G4: Industry insiders talk glass
Michael Haber, managing partner
W&W Glass, Nanuet, N.Y.
The current credit crisis is having a profound effect on our business on several fronts. One of the first things that we have experienced is the difficulty in getting paid in a timely manner due to the extensive reporting requirements requested from the various lending institutions. We have also seen several projects put on hold due to the level of owner or developer self-financing that has now become commonplace. The current developer/owner must now have current liquid funds in lieu of the highly leveraged deals that were being done on a daily basis for the past several years. The current credit crunch has also had an effect on the way that we are able to buy our materials. Many vendors are now requiring upfront deposits, which we are not able to recover from our customers. We are, therefore, forced to carry the costs of our purchases for a much longer period of time before getting paid. The entire construction atmosphere has become a much more difficult place to do business."
Mark Dawson, president
Glass Doctor, Waco, Texas
At Glass Doctor, we view the current credit crunch as a short-term challenge with an enormous long-term opportunity to increase market share. A positive impact of the decline in the mortgage and home sector is an opportunity for growth. The uncertainty of the current economy has prompted many people to remain in their current residence. When this happens, the owner elects to upgrade their home instead of moving to a newer, more expensive residence. Our opportunity is to be able to assist homeowners with acceptable credit terms and interest rates that make it effortless for them to make a positive decision to purchase today."
Steve Mort, CEO
Don's Mobile Glass, Modesto, Calif.
The credit crunch has hurt consumers' confidence about their future finances. Whether their home is decreasing in value or they can drive less due to the rising cost of fuel, it has had a chilling effect on consumers' decision to replace their broken windshields unless they are forced to. [The credit crunch] has also decreased the amount consumers are spending on their homes-less replacement windows, shower doors. Unless consumer confidence can improve, we will have a difficult year."
Sarah Porter, manager of new business development
All Weather Tempering, Phoenix
The biggest impact the credit crunch has had on our business in Arizona is the slowdown in residential new construction. With so many fewer qualified buyers, new home construction has come to what has felt like a grinding halt. We've seen a lot of our customers' volumes drop by as much as 50 percent, and some manufacturers have closed their doors altogether. We've had to find creative ways to cut back and to diversify to stay above water in this challenging market."