because we didn’t offer that service so uh bringing in the ceramic coating has definitely gave us a lot of more value when it comes to the to the uh paint protection, being able to close a little more sales and, you know, just give it, just giving the client a little more full service that they’re looking for.
Absolutely. You either have to be hooked up with somebody who does one of the other businesses and kind of passing stuff back and forth, or really, I think that you’re the right though.
Just bringing that stuff in house and reaping the benefits of it yourself is the winning way to go to grow your business.
Yeah, you know, we had a partner for a while that would come in and do the buffing and then do the ceramic coating for us.
But you know how that goes, you know, when you’re working with other businesses, they tend to get pretty busy as well.
So sometimes we would have like a schedule conflict so that we, that’s what we kind of decided to bring it in, bring it in house and doing it

Bringing buffing and coating in-house for better process

[4:28] ourselves would be, would just be easier to make a better process and be able to schedule clients a little easier.

[4:37] And it’s going both ways. A lot of the detailers are bringing PPF into their operations too.
So I think it’s just a natural progression.
It’s a great industry to be in right now. It’s a very exciting time. So it’s growing a lot.
It really is. So, all right. So let’s do this.
Let’s jump into the Wayback Machine and I’m going to take this thing all the way back to you and ask you if you would share with me the very first experience that you can remember of ever washing detailing cleaning or doing anything like that to a car it’s kind of a weird question but so so relevant and and I love to hear your story um I don’t have a lot of memories of cleaning cars when I was John let’s see maybe around not me like when I was around 11 my mom used to have a old no it was a 98 cavalier two-door there was a few guys down the street that had the same car you know it was lower lambo doors oiler in

Early Memories of Cleaning Cars and Taking Care of Them

[5:35] the bag you know so i was you know i was i wanted that car to be my car when i finally started driving so you know i used to tell my mom to take me to the car wash i would you know vacuum it for her wash it you know uh one of those brush uh car wash that that was probably uh my earliest memory that i can can remember as far as like taking care of or cleaning the car vacuuming, you know.

[5:58] Fair enough. Fair enough. So what was your first job?
Like, do you come from a family of entrepreneurs, first of all?

[6:08] We don’t. No, we don’t know entrepreneurs in my family, man.
My first job, my first job was when I was six, man.
Holy moly. It was in Mexico. You know, in Mexico, when they used to do construction, they would bring in the big piles of sand.
And, you know, the sand used to have rocks in it, so you’d have to separate the rocks from the sand. So we had like these big screams.
They kind of looked like the window screams they have. And you would throw, you know, you would scoop the sand on there. You would shovel the snow, the snow.
You would shovel the sand on there and then you would shake it.
You know, it was me and this other kid, you know, they didn’t pay us that much.
You know, we were little.
So it was, but that was like the first, the earliest memory that I have of working.
You know, I was six years old. I’ve been working all my life, man.
Holy cow. That is, so that was in Mexico. Mexico? Do they not have child labor laws there?
Or was that like your uncle’s business or something?

[7:07] They, I mean, they kind of have laws, not really, you know, kind of like everywhere.
Like even here, you know, if you, if you’re broke, you have to work.
And, you know, like when we came here, you know, I’ve been working since I was nine when we came here.
So, you know, there’s ways around it. If you need money, you’ll find ways.
What is it? What the heck could they have been compensating a six-year-old for sifting rocks out of sand? Do you remember that?
They would give us like, I think it was like a peso or two a day.
I think three pesos was the most they used to give us. You know, that would be enough to like go buy a soda, some chips and stuff.
When you’re little and you don’t have anything, man, you know, that’s enough to like, you know, make you happy.
So then you said you moved here when you were nine years old and you were already in the career field. So what did you do then?

[8:02] Man, I used to go and work at construction sites, just kind of cleaning up trash.
You know, I’ve been in construction sites doing like masonry, block work, framing, taping, sheetrock work, pretty much anything you can think of.
Then I started, once I finally got old enough to work, I started washing dishes out of Cracker Barrel. You know, I’ve had a lot of multiple jobs where, you know, all through those years, cleaning offices.

