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Specific Laws about creating "Industry Billing Practice??


O.K., we know we can discuss pricing and discounting "issues" without breaking the law.
It is only when we would cross over into discussing "setting specific prices and discounts" that we would be guilty of "price fixing". Fine, I can live with that.

Now how about this...

Why don't we, as an industry, create THE AUTO GLASS INDUSTRY "BEST BILLING PRACTICE"?

All of us agree to start billing for our work in a specific way. (We are not agreeing on a specific price, but rather to a "specific billing practice".

Can anyone tell me what law we would be breaking if we decided to all start billing the insureds or the Carriers direct? And we all started doing this at the same time.

It would work like this:

When you do any insurance work, you explain to the insured that they can pay with their credit card. Then supply them with a copy of the invoice so they can take it to their local agent, or send to their Insurance Carrier, for reimbursement.

"You should receive your reimbursement check well before your statement shows up in 30 days".

O.K., now get those negative thoughts out of your head!! I can hear the critics of this idea already!!!
Oh, I might upset an agent, or an insured!

Your right.... if we tried to do this right now, with the system that is currently in place, it might tick off some of the insureds. Worse yet, (heaven forbid) it might create a major disruption to the current system created by the Insurance Co's and Networks. Oh my, too bad!

Don't you see that this is exactly the way to get the attention of the Insurance Carriers again. I believe that if everyone in the Auto Glass Industry were to start billing either the insured, or direct billing to the Insurance company, on the same starting date, it would create such a monumental problem for the Carriers that they would be forced to take another look at how the current system is set up.

So what are they going to tell you? "Hey, you can't bill that way". "You have to bill thru the Network."
I say, and as an Industry, we could all say, "SAYS WHO"? "What law says that we cannot bill for our services in this fashion?

Heck, when I'm checking out at the local grocery store, I don't tell the clerk "hey thanks, I'm going to take my groceries now, but I want you to send the receipt to "ABC third party" for payment. Actually, you may have to wait a month or so to get paid, but eventually you'll get something. Oh, and it might not be for the full amount, they might try to convince you that my fruit was bruised, but they'll pay most of it!"

Hey, they may not like it and the insureds might squawk a bit because they might not get reimbursed in a timely fashion, or they may be short paid, but what better way to get the Carriers attention?

If any of us tried to do this on our own, we'd be dog meat in less than a few months. I can hear the competition now..... "do you see what XYZ company is doing?" "They are billing your insureds direct!" How terrible!

Well, if anyone out there would be so chicken $#it, as play that way, you aren't looking at the long term benefit to our Industry if we all did this together.

Just think for a minute if all of a sudden we all started doing this? What do you think would happen?

Would we all get "black-balled"?

Who's going to do all of the work then? Safelite, Lynx, or DT? There is NO WAY that they could handle all of the claims!
Not if all of the 6000+ "preferred providers" that are currently on their lists said "forget you"!

I really think this has some potential to throw a huge monkey wrench into the current system, and maybe create enough of a problem that the Insurance Carriers would possibly re-think the current system.
The current system is only working now, because we are allowing them to let it work.
If you really don't like the current system, then hop on board, and let's do something about it!!!

Remember the definition of INSANITY?
For those of you who forgot it is... "doing the same in-effective thing over and over, and expecting different results".

Hey, we have to start thinking..... so here is one of my brainstorms.

Thanks for the shot at throwing this out there!

Good luck to everyone this year!

Now, let the darts fly!!!!


Re: Specific Laws about creating "Industry Billing Practice??

Hey, this is an interesting idea.

I remember seeing an article a while back where a hospital did something real similar to this for Blue Cross Blue Shield insureds. Nobody else, jsut BC BS. They told the patients that BC BS didnt' pay fully, didn't pay on time, ect ect and they had to do it as a matter of finances.

BC BS was po'd to say the least, and tried to sue. As I remember, the judge simply asked to see if the billing/paying problem was true....and it was, so he told BC BS to be quiet and play nice.

And they did. lol And that was just one hospital, though a good sized one. Have to go back and see if I can find this again.....hmmmmm.

Re: Specific Laws about creating "Industry Billing Practice??

Interesting idea...

But as you said yourself..."Hey, they may not like it and the insureds [your customers] might squawk a bit because they might not get reimbursed in a timely fashion, or they may be short paid..."

Therein lies the problem...the customer simply wants their glass replaced and their insurance company to pay the shop. They don't have a stake in this industry's issues, nor do they want or deserve one. They just want their glass replaced. So, to create aggravation for customers because of our issues is, in my mind, simply a very bad business practice and a sure fire way NOT to earn customer loyalty and grow your business.

