May 24, 2010

A Very Special Guest Blogger

By Paul Bieber

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a blog asking the glass world to send a guest blog that would be eligible for publishing. This is a great column written by Kathryn Morris of Glass Specialists Inc. of Atlantic Beach, Fla. Kathryn and her husband Jack, run a full-line glass shop that caters to people rather than things. Thank you, Kathryn, for improving the style, grammar and content of my blog.

What do YOU know about Glass? A woman’s perspective.

Well, I can almost guarantee you know WAY more about it than I do. I was thrown into this business without a clue about what I was really getting into.

My husband and I own a glass repair/replacement business in Jacksonville, Fla. I had an ex-husband that threw a brick through my patio door. That’s how I got involved in the glass business. The glass specialist that fixed my door is now my husband.

I can objectively look at this business and say a few things.

Competition is cut-throat. My salesmen get angry when I don’t buy from them. But I need them as suppliers, so I treat them like any good Mom would and soothe their ruffled feathers when they’re not getting commissions.

As a woman, you must LOVE your delivery drivers. They are the best. Treat them with respect, and in Florida, make sure you ALWAYS provide them with Gatorade, or cookies, or candy bars. It’s tough down here. Heck, do it no matter where you live. They work hard.

The old guys are way tougher than the young guys. The old guys know their stuff. They know how to handle glass, and they give you that look when you’re not handling it correctly.

You men always complain about us women being gossips, but man, oh, man, the gossip in the glass business FLOORS me. Men are just as bad as women at gossiping in the glass business.

You are definitely going to make mistakes no matter how long you have been in this business. Make sure your profit is enough to cover your mistakes. If it’s not, well, then you learn a hard lesson. Just make sure you learn from it.

Sometimes it’s not about “what you make”. I would much rather make nothing on a job and get 15 referrals from the person that I treated so kindly, than to be the company that everyone looks at negatively.

Small jobs are just as important as big jobs. Yes, I like to see a HUGE profit on one job but it also does my heart good to help an old lady that has a broken window, and look at her and say, “No Charge.” It’s called ‘Karma’.

The glass business is all about people and how you treat them. When it is an emergency situation, you can be the one that makes a single mom feel safe. You can be the one that makes a business owner operable again because you fixed their storefront window. I never realized how important this business was until I became involved in it. I hope everyone in the glass industry realizes the effect you have on the day to day lives of others.

Kathryn Morris
Glass Specialists Inc.
Atlantic Beach, Fla.