[8:40] What else? Yeah, I mean, pretty much anything that has to do with like hard labor, I’ve pretty much done it.
You know, a lot of those jobs were just like either cleaning around or, you know, when you’re young like that.
Then I started working at Cracker Barrel when I was in high school.
From there, I moved on. You know, I started doing a little bit of surfing during the summers.
Slow down a little bit, slow down. So were you able to participate in any kind of sports or any other extracurricular activities?
Or have you been really focused on just like grinding and going to school and working the whole time?
Just working and, you know, trying to make it through school as best I could back then.
And, you know, I’ve always loved the sport of soccer, so I would kind of be around it.
But I never was on an actual team or anything like that. so then you get out of high school and what’s your path after that.

[9:38] Uh, so after I got out of high school, you know, I barely made it through high school, uh, but I knew I had to do something else. Well, imagine because you were always at work.
Yeah, you know, so like, yeah, so, you know, after that I, I was just working at a restaurant that was, uh, right down the street from my house, um, you know, and I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do after high school.
I knew I needed to do something, you know, rather than just working at restaurants and stuff.
So I started going to a community college, the Ross State Community College, which, you know, it took me four and a half years to get an associate’s degree, but I finished it, you know, because usually when I start something, I go until I finish.
So that took me four and a half years. After that, I started with the restaurant.
What were you in school for? What did you get?
What was your associate’s degree in? And what did you study?
And, you know, were you into it?
I got a little business or I got a little associate’s degree in business management.

[10:41] So yeah, it helps a little bit. I don’t know. When you go to college, they kind of just show you how to be an employee.
They don’t really show you how to build a business and how to make it, build an actual brand.
And then another thing, I think that’s coming. I also came from a restaurant background and very good customer service and learning how to deal with people in the public comes from that lifestyle.
So I would imagine, and you can tell me if that kind of having some of that background has helped you as you started to roll out into your own business.
Yeah, you know, so yeah, when I left the restaurant, I went to AutoZone.
That was about the time I was finishing up with my associate’s degree.
So they gave me a part sales manager position at AutoZone.
I was there about a year and a half, but after being there six months, they offered me a.

[11:38] They offered me an assistant assistant manager position uh i took the position became an assistant manager like six months later they asked me if i wanted to take my own store you know i was excited i was young i was like yeah let’s do this you know um i started doing all the trainings uh to become a store manager with them and uh you

From Assistant Manager to Store Manager Offer

[11:58] know after they started like breaking down the payments and hours you were going to be working and and you know all the stress that you would have to go through you know i was looking at it and you know as an assistant store manager i was like i make i’m making more right now that i’m gonna be making and you know like it just the math definitely didn’t add up when it came to just anything you know the hours i was gonna be working money i was gonna be making you know all the all the stress that was gonna be added you know it just didn’t make any sense at all um and to kind of backtrack a little bit when was in high school i did welding through high school you know never really persevered after but um when i got to that point at auto zone when they were like oh okay you’re you have to take the position or you’re gonna get demoted you know so i was like um i started doing welding school.

[12:46] Um i went into welding school i was doing it at night working mornings at auto zone went into welding school finished the the school in a year i was a combination welder used to um used to be be certified to do TIG, MIG, and STIC, you know, I used to do all the, all the welding, traveled around the U.S.
For about a year and a half, um, welding, uh, you know, it was, it was fun, but it was, it’s a lot of, a lot of stressful work, you’re in confined spaces, not really talking to people, um, you know, like my case, I was working in the deep South, you know, I was the the only brown guy in our crew, you know?
So it was just like, I was just in a position that was not the greatest for me either.
You know, I was the youngest one, the only guy that could drive our trucks cause everybody in our crews had DUIs, you know?
Like I was like that guy that everybody was like, ah, this guy.