For a AGRR shop owner to even suggest that he would willingly and intentionally have a customer inconvenienced or short-paid to aid in his battle speaks volumes to the desperate times many are in. That's a darn shame. However, that very willingness NOT to ensure that every customer has a great experience with your shop is the reason so many find themselves in the sinking ship they're in.

So, go ahead and inconvenience and agitate your customers. They won't be angry with their insurance company; they'll be angry with you for making then an unwilling pawn in your fight.

Re: Specific Laws about creating "Industry Billing Practice??

Who are you with MRD?

Re: Specific Laws about creating "Industry Billing Practice??

MRD, you yourself are feeding the misconception of which you speak.

We have no control over who consumers buy insurance from. (or do we?) Consumers should respond to the same tactics (and do) that the networks use on them, but first contact is the key.

"Your insurer may not pay the bill in a timely fashion, therefore..."

"The TPA your insurer has hired may not have a satisfactory payment history with our company."

"We may not be able to fully assist you with your claim filing, but if you sign this assignment of proceeds, we will have OUR TPA, which we pay for, do all possible to help you achieve timely and full payment of your invoice within all state fair claim settlement practices laws."

"Your insurer may not actually warranty any work of any provider despite their claims, and may not help you at all if you need warranty service. WE on the other hand, will be right here to service you, and here is OUR written warranty."

"WE have been working for stronger consumer protection laws in this state for some time, but insurers are on record opposing us at every turn. (gee, why?)"

"Our charges are fair and reasonable for the quality and level of service which we provide and documented as such by our TPA, a liscensed adjuster. We have NOT made arrangements with your insurer that may, without your knowledge, sacrifice the quality of your repairs with lower quality parts and materials in order to gain referrals from your insurer."

I believe there are more than a few of us that are slowly turning the tables using the same rules the insurers and networks are using. If more were, mabey we wouldn't be in this sinking ship, and you said. Some consumers don't care, yes. But I've found that the ones that do, are also the ones that pay their bills. Those are the customers I want. If others want lower cost products, well, that's fine, and their choice. And we GIVE the consumer the choice. It's quite interesting when the quality minded consumer says "Golly, no one else told me of differences...just you." Just take a few moments to market. You'll see the difference in the price shopper and the quality shopper quickly.

Just a thought(s).

Re: Specific Laws about creating "Industry Billing Practice??

I know for a fact that any insured who pays out of pocket for a broken windshield will get re-embursed in full for there effort(so long as they have the coverage). Why don't we stop supporting the networks by not signing on with them? why don't we as "THE INSTALLERS" just ban together & tell them what we are worth to them? Why don't we all just hold hands and sing kum-by-ya? As long as we let the networks(which are all connected with the ins. co's & sister glass co.) run/control the industrie this is what we get. WE ARE THE BACK BONE OF THE INDUSTRIE! Wake up autglass installers!! do you see your flat glass installers fighting over what they are worth? Take a stand. STOP SUPPORTING THE NETWORKS, STOP OFFERING WHAT YOU DON'T WANT TO GIVE & FOR GOD'S SAKE STOP COMPLAINING! YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE, TAKE THE CHANCE FOR THE ONLY BAD THING THAT CAN HAPPEN IS YOU START BACK WHERE YOU STARTED, BE PROUD & LOUD, ALL EVERYBODY HEARS IS THE PERSON WHO IS ACTUALLY TALKING & WALKING, NOT SITTING & CRYING!

Re: Specific Laws about creating "Industry Billing Practice??

j -

It's best that I remain anonymous here. I own a medium-sized AGRR company.

I normally just read the posts...but for someone as articulate as Mr. Meyers to even SUGGEST that business practices which include inconveniencing and aggravating customers may be a solution to anything is, to me, such an egregious, desperate, and irresponsible proposition that I felt compelled to respond... And that other businessmen actually think that that's a good idea is simply mind-boggling to me.

As I read the posts on this forum, it's crystal clear to me why my business has continued to grow year after year while so many others fade away to the tune of "Poor 'ol me"...

Re: Specific Laws about creating "Industry Billing Practice??

MRD, I understand your point, but the question I have is, how far are we as an industry willing to bend over backwards to our own detriment to avoid 'irritating' the customer? Why is it that the car owner is only seen as the 'customer' when we risk this 'irritation' but the insurer is seen as the customer because of the money trail?

I believe Tim's point is valid, but not as 'cold turkey' in application as you might perceive.

Name one other industry that is in the situation this one is due to the fear of 'irritating' the customer??
Even Collision repairers, which is a close comparison, have not bent backwards as far as we have...and they are most certainly feeling the pain of their actions as well.

