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Anybody in the Auto Glass Business? My new endeavor.

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rjrobbins2

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I am curious if anyone on the forum is in or familiar with the auto glass business?

My cousin has owned a locally-operated auto glass business for 13 years. He has been asking me to come work for him managing the business for 3 years now. I have been hesistant because he has zero business sense. But, late last year he hried me to build a website and establish his online presence. He had built a 6-figure profit business without being online. He did it mainly through word-of-mouth and establishing relationships with two large auto dealers.

I built his website, set up his Google Maps profile, set up social media and in 3 months his business has grown substantially. I haven't even done any SEO or attempt to grow anything online. I just put it out there. He is now training two new technicians to handle the demand.

Last night I met with him to discuss working for him. I recently left a job after realizing they weren't providing the value to customers they should and they declined to pursue some projects to improve that I proposed.

Starting tomorrow I am going to take over managing the business and trying to grow it. The goal is to grow it to the point it can sell for a few million. He had an offer for 785k three years ago.

I now need to learn the business so I can take my existing skill set and apply it to grow his business. Auto glass is in high demand and he provides tremendous value by doing the jobs wherever the customer needs and doing most windshields for $150 which is at least half what the big guys do it for. They also offer 24-hour turnaround. He gets a lot of business just by offering that value that large companies do not.

Does anyone have experience? Advice?

I am going to be acquiring a percentage of his business based on the growth that I can establish. My initial goals are going to be learning the business, growing his online prescence and once I am comfortable with the business I am going to be selling his services to fleet companies, dealerships, etc. Our goal is to have a full slate of 5 trucks doing 8 jobs a day. Currently, he has 2 x 8 with everyday and then some for the new guys to handle.
 

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minivanman

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I have a small stake in an auto glass business. It sounds like you have it all down pretty good. When I got in, the guy actually came to replace a side window for me.... we got to talking, he worked for a company that paid him VERY LITTLE, so I fronted the first few jobs and we were off and away in our own business. We are hooked up with a couple of small garages, and mostly local ads. We are also hooked up with this place that puts on inspection stickers. Here in Texas cars must pass inspection. Actually, the place doesn't put the stickers on any longer, they just inspect the vehicles and print out a sheet if they pass the inspection. I started out making 20% and now it is down to 3%. Not because of the business doing bad, that was how we put the deal together. Next year, I am out all together because we had a 10 year deal. It has paid me back pretty good.
 

Andreas Thrane

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I have no experience in that business, but i like 'unsexy' businesses. You seems to know what you are doing.

Can you please do a progress thread? Many please hehe.
 

NateTheGreat

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Sounds like a great opportunity. Your cousin sees the potential as you have proved to him. And you obviously know the potential.

I recommend learning the business in and out. Then, like you said, applying your skill set to it as well.

I’d look at a few different aspects. What type of customers are you targeting? Are they repeats (maybe)? Or are they all organic? How far are your customers traveling to come to you? This will give you an idea of how far out to advertise and who your target market is. You can always expand into other areas.

I’d look at your competition as well. What are they doing? How are they doing things differently? Could you improve on anything that your cousin’s biz is doing currently? Or could you take ideas from the competition, tweak it, and incorporate it into your biz?

Could you provide mobile repair service? Or maybe a small pop-up location? These ideas are down the road, but may want to think about these if you two are ok with hiring more manpower.

Many different avenues. I would first just dive into it and learn everything there is to know about it.

Definitely start an execution thread! I’d be excited to see where it goes!
 

Kak

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This is what vertical integration looks like. Buy a gravel business.

Put a sign on your truck that says you’re not responsible and BAM...(because everyone behind them agreed to that right?)

FYI folks. If a gravel truck breaks your windshield... Call them and and make them buy you a new one. They are responsible for stuff that flies off their trucks. If you have a dash cam... even better.

Good luck in your endeavor! I would call all the auto insurance companies and ask to be a vendor for them. When someone files a claim they usually send a list of prefered vendors to their clients. I would want to be on that list.
 

