Ask the Doctor
by Walt Gorman
Q. I have been repairing windshields for more than two years and have built up a nice business with a number of car dealerships.
Recently, a competitor came into my area and has taken over two of my best accounts. Although he charges the same amount as I do, they seem to think his repairs look better than mine. I admit they might look a little better, but not enough to make up for all the good service I have given them all this time. How can I improve my work quickly?
A. Your customers make their living selling cars, so you cannot blame them for wanting the best-looking repairs on their vehicles. They already paid you for your past work, so they have no obligation to stick with you just because you gave them the service that any businessperson expects from his suppliers.
This could be a wake-up call, which, in the long run, could be the best thing that ever happened to you.
You cannot get ahead in any business by standing still and hoping that no competition will come along and cut into your business. Competitors will always go after a business that they realize they can out perform.
When is the last time that you attended a National Windshield Repair Association convention and looked at the different equipment and resins available? Perhaps one or both of these would improve your work. With the knowledge gained from your two years experience, would you still make the same choices for materials?
Have you ever had training or did you ďjust pick it upĒ by yourself? Practice makes perfect only if your practice is perfect; otherwise, you are just ingraining bad habits.
Nothing can beat sitting down with a group of people who do the same type of work you do and swapping solutions to your common problems. Itís nice to be able to pick up the phone when you are back home and get advice from some of the friends you made at the convention. I have heard some techs say that they cannot afford to attend the convention; the truth is that you canít afford not to attend. I guarantee that you will still be learning and picking up ideas at your tenth convention!
Walt Gorman is the owner and founder of A-1 Windshield Doctor in Seekonk, Mass. He has 15 years experience in windshield repair and runs a training school for technicians. E-mail your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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