7 Things to Look for in a Glass Manufacturer

Why Choosing the Right Glass Company Matters

Choosing the right glass manufacturer for your next architectural glass project can seem overwhelming. With many glass companies to choose from, how do you know which one is going to best meet your needs? As a starting point, look for these seven characteristics:

1. Experience

tim casey vegas glass 1977

Jockimo owner, Tim Casey, at Vegas Glass, 1977.

The first thing to look for when assessing a glass manufacturer is their experience. How many years has their business been in operation, and how many years have they been involved in the glass industry? A company with an impressive pedigree of years behind it is more likely to be both professional and reliable.

Inexperience in your glass manufacturer can potentially put you in a difficult position in a number of ways. For example, an inexperienced company could underestimate how long a given job could take, leading to you getting the project late. (Whether you’re the end user or you’re a contractor, architect, or designer who’s passing the product along to your client, a late deliverable is never ideal.) Inexperience could even lead to creating a project that’s ultimately unsafe.

2. Expertise

Expertise often goes hand in hand with experience, but it is well worth judging a potential glass manufacturer on this criterion as well. Just because someone has been in business a long time doesn’t necessarily mean they know a lot about the intricacies of the glass industry.

Be especially certain to ask them about the safety aspects of glass. If you want a high-level overview of what safety-related issues to consider, read our blog, “Are Glass Floors Safe,” as well as our more in-depth look at potential antislip glass options.

3. Communication

Whether you’re a private homeowner or you’re looking to create an architectural glass project for a commercial space, you want consistent and open communication from your glass manufacturer. This will help ensure you’re in the loop at every stage of the project—from creating the initial concept to refining and finalizing design to manufacturing the project to safely shipping it to the end user.

4. Openness to Your Ideas

Many glass projects are custom, and it’s imperative you work with a glass manufacturer who will listen to exactly what you want. Granted, there might be elements to your project that are not feasible because of limitations within the glass medium. For example, maybe a certain thickness of glass  could be dangerous, or maybe an uninterrupted glass span of a certain width won’t be structurally sound. That’s when you need to listen and default to the experience and expertise of your glass manufacturer. For other details, though, you want to work with a company that will value your input and strive at every turn to bring your creation to reality. You want someone who commits to jobs not just as a manufacturer but as a creative partner.

5. One-Stop-Shop Experience

You want a glass manufacturing company that can really do it all. If they only specialize in one part of the idea-to-reality process, you run the risks associated with bringing in multiple companies. This involves more vetting on your part to ensure you’re comfortable with every company at every stage of the manufacturing process. It can also significantly increase your lead time as more businesses become involved in the project.

It’s also a big plus if the glass manufacturer is integrally and actively involved in the design phase. Because the same person who influenced the design will also be physically creating it, there’s less chance of miscommunication or misunderstanding as the design phase translates into the physical project.

6. Best Shipping Practices

Shipping Container Clean

Shipping might not be the first thing you think to ask a glass manufacturer about, but it matters. Proper shipping will help ensure your glass project arrives as intended without any damage or issue. Breakage or damage during transport can be everything from a hassle to a project delay to a drawn-out battle with the manufacturer.

Take steps to avoid this by ensuring the company properly packages every delivery.

Here are some highlights of the Jockimo shipping process:

  • All shipped products are insured.
  • Glass is packaged using furniture-quality wood crates—each one handmade by Jockimo.
  • Glass is packaged with foam.
  • Tip-N-Tell indicators are applied to both interior and exterior. (This provide visibility into transport, even in the event the outer indicator is removed.)
  • At the time of shipping, photos of the packaged crate and your glass prior to packaging are sent in order to confirm condition.
  • The end user gets receiving and inspection instructions and the bill of lading. This allows shipment tracking and delivery schedule, if necessary.

7. Honesty

When dealing with any company, you want to ensure you’re working with a reputable and honest team. When it comes time for the final invoice, the last thing you want is to discover the company won’t stand behind its work or its estimates.

While there’s no crystal ball or magic question you can ask to absolutely ensure you’re working with a stand-up organization, you can use your gut feeling. When you’re asking them questions, do they seem to be forthcoming about the answers? Do they appear knowledgeable? Confident? Willing to engage? If the answer is no, that’s a big red flag.

Have any questions about how to effectively vet a potential glass manufacturer? Reach out today.  Whether you work with us or not, we’re always happy to help!