Tim's point is, I believe, that in trading per-job profitability for insurance referrals on the basis of not 'irritating customers' has this industry in a tailspin, and we have willingly given up control of our own customer bases to do it.

In no other industry does the consumer see things re: insurance paid services as they percieve it in the AGR biz. Advocating change of that perception brings this industry back in control of it's own customer base, quality level, service level, and likely, profitability.

If the system does not change, the future outlook is bleak. I'm guessing you would have to admit that your growth is based on volume, but profitability per unit percentage is down considerably, yes? If not, well, then you have something to sell the rest.

This industry cannot continue to chase the quantity and volume models of business that have proven, and continue to prove, to be weak at best, and bankrupt at worst. And quantity of units continues to drop on the whole. What price has your company paid in order to hold or maintain the growth you speak of, the access to YOUR customers? How much is the access to your customer base you have strived to build actually under YOUR control? How much is it really costing you to keep that access?

Everyone's complaints and problems come back to a root cause: Lack of control of one's own customer base. Big or Small it has been taken from our industry, and we now must pay for what we all have strived to build, the very backbone of ANY business: our own customer base. Solve THAT problem, and everything else falls into place, we then control our own destiny as an industry.

I have only what I read to base my opinions on, little of which is on this board; please, share your insights. I'm very ready to listen.

Re: Specific Laws about creating "Industry Billing Practice??


....egregious ....desperate ....irresponsible?

Wow, for a minute there, I thought you were that attorney who appears on Seinfeld from time to time. You know, the one that defended Kramer in the "hot coffee" lawsuit. (I think his name was Jackie?) You actually sounded quite like him, and just as silly I might add....

I believe this forum is intended for the purpose of openly sharing ideas, suggestions and thoughts about our industry.
However, don't see any merit in somone "hiding in anonimity" while they attempt to put their "spin" on one of my suggestions or ideas. With that I take exception.

Nowhere in my post do I say that my goal is to "intentionally have a customer (insured) inconvenienced or short-paid" to aid in our battle.

If you read my post again, you will see that I had a couple of different ideas to possibly disrupt the existing Network/Insurance billing system that has it's hands around our throats.

It just so happens that you chose to respond negatively and put "your spin" to one of the options I threw out there for consideration; the of billing the insured directly.

If I bill an insured direct for a safe, high quality installation, and provide them with a copy of the paid invoice to take to their Agent or Company for reimbursement, what's your rub?

Where in the above scenario do I "intentionally create aggravation" for my customers? (I believe that is the "spin" that you try to put on it)

If that insureds Agent, or Company decides not to reimburse them, then THEY ARE THE ONES who are making the concious decision to create the aggravation.

My exact words in my prior post were:

Hey, they may not like it, ("they" here refers to the Networks and Carriers) and the Insureds might squawk a bit because they MIGHT not get reimbursed in a timely fashion, or they may be short paid, but what better way to get the Carriers attention?

You also stated that the insureds "don't have a stake in this industry's issues, nor do they deserve one."

Maybe you were just looking for a statement to juice up the "spin" that YOU were trying to put on my thoughts, but I could not disagree with you more!

I think the insureds have a big stake when it comes to the issue of their family's safety!
Or don't you think they have a right to know...... that their Insurance Company DOESN'T CARE about the quality or safety of the installations the insured gets when they are steered to a glass company simply because they will do it for the cheapest price.

Again, nowhere did I say in my last post, or this one, that my goal is to create aggravation for the insured.
Would I like to get some of the insureds, of Carriers that short pay them, involved in our fight for reasonable and fair compensation for high quality, safe installations? That is not my main objective, but if that were to happen, I certainly wouldn't mind having a few upset insureds standing shoulder to shoulder with me in the fight to regain control of the future of my industry!

I'd LOVE the opportunity to explain to the insureds exactly what has been going on with our Industry for the last 5 years. How the insurance companies are not willing to pay for QUALITY, and how the insureds are being steered to whoever will do it for the cheapest price....
....and how MY COMPANY is not about to change our moral obligation to provide high quality, safe installations, simply because their insurance company wants to save a few bucks.

I'll bet the future of our company, and many, many other's in this Industry will be much brighter if we all started taking the opportunity to get the insureds involved and educated as to the importance of safe installations. I also don't happen to see a problem with filling them in on how their insurance companies are willing to minimize the importance by not paying a fair price.

If you think putting "your negative spin" on ideas that I am willing to openly share and discuss with our Industry is productive, do us all a favor and take your "NEGAHOLIC" attitude somewhere else.

To those that this post may offend, I am sorry.
I just hope you understand that I will not let someone try to twist the intended meaning of my words.

