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.

Member Services

We work incredibly hard for our members, after all, without our members we are nothing.

By promoting the industry and our individual members, the services they provide and the benefits those services have to offer, we can help the glass polishing industry make the jump from a 'niche' to a mainstream industry, readily accepted by all industries and commercial markets.

By working with our members to constantly improve the services we offer and the way in which those services are provided, we WILL drive the glass polishing industry forward.  As we become more mainstream, our members will secure more work, making a better living, employ more glass polishers and expand glass polishing into an ever increasing range of markets.

We also, through group purchasing, negotiate good deals on tools, equipment and consumables for our members, together with cheaper rates for insurance and admin services and accountancy.

With the introduction of Guild Qualifications, Guild members finally have the opportunity to gain Industry Recognised Qualifications and recognition as a true professional.

But probably the strongest tool in for our members is access to our network of Guild Qualified glass polishers.

The Guild Network offers a skilled, fully equiped work force made up of experienced Guild Qualified glass polishers, throughout the U.K. at a fixed cost.  Our members are able to access the Guild Network whenever they need additional polishers.  At a glace of a Guild members profile, you can see their skill level, their working area, their levels of liabilty insurance, their additional skills such as I.P.A.F. or rope access ability, giving you the confidence that they will represent your business in a professional manner.

A fully skilled and equiped workforce on an as and when required basis allows you to accept contracts when you yourself maybe busy on another contract, all at a fixed cost.  Or perhaps your customer has a short contract in an area of the country that is not cost effective for you to travel to on a day rate.  This is no longer a problem, simply use the Guild Network to find a member in that area and you still make money.

And... don't forget, any contract booked through The Guild comes with an independent guarantee that your contract will be completed to your customers satisfaction.

Damage Assessments : Should you pay for 3rd party damage?

As scratch damage to glass becomes an ever increasing problem for contractors, so too does the issue of meeting the cost of repair. Counter charging within the construction industry is now standard, but that brings with it many more issues in proving culpability.

If you have the need to prove, disprove or identify liability in the cause of scratch damage to glass, The Guild of Glass Polishers can help.

Our senior technicians have the skills and experience to determine how scratch damage has been caused and to establish a time-line, comparing the cause of the damage to tasks or projects that would have been working in the immediate area of the damage.

The most common causes of scratch damage on a construction or commercial development are down to careless cleaning, decorating or rendering and usually have nothing to do with the installation.

These reports also include a step by step guide as to how the damage was caused and how that could tie in with works carried out around the immediate area of the damage caused.  Our reports also detail the precise location of the damage and a full, fixed cost of repair, together with the time required to undertake the repairs, giving you a complete assessment of your scratch damage problem.  This sort of comprehensive information proves invaluable when looking to 'counter charge' the cost or repairs.  Our damage assessment reports have been successfully presented in the courts.

A growing number of our clients are now regularly using our Damage Assessment Reports as standard practice on completion of large glazing contracts, instructing us to assess all glazed units within a specific contract.

Using our reports in this manner provides our clients with documented evidence that their contract was completed without scratch damage and that the standard of glazing at the time of completion complied with The Glass & Glazing Federations standards for visual quality as fit for purpose.

Please note that our damage assessment reports are carried out without bias and should not be used for avoiding liability.

For free advice, free estimate or free site visit call our customer service team today, even the phone call is free!

We have a fixed cost for undertaking Damage Assessment Reports throughout the U.K. of £440 +VAT
The Guilds own Master Glass Polishers carry out every Damage Assessment Report.
If you have one or two scratched units in your house, then no, it is not worth spending money on something that would be cheaper to replace, but if you have a large project where multiple glass units have been damaged, then most definately, as our reports provide all the information and technical details required to seek compensation or legal reimbersement.