“Consumers are under the assumption that all the [auto glass] shops are operating to the best standards,” says Terry Dennis, owner of Auto Glass Masters in Three Rivers, Mich. “We have to be willing to change our industry to be accountable, not just to the customers, but to ourselves.”
That’s why he’s created and invested in Certified Glass Alliance, a for-profit company aimed at helping independent shops compete against larger corporations. It’s not about governing independents, rather, it’s about establishing an industry standard of professionalism by putting safety on the forefront.
“The Certified Glass Alliance is a group of independent glass shops that are coming together to form an alliance to bring safety, integrity, professionalism and financial stability back to our industry,” Dennis explains.
Two years ago, Dennis came up with the idea of establishing the Alliance, which requires independent shops to be registered with the Auto Glass Safety Council (AGSC) and all technicians working for the company to be AGSC certified. The reason?
“Here we are in 2017, and the state of the industry is worse than it’s ever been. The pay is terrible and the training is little to none. The reality of it is that there’s zero accountability, and that’s very frightening to me,” says Dennis. He’s looking for shops that are AGSC certified and do their own billing directly.
By being AGSC certified, Dennis says you have something extra to bring to consumers, and, therefore, they’ll be more inclined to accept your costs without feeling pressured to offer discounts.
“Promotional stuff devalues your company and our industry—it’s black-eye for the industry. You should be able to tell your customer why your prices are what they are—it’s because you’re not compromising their safety and your technicians meet the highest qualifications,” he says.
The Alliance, which is not affiliated with the AGSC, will also maintain records for liability purposes, Dennis says, to ensure shops have the proper insurance, workers comp and technicians have gone through background checks.
Dennis wants the Alliance to be an asset. He believes independents can provide affordable installations without sacrificing safety or accountability to improve the overall state of the industry.
“I want people to know that this has and is being thought out to help them,” he says. “Together we can do this, compete on a national level and bring back the professionalism to our industry.”
For more details about the Certified Glass Alliance, look for the full story in the 2017 November/December issue of AGRR™ magazine.