Although this year may have been filled with twists and turns many auto glass shops, including City Auto Glass (CAG), have celebrated milestones. Mike Schenian, CAG president and Jon Laski, CEO, shared some of the business’ strengths leading up to its 30th year.
“Back in March of 1990, five of us started the company, three of us were sales representatives in a previous life with Safelite and the other two were both in managerial and executive positions with Safelite,” explained Schenian. “We left on our own accord and started our own business and have learned a lot along the way.
According to Schenian, there are a few key points in a business’ success, and being able to market yourself is one of them.
“Here we have a willingness to do whatever it takes to ensure success, no matter if it’s being active on the legislative side or marketing,” said Schenian. “Over time you learn that you should market yourself daily –you’re never done and we’re not ones to pat each other on the back because we’re only as good as the work we’ve done yesterday.”
He also mentioned that his whole team recognizes opportunities and isn’t afraid of seizing them when they present themselves.
“I think the fact that we’ve always tied our company’s success back to our employees allows the business to keep growing,” said Schenian.
“I agree and think it also really starts with a strong relationship and being there for our customers year after year,” said Laski, who also mentioned that insurance companies often recommend CAG to new potential customers.
“We have customers from both channels,” explained Laski. “We have our repeat customers that will come back based off of previous service and then we have agent driven business and now we’re seeing customers coming in off of a new channel based off of our online surveys.”
Training employees can be seen as a crucial part of a longstanding successful auto glass business and at CAG adaptability is seen as a strong suit.
“I would say we aren’t reinventing the wheel, but the industry is ever changing and I think we’re developing as the industry is changing and we’re staying well in tune with the development of ADAS and it’s becoming more of a high tech world and we spend the time giving our people the right tools to train and it starts with our leadership,” said Laski.
Both Laski and Schenian agreed that those on the CAG team share a willingness to learn new things and adapt to change, which according to Laski, comes naturally.
“When they first came out, ADAS calibrations were seen as an obstacle because we had to educate ourselves and our employees on how to do it properly,” said Schenian.
Though Laski agrees that ADAS calibrations were challenging in the beginning, he thinks of it as more of a learning curve.
“Yes ADAS calibrations are such a new and unique part of the industry in just the training and understanding,” said Laski. “We’re big on safety first and we want to make sure the vehicle is done safely and correctly. For us it’s about learning, having and understanding the knowledge before we touch a customer’s car.”
CAG, like most auto glass businesses, had to adapt to the safety recommendations from local and government health officials. Schenian and Laski noted that the business was quick to implement new systems to allow certain employees to work from home and more. They also decided early on to try and keep everything as normal as possible by not furloughing any of their employees.
“Early on we had to adapt to COVID because our business and our people were relying on us to stay open and delivering a service,” recalled Schenian.
“We had to adapt to social distancing methods and early on we adapted to a new phone system so that certain employees could work from home,” said Laski. “We even created a process so that customers could sign and not have to be present. We sent them documentation explaining everything and they signed electronically.”
The company also supplied N95 masks and rubber gloves while practicing safe social distancing.
“We segregated our technicians and limited the amount of people that were in the building at one time,” explains Laski. “We offered free masks to customers at the front door and we’re always looking for the next way to adapt and it’s tough to adapt sometimes, like we use to have a lot of in-person meetings but now they’ve been moved to meetings over the phone.”