Volume 10, Issue 6 - November/December 2008

from the editor

What’s a Shop to Do?
by Penny Stacey

RECENTLY, WE’VE ALL LEARNED of the bailouts taking place that help some large companies that have been busted by the economy. Well, bail-out discussions are close to the AGRR industry’s heart; the thing I hear most often from readers is, “who’s going to bail us out?”

I’m not sure there’s an answer to that question—in fact, I’m sure there’s not. But on a positive note, I also hear this: “We do something that people need.”

One AGRR reader recently posted on our glassBYTEs.com™ message forum that the businesses most likely to survive and fare well during a recession are those like auto glass shops—those that off to thrive during a recession—as there’s not likely to be a shortage of deaths. Likewise, this person also mentioned beauty salons— noting that while this may seem a luxury, it’s not one most women are willing to give up, even in tight times.

Michael Collins of Jordan Knauff & Co., a Chicago-based investment bank, is a columnist for AGRR’s sister magazine, DWM, and has written numerous articles on the recession and how best to survive it. He often notes that the companies that will come out the best are those that are working to add new services (in moderation, of course) during the down times, so that when the market comes back, they are ready.

On page 46 of this issue, I think you’ll find a prime example of this. Doug Shaw of Doug’s Windshield Repair and Replacement in McGehee, Ark., started out in the auto glass repair and replacement business but soon after realized that, in his rural area, it wasn’t going to be enough to pay the bills and make a profit. He could have given up, but instead started looking at a new service that he could offer in the same shop—and found it in window film. Today, window film application—both automotive and flat glass—comprises a larger percentage of his business than auto glass repair and replacement does.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not encouraging you to give up auto glass repair and replacement completely—it’s a necessary service—but are you looking at ways to grow your business? Are there extra add-ons you can offer with little overhead and high profits?

Please read the profile of Shaw on page 46 for more information as to how he accomplished this, and if you’ve found similar success with a different method of diversifying your business, please e-mail me at pstacey@glass.com. I’d be interested in hearing about this, and am sure others would be too.

Also, be sure to check out our preview of the Auto Glass Expo @ NACE on page 40. In these pages you’ll find a sampling of the products to be displayed at the show. Many of these were designed to make your business easier and more profitable, so I encourage you to take a look.

Finally, if you’re at the NACE show, please stop by our booth, #G9125, and say hello. I look forward to seeing you there.

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