Glass prices, fuel surcharges on the rise

Glaziers report that glass prices are up between 7 percent and 10 percent depending on the product since April of last year. Increasing fuel surcharges have made hikes even worse, glaziers say.

“I’ve seen the glass market change from last year, up 8.5 percent as of April 1,” says Michael Downs, president of Downs Glass
Downs says his surcharges are at 12 percent of the invoice. Newton Little, president and owner of Ace Glass Co. in Little Rock, Ark., says surcharges have bumped from an average of 9 percent of the invoice to 11 percent or 11.5 percent since last year.

Fuel surcharges from primary manufacturers are at $1,675 per load. Many fabricators charge a percentage of the invoice, ranging from 11 percent to 14 percent, says Chris Mammen, president of M3 Glass Technologies, Irving, Texas. M3 Glass Technologies developed a different plan for surcharges, Mammen says.

“What we tell our customers is … charging you a percentage of the total invoice is not fair to you because you are paying a surcharge on polishing, tempering and fabrications, as well as on the glass. Since the manufacturers are charging us a specific amount per truckload, we are simply dividing that amount by the number of usable square feet in a truckload,” Mammen says. “Doing this means you only pay a surcharge on the actual square footage you buy.”

To cope with the increases, Ace Glass tries to price protect with vendors on larger projects, in addition to “increasing wholesale and retail prices, and quoting new prices,” Little says

As for what’s to come, Little expects to see higher glass prices and surcharges in the future. “We hear that glass manufacturers are laying off people and closing down float lines for ‘cold repair’ due to slow demand overseas,” Little says. “I expect prices to rise with increased natural gas and electricity costs rising, and fuel surcharges rising with truck costs escalating.”

Downs agrees but says overseas competition will force fabricators to lower prices again. “Glass prices will try and rise, but the larger plants will see that they will need to lower their profit to stay in the market with the smaller tempering plants popping up with lower prices using Brazilian or China glass,” Downs says.

By Katy Devlin