Good News for Glass Shops?
Just a few months ago gas prices in many parts of the country were
more then $4. But recently that has changed, with prices in some
places quickly falling below $2. For glass companies, just as they
had to change their businesses to accommodate the added expense
of high gasoline costs, some are also adjusting for the lower costs-as
well as slower market conditions.
Keith Harvey is a co-owner of J&R Glass Co. Inc. in Moody,
Ala. His company services Northern Alabama, Northeast Georgia and
parts of Eastern Tennessee doing commercial storefront and curtainwall
work. He says back when gas costs were so high he chose to accommodate
the added expense much in same fashion as his suppliers-with a fuel
"I determined that cost based on the number of days of the
work and the distance to the job site," says Harvey. "I
didn't call it a fuel surcharge, though; I called it a travel charge."
And now that gas prices are down he says he's still using the travel
charge, though he has adjusted the cost.
Likewise, surcharges from suppliers have not gone away, either.
"We still see them, but they are about half the cost of what
they were," says Harvey.
Ashley Bohannon, a manager for Crystal Glass Co. in Birmingham,
"They [surcharges] have dropped by about 5-7 percent,"
says Bohannon, whose company focuses on commercial and residential
Like many construction companies, Crystal Glass has felt the pinch
of these tough times. Bohannon says her company had to let two of
its employees go in the past month.
"But business is slowly starting to pick up again; and now
that fuel costs are down it has helped, too," she adds.
For Harvey, he says that while his company does have a good backlog
of work, business is still down.
"We did do a lot of negotiated, retail work, but we don't
see too many retail jobs right now," says Harvey. "We've
taken to doing schools, churches and more of the open-bid work.
And in order to try and save on expenses during these tough times,
Harvey says his company has taken to doing a lot of the work themselves
that they would have outsourced in the past. For example, some of
his employees have automotive experience so they've started doing
some of their own vehicle maintenance.
"Also, we don't stock as much ¾-inch glass and we've
started cutting more of our own," says Harvey, who adds, "Like
everyone else, we're just trying to weather the storm."
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