Our Intentions Are As Clear As Glass
It was recently brought to my attention that many of you have heard about the GlassComp Web Alliance, but youíre still not exactly sure what it is weíre trying to accomplish or why your membership is so important. I know that in our society of constant Facebook status updates and 140 characters or fewer tweets, weíre not used to reading pages of information. I didnít want to turn everyone off to our cause by overwhelming you with pages and pages of statistics and information, so I tried to condense things as much as possible. I underestimated just how interested my audience was, and for that, I am truly sorry. I have put together the following; to hopefully give you the information you need and answer your remaining questions. If itís still not enough, please, call me or email me with any questions you still have. I would love the opportunity to speak with each and every one of you.
- Rich Brummett
Who is GlassComp?
GlassComp was incorporated in 1992 by Rich Brummett. We are located in Morton, Illinois, but throughout our nearly twenty year history we have worked with auto glass companies and insurance companies from all across the United States, including Alaska and Hawaii. Many of you may be familiar with GlassComp through our EDI processing service. For those of you who are not, we provide EDI processing services for independent auto glass companies who do not have EDI capabilities. They send us their paper invoices via fax, email, or U.S. mail, and we process them via EDI to each respective network (LYNX, Safelite, and Harmon Solutions, etc.). We do this at a cost that is significantly less than the cost of sending your paper invoice directly to the network for processing. You may also know GlassComp from years ago when we bid on the first State Farm Insurance glass program. We were one of two vendors selected by State Farm Insurance to service 9 out of the 10 regions. You may also recognize our name from our 18 year involvement with Country Financial and Cotton States. GlassComp administered ďOffer and AcceptanceĒ agreements to independent auto glass vendors on behalf of Country Financial. If youíve done work for a Country Financial insured, you more than likely have done work with GlassComp as well. (Surprising fact about our involvement with the Country Financial programÖwe werenít the only network involved! There were three other networks that participated in the Country Financial glass program in addition to GlassComp. However, GlassComp participants received an average of 85% to 90% of the total volume when in direct competition with some major networks. That was no accident. Some of you may even recognize GlassCompís Presidentís name from when he owned his own auto glass shops here in Illinois. Yes, there was a time when he was also an independent in the auto glass business; just like you. Rich has been working in the auto glass industry in some capacity for more than 30 years. His knowledge of the auto glass industry and his passion for the cause of the independent auto glass community is the driving force behind GlassCompís current movement.
What is happening?
What is GlassCompís current movement? We are trying to become a network that truly represents the independent auto glass community. Other networks boast your membership and participation, but letís face it; you participate because if you donít, youíre out of work. Thatís not right. We want to change the way the auto glass claims process works. We want to negotiate contracts with insurance companies that benefit everyone involved. Right now the insurance companies save money (or at least are under the impression that they are saving money), the networks make money, and the independent auto glass vendor suffers. Does that sound about right? There are so many things that go on behind the scenes of a network. Wouldnít you like to know what those things are? At GlassComp, weíll tell you. We want to openly communicate with the members of the independent auto glass community to build a network that represents their best interests and operates based on what is best for everyone involved. We donít want to be radical and call for mass boycotts or price gouging. We donít want to start an uphill legislation fight with good intentions but minimal results. We want to change the way networks are perceived, the way they operate, and shake things up just a little. There is a better way. We know what that way is. We want to build a large membership base of independent auto glass companies across the United States. We want to use the input of our members to determine what you want and what you feel will benefit you and still satisfy the insurance community. We want to use this information to negotiate contracts with insurance companies that benefit everyone. We want to give the insurance companies a new approach and a new way to deal with auto glass claims. Is 5 minutes of pressing (1) for this and (2) for that followed by 15 minutes on the phone with an inexperienced customer service representative the best way to set-up an auto glass claim? We donít think so either. We can do better, we know we can, but we need your participation and your help to set things in motion. There is a better way.
Where is this taking place?