[13:43] You were like the goody who actually could still drive the car. That’s funny.
Yeah, and I was the youngest. I was the youngest maybe by like 15 years, you know.
So I’m like really young out there with, you know, just like I said, in the deep south, brown guy, you know.
You can only imagine. Crazy, crazy blue collar guys that you were working with too.
Yep, yep, exactly, you know. So I was like, man, you know, like after being there for a year and a half, you know, traveling, traveling down to Mississippi, like Alabama to do jobs and stuff, you know, I was like, man, this is not, you know, and from having other jobs where I would get to talk to people and stuff like that was like one of the major factors is being in like confined spaces, like sometimes going like eight hours without talking to someone or, you know, just stuff like that. Like, hey, are you okay?
Like, yeah, I’m fine. I’m still here. I’m still working. You know, like.
What kind of stuff were y’all working on?
And what did you take away from that experience? Because, I mean, it sounds like you had to take something away from that experience.

The Challenges of Working in Confined Spaces

[14:54] We did a lot of pipe welding. We would work on a lot of furnaces.
The company that I worked for did a lot of refractory work, which is like finishing up the inside of furnaces.
So we would come in and if there was any crack sections or anything, we would weld them.
We would fix them up we would get all the like spikes ready for for so that so it could be uh so they could reapply the the refractory on there you know um yeah so it was just um yeah it was it was it was a good um it was a good career i think you know that was like the first time uh like in my life where i was like actually making money so like it was like oh wow like you know i can take this kind of far you know um but it wasn’t for me you know it wasn’t like the money was good but like it just wasn’t for me um the experience was good i think i learned a lot there because because once you once you get into like those tight spaces you have to get very creative of how you’re gonna you know get your pipes in there or you know whatever you’re doing you got to figure out, you you got to get creative with what you’re working with you know so it’s uh i think that Helps me a lot.

[16:07] I’m claustrophobic. I want nothing to do with the tight spaces and being stuck in there by myself for eight hours. Oh, no. Oh, no.
Okay, so you’re at the auto zone and you’re at that crossroads where they’re like, hey, we want you to go into management. You looked at the landscape and it kind of was going to be a soul robbing way too many hours for not enough money.
Is that when you had the aha moment and was like, hey, I think I’m going to strike out out on my own because I see how you’ve kind of transgressed into the automotive by being at AutoZone but how does that translate into having your own business so so after I so after I was doing the welding you know when you weld like um sometimes you work like six seven months you work work long hours, you, you know, you travel a lot.
Uh, like the most I ever worked remembering was 32 hours straight.
We like, you know, when we started, we stopped till, you know, 32 hours later, like we were just working, um, you know, so stuff like that.
And then every now and then you would get laid off.
Like, uh, you would, you would be at home for like a week, sometimes up to a month.
So sometimes, you know, uh, you met Danny, my, my, the guy that came down to the training with me.

[17:24] Yeah, so he had bought a car wash around the time, and we were roommates.
He’s one of my best friends. He’s like a brother to me.
And we were roommates, and, you know, I would always be just at home laying around.
He would be like, oh, come help me. Like, I’m real busy, you know.
And when you’re welding, you know, you’re making good money.
You’re like, I don’t want to go wash a car, man.
Like, don’t call me for that.
And, you know, like one day he’s calling me all day. Hey, bro, bro, like I really need help. I really need help. So, you know, he taught me how to go on over there and helping him.
I end up helping him a little bit, you know, and he was doing he started doing window tint at that time.
And, you know, with window tint, you can make you can make you can make good money.
And he like started showing me the numbers and he’s like, oh, man, you know, like if you if you can learn how to window tint, you don’t have to travel anymore.
You don’t have to do the the the the welding anymore.
More you know and I was like oh yeah like like I’m I am kind of interested of looking for something different you know and uh he he started slowly teaching me how to do the window tint you know I would go in and help him when I could uh you know I would wash some cars and I would go in and do a little bit of tint and um after that you know the um my my boss called me back he’s like hey you know we have a job coming up and I think it was Tonica Mississippi we were going down to the we’re going to be doing some work on the on the floating casinos there that they have out there or something.

