Eye Openers

We are putting the finishing touches on the USGlass Contract Glazing Issue, which goes to press this week. The February issue includes our list of top contract glaziers in the country. Along with the largest sales volumes, we track a number of other metrics, as well, and there’s one we are adding this year that is truly eye-opening.

When you see the issue, you’ll notice we also track number of locations, employees and length of time in business. And every other year, we include the results of our massive contract glazier survey. We have tracked the top-20 companies for years. This past year, we have expanded the list to track the top 75.

Collecting this data is not without its challenges. For example, we have to work to avoid “double-counting” in cases where a glazing contractor has been awarded a job but subcontracts all or part of it to another glazing sub. Both companies could rightly count that in their totals. We try and avoid doing so, so you don’t see the same sales twice.

Given that, we’ve decided to add a new measure and to look at the total volume of the top-20 contract glaziers each year. The results were telling.


1. The industry grew the most in the last ten years between 2013 and 2014;

  1. The results confirmed that contract glazing volumes closely follow the economy 24 months later. Glazing sales were among the last to dip in the great recession and the last to come back;
  2. The industry lost more than one-third of its volume in the great recession. From a sales volume of $2.1 billion in 2010, the industry did a freefall dive to $1.2 billion the following year;
  3. 2015 tied that previous 10-year high at a volume of $2.1 billion.

So I guess you could say the industry is back, but there is a major difference between then and now. The confidence we all had in the building industry was shaken during the recession. And just about everyone who made it through believes we will cycle down again. As a result, owners, generals and glazing contractors take fewer risks and don’t gamble on projects as much. Speculative work is almost non-existent. So the $2.1 billion you saw in 2015 is very different than the $2.1 billion in 2010. In some ways, it’s stronger. I think the industry is now too.

Have a great week!


P.S.: If you notice 2007 missing from some of the stats above, it’s because, for what must have seemed like a good idea at the time, we did not produce the list that year.