The Glass Gurus
Company offers lower cost window restoration
Dan and Joy Frey, founders of The Glass Guru, a window restoration company.
Dan and Joy Frey got their start in the window restoration business by passing out flyers in their Roseville, Calif., neighborhood. By the time the couple got home just two hours later, they received three voice messages from potential customers. At that point, they knew that foggy windows would mean big business.
Now the Freys hope to spread their success well beyond their neighborhood. Their 3-year-old company, The Glass Guru, sold its first franchise in Fresno in April and plans another 10 to 15 locations by the end of the year. The couple is banking on a combination of a low entry cost with a unique service that restores foggy dual-pane windows for half the cost of replacement.
The life expectancy of dual-paned windows is about 15 to 20 years, after which their seals break, allowing moisture to seep between the two panes, which make the glass foggy. Homeowners then must replace the glass.
Glass Guru, however, uses a moisture removal system that restores the window by cleaning it from the inside out. Tiny air vents are then installed to allow the windows to fully dry and prevents moisture from re-occurring. Dan Frey learned about the window restoration technology, which was being used in Canada, while working as a venture capitalist.
The Freys started their company out of their home 20 miles northeast of Sacramento. They called it Glass Wizard at first, only to discover that another company had the name. “Glass Guru is more fitting for what we do,” Frey said. “A guru is an expert or teacher. That’s exactly what we consider ourselves. We do a lot of educating to the public, informing them of our new restoration process that many people aren’t aware of.”
After nearly doubling their revenue since opening, the Freys expanded the company to offer more services. In early 2006, The Glass Guru became a full-service glass and window business offering replacement services for glass, windows, screens, mirrors and shower enclosures as well as scratch removal and hard water spot removal.
“We actually create more revenue off of replacement services, because they tend to be higher ticket items,” Dan Frey said. “We generate 75 percent of our calls off the restorations. So they really go hand in hand. Offering restoration services is a great marketing tool that helps us get in the door by offering repair services.”
The company is targeting smaller franchisees. The initial investment is small, and investors can start a restoration business out of their home before making the transition to full service. The Freys like the idea of husband-wife franchisees—like themselves—in which the wife at first focuses on customer service while the husband restores the windows.
“Reducing the learning curve for your franchisees, dramatically, so they don’t have to go through the same trial and error that we went through developing the systems,” Frey said.