A word of thanks again to you and your staff for the kind attention given to Uncle Ed. It was an outstanding show, expo and program. Congratulations on Glass Expo Midwest 99.
Good job by the best pro!
I have found your magazine to be a great resource for the latest up-to-date information on glass products and windows. I have also used your magazine to find the suppliers of tools and racks for our vehicles.
Many thanks for putting out a great magazine.
Your interview of State Farms assistant vice president of auto claims (see USGlass, September 1998, Heart-to-Hardt) only served to reinforce my opinion that State Farm is openly arrogant and hostile toward small glass companies, including my own.
Hardt asks the question, "If prices are so low and theyre starving to death, then how can they do this cash pricing?" This insinuates that we are actually making a profit from "cash" pricing.
A better question would be, why are cash prices so low? Of course, we would charge more if it were possible. But there are several reasons why cash prices are so low, and one of the problems lies squarely on State Farms shoulders.
Because State Farm and other insurance companies have forced glass companies to accept lower prices, lots of glass installers are being laid off from work. To keep from starving, a lot of these guys are starting their own glass companies, often working out of the back of their trucks.
These guys will install a windshield for $50 over invoice just to make enough money to eat. Reputable shops now have to match these prices, not to make a profit, but to hang on to customers in hopes of later getting insurance work from these same customers.
Then along come the State Farm vultures, who see these cheap prices and force us to accept greater discounts. They know what is going on, but they dont care. Any excuse is a good excuse for State Farm to force us to accept whatever they offer, and if we dont like it they say, "you dont have to accept it." Of course, if we dont accept, we dont do work for State Farm.
Another State Farm lie is "A glass company does not have to be on the Offer and Acceptance program to do work for State Farm." I put it to the test last year when I didnt send in the agreement form. I had State Farm insurance on my own car and needed a windshield, and they wouldnt even let me put a windshield in my own car!
Another quote from Hardt is "they need to do it without steaks and golf tournaments." Of course, our local State Farm agent doesnt feel that we should save money by not contributing when State Farm hosts a golf tournament for its chosen charities.
I would love to be able to give my name, but that would be suicide. On one occasion, State Farms offer on a particular door glass was actually less than it would cost me to install it, and I gently explained this to the customer. State Farm then threatened to kick me out of the program for "talking bad about State Farm." I didnt talk bad; I merely told the truth. Seems State Farm has no qualms about denying a man his Constitutional rights of free speech.
Ill be happy if State Farm ever leaves my state and it would not hurt my feelings if they went out of business. Why should it? It certainly doesnt bother them knowing that they have run scores of small shops out of business.
I dont know if well make it another year, but we are struggling to stay afloat. If I made one-tenth of Hardts salary, it would be easy street around here.
Why dont you guys interview some glass shops to get their views of State Farm?
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