The proof is in the pudding

Even though it is still very early days for The Guild, we are hearing reports of others in the industry making negative comments as to the validity of The Guild and what it is we are trying to achieve.  Although we feel that our purpose is quite clearly stated throughout The Guild website, it would appear that further clarification is needed.

The main concern seems to be that we are only here to make money for ourselves.  We do not want to get involved in mud-slinging, life is too short, but we would like to make our position very clear.

Yes we actively promote glass polishing services.  Yes, all glass polishing is undertaken by our members.  No, we do not employ our own glass polishers.  Yes, If asked to oversee or manage a glass polishing project for a client, we do provide this service.  Yes, we only recommend Guild Qualified glass polishers.

By collectively developing and agreeing to higher standards of service and quality of repairs, proven by industry recognised qualifications, we can establish a ‘trusted brand’ for glass polishing.  This can only have a positive benefit on our industry as opposed to a negative one.  A recognised qualification shows that you are a true industry professional, able to repair scratched glass to a required standard, in a safe, cost effective manner.  This enhances our reputations and benefits our businesses, both collectively and individually.  Why would a true professional not be in favour of this? 

Yes, we do make a small profit on referring work generated by own marketing.  This profit is nominal and goes some way to subsidising our marketing costs.

The Guild of Glass Polishers has been and continues to be funded by its founding members.  The Guild has not been funded by membership fees, joining fees or administration fees. The Guild is registered as a limited company and operates as such allowing us to stand on our own two feet and lead by example.

A point has been made that the founder members of The Guild also have interests in or run their own glass polishing companies.  This appears to be a problem for at least one person in particular.  We would like to point out that The Guild of Glass Polishers is a working collaboration of professional glass polishers and glass polishing companies, working to promote and support our industry, those working within it and those employing its services.  A professional body, promoting a professional industry, should be run by industry professionals.  As for any potential conflict of interest, we would hope that our actions alone in setting up The Guild would go a long way to proving our motivation, but in the interests of transparency, The Guild steering committee regularly reviews all Guild business and practices.

Offering training courses is yet another bone of contention.  Apparently by providing training in glass polishing and assisting new comers to the industry, we are  diluting the market, taking work away from other glass polishers.  Whether The Guild offers training courses or not, we cannot, as an industry, prevent other people from becoming glass polishers or adding glass polishing to their existing services.  Any industry that offers reasonable earning potential will attract people.  Surely it is better to have well trained people with relevant qualifications with whom you can develop a strong working relationship.

It is also true that there is a high failure rate with new glass polishing companies, even established glass polishing companies get can experience difficulties, around 70% of new glass polishers will fail in their first year.

I can think of no better reason to have a Guild of Glass Polishers to support new and existing glass polishers, helping them to succeed.  Perhaps if we had a Guild before now, that failure rate of 70% would not be so high!

It has also been mentioned that there are other organisations out there offering similar services, such as The Guild of Master Craftsmen.  This is very true and they do a very good job.   But, they are not glass polishers.  They deal with an impressively wide range of trades.  The Guild of Glass Polishers (and at the risk of sounding like a U.S Senator) is run by glass polishers for glass polishers and those that use glass polishers.

Finally, it should be noted that we are not asking anyone for anything.  There are no joining fees and we are offering the first 6 months membership for FREE so as it says at the top of the page, the proof is in the pudding.  If you like the idea of The Guild, call us and let us prove the value of The Guild and how membership of The Guild benefits it members.

If you don’t like the idea of The Guild, we respect your opinion and wish you well.  All that we ask is that you air any grievances you may have with us first, before sending unsigned emails containing misinformation and vindictive comments to all and sundry, whilst hiding behind an anonymous gmail address.

Better still, join us, join our steering committee and have a say in how The Guild is run.

Members – Why have a Guild?

Firstly, and most importantly, The Guild of Glass Polishers is a tool to benefit our industry as and those working within it.  That may sound like a noble cause, but to be blunt, the main objective is to increase sales for all of us.  The only reason for you to join The Guild is to benefit you and your business directly.

We do this by promoting high standards of quality and service, ensuring that our customers recieve the very best of both, and increasing recognition for the glass polishing industry as a specialist trade skill and those working within it as true specialist contractors.

As a Guild Member, your input is key in making this happen.  The chances are that you are already an industry professional and your skills and experience are our most valuable asset.  By working together, pooling our experience and resources, we will all benefit.

Note:  Ours is a small industry, most of us are one or two man operations and although we do not want to upset anyone when we say this, as an industry, we tend to be very small minded.  We worry about the competition, we are very guarded about our work and clients, even about our day rates.

This is very understandable – we have all started from nothing and worked bloody hard build our little empires and the idea of someone else muscling in on our turf is worrying.