[18:52] And, and, um, and, you know, I told, I passed on the job and after that, you know, it’s all history.
I’m, uh, you know, I stayed with Danny, you know, I was helping him watch, uh, do the car watch, you know, we used to do, um, we used to do like, uh, the wax on wax off, um, the turtle wax.
That’s, that’s the stuff we used to like sell there, you know, quick washes.
Um, window 10 was, uh, the thing that I’m mainly focused on when I, when I started, you know, cause, um, Um, you know, you make a little more money with that.

[19:23] So that’s really interesting. I didn’t know that Danny actually owned a carwash carwash, um, which is really cool.
And I guess I really shouldn’t dip too deep into his, we’ll talk to him about that when it’s his time, but how neat is it that he, you guys must’ve really been homies because he took what he was already doing for a living and said,

Moving to Chicago: A Shift in Culture and Business

[19:43] Hey, learn how to do this also while you’re staying right there in the same place with him.
What was it that kind of sparked you to venture up to Chicago and leave the South and that situation that you had working with him?
So everything was going great with Danny, you know, like we’re still great friends.
I mean, you met him, you met him last March when we went down to the training.
But, you know, I met my wife, Terry, you’ve also met her.
She’s a university professor at Adler University, and she got the opportunity to get a job up here and taught me into coming up with her and moved up here, you know?
So how long have you been up in Chicago? And how has that been for moving from the South up to the North? Because it’s a little bit different of a culture.

[20:35] Um, been up here five years now. Um, you know, it’s a, it’s a, it’s a big shift, uh, especially for me, cause I’m not from like a big city.
So the, the big city was probably like the biggest shift, you know, getting used to, I don’t know, just that many people around you all the time, traffic, um, which was probably one of the, uh, the things that affected me the most.
Cause I, when I first moved up here, I was subcontracting. I was just going, going to places doing window no tent, you know.
So I would spend a lot of time driving around. And that was that was that was a big that was like a big thing that I really disliked about the city.
The winters, you know, the winters are pretty cold.

[21:20] But other than that, it’s not terrible. You know, it’s the third biggest city in the in the country, the fifth biggest economy, you know, so it’s it’s a great place to to own a business for sure.
You know, I will say that by having to be mobile and drive around as much as you did, you probably got a really good grasp of the city itself.
Similarly, here in San Diego, I can drive anywhere because I was mobile for 12 and a half years.
I could drive past anywhere and I’m like, oh, I did a car over there.
Oh, I did a car over there.
And it made it feel, you know, I understand where I can get places in San Diego.
So that was the bright point of that one.

Finding Success in San Diego’s Mobile Car Business

[22:01] So where was the catalyst where you were like, I’m just going to start my own business and so cool that you did. A lot of people don’t take that leap.
I think 95% or so of people work for somebody else.
So what was the catalyst that made you be like, okay, here we go.
Let’s be a business owner.

[22:22] So I’ve given it a try before and, you know, like I didn’t really like the whole, so like I was a subcontractor.
Mostly I would go to shops and do work. I tried to do the mobile business to where I would go to people’s houses and I didn’t really I don’t know I don’t really like that, you know, I didn’t really felt comfortable going into people’s houses, So I kind of let that go and then went back into the subcontracting, you know, this was right before the pandemic, And then once the pandemic hit, you know, I Chicago shut down completely for like almost three months, you know at the beginning so it was It was interesting thing.
So yeah, I was subcontracting. I was working a lot. I was pretty much almost getting to the point where I was almost burnt out with doing window tint or just what I was doing, because I was just working so many hours, sometimes seven days a week.
And when the pandemic hit, it was kind of good for me, because I was almost to a point where I was like, is this really what I want to be doing?
So when the pandemic hit and we…