You may think that because GlassComp is located in central Illinois, and youíre out in California or New York or Alaska or wherever, that thereís no reason for you to join. That is not the case! We have created a new website, www.glasscomp.com, with an exclusive Memberís Area where we can all meet and communicate no matter our geographical location. Many of you are hung up on thinking that access to the website is all you get for your membership fee. That could not be further from the truth. The website is just the beginning. The private, anonymous, membersĎonly message boards give us a place to meet and talk honestly and openly. We want to hear all of your ideas, your criticisms, and your stories. You can also use the message boards to talk with one another, ask each other questions, and anything else you want, but that is not the message boardsí only function. We will use them as our meeting hall. We can network and make plans. When we say we want to create a network that truly represents the interests of the independent auto glass community, we mean it. Sign up for a 5-day guest account, sign up for membership, do whatever it takes to come to one ďmeetingĒ and put your thoughts out there. Your contribution could make all the difference in the world. You wonít know until you give it a try.
When are things going to happen?
In one word, NOW! I know a lot of you are still inclined to take a wait and see approach to the GlassComp Web Alliance. The economy isnít great, business is slower, GlassComp doesnít have an insurance account to speak of right now, whereís the return on your investment? Let me ask you a question; what kind of return are you getting from the other networks? I donít like calling names, but I just want you to think about some of the membership programs you may be participating in currently. Letís see, LYNX Services has its ProStars program. What does ProStars offer? Well for an additional contribution, your shop can obtain the ProStars Member label. You can put a special logo on your invoice or wherever else you please and tout this to your customers. How many customers have the slightest clue that the word ďProStarsĒ means something? What else do you get as a ProStars Member? Do you get moved up the rotation for jobsÖat what price? Are you required to give a larger discount for the jobs you receive as a ProStars Member? Do you get enough additional jobs to offset a higher discount? You may be interested to know that our experience tells us that only about 15% of auto glass claims are sent to a glass shop on rotation basis. That means 85% of claims are sent to a shop based on policyholder (or agent) preference. So for your membership are you competing for 100% of the 15% of the rotation (at a larger discount)? Or, if there are more ProStars Members in your area, (even one more), arenít you competing for 50% of the 15% of the rotation work? Or did I miss something? I know it gets confusing, but nobody else wants to draw your attention to those numbers. Then thereís Safelite. Their aggressive marketing practices end up sending a majority of jobs to Safelite shops. Letís face it, some of you may get just as many jobs from Safelite as youíre going to get from GlassComp in the beginning, none. I will admit that I donít know everything, so if Iíve made any false statements, please, tell me! I have no intention of saying anything that is untrue in an effort to win you over. I shouldnít have to; the truth speaks for itself on this matter.
Donít misunderstand me. Iím not just trying to put down LYNX or Safelite. They are out to run a successful business and make money just like you and I. The stockholders of the multinational corporations that own them demand it. Insurance companies are out to make a profit also. Have you turned your TV to any channel other than a movie channel without seeing an endless stream of insurance commercials trying to convince you to buy their products? The insurance industry deals with cut-throat competition just like you do. If they could deal with you directly and save money they would. They do what works and what turns a profit. What they do with networks works for them because we (you and I) let it work. You do the work at deep discounts, you sign up for ProStars, you counter with ridiculously higher discounts of your own in an attempt to gain more business from the network and undercut your competition. Those networks receive the same amount from the insurance company for every claim whether you offer a 15% discount or a 75% discount, and soon 75 % becomes the new 15%. Youíre only hurting yourself and your industry. At GlassComp, we believe the work of the independent auto glass vendor speaks for itself. We know 85% of insurance claims come through with a requested shop for a reason. Policyholders and Agents like supporting local companies. Agents like to know who is working on their policyholderís vehicle. They like to work with local companies because they know that you too will treat their policyholder like a valued customer. You have a vested interest in your company you have to do superior work. Your local agent is an independent too. They like to know youíll still be in business tomorrow in case they have a problem or another break.
