Volume 14, Issue 3 - May/June 2012

Field of Vision
from the editor

So What Drives Our Industry?
by Sahely Mukerji

In my last column in the March/April 2012 issue of AGRR™ magazine, I said that safety has remained the focus and the first priority of the industry through the years. Pretty innocuous statement, right? Not in the auto glass repair and replacement industry.

In response, I got an email the other day that said, “‘Safety’ may be the focus of the media and others who have nothing else to do, but our focus is on ‘profit.’ Without profit, we exist for a shorter time than safe drive-away.”

The email went on to say that I should spend a day in the email writer’s shop and listen to the phone conversations that he has with his customers. “Most cash customers completely ignore ‘safety’ and ‘warranties’ and ‘glass brand’ and ‘safe drive-away,’ too, for that matter,” the email said. “Almost every day, someone is last on our schedule and gets his windshield glued in at 4:30 p.m. and has to drive at 5 p.m. Do we refuse to do that job? Will the disclaimer form that they sign remove all potential liability? No. If someone wants to come to our shop and wait on a windshield job, we roll out the red carpet and fire up the coffee pot. We inform them of the manufacturer’s recommendations, but if they can’t wait, who are we to stop them?”

He went on to say “when the auditors aren’t looking, what percentage of windshield replacements are 100 percent in compliance with the AGRSS® Standard? How many techs get paid by the amount of jobs they do in a day? How many rollover/ejection/auto glass lawsuits have there been? Two in the last 50 years? We’re all for safety as long as it doesn’t get in the way of profit.”

He concluded the email with this statement: “To say that ‘safety’ is the first priority is inaccurate.”

You can probably imagine the look on my face when I finished reading the email. Was I really that off in my take on the industry? What do you think?

I’ve often heard that one of the problems with the industry is that everyone tries to beat the other’s price and keeps lowering their fees. And that auto glass technicians should remember that quality work should command a quality price. That’s the exact opposite of what the email said.

I’m curious to get your take on the matter. Please drop me a line at smukerji@glass.com or call 540/720-5584, ext. 194, and let me know your view.

Sahely Mukerji is the editor of AGRR magazine. Email her at smukerji@glass.com, follow her on Twitter @agrrmagazine, and like AGRR magazine on Facebook to receive the latest updates.

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