[23:25] Uh the shop there i was um doing most of my work out of you know they closed he you know the guy closed and he’s like hey man you know we’re closing um if we open up again do you want do i’m gonna hit you up and i was like yeah sure let me know you know like after went home for for the first week you know i i was like i was like i’m gonna look for jobs see if i can find anything you know maybe working at a warehouse or something you know i was just kind of tired i was like this is probably good for me i need a little break and um literally did absolutely nothing the first week just sit on the couch this is the first time and since i was six that i probably you know have sat down and i was like whoa i have like literally absolutely nothing to do uh did that for two weeks one week turned into two uh you know so did absolutely nothing for two weeks just literally really sit on the couch.
Uh, I don’t even think I was watching TV. I would just like sit on the couch and like relax.

The Catalyst for Starting a Brand and Building a Business

[24:20] It was, it was like the greatest thing, you know? And, um, after sitting there for, for two weeks, you know, I was like, Oh, I was like, man, I need to like get my own business going.
Like, you know, cause I, I do like what I do, but I want to build a nutshell.

[24:35] I didn’t want to build a business. I want to, I want to build a brand, you know, where people People see the name and they’re like, oh, these people do, you know, window film, paint protection, ceramic coatings, vinyl wraps, you know, that people know what we do and they know that we’re a leader, you know, we offer good customer service, you know, we offer quality work. work.
So after that, I started writing. Had you already implemented paint protection film at that point? Because you had not yet really implemented the ceramic coatings in the detailing yet.
So you were doing tint and PPF?

[25:11] Uh, I would mingle with it a little bit during that time because, uh, you know, with being mobile, it’s hard to, uh, with pain protection is, is, um, uh, pain protection, you gotta have a little bit of more, more of a controlled environment to, to be able to keep contamination down.
So going, going into pace, um, going to places, you know, sometimes they don’t really, uh, you know, they, they do other stuff.
Like sometimes I would work at our, uh, install shops where they did, uh, like radios and stuff.
You know those guys are cutting wood you know making boxes and stuff uh so sometimes all that dust is not ideal for stuff like that even for window tints a little challenging sometimes but you can work around it uh with paint protection it’s harder you know if you have to do like a whole hood you know and you it’s to control the contamination it’s a little harder than like doing a side window and do that i think that and correct me if i’m wrong but i think that’s Um, the window tinting is probably the leading service across the board for paint protection film and ceramic coatings because more people get window tint put on their cars than anything.
Does that seem to be true? Does that bring in the most work for you?
Um, I think, I think people are just more familiar with the product, the window film, you know?
Um, yeah, window tint, you know, everybody, everyone knows it as, as window tint. So, yeah, I think people are just better educated and have better knowledge about the product.

[26:40] Paint protection you know people people kind of know about the ceramic coatings i feel like but uh like paint protection is starting to like really really grow because people are learning more about it um so i think a lot of it has to be put on us the actual installers you know just like um.

[26:56] Raising more industry awareness and putting out more educational content where

Growing Awareness of Paint Protection Benefits

[27:00] people actually can see the actual benefits of the the products we sell you know and what are the actual benefits benefits long-term, you know, uh, you know, maintaining retail sale of your car, you know, like even, even your maintenance, you know, like being able to clean your car easier, uh, you know, with the paint protection, you know, after, after a few years of driving in the highway, if you do a lot of highway driving, your bumper is going to be a different color, you know, whatever, you know, if your car is red, your bumper is probably going to be black from, you know, the rock chips, uh, that you’ll start accumulating.
Um, so yeah, I think just, just raising the awareness in the industry is, um, is something that like we as, as installers and business owners need to do a little better, you know, whereas window film, you know, people just know about it.
So it’s, it’s a little easier to sell.
I think you do a really good job of that too, because, um, I cannot open up Instagram without watching a video of you doing some install of either some window film or some paint protection film.
It’s, uh, you’re, you’re pretty steady on there, which is really cool. Cool.
What kind of a strategy do you use or what do you look for in your marketing efforts that you put out there?

