Auto Glass Repair Business Idea
Windshield cracks and chips are a small problem that can result in a major expense for drivers. Full windshield replacement is a costly proposition and can be time-consuming as well, leading many vehicle owners to seek less expensive methods for repairing minor auto glass damage. The auto glass repair business industry was created to serve this public need, and offers lower-cost methods for repairing small cracks and chips before they become bigger problems.
In many cases, insurance companies will waive the deductible for car owners who choose auto glass repair over full replacement of their cracked or chipped windshield. Reliable auto glass repair services are always in demand due to the reduced cost of repair over replacement to the driver. Although competition in this business can be high, it is fairly recession-proof.
Auto Glass Repair Business vs. Replacement
Opening an auto glass repair business is a major undertaking and requires an in-depth knowledge of the most up-to-date methods and techniques for repairing chips and cracks in windshields and windows. National guidelines for windshield repair professionals outline various types of cracks and chips and the recommended approaches for these repairs depending on where they are located on the windshield.
While auto glass repair for side and rear window cracks is less stringently regulated, cracks and chips in the windshield can seriously affect driver visibility. This is especially true in the acute area, an 8 ½ inch wide by 11 inch high area just above the steering wheel of the vehicle. Many auto glass repair professionals will not repair a major crack in this area since even after the repair is completed the crack may still be visible from some angles. This can impair the driver’s vision and potentially result in liability for the auto glass repair business.
Glass Repair Methods
Most auto glass repair techniques require the use of specialized equipment to remove air from the crack and replace it with one of a number of commercially available resins. Commonly available commercial grade resin systems include products from Glass Mechanix, Novus, Triclare, and GT, with Delta currently dominating much of the United States marketplace.
While auto glass repair professionals differ regarding which is the most effective and durable type of resin, the repair process for all resin types is basically the same and consists of a number of steps, outlined in more detail in the 2007 ANSI standard regarding windshield repair.
- Thoroughly inspect and evaluate the damaged area
- Clean and remove all moisture from the chip or crack
- Warm or cool the glass to the recommended temperature
- Access the damaged area by drilling or other method
- Ensure the resin remains in optimum condition
- Remove air from the chip or crack by displacement or vacuum
- Fill the damaged area completely with resin and allow it to cure
- Smooth and polish the repaired area so it is flush with original glass
- Inspect the finished result
Glass Repair Equipment
In order to start an auto glass repair business it is generally necessary to purchase a specialized auto glass repair system. These systems include a number of necessary tools and resins and may include accessories like moisture evaporators and heat exchangers. The heart of any auto glass repair system, however, is the bridge assembly and injection mechanism. This device delivers the resin directly to the crack or chip.
Most bridge assembly components feature a suction cup to hold the injector securely against the damaged area of the windshield. The quality of the bridge assembly and injector is second only to the quality of the resin in determining the durability and effectiveness of the repair.
Training For Your Business
Many auto glass repair systems include an instructional training DVD. While formal courses in auto glass repair are available in most areas through vocational schools or community colleges, most repair professionals in the field acquire their training on the job. In order to qualify as a Certified Auto Glass Repair Technician, auto glass repair personnel must:
- Either have worked in the auto glass industry for six months or have completed a formal training course, and
- Have performed at least 200 auto glass repairs
Where to Start
Initial investment for an auto glass repair business ranges from around $800 to $1,500 for basic equipment, depending on the system chosen. Some auto glass repair shops are operated out of a vehicle, while others are located at a fixed location. Brick-and-mortar businesses usually also offer windshield replacement services. For all new auto glass repair business owners, attracting and retaining customers can be challenging. One way to attract customers is to develop a relationship with local insurance companies. Referrals are an outstanding way of developing a reputation and a steady stream of customers.
Car dealerships and collision repair shops often require the services of qualified auto glass repair professionals. Direct advertising to these establishments can also bring in new business. Finally, do not underestimate the value of the personal touch. By joining local business organizations and participating in various trade shows and local expos, auto glass repair professionals can make valuable contacts who can help drive business to their company and ensure its success.