One of the hottest trends in both new businesses and franchising has been the growth of the mobile dent repair and mobile windshield repair industries. In our next post, we will take a look at what it takes to be a player in the business of repairing automotive body damage, but in this piece would like to explore a little bit about what it would be like to get a business off the ground in repairing and replacing automotive glass.
Understand that following the money is one of the most important considerations when looking into a new business. In the case of auto glass, revenue comes from a mix of insurance companies and the person for whom you actually do the work. This can mean to important things. Individuals are aggressive about shopping for the best possible price, not that insurance companies are not, but you will find yourself at a loss if you have not first looked into the rates being charged for similar services in your area.
In working with insurance companies comes with its own issues. Often, it’s easy to get the claim approved, but waiting on payment can take an extraordinary amount of time. Some insurance companies pay promptly, but others are notorious for dragging out reimbursement. Make sure that you have an adequate warchest on hand to carry the inventory you need, not to mention pay all of your other overhead and life bills, in the early days when cash flow could be tight.
The good side of this kind of a relationship is that it is a strategic alliance that can pay tremendous benefits once you have satisfied the insurance companies that you are a cost-effective solution for them to refer work to on an ongoing basis. Insurance companies prefer to continue using the same vendors, rather than look for every fly-by-night opportunity to save a few bucks. If you do quality work, and can establish yourself in an area, it will be long before insurance companies decide to use you whenever possible.
Your Labor Force
Unskilled or semiskilled labor comes with its own set of issues. Try to allocate enough pay so that your staff can be adequately trained in repair and replacement. Warranties are important in the replacement business especially, and you can lose a lot of money if sloppy technicians install glass in ways that causes leaks and associated damages.
Also invest in back office systems that make it easy to book and remember customer appointments. Because this business relies on a lot of mobile response, you will have customers setting up times for your technicians to visit and there will be windows of opportunity in which those calls need to be made. Failure to show up will lead to aggravation and loss of future business.
Stack up the Competition
Finally, look online to see what the competition is in your area. If there are lots of established shops willing to do mobile auto glass repair in Greenville SC, you might want to consider looking into another area. It takes some time to build a reputation and that can be made even harder when insurance companies are already used to dealing with qualified repair shops near where you intended to begin your operation.
However, if there is not a strong online presence from at least two or three other shops where you live, it might be just the ticket to start a windshield repair and replacement business. You can emphasize search engine rankings and even AdWords advertising to create early traffic as you establish yourself. Encourage those satisfy customers to shop online and offer reviews of the work you’ve done. Make sure that insurance companies operating in the area are made aware of those reviews so they continue to evaluate the possibility of sending claim work through your office.