3M Preferred Graphics Installer and owner of Autokloak, Dillon Kovljenic, shares how a chance encounter with 3M at a trade show helped build his car wrap business.
If necessity is the mother of invention, then opportunity may be the father of entrepreneurialism.
For Dillon Kovljenic, the experience of shopping around for an automotive wrap for his first car proved to be an eye-opening experience.
“I had always loved cars as a kid – always begged my parents to customize our cars,” says Dillon. “After I bought my first car and began to gather quotes on a full wrap, I was shocked at what came back. I had no idea it was so expensive.”
So the finance and business school grad embarked on a new path – investigating how he could do it himself.
After contacting wholesalers and discovering the cost of materials, he saw an opportunity to embark on a new business venture – to install the wraps not just on his own ride, but for customers as well.
The Desire to DIY Sparks a New Business Installing Car Wraps
Dillon and his crew employed trial and error in an attempt to master the craft of graphics installation.
When they were able to wrap Dillon’s Porsche in solid gold, he found that both he and his business got a charge out of the flashy exterior as he took it out on the road.
“I thought, ‘what a marketing tool!’” he says.
People began to take notice and his business, Autokloak, was formed in 2013.
However, there was still a lot for the young entrepreneur to learn.
Growing the Business and the Brand through Acquiring Graphics Installation Expertise
“I had no idea when I started that we were trying to do the most difficult task by trying to wrap a whole car,” says Dillon. “Many other installers had started out with smaller jobs like decals, but the idea of installing accent graphics hadn’t even occurred to us until we started attending automotive trade shows.”
So, Dillon began to look for ways to grow his business and his brand, recognizing that to do so, he’d need to build his in-house expertise too. It was at a trade show he connected with Jeff Uzbalis, a knowledgeable 3M sales representative who mentored Dillon as he built his business.
3M’s Certified Graphics Installation Program Helps Build Consistency in Car Wrap Quality at Autokloak
“Looking back, I think that my only underestimation with building the business was the human capital,” says Dillon. “I’ve now learned that having the same mindset doesn’t necessarily equal the same skillset.”
In an effort to harness his staff members’ abilities while providing quality workmanship, Autokloak enrolled in the 3M Certified Graphics Installation Training Program.
“I could have gone to anyone to get training,” says Dillon. “But having had a relationship with my 3M salesperson, Jeff, and knowing that 3M was a leader in the industry, I signed up for their program.”
Personal Connection Brings Business to the Next Level
Since enrolling in the training, Dillon has now completed the courses to the highest level possible and has become a 3M Preferred Graphics Installer.
But that doesn’t mean he’s stopped learning.
As the industry changes and new challenges arise, Dillon leans on Jeff.
”For someone who doesn’t directly benefit from my company – there’s no way to describe someone like Jeff,” says Dillon with a smile. “I scored 96% on the 3M preferred testing, I’m well versed, but Jeff is 100%. If I’m unsure of anything I ask him and get a really quick response. It’s amazing customer service.”
As an additional benefit to being a 3M shop, Jeff also keeps Dillon on the cutting edge of product offerings.
“We offer 3M products to our customers first because quite frankly, it has stretch and conformity as well as the best adhesives to help us do our work more efficiently and effectively,” says Dillon. “Plus as a benefit of being a 3M installer, Jeff provides us with the newest products first and recommends us to anyone he knows is looking.”
One of the ways Jeff helped Dillon learn about expanding his business beyond vehicle wraps to adjacent applications, like retail and architectural spaces, happened when he brought the 3M Road Trip van to Dillon’s shop. The van showcases 3M graphic products in use which makes it easier to understand the various options. In Dillon’s case, it is helping him become more relevant to his customers.
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Interested in learning how you can become a 3M Certified Graphics Installer? Please contact your local distributor for upcoming courses or contact 3M.
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