Will you be there tomorrow? As I said earlier, the time to act is now. Donít wait until youíre backed into a corner. This is our one last push to make a change to the auto glass industry before itís too late. Donít be content with just getting by. We hope this helps all of you realize that GlassComp is trying to do something different, something better, but we canít do it without your help.
Why are you doing this?
Some of you may still be questioning GlassCompís motives. Youíve been through this before with other organizations that promise you the world, take your membership dues, and no matter how meaningful their intentions were, you got nothing in return. Maybe they get too radical; maybe they sell out, or just become stagnate. Maybe too many people wanted to be King. Many of you may be thinking ďFool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on meĒ. GlassComp isnít trying to fool anybody. Your skepticism and hesitancy is only natural after what youíve experienced in the past. Weíre not going to promise you overnight change and millions of dollars because we canít, it would be irresponsible on our part. We can promise you that we will do everything possible within our means to improve the independent auto glass industry. The more membership we have and the more independent auto glass companies we have standing with GlassComp, the more means we have to make a change. That is precisely why your membership is the first and most important step towards any kind of change. We are doing this because we know what itís like to be pushed around by the ďbig guysĒ. We know what itís like to know youíre the best at what you do, and we know what itís like to be overlooked, regardless of how well you can do the job, because you donít have the flashy advertisements or financial backing of some huge corporation. We know what itís like to be kicked when youíre down, and weíve had enough. Havenít you? We are doing this because itís time to make a change. The systemís broken, it needs to be fixed.
How are you going to do it?
The most important question; Iím sure all of you want to hear a plan of action. We have a plan, we have lots of plans. We have staff working on acquiring insurance contacts and developing leads. We have hired Jessica Karpawicz to lead a national sales effort to promote the value and quality of the independent auto glass vendors to the insurance companies. We still need your help and your input though. Maybe you have an insurance company contact that could be helpful in our efforts. Maybe you know somebody who knows somebody who could be helpful. Every little bit helps. We arenít going to lay out our whole plan here for the world to see, but if you want to know more or have ideas you would like to contribute, please call or email us! Join GlassComp. Make a commitment for change. We think we have some pretty good ideas, but you may have better ones. We are going to do this through communication and openness, that much we can promise you.
Here are some of the other things that are on the table and some in progress.
Your Membership Fees support far more than a Website.
- GlassComp has software development ability in addition to state of the art EDI processing ability.
- We are currently working on an on-line EDI processing program that will reduce the EDI costs for members even more.
- At one time we sold several software products to independent auto glass repair and replacement companies. We are looking at the possibility of upgrading that software and providing it to our members. Yes, at no additional fee. (We canít get around the NAGS License though) thatís between you and NAGS. We just provide the updates when the prices change.)
- How about a free obsolete glass locator? You can list old parts you have for sale, your price, and vendors can contact you for details.
- We have contacted some independent suppliers of glass, equipment and supplies to discuss potential ďbuying group powerĒ for our membership.
- How about a video library of installations?
- Tell your stories. Got information you want to share? We have tons! Let us hear yours.
- Tips and Tricks. I know everyone of you could contribute to this idea.
- What about certification standards? Do you know what they are and how you can acquire certification?
- What about an emergency assistance program for catastrophic disaster help?
- Have you noticed the weather map for your zip code on the website?
- Little things and big things, everything matters. We have yet to even see any of your ideas. We know you have a wealth of ideas too. Share them. You donít have to stand alone any longer.
Have your CSR log on and sign your company up. Your CSR will also want to check the weather every day anyway. I was told I needed to be more specific about our plans. That is about as truthful and specific as I can be. We need to move forward together. We have the technology, you have the numbers. We canít do it without your support. We do not have a multinational corporation to support our cause, instead, we have you, and you have us! Thatís an undeniable combination! Join today! Join now! Join Tomorrow! Just donít wait until itís too late! Invest in your future!
If you have any questions or comments you know where to find us: www.glasscomp.com - we want to hear from you!
Jessica Karpawicz Ė National Sales Coordinator
Rich Brummett - President / CEO