Charles and Jeanette Bonfiglio of Tint World: “You have to respect each other’s talents, and you have to empower each other”

CB: Right. Certainly, №1 is just to have common goals, both personally and professionally. And have good boundaries. You have to respect each other’s areas of expertise. You must also align and support each other’s personal growth. JB: Agreed. You have to respect each other’s talents, and you have to empower each other. I think at […]

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CB: Right. Certainly, №1 is just to have common goals, both personally and professionally. And have good boundaries. You have to respect each other’s areas of expertise. You must also align and support each other’s personal growth.

JB: Agreed. You have to respect each other’s talents, and you have to empower each other. I think at the end of the day, it’s about enjoying the journey. You celebrate the wins, and you appreciate the day-to-day process that gets you there.


As a part of our series about lessons from Thriving Power Couples, I had the pleasure of interviewing Charles and Jeanette Bonfiglio, the founders and the CEO and CFO, respectively, of Tint World®, an international automotive styling franchise. This dynamic business has been named to the Entrepreneur Magazine Franchise 500 as well as the Entrepreneur Magazine Top Global Franchises list. The Bonfiglios are passionate about helping people from all walks of life achieve their dream of owning a business.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you two to your respective career paths?

Charles Bonfiglio: At 21 years old, I started out in Brooklyn, New York, with a dream of moving to Florida and opening my own car audio and accessory shop. I purchased a one-way flight to Fort Lauderdale and landed with two suitcases over 30 years ago. That’s where I was introduced to franchising, and franchising provided me with a blueprint for success.

Jeanette Bonfiglio: I grew up in Long Island, New York, and mildly knew Charles through family and friends. We were young then. He was four years older and not in my age group at that time. While I was in college in New York, I came down to Florida on vacation. It was around the time Charles opened his first Meineke. Charles’ mom heard I was in Florida and mentioned it to Charles, and he called me to go on a date while I was here. It wasn’t long after that we started dating.

CB: Within a year of long-distance dating Jeanette, she transferred to a college in Florida and began spending time with me at the franchise. She started helping me out with the paperwork, then bookkeeping, then financial planning. We figured out from the start that we each had our strengths in different areas. And we worked well together. We’ve always worked well together.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you two got married?

JB: On our honeymoon to Hawaii, we ventured down Waipio Valley in a Jeep. Waipio Valley is one of the steepest roads on the island. It’s about six miles deep with steep narrow roads and cliffs.

CB: Driving into this valley is not for the faint of heart.

JB: We made it to the valley floor just before the sun went down. And as soon as we got to the bottom of the valley —

CB: We got stuck in the mud! Thankfully, it’s a good thing we work so well together.

JB: That is an adventure we reminisce about often. Charles figured out a way to get the Jeep to pull us out of the mud; I still don’t know how we did it. Driving back up six miles on that narrow, steep road on a cliff was the scary but exciting adventure that started off our marriage.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

CB: As I mentioned earlier, Jeanette and I have worked together just about every day since we went into business. And most of the time that’s great. Jeanette is amazing at what she does. But there was one time —

JB: Oh, you’re going to tell the story, aren’t you?

CB: Oh yeah, I am! This was back in the early days, when we had the Meineke store. One of the requirements in the auto industry is that you must have an ASE certified technician employed at your shop. One day, a few employees were complaining about having to take their ASE certification tests. So Jeanette challenged them and made a bet with our technician employees that she could pass the ASE test with a higher score than any of them and become a certified mechanic. Which she did!

She studied up. She passed the test. Now she’s an ASE certified mechanic. So of course, she decides to help out with a brake job. One night I was finishing a brake job on a car that a friend dropped off, and all the staff had left except for me and Jeanette. I asked Jeanette to come out from the accounting office to help me finish the job by bleeding the brakes. I never could have imagined how that was going to go.

So she came into the shop area, complaining a little, as I asked her to get in the driver’s seat of the car so I could raise it on the lift; she could pump the pedal while I bled the brakes under the car. After 15 minutes of trying to bleed the brakes, Jeanette and I were hungry and tired and a little frustrated. So again, I loudly asked, “Jeanette, are you pumping the pedal?” “Yes,” she replied as she forcefully pumped the pedal. “I am pumping the pedal!” Then I started to smell gas. I asked if she was pumping the brake pedal or the gas pedal. “…the gas pedal…” she whispered. We started laughing and cracking up. But it was a great laugh the next day for the employees, and it showed everyone that Jeanette and I are committed to every aspect of the business.

That is an important lesson we have learned over the years. Connecting with employees is so important. Your passion for the business is contagious, and if you’re committed, your people will be committed.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

CB: The business we’re in, it’s sexy. I mean, look at some of the biggest hit movie franchises: “The Fast and The Furious,” “Bad Boys,” “James Bond.” What do they have in common? The cars! There’s just something about a great car or truck that gets under your skin. This industry is full of energy and constantly evolving.

I truly feel the main reason our brand stands out is because our company culture is a franchise family that empowers each other to succeed. We have a passion for what we do and it attracts people from all walks of life to become franchisees, employees, customers and suppliers of our brand. They all want to be part of it.

