It seemed that from a young age Daniel Jaimes was destined to make it in the auto glass industry. The 23-year-old owner of Supreme Auto Glass in Jurapa Valley, Calif., is by no means new to auto glass, but competitions haven’t been on his radar until recently. With his first-ever competition coming up this year, does Jaimes have what it takes to beat veterans when he takes them on at Auto Glass Week™? If character and ambition have anything to do with it, he just might.
GB: What originally inspired you to enter the auto glass industry?
Jaimes: My dad has been in the industry since 2005, and I’ve been working with him since I was 10 years old. I would go with him on the weekends to pick up trash and clean the windows, and as I grew up, he gave me more responsibilities. He started having me answer the phone and making sales around 14 or 15 because my English was a lot better than his. I would do the sales for him, make the appointments, and talk to clients when they got there, little by little becoming a team member. I graduated high school in 2017 and went to college for a 13-month program to get my Business Administration Degree. I already knew how to work, I just needed to know how to run a business. I went on to open my own small business that I’ve been doing with my wife for three years independently.
GB: When did you realize that auto glass would have importance in your life?
Jaimes: Back when I graduated from high school, like a lot of kids I was lost and didn’t know what I wanted to do. I never understood how big the industry really was, but I started to realize that it’s an important career. I met a lot of people that found a lot of success in the business—and there’s nothing better than being your own boss! There’s really nothing like the freedom you get from it.
GB: Day to day, what’s your favorite part of the job?
Jaimes: Talking with people. You meet a lot of people. We work close to the beach, at multi-million-dollar homes, in the suburbs, in the desert—we meet people from all aspects of life, which is something you don’t really get when you work in an office all day. It’s really the best, just listening and taking what you can from people who give you their advice about life.
GB: Do you have any experience competing?
Jaimes: This is my first time! I didn’t know Auto Glass Week was a thing, and I didn’t know they had competitions until last year when I experienced it for the first time in Florida. That’s when my eyes really opened, and I saw how many opportunities there were. After experiencing it and being 23 with thirteen years in the industry, I figured there’s no better time to do it than right now while I’m young and have drive. I’m excited to get my name out there because I’ll be in the industry for a long time.
GB: How are you feeling entering this year’s competitions?
Jaimes: Extremely excited—and nervous, but I can’t wait. It feels like it’s a dream coming true. There are no other words but just “pure excitement”—I’m very happy that they accepted me and that I get the opportunity to be there with all the veterans. I’m really looking forward to seeing what comes out of it.
GB: What do you think will be your biggest point of stress when you compete?
Jaimes: Having the crowd of people surrounding the competition with all eyes on me. I will say, the work is all the same—we have clients out there watching us that are just curious, so there’s not a big difference, but it will still probably be nerve-racking. After a couple of minutes, I’m sure you get zoned in, and everything goes just the same as at home, though.
GB: Do you have any preparation techniques that you plan to use before competing?
Jaimes: Every time I have an appointment I need to get done, I practice saying out loud the procedures I’m going to take and what I would say to the judges in a competition so that it’s already somewhat rehearsed. With jobs, I try to get into the role and practice talking as if I were there competing. On top of that, I try to do every job as if it’s the car for competition.
GB: What is one key piece of advice you’d give to someone interested in entering the industry?
Jaimes: Be open minded. Every car is the same but different. They all have basically the same procedures, and anything different isn’t out of this world. Compared to something like construction or framing with so many rules and different procedures, it’s a lot simpler, but still very important. People will be driving on the freeway, going 80mph, and the windshield has to be put on right. I also suggest going to classes. I know there’s the Auto Glass Academy, so I suggest taking that first to get a foundation, then contacting shops to become an apprentice. Finally, commit to it all and make sure to have everything under your name. It makes you more responsible when your name is attached to the work that you do.
GB: What would you say to someone who wants to compete for the first time but is nervous to sign up?
Jaimes: It’s now or never. If you don’t do it now, you may keep overthinking it, and year by year it will go by. You’ll end up regretting it. The first time you think about doing it, just “send it!” For me, last year I went to Auto Glass Week for the first time, and this year I’m competing. Just start telling people that you’re going to compete because then if you don’t, they’ll start picking on you, so it keeps you accountable. I’ve gotten cold feet, but now that I’ve been telling everybody, I’m fully committed.
Tyler Jubar is a staff writer for glassBYTEs.com.