A customer needs a new windshield. You look up the make and model to get the replacement windshield part number, pull it from your in-shop stock or order it, then install it. The customer drives away happy, and you get paid for making them happy.

Pretty simple, isn’t it? Especially because there’s really only one place to go to look up that part number: the National Auto Glass Specifications database, or NAGS.

Founded in 1927, NAGS has provided pricing and part numbers with little change to its business model. Today, it’s owned by Mitchell International, which offers products and solutions for the auto collision, repair, and claims management industries. Its GlassMate™ product provides parts information, quote functions, work orders, invoicing and billing, plus access to complete NAGS information.

NAGS has the part number for every windshield for every vehicle model for every manufacturer.

With the database regularly updated, you’re able to look up the glass you need, see the list price, and place your order.

The Challenge with NAGS: List Prices

Efficient and beneficial as it is, the list prices set by NAGS can become problematic. In 2005, Mitchell rebalanced its benchmark prices, reducing them across the board through a new pricing methodology. Each year, NAGS releases a Fall, Winter, and Spring Benchmark calculator so shops can see any changes in average prices, especially for the most popular parts.

Sometimes those prices increase, and sometimes they decrease. But overall they often remain lower than what shop owners would prefer.

This makes it more difficult for you to decide how much to charge customers for a replacement windshield, as you balance your expenses with making a profit. And the bigger your shop, the less your profit margin might be.

Insurance also plays a role in how much you can charge, since regulations and deductibles vary from state to state.

Once the insurance companies factor in the list price and decide what they’ll pay to settle a claim, that doesn’t leave you much room to determine your price.

Stay on Top to Stay Ahead

Such pricing fluctuations affect some shops more than others, and there are shops across the country who state the price increases and decreases do not impact their business. The key is to stay on top of the price list so you’re aware of any changes that can affect your business, keeping you ahead of your competition.

Even as tricky as it may be to navigate the pricing changes so you can set your prices, NAGS does make it convenient to quickly find and order the right replacement glass. And companies like Service AutoGlass with their powerful access to the NAGS database, make it even easier to get the glass you need.

Running your own business means handling problems on a daily basis – scheduling appointments, meeting payroll, training staff members, etc. Accepting the reality of the NAGS pricing structure and working with it is simply one more factor determining your long-term success.