The COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect the operations of businesses across the country. Not only are businesses experiencing staffing issues, but also shipping and supplies are a concern.
The auto glass industry is not excluded from supply and shipping issues as a discussion on social media last week proved.
Charles Dapp owns Chuck’s Auto Glass in Mount Verde, Florida. He has been in business for 33 years, and was one of several technicians who commented on social media last week. “It will be a very helpful tool,” Dapp says of the ProSet setting tool.
Dapp says he had heard on social media about the setting tool, which aids technicians in installing windshields. He ordered the tool four to six weeks ago and had heard one part was on back order and that orders would take a while to ship. “I never thought it was a scam,” Dapp says. “Every time I email them or call them, they always respond.”
Dapp says he has seen videos of the tool.
“So I know the tool is a real tool,” he says, “They make the tool by hand to order,” Dapp says.
“That’s exactly what’s going on,” says Jamie Foss, who co-owns and operates ProSet Auto Glass with her husband, Christian Foss. “The pandemic is taking a hit on us in every shape and form.”
The couple began its auto glass tool business five years ago. Each tool sold is made by hand, and requires parts from other sources before completion.
“Every part of it — answering the phones, taking orders, keeping track of inventory,” Jamie Foss says of how she and her husband operate the business on their own.
For example, Foss says that ProSet ordered cups for the setting tools in February, and did not receive them until April. In June, they ordered wheel shafts, and did not receive them until last Friday.
“It’s mainly UPS,” Foss says of the slow shipping process. Since switching to FedEx, she says shipping is improving.
ProSet is based in Wilmot, South Dakota, a small town to which Foss says UPS and FedEx make deliveries to only once per day.
Foss says she and her husband noticed shipping issues worsening during the pandemic last year, but especially in the last six to eight months “it’s been a nightmare.”
“It’s a combination of everything. People just don’t understand,” Foss says.
ProSet’s website states, as do many government and retail websites, a caution to consumers that the volume of orders and the COVID-19 pandemic has created delays in fulfilling orders. Typically, the company ships in two to three weeks, but average time now is three to four weeks.
“We are trying. We’re trying really hard to get back to the way it was before,” Foss says of shipping times.
She says she wants the glass installers and technicians to know “I’m sorry” for the delay in getting tools to them.
She hopes to catch up with orders and get back to normal within the next month.
“We love the technicians. It’s just that they have zero understanding,” Foss says.
Joshua Patrick owns Central Kentucky Auto Glass in Lexington, Kentucky. The shop opened in February 2020.
“And we’ve been blessed,” Patrick says, who ordered the tool on April 21, 2021. “I do it all the time,” he says of ordering products online.
Usually, he receives the product in less than three to five days, so when he did not receive it in that timeframe he began contacting the company via email and phone.
“I finally got mine after I threatened [the owner] to refund my money and to go to the Better Business Bureau,” Patrick says. On June 15, Patrick says he received a tracking order from ProSet regarding his order. He received his setting tool, at a cost of approximately $1,100, in late June. He says he is still waiting for the company to refund his shipping cost of $80 as promised.
Patrick says Foss informed him the company was having shipping issues with UPS in late May. “Antsy wasn’t the word. I was hot. I’ve been ripped off once, twice [before by other sellers],” Patrick says of his experiences.
Patrick and other technicians in his shop will use the setting tool to install windshields.
“It’s just a good tool,” Patrick says.