My sincerest efforts to help save this industry can be summed up with this quote:


My best,


Re: Specific Laws about creating "Industry Billing Practice??

Pretty darned good explanation Tim. I'm thinkin' on this......

Re: Re: Specific Laws about creating "Industry Billing Practice??

Great idea Tim !!!

You'll need two things to pull this off:

1. New leaders in your industry that aren't afraid and are not committed to another agenda; and

2. Switch all practicioners to an Internet application to do the consolidated billing.

The rest would take care of itself if your new leaders understand the power of information.

The entire process would be accelerated if the excellent script provided by Mark1 (the fifth post down) regarding the truthful education of the consumer were used.

Re: Specific Laws about creating "Industry Billing Practice??

Mr. Meyers -

It certainly was not my intent to put a "negtive spin" on your ideas. In fact, I applaud you for thinking outside the box and articulating your ideas in this forum.

However, in response to your comments, I don't think I misunderstood your comment that "they may not like it and the insureds [your customers] might squawk a bit because they might not get reimbursed in a timely fashion, or they may be short paid..." That comment is pretty self-explanatory and I simply do not agree with that tactic.

Certainly we should all work everyday to educate our customer base regarding the importance of safe AGR vs. the hack jobs going on every day in every market. If quality AGR shops were to pool their marketing resources and launch and sustain a national campaign to educate consumers, I believe that would do more to benefit this industry and establish it as the craft that it in fact is than all the lawsuits and guerilla warfare tactics that I oft see advocated in ths forum.

The IGA spent $1.2M on its failed attempt to sue Safelite for steering. Any idea how much national print advertising $1.2M would buy? Consumer education is the key to affecting change in our industry. That starts and ends with us as AGR professionals. To rely on anyone else is, in my humble opinion, simply a pipe dream. Until we collectively figure out a way to accomplish this goal, the insurance companies and networks will continue to conduct business as usual.

I am all about changing the industry. My company works everyday to educate consumers regarding safe AGR. We do not give it away to pump up the volume. We know what our services are worth and that's what we charge. Business is better than ever.

Re: Specific Laws about creating "Industry Billing Practice??

Tim it sounds to me that you have received a couple of responces from upper management. I beleive in letting all my insured customer know about the practices of their own insurance co. One of the main things I point out is the simple fact that they saved $25.00 a month or $300.00 a year only to find out that there ins. won't pay diddley. Back to your origonal message about setting prices, I personaly think that sueing big corperations for steering is wrong(in both ways) but, however you look at it it comes down to us! We need to bind together as an industrie & take back control of our own labor. We all know that products vary in quality so when you do get the referral from a-z ins. & know they want low quality glass because of their discounts then just inform there customer of the insurance company practices and what they are going to receive, also we DO NOT HAVE TO OFFER LIFE TIME WARRANTY ON GLASS like some of the big co. They have set up fair market pricing, my question to everybody is did you ever see this report or is it somthing that some pencil pusher offered. I think inorder to re-gain our industrie we need to let them know who actualy installs for them.

Re: Specific Laws about creating "Industry Billing Practice??

Where did the 1.2M number come from? That sounds way high.

Re: Specific Laws about creating "Industry Billing Practice??

Astronomically high. lol lol

Re: Specific Laws about creating "Industry Billing Practice??

I guess this forum is not the place to carry on a debate as to what my intent was, or was not.

On to other things!

I am interested in carrying on a constructive dialog with those of you who are tired of Networks and Ins. Carriers tightening the strangle hold on us.

If you feel that there is some merit in creating an Auto Glass Industry "Standard Billing Practice", feel free to contact me with any thoughts.
I don't have a problem if you want to tell me that you think it's a stupid idea, but please, at least consider offering up an alternative idea. Otherwise, you'll just remind me of an employee who walks in to complain about something, and when I ask them what they suggest we do about it, their response is "I don't know".

As always, my post includes my full name and e-mail address so you know how you can reach me.

I look forward to working with some people who are ready to work towards a common goal of self preservation in our Industry.

Thanks for reading!


Re: Specific Laws about creating "Industry Billing Practice??

Hey Tim, I tell my customer's what thier ins. will pay for & for the customer to deal with them on the quality or I have them pay for it up front & have thier insurance reimburse them for thier effort in getting it fixed on thier own. I have not heard a complaint from any of my customer's that choose to pay out of pocket. I have however heard from customer's that have settled for the lesser and are not happy with the low quality glass. I warranty my workmanship not the quality of the glass, I don't believe anybody will warranty a cheap window. Please also note that 98% of my installations are for high end vehicles and all my work is from word of mouth. I personaly hate the networks and think that they are a waste of time & money for everybody.

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