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Right On Track
Success of the Spring Auto Glass
makes curtain call for 2001 a sure thing!
by Barbara Cummings
The Spring Auto Glass Expo was the headliner in the minds of many attending the first annual spring show devoted specifically to the auto glass repair and replacement, as well as the window film, industries.
Sponsored jointly by the National Windshield Repair Association (NWRA), AGRR and Window Film magazines, the Expo featured nearly 40 exhibitors and offered a three-track seminar path. Participants had a choice of attending the NWRA conference track, which also covered admission to all AGR and window film seminars, the AGR track, which permitted attendance at window film seminars, or the window film track, which reciprocated at AGR seminars. All registration fees also included admittance to the trade show itself. Each of the three paths offered a wealth of presentations and seminars geared to their target audience, while still allowing for crossover into other areas, to make the learning experience even more diversified.
Dave Shores of Glas-Weld Systems Inc. talks with prospective customers.
Getting the Ball Rolling
The triple-header was kicked off by a vibrant opening session on Sunday: Winning the Phone Wars, presented by Sherri Davison of Energy Enterprises Inc. To describe Davison as high energy would be a gross understatement. Her lively presentation served to remind her capacity audience of the importance of initial telephone contact and making a good first impression. Skilled customer service representatives at your business can mean the difference between grabbing a potential customers attention and having him or her want to do business with you, or, better yet, returning a second time for additional transactions.
Serving to enhance the educational process, the multi-track seminar system worked very well to educate and edify its participants.
NWRAs track kept its momentum on Monday with sessions ranging from how windshield repair has changed in the 1990s, to improving customer service, and one on the profitability of Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) etching. Sessions resumed after a morning break with a how to guide on becoming a successful windshield repair company, an overview of the NWRAs public relations campaign, and a session on ethics and cooperation between competitors. The latter featured Rodger Pickett, vice president of Cindy Rowe Auto Glass and a bishop in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Pickett reminded his audience that people usually decide to lie based on the consequences of telling the truth. When it is personally advantageous, he explained, we always choose to behave ethically. He reminded listeners that business ethics is a science and has a causal relationship. According to Pickett, people define ethics in many wayshonesty, conscience, religious belief, what the law requires, societal expectationand some do not even know what the word means. Pickett concluded that ethics must be based on a higher standard than the law, and that honesty is the key to commercial success. He illustrated this premise by reminding the audience of the Tylenol scare. He pointed out that when people were dying from tainted medication, even though it was clear there had been tampering, Tylenol stepped up to the plate and took responsibility. The company enjoys huge commercial success and credibility as a result today.
Mondays sessions concluded with a consciousness raising on advertisings effect on windshield repair. Of course, Mondays grand finale was the opening of the trade show floor.
Tuesday offered NWRA trackers seminars profiling the average windshield repair company. The session, presented by Deb Levy, publisher of AGRR magazine, presented results compiled from a survey taken over a six week period and included the following demographics:
Windshield repair technicians are predominantly male, average age is 43.
26 percent have some college and 39 percent have degrees.
87 percent offer warranties in their business.
Most (35 percent) have been in business at least 6 years.
35 percent say their biggest problem is dealing with insurance companies.
42 percent say their busiest time is the summer.
35 percent say that they get up to half of their business from the Yellow Pages.
When asked how they would diversify, 42 percent said they would go into auto glass replacement, 29 percent said scratch removal.
65 percent say business is much better, and that replacement of auto glass has dropped.
Attendees were then able to take part in seminars on gaining direct approval for repairs while in the field, preparing for the certification exam, a session devoted to pressure and vacuum, retaining customers and even financial planning. The day ended with the NWRA open board meeting where Dave Taylor was re-elected president; Dee Berge-Morse, vice president; Walt Gorman, treasurer and Bill Batley, secretary.
At left: Demonstrations were made throughout the day. At right: The 3-M team stands ready to serve.
Spring Glass Expo/AGR Track
The Spring Glass Expo/AGR track began Sunday with a session on getting into the windshield or glass repair business. Attendees then took in the joint opening session of Winning the Phone Wars.
Monday offered learning opportunities about auto glass installation practices including the latest and safest in installation practices. The afternoon sessions began with Mitch Becker, ABRA Auto Body and Glass of Brooklyn Center, Minn., educating the audience on the basic components of airbags and safe ways to work around them, as well as disable them, during windshield repair.
Tuesday brought participants to the widely attended Carlite certification (CARS training). CARS allows its graduates to receive referrals while maintaining independent status. Nearly 50 people attended.
Window Film Track
Lastly, attendees could opt for the window film track, which began with an informative overview on starting a successful window film business.
On the Showroom Floor
As the sessions wound down each day, the showroom floor sprang to life. The Expo opened Monday to a bevy of exhibitors focused on the auto glass and window film industries. Unlike NGAs more diverse show, Spring Glass Expo afforded visitors a smaller, more refined menu that allowed attendees to concentrate on the auto glass industry facets that most interested them.
The addition of the trade show made a successful event a spectacular one, said NWRA president Taylor.
The 3M team was a strong presence with its new officially NASCAR-licensed Rapid Two-Part urethane windshield adhesive (RTP) and fast cure one-part urethane. The RTP formula combines the advantages of a two-part formula with an easy to use delivery system. Its fast cure formula is a chemical cure that is independent of weather/humidity conditions. 3M says the RTP adhesive has OEM strength performance and 10-20 minutes working time in a non-conductive, high modulus solid formula. The product can be mixed together inside its plastic sleeve by hand-kneading, and allows for easy caulking with no power source required. Also from 3M, the new one-part adhesive is the fastest curing of its kind offered by the company, has high viscosity, and is available in standard cartridge and the convenient job size sausage pack. Both one-and two-part products are approved by Carlite by Visteon..
Essex ARG, a subsidiary of Dow Automotive, showcased its large mouth tube nozzle tips, which allow for easier opening and better adhesive flow. The company says this reduces technician effort to extrude the adhesive by 40 percent.
Glas-Weld Systems checked in with its unique scratch removal system. At booth demonstrations, and reinforced in seminars, Glas-Weld drove home the point that if you are not incorporating scratch removal into your windshield repair businessyou are missing out. Dave Shores, who conducted a seminar on the subject, stated that Glas-Welds scratch removal kit works on all types of glass, leaves no distortion, and uses no abrasives or disks. The Glas-Weld product operates by creating a tornado. First, the Roughing Kit is used to remove deep scratches and leaves behind a light haze. Then, the Scratch Removal Kit is brought into play to quickly remove the haze and complete the task.
The trade show was very informative and allowed me the chance to see a lot of add-on possibilities for my business such as scratch removal, said Dee Berge-Morse, owner/president of Dees Windshield Repair Inc. of Ministry, Calif. It is an opportunity to see all these aspects of the industry without having to travel to individual companies.
I would like to see other business add-on possibilities at the shows. It makes them more touch and feel.
Cactus Distributing (Madicos Las Vegas distributor) and Johnson Window Films were on hand to explain window film. Cactus Distributing focused on the architectural angle featuring the new SunScape series that promotes reduced fading and utility costs, and increased comfort and privacy. Johnson concentrated more on the films security aspect, emphasizing their Rapid Response Kit, Rapid Response Team and Ready Response Training.
Barbara Cummings serves as the assistant editor of AGRR magazine.
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