But here’s the thing – although we have all been working as individuals, collectively we have built an industry that is becoming a mainstream trade skill and an industry that has a growing reputation and to this point, we have all done a really good job.  As our industry continues to grow, more and more people see the potential glass polishing offers and the money that can be made in scratched glass repair.

As more people ‘get in to’ glass polishing, three things happen;

  • Standards drop drastically – Glass polishing may not be rocket science, but it is a specialist trade skill, one that takes time to master.
  • The day rate drops drastically – As the competition for work grows, people drop their day rates to secure contracts.  Over the last two years we have seen the average day rate drop from £520 to £395.  We have heard of some people going out for a little as £175.  If this continues, it will destroy the industry before it has reached it potential.
  • As both of these things continue, Glass Polishing will no longer be seen as a specialist trade skill and that affects us all.

Another point to consider is that the success rate for those coming into glass polishing is very low.  Around 70% of people starting up as glass polishers will give up within 12 months.  Ours is not an easy industry.  The more glass polishers that fail, the worse our industry reputation becomes, as failure tends to mean bad workmanship, uncompleted contracts, unpaid invoices and general bad feeling.

The Guild is not looking to become a controlling force or managing body for our industry.  Our aim is to bring the best of us together.  By promoting high standards across the board, we can protect our businesses against these pitfalls and secure a profitable future for us all.

It is important to remember that The Guild will only be successful if it helps its members – YOU – be successful.

During the course of setting up The Guild, we have been asked some very pertanant questions from like minded polishers – read them here.

Dust Free or Not Dust Free

Dust free or not dust free, that is the question. Yes, I know, sorry about that.

I am hearing alot of talk at the moment about dust free polishing.  Indeed, we have spent alot of time over the last couple of years playing with various ways of making dust free polishing work in a practical manner.

Mirka, who have recently decided that glass polishing is a valid market (but that’s a different conversation) have released a dust free hood, designed to work with their range of Mirka polishers.  There are a number of other dust free hoods available on the interweb, all basically the same thing, a hood that fits over the polishing pad with a hoover attachment to suck the dust away.

The hoods that we have tried work for the most part, but there are a few fundimental issues.

Using a hood restricts you from polishing around the edge of a unit.  The hood for a 125mm backing pad is 150mm leaving an area of 25mm of unworkable area and that is if you are an experienced polisher.

Another comment I hear alot it that as most hoods are black plastic, you cannot see the area you are working on.  I’m not so sure about this point as I tend to polish as much by feel as by sight and you can’t see through a backing pad anyway.  We did find a clear plastic backing pad, but the spring mountings were all wrong and by the time we adjusted them to react correctly, it was really difficult to find the right seating point for the springs, they have to be adjusted for each job, it takes ages and is just not practical.

If you are working in the middle of a large unit, on ground level, below head height, the dust free systems currently available work well, in ideal situations, catching upto 95% of the dust generated.  However, if are working off a tower, scaffold or cherry picker you need a bloody long hoover hose.  We have tried a backpack hoover and although it works, it is very cumbersum and uncomfortable and when working on your knees or bending over, it knocks against the glass, restricting your movements.  It also makes you look like a ghostbuster!

I guess the real question is considering it is only practical in a certain situations, is it really practical to invest in dust free systems, when a good dust mask, a good hoover, the occassional Zipwall and a little effort cleaning up has the same result.

If anyone else has had good results with dust free systems, I’d love to hear about it.

Join The Guild Steering Committee

We need your input in ensuring The Guild stays focused on its goals of promoting the glass polishing industry and those working within it, whilst also promoting ”best practice’ within the industry.

The steering committee, made up of experienced, professional glass polishers and other industry related professionals, plays a key role in setting the standards of ‘best practice’, reviewing visual quality standards, reviewing current systems and techniques as well as overseeing The Guild’s R&D budget for new innovative glass polishing technology.

To be considered for a seat on the steering committee you will need to be a professional glass polisher with at least 5 years experience or an expienced glass related industry professional.  You should have a genuine interest in promoting the glass polishing industry and working with other industry professionals to open new markets and business opportunities for Guild members.

One of the fundimental aims of The Guild is to create and promote an industry brand that enables all Guild Qualified members to benefit from being involved with.  This brand must be a symbol of trust, skill and integrity, recognised by construction related industries and trades as well as the general public.

Although this is a voluntary position, a minimum commitment of at least 2 hours a month is required to attend meetings.

The steering committee meets monthly via online Skype conferencing, (assistance with setting up Skype is available) and quarterly meetings are held at a central UK location.  Travel expenses for attending quarterly meetings are reimberssed. Minutes of each meeting are produced by The Guild admin team and posted on The Guild website.

If you would like to know more about joining The Guild’s steering committee, please call us.