By Travis Rains
If you ask the members of the executive committee at the National Windshield Repair Division (NWRD) of the Auto Glass Safety Council (AGSC), they’ll say this is the most exciting time for the industry in three decades. But with constant technological developments being incorporated and adding complexity to today’s vehicles, it’s also true that industry education is now more important than ever.
The board for 2022 is comprised of chair Linda Rollinson of Superior Auto Glass of Tampa Bay Inc., vice chair Lenny Hennessy of AGIS in Chandler, Ariz., Jacques Navant of Don’s Mobile Glass in California, Jay Bickford of NOVUS Glass in Saint Paul, Minn., Korey Gobin of Delta Kits in Eugene, Oregon and Aric Haarala of Glass Mechanix Solutions in Eugene. The six, and NWRD as a whole, look to further spread the word about windshield repair. They want motorists to know that a repair is a viable option while at the same time communicating proper practices to the industry.
“I personally think this is the most exciting time for our industry in probably the last 20 to 30 years with all the merging technology and everything else that’s being integrated into chip repair and replacement,” Navant says in agreement from Hennessy and Rollinson. “These are really exciting times.”
Misinformation and Education
But Rollinson notes that all the exciting developments need to be paired with associated education. That way, industry professionals know they’re operating under best practices, and consumers know repair is possible. For Hennessy, accomplishing that goal begins with addressing misinformation and miscommunication.
“There’s a lot of misinformation out there,” Hennessy says. “It’s unfortunate because windshields are being replaced that just don’t need to be replaced. It’s really state-driven: deductible versus zero deductible. The deductible state is highly windshield repair due to the fact that the repair, normally the deductible is waived. A replacement, you have a $500 dollar deductible and you replace the windshield. So if you can repair, that’s great.”
And yet there remain bad actors in those repair-heavy states, those who perform “repairs” without the proper know-how. Hennessy says some such bad actors even say they offer repair but, in reality, the work they complete cannot fall under that category. That’s another area where education can make a difference in the windshield repair industry.
Looking at zero-deductible states, Rollinson notes a stark difference in the way business is approached.
“In the zero-deductible states, you don’t have actual business people, they’re just out to make the quick buck,” Rollinson says. “So, of course, they want the replacement. A business such as mine wants repair because that awesome repair is going be talked about amongst their friends more so than a windshield replacement. Therefore doing a repair correctly does help build your business and that’s what they don’t see in the zero-deductible states.”
These days, performing repairs correctly means adhering to best practices regarding ADAS technology and associated calibration. Navant believes the NWRD must create educational material so the industry can learn the “dos and don’ts” of those processes. While he believes the organization is on the right track, he knows more can and will be done in the near future. For Hennessy, it’s vital that those messages are delivered through as many platforms as possible.
Models for Success
When asked how repair-only businesses can compete in the industry today, board members unanimously answered that the most important consideration is performing repairs properly. The board points to the ROLAGS standard for those starting out in the business or wanting to learn more. Rollinson and Navant called ROLAGS a “road map” for the industry, adding that those who follow the associated guidelines will be on the right
track to performing proper repairs.
“It’s all about education,” Hennessy reiterates. “A lot of people when they get a windshield repair done, if they’re not familiar with it, they’re amazed when it’s done by somebody who knows what they’re doing. While it’s not a drastic change, like Linda said, they do carry it back in conversations with their friends. It will really push that windshield repair-only company to the next level, just doing a very good job using good products.”
Another tip from Navant is for those businesses to highlight the benefits of repair over replacement.
“Highlight the benefits of a proper chip repair,” he says, “and how we’re not putting windshields out into a landfill; highlight the benefit of a greener method of repair. We’re keeping that original seal intact without risk of damaging the vehicle.”
Hennessy says a proper repair does not come with many of the ADAS calibration worries that may come with replacement. Overall, the group agreed that there has never been a time when repair had more value. Part of that has to do with supply chain constraints.
“Our industry is in the middle of a major supply shortage where even the adhesives that we use to put the glass in are in short supply,” Navant says. “Glass parts are in short supply, so there’s never really been a better time to promote chip repair.”
“In light of the addition of ADAS systems to cars, the cost of auto glass replacement has just about doubled in the past few years,” Bickford says. “So windshield repair is an even more viable option for people to keep their original windshields in their cars and keep them serviceable.”
The ROLAGS 2 Standards Committee continuously maintains and interprets the Repair of Laminated Auto Glass Standard (ROLAGS). The standard, Navant says, is a roadmap for the repair industry.
“If they’re following the ROLAGS standard, they’re going in the right direction,” he says. “We’re in the process of building ROLAGS 2, so I would hope anyone in the industry who wants a say or to help with the process would reach out so we can set them in the right direction. That way, they can have some input and first-hand experience in guiding our industry into the future.”
Hennessy also believes there needs to be more overall regulation that follows AGSC and the Automotive Glass Replacement Safety Standard™ (AGRSS). And he says more can be accomplished as additional businesses throw in with the AGSC.
“The more memberships we get, it really does drive safe repair and replacement,” Rollins agreed.
Another upcoming initiative about which the board is excited is Career Day taking place the last day of Auto Glass Week, on September 16 in San Antonio.
“I think it’s going to be huge,” Hennessy says. “It will open their eyes to what repair is and what the auto glass industry is.”
“Career Day is going to be very good for the repair industry because it is going to teach these younger kids that repair is definitely an option,” Rollinson adds.
Travis Rains is an assistant editor for AGRR magazine. Connect
with him at email@example.com.
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