June 5, 2016

What Did I Learn at the Glass Expo in Seattle?

By Paul Bieber

A ton. Met many really nice glass shop owners and managers. Everyone is busy here. Backlogs are increasing and many shops said they were not taking any more work this year. A year ago, who would have believed this?

The seminars were great and every speaker left their audience with great ideas and plans. It was well-worth the time of those who came to the seminar program.

But, my best education came from a dinner Elaine and I had on Friday night at a Chinese restaurant in the hotel. It came in my fortune cookie at the end of the meal. My fortune read: “Avoid holding on to ideas just because you are used to them.” Think about it. How many policies have you had for your business that have not changed recently? You shop your insurance costs every couple of years, but have you changed your policy of who is covered by your plan? You will hire the best employees if you cover the full family of your employee. Yes, it will cost you, but the better employees will more than make it up to you.

You have read that every large company does pre-hiring and on-going drug testing, but you are not ready for that in your company… all the legal stuff and the paperwork… and what if your best worker came up positive? You would have to fire him and you don’t want that. Where do you think the people who can’t get a job at the big companies are going? They are coming to work for you!

And, you don’t want that worker who is doing drugs handling glass in your shop or driving your truck. Yes, you will have a problem once-in-a while, suck it up and go with it. You will be better off.

What other old ideas do you hold close to home? You don’t want to do work with the new color changing glass because it might require an electrician to help close the job up? There is big money here and it is about time you get into installing this. How about colored glass? Big time money here, too. Custom colors are an “in” thing in glass. Ask your fabricator to help you here. How about sandblasting on your shower doors? Link up with a local sandblaster, and you both come out ahead.

How about being open on Saturday morning for walk-in customers. A lot of business is driving by your shop because it is closed. Just place someone you really trust in charge if you don’t want to come in yourself.

Is your showroom brightly lit and spiffy? You can’t look like an old, run-down shop and sell the new products the customers want. Do you sell windows? You should call a local vinyl and wood window manufacturer, set up a display and forward the leads to the window company.  Get your 10 percent and be happy.

OK, you get the story. Be sure to read your fortune cookies and you, too, will come out ahead.