Guest Column Sunroof Glass May/June 2019

More Reasons to Expand into Sunroofs

By Brandon Davis

By now you have read the first installment of this column about adding sunroofs to your list of services (see March/April issue page 6), and may seriously be considering doing so. Here are a few more helpful facts.

The market for sunroofs has increased rapidly over the past two decades. To-day, about 7 of 10 vehicles are built with a sunroof option. Moreover, estimates predict over the next few years nearly 50% of vehicles on the road will have a roof glass. Not only are there more sunroofs, the size of the glass panels has in-creased significantly, some encompassing nearly the entire roof. With the combination of number.

Equipment and Training

The tools needed can vary by type—for a standard sunroof, you will need a 10 mm socket, a star bit T20 or T25, and a Phillips head screwdriver. Start by removing the damaged panel by loosening the bolts (4 or 6) securing the panel to the main frame assembly, then carefully lift it up and out of the vehicle. If the glass (tempered) was shattered, use a shop vacuum for glass clean up and a flashlight to ensure all glass is removed. Once you’ve cleared all glass fragments, the replacement glass panel can be installed by bolting the glass panel to the main frame assembly.

With a standard sunroof replacement (moveable glass), minimal training is required. The first step to a successful replacement is sourcing the correct quality part. With sunroofs, there are no “aftermarket equivalent” parts, so you’ll need to replace using the same OEM part. Some vehicles, particularly older models, may have had an aftermarket sunroof installed after vehicle production. With an aftermarket sunroof, the part will need to be identified and the exact model will need to be selected for replacement.

In general, a basic sunroof glass replacement will take 60-90 minutes if tempered glass (less if laminate), but this is largely dependent on the amount of glass cleanup. With fixed glass panels on panoramic roofs, the glass is secured to the frame with urethane or bolts. Often, the headliner will need to be dropped to perform the replacement. The time spent and difficulty replacing fixed panels varies greatly, so consulting with a sunroof professional prior to the repair is recommended. Taking unnecessary steps or causing damage to sun-roof assembly components can be a time-consuming and costly mistake. Investing time in properly training your employees is important.

Show Me the Money

Now that you understand what’s involved with a sunroof glass replacement, you may be wondering if it’s lucrative. Your success will depend largely on your part acquisition and sales strategy. For a standard installation averaging an hour, a common labor fee is $125-$150. If you’re able to ac-quire parts quickly at a significant discount from a vendor, you’ll improve the likelihood of customer commitment and increase your margins. Let’s say, hypothetically, a customer calls a dealership and is quoted $600 for parts that will be available in 3-5 days (a common scenario). If you’re able to acquire the part at a 35% discount ($360) and have it to your shop in two days, you’ll be able to service the customer faster at a better price, while making a considerable profit on your mark-up of the part. Keep in mind your customer has a hole in their roof (if tempered), so time matters. If you’re able to get a customer back on the road quicker than a competitor, your chances of securing the job increase significantly. Offering sunroof glass re-placement services can potentially lead you to a customer for life for various other auto glass needs ad-ministered by your business.

Brandon Davis is the sales manager for Sunroof Express Inc.

To view the laid-in version of this article in our digital edition, CLICK HERE.

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