by Bob Beranek
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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.

Comments (8)

  1. […] TODAY’S BLOG: Setting the Standard for Safe Automotive Glass Installations […]

  2. Ira Turner said on 11-02-2016

    Bob,

    In my opinion, the biggest part of the problem is that the cost of entry into the industry is too low. Anyone with a van or pickup truck can call themselves a glass shop. The major distributors don’t help by selling to anyone and everyone….even allowing “glass shops” to have their retail customers pick up glass at wholesale locations.

  3. Kerry Soat CEO Fas-Break said on 11-02-2016

    You can’t outlaw or license bad behavior out of business. Laws do not change anything without aggressive enforcement. So many shop owners think Licensing would be an answer but I can assure you the same will happen as with the Auto Glass Safety Council, they will go back to their old ways of doing business, license or not.
    Consumer education should be the key this industry works through. The state glass associations should be doing TV commericals as a “public service” explaining and educating the public as to the difference in a “cheap” installation and a “safe” installation. Not just one shop paying the way but a combined force of shops paying the way to show the public the difference.
    It has nothing to do with the cost of entry into the business because most of these guys “worked” for someone else first and are just perpetuating the “bad behavior” learned from their last job. They believe they know what they are doing and doing it right and “no one” is telling them different.
    It is time the glass industry stood up and started to quit playing “policeman”. Quit worrying about your so called competitor and create an educated public “who will make the right choice” to begin with.
    Surprise audits are a waste of time and this article proved me right. Money needs to be spent on perpetuating the AGRSS as it was orginally planned instead of creating a new “assocation” to self police “themselves. Educating the public and getting shops to adhere to the Safety Standard is the first place to start not audits.

  4. Frank Thomas said on 12-02-2016

    Bob are you still an I-CAR Instructor for the Glass Class ? You were my Instructor at the very first class during NACE in Vegas many, many years ago. Then I took the Instructor Qualification class and became an I-CAR Instructor also. I agree with Ira Turner, in fact I testified to the AZ House of Representatives in Favor of HB2500 and said ” anyone of you could be an auto glass company tomorrow, all you need is a biz card & a phone #.

    CFR (Title 49, Parts 400-999) FMVSS 212 & FMVSS 216. I believe well over 1/2 the glass companies out there don’t even know what I’m referring to !

  5. Kevin Chalmers said on 18-02-2016

    In my opinion cost of getting into this industry isnt the issue our industry needs to be more regulated. We are expected to carry all the insurance, certifications etc… but the insurance companies want to pay very little anymore. Nags prices to low, insurance discount are to high and glass prices keep going up. Thank god gas prices are down for now.

  6. […] few weeks back I wrote a post called Setting the Standard for Safe Automotive Glass Installations. I talked about Auto Glass Safety Council™ Registered Member Companies that were frustrated with […]

  7. […] week’s blog was based on feedback about my post “Setting the Standard for Safe Automotive Glass Installations.” I discussed the ease of entering the AGRR industry and the […]

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