myWindshield CEO Al Lijee Talks About His Nationwide Auto Glass Repair and Replacement Portal
Owner and CEO of myWindshield Al Lijee is rethinking the way in which car owners are getting quality windshield repairs and replacement from reputable auto glass shops in the United States. His platform makes it quick and easy to find auto glass technicians providing a consistently high quality of service.
Al recently took some time to answer some questions for us regarding myWindshield.
Tell us more about myWindshield. Why did you start the company?
Back in 2011, I had unfortunately received poor service from a big national brand for windshield repairs, so I thought to myself “there’s got to be a better way.” Too often, many big companies just offered a one-size-fits-all solution that lacks personalization and customer care. Small, independent, auto glass shops often perform far better quality of care and at better prices, but they lack the marketing muscle of the big brands.
That was really what gave me the impulse to start myWindshield. It’s an online network that makes it simple and quick for car owners in the US to find local, professional auto glass fitters and repairers. Our members include drive-in repair centers and call-out mobile auto glaziers across the United States.
I suppose you could compare myWindshield to a trip or hotel aggregator like Expedia or Travala, which allow customers to have a greater choice for their flights or hotel accommodations. Instead, we put car owners in touch with local, professional auto glass shops so they can make more informed choices and get a high quality of care.
What services do your member auto glass technicians provide and why should customers choose them?
Well, of course our member partners provide same day windshield repair and replacement services, which is their bread and butter, but many also provide windshield calibration services and other specialized services as well.
What sets our members apart from a random search online is that all members on our platform must undergo a rigorous vetting process to ensure that they are committed to providing quality services and customer satisfaction.
This means that our small and independent auto glass technicians tend to have many years of experience in their trade, professional expertise and skill in their craft, and a personalized touch that the big brands just can’t match. You’ll also find that many are far more willing to negotiate for prices, which is another benefit to customers.
We also look for traits in auto glass shops such as helpful, open communications with customers and the ability to provide sound, honest advice and solutions for their windshield. If it’s possible to safely repair a windshield without having to completely replace windshield, they’ll always go down this route as it’s less costly for the customer (usually free, with insurance) and better for the environment.
Technicians featured on myWindshield all must have the correct skills to do the job, but we also want to make sure that they are committed to customer satisfaction and professionalism at all times.
What makes your business model an improvement for customers looking for windshield repairs or replacement?
We believe that customers deserve a greater choice in order to make more informed choices for their automotive glass solutions. And that’s what we provide. We put customers in touch with local auto glass shops in their ZIP code that are flexible enough to meet the needs of the customer.
An added bonus is that since the results shown to the customer are local, quite often they can request same-day or next-day service at competitive prices. This also leads to less travel time, fewer emissions, and better support for local businesses in the community.
All of our members are committed to customer satisfaction and professionalism, which are important qualities for customers since they’ll be meeting face to face and this builds confidence in both the business owner and the customer.
How does your business help small, independent auto glass shops in America?
The small, independent auto glass shops operating in the US often provide excellent services since a lot of their technicians are experienced and have already worked for years with the big brands to build their resumes.
On the other hand, their advertising budgets are often a lot smaller than the big national brands, so they simply don’t have the visibility and brand name recognition as the big companies do.
Most of our member partners are small businesses, so they benefit immensely from the cost-effective marketing and visibility that we provide on myWindshield by listing them and their public profiles for customers to see. We let them do what they do best, which is providing valuable professional services, but where we come in is simply elevating their brand within their community to bring in more business.
You say that as though there’s a problem with the level of quality provided by the big names in the auto glass industry. Can you explain this?
Yes, of course. It’s just the way the business has evolved over time. Bigger companies in the auto glass industry employ apprentices and skilled auto glass technicians alike and give them set goals to meet, i.e. job orders and deadlines.
But the ongoing cost of running these big companies means that the pressure can really mount up on individual technicians, so they’re incentivized to take shortcuts or compromise on quality to meet their quotas. Who wins in the end? It certainly isn’t the customer.
As with many other tradespeople, auto glass technicians tend to get their feet wet in the industry by working for the big guys, but once they realize their value they go it alone as a sole proprietor or with a smaller company that gives them more professional benefits.
What this means is that the big companies constantly turn over employees and the best of the best tend to go elsewhere, leaving perhaps inexperienced staff that can compromise the quality-of-care customers get for their windshields.
What do you see for the future of myWindshield?
As our network grows by the day and more customers are choosing myWindshield to find quality repairs for their car windshields, I’m optimistic that the future is bright for us. We’ll continue providing customers with excellent choices for auto glass services at affordable prices in the United States and we’ll also continue to ensure that our members are upholding their commitments to professionalism and customer satisfaction.