Auto glass businesses, like many other companies were impacted by the onset of COVID-19. glassBYTES reached out to a few auto glass businesses to see how they’ve faired with safety changes, stay-at-home orders and more.
“We actually got shut down for about four weeks, we let everyone go and we closed the office and took the trucks off of the road during the peak of the virus,” said Peter Brown, president of Tiny and Sons Auto Glass Co., in Pembroke, Mass. “I slowly began to bring everyone back and it was almost as if someone flipped the lights back on.
Brown explained that it took a few weeks before he was able to put his mobile auto glass trucks back on the road to service his customers because he upgraded each vehicle to include a wash station.
As more information was learned about keeping employees and customers safe, industry businesses began implementing new health and safety procedures. Dan Knowlton, CEO and president of K&K Glass in Florida said his company began taking the temperature of its staff almost immediately after the onset of COVID-19. The company also incorporated hundreds of UVC sanitation lamps to clean vehicles and office spaces as well as installing hand sanitizer stations in its offices. According to Knowlton, many of his customers appreciated its contact-free options.
“We created social distancing measures for employees and customers throughout our locations,” said Knowlton. “We require all staff that are not able to social distance themselves and are in front of our customers to wear gloves and masks.”
Brown reopened after he and his staff had to learn ways to keep themselves and their customers safe. “We had to educate everyone on social distancing and to clean the vehicles before and after a job,” said Brown. “We had to change the way we do businesses in the office as well by closing our waiting room and everything went to appointment only.”
When government officials began implementing stay-at-home orders auto glass businesses saw a sharp decline in the amount of available work. However, after states began to reopen and lift certain restrictions, vehicles went back to the roads which caused a spike in the amount of repairs and replacements to be completed.
“After being down from our normal monthly sales figures the last couple of months have fallen back in line to where we normally would be,” said Kevin Zeiss of Mesko Glass in Scranton, Pa. “That being said, there is still a feeling of inconsistency and an unknown future that keeps a sense of urgency to get what we can when we can.”
“As we got up to speed we had to shorten our hours because a lot of our employees have children and we had to work around their schedules,” Brown explained. “But as we get into July and August we really started to ramp up.”
Brown said he had to bring another person in to help with the front phones and the business hired another technician. The company also brought in two students through the vocational program at their schools to work in his auto glass business.
“Our business has been back to normal since June,” said Knowlton. “We did not have any layoffs during the shutdown, were able to remain open as an essential business, and we were prepared for the uptick.”
“Yes, [the safety changes we’ve implemented] will [stay] for the most part until the virus is no longer a threat, we will continue to do our part to minimize risk,” said Knowlton.
“We have to stay vigilant with washing our hands more often and continuing to wear masks especially because we are still a few months out before we can start thinking about a vaccine,” said Brown.