To the Repair Industry...
by Dave Taylor
Dear Windshield Repair Professional,
The underlying purpose of developing the National Windshield Repair Association/National Glass Association certification was to provide a method of recognizing capable repairers. While not perfect, the NWRA/NGA certification certainly provides that recognition. The unwillingness of so many in the repair community to take advantage of this opportunity to distinguish themselves and their employees from their competitors is difficult for me to understand.
When we began to look at certification, our objectives included practical testing, inexpensive certification and the elimination of poor repairs. We quickly got a reality check.
First, any certification program is very expensive to develop and administer. Next, practical certification programs are much more expensive that knowledge-based programs. Finally, United States law makes it impossible for trade associations like ours to exclude individuals from the practice of their vocation or profession.
Our current knowledge-based certification test contains a number of difficult questions. To pass it, you have to know about repair, safe repair practices and laminated glass. It is harder than you think.
While our $125 certification cost is a lot of money for most independent repairers, practical testing would cost many thousands of dollars per applicant. When someone passes our current certification test, you can be assured that they know about repair. They cannot do a good repair without having the knowledge of how to do it. Admittedly, they could still do a bad repair.
Deciding not to develop a practical test was disappointing to all involved. The underlying reasons for the complexity and costs of the practical testing issue lie in our legal code. On top of this, when you look at professions that have practical testing, you can find that a large number of less-than-capable people manage to pass practical tests and get certified.
So what can this certification do for you? It provides professional recognition to those individuals within the windshield repair community who demonstrate a specific level of knowledge proficiency.
Certification does have a meaning to the public. Look at the thousands of existing programs, including those in either glass or aftermarket auto industries. The individuals in these industries support certification by acquiring and maintaining certifications. Certification creates public confidence in you.
There is no question that a customer has a better chance of receiving a top-quality repair from a certified technician than they do with a non-certified technician. Therefore, customers are more likely to choose a certified service provider than a non-certified provider when they are given a choice.
Is certification a customerís only criteria for choosing? While many things go into a customerís choice of a service provider, being certified does give you a competitive advantage. A certification badge on a clean, pressed uniform jacket or hanging on the waiting room wall creates goodwill and confidence. Confidence creates customers and customers create profits.
If you have employees, certification is even more important. In addition to the confidence factor, you need to know if your employee knows what they are doing. Furthermore, employees like the recognition of their skills and respond positively to the opportunity to be certified.
Here is an opportunity to provide yourself with an effective tool to improve your business. If you havenít certified, consider it. Certifying would be good for you, your industry and your customers.
Dave Taylor is president of the NWRA and secretary/treasurer of Cindy Rowe Auto Glass of Harrisburg, Pa.
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