[28:13] So our marketing, um, at first we were doing kind of our own marketing, you know, um, most, so we, we do, you know, we do all of, all of our posting on all of our social medias, which kind of raises a lot of awareness, especially in your, in your areas.
If you, if you know how to target it, right.

Effective Social Media Marketing Strategies

[28:32] We don’t do any paid advertisement on any social media.
Um, but we do try to like target it on our area, like the way we do our posts, even hashtags hashtags or stuff like that.
You know, we try to be very, uh, like if you, if, if you do a Google research, you can like, you can, you can like search, like, what are like the most popular hashtags around me? And they’ll give you like a list.
Uh, you know, those are ways to kind of help you with that.
Uh, when it comes to paid advertisements, uh, we, we started with, uh, Google from the beginning.
At the beginning we were doing them ourselves, which is not the the best way of doing things, you know, but, uh, but thankfully last middle of last year, we started working with a company called iMagnet, uh, uh, Patrick Fresco said he’s, uh, he, he runs the window film pros, um, like websites and stuff.
I definitely noticed a big, a big shift in my business.
Once we started using them, like our, um, inquiries definitely increase, you know, it’s sometimes it’s better to leave it to the, to the professionals.

[29:38] Right. Right. Just like it’s better for somebody to leave putting some tint or PPF or ceramic coating to you.

[29:45] Exactly. Just like our website, our website, you know, we kind of build ourself.
And now we’re actually, Patrick and his team, they’re actually working on building us a new website.
So, you know, we’re trying to make that a little more professional, too, because like you say, you know, it’s better to go to a professional.
So tell me a little bit about when you got your shop the first day you got your shop how you felt when you put the keys in the door for the first time and opened up that door and walked in and kind of where we’re going with that shop now.

[30:19] Um, so when I first opened, you know, it was, uh, it was very scary, you know, opening your own business is very scary.
Uh, um, I’ve haven’t had a lot of luck with a few stuff, you know, so I was, uh, I was a little scared, you know, this would turn into something like that. So I wanted to, to have a better plan.

Opening the Shop and Establishing Business Processes

[30:38] Like I said, I wrote a business plan to, to try to get it off the ground, uh, the right way, you know, we did, we did all of our, all of our permits, uh, with the city, all of the, the state permits, LLC, you know, we, we, we tried to, from the get go, we tried to set it up as an, as a actual, like, um, you know, uh, business that, that has processes and everything.
Thing um obviously we’re still working on a lot of that stuff like right now we’re trying to build like a like an employee handbook and and you know on that handbook we want to have a lot of our processes how we do like um even from the way we wash a car to um the way we install paint protection window tint or even take out the trash something as simple as that you know um.

[31:21] Yeah so we can have a process of how we do things when we do things uh so that’s something that we’re kind of working on uh right now uh i’ll tell you you make me you kind of make me want to high five you through the screen that’s awesome um those are some of the steps that so many businesses don’t don’t take so be super proud of yourself for setting yourself up correctly um huge huge huge i mean i’m happy beyond what you can imagine from your statement now shut up and you can keep talking.

[31:52] Yeah, so the first, when I first got my keys, you know, it was really scary, you know, it had to buy a lot of a lot of tools, a lot of a lot of material, you know, to get stuff going.
I’m the type of guy that did like, you know, from the get go, I wanted to have more material than I needed, because I like to have overstock,

Setting up the business with necessary tools and materials

[32:12] I don’t, you know, if somebody comes in, and they’re looking for a service, I want to have the material ready for them.
I can’t be like, oh, come back next week or something. You know, I’ll have the material.
So that was one of the things that like I implemented right away, you know, that we we needed to have everything we we needed from the get go.
The first year was very, very challenging.

