August 20, 2019

I’m A Flat Glass Man

By Paul Bieber

Is this a great title for a country song? Or is it about a man, who was run over by a glass truck, and is now flat? Or is it a five-word biography of me?

I have been in our wonderful industry since 1976 and I can’t imagine a better place to be, both for our industry and, most importantly, for the wonderful folks in it. But what’s next?

I read Deb Levy’s blog just now where she described the future of auto glass replacement and that private cars will be decreasing by huge numbers. But can that happen to us? You bet it can and, more importantly, you can bet it will.

What are these changes that we can at least see now?

  • Energy savings is number one. Sophisticated make-ups for insulating glass (IG), coated, electrified, energy producing and still letting people see out. It has only been a very short time that IG has morphed from a double-paned window to an architectural addition to construction. Don’t say this won’t hit you. Many cities and communities now have ever-tightening standards that you have to be on top of. Don’t think you can get by with skipping these trends in insulating glass. You will be looking at the tail lights of our industry if you don’t get on board now.
  • Security is next. I get random questions from readers about security glazing. Every one of this group is afraid to do it. Glass at a couple of hundred dollars a square foot scares them. But this is how the glaziers felt 30 years ago when IG started to become important. Talk to the laminators in your area. Learn from them on the various types security glass available (there are a hundred different variables, but none that you won’t understand) and look for these quotes. The margins are huge on these jobs. Don’t miss out.
  • Residential security is next. Most homes don’t need bullet-resistant glazing, but putting a 0.060 or 0.090 laminated glass in homes is getting popular to stop break-ins. Also, most coastal areas on the east and gulf coasts require 0.090 lami for hurricane protection. You do need to sell your customers on the 0.060 lami for their homes. Know the crime rates in your local areas. Build a display in your showroom showing the effectiveness of lami. Go to local community meetings, like Rotary or Chambers of Commerce, and speak about the advantages of lami. Have your lami supplier supply you with sample size lites and plenty of literature on security glazing.

There are many other areas as well: thermally broken metals, energy producing glass and glass that changes from opaque to clear are just a few of the glass specialties out there. Pick one or two and really know them well. These new ideas will help your growth curve.

So, there are some thoughts to help you grow and prosper for the next decade. I hope you do.