Posts Tagged Factotum

Associations

What associations have you joined?  The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines associations as “organizations of people having a common interest”.  The definition seems fairly straightforward and easy to understand.  When you join a group with those who have a common interest it could be for something such as a golf club, a church group, the AARP, the NRA, a political party, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, even a company that you work for, etc.  The common interest which you have could be a hobby, a sport, an industry group or it could involve a social issue that you feel strongly that motivates you to join an association.  The list of associations and common interests are endless.  Common interests can remain for a short or long-term period of time.  In all likelihood a common interest is something that you’re probably passionate about.

If you’re in the automotive repair and replacement (AGRR) industry there are a three well known associations that serve the common interest or interests of their members.  There are associations such as AGRSS® (soon to become the Auto Glass Safety Council), the Independent Glass Association, and the National Windshield Repair Association.  You get a good sense of their main interest by their names and when you look at their web sites you’ll find:

  • The common interest for AGRSS®, which stands for the Auto Glass Replacement Safety Standard, “is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the safe replacement of auto glass. AGRSS® was founded and is supported by companies in the auto glass replacement industry that keep safe installation as their primary goal.” 1 2
  • The Independent Glass Association and its members common interest is “the only association dedicated to the needs of the independent glass companies in North America. Its members are also dedicated to the professional and ethical installation of glass in a safe and proper manner. IGA members are located in all 50 states and ten countries.”1
  • For National Windshield Repair Association members the common interest they share is that they are “recognized nationally and worldwide as a professional source of reliable information on the windshield repair industry.  NWRA membership puts you on the leading edge of timely information and gives you a strong influence in the industry. Your membership not only couples you with the dynamic leaders of the windshield repair industry, but with a voice in your destiny equal to any other member.”1

1)     I have had the honor of being a member of this association.

2)     I am a member of the board of directors and vice-president of AGRSS®.

Each of these three associations has memberships which are strongly aligned to common interests.  When you visit their individual websites, each association clearly states their goals in representing the interests of their membership.  By joining any association members are making a conscious effort to align themselves with other like-minded individuals and companies who share common interests or who share similar goals (values, principals, interests or beliefs).  If you surround yourself with people who have a common interest, then you and the group as a whole should be able to achieve more of those shared goals and the association will further improve or execute on the shared common interest as well.  Associations need to constantly increase membership and grow their sphere of influence in order to build on their success at gaining notice of their common interest or they will fade away along with their shared goals.  If you’re going to join an association, actively participate and you’ll be able to help achieve that common interest.  Passion, along with values and principals are key fundamentals of all associations.

If you find that you no longer share a common interest in the association you belong you can leave and then find and join one that does.

Just sayin’……….

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Factotum: A Day in the Life of an AGRR Owner

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:

  1. Answer customer questions
  2. Offer quotes and (hopefully) take orders
  3. Input customer data into the point-of-sale program
  4. 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)
  5. Contact your supplier for required parts via phone or online order
  6. Coordinate and schedule an appointment for the installation of the glass
  7. Invoice the person paying for the replacement
  8. 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.


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