[32:34] You know, I it was, you know, you don’t really make a lot of money.
I was still doing a lot of subcontract work. So a lot of the time I was still spending outside of the actual shop because I was still going around to two places.
You know, sometimes I would actually miss my own client or, you know, people that were they were looking for actual our work.
You know, I would I would miss them just because I wasn’t there or, you know, couldn’t take them at the time. So they would they would go somewhere else.
So that kind of slowed us down the first year.
You know, being the first year in business, too, you know, I started out a little bit slow.
I was scared to put out because from the beginning we started doing educational content, but I was I was kind of Building a portfolio of it because I was scared they like, you know, the we open in March and you know I was like, well, we’ll go this whole.

[33:26] Summer spring and summer, you know, and then once the fall and winter hits I was like we’re a brand new business we’re probably probably gonna be really really slow and.

[33:35] And, you know, so yeah, pretty much our subcontract work was what kept us open the first year, you know, pay the bills.
After that, the second year, I started. How about, do you have employees in your shop or is it just you?

[33:51] Uh, right now it’s just me and my wife helps me as much as she can.
She does a lot of the filming.
Um, I’m actually in the process of hiring our, our first employee right now.
So, so, uh, as we speak, you know, we’re, we’re, we’re, we’re, um, we’re, we’re in the process of bringing someone on that,

Hiring the first employee and plans for future growth

[34:10] that seems like a really good candidate that has a little bit of a, uh, experience kind of in the industry.
So, um, so I think you’ll be a good, um, they, they seem like a good fit, you know, uh, being the first employee, you never know.
So, so, um, yeah, it’s something that we’re working on right now.
That’s very cool. Adding a team, growing our team.
And that, you know, that’s a natural progression. You’re just a few years in.
So it’s really cool to see you’re doing that. And you’re setting yourself up for success by making those employee manuals and handbooks and setting those, those standard operating procedures in place. and that is how you can scale a business.
You know, it’s more fair to you as the employer and especially to the employee if they have a clear path laid out for them of what is expected of them.
I think so many of the guys don’t really have the forethought when they start trying to bring in an employee and it’s really not fair to the guy that they’re bringing in because they just don’t have that roadmap to show them exactly what they are supposed to be doing.

[35:13] What’s kind of your big picture if we were to look in the crystal ball and say where you want your business to go in the big scheme of things, five, 10, 15, 20 years down the road.

[35:26] Um, so, uh, within, uh, probably the next two, three years, I want to keep, uh, establishing our brand, you know, cause it takes time to like actually, uh, establish something that people trust.
Um, so that’s what we’ve really been focusing on the first, the first three years where we’re about to start fourth year.
Uh, the next couple, couple of years, I want to keep focusing on, on, you know, establishing the brand and, and, you know, um, letting people know, or making people more aware of us and the kind of work that we do by putting out more educational content um uh five to ten years i i think my goal is to um you know grow a team where i can kind of, step a little bit away i think i always want to be involved in the installs uh somehow uh you know i I like installing, you know, that’s what I like doing.

Aspiring to Grow a Team and Step Away

[36:20] So I think I always want to be in the shop doing something, you know, maybe not necessarily be like a mandatory like every day, you know, but if I, you know, if I want to, if I want, if I had this choice to get in there, like I want to be able to get in there, you know, help out if I, if I can.

[36:38] So that’s probably the primary goal to grow, grow a team to where the business kind of is able to run by itself. If, if, if I’m not there.
Yeah. What do you feel it is that about your business that sets you apart from all of your competitors in this space?

[36:56] Uh i i think um i think there’s a lot of like lack of knowledge and education when it comes to like building an actual business there’s no like real resources of like, of like not uh like step by step of how to set up a business the right way you

Lack of knowledge and resources in starting a business

[37:20] know because i don’t know i feel like since i opened this business the other stuff that i tried before is kind of like Like most of the businesses kind of like off the wall, you just kind of like throw business together.
Like you don’t register with the city.

