Broken Mirrors Bring Opportunity
by Elisabeth Mervenne
According to folklore, breaking a mirror was a surefire way to doom yourself
to seven years of bad luck. Thankfully superstition has been set aside
and a whole new vision has become clear. Automotive glass replacement
companies searching for ways to increase sales and profits are beginning
to see the benefits side-view mirror replacements can offer to their bottom
line. Automotive mirror replacements have the power to generate significant
additional revenue both with installations and by marketing the core business
of automotive glass replacement.
Wiping the Mirror Clean
Replacing car mirrors used to be an extension of goodwill by the consumer’s
local glass shop. This work was done for little or no money in hopes that
the customer would return to their glass shop if they needed their windshield
replaced in the future. Oftentimes they had a flat glass person at a cutting
table who could cut a replacement mirror from a sheet of household mirror.
Household mirror is highly reflective and at times, blinding. It was deemed
a nice “promotional service” when margins on auto glass replacement were
good, but it was certainly not the best alternative.
Today’s glass shops are beginning to recognize that they offer a unique
service to the person searching for a way to fix their car mirror.
Automotive mirrors are first-surface chrome glass. This is essentially
one-way mirror manufactured by a select number of companies. Using this
type allows headlight glare from behind the vehicle to be absorbed through
the mirror into the mirror housing. This allows the driver to see reflections
from activity on the sides and behind the vehicle without being impaired
by bright headlight reflection. Since the 1970s, passenger side mirrors
have been convex with the standard “Objects are closer …” statement at
the base of the mirror. A convex mirror is used to increase the field
of vision to the rear of the vehicle.
Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 111
FMVSS 111 is a specification pertaining to the rear vision parts of a
vehicle. This federal standard is as enjoyable to read as, well, any other
FMVSS listing that pertains to the AGRR industry (see: 212, 216, etc.)
FMVSS111 specifies the required range of vision the driver must achieve
utilizing rear vision products. These ranges are both horizontal and vertical
angles from the side and rear of the vehicle. In addition, the standard
requires rear vision products use “low reflectivity mirror” (40-60 percent
reflectivity). From a shop liability standpoint, you must replace your
customers’ mirror with a product that meets FMVSS 111. Household mirror
should never be used in automotive mirror applications.
Mirror Mirror on the Wall
Savvy consumers will search the Internet and other avenues for options
to get their side-view mirrors fixed. By taking the initiative to promote
mirrors on your website and in your shop you will see results. In addition,
some side-view mirror manufacturers offer retail point-of-purchase materials
highlighting the mirror replacement service you provide. This will increase
awareness with your in-shop windshield customers and hopefully they will
bring the “other car” at home that has a broken mirror back to you. The
more times a person comes into your store, the more likely they will keep
coming back to you for all of their automotive glass and mirror needs.
Elisabeth Mervenne is vice president of sales and marketing for
© Copyright 2013 Key Communications Inc. All rights reserved.
No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.