D_Benga

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Looks like you have a good hold on things and a good start. The price you are offering is way lower than what most people charge. Just make sure it doesn't come across as a low quality service because of you price vs the competitor. Good luck.
 

minivanman

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I read the whole thing yesterday and didn't notice the $150 price. Get the most profit possible. I never pay attention to what others are charging because we all have different overhead but if I was going to charge $150, then I would raise it to $190. Not a lot of difference in the customer's eyes, while still being under $200 yet you make a whopping $40 x 8 jobs = $320 x 2 trucks = $640 more PER DAY! x 8 trucks = $2560 more PER DAY! Raise the workers pay just a bit so they are happier and it's still a very big win for the customer, the worker and the company! I think that's a no brainer because $190 is a very reasonable price in just about any market.
 
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rjrobbins2

rjrobbins2

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I have a small stake in an auto glass business. It sounds like you have it all down pretty good. When I got in, the guy actually came to replace a side window for me.... we got to talking, he worked for a company that paid him VERY LITTLE, so I fronted the first few jobs and we were off and away in our own business. We are hooked up with a couple of small garages, and mostly local ads. We are also hooked up with this place that puts on inspection stickers. Here in Texas cars must pass inspection. Actually, the place doesn't put the stickers on any longer, they just inspect the vehicles and print out a sheet if they pass the inspection. I started out making 20% and now it is down to 3%. Not because of the business doing bad, that was how we put the deal together. Next year, I am out all together because we had a 10 year deal. It has paid me back pretty good.
In Missouri they require inspections as well. I asked him about it and they get a lot of business from those because you cant have any cracks. There is talk about getting rid of them though.

What kind places did you use for your local ads? I am thinking about doing some Google, Facebook and Bing ads to see if they yield any business.

I am having everyone start tracking where the business is coming from by asking all customers how they heard of us so we know our strengths and weaknesses as far as getting them coming in.
 
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rjrobbins2

rjrobbins2

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I have no experience in that business, but i like 'unsexy' businesses. You seems to know what you are doing.

Can you please do a progress thread? Many please hehe.

The unsexy about it is one of the things I like. It is a simple yet high demand business that doesnt have a ton of competition. I just learned today that some of the big dogs dont even have technicians, they take orders and farm it out to guys like us. I am going to exploit the hell out of that and if we can get some capital and am going to expand us to other cities and just farm out work. This is a skill we could teach guys straight out of high school too.

I can definitely do a progress thread. Is there a place for that on here?
 
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rjrobbins2

rjrobbins2

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Kansas City, MO
I read the whole thing yesterday and didn't notice the $150 price. Get the most profit possible. I never pay attention to what others are charging because we all have different overhead but if I was going to charge $150, then I would raise it to $190. Not a lot of difference in the customer's eyes, while still being under $200 yet you make a whopping $40 x 8 jobs = $320 x 2 trucks = $640 more PER DAY! x 8 trucks = $2560 more PER DAY! Raise the workers pay just a bit so they are happier and it's still a very big win for the customer, the worker and the company! I think that's a no brainer because $190 is a very reasonable price in just about any market.

We charge $100 more than the glass cost. So, it if cost $50 for the glass, we charge $150. We are able to charge less because we have virtually no overhead. The trucks are paid off we have the glue, gas, insurance, and the techs work as contractors getting a commission per job.

I agree with getting more profit but right now nearly all his business is word-of-mouth because his customers love him. My cousin is a lovable guy and the low prices and mobile service provide tremendous value to people. Once I learn all the financials I will look at raising prices but I dont want to mess with that yet since what he has been doing works.
 

Ing

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Btw. With new lights and new technic you will have to do much more than just changing the glas.
Cameras for autonomy are one issue to consider.
Glas service will have a big change in the next years and will be much more expensive on both sides
 

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minivanman

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Btw. With new lights and new technic you will have to do much more than just changing the glas.
Cameras for autonomy are one issue to consider.
Glas service will have a big change in the next years and will be much more expensive on both sides
And hopefully they add heat back to the windshield. I love that feature.
 

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