VOLUME 6 -
Think You Have to Avoid Doing Repairs
During the Cold Months?
by Matt Larson
Many windshield repair technicians seem to pattern their business after some of our furry friends, who prefer to hibernate through the tough winter months. Thatís great for those lucky few who make enough money during spring and summer to last all year, but for most repair technicians, finding a way to be profitable during the winter months can ultimately make the difference between the success or failure of your business.
As the days get shorter, it is critical that you use your time wisely. I know a lot of technicians who donít do morning repairs during the winter because of the low temperature and moisture present on winter mornings. To me, this doesnít make any sense. If you let those same windshields sit for two or three hours they will still be cold and damp. If you are performing repairs outdoors during the winter, you should be warming the glass and removing moisture on every repair. Why limit the hours in which you can perform repairs when daylight is in such short supply?
Use those morning hours wisely by making sales calls or catching up on paper work, but donít let the weather be an excuse for you to sleep in every morning. With a few extra precautions, you can perform great repairs even in the toughest of conditions.
Under the Covers
Some of the best advice I can give you is to do repairs under cover whenever possible. If a shop is available, use it. Doing repairs in a controlled environment will lead to more consistent results.
Of course you have to warm the glass; between 70 and 90 degrees gives the best results, but make sure you warm the glass slowly. When glass is cold, it doesnít respond well to sudden temperature changes, so be careful. Instead of using the defroster on high, try turning the heat down. Better yet, use the heater and warm the entire interior of the car. If you are using a heating device, make sure to warm the entire area around the break slowly and evenly.
One thing that many technicians overlook is their equipment and resin. Make sure that neither your resin nor your injector are too cold. Many windshields have cracked out from the application of cold resin on a warm windshield.
When the glass is warm enough, make sure to check for moisture. Carefully flex the break with your probe and look for moisture movement. A repair that has a lot of moisture or liquid contamination often will appear partly filled. Your best weapon in the fight against moisture is common sense.
If it has rained recently or if dew is present on the windshield, the odds are that moisture is present. If you arenít sure, then you need to treat the break as if it has moisture in it. The most effective tool to get rid of moisture is a moisture evaporator. It is a tool designed specifically for the windshield repair technician and is far less likely to crack a windshield than heat guns or mini torches. One thing technicians should be cautious about using is dry-out solution. A lot of technicians use it, but most of those solutions are either alcohol- or acetone-based, which can destroy the windshield laminate. I wouldnít recommend using them.
Many technicians forget about those pesky ultraviolet (UV) rays during the winter. Just because it is cold out, doesnít mean that your repairs wonít cure prematurely. Make sure that you are using some sort of UV shield even in winter.
The one thing that a technician must have if he hopes to do repairs all winter is patience. You must take the time to do things the right way, and in the winter, the right way takes a little longer. Donít let Mother Nature tell you when you are done working on a break. An improper repair not only reflects on you and your business, but more importantly, on the entire windshield repair industry. If it doesnít fill in 15 minutes, take 20. If you donít have as much work this winter, make sure you treat each customer as if they are your only customer. Take the time to clean the entire windshield when you are done with a repair. Many technicians think it is a waste of time, but look at it as an investment in your repeat business. If you did just enough to get a customerís money, but no more, why would anyone ever tell his friends and family about you?
Remember that many customers will only give you one shot to convince them that windshield repair is a viable alternative to replacement. I know many people who have had their windshield ďrepairedĒ by some hack and will never let a repair technician near their windshield again. You have a responsibility to your customer, your business and our industry to do things the right way. So, this winter, make sure you have your customers tell others about you for the right reasons. Donít be tempted to take those shortcuts that will lead to inferior repairs, even though your cold fingers might be telling you to.
Matt Larson is a sales representative for Delta Kits.