A PDAA Certified Installer Success Story
Being PDAA Certified has been a tremendous factor for the growth of our company.
My two business partners and I started our company in August 2009, and it was a very slow start. Our clientele consisted exclusively of local print and sign companies in our home market of Southeast Florida. We decided to make the investment of getting PDAA Certified in December 2009, and fairly quickly we started getting new leads from outside of our local market. Media companies, project management companies, and national roll-out companies from all over the country started acknowledging our existence.
It was not a quick burst of volume out of the gate, as we were the newest certified installers in our region, so we were at the bottom of a very elite list of certified installers in our area. But as the months and years went on, we got more and more inquiries from new clients that had found us on this database. Having so many installers above us on that list was a little concerning at first, but after being on this database for about a decade now, we can really see the larger picture.
The bottom line is, at some point, the installers listed above us were not available for certain projects. So that drove the project managers to give us a try. And providing quality installations with outstanding customer service bumped our company up on their internal call lists. So even though we were the eighth company listed on the PDAA database, we landed at number three, number two, or even number one on many companies call lists.
I believe the users of this database find comfort in knowing that this is one of the only graphic installation certification programs out there not geared toward any one brand of materials. This program utilizes materials from 4-5 of the largest manufacturers in the industry, which ensures that the graduates are extremely diverse in their knowledge of the different features and limitations of many popular materials used throughout the industry, making them more progressive than an installer that has only been certified to install one manufacturers’ product.
For example, if a spring retail roll-out is done utilizing products from “Brand A,” and then the summer roll-out utilizes products from “Brand B,” the project management companies have the confidence that a PDAA Certified Installer has experience with both products. And the organization continually keeps its network of installers educated with the newest tips and techniques on their website through their “Tech Tips.”
Over the years we have had the opportunity to expand our company from Ft. Lauderdale to cities across the south. Each time we expanded to a new market, we immediately sent the lead installer from that market to get PDAA Certified. And each market grew more quickly than the last.
It wasn’t until 2018 that we decided to send our installers out to obtain some of the other certifications available; some of these certifications have definitely brought in new leads, and some haven’t generated much. Regardless, PDAA Certifications were the largest tool of our success in our first nine years of business. We were able to evolve from just three installers in one city to 16 installers across seven cities with just this one certification. And for that, we are truly appreciative of this program.
I would recommend any graphic installer looking for new leads in commercial vehicle wraps or retail installations to sign up for this program, which is currently expanding to include future industry certifications such as vehicle color changes, paint protection films, specialty/resurfacing retail films, commercial and vehicle tinting, and mountable signage certifications. We are very excited to see this program transform over the next year or two.
Ken Burns is the President/CEO of Axis Graphic Installations Inc. He is a native of Boston, MA and studied Business Management in the mid 90’s. He has consulted, developed and managed multiple Fortune 500 companies. In 2006, he approached his friend (who was a 10-year veteran graphic installer at the time) and asked him to teach him the art of installing vehicle wraps. Ken saw the value in this niche industry and had the idea of bringing his knowledge of large corporate structure to a newer industry that was mostly comprised of independent subcontractors. He started his first Axis team in South Florida in 2009 and has since developed teams in Texas, Georgia, North Carolina, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. Beyond vehicle wraps, Ken and his teams have become proficient in all types of sign and graphic installations.