Volume 15, Issue 2 - March/April 2013

Feature
The Case for Coatings
Premium Protective Coatings Make Sense for AGRR Companies

by Adam Zax

If your company is like most auto glass repair and replacement (AGRR) companies, you have the preconceived notion that offering a protective coating to your customers is a bad idea. You may ask why you would want to sell something that may keep the windshield from breaking when you are in the business of replacing windshields. Just like many other preconceived notions, this is a good excuse to pass a good opportunity by. By thinking it through further, this myth is quickly abandoned.

If you are trying to find ways to increase sales without getting any more calls, looking deeper into the opportunities in field-applied protective coatings will be worth the time. Again, on the surface your concern would make sense but let’s run a few scenarios and see if you can discover something you didn’t expect.

A Look at the Numbers
I’ve asked this question to literally hundreds of companies in the AGRR industry over the years: “What percent of people for whom you replace a windshield, return to have that windshield replaced again within five years?” The average response was 2 percent, but those who actually checked their records found that it was less than one percent. For purposes of confirming the opportunity, we will use 3 percent.

Next, we ask how many windshields per month the shop is selling and the average profit per windshield. We will use two different scenarios.

Scenario 1
Company A sells 90 windshields per month with an average gross profit of $200 per vehicle. Company B sells 5,000 per month with an average gross profit of $150 per vehicle.

Company A currently grosses $18,000 a month without offering a coating . Let’s see what the gross profit rises to with a high quality coating as part of the sale…

• In addition to the $18,000 let’s say 40 percent agree to purchase the protective coating, which generates on average, $100 additional gross income per sale.

• Forty percent of 90 windshields are 36 who buy, generating $3,600 of additional gross profits.

• The deduction for the 3 percent who don’t come back from re-broken windshield works out to 1.2 windshields or $240.00 of profit loss.

• $3,600 less the $240 is equal to $3,340 of found money. That’s almost $40,000 a year for something that that makes your customer safer.

Scenario 2
What about company B? They gross $750,000 a month now.

• Using the same 40 percent penetration, which is about average for companies currently offering coatings, Company B would add $200,000 a month in new profits.

• Versus the lost new business of 60 vehicles, or only $9,000 a month, the company would net $191,000 a month.

How’s that for increasing sales more than 25 percent without selling any more windshields? You can see that even if penetration levels are half of normal or even a quarter of normal, it still works out very positively as the relative lost business number drops commensurately.

Tangible Added Features
Giving your customers more value has always been a good recipe for success. When you offer protective windshield coatings you are giving your customers a tangible safety feature by increasing reaction time and their ability to see in bad weather. In some cases coatings offer additional protection against scratching and impact. In fact, some of the coatings have proven this safety feature by doing BB gun tests. YouTube is rampant with videos where coatings that add scratch- and impact-resistance are tested in real world applications. In the BB gun test, a piece of 5/16-inch laminated glass is treated on one side with the protective coatings. The operator then stands back 50 feet or so and shoots 10 shots at each side. What the video shows is that almost all shots on the untreated side break the glass badly enough that repair is not possible; the shots on the treated side almost all bounce off and the one or two that do break are of the repairable. This means those customers who do come back will likely need that more profitable service.

Getting in Touch
Having your customer stay in touch with you is another good reason to offer coatings and regular reapplication as needed. Some coatings last for many years while other last for only a few weeks based on the types of chemical bonds they each have. In all cases, however, some type of maintenance that allows the coating to stay at peak performance is required. This offers you the opportunity to stay in touch with your customers, even if it is just for a once-a-year “tune-up” treatment.

Today’s engines last hundreds of thousands of miles when they are maintained properly; the same is true for a premium protective windshield coating. Unfortunately, the coating industry does have some players who will claim that no maintenance is required. They lure in customers only to require, post-purchase, an online registration where surprised customers find that the daily or weekly maintenance suggestions such as squeegeeing are listed. This implies a requirement for the few who actually take the time to register. Beware of the coating that claim not to need maintenance of any kind, as all true premium windshield coatings require something to be done to maintain their optimal performance.

Premium coatings should be simple to apply and not require any cure times. This is especially important when it comes to concerns about liability. Coatings that are true nanotechnologies are so thin that it is not possible for them to smear, crack, peel, chip, haze or yellow. It is a shame that companies that have experienced those problems in the past were not using the premium nanotechnology thin film coatings recommended in this article and may now have a “bad taste” left in their mouths that will unfortunately prevent them from understanding the opportunities discussed above.

The fact is that AGRR companies’ liabilities may be greater in the future for NOT offering a protection to consumers that they know can save lives and property damage. Using the concern that the coating may smear and cause a liability issue to not offer premium coatings is like saying you won’t sell a car with seat belts because they may hold someone in the car. Independent tests have shown an increase in reaction time of over one full second for drivers using premium coatings on their windshields, not to mention the additional scratch and impact resistance. A full second or more at freeway speeds represents hundreds of feet and extra time to avoid danger, thus those companies who truly want to increase the safe use of their products will find offering premium protective glass coatings a natural fit.

It’s time to reconsider offering premium protective coatings to your customers.

Adam Zax is the founder and president of Diamon-Fusion International, a global manufacturer of coating for the auto glass industry.


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