Our first story comes from Larry Young. Larry owns four windshield repair businesses in the Houston area. He’s been doing it for almost two decades. We wanted to hear about how he’s gone from CPA and attorney to growing a glass business from a part-time operation to a number of locations around the state of Texas to his best day on the job (which is an impressive number of repairs by the way).
Here’s part one in our two part success story series.
DKI: How did you get started in windshield repair?
LY: My own truck had a small rock chip in it which soon turned into a crack. I kept planning to do something about it but I really did not know what to do. As the problem continued, I noticed a tent at an auto service center near my home in Houston that advertised free rock chip repair. The guy was set up under a tent and I thought "this may be some type of scam". Still, I stopped to talk to the guy. Basically, to paraphrase the industry message, he said "the repair process is fast, free and easy and that all I needed to show him was my insurance card".
On a Sunday afternoon, the technician called somebody on behalf of my auto insurance company and they advised both him and me that the repair would be free. So I let him repair it. This seemed too good to be true. I thought about it for about a week and then contacted the various insurance agencies around town to inquire into this "free repair" service. I found that many agents did not know about it, others did, and even more knew enough just to provide confusing answers. I searched it further and found that indeed the insurance companies believed the (free) repair process made great sense and economic sense for both them and the customer. Even today, it is surprising, and frustrating, that the insurance companies have not been able to get out a more clear message (if any) to their own customers that insurance prefers this process and that it may generally be free to many, if not most, of their own customers...especially when it saves the insurance company money too.
DKI: How did you make the decision to go from a CPA and attorney to running a rock chip repair business?
LY: I knew how to set up and run a business, but I knew little about this particular business. Being a hands-on person, I wanted to fully understand the industry before I would set it up for someone else to run. After some research, I determined that Delta Kits may provide the best kit, supplies and training for my planned business. After talking with Delta Kits, I made arrangements to fly to their offices, meet them, look over their business and attend the training course to get certified. This all went well.
My plan was to return to Houston, and in my spare time, do some repairs and to get the business established and then turn it over to someone. At that time, there was no clear resource on the various methods of running this business. On one hand, with a casual look, you could easily say that "this is a really an easy business to run". On the other hand, it’s not. This is especially true when you step back and see all the administrative matters that come up as you expand and grow. Still, it's a good business if you regularly continue to stay on top of the matters required to make and keep it successful.
Meanwhile, I begin to phase out the CPA work over these years taking fewer clients and eventually phasing out all clients due to the workload of glass. Likewise, the legal work had to slowly be ramped down, although, to this day, I still handle a certain caseload. Over the last 15 years, the glass business has become a full time operation.
DKI: What have you learned over the years, to set yourself apart from the competition?
LY: We have found that to a degree the public sometimes views all glass shops alike. In other words a pack of gum here is going to taste the same as that pack of gum down the street. They may not be aware that the same damage can get a very different result based on what company does the repair. Over the years, we have found that some companies may not put enough effort into training, evaluations, and quality materials based. This conclusion, in part is based on:
- Reviews we read,
- Windshields we see that have been “repaired” elsewhere,
- Customer complaints relayed to us about some other shows they have tried.
This is so unfortunate to the industry as whole because it seems that perhaps the public may believe that each of the different repair centers either solely owned or corporate owned that they may see available across a city or state may deliver the same level of service. This level of service translates into:
- The location “set up” or “outward professional appearance”,
- The quality presentation of the technician as to style, appearance, politeness, and work product/result,
- The proper explanation of the repair process and customer expectations outlined before the repair process starts,
- The successful lasting outcome or failure of the work performed.
We strive for an A+ grade in each of these categories I just mentioned, so as to always get a repeat customer for life and hope to get referrals as well. We believe our success is largely due to a favorable outcome in these categories and more.
Check in next month for part two! Thanks for sharing your story, Larry!
Do you have a success story that you want to share? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!