When you own or operate an auto glass repair and replacement (AGRR) business, you find yourself wearing a lot of hats. I know that was the case when I was operating a small business in Florida back in the late 70’s and 80’s. I worked hard to make it successful, and luckily I had the help of a lot of great people. If you work in a small to mid-sized shop, there are a number of tasks to handle after the phone rings:
- Answer customer questions
- Offer quotes and (hopefully) take orders
- Input customer data into the point-of-sale program
- Participate in one of those never ending conference calls with TPA’s (Third Party Administrators) and get all of the required approvals (and probably put other customers on hold in the meantime)
- Contact your supplier for required parts via phone or online order
- Coordinate and schedule an appointment for the installation of the glass
- Invoice the person paying for the replacement
- Make collection calls for slow payers
And these are only some of the things that you have to do to properly take care of a customer. Just think of all the different tasks that you do every day to run your business.
Then there’s the challenge of figuring out how to make the phone ring vianewspaper and Yellow Pages ads, internet advertising, social networking sites, and face-to-face sales calls to potential customers who you hope will send you referrals. There are countless other sales and marketing tactics that you can use to help customers to find your business, and you have to spend a lot of the time and money to make that happen.
Then there is the time that you spend managing the people who work for you, scheduling jobs, ordering parts, making sure that you’ve got the right materials to do a proper installation, and maintaining a clean and safe shop. You have to purchase trucks for mobile installations, and buy all of the different types of insurance for your business to operate. You have to keep records for your business, pay bills, hopefully pay yourself, and of course account for and pay taxes to the federal, state and sometimes local governments. When you start to write down the list of things that you do, the tasks are endless. The various skills that you need to be successful are truly impressive.
If you’re lucky enough to have a larger scale business, then you must find a number of dedicated people with similar skills who can help you to run the business as it continues to grow. It’s an exciting and somewhat daunting task, isn’t it?
Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines FACTOTUM as, “a person having many diverse activities or responsibilities.” The origin of FACTOTUM is Latin and the word literally means to “do everything.” When you own a small business you have to wear a lot of hats. You need a lot of knowledge about everything in your business. There are many resources in our industry that can help you to run your business. For example, there are a number of AGRR associations that can provide helpful inside information about our trade – the Independent Glass Association, the National Glass Association, NWRA and AGRSS® to name a few.
Running a business is hard to do. Wearing all of those hats keeps you very busy and you’ve got to truly master countless parts of your business to keep a step ahead of suppliers, TPA’s, insurance companies, competitors and many others who often make running your business even more challenging. It’s tiring to constantly focus on controlling costs. It takes a lot of work to find the right recipe for success that ensures that your business is profitable and viable.
But in the face of all of this, it’s worth the effort. Just know that you are indeed a FACTOTUM, so hold your head up high.