We love vehicles. And we love people who love vehicles. We get so excited when we can help our customers personalize their vehicles and make them shine. We love helping people turn the car they have into the car of their dreams. If that’s not enough, we also love providing marine boat styling services, home and business window tinting, and solar energy cost-saving services. That’s what makes our business really stand out.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

JB: Yes! We are in the middle of a very exciting project. We are building a new corporate headquarters.

CB: A world headquarters.

JB: That’s right. A world headquarters. We have locations all over the globe.

Our new headquarters will be a two-story, 12,000-square-foot state-of-the-art facility with a new advanced training center, a really beautiful showroom and office spaces. We’ll have all the latest technology with some great amenities for our employees like a fitness center, coffee and juice bars, a full-service kitchen, and a lounge area.

CB: We feel that this new headquarters will benefit our franchise organization because we’ll have a complete sales, marketing, and training center with an actual Tint World® franchise operation onsite.

What advice would you give to other CEOs or founders to help their employees to thrive?

CB: Always start with hiring the right people. Quality employees who understand your company values with a common goal is the key to succeeding in business. Hire people who fit the company culture, understand the vision, and have passion for the brand.

JB: And retain good employees by communicating well and keeping them engaged. Like we said, passion is contagious and the right staffing skills can allow you to operate more franchise locations for growth.

How do you define “Leadership”?

CB: Leadership means creating a vision for the company, and it means passionately owning that vision, relentlessly working toward making it a reality while continually creating value.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

CB: When we were early on in our business, we crossed paths with a gentleman named Howard. At the time, Howard was a college graduate about my age with a degree in finance. He was just starting out in his field working for real estate developers on Miami Beach and he didn’t have much money at the time. He drove into one of my Meineke shops needing some exhaust work on his Saab. It was an expensive job but I took a liking to him and I felt compelled to help him out without charging him.

A few months later, Howard stopped by the shop to say hi. We ended up having lunch together. During our conversation, Howard asked why we leased our business instead of owning it. I told Howard that we have been interested in real estate development, but we were not sure exactly how to do it. Howard decided to help us by first reviewing our financial statement to obtain financing. After reviewing our books, he gave us some guidance in getting our business financial records in order for a real estate venture.

Howard introduced me to people at financial institutions to help me acquire financing to purchase land, secure contractors, and handle other necessary details for me to develop real estate to build buildings for our franchises on land that we owned. This new knowledge allowed us to leverage our franchise business success to buy real estate and construct buildings, and lease them to our new franchise locations as we developed 10 new automotive centers in South Florida.

We were able to pay off the real estate mortgages over 15 years, and sell the franchise businesses with a lease that allowed us to collect rental income forever.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

JB: You know that old saying, “You can’t understand someone until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes”? That’s the foundation for our business. All the people that come to us wanting to own their own business, wanting to start a franchise — we’ve been where they are. We understand their needs, their hopes and dreams and their fears. We’ve walked in their shoes.

We were franchisees for years, and we gained a lot of experience running multiple businesses. We’ve worked in everything from sales to operations and did everything we had to do to make these businesses successful. Those experiences led us to start our own franchise company, Tint World®. And our experience as franchisees enables us to help our franchisees achieve their own level of success.

CB: After a successful career of developing and operating automotive franchises, in 2007 I decided it was time to live my dream of creating the unique car audio and accessory shop franchise system that I originally came to Florida to build. Today, Tint World’s quality reputation and unique business model with a broad range of service offerings have led us to award over 150 franchises in four countries. Tint World® was built by franchisees, for franchisees!

What are the “5 Things You Need to Thrive As A Couple”? Please share a story or example for each.

JB: I think we have more than five.

CB: Right. Certainly, №1 is just to have common goals, both personally and professionally. And have good boundaries. You have to respect each other’s areas of expertise. You must also align and support each other’s personal growth.

JB: Agreed. You have to respect each other’s talents, and you have to empower each other. I think at the end of the day, it’s about enjoying the journey. You celebrate the wins, and you appreciate the day-to-day process that gets you there.

CB: And family table talk. That’s such a big part of it. Our two children have reaped the rewards of our discussions to always find a war with passion. For example, our daughter Amanda recently graduated college in Florida and her passion led her to move to New York and begin her career in fashion design and marketing.

JB: For sure. Sharing the workday with the family around the table is where so much bonding happens.

You are people of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

CB: We believe in the importance of having strong values, both personally and as a company. Achieving social good is an extension of our product and brand. We are passionate about and stress the importance of sun protection, and we’re working to reduce cases of skin cancer through UVA film protection on cars, boats, and homes.

JB: Our son Anthony became president of an organization that brings awareness to this issue. And we’ve supported the work of Safe Sun through donations and by participating in events associated with skin protection.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

JB: “Do what you love and are good at, and you will never work a day in your life.” We live by that one.

CB: We love what we do, and we see each day as an opportunity to discover and create new ways for continued success. Whether it’s new products and services, marketing and technology, sales and operations, or training programs, we continually strive to enhance and automate our franchise business system for intuitive, sustainable growth. And we hope we can pass this passion onto our franchisees and generations to come. We want this business to be a legacy.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

CB: Elon Musk. He may be able to teach us how to think even bigger.

How can our readers follow your work online?

JB: They can visit our company website at www.tintworld.com.

CB: And my LinkedIn is an excellent place to keep up with our happenings. You can find me at www.linkedin.com/in/charlesbonfiglio.

Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.

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