[37:35] Maybe the little bit more established businesses, I think is just, I think is making that time to actually work on the business.
You know, because most of us are usually working in the business.
You know, we’re doing the, we’re talking to people, answering phone calls, uh, you know, doing all the labor, washing cars, doing installs, you know, we’re, we’re, we’re doing all that.
And then, you know, when you get home at night, like you, you probably want to open a beer, sit in front of the TV and chill a little bit, you know, uh, I, I think is, is the lack of resources that there is of like how to, how to actually structure a business.
Business and, and, and also just like having the energy and time to like actually, uh, sit down and grow your business.
So since joining up with Owner’s Pride, has that had any impact on your business as well? And if so, let me know about that.
Yeah, it’s had a, it’s had a big impact, especially like I mentioned on the, uh, on the pain protection sales.
It has helped us, uh, you know, they kind of go hand in hand. So it, so it definitely has helped us a lot in that perspective um you know and and the partnership with you guys have has been amazing you know like you every time i have a question you know i can call text you and you’re always um.

[38:50] More than willing, you know, to answer me right away as soon as, as soon as you can.
So, so I really appreciate all the help that you, you provided for us.
You know, it’s, it’s, it’s been a great partnership with, with, with Owner’s Pride.
You know, you, you guys, you guys have a, I feel like you guys have a good structure, you know, cause you guys are very customer service oriented, you know, whereas companies, as you grow, sometimes you kind of.

Impact of partnership with Owner’s Pride on the business

[39:16] You kind of take that little customer experience from, you know, which, which, I mean, you know, we’re all growing.
So, so who knows where, where that will take you guys in a few years, you know, but I think you guys have a really good customer service right now.
So I think that that definitely makes you guys stand out, uh, from, from your competition and also the warranties.
I mean, you, you know, you can’t beat the warranties, you know, uh, even if you guys go under the, the people still have warranty on their, on, on their ceramic coating, you know, So you definitely cannot beat that.
You know, I think that’s why your business and our business align so well.
We also are trying to set our business up, doing it proper and legal and correct for the long haul, just as you are by putting all of these procedures and standard operating procedures and your business licenses in place.
Why? Yes, we could all, we could sell fake warranties. You could skate under the radar and not pay taxes, but you know what? You set yourself up correct.
And that’s how you win for the long haul. I’m super glad that you’re on our team we haven’t even finished year one of working with you guys and you know so, there’s only room for growth oh yeah alright Eric if somebody wants to get a hold of you and Skintech tell me how they can find you.

[40:32] Uh, you can find me, uh, probably easiest way is to send me a message on Instagram, um, at skin stick, uh, or you can also shoot me a text message.
Uh, the phone number is, uh, 3 1 2 2 6 1 0 5 5 5.
Uh, those are probably the two easiest way, but I mean, you can also Also shoot

Contact Information: Instagram and Text Message

[40:52] me an email, skinstekus at
Skinstek spell S-K-I-N-Z-T-E-K.

[41:03] Awesome. Awesome. Well, Eric Bravo, I’m super stoked to have you on Team Owners Pride.
I’m glad that you trust us to be your partner and work with us.
If you’re, if anybody out there watching, if you’re not already, follow this guy on Instagram. Instagram, you are going to get the coolest videos of installing paint protection film and window tint that you can imagine.
And if you’re in the Chicago area, that’s where I’d take my car.
I have a lot of content. I have a lot of ceramic coating content coming out. Owner’s price content.
I just building my profile first and then it’s going to start dropping.
Oh, yeah. I love it. I love it. And I’m excited. I’m excited.
You know, keep you on our partnership. Thank you so much, man.
Man, I am too. Thank you so much for taking some time out of your day to be my guest on the Owner’s Pride Podcast.
Thank you so much for taking some time out of your day to hang out with us here on the Owner’s Pride Podcast.
If you found value in what we were putting out, please take a moment and hit the like and subscribe button.
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And if you use code ECOWASHTHEWORLD at checkout on, you’re going to get 10% off of your order. Again, thank you so much for taking some time out of your day to hang out with us here.
Without you, it would just be me talking to myself.
Until next time, stay glossy.


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