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Lower Gas Prices … Good News for Glass Shops?

Post Time:Jan 16,2009Classify:Industry NewsView:531

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 surcharge.

"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, Ala., agrees.

"They [surcharges] have dropped by about 5-7 percent," says Bohannon, whose company focuses on commercial and residential glazing projects.

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."

Source: USGlass.comAuthor: shangyi

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