Setting the Standard for Safe Automotive Glass Installations
I have been in contact with two different glass shop owners recently who both asked me the same two-part question. Why are there so many bad automotive glass shops and technicians in our industry and how can we stop their dangerous and callous actions?
Both of these gentlemen belong to Auto Glass Safety Council™ (AGSC) Registered Member Companies and practice safe and proper installations. I can understand their frustration. They do everything right but find that time and again customers are choosing to do business with competitors whose standards are not nearly as high. What is there to do?
One owner took his frustration to his state government for help. He cited the recent actions of the states of Connecticut and Rhode Island which licensed technicians and shops. Both states made the effort to assure safe automotive glass installations because they realize the windshield and other stationary glass parts are a part of the structural integrity of the vehicle and improper installation would compromise the safety of their constituents.
Initially, this owner’s state of Michigan doesn’t see it that way. (Currently they may be more concerned with water quality than glass installation quality.) However, through perseverance and strong effort, the owner got his state representative to take a closer look. We don’t know what the results will be but at least owner one made the effort and made his point.
Owner number two complained that local competition passed their compliance audit through AGSC but promptly returned to the high production and lax quality issues as soon as the evaluator left the building. He suggested that audits be unannounced to truly measure installation quality. He wondered how these shops can get away with it.
As a trainer who has seen thousands of prior installations, I completely understand the frustrations these two owners are experiencing. The AGSC does have an Accreditation Committee that will investigate Registered Member Companies that fail to practice the guidelines published in the ANSI/AGSC/AGRSS™ 003-2015. The committee can remove noncompliant companies from their membership. However, there is no mechanism to discipline them in other ways, and of course the AGSC cannot discipline non-registered companies. They are not and cannot be the installation police.
The answer then is to take our case to the government, or the consumer, or both. The government can enforce compliance through rules and regulations. The educated consumer can punish bad actors through not buying their defective products or services. Either way, it will take the concerted effort of the members of the industry to do the legwork and spend the money to provide the education necessary to move the dialogue.
My only advice as an automotive glass installer and business owner is to continue on and not give up. Join the AGSC and get active on a committee. Find likeminded owners in and around your market and organize. Numbers equal power, and the more voices there are, the better they are heard. Whether through government involvement or consumer awareness, our only answers are with the shops and individuals out there that do it right and are proud of it. We can move mountains if we work at it together.