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Specialization and its Benefits as a Glass Contractor

Like a lot of shop owners, I have tried providing just about every type of product and service available. There is no doubt it is a good thing to be well-rounded as glazing service provider. Although the industry is already specialized, there is still no way for a single company to master every product and service that the industry has to offer. If you are doing the same types of projects as other shops in your area, you are likely going to have to find a way to differentiate yourself from them if you hope to compete. Lower prices, faster service and exceptional quality are the traditional ways to attack this issue.

Another great way to approach becoming more competitive is to specialize in a particular segment of the industry. Most people are familiar with the Pareto principle (also known as the 80/20 rule). For a shop owner it basically means that 80 percent of the revenue we bring in comes from 20 percent of the products and services provided. Even though this seems to be true across the board, the exact way that it breaks down will vary from one shop to the next. By examining this within your own organization you can figure out what products and services are most profitable for you.

Here are some tips for getting started: Begin by keeping track of each specific product or service your company is providing right now. Record what percentage of your overall revenue each one represents. By listing each of the various products and services separately, calculating the profitability of each, and discovering the ratio each one represents, you can learn a lot. If the 80/20 rule applies (and it probably does), most of your company’s efforts are going toward activities that are not very productive.

It has been about ten years since I decided to transform my own glass shop into a shower door specialty business. I have to say that it has been the smartest move I have ever made regarding this enterprise (Showcase Shower Door Company). For me, shower doors made sense, based on my resources, market and other factors. But it could just have easily been doors and windows, custom mirrors, glass handrails, or any other part of the industry. Of course, there is nothing stopping me from doing other types of work if I want to. But being a shower door specialist signals to my customers (and competitors) that I have staked a claim in this area. It gives me a competitive advantage, in my opinion, and makes the whole operation more efficient.


Chris Phillips

Chris Phillips

Chris Phillips has deep roots in the glass and glazing industry. His family featured some glaziers (including his dad) and Chris followed their path into the industry. First Chris completed his apprenticeship in Las Vegas in the early 90’s and worked on many of the landmark buildings there including Caesars Palace, The Mirage, The Rio, the Luxor and more. He then started Showcase Shower Door Co. in Santa Cruz, California in 2005. He has personally installed more than one thousand shower installations in his career with that number being added to daily.